If You Like These Iconic American Shows, You'll Love Their Foreign Equivalents
America is home to outstanding entertainment, that is indisputable. In the last 25 years, we saw a second Golden Age of television, with the release of shows like “The Sopranos,” “Breaking Bad,” and “Game of Thrones.” These are more than television shows; they’re cultural forces with the power to change an entire society and set new standards for entertainment as we know it. But what you may not know is that there are shows like these all over the world. In fact, some of your favorite American series are remakes of foreign shows. Just imagine: an entire world of Tony Sopranos and Walter Whites! And they’re all waiting for you to discover them.
We’ve put together a comprehensive list of series (and a few movies for good measure) that are US favorites, accompanied by their foreign equivalents, all of which you can conveniently stream right here on Topic.
If You Like Billions, You’ll Love Follow the Money (Denmark)
From the creator of Nordic Noir giant “Borgen,” “Follow the Money (Bedrag)” is the Danish answer to “Billions.” Both are centered around a cat-and-mouse chase between a smart, charismatic, and ruthless CEO and obsessed officials who are determined to bring him down. Both feature strong, ambitious female leads who are not afraid to go after their own goals in a male-dominated industry. And hiding in the shadows of both series are shady henchmen who do the dirty work for their rich bosses.
If You Like Breaking Bad, You’ll Love An Ordinary Woman (Russia)
Picture a Russian female Walter White who runs an illegal empire of her own. Meet Marina—on the surface, she’s a suburban wife and mother in Moscow, but underneath she’s hiding a double life as the madam of a lucrative escort service. When one of her girls ends up dead, she’ll have to clean up the mess and keep both her family and career from unraveling.
If You Like Midsommar, You’ll Love Lambs of God (Australia)
This gothic fairytale is so dark, it would make the Brothers Grimm blush. Like the folksy women of “Midsommar,” who love their pagan rituals and assembling flower crowns, the sisters of St. Agnes, a remote convent forgotten by time, only want to tend to their sheep and knit when the sun goes down. But when a priest intrudes and threatens their way of life, they’ll show him the meaning of hell.
If You Like The Killing (US), You’ll Love the Original (Denmark)
Did you love Mireille Enos as Sarah Linden in the US version of “The Killing”? Wait until you meet the woman who inspired her character: Sarah Lund. While both series have their own merits and the hunt for Rosie Larsen kept fans on the edge of their seats (even between seasons), the American series would not exist if it weren’t for the groundbreaking brilliance of the original Danish “Killing (Forbrydelsen)” and its unprecedented, norm-shattering lead, Sarah Lund, who was the first to turn the humble sweater into detectives’ armor. But don’t expect the two shows to be identical—the stories diverge significantly after season one.
If You Like The Bridge (US), You’ll Love the Original (Denmark and Sweden)
Similarly, if you liked the US version of “The Bridge,” starring Diane Kruger and Demián Bichir, you will likely become obsessed with the Danish-Swedish original, “Bron/Broen.” One, because it was the first to introduce the utterly intriguing “body on the border” storyline. And two, more importantly, because the original spawned one of the most unforgettable characters in TV history: the unapologetically blunt, cunning, and inimitable Saga Norén. And like “The Killing,” the first season of both versions might be similar, but each show has its own distinct storyline after that. Bonus: Topic has the Austrian-German remake of “Bron/Broen” too, “Pagan Peak.”
If You Like The Sopranos and The West Wing, You’ll Love Baron Noir (France)
Love “The Sopranos”? (Who doesn’t?) Were you also a fan of “The West Wing”? Imagine if they had a child and it was French. “Baron Noir” is a political show through and through, but it has its own wise guys, only they’re presidential candidates, parliament members, and political advisers, and sometimes their tactics aren’t unlike those used in organized crime. Welcome to the dirtier side of French politics, where the players are shady, the sabotage is ruthless, and revenge is everything. Instead of saying, “Madone!” you’ll be saying, “Mon dieu!”
If You Like True Detective, You’ll Love Dark Woods (Germany)
Do you like watching shows that make you never want to camp again? Then you’re probably a huge “True Detective” fan, and you’re about to become a “Dark Woods” fan. Like a true “True Detective,” “Dark Woods” is based on a real-life case of a missing woman that went unsolved for nearly 30 years—that’s almost twice as long as the case in the HBO show.
If You Like The X-Files, You’ll Love Dead Mountain: The Dyatlov Pass Incident (Russia)
The tagline “The truth is out there” could easily apply to both of these shows. While “The X-Files” broke new ground for its spine-chilling, confounding mysteries, “Dead Mountain” is based on a real-life mystery that confounded investigators and scientists for 60 years, spawning conspiracy theories that ran the gamut from yetis, to secret Soviet experiments, to, yup, extraterrestrials. In fact, the real-life Dyatlov Pass Incident would have made a great episode of “The X-Files.”
If You Like Fargo, You’ll Love Happily Married (Canada)
What’s better than murder? Murder and comedy. Channeling the same dark humor of “Fargo,” “Happily Married” follows two suburban married couples who inadvertently become the greatest criminals in Quebec’s history. When pregnant housewife Huguette realizes she has a natural instinct for killing, the others discover their inner arsonists, drug dealers, and organized crime bosses.
If You Liked Homeland, You’ll Love Conspiracy of Silence (Sweden)
If you followed “Homeland” and its twists, conspiracies, and tour-de-force performances for its nine-year run, then pick up where Carrie left off with “Conspiracy of Silence.” The Swedish series, about a former arms dealer who reemerges from exile to seek vengeance, is just as thrilling, smartly written, and well-acted. And if you want conspiracies, well, the name says it all.
If You Like What We Do in the Shadows, You’ll Love Year of the Rabbit (UK)
Matt Berry. Need I say more? If you love him as the raunchy vampire Laszlo Cravensworth in “What We Do in the Shadows,” then you’ll love him as Detective Inspector Rabbit in “Year of the Rabbit.” Instead of shouting, “Bat!” Rabbit shouts just about everything. But when Victorian London is stalked by a serial killer, the loud, drunken one-eyebrowed copper is the city’s best hope.
If You Liked Mare of Easttown, You’ll Love Beau Séjour Season 1 (Belgium)
If you live for gritty murder mysteries set in small towns brewing with secrets, then you’ll be pleased to discover that these small towns exist outside of America too. The insular village in “Beau Séjour” is reminiscent of “Mare of Easttown’s” post-industrial Pennsylvania setting, and both shows follow mind-boggling murders whose investigations are muddled by town secrets. Sure, “Mare” has Kate Winslet, but we’ll take your Kate Winslet and raise you one murder victim who has to solve her own case. See why Stephen King calls “Beau Séjour” “eccentric, brilliant, and strangely touching.”
If You Liked Lethal Weapon, You’ll Love Sakho & Mangane (Senegal)
Take the classic buddy-cop action thriller—think “Lethal Weapon” or “Bad Boys”—add a dash of the supernatural, and you’ll get “Sakho and Mangane.” Set in the African city of Dakar, the series follows the seasoned and weary Captain Sakho and young, brash Lieutenant Mangane, who are forced to partner up to solve a series of murders involving a heavy dose of black magic.
If You Liked Lost, You’ll Love The Grave (Israel)
When it first came out, “Lost” had viewers transfixed with its mystifying premise, but its conclusion left a lot of people puzzled, and not in a good way. Now you can revisit all of the elements that made “Lost” so gripping—inexplicable phenomena, logic-defying twists, mysterious characters who are not what they seem—with “The Grave.” When an earthquake digs up three skeletons, investigators discover that they belong to three living people. And it only gets crazier from there.
If You Like Big Little Lies, You’ll Love Honour (Sweden)
“Honour” is centered around four women who are forever bonded by a dark secret. Sound familiar? Though the leads in “Honour,” who are lawyers fighting for sex crimes survivors, are quite different from the upper-crust moms of Monterey, California, what the two shows have in common is far more significant: when the patriarchy threatens, these women will do anything to have each other’s backs.
If You Liked Jack Ryan, You’ll Love Commandos (The Netherlands)
If you’re an avid fan of political action thrillers bearing the emotional claw marks of war, then you’ve probably seen every iteration of the Jack Ryan series. Get ready to add “Commandos” to your list of favorites. Both a gripping action thriller and an existential character drama, “Commandos” follows John de Koning, an ex-Dutch Special Forces commander, whose botched mission from three years ago comes back to haunt him.
If You Liked Narcos, You’ll Love La Linéa Invisible (Spain)
There’s something undeniably captivating and exhilarating about watching a kingpin rise to power from humble beginnings, especially real-life figures in history. If there’s anyone who could command Pablo Escobar’s respect, it would be Txabi Etxebarrieta, a young poet who went on to become the leader of Basque separatist group ETA. “La Linéa Invisible” details Etxebarrieta’s origin story and how he paved the way for ETA to become one of the bloodiest terrorist groups in history.
If You Liked Mad Men, You’ll Love State of Happiness (Norway)
“State of Happiness” is like “Mad Men” but set in Norway, and instead of advertising, the industry is oil. On Christmas Eve 1969, an oil rig off the coast of the small fishing village of Stavanger strikes liquid gold, changing the lives of four young adults forever. Featuring a rollicking ‘60s soundtrack, “State of Happiness” traces the events that created modern Norway.
If You Liked Taken, You’ll Love Nox (France)
Move over, Liam Neeson. You’re no match for Catherine Susini. When her daughter, a young lieutenant, goes missing underneath Paris in its labyrinthian catacombs, Catherine, a retired cop, stops at nothing to get her daughter back. Channeling the laser-focus determination of Neeson in “Taken” and displaying the hardened stoicism of Dirty Harry, Catherine is a “force to be reckoned with” in every sense of the expression.
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