Must Watch International Series
The best just got better. International series from HBO Europe, HBO Asia, and HBO Latin America have landed on these shores. Read on to find out what you need to know about each program.
The six-part horror anthology from HBO Asia is directed by six of the continent’s up-and-coming directors across six different countries. The unnerving series is an exploration of deep-seated superstitions that have permeated Asian cultures for generations — and doesn't shy away from the spooky.
Below are the basics, but if here's everything to know about each episode (and its respective mythology).
Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand
Each episode features the language of the country in which it’s set.
1 season: 6 episodes, 6 hours
An open mind. Things get very weird very quickly.
The names of supernatural beings in Asian lore, like Pob (a human-eating spirit) and Mongdal (the ghost of a bachelor).
Set in what’s now known as Gresik, East Java, Grisse is the story of a 19th century rebellion, when Indonesian natives rose up against the Dutch colonists of the namesake town. A young woman, Kalia, finds herself alone in the world when a rapacious Dutch soldier murders her family. No shrinking violet, Kalia incites a revolution in Grisse, where a motley crew of outlaws (including: a silent ronin, furious farmhands and a sharp-tongued madam) get gritty, Deadwood-style, wrestling with their colonizers — and each other — for control. Kalia and her crew seize the fort, but whether they can hang on before the next group of empire builders rolls in remains to be seen.
1 season: 8 episodes, 45 minutes
An open mind. It’s in English, but there are stylistic differences in the storytelling.
“Nasi goreng western”: Nasi goreng is the local version of fried rice. Like the “spaghetti westerns” of the Sixties, Grisse combines classic cowboy motifs with elements of Southeast Asia, including martial arts.
Based on Jakub Żulczyk’s bestselling novel of the same name, Blinded by the Lights follows a week in the life of Kuba, a secretive Warsaw cocaine dealer who exists between the city’s opposing worlds: that of his affluent clients and the criminal underbelly he answers to. Kuba wants out, agreeing to one last job before he escapes to Argentina, but of course, things don’t go smoothly. When he crosses paths with an old-school mobster, Kuba’s carefully constructed reality begins to come apart.
1 season: 8 episodes, 8 hours
A friend who loves bouncing theories back and forth
Best Series at the Polish Film Awards 2019 — Poland’s version of the Academy Awards
“Kokaina,” which means “cocaine” — a major element of the series
The unplanned murder of a powerful gangster’s son brings four strangers together to the city of Zagreb, where corruption runs rampant and organized crime reigns. As the accidental criminals attempt to cover up the incident, they discover evading consequences might not be possible.
Success was created and written by Marjan Alčevski, directed by Oscar winner Danis Tanović (No Man’s Land) and stars Uliks Fehmiu, Tara Thaller, Iva Mihalić and Toni Gojanović.