The Best Foreign Box Sets to Binge Watch Now

Culture /

Travel the world in 11 TV dramas

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Winter is the perfect time to relax and binge watch a new box set. Unsure of what to choose? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with our team’s favourite foreign box sets – so get cosy, grab a glass of wine, some popcorn and settle in for an evening of entertainment.

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The Best Foreign Box Sets to Binge Watch Now


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Chosen by Lucy Cleland, editorial director

After a slightly dodgy start and a bit of dodgy dubbing (it’s Swedish but dubbed in English), this engrossing eight-parter, which flips between Syria and Sweden, focusses on three women embroiled in an impending Isis attack on Swedish soil. It’s a taught, gripping thriller, where I notably screwed up my face in moments of, ‘Noooooo!’. On Netflix


Call My Agent

Chosen by Charlotte Metcalf, associate editor

As foreign box sets go, Call My Agent is without question the happiest, funniest and most heart-warming binge-watch ever. Paris looks crazily beautiful, the plot twists and turns and the characters are glorious in their foibles and catastrophic love affairs. It’s sheer joy. On Netflix



Chosen by Ed Vaizey, culture editor

Anything Danish is a good bet (The Bridge, Borgen, The Killing etc.), but for me the most outstanding foreign language has been Fauda, set at the heart of the Israeli-Palestine conflict. It’s absolutely gripping and I binged all three series. On Netflix



Chosen by Jeremy Isaac, managing director

The Naples slum of Scampia provides the backdrop to this powerful 4 season tale of the internecine struggle between warring mafia gangs to control the city’s drugs trade. Ciro and Gennaro trade power over friendship and Patrizia appears as one of the strongest female leads ever. Season 5 is filming now. On Amazon Prime


The Bridge

Chosen by Carole Annett, interiors editor

Laid-back Danish family man, Martin, and Swedish single woman, Saga, blunt, brilliant and socially awkward, investigate a body in two halves lying on the Øresund Bridge that connects Denmark and Sweden. Two very different detectives from two countries, forced to work together on the investigation. A grizzly murder mystery always makes me feel happier with my lot – perfect lockdown antidote. On Amazon


Magnificent Century

Chosen by Harriet Compston, contributing editor

An Ottoman-era Sex and the City, this Turkish historical series kept me occupied on long overnight journeys in India. Based on the life of Suleyman the Magnificent, the longest-reigning Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, and his wife Hurrem, it’s a fabulous, fascinating and gripping depiction of life in the royal palace. On Netflix


The Returned

Chosen by Amy Wakeham, managing editor

If you like your zombies more stylish than ghoulish, then let me introduce you to brilliant French series The Returned (or Les Revenants). An atmospheric show about people who return from the dead – and the ones alive who have to deal with it – it gets gradually more spooky and strange as the two seasons progress. You can watch the American adaptation on Netflix, but as usual the original, with subtitles, is much better. On YouTube



Chosen by Rebecca Cox, online editor

This Italian teen drama is loosely based on the ‘baby squillo’ scandal that unfolded in Rome in 2013-14, where two teenage girls were found to be at the centre of a far-reaching prostitution ring. Baby sees two high-schoolers in the elite Paroli district of Rome being drawn into sex work from their state of ennui, driven by the appeal of sexual and financial independence and the journey this leads them on, into the underworld of Rome’s elite. It’s well-acted, well-shot and just trashy enough to feel like a guilty pleasure; six episodes zip by in the blink of an evening. On Netflix

Inspector Montalbano

Inspector Montalbano

Chosen by Bea Cerullo, office administrator

The Sicilian detective Inspector Salvo Montalbano investigates murder, intrigue, the Mafia, greed and corruption. Yet this series is based in the beautifully picturesque fictional town of Vigata, where the architecture alone makes you want to visit and experience the beauty, the gastronomy and the history of this sun kissed island. Based on the enormously loved novels by Andrea Camilleri, you will be hooked. On iPlayer



Chosen by Charlotte Cole, contributor

An antithesis to the Paris currently presented by Emily in Paris, you won’t get a glimpse here of the Champs Elysees or the Eiffel Tower. No, this French police series with its flawed characters – the complicated commander Laure Berthaud at its core – and slightly grey, depressing colour palette set in the grimier environs of the French capital, is decidedly unglamorous but utterly compelling. On Amazon Prime


My Brilliant Friend

Chosen by Kate O’ Gorman, online intern

I loved Elena Ferrante’s quartet so much that I was very hesitant to watch HBO’s adaptation. However, it just proves that you shouldn’t judge a TV show (necessarily) by the book/s that came before it. This is a heart-wrenching, insightful, visually compelling telling of the incredibly complicated story of female friendship at the heart of the books – and it works to enhance Ferrante’s language, not detract from it. A treat. On Now TV

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