International Shows To Broaden Your World During Social Distance


Is it just me, or does anybody else have a bad habit of second-screening (using your phone, laptop or tablet) while watching television at home? Even though I adore pop culture, this is absolutely one of my weaknesses!

During this hectic time, my second-screening habit has been particularly unhelpful. Suddenly, I’m in an endless loop of Facebook posts, Twitter threads and news stories that all keep my brain in a frenzied state of worry. 

And sometimes a babe needs a break from all that, you know? 

So my latest self-care habit is made to keep myself entertained and off my phone! I’m trying out new international shows and movies on Netflix that have subtitles. 

This means they require my full attention and I become immersed in new worlds and stories without intrusions from the news and social media landscape. 

The international options on services like Netflix are bountiful! Here are some that I’m watching and are on my radar! 

Carole and Tuesday

This animated show has been on my list for a while, and social distance finally gave me a good excuse to check it out! 

Our protagonists, Carole and Tuesday, are two young women who live in a futuristic society on Mars. Almost everything is managed with the help of artificial intelligence–even creative endeavors like songwriting! 

The heroines have a natural drive to make music, though, so the show follows their collaborative songwriting along with their manager and friends. In a time when many of us are re-discovering creative pursuits, Carole and Tuesday provides an optimistic look at the human spirit and creative drive!


This one is still on my to-be-watched list. However, there’s been plenty of hype for it, including articles on Frolic!

Elite begins with a classic “fish out of water” trope, with students who are transferred to one of the top private schools in their area (you might say…its students are…elite…). They become entwined in the interactions of the hyper-privileged student body and drama abounds! 

If your brain needs to unplug with some classic teen drama tropes, Elite might just be the social distancing show of your dreams!

Terrace House

I’ve written about my appreciation for Terrace House before. If you’ve put off checking out this reality hit, there’s no time like the present to dive in! 

Terrace House is a Japanese reality show in which three men and three women live in a house provided by the television production. Generally, they go about their everyday lives as they negotiate chores, build relationships, search for jobs, and so on. 

While this might sound boring, it’s actually a LOT of fun, especially thanks to the dynamic panel of entertainers who comment on each episode. 

Personally, I recommend starting with my favorite season, Boys and Girls in the City, but all of the seasons are magnificent entertainment for quiet days spent indoors. 

Babylon Berlin

Full disclosure: this German show may be a bit gritty for some Frolic readers. I checked it out because of all the glowing praise heaped upon it by one of my favorite tv critics, Kathryn VanArendonk. 

Set in 1929 Berlin, this show follows a detective as he investigates gritty crimes and takes on his own secret mission. There are also radical Trotskyists, brothels in hot nightclubs, double-crossing double agent types, and so much more! 

If you’re looking for an edgy prestige drama vibe with some truly gorgeous intentional cinematography, I recommend seeing if Babylon Berlin might be for you!

Chef & My Fridge

I’ve only seen a couple of episodes of this show, but it’s a fun international reality show to check out. 

The conceit of this Korean show is simple and silly: two guests have their fridges from home brought into a TV studio, and then chefs must use the ingredients from the guest fridge to prepare a desired kind of dish in just 15 minutes! 

The banter is light, the cooking is impressive, and the strange challenges of the format MAY inspire some cooking creativity when you’re not able to restock your own fridge as often as you’d like!

Here’s hoping these shows can help expand your world and quiet your mind during days of social distance! I know that they’ve absolutely helped me stay off my phone when I’m stuck at home. 

Do you have any favorite subtitled media that you can recommend? Feel free to pass on all your suggestions!


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