We’re used to seeing too many American and British series. It’s a fact. Yes, some of them are good. No doubt, some of the good ones are true masterpieces. What a lot of people are not aware of is that other countries also make wonderful TV series. And, many times, it feels like a breath of fresh air to try out something that does not completely adhere to the tropes we might have already learned by heart. We’ll try to explore the best recent TV shows in a couple of countries, and it is my great pleasure to start off with Denmark – based on my mother’s advice.
This is a great political thriller, which chronicles a fictional Danish prime minister’s rise to power, and how the job changes her both professionally and personally. It’s 3 seasons long, already over, and hence very watchable. It’s a sort of European ‘House of Cards’, if you wish – less dramatic, but just as good.
2. Ride Upon the Storm (Herrens Veje)
Another drama, this one focussing on religion, with the action revolving around a family of priests. So far, two 10-episode seasons have been released, and they have received a lot of praise from critics and viewers alike. It’s perhaps noteworthy that the main role is played by Lars Mikkelsen, the slightly older and less famous brother of Mads Mikkelsen.
3. The Bridge (Bron/Broen)
This is a co-production, hence the title is displayed both in Danish and in Swedish. The reason for its being a co-production could not have been more valid: a dead body is found on a bridge linking Denmark and Sweden, and as a result, inspectors from each country have to team up and work together to find the killer. This show was later re-made into an English speaking re-imagining, set in the tunnel between the UK and France. It’s actually not a bad remake, but the original is much, much better.
4. The Killing (Forbrydelsen)
Forbrydelsen is probably the most well-known of the bunch, and likewise much better than the American re-make it eventually spanned. It’s a crime thriller that delves deep both in politics, and in the personal matters of the main character. Its first season was released in 2007, and was followed by a 4-year break, with seasons 2 and 3 releasing in 2011 and 2012 respectively.
5. The Legacy (Arvingerne)
We’ve had political drama, religious drama, crime drama, and to end our top, there’s a bit of family drama. The Legacy centres, as its suggestive title already tells, on a battle for the inheritance passed on by a recently deceased elderly matriarch. The action is set in Funen, the birthplace of famous Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. The series is 3 seasons long and ended in 2017.