Some of the best and original productions being streamed right now are coming from all over the world, says streaming columnist NICK OVERALL.
AS Netflix continues to grow its global streaming empire, more and more original productions from around the world are being pumped out and finding the spotlight.
It just so happens that this content is proving to be some of the best of what’s on offer.
“Dark” was the first foreign series to really make some noise in streaming news. It’s a German supernatural thriller which not only gets your mind bending but certifiably ties knots in it itself.
Since that show’s success, more stuff from around the world has popped up in Netflix’s “Original Series” feeds. “Money Heist” is another example, a pithy series from Spain about a criminal mastermind and his crack team of criminals attempting to pull off the biggest heist in history.
Now the newest to make its mark is “To The Lake”. This one from Russia no less, about a deadly disease that breaks out in Moscow and a family’s desperate attempt to outrun it.
As is the usual affair with such premises, we’re introduced to a mismatched group of survivors who have to band together to get through the apocalyptic scenario.
Without a doubt, the show is chock-full of influence, especially that of the zombie genre. In particular “The Walking Dead” and “28 Days Later” seep into the show’s design, even as closely as the musical score, but there’s still certainly enough originality to give it its own style and voice.
It’s refreshing to see the drama unfold in a unique setting alone. Where usually we’re used to seeing film and TV zombies hobble around the New Yorks or Londons of the world, the stark and snow-filled outskirts of the Moscow cityscape here give “To The Lake” an eerie edge of character in its own right.
Another international production on Netflix this year that had me bingeing was “Into The Night”, a Belgian production with an original and thrilling concept that quickly hooked me.
In this one, a group of survivors are lumped together in an airplane that must continuously travel through the night because, in the light of day, everything goes haywire and starts to destroy all it shines upon.
The script can get a little loose here and there, and the characters can fall into the “stereotypical end times survivor round-up”, but the pure originality of its premise makes for an addictive run of episodes.
A bit like what’s going on with the plane itself in the series, the whole show has really flown under the radar for general Netflix viewers.
If we’re talking “international” though, what about Australian productions?
Well, even we have our own zombie end-of-the-world do-up with “Cargo”. It’s about a father infected with a deadly disease who’s stranded in the Australian outback looking for a safe haven for his child.
Seems that audiences certainly are nowhere near tiring of any and every iteration of apocalyptic premise.
Even closer to home, Netflix actually boasts a drama series set right here in “pollie town” called “Secret City”. It centres around a political journalist, Harriet Dunkley, who pulls together the threads of a tangled web of conspiracy amidst rising tension with, would you believe, China. Tad topical.
I don’t think I’d be alone in thinking it’s a very strange and exciting thing to see a big-budget series on Netflix with all of its crisp cinematography focused firmly on where you yourself live.
I reckon it’s about time Netflix rolled out a show across the border in Queanbeyan… and it better not be called “Struggle Town”.
More of Nick Overall on Twitter @nick_overall