International series on Netflix

When you feel like unwinding after a long day of meeting deadlines or doing household chores, the many international movies and shows available on Netflix can be a great companion. 

We’ve compiled a list of drama, documentary, horror and mystery, and animated series from around the world that you can watch on Netflix as a follow-up to our list of Indonesian movies. Whether you want to laugh out loud, cry your heart out, be properly scared, or learn something new, this list of series will definitely come in handy.


1. Russian Doll

Russian DollImage credit: No Film School

Some parties are so awesome that you never want to leave, but it’s another thing to find yourself waking up in the same bathroom at the same party repeatedly after dying multiple times. 

Russian Doll is a fresh update of the “being stuck in a loop” genre. Not only is it smart and hilarious, but it is also surprisingly moving. Plus, Nadia (Natasha Lyonne) is a complex character whose journey of redemption is rewarding to watch.

2. Midnight Diner

Midnight Diner
Image credit: Netflix

We all have our go-to eatery, be it a restaurant or a neighborhood warung packed with regulars. Slice-of-life drama Midnight Diner (Shinya Shokudou) centers on the chef and patrons of an izakaya (traditional Japanese bar). 

Located in Tokyo’s Shinjuku, the izakaya opens at 12AM, attracting night owls from all walks of life. Lovers of Japanese cuisine will also find their tummies rumbling at the sight of the classic Japanese dishes being prepared by the chef.

3. Sex Education

Sex Education
Image credit: @sexeducation

Being a teenager is tough. That’s when you begin to explore your emotions, your body, and your friendships. Of course, it’s not always an easy process, especially when your family members aren’t on the same page as you. 

Sex Education is a coming-of-age series that’s primarily seen through the eyes of Otis Milburn (Asa Butterfiled), a shy boy who ends up becoming his schoolmates’ sex therapist.

4. Feel Good

Feel Good
Image credit: Netflix

The funniest people are sometimes the saddest. Feel Good focuses on Mae Martin, a stand-up comedian who is also a recovering addict. She meets George, a schoolteacher who comes from a posh background, and the two begin an intense relationship. The show is uniquely charming and is partly autobiographical. It will make you laugh, cry, and everything in between.

5. The Umbrella Academy

The Umbrella AcademyImage credit: @umbrellaacad

There are plenty of stories about dysfunctional families, but not a lot of them are about superhero families. 

Based on a comic book series, The Umbrella Academy is about the Hargreeves siblings. They were adopted by Sir Reginald Hargreeves, a billionaire who trained them to save the world. Things kick off when the siblings, now adults, reunite when they learn that their father has died. 


6. Abstract: The Art of Design

Image credit: Netflix

Designers and artists will find Abstract: The Art of Design an inspiring resource. This docuseries is not only stylish, but also highlights the connection between the personal and professional lives of creatives such as acclaimed costume designer Ruth Carter, illustrator Christoph Niemann, and many more. You’ll learn a lot from the stories they share.

7. Hip-Hop Evolution

Hip Hop Evolution
Image credit: Netflix

Hip hop and rap are some of the most influential music genres of all time. Those who want to learn more about the evolution of these genres should check out Hip-Hop Evolution

The series features interviews with artists, producers, and other key industry players. It explores underground and mainstream rap and the East vs West coast divide, among many insightful topics.

8. Street Food

Street Food
Image credit: Fimela

Food makes up a large portion of many cultures around the world, and Street Food shows how some of the best dishes are found in the most humble places across Asia. 

Each episode covers a street food legend in countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, and India. You’re guaranteed to get hungry 5 minutes into an episode, and you’ll also be moved by the struggles these amazing chefs went through.

9. Ugly Delicious

Ugly DeliciousImage credit: Eater

Hosted by restaurateur David Chang, Ugly Delicious explores the histories of popular food such as pizza, tacos, and fried rice. This docuseries adds a rich cultural and historical context to a variety of dishes that we are familiar with. 

Watching this will make you wish you could travel and enjoy some of the world’s most famous dishes, but most importantly, it will make you a bit more knowledgeable about the food you love.

10. Night on Earth

Night on EarthImage credit: Netflix

Nature documentaries are mesmerizing to watch, and Night on Earth is no exception. Narrated by actress Samira Wiley, this docuseries follows the lives of animals such as elephants, lions, and even prawns. 

Using advanced technology, Night on Earth reveals what some of the world’s most elusive creatures get up to after the sun sets. You’ll find yourself hooked even if you’re not much of a nature fan.

Horror, Mystery & Sci-Fi

11. Dark

Image credit:
The Verge

Strange things are happening in the fictional German town of Winden. Dark is, as the title suggests, a dark science fiction series that’s full of mystery and suspense. 

Time-traveling is at the core of Dark, but it doesn’t fall back on easy tropes and will keep you on the edge of your seat. You might want to take notes to keep track of the characters because nobody is unimportant to the plot.

12. Black Mirror

Black MirrorImage credit: IMDb

As the years go by, we seem to grow more and more attached to our gadgets. When the black screens of our phones reflect our tired faces, we’re forced to think about the price we pay for convenience. 

Black Mirror is an anthology series set in the near future, and each episode explores the corrosive effect that advanced technology can have on social life. Fans of dystopian fiction will love this show.

13. The Haunting of Hill House

The Haunting of Hill HouseImage credit: @thehaunting

The Haunting of Hill House is a modern interpretation of Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel of the same name. It centers on the Crain family, and how this once happy family descends into darkness after moving into a haunted house. 

What makes this series frightening is the atmosphere and sparing use of jumpscares. It also reminds us that people are often scarier than ghosts, and that family can be both a place of refuge and trauma.

14. Perfume

PerfumeImage credit: Heaven of Horror

Patrick Süskind’s Perfume (Das Parfum) is not an easy novel to get through, and this loose adaptation is no different. 

Perfume is the tale of murder from the perspective of investigators Nadja Simon (Friederike Becht) and Matthias Köhler (Juergen Maurer). Like the original novel, Perfume will get under your skin in ways that most thrillers these days don’t quite manage to do.

15. The Rain

The Rain
Image credit: Netflix

Pandemic horror is a subgenre that’s as old as time, but it just never seems to get old – especially given the current circumstances. 

While we’re used to seeing viruses transmitted through zombie bites, The Rain’s pandemic is spread by, well, rainwater. The show focuses on the Andersen siblings, Simone (Alba August) and Rasmus (Lucas Lynggaard Tønnesen), as they emerge from their bunker 6 years after the start of the outbreak.


16. Bojack Horseman

Bojack Horseman
Image credit: Netflix

Animated shows are often dismissed as childish, but as Bojack Horseman proves, they are great vessels for exploring serious topics such as mental illness. 

The titular character is a depressed and alcoholic washed-up actor living in Hollywood. It is a groundbreaking series as it excels at being hilarious and emotional at the same time, and it has unforgettable characters with memorable lines.

17. Aggretsuko

Image credit: Netflix

Having a 9 to 5 job in a densely populated city can be mind-numbing and emotionally taxing. It’s no surprise that office workers need an outlet – such as karaoke – to blow off steam.

Aggretsuko is about Retsuko, a red panda who works in accounting at a large firm. While she is seemingly sweet in front of her peers, she has a secret habit of hitting the karaoke bar after work to sing heavy metal tunes.

18. One Punch Man

One Punch Man
Image credit: Netflix

Superheroes are often portrayed as individuals who seek justice, but One Punch Man’s Saitama appears to go on missions out of boredom. 

This anime series will make you laugh out loud as it pokes fun at the godliness of superheroes. Saitama’s indifference to the celebrity status of superheroes makes him an interesting character – especially once he reveals the true origins of his powers.

19. The Midnight Gospel

The Midnight GospelImage credit: Netflix

Bright colors and cute characters sound like the perfect ingredients for a wholesome show for all ages. But The Midnight Gospel is anything but “wholesome.” 

It’s an animated series for adults, and it focuses on a “spacecaster” named Clancy Gilroy, who travels to interview intergalactic beings. The show tends to be compared to Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time, but for grown-ups.

20. Tuca & Bertie

Tuca & BertieImage credit: Netflix

Tuca & Bertie is a show bursting with energy and vibrant colors. It revolves around the lives of Tuca, a toucan, and Bertie, a songbird. These two bird-women are best friends who have gone through personal struggles that affect how they navigate their relationships and surroundings. 

While the series is funny, it doesn’t shy away from tough topics such as trauma and alcoholism.

International series on Netflix

Both binge-watchers and those who prefer to take their time watching awesome series will surely find something from this list that they can resonate with. There’s no excuse for you to run out of things to watch by yourself or with your friends. 

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Cover image adapted from: No Film School, Fimela, The Verge, and Netflix

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