10 Great International TV Shows Americans Should Not Be Missing Out On


There are some other English-speaking countries making some pretty amazing TV you’d be dumb to pass up.

1. If you like Orange is the New Black then watch Wentworth:

Wentworth follows the story of Bea Smith, a woman under investigation for the attempted murder of her husband, and the other women and staff of Wentworth Prison as they navigate their way through life behind bars. Wentworth debuted with a couple months of Orange is the New Black, which is truly remarkable after viewing both shows. Wentworth plays like the overly dramatic younger sister to Orange, both exploring themes of race, motherhood, morality, and the consequences of our actions. How we treat our most reviled and downtrodden says a lot about our culture, and getting to see these issues through both an American and Australian lens is a fascinating way to learn about our differences. I guarantee that if you’ve enjoyed Orange then Wentworth will have you asking the age-old question “Can I stay up for another episode?” (Wentworth, Australia)

2. If you like Buffy, the Vampire Slayer then watch Misfits:

Got a thing for super powered teens? Me too. Misfits is set in a world where a mysterious storm has empowered random people with amazing supernatural abilities, with which they can do as they please. The show focuses on a set of teens that have been court-ordered into community service for various offenses. Equal parts funny, scary, suspenseful, and sad, the series spans several years and dozens of unique stories. (Misfits, UK)

3. If you like Awkward then watch The Inbetweeners:

The Inbetweeners is the funniest look at being a young man that has been cooked up yet. Like a teenage version of The Office, its brilliance is in its ability to reveal the gruesome reality of our behavior with its absurd hyper-reality. We follow three completely inept teenage friends as they attempt to get girls, look cool, and get everything teenagers want out of life. I solemnly swear that there isn’t a single episode that won’t give you a 30-Rock-level belly laugh. The series has been spun off into two feature films and I expect it’s not done yet. (The Inbetweeners, UK)

4. If you like American Horror Story then watch Black Mirror:

Black Mirror is the wunderkind grandson of The Twilight Zone. Like The Twilight Zone, Black Mirror is an anthology series, with each episode telling a self-contained story. Each story plays like a 45-minute film, centered on the most horrific and bizarre aspects of our increasingly technological and globalized culture. Every episode is a masterpiece, though there are ones you won’t truly understand until all the secrets have had a chance to be revealed. The best thing you’ll do for your television-addicted-self is giving this show a chance to blow you away. Long live Black Mirror. (Black Mirror, UK)

5. If you like House then watch Sherlock:

Sherlock fans are legion and swarm social networks to paint their love of the show everywhere. Honestly? They’re enthusiastic but not wrong. Sherlock is a modern retelling of Sherlock Holmes with exciting, all new, and detailed mysteries to sink our teeth into. The series was a breakout role for Benedict Cumberbatch right before his explosion onto the global scene. Each episode will keep you guessing and have you training your own abilities of observation. By the end you’ll find yourself asking, “How the hell did they do that?” (Sherlock, UK)

6. If you like Star Trek then watch Doctor Who:

Doctor Who takes a little background to break into. In 1966 the BBC launched the original Doctor Who, a sci-fi story about a shape shifting alien and his revolving door of companions who regularly save the universe from a variety of villains with dastardly plots. The show ended eventually and was followed by TV film in 1996. In 2005 the show was relaunched/rebooted for modern audiences and has been cracking along ever since. The main draw of the show is the wildly different sci-fi stories our heroes are tossed into week-to-week. Every few seasons The Doctor “regenerates” with a new personality and actor to portray him. His companions are an ever-shifting set of young women (and occasional men) who accompany him on his adventures. It’s a difficult show to grasp at first but its world is so rich and rewarding you’ll be glad you tuned in. (Doctor Who, UK)

7. If you like Marry Me then watch Gavin and Stacey:

Boy meets girl, sort of. Boy e-meets girl. Gavin and Stacey is the story of the titular characters whirlwind romance, despite their contrasting backgrounds. While the main romance between our leads is touching and sweet, the real journeys to watch are the family and friends around the couple and what they learn from each other. The series is hilarious and touching, though you’ll need to give it a few episodes to find its legs. (Gavin and Stacey, UK)

8. If you like Girls then watch Please Like Me:

The series opens with our hero Josh discovering that he is gay, a fact that hasn’t been overlooked by everyone around him… including his girlfriend. Please Like Me isn’t as dark as Girls but it isn’t as light-hearted as Broad City, which is a very comfortable space to exist in. Stylistically, Please Like Me is like a brighter and cleaner version of Girls, and if you find Lena Dunham’s sensibilities funny or insightful then series creator Josh Thomas’ work should delight you. The series doesn’t obsess over or ignore gay issues, which is a rare find in any form of media; Josh’s relationship with his newly proclaimed sexuality is a breath of fresh air. (Please Like Me, Australia)

9. If you like Elementary then watch Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries:

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is a case-of-the-week detective mystery in the vein of Murder, She Wrote. Set in 1920’s Melbourne, the series is glamorous look at the world of our titular character (who puts the “roar” in “roaring 20’s). The stylish and clever Miss Fisher crosses boundaries and risks her life regularly to bring criminals to justice. Several series-long arcs develop but most of the stories are episode-contained mysteries. (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Australia)

10. If you like Veronica Mars then watch Orphan Black:

For a high concept sci-fi show Orphan Black is surprisingly sleek and easy to fall into. Sarah Manning is a woman on the run from her life, again, when she encounters something remarkable: a girl who looks exactly like her. She watches the girl commit suicide and, in a moment of opportunism, decides to pick her life up exactly where she left it. Seems like a great idea until she discovers that the girl she’s replaced is a detective in the middle of a manslaughter investigation and part of a conspiracy straight out of a sci-fi novel. Never, ever let anyone spoil this masterpiece for you. (Orphan Black, Canada)

These selections are just a few of the amazing shows being produced overseas. I didn’t even begin to discuss the brilliant shows available from non-English speaking countries. Do you have any other suggestions for me to add to my queue?

image – Sherlock