Home Reviews Grab the Popcorn, Check Out Best Shows Set in Foreign Countries

Grab the Popcorn, Check Out Best Shows Set in Foreign Countries

by Jan Schroder
cast of Schitt's Creek

When director Bong Joon-ho collected his award for best picture for Parasite at the Golden Globes, he said, “Once you overcome the 1-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”

We’ve grown quite fond of the constantly changing white letters flickering on our screen, grateful for the ability to enjoy movies and TV series in other languages. And sometimes even our own. (Looking at you “Broadchurch” and “Derry Girls.”)

Here’s our selection of TV shows and movies available for streaming set in foreign countries. In addition to our personal favorites, highlighted below,  we’ve included recommendations from friends and readers.

These shows are available on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube TV or Acorn TV and sometimes on more than one. Some may require subscriptions to HBO or Showtime.

Have some of your favorites to share? Please add them to the comments section.

Australia

A Place to Call Home. A period drama series set in Australia following World War II. (6 seasons, Acorn TV)

Kath & Kim. A 2002 Australian sitcom about a mother and daughter that’s one of the funniest things we’ve ever seen. The “fashions” alone will make you giggle.  (4 seasons, Netflix)

My Brilliant Career. 1979 Oscar-nominated drama starring Judy Davis. (Amazon Prime)

Tracks. 2013 Australian drama starring Adam Driver  (Amazon Prime)

Austria

Before Sunrise. 1995 romantic drama starring Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke. Part of a trilogy that includes Before Sunset (2004) and Before Midnight (2013) (Amazon Prime)

Canada

Anne with an E.  Drama series based on Anne of Green Gables (3 seasons, Netflix)

Heartland. Family drama and longest running one-hour drama in Canada. (13 seasons,Netflix)

Schitt’s Creek. Family sitcom starring Catherine O’Hara, Eugene Levy and his son Dan Levy. (6 seasons,Netflix)

France

The 100-Foot Journey. 2014 American comedy-drama starring Helen Mirren. (Netflix)

Germany

The Lives of Others. 2006 drama set in 1984 in Berlin when everyone in East Berlin was spying on everyone else. (Amazon Prime) 

Great Britain

scene from Call the Midwife

Scene from Call the Midwife

Broadchurch. Crime drama starring Olivia Colman and David Tennant, who also narrates W1A. (3 seasons, Netflix)

Call the Midwife. Period drama set in the 1950s. (8 seasons, Netflix)

Catastrophe. Romantic comedy about an American man and Irish woman. (4 seasons, Amazon Prime original series)

Crashing. Comedy from the creator of Fleabag, Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Imagine the British version of Friends, but they are all living in a massive abandoned hospital. (1 season, Netflix)

The Crown. Drama following reign of Queen Elizabeth, who is played by Claire Foy and then Olivia Colman. (3 seasons, Netflix)

Fleabag. Emmy, Golden Globe award-winning comedy from Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Stars Andrew Scott as the hot priest in season 2, who also plays a villain in Sherlock. (2 seasons, Amazon Prime)

Dr. Foster. Crime drama that explores just how crazy one woman will get when her husband cheats. (2 seasons, Netflix)

Downton Abbey. Hugely popular British drama starring Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern. (6 seasons, Amazon Prime)

Foyle’s War. Mystery series set in 1940. (8 seasons, Acorn TV)

The Great British Baking Show. Recommended as way to lower stress while watching amateurs compete. (10 seasons, Netflix)

Last Tango in Halifax. British romantic comedy series about a couple in their 70s. (3 seasons, Netflix)

Lovesick. Terrible name but fantastic romantic series. Like Friends if one of them got an STD and had to notify old girlfriends. (3 seasons, Netflix)

The Office. See where it all started with the original British version starring creator Ricky Gervais. (2 seasons, Amazon Prime)

Peaky Blinders. Period crime drama set after World War I, (5 seasons, Netflix)

Sanditon. (New PBS drama based on unfinished novel by Jane Austen. Lots of big mansions, tight corsets and handsome men. (1 season, Amazon Prime)

image from Sanditon

It’s a day at the beach for the ladies of Sanditon. Photo: Red Planet

Sherlock. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as the famous detective. (3 seasons, Netflix)

The Stranger. Mystery thriller, (1 season, Netflix)

A Very British Scandal. Mini-series based on a political scandal of the 1970s starring Hugh Grant. (3 episodes, Amazon Prime)

Victoria. Period drama about the reign of Queen Victoria. (3 seadsons, Amazon Prime)

W1A. Funniest comedy you’ve probably never heard of, a satire of the inner workings of the BBC starring Hugh Bonneville and the English talent for double speak. “Yes, no, yes, right,” (3 seasons, Netflix)

cast of W1A

We’re placing bets W1A is the funniest show you haven’t heard of. (Photo: BBC)

France

Amelie. 2001 comedy with cameo by a traveling gnome. (Amazon Prime)

An American in Paris, Winner of 6 Oscars, this classic 1951 move stars Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron. (Amazon Prime)

Jean de Florette. 1986 drama about a greedy landlord. (Amazon Prime)

Midnight in Paris. Woody Allen comedy starring Owen Wilson as a literary time traveler. (2011, Amazon Prime)

Greece

The Durrells in Corfu. Comedy series about a British widow who moves with her four children to a broken-down house in Greece. (4 seasons, Amazon Prime)

Zorba the Greek. 1964 movie comedy-drama starring Anthony Quinn and Alan Bates. (Amazon Prime)

India

The Lunchbox. 2013 romantic comedy starring a misdelivered lunchbox. (Amazon Prime)

Ireland

Derry Girls. (Set during the Troubles in Ireland in the 1990s. Despite that backdrop this high school comedy is one of the funniest we’ve ever seen. The nun is priceless. (2 seasons, Netflix)

The Fall. Mystery thriller starring Gillian Anderson as the detective, (3 seasons, Amazon Prime)

Ryan’s Daughter. 1970 romantic drama that takes place during World War l, (Amazon Prime)

The Quiet Man. 1952 movie romantic comedy drama starring John Wayne. (YouTube TV)

Italy

Call Me By Your Name. 2017 Academy Award-winning romantic drama with a script by James Ivory. (Amazon Prime)

My Brilliant Friend. Coming-of-age drama. (2 seasons, HBO)

The Two Popes, Academy Award-nominated biographical film starring Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins. (Netflix)

Summertime. 1955 romance starring Katharine Hepburn and set in Venice. (Amazon Prime)

Spain

The Way. Comedy drama starring Martin Sheen walking the El Camino. (Amazon Prime)

Sweden

Wallender. Crime drama starring Kenneth Branagh as the police inspector. (4 seasons, Amazon Prime)

Thailand

The Beach. 2000 drama adventure starring Leonardo DiCaprio. (Amazon Prime)

Japan

Lost in Translation. 2003 comedy drama starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson. (YouTube TV)

Memoirs of a Geisha. 2005 epic drama based on the novel. (Amazon Prime)

Samurai Gourmet. A recent retiree literally takes a bite out of life (1 season, Netflix

South Korea

Parasite. 2019 Best Picture winner, this thriller explores the class system and basements of all sizes. (Amazon Prime)

Multiple Countries

scene from the Night Manager

Scene from the Night Manager.

The Amazing Race. Emmy Award-winning reality competition show. (31 seasons, Hulu, Amazon Prime)

Homeland. Drama series starring Claire Danes as a CIA analyst, (7 seasons, Netflix and Showtime)

Killing Eve. BBC America spy thriller starring Sandra Oh and written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. (2 seasons, Hulu, YouTube TV)

The Man in the High Castle. Alternate history drama set in the 1960s, (4 seasons, Amazon Prime) Note: An astute reader just informed me this series is set in the United States. I’m leaving it on the list because my brother has been urging me to watch it and maybe this will remind me.

Night Manager. Crime drama based on a John le Carré novel and starring Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie and Olivia Colman. (1 season, Amazon Prime)

Occupied. Fictional drama set in the near future. (3 seasons, Netflix)

Outlander. Time travel romantic drama featuring impossibly gorgeous, often unclothed people. (5 seasons, Netflix and Starz)

Travels with My Father. Travel documentary with Jack Whitehall traveling with his stuffy father, Michael. (3 seasons, Netflix)

Ugly Delicious. Chef David Chang travels the world looking for the best food. (2 seasons, Netflix)

 

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4 comments

Chris Butsch March 19, 2020 - 2:59 pm

Great list, esp. the apt Outlander description 😀

Reply
Jan Schroder March 19, 2020 - 3:00 pm

Enjoy and happy watching!

Reply
Emily Tracy March 19, 2020 - 3:58 pm

Wow, love how extensive this list is! Love seeing old favorites and discovering new ones.

Reply
Add those subtitles! Best series, films to stream set in foreign countries - The Washington DC 100 March 20, 2020 - 1:46 pm

[…] Visit here to see dozens more. Have some to share? Please leave in the comments section. […]

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