French T.V. Series You Won’t Want to Miss

July 31, 2014 | By FRENCH CULTURE FILM

With the expansion of online movie and television streaming websites, such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Instant Video, it is no wonder that TV fans are beginning to branch out and discover new and exciting international television shows. Many French TV series, such as Engrenages and Les Revenants, are attracting American viewers who are in search of unfamiliar televisual entertainment.

With the long history of cultural dialogue between the US and France, in literature, film, and the performing arts, it should come as no surprise that television would also be a site for exchange. With only a user account and relatively decent broadband, any Francophile can embark on a Parisian adventure from the comfort and convenience of their living room.

Whether you are enticed by action-packed crime fiction that features four policemen who must break the rules to avenge their friend (Braquo), or whether you prefer a historical drama starring Greek king Odysseus (Odysseus), you are free to explore French TV and uncover any show that strikes your fancy.

It is not only Americans who have developed an affinity for foreign entertainment; France is slowly but surely starting to browse the vast selection of American TV series as well. With American TV shows available in France, such as Game of Thrones, Breaking bad and House of Cards there has been a surge of popularity.

The Film, TV & Media Department at the Cultural Services has put together a list of some of the TV shows creating a buzz in France right now. Although only two are available to US audiences on instant streaming, and a third on Showtime, if you happen to be in France this summer, the titles below are worth checking out. Dedicated TV fans can find most of the titles on DVD at amazon.fr or other similar sites... and you never know, you may see them popping up in your Netflix “Suggestions for you” list sometime soon! 


ENGRENAGES / SPIRAL
Created by Alexandra Clert and Guy-Patrick Sainderichin for Canal +
Produced by Son et Lumière, Canal +
Genres: Action, Adventure, Mystery, Drama, Crime Fiction
Cast: Grégory Fitoussi, Caroline Proust, Audrey Fleurot, Philippe Duclos, Thierry Godard, Fred Bianconi…

Engrenages was nominated for an International Emmy Award in 2011.

From the perspective of a young prosecutor, a police captain, a judge and a lawyer, this series describes the life of a courthouse in Paris.

Watch it on channel Jimmy and on Netflix


BRAQUO
Created by par Olivier Marchal for Canal +
Written by Abdel Raouf Dafri (season 2)
Produced by Capa Drama, Canal +
Genre: drama
Cast: Jean-Hugues Anglade, Nicolas Duvauchelle, Karole Rocher and Joseph Malerba…

Braquo Season 2 won an International Emmy Award in 2011.

Four police offers decide to “cross the line” and break the rules to clear the name of one of their colleagues who committed suicide after being convicted of a crime.

2 seasons available in France and in the US on Hulu


BORGIA
Created by Tom Fontana for Canal +
Directed by par Dearbhla Walsh, Christoph Schrewe, Metin Huseyin and Thomas Vincent
Produced by Atlantique Productions / Lagardère Entertainment et EOS Entertainment
Genre: History, Biopic
Cast: John Doman, Mark Ryder, Isolda Dychauk...

In the 15th century, during the Renaissance, the rise to power of the Borgia Family, an Italian dynasty with Spanish origins, gathered around Rodrigo Borgia, who is to become the new pope Alexander VI in 1492.

2 seasons available in France

1st season broadcast on Showtime in the USA


LES REVENANTS / THE RETURNED
Created by Fabrice Gobert for Canal +
Produced by Haut et court, Canal +
Cast: Anne Consigny, Clotilde Hesme…
Genre: Drama

In a city lost in the mountains, many dead people reappear, apparently alive and normal. They try to take their old life back, while other strange phenomena occur…

1st season only available in France and on Netflix in the USA (was broadcasted on Sundance Channel)


UN VILLAGE FRANÇAIS
Created by Frédéric Krivine, Philippe Triboit and Emmanuel Daucé
Produced by Tetra media Fiction, France 3
Genres: history, drama
Cast: Audrey Fleurot, Francis Renaud…

Un Village français centers on the people of Villeneuve, a fictional sub prefecture, in the Jura, in German occupied France during the Second World War.

4 seasons available in France


AINSI SOIENT – ILS
Created for ARTE France by David Elkaïm, Bruno Nahon, Vincent Poymiro, Rodolphe Tissot
Produced by Zadig Productions, ARTE France
Cast: Jean-Luc Bideau, Thierry Gimenez, Michel Duchaussoy, Julien Bouanich, David Baiot, Clément Manuel, Clément Roussier…
Genre: drama

Paris today. Five young candidates for the priesthood enter the seminary of the Capucins led by charismatic and controversial father Fromanger.

1st season available in France


MAFIOSA
Created by Hugues Pagan for Canal +
Produced by Image and Compagnie, Canal +
Cast: Hélène Fillières, Thierry Neuvic, Phareelle Onoyan, Jean-Marc Michelangeli…
Genre: Drama

By the will of her murdered uncle, Sandra Paoli, 30, is propelled to the head of a powerful mafia clan.

4 seasons available in France


ODYSSEUS
Created by Frédéric Azémar for ARTE France
Produced by Making Prod, GMT Productions, Arte France, Movieheart and Sunflag Main
Cast: Niels Schneider, Caterina Murino, Alessio Boni , Bruno Todeschini…
Genre: Drama

In the time of Homer, Odysseus is not yet back from the Trojan war. In Ithaca in his absence, his wife and queen, Penelope, and his son, Telemachus, have to deal with a group of unruly suitors, the Mnesteres, who attempt to take the throne.

1st season available in France


INQUISITIO
Created by Nicolas Cuche and Lionel Pasquier for France 2
Produced by September Productions
Cast: Aurélien Wiik, Vladislav Galard, Annelise Hesme…
Genre: Thriller

1370, during the Middle Ages, the great Western schism arises between two popes, one in Avignon (France), Clement VII, the other in Rome, Urban VI, each one fighting for their legitimacy.

1st season available in France


PIGALLE, LA NUIT
Created by Hervé Hadmar and  Marc Herpoux for Canal +
Produced by Lincoln TV , Tetra Media, Canal +
Cast: Jalil Lespert, Simon Abkarian, Armelle Deutsch …
Genre: Drama

Thomas is French and works in London. During a stay in Paris he goes to a strip club and discovers that his sister Emma is the star of the show. Soon after, she disappears. Thomas then begins to explore the Pigalle district and its secrets to find her.

1st season available in France

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