We love foreign films and TV. How about foreign films and TV in English? Even better! Many foreign films and TV shows from England, Australia and other English speaking countries make their way to US viewers via streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu, Acorn, YouTube and others.
Here’s a summary of the ones I consider the best. Last updated 8/28/2019.
Maybe you don’t consider foreign films and TV in English as foreign. The definition of foreign is “of, from, in, or characteristic of a country or language other than one’s own.” So these films and TV shows from other countries are, in fact, foreign.
Just a tip from a seasoned watcher of foreign films and TV in English. Turn on close captions. It may be English, but it might be a little problematic to American ears.
- Ackley Bridge is set in a Yorkshire school where Christian and Muslim students must mix.
- No Offence features a group of female cops in Manchester.
- Love, Lies and Records makes its way through a group who work in a registry office.
- Happy Valley stars Sarah Lancashire in two seasons of one of the best performances of anybody, ever, as a Yorkshire cop.
- Last Tango in Halifax brought 4 season of elders rocking and much more. Another brilliant performance from Sarah Lancashire in this one.
- Safe from the pen of Harlan Coben is a mystery series
- The Five, another mystery/thriller from Harlan Coben
- Kiri takes a social worker into a mystery about a missing child. Once again, Sarah Lancashire.
- Rose and Maloney is an older Sarah Lancashire series about a hard-drinking investigator.
- Hard Sun comes under the sci fi heading. Very noir.
- Unforgiven, one of the first British series from Sally Wainwright, starred Suranne Jones.
- Scott & Bailey, also from Sally Wainwright, is a police procedural starring 3 women.
- River features a cop who talks to dead people, including his partner Nicola Walker.
- Unforgotten again stars Nicola Walker. She’s a cop investigating cold cases.
- The Paradise is a costume drama set in one of the first department stores in England.
- To Walk Invisible: The Brontë Sisters examines the life of, you guessed it, the Brontë sisters.
- The Crimson Field puts Brits on the coast of France in a field hospital during WWI.
- The Crown details the life of Queen Elizabeth II. It’s absolutely wonderful and more seasons are coming.
- The Loch, set near Loch Ness, is a murder mystery.
- Burn, Burn, Burn is an offbeat comedy that takes the two heroines all over the UK.
- Their Finest tells the story of making a propaganda film during World War II.
- Philomena searches for a child she gave up for adoption many years before. Judi Dench stars.
- The Lady in the Van lived her life in a van parked in another person’s driveway. Uninvited. Maggie Smith stars.
- My Old Lady is a brilliant tale about an English woman living in Paris and the history of her past life. Maggie Smith again.
- The Innocents is YA sci-fi. It was produced in the UK with a bit of Norwegian added in.
- Silk features barristers at the bar in this legal drama.
- A brief series called Brief Encounters starred Sophie Rundle.
- A brilliant lesbian drama about a real woman from Yorkshire: Gentleman Jack.
- Irish comic Aisling Bea created This Way Up.
These series from Ireland are so good, I wish I could find more of the Irish to watch.
- Acceptable Risk explores a man’s life after his death leaves his wife with many questions.
- Striking Out features numerous solicitors and their cases.
- Derry Girls is a very funny half hour show about some school girls and the adults around them. Season 2 is also available.
- Three seasons of the mysterious Hinterland series are available.
- Keeping Faith is what must happen when a woman’s husband disappears without a trace.
- Filmed in Wales with a bit of Welsh thrown in, The Indian Doctor had 3 seasons.
The prevailing folk wisdom in the US is that the Brits make the best foreign films and TV in English. Well, the Aussies are a big challenge for that title, because they have many excellent exports.
- The Code brings technology to the forefront in a tense thriller about crime and corruption.
- Secret City unveils a government conspiracy that a journalist struggles to decipher.
- Bed of Roses is a comedy/drama about a divorcee who must start over.
- Rain Shadow puts a couple of very different female veterinarian together in the desert.
- The Heart Guy takes a doctor out of his normal environment and tests his character.
- The Kettering Incident is gothic sci fi set in the forests of Tasmania.
- Deep Water tells a true story about the murders of gay men on Bondi beach.
- Wentworth brings great women in prison drama. I’ve reviewed 7 seasons so far.
- Glitch is great sci fi from down under – like 6 feet under!
- Sisters introduces about a hundred siblings who all came from the same sperm donor.
- Pine Gap plunks you down in a joint US/AUS intelligence gathering installation. Spies on a world stage.
- Wanted ranks as one of my favorite shows from anywhere, anytime. Two women flee crooks and cops. Three seasons so far.
- A complex look at racial tensions is the theme in The Principal.
- Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries sets a new unconventional sleuth in the 1960s.
- The delicious Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is set in 1920s Melbourne.
- My Life is Murder stars Lucy Lawless as a retired cop who can’t stop investigating.
- After The Slap came out in Australia, it was remade in America. I think the Australian version was better.
- A tragic tale about family secrets is told in The Daughter.
- A funny movie from two women writers and directors: The Breaker Upperers
- A story about Maori coping with colonialism: White Lies (Taukiri Huna)
- The fascinating documentary Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen tells the story of an early Maori filmmaker.
- There is some Danish in this Danish/New Zealand co-production, but it’s mostly English. A mystery thriller: Straight Forward.
- Day of the Flowers follows two sisters from Scotland to Cuba to scatter their father’s ashes.
- Retribution leads family feuds in the remote hills of Scotland to some extremes.
- Not Another Happy Ending is a romantic comedy about a writer and her publisher.