15 International Series to Binge Watch this Summer

3:16 PM 7/8/2016

by Scott Roxborough

From British Dark Age drama, to a dark German comedy about crime scene cleaners, to an Aussie Agatha Christie, here are the shows you should be wasting your time on this lazy, hazy summer.

  • The Bletchley Circle

    Watch it on: Netflix, Amazon, Google Play, Microsoft Store

    ITV

    Think The Imitation Game meets Call the Midwife and you have a sense of the style, and appeal, of this period piece, focused on four female WWII code breakers who reunite in the 1950s to try and catch a serial killer.

  • Occupied

    Watch it on: Netflix, iTunes, Google Play

    The most expensive TV series in Norway's history is a near-future thriller in which the oil-rich Scandinavian country is overthrown by Russia and a group of loyalists fight to take their nation back. Created by Nordic Noir writer Jo Nesbo (The Snowman).

  • The Last Kingdom

    Watch it on: iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, PlayStation, Microsoft Store

    The Last Kingdom has enough blood and politics to tide over the most devoted Game of Thrones fan between seasons, but the BBC's Dark Ages drama gets its history (mostly) right in this tale of 9th century struggle between Vikings and Saxons for the British Isles.

  • Gringoland

    Watch it on: YouTube

    A bilingual web series featuring Chilean YouTube star Koke Santa Ana as Peter, an immigrant trying with his gringo girlfriend, Stacey (Nicole Schneider) to make it in New York city. Low budget with a lot of straight-to-camera testimonials but surprisingly funny with a real chemistry between the two leads.

  • Kill Me, Heal Me

    Watch it on: Tubi TV

    A must for fans of Korean drama, Kill Me Heal Me has a typically wacko plot —a love story involving a rich heir who suffers from multiple personality disorder and a writer investigating the lives of the rich and famous — but that's just the lure to pull you in. What follows is a phenomenal drama that manages to balance trauma with slapstick. Worth catching just for the performance of lead Ji Sung as the poor little rich kid with the seven personalities.

  • The Time in Between

    Watch it on: Netflix

    With the likes of Grand Hotel and Velvet, Spain has earned a reputation for high-end romantic period dramas, and The Time In Between fits nicely into this well-worn grove. Set during the Spanish civil war, it follows a young Spanish dressmaker whose quiet life is thrown into turmoil — personally by a new suitor and politically by the rise of Fascism and Spain's growing links to Nazi Germany.

  • Crime Scene Cleaner

    Watch it on: Amazon

    Surreal, dark and laugh-out-loud funny, this German cult comedy about the misadventures of a Tatortreiniger, or crime scene cleaner, survives translation into English. Unlike most German TV, the dialogue (and its mostly dialogue, every episode is like a 30-minute play) is rapid-fire and consistently brilliant as Everyman Heiko "Schotty" Schotte engages with a bizzare mix of Nazis, vegans, murderers and reality TV stars as he goes about his job.

  • Southcliffe

    Watch it on: Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, Google Play

    The small screen debut of Martha Marcy May Marlene director Sean Durkin, examining the causes, and the aftermath, of a small town shooting spree, is noir-ish, nuanced and novelistic and a treat for fans of deep-dive drama a la The Wire and The Killing.

  • A Place to Call Home

    Where to watch: Acorn TV, Amazon, Google Play

    The Brits aren't the only ones who can do period romance and upstairs/downstairs class conflict. This Australian delight, set in the 1950s, follows the fate of an upper class Australian family and the mysterious nurse Sarah Adams (Marta Dusseldorp), who returns home after 20 years abroad. Superbly written, and acted, this is Downton Abbey down under but less soapy, and substantially darker.

  • Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries

    Watch it on: Netflix, Google Play

    The clever, and sharply stylish P.I. Phryne Fischer (Essie Davis) solves murders, and dresses to kill, in 1920s Melbourne. Check it out for its gorgeous set and costume design, which brings the swinging '20s to life in style.

  • El Hipnotizador

    Watch it on: HBO Now

    Two master hypnotists — one Argentinian, one Brazilian —battle it out in this psychological drama from HBO Latin America. Arenas (Wild Tales actor Leonardo Sbaraglia) uses hypnotism to get people to reveal their innermost secrets, but his own remain hidden. A rival mesmeriser Darek (Chico Diaz) has given him permanent insomnia and Arenas sets off to find and confront him.

  • NSU: German History X

    Watch it on: Netflix

    The terrifying real-life tale of the neo-Nazi terror group National Socialist Underground (NSU), responsible for ten murders and more than a dozen bank robberies from 2000 to 2006. Gritty, chilling and, with the trial of NSU member Beate Zschape still underway, frighteningly current.

  • Poldark

    Where to watch: PBS Passport, Amazon, iTunes

    Aidan Turner is the titular Poldark in this BBC/PBS production: a Cornish Captain who returns home after the American Revolutionary War to find his father dead, his land and house ruined and his girlfriend engaged to another man. Turner is already an Internet legend thanks to his topless scything scenes —the subject of much breathless commentary from Poldark fans —and the series is florid, rollicking good fun, a guilty pleasure that never takes itself too seriously.

  • Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

    Watch it on: Acorn TV, Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Microsoft Store

    BBC America

    Adapted from Susanna Clarke’s sprawling 2004 bestseller, this BBC miniseries is set in the 19th century England, a country where science and the industrial revolution are replacing magic and wonder. But two magicians — the reclusive Mr. Norrell (Eddie Marsan) and the daring novice Jonathan Strange (Bertie Carvel) are determined to bring it back.

  • 19-2

    Watch it on: Acorn TV

    A slow burn cop series from Canada that plays like The Wire with fewer drugs and less violence but with superb writing and plenty of long arc character development. If anything the series, with its focus on the small as well as the major crimes, feels even more true to life. 19-2 follows Ben Chartier (Jared Keeso) and Nick Barron (Adrian Holmes) two reluctant partners in the Montreal police department. The title refers to the number of their squad car.

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