Monday, September 5, 2016

Top Ten Foreign TV Shows

Hosted by The Broke and Bookish

Ahhh I love this week's prompt!  As any of my regular readers know, I watch a lot of foreign things (namely anime and Korean dramas).  Soooo I had to limit myself.  I'm sticking to live action only, and preferably things that are completed and not super well known (hence no Doctor Who or Sherlock).  

Coffee Prince (Korea)

This is my all time favourite Korean drama OF ALL TIME.  It features some of my favourite tropes (namely gender bending), and has probably my favourite actor ever: Gong Yoo.  Yes, he's gorgeous which doesn't hurt - but he's also one of the most genuine actors I've seen on screen.  The show also has a great sound track and features probably my favourite scene of all time.  (For those of you who've watched it - the beach scene.)  I feel like this is a lot of people's first K-Dramas (it was mine too), and it ranks a favourite with pretty much everyone I know who has seen it.  

Torchwood (United Kingdom)

So we all know about a little show called Doctor Who, right?  Well, for those of you who don't know, there was a spin-off of the show where we follow a fan favourite - Captain Jack Harkness.  Guys, I loved this show.  It's much more adult and dark than Doctor Who - Doctor Who has a lot of innocence and wonder to it which is one of the reasons I really loved it.  Torchwood dealt a lot more with the consequences and aftermath - in that sense it's a bit of the Agents of SHIELD to the Marvel Universe movie.  It's also completely soul crushing. guys....I can not possibly describe to you how soul crushing it can be.  But it has such a great cast of characters - all super flawed in their own ways and it makes them so, so human.  And of course I'm always a fan of any show that has a bisexual character at all, let alone as a main character, super let alone a male bisexual character! 

Pinocchio (Korea)

This may be one of the best shows I've ever seen.  In fact I'd go so far to say that there is a chance A CHANCE that I like it even more than Coffee Prince.  Which would be blasphemy to say, but that's how much I loved this show.  It has a large ensemble cast and I don't think I've ever loved a cast so much.  I seriously loved every single character - even ones I thought there was NO WAY I would like.  The acting is phenomenal and the script is great (which is unsurprising, seeing as it's the writer/director from I Can Hear Your Voice which was also amazing, but since I have limited space here I could only choose one to feature).  And one of my favourite aspects of this show is that the romance takes a back seat to everything else going on for a good portion it, and that the guy isn't an asshole/alpha dude the way most guys are in K-Dramas. (I mean, I love them, but it's not to say they aren't problematic)

This show is so fun!  It's really caught on lately (thank god! I was worried is was going to be cancelled a while back!) so I'm sure many of you know this one.  It's set in 1920's/30's Australia so there's an interesting dichotomy in class and race that you see.  I feel like a lot of US movies set in that era focus on all the glamour of the era and really gloss over the awkward transition a lot of countries were going through (particularly where nobility/class is concerned and because it's in between the two world wars).  This is a cozy murder mystery series where we follow the glamorous, head strong, progressive Phryne Fisher as she solves crimes.  We also get some sparks with the head detective, and of course my ever-favourite Dot, who works as her maid.  Basically this show is fun, shippy, and has GORGEOUS costuming and scenery.

Velvet (Spain)

Speaking of beautiful clothing, I would be remiss if I didn't mention this show.  The fashion in the show is just...incomparable.  IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL I WANT TO WEAR EVERYTHING.  (Not that I don't also want to wear all of Phryne's clothes)  It's basically like Mad Men meets Downton Abbey.  So if you like either of those shows this is definitely up your alley.  Most people are in it for the main couple, but for me it's the rest of the cast that make this show for me.  And if 1950's Madrid does not sound like an interesting setting to you, we clearly can not watch TV together.

North & South (United Kingdom)

This is a miniseries that's based on the novel written by Elizabeth Gaskell.  I am going to say something extremely blasphemous right now: this is a better love story than Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy.  There. I SAID IT.  And for someone who has held that ship as the pinnacle of all ships since I was 12 years old, it's really saying something.  It's Elizabeth/Darcy's hate to love relationship but instead of Jane Austen's wit we get Charles Dickens' social consciousness. (Except better because I don't actually like Charles Dickens all that much and having read the book which is also great, of course, I prefer her writing).  But guys.  THIS IS THE SHIPPIEST OF SHIPS.  And oh my god I clearly never gave Richard Armitage enough credit for anything.  THE SWOONS.

Secret Garden (Korea)

Once again we have a bit of gender bending - but this time instead of having a girl who dresses like a boy (a la Coffee Prince), there's a body switch!  To complicate matters, the leading lady is a badass stunt actress and the leading man is a rich owner of a hotel chain - so they are from very different circles in life.  And of course the ensemble cast is what makes the show once again.  This one is just full of fun, and it shows you a side of the industry that doesn't get any credit - stunt acting.  (It is also unfortunately home to the cheesiest soundtrack of all time, but I like the show so much that I forgive it this one flaw)

Rosemary & Thyme (United Kingdom)

Ahhh I have such a fondness of cozy mysteries!  This one sets itself apart by following our two heroines - who are gardeners.  This leads to murder mysteries in the most beautiful English gardens and of course any tv show with lady friends is my favourite thing.  Beautiful settings and awesome nosy gardeners? So up my alley.  

Heartstrings (Korea)

This Korean drama has THE BEST SOUNDTRACK.  The main lead actor is most well known as the lead singer of the band CNBlue- which is, coincidentally, my favourite Korean band.  So of course the soundtrack is mainly CNBlue songs (and regular readers know I'm a sucker for a good soundtrack - it's the easiest way to convince me to watch anything)  The main actress, Park Shin-hye, is also the lead actress in another favourite on this list (Pinocchio).  She's definitely my favourite Korean actress - she's so funny!  And of course I enjoy this particular drama because it's set up as traditional Korean style music vs. newer rock music. Music all around, yay!

Black Mirror (United Kingdom)

This show is SO INTENSE.  It's very different from anything else on this list, because it's more like it's a collection of hour long films.  The production quality is extremely high, and as far as I can tell the episodes aren't linked, other than being very thought provoking.  Each episode is centered around a concept of some sort, and then throws the characters into situations that will make you question all morals and ethics and....everything. Very intense, and highly recommended.

Honorable Mention: Dance Academy (Australia)

Holy shit guys this show is so freaking addicting!!  And so dramatic.  But dance! Beautiful, beautiful dance!  This goes in honourable mentions for the sole reason that despite it being so addicting (and I loved every minute of it)...after a certain season finale I just couldn't watch anymore.  Too much drama for me - it starts stressing me out after a certain point.  (HOW MANY BAD DECISIONS CAN ONE PERSON MAKE TARA??? HOW MANY?)  But it has great dance and characters you will hate and then love and then hate again with great fervor. Literally the only reason I never finished it is because after said season finale the next season wasn't out yet and I just...couldn't.

I clearly watch too much television, so by all means leave me a link to your TTT below!

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