Can non-American television series achieve the same success globally?


Everybody knows that the United-States are the best when it comes to producing movies and television series. There are the ones that have the biggest budget, the most popular actors worldwide, and especially, they have the advantage of speaking English; which is of course the most spoken language throughout the world. 

But what about non-American movies and television series? Do they still matter compared to the major success America has worldwide?

June Thomas gives his opinion on the website Slate as he describes that many non-American television series are worth seeing. For June, it does not matter whether the series come from New Zealand, France, Korea or Britain, as long as they are nicely produced and interesting, than it would be a shame not to watch them. Though he agrees that language can be an issue when it comes to foreign films, he states that that series like Borgen for instance, which is produce in Denmark, is inspiring and heart-breaking, no matter what language the characters are speaking. Throughout the article, he gives the reader a lot of information and describes very accurately the plot of different foreign series and explains how to find them online.

The article also describes that the U.S. networks prefers to remake international shows rather than importing them, as it gives the example of Scandinavian dramas that we now get in U.S. remakes. June describes that “doing such a thing is like eating a Brussels sprouts and French fries and claiming you’re feasting fine European food”.

Another related article which is found on the website Indiewire and which is written by Alison Willmore, indicates that proliferation of platforms for watching TV series, on cable, on satellite and online, has made more programming from other countries legitimately available than ever before. There to, the author agrees that language, when it is not in English, can be a significant issue because as he explains; TV for many people serves as audiovisual wallpaper in the background while their attention is mainly focused elsewhere, something that’s impossible when you have to rely on subtitles to understand the action. Although Sarah Barnett (Sundance Channel’s President), when speaking about the French series The Returned, stated that the quality of the work and the ability for it to engage would be there regardless of the subtitles.

There also, the article indicates that the U.S. has a tendency of remaking shows that have been successful in other countries and takes the example of the Israeli series “Hatufim” which later became known as Homeland or the Danish production “Forbydeslsen” which became The Killing. Alison Willmore talks about a lot of series from many different nations and explains how they can now easily be found on Youtube, Netflix or Hulu. The article ends with a quote from Steve Van Zandt (actor in the Sopranos), which explains that every country in the world has some cool TV show that we’ll never see. But given the way things are going, he shouldn’t be so sure—if it’s good, chances are better than ever it’ll make it way here, via a smaller network or streaming. A statement that perfectly describes both of the articles we have talked about so far.

I personally believe that non-American television series will not be able to achieve the same success America has globally. Based on the two articles we have been talking about, many non-American series have a lot of success and seem for a lot to be very thrilling and worth watching. Some non-American television series have a lot of viewers inside of its country of production and the amount of people watching them in foreign countries keeps increasing due to cable TV, Netflix, Hulu and many other streaming websites. Every year new amazing non-American television series get produced and every year it get’s easier and easier to find them and to be able to watch them in a foreign country. Even though, I believe it is important to remember what was said earlier, that America is number one when it comes to movies and television series. They are the ones with the biggest budget, the most popular actors, they all speak English (no need for subtitles), they export the most, and for a lot of viewers, American series simply are better than the other ones. The actors are cooler, they act better, the plot is perfectly done, more enthusiastic than the non-American ones. The special effects are better, the background and the setting looks much nicer. People around the world want to watch American series because they agree on the fact that they are good. You will have a much harsher time trying to make somebody watch a Greek or a Portuguese television series with subtitles on; except if you find yourself in Greece or in Portugal of course. The most popular series around the world all are Americans and it is important to note that the most seen series ever throughout the world is CBS’ Crime Scene Investigation, which is of course American

Even though non-American television series keep increasing in popularity, I personally believe that they will still not be able to reach the success America has before a very long time.