Netflix isn't just an American phenomenon. The company offers its streaming service in nearly every country around the world. But due to licensing deals negotiated country by country, Netflix's streaming lineup can vary greatly from one territory to the next.
Many shows that Americans can stream only on Hulu, Amazon Prime Video or other streaming services — or sometimes not at all — are on Netflix in other countries. However, you can still watch one of these shows if you use a VPN or a proxy service to pretend you're in a country where Netflix offers that programming. You can use your regular Netflix account, because it applies worldwide.
There are some caveats. Netflix tries to block VPNs and proxy services, so you may have to hop from one VPN server to the next to find one that works. Netflix could also, in theory, cancel your account if the service catches you viewing content from overseas, although its terms of service are vague on the issue.
Check out our guide to the best shows on Netflix for a complete guide to the TV programming to binge-watch now.
Credit: James Dimmock/CBS
How to Use a VPN to Stream Netflix from Other Countries
Another service, ExpressVPN, was very reliable at streaming British Netflix but costs much more than Windscribe, at $13 per month or $100 per year.
The best at streaming Netflix from any country was Mullvad, a low-key Swedish service that's an affordable $6 per month or $72 per year. But you might have to bounce from one Mullvad server to another in a given country to find one that succeeds in streaming Netflix.
The totally free browser-proxy "VPN" built in to the Opera web browser managed to get Netflix streaming every time we tried. There's a catch: You can choose from among only three locations, vaguely described as "Europe," "Asia" and "Americas." And Opera's Netflix streams were blotchy and blurry. But you’re getting it for free.
Here are the best TV shows that Netflix currently (as of late May 2019) streams in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico and the United Kingdom, but not the United States, along with how you can stream them in the U.S.
Credit: Najmi Arif/Shutterstock
Note: We test and review VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. We do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.
Doctor Who — on Netflix in the U.K.
Doctor Who is one of those long-running British shows that made a big splash in the United States only recently. But just as the show's popularity skyrocketed on this side of the Atlantic, Netflix pulled the series from rotation, leaving American fans of fish fingers and custard devastated.
Doctor Who follows the adventures of the Doctor, a two-hearted alien who travels the universe in an old-timey, blue police box having adventures all over space and time. (He still seems to wind up in modern-day Britain for an awful lot of those adventures.) The show has been airing off and on for more than 50 years, occasionally swapping in new actors as the Doctor "regenerates" into new forms.
Doctor Who is no longer available on Netflix in the U.S. or Canada, but British viewers would probably riot if Netflix tried to take the show away from them. So you should always be able tune in from there. — Marshall Honorof
Credit: BBC Studios
Star Trek: Discovery — on Netflix everywhere but the U.S. and Canada
The latest version of Star Trek is one of the best yet. Sonequa Martin-Green plays Michael Burnham, a human Starfleet officer raised by Vulcans who has to navigate war with the Klingons in events occurring about 10 years before the timeline of the original series. The first season included Doug Jones as an alien fellow officer and Michelle Yeoh and Jason Isaacs as Burnham's commanding officers; the second season began in January 2019.
Canadians can watch broadcasts of Star Trek: Discovery on the CTV, Space and Z channels, but Americans have to go to CBS All Access, a $6-per-month streaming service that doesn't have much else to offer yet.
Netflix bought the rights to Star Trek: Discovery in the 188 territories in the rest of the world, reportedly paying enough to cover the first season's entire production budget. New episodes will appear on the same dates on Netflix, CBS All Access and the Canadian channels. — Paul Wagenseil
Credit: Jan Thijs/CBS
Blackadder — on Netflix in the U.K.
Long a cult favorite in the U.S., the Blackadder series from Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis is both hysterical and sort of educational.
Atkinson plays four members of the conniving, selfish and unlucky Blackadder family through five centuries of English history, from the Wars of the Roses to the First World War. He's accompanied by a stock cast of characters who annoy Blackadder and impede his (always failed) attempts to improve his social rank.
The comedy is both highbrow and broad, mixing in smutty humor with literary dialogue. The show became a British cultural phenomenon and made household names of Atkinson, Stephen Fry and future House star Hugh Laurie. — Paul Wagenseil
Orphan Black — on Netflix in Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico and the U.K.
Sisterhood, as an idea, gets thrown around a lot in culture, but Orphan Black practically implodes the concept over the show's five seasons. Tatiana Maslany, the star at the core of the show, plays not just Sarah Manning, but also all of Sarah's clones. Yes, you read that right: Orphan Black dives into a seedy world of secret clones who do their best to stay safe and find the truth about their origins.
Maslany's performance garnered raves from critics because each sister, from rebellious Sarah to prim and proper Alison to scientist Cosima, pushes Maslany's acting chops in distinctly different directions. There's also an excellent supporting cast, including Jordan Gavaris, who deserves credit for the depth he adds to the character of Felix, Sarah's foster brother. — Henry T. Casey
Credit: Jan Thijs
Fargo — on Netflix everywhere but the U.S.
While Fargo isn't a strict adaptation of the Coen brothers movie, it does something even better: It captures the vibe of the film and pushes things forward. Each of the show's first three seasons takes place in a different part of Minnesota, the setting of the original film.
Many critics say the second season is the show's best, but I'm partial to the first, in which Billy Bob Thornton proves he's still got it as Lorne Malvo, a creepy bastard who rolls into town and manipulates his way into a chaotic situation revolving around Lester Nygaard, a used-car salesman played by Martin Freeman who's had it up to here with his life (another callback to the original). — Henry T. Casey
Credit: Chris Large/FX
Brooklyn Nine-Nine — on Netflix everywhere but the U.S.
After Fox unceremoniously canceled this workplace comedy in the spring of 2018, NBC revived it, with new episodes starting in January 2019. That makes Netflix the perfect place to get acquainted with Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Much like the Barney Miller sitcom from a few decades ago, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is set in a police precinct where the crime is more gut-busting than gritty. Andy Samberg plays Jake Peralta, a skilled detective who is less competent at following the rules and regulations set down by his by-the-book precinct captain (a hilariously deadpan Andre Braugher).
Brooklyn Nine-Nine was co-created by Michael Schur, who was also behind The Good Place and Parks and Recreation, and one hallmark of his shows is that his characters actually seem to like each other. That's very much on display here, adding to Brooklyn Nine-Nine's charm. — Philip Michaels
Credit: Eddy Chen/Fox
Line of Duty — on Netflix in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Mexico and the U.K.
A cop show where the ones being policed are the police themselves, Line of Duty follows the activities of AC-12, a police anti-corruption unit. Each season, or series in British parlance, investigates a new officer who is alleged to have broken the rules.
While there's the odd flash of physical law-enforcement action, the centerpieces of the show are its long interrogation scenes. These play out more like scenes in a legal drama, as AC-12's officers face off against their suspects multiple times, breaking down the case until the truth is found.
While all this tension happens in the foreground, "The Caddy," a police insider working for the worst the underworld has to offer, pulls strings in the background, giving the show an overarching narrative from season to season. — Richard Priday
Hannibal — on Netflix in Japan, Mexico and the U.K.
I still marvel that Hannibal was broadcast on U.S. network television, as it spares no drops of blood in portraying its titular character's acts of depravity. For all of the cooked guts and stewed body parts on the table, Hannibal is anchored by a decadent performance from Mads Mikkelsen as the cannibal psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter (played by Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs), who finds himself in a cat-and-mouse game with Detective Will Graham (Hugh Dancy).
Dancy's brand of detective work is so intimate that he becomes obsessed with Hannibal in ways that threaten the safety of everyone involved. The excellent supporting cast includes Gillian Anderson, Laurence Fishburne and Cynthia Nixon. — Henry T. Casey
Credit: Brooke Palmer/NBC
Rick and Morty — on Netflix everywhere but the U.S. and Canada
Rick and Morty follows the story of alcoholic genius Rick and his "too stupid to believe" grandson, Morty. Involving shenanigans such as genetic mutation, postapocalypse marital spats and the smuggling of super-smart nuts, this show caters to the humor of every and any existentialist. — Catherine Strachan
Credit: Adult Swim
The Thick of It — on Netflix in the U.K.
If you like HBO's Veep, you owe it to yourself to check out The Thick of It, which was Veep creator Armando Iannucci's trial balloon for his trademark "dysfunctional politics with a lot of swearing" format. The Thick of It follows a variety of British politicians as they navigate the complexities (and stupidities) of public life, making every gaffe into a scandal and every interview into a disaster.
Over the years, cast members come and go, and we get to see how characters react differently when they're in power or become members of the opposition party. Peter Capaldi as foulmouthed spin doctor Malcolm Tucker is a particular treat.
Since Hulu helped co-produce the show's fourth (and, unfortunately, final) season, you'll find The Thick of It only on Hulu in the United States. But you can still find it easily on Netflix in the U.K. — Marshall Honorof
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia — on Netflix in the U.K.
Pass the rum ham — it's time to revisit the most reliably hilarious (and consistently insane) sitcom of the last decade.
Currently in its 13th season, Sunny is a show about a nothing of a bar run by a quintet of screw-ups: the self-obsessed Dennis (Glenn Howerton), the crazy Charlie (Charlie Day), the dimwitted Mac (Rob McElhenney), the put-upon Sweet Dee (Kaitlin Olson) and ... well, what can I say about the practically criminal Frank Reynolds (Danny DeVito) that hasn't been said by a lawyer?
DeVito joined the show in its second season. And like the Dude's rug, he tied the show together as the father of Dennis and Dee. who has been pitting them against each other since childhood. — Henry T. Casey
Credit: Patrick McElhenney/FX
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air — on Netflix in Australia and Germany
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air aired a few years after The Cosby Show proved that sitcoms with predominantly black characters could capture large audiences.
While the show was a comedy at its core, showrunners Susan Borowitz and Andy Borowitz weren't afraid to push the envelope by taking on important issues such as racial discrimination and class division.
The plot of the show — a teenage rapper from Philly is transplanted into snobby Bel Air, California — is ripe for edgy jokes, but The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air wouldn't have been as successful without its electric lead, Will Smith. He had gained moderate notoriety as a rapper in the '80s, but his vibrant personality and the perfect comedic timing he displayed in the Fresh Prince made him a superstar.
From the Carlton (Alfonso Ribeiro) dance to "Jump on It," some of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air's greatest moments remain very much a part of today's culture. — Phillip Tracy
Credit: Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank
Peep Show — on Netflix in Australia, Brazil, Japan, Mexico and the U.K.
Shot in first person and focusing on two cynical flatmates living in South London, Peep Show was a revelation when it hit television screens in 2003. It ran for 13 years over nine seasons, offering hilarious insight into two blokes who see life very differently.
Created by Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong (who also helped with Veep), the show is classic British fare that's packed with crude jokes, hilarious situations and more than a hint of overbearing sadness. — Marc Chacksfield
Credit: Channel 4
Gavin & Stacey — on Netflix in the U.K.
James Corden may now be a household name in the U.S. thanks to his hosting The Late Late Show, but before this he created a TV show that always crops up in the "best U.K. shows ever" lists.
Gavin & Stacey is a sitcom focused on a long-distance relationship between the titular characters (Mathew Horne and Joanna Page) and the friends and family who come along for the ride. Corden plays Gavin's best friend, Smithy, but it's Uncle Bryn, played by the superb Rob Brydon, who steals the show. — Marc Chacksfield
Credit: Baby Cow Productions
I'm Alan Partridge — on Netflix in the U.K.
Monkey tennis, anyone? I'm Alan Partridge is one of the all-time-best British tragicomic characters. Partridge is a middle-aged failing TV and radio show personality, and Steve Coogan laces the character with pure parody and a ton of catchphrases. "Stop getting Bond wrong!"; "Lynn, they're sex people"; and "Kiss my face" are now pretty much part of the U.K.'s modern-day lexicon. — Marc Chacksfield
Red Dwarf — on Netflix in the U.K.
Sitting where Star Trek meets sitcom, Red Dwarf became a cult hit on the BBC 30 years ago and is still going strong, with yet more episodes slated for 2019.
Winking at a half-century of science fiction, the story follows Lister — a lazy, working-class stiff with a proclivity for vindaloo — who ends up as the last human alive in the universe, stuck floating through deep space on the mining ship Red Dwarf.
Keeping him sane (and aggravated) is a motley crew of shipmates: Rimmer, a smug, prudish hologram prone to epic failures; Cat, a suave, biped feline evolved from Lister's own pregnant kitty; Kryten, a bumbling service robot complete with a groin-attachment vacuum hose; and Holly, the ship's wry, self-deprecating supercomputer with "an IQ of 6000, the same IQ as 6,000 PE teachers."
While some of the earlier seasons look a bit dated, the excellent writing and cast chemistry make Red Dwarf a sci-fi comedy classic. — Nick Bush
Top Gear (Clarkson/Hammond/May) — on Netflix in France, Germany and the U.K.
There's nothing better than watching a trio of blubbering idiots drive exorbitantly priced cars around the world. Top Gear began airing on the BBC in 1977, but it wasn't until James (Captain Slow) May joined Jeremy Clarkson and Richard (Hamster) Hammond in 2002, and the format was expanded and revamped, that the series took off.
For the uninitiated, Top Gear combines stunts, challenges and celebrity appearances to create a fast-paced, hilarious 1-hour show. Filled with running jokes, insane competition and slapstick humor, this often-controversial show appeals to a broader crowd than just motor heads.
Top Gear's glory days ended in 2015, when lead host Clarkson allegedly punched one of the show's producers. The BBC hired a new cast of characters, but they failed to replicate the brilliant chemistry of the former hosts. Amazon Prime subscribers in the U.S. can get a taste of the old Top Gear by watching Clarkson, Hammond and May's spinoff, The Grand Tour. Just don't expect the same magic of their former show. — Phil Tracy
Steven Universe — on Netflix in France, Germany and the U.K.
Sort of a "magical girl" show for the Tumblr era, Steven Universe is an agreeable kids' cartoon that's half superhero antics and half slice-of-life family drama. Steven Universe (that's really his last name) is half-human but also half-Gem, a rock-based alien race whose members take on qualities of precious stones, like jasper and peridot.
Accompanied by his guardians Garnet, Amethyst and Pearl, Steven must learn to control his protective superpowers as he fights against the Earthbound remnants of an intergalactic war. The show has been praised (and criticized) for its progressive gender politics, which you'll either find heartwarming or grating, depending on which Twitter circles you run in.
The show is available on Hulu in the United States, but if you have access to Netflix servers in the U.K., France or Germany, you can get it there just as easily. — Marshall Honorof
Credit: Cartoon Network
How I Met Your Mother — on Netflix in Canada, France, Germany and the U.K.
If you can forget about the series finale (easily one of the worst in television history), How I Met Your Mother is an easygoing, affable often very clever sitcom that's sweet without being cloying and romantic without being sappy.
Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) is on a nine-year quest to find his one true love, and the journey is full of false starts, failed experiments and relationships that almost worked. With his four best friends by his side, he'll take the misadventures in stride and maybe have a laugh or two along the way. (Pretend the show ends after Season 8. You'll be doing yourself a favor.)
How I Met Your Mother was on Netflix in the U.S. for years, and it may come back one of these days. In the meantime, you can find it on Netflix in the U.K., Canada, France or Germany, or you can watch the whole series on Hulu. — Marshall Honorof
Credit: Ron P. Jaffe/CBS
Atlanta — on Netflix in Brazil, Japan and Mexico
Few people expected much from Donald Glover when he left Community in 2013 to pursue what seemed like a quixotic comedy-rap career. Five Grammys and two Emmys later, Glover has become this decade's Renaissance man, and the show he created about four friends just getting by on the fringes of black middle-class Atlanta demonstrates the range of his abilities.
Glover is Earn, a homeless Ivy League dropout always short of funds who is trying to provide for the young daughter he shares with Van (Zazie Beetz). Brian Tyree Henry is Alfred, Earn's cousin, whose budding hip-hop efforts lead Earn to offer to be his manager. The quartet is rounded out by Darius (Lakeith Stansfield), Alfred's frequently stoned roommate.
The show doesn't have much of a plot, and the characters don't grow much, yet their surreal, sometimes funny, sometimes dramatic, adventures in and around Atlanta's music industry are captivating because, as with Glover himself, you don't know what's going to happen next. — Paul Wagenseil
Legion — on Netflix in Brazil, Japan and Mexico
This FX drama may be part of the X-Men cinematic universe, but it looks and feels like '60s and '70s British science-fiction fare such as The Prisoner and A Clockwork Orange.
Downton Abbey heartthrob Dan Stevens stars as David Haller, a psychiatric patient with hidden mutant powers who is the secret son of Professor Xavier. Rachel Keller is a beautiful fellow patient with powers, and secrets, of her own; Aubrey Plaza is Haller's wisecracking sidekick and former drug buddy who keeps popping up to provide comic insight despite dying in the first episode.
The orange jumpsuits, bouffant hairdos, retro-mod furniture and Keller's resemblance to both Susan Dey and Sharon Tate will keep you guessing about the period setting. The psychedelic mental breakdowns Haller suffers from will remind you that it may all just be in his head after all. — Paul Wagenseil
Luther — on Netflix in France, Germany and the U.K.
In his first big TV role since The Wire, Idris Elba stars as John Luther, an anger-filled, morally conflicted London police detective who becomes drawn into a strange relationship with Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson), a brilliant psychopathic killer who eventually helps Luther gain insight into the criminal mind. Wilson is even scarier than Hannibal Lecter, and twice as captivating, which may explain why, against his better judgment, Luther keeps returning to her even as his wife, partner, best friend, career and personal freedom are put in peril. — Paul Wagenseil
Or instead of using a proxy for Doctor Who, you could, y'know get the whole series on Amazon with a Prime membership.Reply
Also Google JustWatch to find actual streaming alternatives to Netflix instead of needing a substandard proxy thats biggest selling point is Netflix not privacy protections.
I have a Amazon Prime membership and Dr. Who season 11 is not free for Prime members.Reply
lol why use discovery in an article taking about best shows? That show is the most boring star trek ever made.Reply
Great list. PS: many of us love that How I Met Your Mother finale ;)Reply
Funny that Toms is telling us how to use a VPN to watch these shows, but their own site blocks my VPN.Reply
That said, it's a reminder that I'd like to watch Star Trek: Discovery and this might be the way to do it.