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.
Credit: James Dimmock/CBS
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 January 2018) streams in Australia, Canada, Japan 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 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 and Australian viewers would probably riot if Netflix tried to take the show away from them. So, you should always be able tune in from those two countries. — Marshall Honorof
Credit: BBC Studios
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 begins 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.
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
Helen Mirren has had an amazing career on stage and screen, but her signature character will always be Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison, whose story was told over the course of seven TV movies that aired on the British network ITV from 1991 to 2006.
Prime Suspect set the template for later gritty, hyper-realistic British cop shows such as Luther and Line of Duty as well as the U.S. show The Closer. When it first aired on PBS in 1992, Prime Suspect made a bleak contrast to the cozy Agatha Christie adaptations Americans were used to.
Like its spiritual descendants, Prime Suspect wasn't afraid to explore touchy social issues, such as sexism in the workplace, child abuse, addiction and abortion — which makes it still relevant nearly 30 years after it debuted. — Paul Wagenseil
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
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
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