I am back with a new selection of French series but this time there are French series on Amazon Prime. I have to tell, Amazon went for the French content for quality over quantity. Most of those French series were produced by a French channels probably the most famous private French channel named Canal Plus. Most of those French series are in the section “serious”, I do not know if a section like that exists for the TV show. If you saw one series that is not anymore available on Amazon Prime let me know in the comment section!
1 – Braquo (2009 – 2016)
French series produced by the famous French channel Canal Plus. The fun fact it was created by Olivier Marchal, a former cop who became a director of cop movies and therefore also of cop series. It is a cop French series taking place in Paris.
The set up, the universe and the characters are dark, from their personalities to the light and their clothes. This show has only four seasons, the producers wanted to leave the show at his top and not to produce the one season that will disappoint the fans. For the English speakers of French Iceberg, this series received the grade of 8/10 on IMDb, not bad at all.
Synopsis: A group of field cops at the SDPJ 92 intervenes throughout the Hauts-de-Seine county (Next to Paris), between uptown and lawless areas.
2 – Baron Noir (2016 – On air)
Another French series produced by the French channel Canal Plus. To make a simple comparison, this the French House of Cards. You can find the famous comedian Kad Merad that is playing the main character in this serious / political series. We are normally used to seeing him playing in French comedy movies like on one of the biggest one in Welcome to the Sticks (Bienvenu chez les Ch’tis).
At the end, he is realizing a high performance acting for this role. He managed in 2017 to be nominated for the International Emmy Award for Best Performance by an Actor!
Synopsis: The political and judicial epic of Philippe Rickwaert, Member of Parliament and mayor of the North, driven by an irrepressible thirst for social revenge. During the between-two rounds of the presidential elections, his political future collapses when his mentor, the left-wing candidate, sacrifices him to save his election.
3 – A French village / Un village français (2009)
French series with a total of seven seasons. This series is a superb historical fiction based on a solid documentation about the WW2. The atmosphere, the costumes, the sets, everything sounds so true and right, so terribly accurate. An excellent reenactment. Here is a trailer of the first season in French.
Synopsis: In 1940, a fictitious village in the Jura is worried by the arrival of the German army. The series follows the fate of its inhabitants, their faults and secrets.
4 – Spiral / Engrenage (2005 – On air)
French series produced here again by Canal Plus with eight seasons at the moment. One day, Canal+ came up with the idea of making an American series with some French style, or a French series with American style, as you like.
In short, it is an immersion in the inside of the Paris courthouse, following a Judicial Police brigade, an investigating judge, a prosecutor, and a pair of lawyers. Weapons trafficking, drug dealers, serial killers, Eastern European prostitutes, we are here in a very classic set up. But the plots are good enough to keep us on tenterhooks until the end. And since we are in France, some cases have the merit of showing us how is working the criminal procedure.
Synopsis: The discovery of the body of a young girl in a dumpster will lead a deputy prosecutor to expose how is working the French justice.
5 – The Bureau / Le Bureau des Légende (2015- On air)
French series produced by (drum roll) Canal Plus! The controversial French actor Mathieu Kassovitz is playing the main role. For your information, he is the one that produced French movies like “Les rivières pourpres” (2000) or “La Haine”(1995).
This is the French Homeland, if I might make this simple comparison. The show takes place in the heart of the Parisian offices of the DGSE (French Intelligence services). The set up of the offices has been reproduced identically, from the tables to the wallpapers on the computers. This French series has its charm, it is neat, clean, thoughtful and a successful series.
Synopsis: The Bureau of Legends directs the clandestine, the most important agents of the French intelligence services. After six years in Damascus, our hero is promoted and goes back to his real life. But contrary to the regulations, he seems not to give up the identity under which he lived in Syria.
6 – The Returned / Les Revenants (2012)
French series that has only two seasons and produced by Canal Plus and filmed in the beautiful county of Haut-Savoie in the French Alps around the city of Annecy. This show is the definition of quality over quantity. The USA did an American version of the French TV shows but from I’ve been reading, it does not equal the original French version.
To love Les Revenants, you have to love contemplative and poetic works with a disturbing atmosphere, gentle ghosts and insoluble enigmas.
Synopsis: On the same day, several people are looking to go home. These people do not yet know that they have been dead for several years.
7 – Unité 9
Last series from this list and it is not French and not produced by Canal Plus. This is a Canadian series that was recommended to me on Reddit. It is from the French-speaking part of Canada, from Quebec. The protagonists make you want to follow them in their prison life.
Negative point, the series is perhaps too manichaean. Positive point, you will be able to work on your French Canadian comprehension that is quite different from the French from France.
Synopsis: Unit 9 of Lietteville Prison (imaginary town), a women’s detention centre, houses a new inmate, Marie Lamontagne, a mother convicted of attempted murder.
Did you know all of those French series on Amazon Prime? If you discover an French series that is not in this list, feel free to share it in the comment section! I will try to keep this list updated 🙂 Are you looking for more French series? Take a look at my article about 15 French series on Netflix that you might binge watch.
Photo Credit: @Jean-Claude Lother
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