10 foreign Netflix Original shows to binge

Hanna Ardéhn leads the cast of Netflix Original Quicksand. (Netflix)

Hanna Ardéhn leads the cast of Netflix Original Quicksand. (Image courtesy of Netflix)

1. QUICKSAND – Swedish
The show opens in the aftermath of a school shooting and follows the investigation and trial of one of the suspected shooters, Maja. The show itself is told in a series of flashbacks and present-day moments as Maja is forced to reflect on the events of that day. This is an incredibly heavy show that shows just how easily someone can become trapped in a situation with seemingly no way of escaping. From the way the story is told through flashbacks to the unreliable main character, this series, as its title suggests, will grip you like quicksand. If you can handle the heaviness of the subject matter, Quicksand is an absolute must-watch, giving Sex Education a run for its money, which isn’t an easy feat.
TV Rating: MA for nudity, violence, language, smoking, sexual assault, and substance abuse
Length: One season, six episodes.

2. SEX EDUCATION – English
A spectacular coming-of-age series that is rife with drama. Otis, one of the main characters, is faced with finding his place in the world of his high school. He finds himself following in the footsteps of his mother, a sex therapist, despite being embarrassed by her profession. The series obviously includes various issues when it comes to sex, but also topics like finding one’s place in the world, learning to be who you are, and coming out. It’s clever and funny and yet still manages to cover some very serious subject matters without making them seem daunting.
TV Rating: MA for nudity, minor violence, language, smoking, alcohol usage, non-graphic sexual assault
Length: Two seasons with a third on the way, rumored to release next January. 16 episodes thus far.

It can be really hard to root for the drug dealer, but somehow How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast) does it. It gives us Moritz, the perfect underdog to root for, a young man recently dumped by his girlfriend on her return from a study abroad trip. Moritz is a fly-under-the-radar kind of guy who is consistently undermined and it makes us hope with him. Add a great sense of humor and a unique show editing style that incorporates social media handles and video games to the more mundane transition scenes and you have your next binge watch sesh on Netflix.
TV Rating: MA for sex, nudity, language, smoking, substance abuse, violence.
Length: Two seasons, 12 episodes.

4. END OF THE F***ING WORLD – English
In this Bonnie and Clyde-esque show, two teens on the cusp of adulthood find themselves in some very deep waters after running away from home. James and Alyssa, the two protagonists, seem to bring out the best in each other despite the terrible trouble they find themselves in and it makes them strangely likable despite their beginnings as an assumed psychopath and a confrontational “nymphomaniac” (James’ word). One to watch for sure.
TV Rating: MA for violence and language.
Length: Two seasons, 16 episodes.

A coming-of-age tv show about a girls’ roller hockey team that is fighting to keep their team together in the face of a club president who wants to disband them to focus on the boys’ team. While the sports show surprisingly doesn’t devote too much screen time to montages of hockey games, there is plenty of action. The first episode focuses on the injustice the girls face when compared to the boys’ team and, while that is an underlying issue that makes reappearances throughout the series, the personal issues of the girls and their families take center stage.
TV Rating: MA for nudity, language, smoking.
Length: One season, 13 episodes.

6. BABY– Italian
Centering around the lives of Chiara, Ludovica, and Damiano, three Italian high school students who find themselves seduced by the idea of freedom from their everyday lives. They soon find themselves trapped in the dark world that hides behind the facade of their Roman neighborhood. It contains drugs and prostitution and yet still somehow makes the drama of high school seem just as important.
TV Rating: MA for nudity, language, and smoking.
Length: Two seasons, 12 episodes.

7. CURON – Italian
If horror and thriller are your things, look no further. Set in a small Italian town, Curon follows the lives of fraternal twins Daria and Mauro as they try to understand the mysteries of the town and its legends after their mother goes missing shortly after they move. It has its spine-tingling moments, but the fact that the series gets its start from urban legends of the real-life town of Curon makes it all the more hair-raising.
TV Rating:
MA for language, alcohol usages, and smoking.
One season, seven episodes.

8. VAMPIRES – French
Someone at Netflix really wants vampire-mania to make a come back with the release of V Wars and the aptly-named Vampires, and it may be working. Vampires grips you with each episode. Much like the half-vampire/half-human protagonist, Doina, the show strikes a great balance between light and dark. It’s one of those few shows that, while being heavy in nature, still manages to incorporate brief moments of levity that keeps the show from fully succumbing to the dark subject matter.
TV Rating: MA for sex, nudity, language, sexual violence, smoking.
Length: One season, six episodes.

9. BLOOD & WATER – English
Set in South Africa, Blood & Water focuses on Puleng, a high school girl whose sister was kidnapped soon after birth 17 years ago. At a party, Puleng meets Fikile, a girl who seemingly has it all who Puleng suspects is her long lost sister. The show starts off a little slow but has a really interesting mystery that Puleng tries to solve with each episode.
TV Rating: MA for language and smoking.
Length: One season, six episodes.

10. ALWAYS A WITCH – Spanish
This show centers around a time-traveling witch, Carmen, who is searching for a way back to her own time to save the love of her life.  It has so much potential and, while it is strong in general, there are a few inconsistencies in the rules of the world, like if Carmen could appear in photos, what time period Aldemar is from, and what stealing a shadow does to a witch. Even if the writers have sorted this information out, it should be expressed to the audience especially when these rules are later tested. If you can look past those smaller problems, though, it’s a pretty strong show. It juggles serious issues like slavery and death without focusing on them. Lighthearted supernatural shows are hard to come by these days, so, if you like the world of witches but don’t necessarily love watching them deal with Lucifer and Hell à la Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Always a Witch is the show for you.
TV Rating: TV-14 for suicide, substances, language, and smoking.
Length: Two seasons, 18 episodes.

TIP: While many Netflix TV shows offer an English audio option, try listening to the show in its original language. No offense to the voice actors, they are just doing the best they can, but they rarely match the tone or intonation of the original actor.