International TV shows on Netflix

10 must-watch international TV shows on Netflix

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Are you ready to embark on a global adventure from the comfort of your own couch? If you are nodding your head in affirmation, you’re in for a treat. We’ve searched through the virtual aisles of Netflix to bring you the crème de la crème of international TV shows that are sure to transport you to far-off lands, no plane ticket required.

From heart-pounding thrillers in Spain to heartwarming comedies in South Korea, this list of best foreign TV shows on Netflix has got it all. So grab your popcorn, fluff up your cushions, and prepare to be whisked away to far-off lands and immersed in captivating storylines that will have you canceling your weekend plans faster than you can say, “Just one more episode!”

What to watch on Netflix: The International TV series edition

While everyone has watched La Casa de Papel and Squid Game, here are some of the top TV shows that’ll take you on an unforgettable journey around the world.

1. Midnight Diner (Japan)

Set in a neon-lit alleyway of Tokyo, Midnight Diner is a heartwarming Japanese series that follows an enigmatic man who opens a diner only at the stroke of midnight, catering to an eclectic clientele with even more eclectic stories. Each episode of this manga adaptation centers around a different dish and the emotional tales of those who gather in the dimly lit establishment. 

From love and loss to redemption and second chances, Midnight Diner is a masterclass in storytelling, weaving together the lives of its characters with a touch of culinary magic. The series not only offers a taste of Japan’s rich culture but also a poignant reminder that the most meaningful connections can sometimes be forged over a bowl of hot ramen.

Considered one of the best foreign language shows on Netflix, Midnight Diner has captivated audiences around the world with its poignant narratives and mouthwatering dishes. Its universal themes of human connection and the simple joys of life have earned it a dedicated fan base, transcending cultural boundaries. Moreover, the show’s unique format, where each episode is a self-contained story, allows viewers to jump in at any point. It also makes it an accessible choice for seasoned fans of Japanese cinema and newcomers alike.

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2. Lupin (France)

Buckle up for a whirlwind ride through the streets of Paris with Lupin, a French Netflix series that reimagines the classic gentleman thief Arsène Lupin for the modern era. Assane Diop, played by the charismatic Omar Sy, channels the spirit of the legendary literary character as he seeks revenge against a wealthy family that wronged his father. 

With wit, charm, and a touch of cunning, Assane orchestrates elaborate heists while staying one step ahead of the law. Lupin is a thrilling roller coaster of suspense, filled with unexpected twists and turns that will leave you on the edge of your seat, all set against the backdrop of the City of Lights. It is also among the most popular Netflix TV shows. 

The show’s magnetic performances coupled with its slick production and intricate plotlines, have garnered a dedicated global fanbase. Viewers are drawn to the perfect blend of heist drama, mystery, and charismatic characters that Lupin delivers. Its success has not only solidified its place in the pantheon of must-watch international TV shows but also sparked discussions about the enduring appeal of Arsène Lupin’s legacy in modern storytelling.

3. Crash Landing on You (South Korea)

Prepare for a love story that defies borders in Crash Landing on You, an award-winning South Korean series that whisks viewers on an unexpected journey from North Korea to South Korea. 

The popular Korean drama revolves around a South Korean heiress named Yoon Se-ri who crashes into the secretive North following a paragliding mishap. She soon finds herself in the care of the enigmatic North Korean Captain Ri Jeong-hyeok, who has to risk his job and life to help her out. As the two navigate the treacherous political landscape and cultural differences, a romance blossoms that transcends the boundaries of their divided homelands. 

This heartwarming and occasionally heart-wrenching K-drama serves up equal parts comedy, drama, and romance while offering a poignant exploration of the human connections that can bridge even the widest chasms. 

The chemistry between the lead actors, combined with the show’s lush cinematography and tightly woven plot, has also propelled it to become a cultural touchstone. The series’ ability to tackle complex geopolitical issues with sensitivity and nuance, while still delivering a timeless love story, has solidified its place as a must-watch for any lover of foreign language shows on Netflix.

4. Dark (Germany)

Immerse yourself in a mind-bending labyrinth of time travel and interconnected destinies with the German series Dark. Set in the small town of Winden, the show kicks off with the mysterious disappearance of a young boy, setting off a chain of events that unravel a web of secrets spanning several generations. As past, present, and future collide, Dark weaves a complex tapestry of familial ties, existential questions, and the cyclical nature of human existence. 

With its atmospheric cinematography and intricate narrative, this Netflix series is a gripping puzzle that will keep you guessing until the very end. It has also garnered a dedicated fan base and critical acclaim, solidifying its position as one of Netflix’s standout international TV shows. 

The intricate storytelling and masterful handling of time-travel elements have earned Dark a reputation for being one of the most intellectually stimulating foreign language shows in recent memory. Viewers are drawn to its richly developed characters and the meticulously crafted world they inhabit. 

Dark has not only elevated the profile of German television on the international stage but has also left an indelible mark on the sci-fi genre as a whole.

5. Midnight at the Pera Palace (Turkey)

Step into the opulent world of Midnight at the Pera Palace, a Turkish series that blends history, time travel, and mystery with a touch of glamor. Set against the backdrop of the iconic Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul, the show follows a young journalist named Esra who finds herself in a mysterious hotel room while covering the establishment’s 130th anniversary. Soon, she and a diverse cast of characters find themselves entangled in a web of secrets and intrigue. 

With its sumptuous period details and a cast of characters as diverse as the city itself, Midnight at the Pera Palace offers a captivating glimpse into a bygone era. As the world teeters on the brink of war, the hotel becomes a microcosm of political tension and personal drama. 

This show has emerged as a hidden gem in Netflix’s international TV series catalog, captivating viewers with its rich historical setting and engaging storyline. The show’s ability to transport audiences to a vibrant and tumultuous period in Istanbul’s history has earned it praise for its meticulous attention to detail. Fans of historical dramas and those with a penchant for time-traveling mysteries will find themselves engrossed in the world of Midnight at the Pera Palace.

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6. The Chestnut Man (Denmark)

From the frosty streets of Copenhagen emerges The Chestnut Man, a Danish series that dives headfirst into a bone-chilling murder investigation. The TV show revolves around a pair of detectives, Naia Thulin and Mark Hess. The duo is thrust into a race against time to catch the elusive Chestnut Man killer after a series of gruesome killings rock the city. As the detectives delve deeper into the case, they unearth dark secrets that lead them down a twisted path of obsession and vengeance. 

With its atmospheric setting and well-written plot, The Chestnut Man is a rollercoaster ride of suspense that will keep you guessing until the final, shocking reveal. It is a must-watch thriller, which has captivated audiences with its nail-biting suspense and expertly crafted storyline. 

Moreover, the series’ gritty portrayal of crime and its complex, morally ambiguous characters have struck a chord with viewers seeking a psychological thriller that keeps them on the edge of their seats. The Chestnut Man firmly establishes Denmark as a powerhouse in the world of international crime dramas, earning its place among the best foreign TV shows on Netflix.

7. Girl from Nowhere (Thailand)

Get ready to be enthralled by the enigmatic Nanno in Girl from Nowhere, a Thai series that takes a deep dive into the dark underbelly of high school life. Nanno is a mysterious transfer student who exposes the hidden secrets and injustices within the school community. 

With each episode focusing on a different tale of deception, revenge, or moral ambiguity, Girl from Nowhere serves up a deliciously dark and twisted ride that will leave you questioning the very nature of justice. Nanno’s unpredictable actions and razor-sharp wit make her a force to be reckoned with, and her quest for truth is both captivating and chilling.

Girl from Nowhere has garnered a dedicated following, both in Thailand and internationally, thanks to its provocative storytelling and the magnetic presence of the lead character. The series has also become popular for its unflinching exploration of societal issues and the blurred lines between right and wrong. 

Additionally, Nanno’s morally complex actions challenge conventional notions of justice, adding a layer of intrigue that keeps audiences hooked from episode to episode. It won’t be incorrect to say that Girl from Nowhere has firmly established itself as a standout in the realm of international psychological thrillers.

8. Ragnarok (Norway)

Unleash your inner Viking with Ragnarok, a Norwegian series that brings ancient mythology into the modern world. Set in the small town of Edda, the show follows the brooding teenager Magne, who discovers he is the reincarnation of the Norse god Thor. As he grapples with newfound powers and a destiny intertwined with an impending environmental catastrophe, Magne must confront ancient forces threatening to bring about the end of the world. 

With its blend of Norse mythology, teenage angst, and environmental themes, Ragnarok offers a fresh and thrilling take on the superhero genre. It has carved out its own niche in the realm of international fantasy series, attracting viewers with its unique blend of ancient myth and contemporary issues. 

The show’s visually striking portrayal of Norse gods in a modern setting, combined with its compelling characters, has earned it a dedicated fan base. Ragnarok has not only reinvigorated interest in Norse mythology but has also showcased Norway’s ability to produce high-quality, globally appealing content. It is undoubtedly a binge-worthy addition to the list of best foreign TV shows on Netflix.

9. Cable Girls (Spain)

Step back in time to 1920s Madrid with Cable Girls, a Spanish series that blends historical drama with a healthy dose of feminism. The show follows four women from different walks of life who find themselves working at Spain’s first national telephone company. As they navigate the challenges of the male-dominated workplace, they form a powerful bond that transcends societal expectations. 

Cable Girls is a tale of friendship, ambition, and empowerment, set against the backdrop of a rapidly changing and politically charged era. The Netflix series has also earned massive praise for its strong female characters and its portrayal of the struggle for gender equality in a time of great societal change. 

Furthermore, the show’s lush period details and compelling storylines have resonated with viewers, making it a standout historical drama. Cable Girls not only offers a window into a pivotal moment in Spanish history but also serves as a celebration of the strength and resilience of women throughout the ages.

10. Sacred Games (India)

Dive headfirst into the labyrinthine world of Mumbai’s underworld with Sacred Games, an Indian Netflix series that weaves together crime, politics, and spirituality in a pulse-pounding narrative. The story unfolds when a cynical police officer, Sartaj Singh, receives a cryptic phone call from a notorious gangster hinting at an impending catastrophe. As Sartaj delves deeper into the criminal elements of the city, he discovers shocking secrets and a connection to his own past. 

Sacred Games is a dark and gritty tale that explores the complex interplay of power, religion, and corruption in contemporary India. It has taken the Indian and international streaming scene by storm, becoming a cultural phenomenon and earning critical acclaim for its bold storytelling and complex characters. 

The show’s gripping plot and incredible performances have made it a must-watch for fans of crime dramas. Sacred Games not only showcases the rich tapestry of Indian storytelling but also highlights the global appeal of narratives that grapple with the complexities of modern society. With its sharp writing and unflinching portrayal of Mumbai’s underworld, this TV series stands as a testament to the power of international storytelling on Netflix.

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