One of the best things about Netflix is its international slate of titles from across the globe. In fact, they remain unrivaled in this department and already, in 2023, have delivered some excellent entertainment. Below are our picks for the best new international series released by Netflix in 2023.
We’ll be revisiting this list throughout 2023, so keep it bookmarked.
Now without further ado, here are some of our favorite new international series that have made their way onto Netflix in 2023.
Country of Origin: South Korea
Cast: Stars: Song Hye-Kyo, Lee Do-Hyun, Ji-Yeon Lim
We had wondered if the Korean drama boom was over, given that no recent addition has captured the attention like All of Us Are Dead, Hellbound, or Squid Game, the biggest of them all.
How wrong were we!?
The Glory came out of nowhere late last year and knocked everyone to the ground, and earlier this year, we got the second installment. Since that second installment, the show has entered Netflix’s all-time list of most-watched international series.
For those unfamiliar with the show, the series follows a woman’s quest for revenge against her childhood bullies.
Country of Origin: Denmark
Creators: Sara Isabella Jønsson Vedde and Nicolas Winding Refn
Cast: Angela Bundalovic, Andreas Lykke Jørgensen, Li Ii Zhang
Nicolas Winding Refn is behind this ambitious and artsy Scandinavian crime thriller that Netflix had high hopes for when it was released in early January 2023.
While it never set the Netflix top 10s on fire, those that did stick with the show were treated to an engaging, unique crime thriller that’s distinctly Refn and that comes with all the weirdness and quirks that you’d expect from the creator.
The premise of the six-episode series is that a woman with mysterious supernatural abilities seeks revenge against those that have wronged her.
Woman of the Dead
Country of Origin: Austria
Cast: Anna Maria Mühe, Felix Klare, Yousef Sweid
If there’s a genre of series Europe as a whole excels at most, it’s the crime mystery drama and Woman of the Dead (also known as Totenfrau) certainly hits those criteria.
Originating out of Austria (one of the first solo-Originals from the region), the show follows a woman’s quest to find out who killed her husband and, while doing so, exposes her small community’s deepest and ugliest secrets.
In their review of the series, Decider gave it a STREAM IT rating adding that while being a “pretty straightforward thriller,” it has a “spectacular backdrop and a lead character with a tragic backstory and some personality quirks.”
Women at War
Country of Origin: France
Creator: Cécile Lorne
Cast: Audrey Fleurot, Julie De Bona, Camille Lou
Although Netflix Original titles from international territories are usually produced in-house, Netflix does still continue to pick up big hits from the regions that stream elsewhere. That’s what they did with Women at War, which aired on TF1 before coming to Netflix everywhere in January 2023.
The mini-series is set during the first World War and follows the paths of four intersecting women who all have different backgrounds.
The series, also known as Les Combattantes, pulled in impressive numbers in the Netflix top 10s, with the series exhibiting excellently written female characters. At the same time, the background setting to the series, along with plenty of twists and turns, keeps you hooked right until the end.
The World According to Lidia Poet
Country of Origin: Italy
Creators: Guido Iuculano and Davide Orsini
Cast: Matilda De Angelis, Eduardo Scarpetta, Pier Luigi Pasino
Netflix has had a few big swings out of Italy so far in 2023 but thus far, none us impressed us more than The World According to Lidia Poet, which is a mix between Enola Holmes, Bridgerton and The Empress.
Here’s the official synopsis for the series:
“Forbidden from practicing law, a woman prepares an appeal to overturn the court’s decision in this true story of Lidia Poët, Italy’s first female lawyer.”
It’s a well-crafted period drama with excellent characters, sublime costumes, and enjoyable story set during a fascinating time period.
Class (Season 1)
Country of Origin: India
Cast: Zeyn Shaw, Moses Koul, Ratnabali Bhattacharjee
One trend we’ll see continue in the forthcoming years is international adaptations of other Netflix Original titles. Perhaps one of the best is Class, based on the Spanish hit Elite.
Class has the basic premise and themes of its cousin Elite following three students from a poor neighborhood who join an exclusive high school where murder and secrets are plenty.
The series clearly hit the right mark in India, trending in the top 10 constantly following its release and earning itself a season 2 renewal order. The Brown Daily Herald also remarked that the series is a notch above its source material, calling it “a class apart,” and we’re inclined to agree.
The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House
Country of Origin: Japan
Cast: Nana Mori, Natsuki Deguchi, Ai Hashimoto
Sadly, Netflix’s anime slate thus far has failed to deliver in our book, so we’re instead going to highlight the excellent The Makanai from Japan.
The series is ultimately about friendship and tell the story of two friends who move to Kyoto to chase their dreams of becoming Maiko but have different approaches to getting there.
Maestro in Blue (Season 1)
Country of Origin: Greece
Genre: Mystery, Romance, Crime, Drama
Director: Christoforos Papakaliatis
Cast: Christoforos Papakaliatis, Haris Alexiou, Maria Kavoyianni, Fanis Mouratidis, Marisha Triantafyllidou, Yannis Tsortekis
Also known as just Maestro, this mini-series is Netflix’s first-ever Netflix Original title to originate from Greece, and it’s an absolute banger.
Set on the picturesque island of Paxos, Greece, this series is the story of a taunted musician, Orestis, that moves to an island to revive a forgotten musical festival. While there, the light of the Greek sun burns too bright, and his life takes an unexpected turn when he falls in love with Klelia, the daughter of the all-powerful island mayor.
What’s been your favorite international series added to Netflix so far in 2023? Let us know in the comments.