Top 5 foreign language series on Netflix

By Charlotte Whyatt - Wed 5th Sep 2018 Features

Our pick of the top five foreign-language series currently streaming on Netflix.

Money Heist Cast

Money Heist

A ridiculously addictive mix of clever, nail-bitingly intense robbery scenes and enjoyably dramatic twists have worked to make Money Heist a major success outside of its native Spain and officially Netflix’s most-watched non-English language series.

Set during the 2008 financial crisis, criminal mastermind The Professor (Alvaro Morte) recruits 8 skilled thieves for a new one-of-a-kind-job, break into the Royal Mint of Spain, ensure they’re secured inside for 11 days by taking 67 hostages and print themselves off €2.4 billion.

A well-crafted script is able to strike the perfect balance between keeping up a fantastically fast pace and devoting enough time to properly developing each exciting character so they remain endlessly compelling to watch. 

3% 

A divided dystopian world where a group of attractive 20-year-olds compete for the chance to enter paradise might sound like a lazy 2014 Hunger Games rip-off, but 3% is a taut, hugely gripping thriller that’s packed with plenty of exciting twists and is cleverly able to use its themes to offer a fresh look at a tired sounding premise.

The simple idea that the contestants chose to be involved in such a dangerous game allows for a unique, in-depth exploration of their morality and a brilliant amount of tension arises from seeing them agonize over exactly how far is too far in the quest for a better life. 

All of this wouldn’t work without an electric script that thankfully doesn’t just regurgitate dystopian YA stereotypes but instead allows the talented young Brazilian cast to craft a selection of  nicely complex, well-rounded characters. 

Dark

Netflix’s first German-language offering combines the small, strange town with all kinds of twisted secrets trope perfected by Twin Peaks with the the bleakly beautiful cinematography of Scandi-noir like The Killing and the more fantastical elements of The OA to create an absorbing, unsettlingly creepy and quite emotional TV series. 

The less you know about the overall plot going in the better, but it’s not a spoiler to say that Dark’s sprawling sequence of events is triggered by the mysterious disappearances of two teenage boys in the rain-soaked town of Winden. 

While it can occasionally be difficult to keep track of who’s who and the pace can be quite slow, the latter is used to excellent effect in crafting a foreboding sense of dread as the surprisingly complex mystery slowly unfolds.

Sacred Games

An immensely stylish, violent and gleefully energetic tale of ruthless gangsters and government corruption spanning two timelines, one in the present day and the other across the entirety of the 1980s.

The former follows dedicated policeman Sartaj Singh (Saif Ali Khan) efforts to untangle feared crime lord Ganesh Gaitonde’s (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) cryptic warning that his beloved Mumbai will be destroyed in 25 days and the latter Gaitonde’s own rise through the city’s criminal underworld.

Dynamic camerawork and brilliantly vibrant cinematography brings to life a darkly glamorous side of Mumbai that’s rarely seen in the West while the performances are absolutely first-rate across the board, avoiding any painful gangster clichés.

Fauda

This darkly gritty thriller proved a controversial smash-hit back in its home country of Israel with sympathetic portrayals of those on both sides of their conflict with Palestine, but it works to build masterful levels of tension when the undeniable similarities between both sides are clearly displayed.

Retired, PTSD ridden soldier Doron (Lior Raz) is reluctantly pulled back into action by his former superiors in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) when Abu Ahmed (Hisham Sulliman), the feared Hamas terrorist he thought he’d killed 18 months earlier, suddenly turns up alive. 

The action is extremely well done but at times feels uncomfortably chaotic and realistic as it shuns showy set-pieces for intensely claustrophobic chase scenes across densely populated citiscapes where you’re never sure who’s being shot at or who the enemy is. 

How much is Netflix?

There’s three tiered Netflix packages available, Basic, Standard and Premium, all of which come with their own advantages and disadvantages.

The Basic package is just £5.99 a month but only allows you to watch on one screen (whether that be a laptop, TV, phone or tablet) at a time and doesn’t give you access to HD or 4K Ultra HD. With the Standard package at £7.49 a month, you’re able to watch on two screens at a time in (providing your bandwidth is adequate) HD or 4K Ultra HD.

For £8.99 a month, the top Premium package, you’re able to enjoy content on up to 4 screens at the same time (a perfect option for families) in both HD or 4K Ultra HD.

How can I watch Netflix?

You can either access Netflix on a browser on a standard desktop or laptop computer or through the reliable Netflix app which is available across a whole range of devices including smartphones, tablets and smart TVs.

Netflix have recently introduced the offline viewing feature which allows you to download a TV show or film to watch when you’re offline. Unfortunately, not everything is available to watch in this way but it’s easy to check what is by selecting the “Available for Download” option from the dropdown menu.

What else is on Netflix?

Netflix is home to an absolutely staggering range of content across every genre from riotously funny comedy to to your children’s favourite cartoons and a fantastic mix of both American and British TV shows.

It’s own selection of original programming is constantly growing, buoyed by the success of shows like House Of CardsStranger Things and Orange is the New Black

How often is new content added?

There’s no real time schedule for when new content is added to Netflix, but it doesn't usually go longer than three days without adding anything new.