10 of our favorite foreign-language shows you should quaran-stream
Want — need, even — to make an escape in the midst of coronavirus self-quarantine? Across the U.S., people are being encouraged to not leave their homes to help prevent its spread. Forget about vacations, especially ones outside of the country (the president has restricted travel to most of Europe, so a trip across the pond is definitely out of the question).
That's okay because getting away is as simple as checking out a streaming service near you ... you don't need a passport and won't get jetlagged. There are plenty of shows to help transport you to Spain, Israel, Brazil, France, Iceland, and more via these foreign-language series as chosen by the EW staff.
So grab your favorite snacks (a safe trip to the grocery store is allowed ... social-distancing encouraged!) to enjoy on your international binge — or, quaran-stream, as we dubbed it.
Another series about twentysomethings rebelling against a society run by Machiavellian adults isn't the most groundbreaking premise nowadays, but this Brazilian sleeper hit is a uniquely refreshing remedy to the cliché. Think The Hunger Games meets The Maze Runner, with a dash of Lord of the Flies — but less depressing, more bingeable. Set in a dystopian future, 20-year-olds annually apply for "The Process," a competition of physical and psychological challenges that whittles the group down to just three percent, those of which earn the chance to live in the elite utopia "Offshore." With three short seasons, it's also a cushy way to help conquer your crippling fear of subtitles. —Alison Wild
Call My Agent! (Netflix)
So, you might not be nibbling on croissants on the Rue de Seine anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in un petit peu de la vie Parisienne via Netflix while you wait out quarantine. The sharply smart series (known as Dix pour cent in France) stars Camille Cottin, Liliane Rovère, Thibault de Montalembert, and Grégory Montel as a group of agents receiving calls, complaints, and so much more at a talent firm in the French capital. Each episode features a guest star — Juliette Binoche, Isabelle Huppert, and Monica Bellucci, to name a few — playing a fabulous, fictional version of themselves, as well as plenty hilarity and general French chicness. C’est très amusant! —Ruth Kinane
The Circle: Brazil (Netflix)
Besides an eggplant or two, the U.S. version of The Circle was a clean, wholehearted popularity contest. The Circle: Brazil, streaming now on Netflix, throws that all out the window. If you can get over the subtitles and the cute little way they say “hashtag,” which you should, you’ll be in for nonstop drama. There’s backstabbing times 10, twins with wigs, another kissing sesh after an elimination — and, oh yeah, a whole lot of twerking. Don’t be surprised if you pick up some Portuguese along the way. —Omar Sanchez
Cowboy Bebop (Hulu, Adult Swim, Fubo TV, more)
This late-'90s anime series follows a rag-tag gang of space-faring bounty hunters in the year 2071. The show — a Netflix film adaptation of which will star John Cho — is undeniably an action, sci-fi series, with brilliant set-pieces and beautifully choreographed fight sequences. The first episode alone includes a saloon shootout straight out of a Robert Rodriguez film, and a spaceship dogfight between protagonist Spike Spiegel, a drug dealer, and the gang that dealer ripped off. However, the reason the show is widely considered one of the greatest anime series of all time comes down to its tone. The wild sci-fi setting plays backdrop to the deep (and sad, and sometimes really, really sad) dramas of Cowboy Bebop's cast. These disparate elements are tied together by an award-winning blues score and characters that are just a delight and spectacle to behold. Also, there’s a corgi named "data dog." This show rules. —Sam Gordon
To borrow a phrase from another imported teen drama, Netflix’s Élite truly “goes there.” The Spanish series takes place at a wealthy private school that initially welcomes three scholarship students from a school that collapsed under mysterious circumstances. Right out of the gate there’s nuanced portrayals of class discrimination, religious persecution, and repression. More importantly, the love scenes are enough to make the Riverdale teens blush, covering the full spectrum of sexuality, and featuring a cast that are all immediate follows on Instagram. Much like How to Get Away With Murder, all three seasons have flash-forwards teasing murder and mayhem to come, but enough scandal happens in between to make jaws drop throughout each set of eight episodes. —Marcus Jones
Israel’s Netflix hit Fauda is brutal, thrilling storytelling, which makes sense since the title is Arabic for “chaos.” The political thriller is about an undercover unit of the Israeli army who hunts terrorists, so you can expect violence and gruesome scenes. What makes the series worth viewing, in addition to being well-made TV, is that it takes the U.S. out of it. What Fauda offers is a look at the relationship between people and countries without an American viewpoint. —Alamin Yohannes
No matter how many psych classes you took in college we can guarantee you’ve never thought of Sigmund Freud like this before. Netflix’s 8-part German-language series Freud presents the Austrian founder of psychoanalysis as a young cocaine-fueled doctor who tries to convince his colleagues to accept hypnosis as a serious practice by day and attends trippy seances and helps solve crime by night. Oh, and did we mention he’s also very hot? The Freudian tale slips between historical fiction that peppers in some real-life facts about the father of the Oedipus complex and a creepy neurotic thriller. Feed your id while developing a thirst for hot Freud, just don’t overanalyze it. —Jillian Sederholm
Did you think Westerners were the best at period dramas? Think again, because you haven’t watched Kingdom yet. Netflix’s first Korean series is set in the country’s Joseon period in the 16th century, and it is good. The king falls ill with what is at first believed to be smallpox, but it turns out to be so much more horrifying and widespread. Yes, the series is about a plague turning people into zombies — which not everyone wants to hear about right now — but it’s so fantastical, reality will be the last thing on your mind. With Kingdom, you get the best of both worlds. The costumes are beautiful, as are the intense sword-fighting scenes. But the acting (you might recognize Sense8’s Doona Bae) and social commentary make the show soar beyond visual appeal. And did I mention zombies? You’re in luck, too — season 2 just debuted March 13 so you have two installments to binge. —Rachel Yang
Toy Boy (Netflix)
Steamy mystery series Toy Boy is the ideal escapist watch! Set in the beach town of Marbella, Spain, the thrilling show centers on a group of strippers, one of which, Hugo Beltrán, was convicted of a murder he did not commit. After being released from jail, Hugo teams with his new lawyer to get to the bottom of who framed him and discover whether his former lover was involved. This Spanish-language series has Magic Mike-esque routines, a few wonderful love stories, a gorgeous Spanish backdrop, and so much messy drama. —A.Y.
The Valhalla Murders (Netflix)
In this moody thriller, a string of brutal murders rocks Iceland. As Oslo detective Arnar (Björn Thors) and local police detective Kata (Nína Dögg Filippusdóttir) investigate, it quickly becomes clear that the murders are connected to a mysterious 30-year-old photograph with far-reaching implications. To say more would be to ruin the fun of this 8-episode whodunit, which has just enough twists and turns to keep it propulsive and interesting. Featuring great performances, especially from leading lady Filippusdóttir, and the majestic Icelandic landscape that lends a sinister backdrop to the proceedings, The Valhalla Murders should be the next stop on any mystery lover’s Netflix quaran-stream. —Lauren Huff
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