Let’s just put this out there already: International Series are being slept on, and America needs to wake up and watch more of what the rest of the world is watching.
So, if you know me you’ll know just how much I love me a good international series. Whenever I can’t physically travel somewhere, I crave it. By it, I mean the constant change, the new, the foreign, something that will allow me to view what life is like in another part of the world, under different social norms, what other languages sound like, etc. Since returning from my year abroad in Spain, I have tried to find countless ways to continue feeling like I am traveling and learning from other ways of life. Enter international series.
Below, I want to share a few of my favorite international series that have kept my wanderlust and happiness in check. Make sure to also let me know if you have any favorites that I may have missed! Sharing is caring 🙂
Series I’ve watched
The Time in Between (El Tiempo entre Costuras)
This is a series I have already watched twice, and both times I felt like I learn something new. IT’S SOOO GOOD. There are a few reasons why I watched it twice, and why I think people should give it a chance. Other than the fact that this series takes place in three countries: Morocco, Spain, and Portugal, the story line is just too good to not follow. It’s a story that is not so centered around romance, which is refreshing in a way I’ll be honest as it allows our focus to shift into the suspense, the cultures that exude throughout the story in which the characters take us, and a taste for what the Iberian and north African regions went through daily during World War 2. Overall, the story, the setting, and the characters are more than enough to keep you watching this series to the end, and then again. You’ll just have to check it out!
Çalıkuşu (Love Bird)
I think my infatuation with Turkish culture, language, and every day life reached an all time high when I was watching this period drama. This series is actually an adaptation of a book written in the 1920’s and it takes place in a few places within Turkey, but mostly in Istanbul. Though the series doesn’t really highlight the city’s beauty all that much, the story and characters again are something that will keep you glued to your device. Unlike The Time in Between, this show is actually very much centered around the relationship between the two main characters. The format of this show definitely reminded me of the Mexican telenovelas I grew up watching, so that was familiar, as well as some of their cultural norms like the dad being seen as the head of household and the daughters are to be a certain level of educated and proper, as to keep and uphold the honor of the family name and the father’s reputation, and so on. The thing I found the most interesting was that the two love interests were actually related; they are cousins, so…i’ll just leave that there. Nonetheless, I think this was a really good show that focuses a lot on the lifestyle and cultural components like Turkish hospitality, dating/romance expectations, education, and morals. Also something worth mentioning is that this show is not available with English audio (or Spanish), so I watched all 72 episodes in Turkish with English subtitles. Trust me, once you get into the show, you won’t even notice that you’re practically reading the show. It’s a new experience, but so worth it in my opinion!
Ok, Gran Hotel is probably the first international series I watched that inspired me to view international series as a whole, as something better than what I am used to in the States. Many people compare this Spanish series to Downtown Abbey, and though I have never watched that show, I know how popular it is and how many people it has captivated…so you know it’s gonna be good! Honestly, the story line again is focused around romance, but also a lot, A LOT of suspense, mystery, and betrayal. It’s like a Mexican novela, I know that once I started watching, I recommended it to my parents and they breezed right through it. They recommended it to my extended family and everyone was HOOKED. It takes place in the early 1920’s in beautiful Santander, Spain (northern Spain), and I think that what drew me in was honestly the undeniable romance between the two characters, Julio and Alicia. It’s just really good, all the characters have their own drama and somehow it all intertwines into a bigger issue, and omg it’s just good you cannot miss it. Televisa I believe adapted this story into their own version with Mexican actors, but maaan. Nothing can ever compare to the Spanish original in my humble opinion. Don’t let me sway you though, you check it our for yourself and let me know which one was your favorite version!
Cable Girls (Las Chicas del Cable)
Recently I heard some talk about this series before it was shown on Netflix because I follow the actors on Instagram, so already I had a lot of hype surrounding this. I think that the reason why I really enjoyed this series was because of the female power that drove the series into what it was. This series highlights the topic of men’s machismo and the struggle and very little power and value that women had in the early 1920’s Madrid, Spain. Some of the women said it themselves in the show that an animal has more value than a woman, and I think that the constant conversations and dialogue between the characters, and their actions to stand up for themselves as mothers, daughters, friends, each in their own struggle and together, really makes this series stand out. Also, it’s interesting because it highlights the time in which the first transcontinental phone call was possible from Madrid, Spain to Washington, USA. The novelty that was this new phone technology, and seeing how people viewed it back then, and how we often take it for granted nowadays, it’s interesting to see that. Anyways, a show with romance, suspense, important themes and dialogues; the Cable Girls should definitely be a show on your list to watch. P.S. season 2 is out NOW.
Next on my list
- Morocco – Love in Times of War (Tiempos de Guerra)
- The Butterfly’s Dream (Kelebeğin Rüyası)
- Cable Girls (Las Chicas del Cable) Season 2 (out now!)
- The Queen of Spain
What has been your favorite international series? Have you watched any of the ones mentioned above? If so, what do you think of them? If you’ve never watched an international series, do you think you’ll start watching now? Do you have your own recommendations? If so, let me know! Let’s talk!