While US and British shows are often watched on Netflix, there are also non-English shows that are making viewers stand up and take notice and among them are those coming from Russia (and Ukraine). Besides entertainment, these shows somewhat educate viewers, showing a slice of life in Russia though with a touch of light and dark undertones. Another reason of course is you get to brush up on your Russian (though there are subtitles). Here are five Russian shows to look out for on Netflix worth binge-watching.
This is considered the first Russian TV series to be acquired by Netflix thereby introducing Russian TV shows to the world. The series centers on a spoiled rich kid named Igor, the son of a very influential man, who is forced to join the police force as “punishment” for his past misdeeds and discovers he has a talent for police work. The series would see him mature into a very competent cop as he solves one crime after another. This show gives viewers a view of the dark side of Russian society, revealing corruption in all levels. The series stars Pavel Priluchny.
Masha and the Bear
This is an animated series created by Oleg Kuzovkov. The story is centered on Masha (Russian for Maria/Mary) is a Russian girl who lives in the forest with her pets – a pig, goat, and dog. One day, Masha sees a butterfly and could not resist following it inside the home of a bear who retired from the circus who has gone fishing. She makes like Goldilocks and frolicks in the house, creating a big mess. When the bear returns, he is upset with what he saw and tries to get rid of Masha. No matter how hard he tried, he could not and they ended up becoming friends.
Set in the Soviet Union between the 1950s and 1960s, the series looks into the phenomenon called fartsovka during that period. Fartsovska is a term that refers to the illegal business practices common during the aforementioned period which entailed acquiring consumer goods and currency from foreigners. The story centers on one such person who engaged in this trade – Kostya Germanov. Heavily in debt to organized criminals running illegal gambling, he and his friends engaged in business speculation.
Like what the title says, this detective series centers on a detective whose chief asset is his very keen sense of smell he uses in solving crimes. He can detect and distinguish trace amounts of various substances and the like. While it has made him a very effective detective, his work takes a toll on his personal life. Though set in Russia, it is shot in Ukraine.
This biographical miniseries centers on one of the pillars of the Russian Revolution – Leon Trotsky. The beginning of the series is set in May 1940, in Mexico City, when a group of Mexican communists attacked Leon Trotsky who was then exiled by Joseph Stalin who now rules the Soviet Union after Lenin’s death. Trotsky and his wife survived the ordeal but he thinks Stalin was behind this attack and will not stop until he is dead. Even in exile, Stalin considered Trotsky his former ally, a threat to his hold on power and was determined to get rid of him like all others. Resigned to his fate, he then decides to leave a political testament. Trotsky enlists a Canadian journalist sympathetic to Stalin to help him write his memoirs and at the same time convert him into his faith, so that he in turn can convert the whole world.