Reader, I admit it; I love foreign language TV shows. I can’t quite put my finger on why I love them so much, but my goodness, I do. So I have a little plan to help you love them as much as I do. Have you ever chosen a foreign-language TV show by trope?
We’re all helpless in the face of a fantastic trope! I have five recommendations for you that might just get you as addicted to these shows as I am.
Trope: Enemies-to-lovers… maybe.
Ola’s husband cheated on her and so she retreats to her mom’s house in Poland and works as an Uber driver. So far, so relatable, right? This is where her story takes a turn. One night while driving, she sees a woman being pushed off a bridge. The police do not believe her – they claim that the woman fell or jumped. Adamant and unwilling to let this miscarriage of justice continue, she scours the internet and her search turns up an unique group: Ultraviolet. They are a group of ordinary citizens who fight crimes that the police ‘ignore’. Enter police officer, Michal. SWOON. Think of a Polish version of Eric from True Blood and you have an idea of the hotness we’re dealing with here. Their will-they-won’t-they energy gave me tingles in all the best ways.
La Casa de la Flores
Literally every trope
This show is everything I love about life: wild, unpredictable and utterly mesmerising. The de la Mora family owns a flower shop – La Casa de la Flores – but only two members of the family know that the glossy flower shop is actually supported financially by the drag queen cabaret of the same name. Ernesto de la Mora runs the cabaret with his mistress of 20 years, Roberta. Roberta’s suicide in the opening scene of the series is the catalyst for the great unravelling. From that point on, there’s no holding the secrets back: secret babies, gay sons, empty bank accounts, and so SO much more. Buckle up, for season 1, stick it out for season 2 and relish every glorious moment of season 3.
Trope: love triangle
This one is a bit out of leftfield, but it’s worth giving it a go. Igor is an oligarch’s son who consistently makes poor choices. As punishment, his father finds him a place as an assistant to a group of police detectives. Russia’s corruption is front and centre here, but the police officers themselves are honourable people who hold a mirror up to Igor’s depravity. In their own way, they show him how life can be. He turns his life around, slowly, and in the process, he falls in love with someone he has no business loving. But does she love him back? Ah! Sparks! Bonus points for the pastel blue police station and the general kitsch.
Oh my Venus
I’ve saved my last two recs for the glorious wonderland that is K-Dramas. At first, I was a little unsure about this show as the heroine goes on a diet as part of a ‘healthy living’ plan. Not something that I usually enjoy watching. But in this instance, I did. As a plus size person myself, I didn’t feel judged or angered (although this might not be the case for all). Instead, I was charmed. It did not hurt that the hero has dangerous levels of SWOON. Their chemistry is so convincing that you feel yourself falling in love.
Crash Landing on You
Trope: enemies to lovers (again, I know – it makes great TV!)
I made the tactical error of watching this series episode-by-episode as it was released. If I’d been thinking clearly, I would have saved the episodes up so I could immerse myself in this magnificent world for a full weekend. Brace yourself for this premise: A rich South Korean beauty tycoon is paragliding when a freak storm blows her into North Korea. There she is found by a small company of North Korean soldiers. For reasons that they cannot fully explain to themselves, they do not arrest or kill her. Instead she comes to live with the captain in the village. I’m not sure what sort of magic the writers of this series have, but the plot does. not. stop. Each twist and turns brings you inexorably closer to a climax that left me in tears (in a good way). They handled the politics of this situation quite carefully by painting neither country as superior to the other. Instead they focus on the humanity that connects them.
Watch one of these great shows tonight!