12 International Series to Binge Watch This Holiday Season

5:00 AM 12/23/2016

by THR Staff

Spend your days off snuggling up with an Italian mafia drama, a new British comedy or Brazil's porn-drenched take on 'Mad Men.'

'The Crown'
'The Crown'
Robert Viglasky/Netflix
  • Black Mirror (Netflix)

    David Dettmann/Netflix

    Already a cult favorite, Charlie Brooker's near-future anthology, more speculative satire than science fiction, uses each episode to examine a different “side effect ... of the drug of technology” as the creator explains. From the erosion of privacy and social media to the destruction of politics by entertainment, Black Mirror's nasty stories, sadly, seem more prophetic than ever.

  • Glitch (Netflix)

    Courtesy of Netflix

    An Aussie take on the “dead coming back to life” story, but with less horror and more mystery as a small-town cop and partner pathologist struggle to figure out why the town's buried are clawing their way back out, wanting to restart their lives. The Australian outback provides an ideal gothic backdrop for this down under take on the zombie invasion.

  • Magnifica 70 (HBO Now)

    HBO

    It's billed as Boogie Nights meets Mad Men, but this Brazilian drama, set in 1970s Sao Paulo is stranger even than that. The lead character is a grim bureaucrat working for the government censorship department under Brazil's then-military dictatorship. Bored with his reality, he falls in love with the star of The Hot Student, one of the porn films he's charged with censoring.
     

  • Raised by Wolves (Acorn)

    Acorn TV

    Fans of iconic British sitcom Shameless (or its also excellent U.S. version on Showtime) will find much to admire in this new Brit comedy, set in a housing project in the West Midlands. Journalist Caitlin Moran and her sister Caz drew inspiration from their own childhoods for this smart, funny and unblinking look at modern-day broken Britain.
     

  • 3% (Netflix)

    Pedro Saad/Netflix

    Netflix's first Brazilian original drama is set in a dystopian future divided between the luxury of the haves and the deprivation of the rest. Every year, each 20-year-old has a chance to “cross over” by completing a series of tests called The Progress, but only 3 percent succeed. Dark, complex and provocative, 3% is also stunningly shot from the lens of City of God cinematographer Cesar Charlone.
     

  • My Hero Academia (Funimation)

    Funimation

    Japanese anime is not for everyone, but this self-reflective series is a cut above the cartoon pack. Set in a world where 80 percent of the population have developed special powers, our audience stand-in is one of the regular 20 percent: a fan boy obsessed with the new heroes.

  • Gomorrah (Sundance TV)

    Courtesy of Sky Italia

    More The Wire than The Sopranos, this mafia drama, set in Naples and built around the brutal Camorra family, is arguably the best drama to come out of Europe in a decade. Tracking crime from street-level brutality to executive office corruption, the show provides an operatic sweep of a hidden world.

  • The Crown (Netflix)

    Robert Viglasky/Netflix

    Netflix's big-budget ($100 million-plus) bet on the global appeal of British royalty paid off handsomely: the glossy period soap opera from Oscar-nominated screenwriter Peter Morgan (The Queen) has wowed the critics and fans alike with its warts-and-all take on the reign of the young Queen Elizabeth II.

  • The Bureau (Sundance TV)

    Sundance TV

    A Gallic antidote to Homeland, this slow-burning spy thriller has the world-weary style and attitude of the best French cinema. It features Amelie star Mathieu Kassovitz as an agent in France's CIA equivalent brought in after six years undercover in Damascus who has to adjust to normal life while continuing to run operations from afar.
     

  • Fleabag (Amazon, Netflix)

    Luke Varley

    Fleabag, the title character in this angry-young-woman sitcom, is sharp, funny and foul-mouthed, a self-centered, self-destructive Londoner whose waves of misanthropy are punctured, occasionally, by bouts of heartfelt confession and deep sadness. Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who based the show on her own play, delivers a combination unlike anything else on TV. And at just under three hours for the first six-episode season, Fleabag is an ideal afternoon binge.

  • Oh My Geum-Bi (DramaFever)

    Screengrab

    A delightful series for fans of Korean melodramas, the set-up has an aimless con man (Oh Ji-ho) set straight when he meets the daughter (Heo Jung-eun) he never knew he had. You know where this story's going, but it's a lot of (heartwarming) fun getting there.

  • Chewing Gum (Netflix)

    Courtesy of Netflix

    Michaela Coel is a horny Pentecostal raring to break her religious vows and end her restrictive virginity in this fast and filthy British sitcom. Holding her back are her stoutly devout sister (Susan Wokoma) and her determinedly platonic boyfriend (John Macmillan).

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