Image of El Desorden Que Dejas on Netflix
Shows like "El Desorden Que Dejas" will draw you in. (Image via Google Images)

4 European Netflix Shows Just as Good as American TV — or Even Better

The prospect of subtitles has made many pass on some special series. These are just a few that are worth the effort.

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Image of El Desorden Que Dejas on Netflix
Shows like "El Desorden Que Dejas" will draw you in. (Image via Google Images)

The prospect of subtitles has made many pass on some special series. These are just a few that are worth the effort.

At this point, Netflix users are very much aware of the variety in its catalog. It doesn’t just offer American shows, but shows created all over the world. Somehow though, despite all of the amazing art being put out there, we still manage to watch those exclusively from our culture. It’s time to change that.

1. “El Desorden Que Dejas”

Spain’s most recent release is based on the novel of the same name, written by Carlos Montero. “El Desorden Que Dejas” tells the story of a substitute teacher, Raquel, who moves to Galicia in the north of Spain. She’s taking over a literature class where the previous teacher has left big shoes to fill. But on her first day of class, she finds out why she’s taking over: The former teacher has just killed herself.

After receiving a chilling threat tucked between the exams she has to correct, Raquel gets the feeling that Viruca’s supposedly suicidal tendencies weren’t what ended her life. More and more evidence points to this being a murder case, and Raquel is determined to solve it.

The students, the ex-husband of the victim and basically the whole town becomes, in one way or another, involved in the mysterious case. The show will have you doubting every single character at one point or another, and the ending will leave your mouth hanging open.

2. “Dark”

Netflix Germany gave viewers this gem a few years back. “Dark” began in 2017 and ended last year after three seasons. It had a successful run where fans came up with theories left and right as to how the show could end.

Overall, everyone seemed satisfied with the outcome; “Dark” is rated 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s one of those shows where the creators knew exactly when to finish it and were smart enough not to elongate it more than necessary.

After the disappearance of two kids in a small town in Germany, four families come together in a tangle of supernatural, time-bending events. Be ready to have your mind completely blown as you travel through time to understand the nature of how exactly these families came to be. I suggest Googling a family tree of the main characters because you’ll be meeting many generations.

If you’re fascinated by the concept of time, you might want to check this show out. It will make you ask yourself questions you never thought your brain was capable of asking, and the characters will grow on you and make you root for them during their three-season adventure.

3. Valeria

This show is a little more on the light side after two heavy recommendations. “Valeria,” also from Netflix Spain, has been compared to the ever-classic “Sex and the City.”

The show follows four friends in Madrid trying to navigate their late 20s. The main character (you guessed it), Valeria, is a writer with writer’s block. She’s been married for a while, but is realizing through her girlfriends’ many sexual adventures how much she’s missing out. But she loves her husband dearly, so she channels her lack of action through her writing, deciding to write erotic literature.

It seems to work out; Valeria’s writer’s block begins to dissipate. However, her real life — her married life, more like — starts to go downhill after she meets a guy who piques her interest.

Meanwhile, her friends have an equal number of issues in their own lives. Lola gets involved with a married man, while simultaneously trying to reconnect with her estranged mother. Carmen has a crush on a coworker who is ignoring her attempts to flirt, so she decides to focus on other aspects of her life, like finding her own apartment, which is difficult in expensive Madrid. And Nerea still hasn’t come out to her parents. She has somehow managed to keep that part of her life a secret from them, despite still living under their roof and working for their firm. She finds solace in a group defending the LGBTQ+ community.

4. La Casa de Papel

Also known as “Money Heist,” and probably the most popular on this list, “La Casa de Papel” is a show with soon-to-be five seasons of action-packed robberies. A group of outsiders is recruited by a mastermind referred to as el Profesor, the teacher. Together, they manage to pull off the biggest theft known in history. Or do they?

The series takes place in a variety of locations, but the action remains the same throughout the series. The characters are badass, but they still come across as vulnerable despite their circumstances, which will inevitably break your heart.

Netflix has a lot to offer, and hopefully, its American viewers are ready for more than just the shows written and performed in their own language. It’s obvious American shows are much more mainstream and have a much broader reach, but Netflix has helped remedy the situation quite a bit. Hopefully, these suggestions will motivate you to give these shows a chance.

Writer Profile

Eva McCarthy Mínguez

Stony Brook University
Creative Writing

Writer in training. Professional reader. In the process of sharing her voice while highlighting others.

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