There is a scurry of fresh content lining up to be on Netflix which are cutting across cultural and linguistic divides. An article published on Indiantelevision.com today predicted that India is on track to becoming the second largest video- viewing audience by 2020. Content consumption among Indians has become both variegated and evolved. And we are asking for more. For every ‘Stranger Things’ there is an equally compelling ‘Dark’ (from Germany) and for every ‘Prison Break’, there is ‘ El Marginal’ (from Argentina). These series bring a certain idiosyncrasy which is an attribute of the industry it belongs to. Like the aforementioned ‘Dark’ is more Peaky Blinders than Stranger Things, but unnecessarily got into a stratagem of being a distant cousin of the more famed English series.
In this article we cover a few foreign series which are high on bingebility and are as critically acclaimed as the best ones we already know of.
Fauda (Chaos in English)—
The New York Times voted Fauda as the Best International Show of 2017. The Israeli political series is a thrill-a-minute ride covering the pertinent issue of the Israeli-Palestine skirmish, while crafting a show which gets better in it’s second season. The show follows Israeli special Ops head Doron (Lior Raz, also the creator) who is forced to return from retirement to eliminate the supposedly killed criminal mastermind Taufiq Hammed.
Fauda (meaning Chaos in English) takes the oft-repeated premise of special forces and terrorists to tell a high-octane story of a long standing feud, from both sides. I feel it might just be the only thing where both Israelis and Palestinians agree to, that the show is very good. The realistic portrayal of a struggle and the characters which the series invests in developing, makes it a real winner among the viewers.
La Casa De Papel (Money Heist in English)—
Don’t we just love watching the bad guys with heart win? Money Heist is a Spanish series which is the most watched Non-English series on Netflix, yet, not many people in India are talking about it. Initial conjecture seems to be that people tend to overlook it as just another heist show. And there lies the hidden gem! Money Heist, unlike the lazy name, is a roller-coaster ride of a bunch of criminals who are hired by a man called The Professor to rob the Royal Mint of Spain. The word ‘rob’ is used as a spoiler-proofing attempt here because the main motif of the Heist is much more complex.
Only a good story and a detailed character study makes the audience invested emotionally in the anti-heroes and Money Heist does exactly that. What starts as a masterplan soon turns into a survival story, a story of deceit and loyalty even as the sequences fluctuate meticulously between realism and fiction. There are multiple scenes where the director spends a few extra seconds lingering on close ups, just to make the emotions clear and test the allegiance of the audience. The fact that a single event is covered for 22 episodes, yet, never once do we feel it dragging says a lot about the quality on display here.
The Rain is an eco-pocalyptic show which pits humans against nature and tells the story of siblings who were left to fend for themselves in a bunker by their scientist father even as a virus infested rain wipes out an entire population. The series is gloomy and the stakes are high for the survivors as they make their way around Denmark and Sweden for a safe haven.
What makes it stand apart is the taut writing and a message overlaying the events. The audience becomes the cheerleader for the small group of survivors as they cover the length of the country in search of answers and families. It may appear to be similar to ‘The Walking Dead’ on a superficial level, but once you start watching it, the nuances and characters will create empathy and the story will take it’s own course, as you egg them on!
A Very Secret Service—
Well, I realise that the list is starting to look slightly sombre, but fret not, this next one is fun and French! It is said that the French are all debonairs and romantics. Well, creator Jean-Francois Halin takes the debonair and romanticises the post-WW2 era in France with a spoof on the rather tensed part of history through a comedy-espionage series. If you are fan of The Office or Brooklyn Nine-Nine, chances are you will love this smart comedy of international affairs.
The series is 2 seasons long and follows a young trainee officer Andre Merlaux who joins the fictional French Secret Service to deal with the Cold War events even as the societal fabric in France is also going through changes. All this and more with deliciously inserted comedy makes it for fun watching.
Do watch the above and let us know your thoughts. Also let us know which other non-English series you liked.