Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Around the World in Eight TV Shows; from the Dutch Olivia Colman to the Mexican House of Cards Get Ready for an International Boxset Binge with a New Wave of Hot Destination Television

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Around the World in Eight TV Shows; from the Dutch Olivia Colman to the Mexican House of Cards Get Ready for an International Boxset Binge with a New Wave of Hot Destination Television

Article excerpt

Byline: Ellen E Jones

IS IT a coincidence that just as governments are seeking to close their borders, television is opening them? Viewers in post-Brexit Britain have access to 34 foreign-language dramas from 12 different countries via Channel 4's curated video-on-demand service Walter Presents; Netflix is ready to scale any wall with upcoming Mexican political drama Ingobernable, and Amazon has just made a bid for unity with its first German-language original commission, available in more than 200 countries and territories.

With the boom in streaming services, a single TV drama can cross borders like never before. Yet still, telling local stories appears to be the secret to international appeal. Your chosen TV tour operator can take you to a seaside town just outside of Rome, all around Oslo's underground network or inside Mexico City's Bosque de Chapultepec and still get you back in time for bed. We still want to see the world but now we're seeing it one new show at a time.

The Norwegian Walter White and Jesse Pinkman Valkyrien (Channel 4/Walter Presents) Ravn (Sven Nordin) is a middle-class scientist pushed into the moral grey zone by a brush with terminal illness. His younger business partner Leif (Pal Sverre Hagen) has the underworld connections and an eccentric outlook on life. No, we're not talking about Breaking Bad but Channel 4's instantly gripping new Norwegian thriller coming to Channel 4 at the end of May. In this Oslo-set show, it's not a meth lab the two main characters build but an illegal hospital in a disused underground station. See also: Young and Promising (the Norwegian Girls) on Channel 4 The Spanish The Missing I Know Who You Are (BBC Four) Even the opening image a lone figure staggering along the side of a highway is reminiscent of The Missing's second series. Juan Elias (Francesc Garrido) is a successful criminal lawyer and father of two with a big, suspicious gap in his memory. His amnesiac episode also happens to coincide with the vanishing of his 23-year-old niece and now that even his judge wife (sometime Almodovar collaborator, Blanca Portillo) is beginning to doubt his story, Juan is forced to mount his own defence. Scheduling I Know Who You Are in the same Saturday 9pm slot that made The Killing a hit, and launched the whole Nordic Noir phenomenon in the first place, is a sign of the BBC's confidence in their new acquisition.

See also: Dark (the German The Missing meets the German Stranger Things), on Netflix and Cardinal, the Canadian Broadchurch, on BBC Four.

The Dutch Olivia Colman Black Widow (Channel 4/Walter Presents) In many ways The Sopranos is the most obvious reference point for this gangster thriller.

Black Widow has been a hit in the Netherlands since it first aired in 2010 and, like the landmark HBO series, it follows the travails of a criminal gang lord who must balance the interests of two families, biological and criminal. In the case of Black Widow, that Godfather is a Godmother, played by versatile Dutch thesp Monic Hendrickx. Like her English equivalent, Olivia Colman, Hendrickx can do both maternal and menacing, often within a single sentence.

See also: Anneke von der Lippe, the Norwegian Olivia Colman, in Eyewitness on Channel 4.

The Mexican House of Cards Ingobernable (Netflix) You know how House of Cards has been steadily working towards positioning First Lady Claire Underwood as its central protagonist for four seasons? Well, Ingobernable is there already. Telenovela star Kate del Castillo takes centre stage as Emilia Urquiza, a Mexican First Lady with presidential ambitions. …

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