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Despite what the bulk of my reviews on this blog so far would have you believe, I do actually watch TV/films that have been made in places other than the US of A. To prove it, here’s my top 5 shows to check out from the rest of the world. All but #4 have already aired in their home countries so should be available already, or very soon, in your part of the world. Or if you let them pass by the first time round, maybe I can convince you to take another look.

1 – Top of the Lake

OK, so this is a New Zealand, UK and US co-production, but I’m still classing it as non-American. Jane Campion created, directed and wrote it with Australian Gerard Lee, until now only known for Australian productions like ‘Sweeetie’ (another Campion co-write) and the very average ‘All Men are Liars’. It stars Mad Men’s Elizabeth Moss and Campion favourite Holly Hunter, who of course is no stranger to New Zealand after they worked together on The Piano in 1993.

Top off the Lake is a seven part series about a detective from Sydney (Moss) investigating the disappearance of a 12 year old pregnant girl. I think by now we can expect high quality from Campion, and judging from the trailer, even if the story doesn’t live up to her promise, at least we’ll have seven hours of stunning NZ scenery to look at. I also want to see how moss handles doing an Australian accent. It’s an extremely difficult one to master.

Interesting side note – The Australian Broadcasting Corporation originally agreed to fund the project but pulled out when American Moss was cast in the lead. Slightly hypocritical of them I think, especially when you consider all the Aussie’s currently working in Hollywood. Luckily BBC Worldwide came to the rescue via Australia’s UKTV.

2 – Bron/ Broen/ The Bridge

This is a Danish/Swedish production about a murder which occurs on a bridge (you don’t say!) between the Danish and Swedish border and follows a detective from each country, Sofia Helen as Saga Noren from Sweden and Kim Bodina as Martin Rhode from Denmark. The first series debuted in 2011, a second series will air later in 2013. There is also an American remake coming soon with Diane Kruger but I’ll be trying this one out first.

Interesting side note – Britain and France have decided to play copycat by announcing they will produce a series abut a Frenchman found dead in the Channel Tunnel, called “The Tunnel”. Oh. Such creativity.

3 – Vikings

If you are a Game of Thrones fan, chances are you will be interested in Canadian-Irish co-production Vikings. I’ve always been interested in mythology but I’ve never got around to reading up on Viking lore. Despite more historical inaccuracies than you could throw a Norse hammer at, I’m still considering this show educational. Like Game of Thrones it’s also brutal, bloody, dirty and there’s a fair bit of sexicals. The story follows Radnar Lodbrok, the first Viking to land in Britain and set about turning it into his personal shopping mall, where he seemingly plunders, kills and enslaves to his heart’s content.

Interesting side note – lead actor, Australian Travis Fimmel, had a very successful past life as a Calvin Klein model. This is what he looks like in Vikings:

vikings_travis fimmel

This is how millions knew him (but probably not his name) in the 2002:

Travis_Fimmel

4 – Sherlock Season 3

Phoaw. How good is Sherlock? Yes, the American remake Elementary was a passable copy, but you can’t beat a bit of the Cumberbatch. Unfortunately we’ll have to wait till the end of the year for this one. Boo.

5 – The Returned

It’s French. It has zombies. I may not like this one. After Dead Man Walking, Resident Evil parts 1 -25 (just how many sequels has this thing had?), Warm Bodies, World War Z and re-watching Shaun of the Dead a couple of weeks ago, I’m feeling a bit zombied-out. But I will watch, if only to be able to pass myself off as a culturally rounded television watcher. But I’m warning you, if it has one of those up in the air unexplained endings like a lot of French films… I won’t be happy Jan.

Let me know if you think I’ve completely missed something that will blow our collective socks off.

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