Europeans are of course still mainly watching national tv series or American tv series. However, there are few European tv series that have managed to cross national border straight into people's hearts. Those tv shows usually also make it across the ocean into the homes of Americans. Unfortunately, most of these series get remade by American production companies. In general, this is not an improvement. Also a few of the series I am going to discuss below have been turned into an American or English remake. Let us have at these great series. One per country. A German, Danish, Swedish, French and Italian TV series.
The Killing - Forbrydelsen
The absolute hit series from Denmark. The Danmarks Radio production has been exported all over the world. It has sold it rights worldwide with success. It is by far one of my most favorite European TV Series. It now has two seasons out, and they both are very good. Recently the American remake 'The Killing' has also been released.
What is so special about the Killing is that it solves one murder through the whole season (Twin Peaks style but then without the weird elements). It takes place in Copenhagen where a girl gets murdered. Soon they find out that the girl was wound up in all kinds of intriguing adventures leading back to the City Hall. The workaholic Sarah Lund is on the case together with her new partner.
The Swedish Sensation. A TV Series that revolves around police detective Wallander in his fight against crime in the small southern Swedish Town Ystad. In every episode he solves a new murder case. In the mean while all kinds of private developments also take place. through the episodes the relationships between the characters interestingly develop.
Wallander is based on the books of Henning Mankell. The series has got its rights sold all over the world and there has been a British remake made. The Swedish version is still a lot better and has received a Golden Globe nomination.
Engrenages - Spiral
The biggest success originating from France. It has been broadcasted in over Seventy countries. It gives us an insight into the judicial system of France. We follow police detectives, lawyers and judges in their daily lives. It started in 2005. In 2010 its third season was finally released. It is one of the moust famous and popular police shows in the world.
La Piovra - The Octopus
The great Italian hit series of the 1980's. It was so popular that it was evenly broadcasted on the other side of the Iron curtain in Russia and other Eastern-European Countries. Piovra is the word for the Italian Mob. Policeman Corrado Cattani makes it his personal mission to fight this organised crime organisation. This will not be an easy task, and will be hard on him and his family.
The all-time German Classic. The series by Director Rainier Werner Fassbinder is based on the book that goes by the same name of Alfred Doblin. This book was selected as the third best German book of the Twentieth Century. The story is about a young criminal and his troubles in the Berlin Alexanderplatz region.