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Take a Virtual Summer Vacation with These Far-Flung TV Shows

From New Zealand to Kenya, explore the world from the comfort of your living room

Liz Raftery

Looking to take a trip this summer, but don't have the vacation time or funds? Not to worry. Thanks to streaming services, American television viewers have access to more international shows than ever, so it's easy to explore the scenery and cultures of other countries from the comfort of your own living room. Here, we've compiled a list of the best TV shows from 15 foreign countries -- from Brazil to Ireland, Israel to Australia. Whether you're partial to comedy, drama, true crime, or action thrillers, there's something on this list for you. And who knows? You might discover a new bucket list vacation destination in the process.

Chewing Gum

Chewing Gum(U.K.)

What It's About: Michaela Coel created and stars in this comedy series as Tracey Gordon, a woman in her mid-20s who grew up in an extremely religious household and wants to go on a journey of self-discovery, starting with losing her virginity.

Where You Can Watch: Netflix

The Kettering Incident

The Kettering Incident (Australia)

What It's About: This Tasmania-set drama, which premiered last year, follows Dr. Anna Macy (Elizabeth Debicki), who returns to her childhood town to investigate the mysterious disappearance of her best friend and half-sister 15 years earlier. After another young girl goes missing, secrets about the town's residents start to come to light. A second season is in the works.

Where You Can Watch: Amazon Video

Shadow of Truth

Shadow of Truth (Israel)

What It's About: This true-crime documentary premiered in nearly 200 countries earlier this year. It explores the 2006 murder of a 13-year-old Israeli girl and the subsequent arrest and trial of a Ukrainian immigrant who worked at the school where her body was found. Was he falsely charged with her murder?

Where You Can Watch: Netflix

A Very Secret Service

A Very Secret Service (France)

What It's About: Set in 1960 during the height of the Cold War, this French comedy-drama follows a young trainee officer who accepts a position with the French Secret Service.

Where You Can Watch: Netflix

The Samaritans
Xenium Productions

The Samaritans (Kenya)

What It's About: Think The Office, but set in Kenya. This 2013 mockumentary -- the first of its kind to be developed and produced in Kenya -- chronicles aid workers for an NGO that doesn't actually help anyone.

Where You Can Watch: Rent the first two episodes at aidforaid.org.

Murdoch Mysteries
Christos Kalohoridis/CBC

Murdoch Mysteries(Canada)

What It's About: This long-running drama, which is about to kick off its 11th season, stars Yannick Bisson as William Murdoch, a brilliant detective working in Toronto in the late 1800s, who often uses unconventional methods to solve the crimes he's investigating.

Where You Can Watch: Netflix

Hibana: Spark
YD Creation/Netflix

Hibana (Spark) (Japan)

What It's About: This web series, which premiered on Netflix last year, is an adaptation of the novel Hibana by Naoki Matayoshi. It tells the story of an up-and-coming stand-up comedian who begins an apprenticeship with a veteran of manzai, or Japanese stand-up.

Where You Can Watch: Netflix

The Fall
Helen Sloan/Netflix

The Fall(Ireland)
What It's About: When she's not chasing aliens as The X-Files' Dana Scully, Gillian Anderson is starring (alongside Archie Panjabi and Fifty Shades' Jamie Dornan) in this Irish crime drama about a police superintendent (Anderson) who leads the investigation into a serial killer (Dornan). Seasons 1-3 are available now, and a fourth season has been hinted at but not confirmed.

Where You Can Watch: Netflix

Grand Hotel
Antena 3

Grand Hotel (Spain)

What It's About: This upstairs-downstairs drama, which aired for three seasons from 2011 to 2013, takes place at a luxurious hotel in 1905. A young man takes a job as a waiter and teams up with one of the hotel owner's daughters to investigate the strange disappearance of his sister, who used to work as a maid at the hotel, a month earlier.

Where You Can Watch: Hulu


Forbrydelsen (Denmark)

What It's About: Before there was the AMC drama The Killing, there was the Danish series on which it was based. The plot is the same -- a female detective investigates murders, with each season focusing on a different case -- but this version is set in Copenhagen rather than Seattle.

Where You Can Watch: Amazon

Top of the Lake
See-Saw Films (TOTL2)

Top of the Lake (New Zealand)

What It's About: Top of the Lake's much-anticipated second installment, China Girl, is set to premiere next month, so make sure you catch up on the first season before then. The six-episode drama-mystery series stars Elisabeth Moss as a detective investigating the case of a 12-year-old pregnant girl who vanishes in New Zealand. Nicole Kidman joins the cast for Season 2, which takes place four years after the events of the first season and follows Moss' character as she looks into the death of an unidentified Asian girl in Sydney, Australia.

Where You Can Watch: Hulu

​Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan, Outlander
Neil Davidson/Starz


What It's About: Starz' time-travel drama, based on the popular Diana Gabaldon book series, follows the romantic trials and tribulations of Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe), a married nurse living during World War II whose life is upended when she gets transported back to 1743 Scotland and falls in love with a Highland warrior named Jamie (Sam Heughan).

Where You Can Watch: Amazon Video


Wallander (Sweden)

What It's About: The three seasons of this fictional crime series each consist of feature-length episodes about the titular police officer, Kurt Wallander, and the investigations he conducts around southern Sweden. The series was later adapted into a British show starring Kenneth Branagh.

Where You Can Watch: Hulu

El Marginal

El Marginal (Argentina)

What It's About: This award-winning 2016 miniseries follows a former cop who goes to jail using a fake name in order to infiltrate a prison gang and try to obtain information about a kidnapping victim. A second season is in the works.

Where You Can Watch: Netflix

Pedro Saad/Netflix

3% (Brazil)

What It's About: Netflix's first Brazilian production is a dystopian series set in a future where people are given the option of going through a series of tests called The Process to escape the "Inland," a poor dystopia, to go to the "Offshore," a land of wealth and progress. But only 3 percent of the candidates actually make it through The Process.

Where You Can Watch: Netflix