Unless you have been living under a rock (or worse still, without an internet connection), you have at least heard about Squid Game. This Korean-language series about a deadly game show with a massive prize is insanely popular all over the world, to the point where a South Korean internet provider is suing Netflix over massively increased internet traffic. One of the reasons for the show’s popularity is that the script and the actors don’t follow the expected “Hollywood recipe”, which has struck a chord with so many people that they are willing to watch the series with subtitles or dubbed.
Squid Game is not the only foreign-language treasure out there, though. Here are a few more series that might be worth your time.
This German Netflix series has a 95% on Rotten tomatoes, and this is fully deserved. Without delving into spoilers, it contains elements of time-travel and mystery to create an in-depth story over three seasons. Over the first two seasons, every answered question leads to two more questions from the audience’s side, to the point where I wondered if anything would make sense at the end. But the payoff in the final season was worth it: all questions were answered, in a very strong ending. The only downside to this series is that there are quite a lot of characters, which might get confusing if you don’t pay attention. But this is one of my top series of all time. Give it a try if you enjoy strong character-based stories with a sci-fi or fantasy twist.
Like Squid Game, Kingdom is a Korean Netflix series, and its 96% Rotten Tomatoes score is a testament to its popularity. Set in early 1600s Korea, the story focuses on a crown prince of the Joseon Dynasty as he navigates political intrigue, rebellions and most importantly, an outbreak of a plague that brings the dead to life. This is a super refreshing zombie story, since the origin of the plague as well as the behaviour of the undead is a little different from what we are used to. The characters are likeable and convincing and the setting provides an interesting backdrop of Joseon culture and costumes. There are enough zombies, swords, battles and betrayals to satisfy anyone who enjoys these aspects. There are currently two seasons, with a third delayed but hopefully coming out soon.
Also from Netflix, this Norwegian fantasy drama is slightly smaller in scope and production value than the previous two series, but I still love it purely because of the modern twist on Norse mythology. The story takes place in a small Norwegian town, where the main protagonist, Magne, realizes that he may be more than human when he throws a sledgehammer more than a kilometer far, accompanied by a lightning flash. He is not the only character from myth, though – throughout the series, more are revealed, including a very interesting genderfluid teenage version of Loki. The main threat is a family of Jötner (ice giants) masking as humans and destroying the pristine environment around the town with their factory waste. Overall, this is an enjoyable combination of modern environmental commentary and Norse mythology, and it manages not to descend into too much of the typical teenage drama that we are used to in so many USA-produced fantasy series.
That’s it – give these a try if you are looking for something a little different. If you can recommend any similar series, drop a comment below; sharing is caring!
Last Updated: October 11, 2021