As streaming sites continue to vie for viewers with original content, we can only benefit from the wide variety of web series to binge-watch to our hearts’ content. With Hulu, Amazon and other entertainment channels like Viki adding international shows, it’s never been easier to access fresh programs from all over the world. After highlighting our favorite U.S based web shows, here’s a look at the latest global imports and Netflix originals to get hooked on.
The Danes have been churning out some quality television as of late and Borgen is no exception. From the producers of The Killing comes this highly-praised political series about a female party leader who unexpectedly becomes Denmark’s first female prime minister. While House of Cards and Veep traffic in cynical politics and soapy storylines, Borgen is smart, idealistic and endlessly watchable. Sidse Babett Knudsen stars as Birgitte Nyborg, the charismatic heroine who learns the cost of wielding power. After becoming a hit in its home country, the series caught on in the U.K. and eventually achieved cult status stateside. Despite its foreign setting, Americans can relate to its universal themes. While only a few of the episodes are available to stream online, you can watch all three seasons on DVD until Hulu or Netflix decide to carry it.
The Returned (France)
Better known for their cinematic output than small screen exports, the French caught everyone’s attention with this chilling drama that spawned an ABC remake and an international fan base. Just when you thought the zombie canon was oversaturated, the premise of The Returned a.ka “Les Revenants,” turns the genre on its head and explores how we process death – or in this case, the lack thereof. The fog-drenched rural setting and eerie score by the Scottish post-rock band Mogwai add to the supernatural ambiance about a small town whose deceased residents mysteriously return to take their place back in society. Catch all of season one on Netflix, Amazon or Hulu before Season 2 airs on the Sundance channel.
Bride of the Century (South Korea)
If you haven’t seen a K-drama yet, get ready to sacrifice hours of your life to these highly addictive shows thanks to Hulu and Netflix. The term “drama” applies to all shows, whether they’re fluffy rom-coms or sweeping melodramas, but at 16-20 episodes a pop, you can breeze through a series in one weekend. One of the most popular dramas this spring is the supernatural rom-com Bride of the Century. K-pop idol Lee Hong-Ki stars as a young business heir whose family curse kills every bride of the first son for generations, while Yang Jin-Sung plays two identical twins that get swept up in the family drama. The plot is ridiculous as it sounds –as is the case with most dramas – but the show thrives on the co-stars’ crackling chemistry and humorous exploits.
House of Cards (United States)
Just when you thought Frank Underwood had reached his limits of depravity, season two proves this old congressman still has a few tricks up his sleeve. After racking up the awards for season one, the Netflix original series House of Cards returns to titillate audiences once again with its sordid tales of political intrigue and White House scandals. Based on the UK series that aired in 1990, the show maintains its tautly constructed plot arcs. Kevin Spacey shines in season two and Robin Wright is chilling as Underwood’s wife and political accomplice. Stream both seasons on Netflix and carve out a comfortable spot on the couch; you’ll need to be seated for this ride.
As entertainment options become more sophisticated, so does the technology to control them. With the Logitech Harmony Smart Keyboard, you can access all of your favorite shows and easily switch from one device to another. You can do almost anything with your home theater system, including accessing services like Netflix or Hulu through your Apple TV, Roku, Xbox, PS3 and more. Switch from playing a movie to steaming a series with one click, using the Harmony Activity button that automatically powers your devices and adjusts to the correct settings. For the more mobile-inclined, download the Harmony Smartphone app to stream and surf at will using your smartphone as a remote.
Which web shows have you discovered in the past year? Share in the comments.