I didn’t join the Netflix bandwagon until last June when I moved to Iowa for a month to finish my MBA and well, essentially didn’t know what else to do at first. After a few months of post-Iowa adventures abroad, I came back home to the US and found myself hooked on gobbling up all of the international series Netflix has to offer. While I’m very aware that everything depicted in these was not 100% accurate, it became my personal way to continuing to travel the world from the comfort of my very own basement. Here are nine American Netflix windows into various parts of the world. For those friends outside of the US, here’s to hoping you can still catch a few of these!
- Border Town (Finland) – Featuring a host of well-known Finnish actors, this show kicks off with a brilliant detective moving his family from the busy city of Helsinki back to his wife’s hopefully quieter hometown on the border with Russia. Of course, things don’t exactly go as planned.
- White Nights (South Korea) – Heard about Korean dramas being popular in other countries but never watched one yourself? This could be a good one to try out. Solid way to gain insight on Korean business culture. Otherwise, there’s always the mega-hit ‘Boys Over Flowers’ series.
- Narcos (Colombia) – The first three seasons cover Pablo Escobar’s drug cartel story and the next appears to pivot towards the Cali cartel. Decent primer on the Colombian drug war – and the US’s role – to stimulate your own further research.
- Gomorrah (Italy) – Set in mafia-riddled Naples, fictional Gomorrah takes viewers into the world of rival gangs and the lengths they’ll go to in order to preserve control. Very popular on Italian TV and picked up by Netflix more recently.
- The Code (Australia) – Coming at you from the capital of Canberra, two brothers become ensnared in a cover-up that involves a remote outback community and prominent members of the Australian government.
- Ingobernable (Mexico) – The Mexican First Lady becomes a BAMF overnight when she is wrongfully framed for her husband’s assassination. Follow her as she wins allies and works to uncover the truth.
- Capture Wild School (Zimbabwe) – OK, we know the African continent isn’t all lions, elephants, and giraffes but this is a family friendly one that shows the importance of animal conservation. Kids learn from wildlife experts on darting, tracking, and capturing animals to maximize their species’ survival.
- Terrace House (Japan) – Think ‘Japanese Real World’. Six strangers get to live in a sweet house in Tokyo as relationships unfold. Contrary to its MTV predecessor, this show is interrupted by commentary by relatively well-known Japanese TV commentators. Behind the typical reality TV cheesiness, there are lots of examples of Japanese cultural intricacies!
- The Kindness Diaries (Worldwide) – One British man tries his luck at traveling around the world on with only his backpack and yellow motorcycle, Kindness 1. With no money, it’s up to the kindness of strangers to provide his fuel, accommodation, and sustenance. Proof that our humanity connects us all in more ways than we might initially see.
Got relevant Netflix favorites of your own? I’d love to hear your suggestions.