Netflix is lauded for its out-of-the-box, original series and films. More recently, it has built up an impressive cache of international shows, ranging from modern romantic comedies set in France to period dramas in Madrid.
For those interested in improving their foreign language skills or just looking for a fresh, new series, here are seven multi-lingual Netflix original series you should check out.
1. “The Hookup Plan” — “Plan Coeur” (French)
Released just last month on Dec. 7, Netflix’s second original French series follows Parisian Elsa after her friends decide to hire a male prostitute to restore her self-confidence and help her get over her ex-boyfriend.
Only eight episodes long, the series plays like a light-hearted and — at times — quirky, romantic comedy with surprising moments of heart.
2. “Cable Girls” — “Las Chicas del cable” (Spanish)
A week after its third season aired this past September, Netflix announced the renewal of its popular Spanish period drama, “Cable Girls.”
The show centers on four young women in Madrid who begin a new chapter of life as they start working for a modern telecommunication company in 1928. The series has been praised for its strong portrayal of the many struggles women faced in a highly patriarchal society, while also relating to audiences today with themes like workplace discrimination, relationship abuse and LGBTQ rights.
3. “Perfume” — “Parfum” (German)
This dark, German mystery thriller was released in November of 2018 and has already been nominated for two German Television Awards for both its outstanding editing and cinematography. Dark and gripping, the series is about an obsessive killer who uses human scents to make an ever-elusive fragrance.
Only six episodes long and based on Patrick Süskind’s 1985 novel of the same name, a few, yet striking, differences make this adaption distinct from the 2006 film “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” starring the late Alan Rickman and Ben Whishaw.
4. “Baby” (Italian)
While Netflix’s recent Italian drama, “Baby,” received initial backlash from The National Center on Sexual Exploitation for promoting sex trafficking, director Andrea De Sica said the series is a way to “spotlight one of the important neighborhoods of Rome, which from the outside world gives the image of a perfect world, but [is] something dark, with something happening beyond the facade.”
Inspired by a true story, this edgy series centers around two elite, Roman high school students who partake in a prostitution ring in exchange for money. According to De Sica, the show “moves from this very rich world that is frustrated about getting real relationships, love, and then getting onto this path of transgression, where two of these six main characters give into prostitution.”
5. “The Protector” (Turkish)
A suspenseful and thrilling Turkish action series — Netflix’s first — “The Protector” is about young Hakan, an antique shop worker who is tasked with protecting modern-day Istanbul with recently acquired mystical powers.
6. “The Rise of Phoenixes” (Chinese)
Released this past September, this historical drama takes place in a fictionalized imperial China with an extensive cast of royal rulers from warring kingdoms vying to become The Great Phoenix. The show mainly focuses on young and ambitious prince Ning Yi and his relationship with Feng Zhiwei, an intelligent young woman disguising herself as a man to survive after being falsely accused of a crime.
Spanning an impressive 70 episodes in its first season, it’s also loosely based on the novel “Huang Quan” by Tianxia Guiyuan.
7. “The End of the F***ing World” (British)
For those of you looking to improve your British accent, this one is for you. Buried underneath its dark humor and clever writing, Netflix’s unique coming-of-age series, “The End of the F***ing World” focuses on 17-year-old James, a self-believed psychopath, and his obsession with killing a human. After choosing rebellious classmate Alyssa as his first victim, who herself wants to escape a tumultuous home life, this eight-episode season follows the two as they face challenges and mishaps in their quest to accomplish their respective goals.
Adapted from American cartoonist Charles Forsman’s mini-comics of the same name, the first season was released a year ago and was met with critical acclaim — and even an Emmy nomination.