10 non-English binge-worthy shows on Netflix

With a production budget of close to $8 billion as of 2018, the Netflix juggernaut aims to provide enough content to its subscribers, in English and other languages, so that they never fall short of content to watch on its platform. This also helps them create a monopoly and helps them dissuade consumers from visiting other platforms to satiate their content needs.

Netflix has already rolled out a hike in its pricing as of January 2019, with an aim to invest more in its original content offerings. Their basic plan has been hiked from $8 to $9, the $10 two screen HD plan had been raised to $12. And their premium four screen plan has been raised from $14 to $16 per month. That means people will shell out an average $21 more per year for Netflix content.

The streaming giant regularly releases a poll to keep itself updated with the binging habits of its audience. Netflix’s aim with the poll is to understand what shows/genres to invest in to be more relevant to its customers.

With Netflix rolling out services to new regions like the Middle East, it is also offering more original content tailor-made as per the requirements of the region. As per Forbes: One new project is Jinn, a contemporary supernatural thriller about a group of teenagers whose lives are disrupted when a Jinn, in the form of a teenage boy, appears to them in the ancient city of Petra.

The six-episode series is expected to launch to all Netflix members globally in 2019. It is Netflix’s first Arabic original series from the Middle East and second project in the region.

Here is a list of some of the best foreign language shows available on Netflix you need to binge, like now!

    1. Nobel (Norway) – One of the most engaging and enrapturing genres in television today is war-related suspense or action-oriented cinema. But this show is not that. The story of Nobel follows the lives of Norwegian people who were enmeshed in the Afghanistan turmoil. But it is not a show about war. It is a show about the politics of war. It is a show about the political ramifications of war and the impact of the war on terror on nations around the world. In this case, the political implications are told through the lives Erling Riiser (Aksel Hennie), who served in Afghanistan, and his wife, Johanne (Tuva Novotny), a government worker who must navigate the business interests related to Norway’s involvement in the region.
    2. One More Time (South Korea) – If you loved Russian Doll, you are bound to love this. I know it may seem like too many Groundhog Day-esque shows are cropping up these days. But if you are also a sucker for romance, this may just be the tailor made show for you, to show you that love always finds a way. Anyway, the only difference is that this show is based in Seoul. The show follows Tan, an indie singer who signs with a major agency, abandons his band, and dumps his girlfriend. Then, caught in a Bill Murray-esque glitch that has him living the same day over and over again, he learns his idolatry was misplaced and tries to unstick time. If this sounds like a fairytale, that’s because it is. It’s also a love story. And a comedy. Some might find its diversity of styles to be a confusing flaw, but a few episodes in, you’ll find that this show is undeniably soapy (and dare I say magical?) fun — maybe because its message is a little on the nose, but still great: “If every day is the same, live differently.”
    3. The Rain (Denmark)If The Walking Dead has taught us anything, it is this: You have no idea what will happen when the apocalypse comes. Zombies, maybe. This Denmark show argues that the eco-pocalypse will come via the rain, spreading its zombie infection within seconds of being hit by droplets. Though the premise of the show may not sound very convincing, the execution of the script and the acting are show stealers. Unlike other post-apocalyptic fictions, the survivors we’re following are teenagers navigating the push-and-pull of their emotional stress, fast and forced maturation, cliquiness even in the end days, and teen horniness to stay alive.
    4. Samurai Gourmet (Japan) – This show is everything we want from a cooking show but never get because of the showrunner’s desire to make good television instead of good food. The show is set in a fictional Japan where a retired businessman savours the many delicacies around him by while exploring the local cuisine. The half-an-hour episodes are aptly paced so that the viewer can enjoy the culinary experience just as the people present in the show. It is a breath of fresh air for half-an-hour that one can stream on Netflix.
    5. Strong Girl Bong-Soon (Korea) – On the surface, this show may seem like an unlikely mish-mash of a lot of shows from Netflix. But this Korean genre-bending drama is completely worth the effort. The show can be categorised as something between a supernatural drama and a rom-com, and altogether breaking the expectations of superhero shows, Strong Girl Bong-Soon sports a charming quirkiness and a darker-than-expected plotline following the lead, Bong-Soon Do, search for love and follow her dreams to be a game designer while being impossibly strong.
    6. A Very Secret Service (France) – Fair warning – this show has all the ingredients of Archer but is not the show. For starters, it is not animated. But it does deal with the spy genre. And it has all the core elements for the makings of a spy drama. Except it is one of the most sophisticated spy comedies out there. And it has been made in a manner that would make Stanley Kubrick very happy. (Dr. Strangelove, anyone?) But the show has a very 60s, John Le Carre’ novel vibe to it. Albeit with a healthy does of satire. Like Modern Family. We follow the antics of Andre’, the lead and a novice, who is thrust into this world of espionage as he tries to navigate the world as Algeria attempts to gain independence. Imagine Mad Men with a healthy dose of dry wit and a Cold War Era setting. You should binge on the show the first chance you get.
    7. Cable Girls (Spain)The show follows the antics of a group of women who used to work in Madrid’s only telephone company before the global financial crash of 1929. The show follows the trials and tribulations faced by these women daily while they are trying to navigate various aspects of their life. But more than that, it is a show about hope. It follows the journey of these women as the overcome all the hardships that life throws at them. The series stars Blanca Suárez, Maggie Civantos, Ángela Cremonte, and Nadia de Santiago. The sisterhood formed between the four main women—Lidia/Alba (Blanca Suárez), Marga (Nadia de Santiago), Ángeles (Maggie Civantos), and Carlota (Ana Fernández) — is the heart of the series. They are willing to go to great lengths for each other, and they do. And oh, the romance. Every possible type of romance is portrayed, from hidden and rapidly fading to pure and forbidden, “Las Chicas del Cable” has it all.
    8. Suburra: Blood on Rome (Italy)This snappy, Narcos-esque thriller gives a realistic view into the seedy underbelly of Rome’s pervasive corruption, beginning with the story of three brash, young hoods, who set out to disrupt the local Mafia. From there, the series expands to encompass the nasty web of bribery, intimidation and collusion that keeps the status quo intact, from hypocritical priests to complicit government agencies. There’s ample sex and violence (the first orgy arrives before the five-minute mark), almost as if to offset all the social commentary, as an all-out war is waged for control of the port.Inspired by real events, this Italian-American crime drama is a prequel to the 2015 movie “Suburra.” The series focuses on a land dispute near Rome between the Vatican, mobsters, politicians, and land developers. The show stars Alessandro Borghi.
    9. La Mante (French) – If you love Anthony Hopkins and The Silence of The Lambs, you will become obsessed with this show. This show takes the audience to Paris and features a ‘Silence of the Lambs’ – style story with a serial killer teaming up with the Paris police to catch a murderer obsessed with copying her style. Spooky much? It is a police procedural that is often a let down because of its tedious storyline and predictable twists and turns. But those are few and far in between. There is a stylish misery that plagues the viewer once you deep dive into the show. And you will binge on it once you cross the 15 minute mark of the first episode. So, beware!
    10. Babylon Berlin (German) – A lot of the best series on this list involve a glimpse into a near forgotten era – the 1920s. Even crime thriller Babylon Berlin transports its audience to 1929 Berlin, the epicentre of political and social change and at the height of the Germany’s Golden Twenties, as Volker Burch stars as Gereon Rath, a German police commissioner who works to uncover a conspiracy lurking in the city’s darkest corners after he is transferred from Cologne to Berlin. The show also stars Liv Lisa Fries as Charlotte Ritter, an aspiring police inspector with a checkered past. It currently holds the rare 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and is one of the most binged shows on Netflix.

The streaming giant is growing exponentially in all non-American nations as well. Though it does not have an out-and-out monopoly in those regions, it is inching towards global content domination. Last quarter, Netflix added more than 8.3 million new subscribers (2 million in the U.S. and over 6.3 million internationally). The runaway success of these shows just goes to show that good storytelling is not bound by geography.

Netflix has more than 117 million members spanning 190-plus countries. Members stream more than 140 million hours of TV shows and movies per day, including original series, documentaries and feature films, adding up to more than one billion hours per week.