NETFLIX - TEN FOR THE ROAD
Here are ten shows, all based in foreign lands that are worth a binge. And, you can watch two young actresses who are bound to make their mark before long - Anna Torv and Pihla Viitala.
Anna Torv (Fox's Fringe) stars in this Australian political drama, Secret City, as journalist Harriet Dunkley. All the usual suspects are here: truth-seeking journalist trying to reveal secrets that, like Medusa, will kill if looked at directly. A great supporting cast of Australian actors and actresses make this twelve episodes over two seasons well worth the time.
This political drama from Norway envisages Russia occupying Norway. The excellent cast and exciting plot touch on numerous world-wide concerns such as global warming and co-operation among nations. You will enjoy this two season, 18 episode trek north.
THE SAME SKY
It's 1974. There's an East Berlin controlled by the USSR and a West Berlin, allied to the USA. Lars Weber (Tom Schilling) is an East Berliner who is trained to be a "Romeo" sent into West Berlin to have a romantic liaison with an important West Berlin official. If you liked The Americans, this one season, six episode show is for you.
French serial killer drama. The twist is a variation on the Silence of the Lambs with the French police seeking the help of a serial killer who has been imprisoned for 20 years when a copycat killer starts imitating her - and yes, the jailed seial killer is a woman, albeit a French one.
SUBURRA/SUBURRA: BLOOD ON ROME
Italian mobster series. The mob wants to turn Rome's waterfront (Ostia) into an Italian Las Vegas. The plot involves the Italian government, the Vatican, immigration services and, of course, Sicilian mobsters. This is a fun action show that gives us a hint of what 21st century italian life in Rome looks like.
British TV thriller loosely based on the 1992 movie of the same name. Richard Madden heads a great cast (really, is it the water that makes British actors so great or maybe the fact that the government supports British theatre so that actors get a thorough education) as the Brit cop assigned to guard an important minister.
This Italian series takes us back to the days of the Italian Renaissance and looks at the most important family of its time, the Medicis who financed much of the great art of the period. Dustin Hoffman leads a cast that includes Richard Madden - so if you liked him in Bodyguard....
Russian production that dramatizes the Russian Revolution and the life of one of its founders - Trotsky, the creator of the Soviet Army. It's a lot better than it sounds.
DEADWIND & ARCTIC CIRCLE
These two Finnish crime dramas have a common element - the actress Pihla Viitala. In both, what looks like a simple crime becomes the seed of a fine crime drama. Arctic Circle has ten episodes while Deadwind has twelve.