Euro TV is now a veritable niche sub-genre that broadcast and cable channels and free and paid streaming services are paying keen attention to in the US and UK, given viewers’ growing appetites for original-language, English-subtitled programs — whether from the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, or from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and other countries on the Continent.
Nordic noir and European crime/mystery fiction have been around for decades, as have film adaptations, such as The Name of the Rose (1986), Smilla’s Sense of Snow (1997), and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009). Likewise, Euro TV series that might be new to some viewers have been around for almost as long, such as the long-running mystery series Maigret (France, 1991-2005), Inspector Montalbano (Italy, 1999-present), and Wallander (Sweden, 2005-2014).
The series that arguably made viewers sit up and take notice of Euro TV in general and Nordic noir TV in particular, at least in the UK, was the Danish crime drama The Killing (Forbrydelsen). It hit local screens in 2007 and programmers across Europe, Asia, South America, and Oceania (but not North America) began buying it in 2008.
And Euro TV, as well as the television industry overall, hasn’t been the same since.
Regardless of whether characters speak Flemish or French, what makes much of Euro TV as compelling as many of its American and British counterparts are three things: engrossing stories, intriguing characters, and top-notch production values.
So, where can you watch English-subtitled Euro TV in the US and UK? Read on to find out.
US STREAMING & DIGITAL DOWNLOAD SERVICES
Dubbed “the best British TV” by Time magazine, subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service Acorn TV dipped its toes into the Euro TV waters back in 2013, when it premiered the anthology series Les Petits Meurtres d’Agatha Christie.
Between October 2015 and 2019, Acorn TV has debuted Finnish dramas Easy Living and Hooked, Dutch mysteries Lord & Master and The Oldenheim Twelve, French mystery The Disappearance, Italian drama The Ladies’ Paradise, Romanian drama Umbre, Scandinavian mystery-crime drama Black Widows, and Swedish Scandi noir crime dramas Rebecka Martinsson and The Truth Will Out, amongst others.
A subscription to Acorn TV costs $4.99/month or $49/year, and comes with a free 7-day trial. Members of Amazon Prime can add an Acorn TV subscription through Amazon Channels and watch Acorn TV shows through the Prime Video interface.
The number of Euro TV titles available to stream on Amazon.com has grown exponentially since 2015. Many are available on a TVOD (transactional video-on-demand) basis for individual episodes and seasons, while others are no-additional-cost offerings for Prime Video members.
In March 2017 Amazon released its first Amazon Original Euro TV series, the German thriller You Are Wanted, followed by the premieres of its Spanish Original football (soccer) documentary Six Dreams, in September 2018 and German Original crime thriller Beat in November 2018.
One of the best reasons to get Amazon Prime is its growing list of “included with Prime” Euro TV titles, which are free to watch for Prime members and not always available for purchase by non-members. Many of these shows premiere in the US (and oftentimes the UK, too) with little to no fanfare and are exclusive to Prime Video, including Belgian drama Amigos, French mystery Origins, German crime drama 4 Blocks, Icelandic mystery-crime drama Trapped, Spanish dramedy Infieles and women’s prison drama Locked Up, and Swiss German historical drama Gotthard.
Amazon also has non-Original streaming exclusives (shows that premiered in the US on other services), including two of the most popular crime dramas from Denmark, The Eagle and Unit One, plus French crime anthology series Crimes of the City and Belgian crime thriller Salamander.
Amazon Prime comes with an array of benefits that makes the $119/year membership fee worth it for millions of people. But if you only want Prime for its video streaming, a lower-cost monthly subscription might suit you better. Read this article on The British TV Place for details.
(By the way, if you have an EBT or Medicaid card, either will qualify you for Amazon’s discounted Prime program, which currently costs $5.99/month. Students can opt for Prime Student, which comes with a whopping 6-month trial and currently costs just half as much as the regular Prime membership.)
Google’s Euro TV pickings are decidedly slim and (many more) titles can be gotten elsewhere, sometimes at a lower price. A few shows I’ve found here: Beck, Maison Close, The Returned, and Spiral. There is probably more, but to be frank, searching for Euro TV titles on Google Play is a pain. (How ironic.)
Both hoopla digital and Kanopy are services that deliver digital content to their respective library partners, which allows the latter’s patrons to access that content for free by borrowing it with their valid library cards.
While Kanopy’s Euro TV offerings are quite limited, hoopla digital has a rather large selection as a free content provider — 140+ seasons and telefilms as of this writing. Most of hoopla’s Euro TV offerings are from MHz Networks (see below), and from what I can tell, a couple of titles are hoopla exclusives in the US. Read this article to learn more about hoopla digital.
The number of Euro TV shows on Hulu is starting to go up again, following the removals of French drama Pigalle, la nuit, Spanish drama Frágiles, Danish crime drama The Protectors, Swedish legal drama Verdict: Revised, and Swedish mystery series The Sandhamn Murders (now on MHz Choice), amongst other titles.
Programs that have remained available include French period dramas A French Village and Maison Close and French crime drama Spiral, German spy drama Deutschland 83, and Swedish mystery dramas Beck and Wallander. Plus, Hulu is the only stateside streaming service with Seasons 3 and 4 of the dark and gritty French police drama Braquo.
Hulu’s Euro TV additions in 2017 and 2018 included the US premieres of German thriller Bad Banks, Danish crime thriller Below the Surface, French-Swedish mystery-crime drama Midnight Sun, Swedish sci-fi drama Real Humans, Danish drama Veni Vidi Vici, and the final season of the brilliant Swedish-Danish mystery-crime thriller The Bridge. Coming soon: German wartime drama Das Boot.
As of April 3, 2019, Hulu has two basic subscription options: $5.99/month to stream programs with ads, and $11.99/month to watch commercial-free content. (There are live TV and add-on options, too.)
In 2015 Euro TV fans in the US, UK, and Canada who wanted to legally download the binge-worthy and award-winning Danish political drama Borgen were finally able to get them at iTunes, where all three seasons were made available as exclusive digital downloads.
Then in 2016 iTunes launched the first two seasons of the French spy thriller series The Bureau, the original Irish Gaelic version of period drama Dominion Creek, and the complete series of Italian crime drama Romanzo Criminale.
There are plenty of other titles that you can download from iTunes, too, including the German spy thriller Deutschland 83 and war drama Generation War, Swedish crime drama-mystery series Henning Mankell’s Wallander and Maria Wern, and French period drama Maison Close and crime drama Spiral, amongst others.
MHz Choice is the first SVOD streaming service in the US dedicated to Euro TV. It currently has the largest stateside library of Euro TV titles, and screens more than 3,000 hours worth of new and classic European programs each month.
Recent MHz Choice offerings are exclusive, including French mystery series Captain Marleau, German historical drama Redemption Road, Italian detective drama The Bastards of Pizzofalcone, and the can’t-miss, award-winning Swedish drama Don’t Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves.
A number of shows that premiered in the US on MHz Choice have been made available recently as TVOD offerings Amazon Video, so folks who don’t subscribe to MHz can still get in on the goods. Here are a few of my favorites:
Folks who live in a market where their public TV station is an affiliate of MHz Networks can still watch select MHz titles via broadcast TV on the MHz Worldview channel.
And MHz produces DVDs for many of the shows it screens. A few recent releases include:
A subscription to MHz Choice costs $7.99/month after the 30-day free trial. Viewers with Amazon Prime can add an MHz Choice subscription through Amazon Channels and watch MHz shows through the Prime Video interface.
(For Euro TV fans north of the US border, MHz Choice is now available in Canada.)
The largest SVOD platform on the planet — with 139 million subscribers worldwide, inclusive of the nearly 60.55 million in the US (as of January 2019) — has been steadily adding Euro TV titles to its already massive library. More and more of them are Netflix Original (acquired) and Netflix Global Original (produced) series, all of which are exclusives in the US.
Some of the Euro TV shows that recently premiered in the US on Netflix include Catalan fantasy drama If I Hadn’t Met You, Galician crime thriller Bitter Daisies, Italian cop drama Carlo & Malik, and Swedish drama Quicksand.
Dicte is no longer under the Netflix Originals banner, and shows including 30 Degrees in February and 1992, which premiered in the US on Netflix, are no longer streaming on Netflix US. Danish dramedy Rita lost its Original status until its fourth season premiered in the US in January 2018.
And not everything that debuts on Netflix as an exclusive stays an exclusive. Euro TV series that have since been added to other streaming and digital download services include French crime drama Witnesses, Norwegian historical drama The Heavy Water War and political thriller Occupied, and Turkish period romance drama Mahmut & Meryem.
The price for a Netflix subscription depends on the number of screens accessing content at the same time and whether you want content in SD, HD or Ultra HD. With the 2019 across-the-board price increase, the most basic plan (1 screen, SD only) now costs $8.99/month, while the most popular plan (up to 2 screens with HD) went up to $12.99/month, and the premium plan (up to 4 screens with Ultra HD) rose to $15.99/month. (This pricing is separate from that for Netflix’s standard DVD and HD Blu-ray rental plans, which run from $7.99/month to $14.99/month.)
Best known for its selection of British TV programs, this SVOD service from PBS began offering Euro TV titles and other original-language, English-subtitled TV shows from Walter Presents in mid-October 2018 — the first phase in a deal between PBS Distribution and Walter Presents. (Walter Presents ceased operations in the US in March 2019.)
A few of the Euro TV series currently available for streaming on the PBS Masterpiece channel are Dutch thriller Framed, French mystery Vanished by the Lake, German detective drama Inspector Falke, and Norwegian crime drama The River.
The PBS Masterpiece Prime Video channel, which exists only on Amazon, costs $5.99/month after the 7-day free trial.
PBS Passport is a streaming service that is provided as a member benefit to public TV viewers who contribute $60+ per year to their local PBS station. Titles available on Passport include shows from PBS and some of its member stations, as well as non-English-language TV series from Walter Presents (as of February 14, 2019), as part of the deal between WP and PBS Distribution.
The first WP program made available for streaming on Passport was the Swedish thriller Modus (shown with English subtitles).
Shudder is an SVOD streaming service specializing in horror, supernatural, and thriller programming. The majority of its content is films, but its list of TV titles is growing. Shudder has premiered a few Euro TV series, including French space thriller Missions (a Shudder Original series), German mystery drama The Valley, and Scandinavian horror drama Black Lake, as well as these Shudder Exclusives: French horror-mystery miniseries Beyond the Walls, Swedish fantasy-mystery drama Ängelby, and Swedish crime thriller Jordskott.
Shudder costs US$4.99/month or US$49.99/year and comes with a 7-day free trial. Amazon Prime members in the US can subscribe to Shudder via Amazon Channels and watch its content through the Prime Video interface.
Formerly known as DocClub, SVOD service Sundance Now has expanded its offerings to include acclaimed films and TV series, as well as documentaries, from the US and abroad.
The streaming home of French spy thriller The Bureau, Sundance Now has debuted several Euro TV shows in the US, including Belgian crime thriller Public Enemy, Dutch-Flemish disaster drama The Swell, French sci-fi drama Trepalium, and Icelandic drama Prisoners.
Its most recent US premieres include German true crime drama 54 Hours and period spy thriller Deutschland 86, Icelandic mystery-crime thriller and Sundance Now exclusive Stella Blomkvist (starring Poldark‘s Heida Reed), and Swedish period drama The Restaurant, a Sundance Now Original series.
Shudder and Sundance Now are owned by AMC, and recently certain shows have been made available on both services, such as Swedish-Danish-Norwegian horror thriller Black Lake, French sci-fi thriller Trepalium, and German mystery-crime drama The Valley.
A subscription to Sundance Now costs $6.99/month or $59.99/year after the 7-day free trial. Amazon Prime members in the US can add Sundance Now through Amazon Channels and watch its titles through the Prime Video interface.
Launched in early 2014, Tubi TV is an AVOD (ad-based video-on-demand) service in the US. While its Euro TV content currently numbers just 10 shows (down from a high of 13), all of them are free to stream.
Owned and operated by Walmart, Vudu competes with Amazon Video, Google Play, and iTunes, in that it sells digital downloads of TV shows and films. Its library of Euro TV titles is small, and includes shows that are available elsewhere. So why use Vudu?
Because its pricing is comparable to that of its competitors; seasons are sometimes bundled for lower pricing; you can watch programs pretty much anywhere with just about any kind of digital device; you can download shows to up to eight devices; and you can use PayPal to pay for purchases and rentals.
The big news is that Vudu is launching an SVOD service to compete with Netflix et al. Vudu had announced a Q4 2018 launch of the service, but that didn’t happen, so stay tuned…
Walter Presents shuttered its SVOD service and apps in the US on March 1, 2019, to focus on international TV distribution, so they partnered with PBS Distribution to bring Euro TV and other foreign-language programs to US audiences via the PBS Masterpiece channel on Amazon (see above). Comcast customers with both Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Internet were supposed to be able to add the new Walter Presents channel — found in the Xfinity X1 On-Demand section — to their services starting February 25, 2019, for $5.99/month (after the 7-day free trial), but as of May 10, 2019, there is no content on the channel (at least not on my Xfinity).
Yahoo View is the AVOD service that offers select content from Hulu for free, including (as of this writing) French cop drama Braquo, Swedish/Danish crime thriller The Bridge, and French period drama Maison Close.
US LINEAR TV CHANNELS
Eurochannel offers Euro TV series from across the continent, some of which premiered in the US under its “European Prime TV Series” banner. Shows that recently premiered in the US on Eurochannel include these series from France and Italy:
The “La loi de…” telefilm series of feature-length legal dramas — including Christophe’s Law, Gloria’s Law, and Pauline’s Law — debuted in the US on Eurochannel before making their way to Prime Video.
You can access Eurochannel through any of these international packages on Sling TV (pricing varies by package).
Likely the most notable Euro TV launch on this premium channel has been My Brilliant Friend, the excellent Italian coming-of-age drama based on the first book in Elena Ferrante‘s “Neopolitan Novels,” which becamse one of my favorite Euro TV premieres of 2018.
Prior to that, HBO brought a few shows produced by HBO Europe to the US in late 2017 and 2018, including mystery-crime drama Wasteland and romantic comedy Head Over Heels from the Czech Republic, drama Golden Life and romantic comedy When Shall We Kiss from Hungary, and suspense thriller The Pact from Poland.
You can get HBO through a cable or satellite TV package (price varies), with the standalone HBO NOW streaming product ($14.99/month), or as an add-on to Hulu or another platform (price varies). Viewers with Amazon Prime can add an HBO subscription through Amazon Channels and watch HBO shows through the Prime Video interface.
KCET, the largest independent public TV station that recently merged with PBS affiliate PBS SoCal, and Link TV, KCET’s non-commercial satellite TV network partner (available on DirecTV and Dish), have had two Euro TV exclusives in the US: the megahit political drama Borgen (in 2012) and the crime thriller Follow the Money (in summer 2018), both from Denmark. Earlier in 2018, KCET launched the addictive Spanish period mystery drama Grand Hotel on American broadcast TV.
PBS Member Stations
The third part of the deal between PBS Distribution and Walter Presents calls for select international TV programs from Walter Presents to be broadcast on PBS member stations. Unlike the British TV shows that air nationally across the PBS network, WP’s foreign-language titles are being rolled out on a local and regional basis.
The first PBS station to screen a Walter Presents show is KLCS in Los Angeles, and the first WP title to be broadcast in the US is Season 1 of the Swedish thriller Modus. It began airing on February 14, 2019.
This ad-supported sister channel to BBC America and AMC debuted the International Emmy® Award-winning French supernatural thriller The Returned to US audiences in 2013 and the show’s second season in 2015.
Also in 2015 was something huge for Euro TV in the US: SundanceTV’s premiere of its co-production Deutschland 83, a bona fide worldwide hit and “the first-ever German-language drama to be aired on a major US network.” The show’s second season, Deutschland 86, premiered in the US in October 2018.
And in 2016 SundanceTV premiered the Italian crime drama Gomorrah, followed by the series’ second season in 2017. Stateside fans of the show are eagerly awaiting the third and fourth seasons.
SundanceTV is available through cable and satellite TV packages (prices vary). Cord-cutters who would like to access SundanceTV (and 39+ basic channels) without having to pay a hefty cable or satellite TV bill can do so with a no-contract subscription to Philo ($16 or $20/month). Having a subscription through any of these means allows you to stream SundanceTV offerings on its website.
Another premium channel that recently jumped on the Euro TV bandwagon is Starz, which brought four Euro TV series to the US in 2018: Austrian historical drama Maximilian and Marie de Bourgogne, Norwegian crime thriller Monster, Italian mystery-crime drama Rocco Schiavone (another of my favorite Euro TV premieres in 2018), and Spanish crime drama La Zona.
Viewers can subscribe to Starz with a cable or satellite TV package (pricing varies), the Starz streaming app ($8.99/month), or the Starz channel on Amazon ($8.99/month for Amazon Prime members), which lets subscribers watch Starz programs through the Prime Video interface.
TV5Monde USA is the American arm of the global French network, and its programs are from territories where French is the national language or one of them, including France, Switzerland, Belgium, Canada, and French-speaking Africa.
Shows that are subtitled in English on TV5Monde USA (not all of them are) tend to be dramas and mysteries; the latter includes titles in the “Meurtres à…” (“Murder in…”) and “Crime à…” series of feature-length crime drama telefilms, such as Meurtres à Dunkerque and Crime à Aigues-Mortes.
While the “Murder in…” titles have been recent additions on MHz Choice, others of TV5Monde USA’s programs haven’t been available anywhere else — the exception being the French police procedural Main courante, aka Guilty as Charged.
TV5Monde USA is offered through cable and satellite TV packages (pricing varies), as well as the “Juste French” package on Sling ($15/month).
Basic cable and satellite channel WGN America has also premiered a Euro TV series in the US: the bilingual Swedish-English mystery-crime drama 100 Code, starring the late, great Michael Nyqvist. Whether the channel brings any more Euro TV shows to the US remains to be seen.
IN THE UK
Commercial-free public broadcast channel BBC Four has been airing TV programs and films from its European neighbors on Saturday evenings for years, including Euro TV classics such as Italian mystery drama Inspector Montalbano, Swedish mystery-crime drama Henning Mankell’s Wallander, and Danish crime drama The Killing.
The third season of Danish crime thriller Follow the Money premiered on BBC Four on 6 April 2019. Other series that have debuted in recent years on the channel include Danish thriller Below the Surface, Season 2 of the hit Icelandic mystery-crime drama Trapped, Scandi horror series Black Lake, Spanish historical drama The Plague, and both seasons of Spanish thriller I Know Who You Are.
Channel 4, the ad-supported pubcaster, went Euro TV when it screened the French supernatural drama The Returned and Norwegian crime thriller Mammon several years ago, followed by the Norwegian wartime thriller The Saboteurs, French wartime drama Resistance, French crime thriller Witnesses, and Series 2 of The Returned in 2015.
That same year, Channel 4 announced that All 4, its free AVOD website, would be the home of Walter Presents, the branding for what would be the “world drama” section of All 4. Walter Presents launched in the UK on 3 January 2016 with nine programs, including Deutschland 83, “the highest rated foreign-language drama in UK TV history.” Since then, UK-based Euro TV fans have been able to access 24/7 a range of English-subtitled international shows in the “Walter Presents Collection,” including…
Co-founded by Walter Iuzzolino, the sole curator of the content on his namesake international TV service, Walter Presents launched in the US as an SVOD service in March 2017. However, in October 2018, WP took down its channel on Prime Video US and started transitioning its content to the PBS Masterpiece channel, then shuttered its US operations in March 2019.
In November 2017, Walter Presents launched on Foxtel in Australia, followed by Italy in May 2018 via a partnership with Discovery. WP is set to debut in mid-April 2019 to Flemish audiences in Belgium on the new VTM GO digital service.
For UK viewers with a subscription to Sky, these two Sky channels screen Euro TV series on a fairly regular basis.
Sky Arts has premiered the Swedish drama 30 Degrees in February, French flic drama Braquo, Norwegian comedy Dag, French comedy Hard, Spanish mystery Grand Hotel, Danish drama The Legacy, French period drama Maison Close, the adult-themed Belgian drama Matrioshki, Norwegian thriller Occupied, and the French-Swedish crime drama Midnight Sun.
The most recent Euro TV premieres on Sky Atlantic were historical crime thriller Babylon Berlin and war drama Das Boot from Germany, and mystery drama The Miracle and period drama My Brilliant Friend from Italy. Other Euro TV series that debuted in the UK on Sky Atlantic include Italian Mafia dramas 1992, 1993, and Gomorrah, Swedish-English crime drama 100 Code, French-English crime thriller The Tunnel, and Belgian crime drama Public Enemy.
Offerings from both channels are available for catch-up viewing on Now TV.
Video Streaming Services
In addition to terrestrial and satellite channels, SVOD and TVOD streaming services such as Amazon Video, Netflix, Shudder, and Sundance Now offer a wide array of shows for Euro TV fans in the UK, including…
For Euro TV enthusiasts who are members of Amazon Prime UK, getting a subscription to the Arrow TV (£4.99/month), Shudder (£4.99/month), or Sundance Now (£5.99/month) channel under Amazon Channels on Prime Video UK saves a ton of money on streaming (as compared to buying their shows on an per-episode or per-season basis).
For information on where to watch Euro TV programs by language in the US and UK, visit the Euro TV Shows by Language pages.
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