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22 French Series on Netflix to Binge-Watch Now

22 French Series on Netflix to Binge-Watch Now

Here is a selection of French series on Netflix. I didn’t watch all of them but I gather some cinema critics and added my opinion to the ones I saw. Those French shows might be different from the American ones that you might be used to watching.

One more information, from the best French series I found on Netflix, most of them belong to the thriller/ horror category. Besides watching the French series, you will be able to practice your French in a fun way.

1 – Standing Up

French name: Drôle

Number of seasons: 1 (2022)

Status: Off air

New French TV show on Netflix produced by Fanny Herrero. She also produced the successful French series “Call my agent”. She stayed in the universe of art but she surprised us by moving to a tougher vision of the city of Paris. This TV show about some French stand-up comedians is going to show you a more authentic French capital than “Emily in Paris” with some modern and friendly actors (Netflix has many French Stand-Up Comedians shows).

My opinion is, the show is well made and it made me smile. But the characters are way too manichean, with the bad being really bad and the good being really good. I think the characters lack depth and this is a pity. Here is the French trailer starting with the beautiful music “Ani Kuni” from Polo & Pan.

Synopsis: Young stand-up comedians try to make a place for themselves in the Parisian stand-up scene. There is Aïssatou, a young woman returning to the stage of the “Drôle Comedy Club”  with her latest sketches after devoting herself to her family life. You will discover her comedian friend Nezir, who is struggling to make ends meet with his dad. Bling, an ex-stand-up star, is going through a bad patch. Finally, Apolline, a newbie that wants to start a career as a comedian and will face the difficulties of the job. The comedian’s life is tough with the competition, will they manage to succeed to fame?

2 – Call my agent

French name: Dix pour cent

Number of seasons: 4 (2015-2021)

Status: On air

Probably one of the best French series on Netflix of the last few years. You will see some of the most famous French actors playing their own roles like Jean Dujardin, Giles Lelouche, or Audrey Fleurot. Here is the French trailer (I couldn’t find one with English subtitles).

Synopsis: Three actors’ agents, with strong personalities and complicated personal lives, struggle on a daily basis to find the best roles for their prestigious clients.

3 – Lupin

French name: Lupin : dans l’ombre d’Arsène

Number of seasons: 2 (2021-2022)

Status: On air

A new French series on Netflix (and produced by Netflix) starring the famous French actor Omar Sy. This is a modern version of the famous French character Arsène Lupin the Gentleman burglar. Character created by Maurice Leblanc at the beginning of the 20th century, which would deserve to be as internationally known as Sherlock Holmes. The adaptation of the story is for once well made compared to all the adaptations that were made in the past.

If you want more, the new season 3 is supposed to be out in 2022! One more thing, you need to watch the original version in French with English subtitles, I am not a big fan of the English dubbed version. I explained all the French slang from this series.

Synopsis: As a teenager, Assane Diop’s life was turned upside down when his father died after being accused of a crime he didn’t commit. 25 years later, Assane (played by Omar Sy) will use “Arsène Lupin, Gentleman Burglar” as his inspiration to avenge his father.

4 – Family Business

Number of seasons: 3 (2019-2021)

Status: Off air

Maybe the first French series on Netflix produced by themself that is good, not like the French show Marseille. You will find the rising French actor Jonathan Cohen playing the main character, the French actresses Julia Piation, Liliane Rovère (Playing in Call my agent too), and the famous Gérard Darmon.

Synopsis: Joseph, 35 years old, is full of business ideas even if he is still working in his father Gerard’s kosher butcher shop. When he learns from a “reliable” source that cannabis is going to be legalized, it’s a revelation. His genius idea: was to transform, with the help of his family and his buddies, the family butcher shop into a weed shop.

5 – Emily in Paris

Number of seasons: 3 (2020-2022)

Status: On air

The non-French tend to love this French series on Netflix, I just deeply hate it. It is a strong statement but as a French, I could not watch more than the two first episodes of the first season. All the French bashing was hard to watch for example:

  • The French do not speak a word of English
  • The French smoking in the office (no one ever smokes in an office)
  • The French never work and are super lazy when arriving late in the morning for work. You have to know that Parisian work a lot (too much) and tend to stay up late after 8 or 9 PM, this is something that will never happen in the USA or UK.

And the list goes on and on. This show does not represent Paris at all. I think it is an idealized vision of the Americans of the French capital. The main character Emily is ending up living in a “chambre de bonne” ( it is the small flat under the roof on the 6th floor of the Haussmannian building). But no, she is living on the second or third floor in a huge flat that would cost 1500/2500 euros for rent per month.

This series was made for the American audience in order for them to find all the fake French clichés. Although being not a good series, you will discover French slang such as plouc. You can still watch Emily in Paris to have your own point of view.

Synopsis: Emily, a twenty-something American from the Midwest, moves to Paris after receiving a most unexpected job offer. Her new challenge: bring an American perspective to a struggling French marketing agency.

6 – Unité 42

Number of seasons: 2 (2017)

Status: On air

A good Belgian police series that takes place in the capital of Brussels. We find the specificity of Belgium with the Flemish (Dutch speakers) and Walloon (French speakers) communities in this series. The second season is slightly better than the first one. 

Synopsis: The members of the Brussels Digital Unit are located in the basement of the main police station in Brussels. The two leading characters, Sam and Billie, and the unit formed a heterogeneous but supportive team to block online crimes that threaten our ultra-connected lives. The characters are as linked professionally as on a friendly level.

7 – Vermin

Number of seasons: 1 (2018)

Status: Off air

This French series on Netflix is a French cartoon that for once is excellent. This series might be not for a young audience. It was produced by the studio Blackpills and the creators of the crazy French cartoon “Les Kassos” (You can find it on YouTube).

Here is the English trailer but I would recommend you watch it in French, the voices are incredible. I really like the voice of the butterfly chief of police made by the French YouTuber Gael Mectoob. You will also find the voice of the French rapper Casey Chemou and the excellent voice of the French actor Monsieur Poulpe. Important information, each episode lasts only seven minutes.

Synopsis: A naive praying mantis decides to leave his hometown to fulfill his dream by joining the police force of the big city. He discovered how brutal the real world is. Between alcohol, drugs, delinquency, sex, clubs, and crazy colleagues, he will realize the hard way that even insects have strange vices.

8 – A very secret service

French name: Au service de la France

Number of seasons: 2 (2015-2018)

Status: Off air

This humorist French series on Netflix well written and well played reminds me directly of the famous French movies of OSS 117, I wrote a blog post about it if you are curious about it.

Synopsis: Early 1960s, the French Secret Service recruits the young André Merleaux, back from Algeria. André is trained with real spies who were more concerned with their expenses than with their missions. It is a long and complicated road to becoming a spy worthy of 007.

9 – Dealer

French name: Caïd

Number of seasons: 1 (2021)

Status: On air

Series that might open your eyes to another side of France showing you the violence of the French ghettos. Unfortunately, France is not only “Emily in Paris”. You will learn a lot of French slang thanks to this series. One interesting information, in French the series is named Caïd which is an Arab word that means in France “Leader of a gang” it can also mean “being tough”. In Marocco for example it means a Muslim civil official who combines the functions of judge, administrator, and chief of police.

Synopsis: A director and his cameraman are sent to shoot a rap video in the heart of the suburbs of southern France, and find themselves caught up in a gang war.

10 – Lazy Company

Number of seasons: 3 (2013-2015)

Status: Off air

Humorist French TV show related to the second WWII but keep in mind that it is not a documentary because this series does not follow real history.

Synopsis: In June 1944, the American airborne parachutes its best men into the heart of occupied France. The best? Not just, four totally incompetent soldiers land in the middle of the Normandy countryside. If the world is at war, they intend to stay alive and to run into French women, too, for a bit. Those four morons will unintentionally change the course of history.

11 – Mythomaniac

French name: Mytho

Number of seasons: 2 (2019-2021)

Status: Off air

French series on Netflix produced by the French-German channel Arte. “Mythomaniac” has some Desperate Housewife vibes following the life of a family living in a French suburb. This series uses a mechanism already known in comedy cinema around the lie and its consequences.

Synopsis: A devoted mother and wife, Elvira feels more and more transparent in the eyes of her family. One day, she gives in to the temptation of a terrible lie to regain love and attention.

12 – Chef’s Table: France

Number of seasons: 1 (2016)

Status: Off air

Documentary series of one season produced by Netflix where you will be able to discover the life of some French Chefs cooking tasty dishes. The documentary is focusing more on the Chefs rather than the dishes. It is a perfect series to watch for you if you are a food lover. I just loved the fourth episode with the restaurant Lestroisgros, a three-star Michelin restaurant in Loire county next to Lyon. Why did I like this episode? I grew up 30 minutes away.

Synopsis: Discover the newest flavors of France as daring chefs push the boundaries of gastronomy and reinvent a rich culinary tradition.

13 – The Hook Up Plan

French name: Plan Coeur

Number of seasons: 3 (2018-2022)

Status: Off air

As Family Business, The Hook Up Plan is a Netflix original series. It is definitely a “Chick Flick” French series on Netflix!

Synopsis: Elsa, single forever, doesn’t understand why she can’t find love. Her three friends, determined to put an end to her bachelorhood, decide to hire an escort boy, who is supposed to help Elsa get back in touch with men and love.

14 – Into the Night

Number of seasons: 1 (2020)

Status: On air

This is a short Science Fiction TV show with six episodes of 40 minutes. Despite a premise that doesn’t seem to hold water, the series manages to take us into a captivating story.

Synopsis: When the sun suddenly starts killing everything in its path, the passengers on a night flight from Brussels try to survive by any means necessary.

15 – Osmosis

Number of seasons: 1 (2019)

Status: Off air

This French series on Netflix reminds me of the American series Black Mirror.

Synopsis: In the near future, thanks to the data of its users obtained through micro-robots implanted in their brains, the new “OSMOSIS” application guarantees certainty to find the ideal partner, and transforms the ultimate dream of finding a soul mate into reality.

16 – Black spot

French name: Zone Blanche

Number of seasons: 1 (2019)

Status: On air

The landscapes in Zone Blanche are amazing and haunting at the same time. This series is for me underrated. There was no trailer for this TV show.

Synopsis: This is a dark detective drama in a small village in France with slightly supernatural undertones.

17 – Marianne

Number of seasons: 1 (2019)

Status: Off air

Probably one of the best French series on Netflix in the category of horror. If you are looking for more horror entertainment, I recommend you to read my article about 13 French Horror Movies.

Synopsis: Emma, a young novelist, discovers that the monstrous characters she created in her series of horror novels are really coming to life.

18 – Vampire

Number of seasons: 1 (2020)

Status: Off air

It is set in a Parisian banlieue and it even offers some exposure to verlan (Learn more about this type of French slang).

Synopsis: Martha Radescu’s family lives clandestinely in Paris. But when 16-year-old Doïna turns out to be a vampire of a new kind.

19 – The Chalet

French name: Le Chalet

Number of seasons: 1 (2018)

Status: Off air

Perfect French TV show if you are looking for a horror show. It’s a thrilling scenario that you’ll have a hard time figuring out how it’s going to end.

Synopsis: During the summer of 2017, in a village named Valmoline with only six inhabitants, thirteen guests meet in this peaceful hamlet in the far reaches of the Hautes-Alpes. No sooner have they crossed the bridge than a huge rock collapses and blocks the passage, crushing a man tied down below. The village is now isolated, and the massacre can begin.

20 – Transferts

Number of seasons: 1 (2017)

Status: Off air

Here is a science fiction French TV show that started in 2017.

Synopsis: In the near future, the transfer of the spirit from one body to another, made possible by a mysterious substance, has saved lives, generated clandestine trafficking, but also transformed the way we look at faith and awakened fantasies of immortality. Florian, a father in a coma for several years, wakes up in the body of the mysterious Sylvain.

21 – The Frozen Dead

French name: Glacé

Number of seasons: 1 (2017)

Status: Off air

This thriller has only one season and it is the perfect entertainment if you are looking to get scared.

Synopsis: In the Pyrenees, the corpse of a headless horse was discovered hanging from the top of a cable car at an altitude of 2,000 meters. Captains Servaz and Ziegler are entrusted with the investigation. A few kilometers away, in a high-security prison, the young psychiatrist Diane Berg begins psychotherapy sessions with Julian Hirtmann, a dangerous serial killer arrested years ago by Captain Servaz. The fates of these four characters will collide in a most terrifying investigation.

22 – The Forest

French name: La Forêt

Number of seasons: 1 (2017)

Status: Off air

Another horror/thriller French series on Netflix takes place in the Ardennes.

Synopsis: In a village in the Ardennes, sixteen-year-old Jennifer disappears in the middle of the night. Captain Gaspard Deker leads the investigation with Virginie Musso, the local gendarme, who knows the young girl well. They are helped by Eve, a solitary and mysterious woman.

I hope you will practice your French by watching one of those French series on Netflix. Do you know other ones? Let me know about it in the comment section 🙂 I will make sure to keep this page updated. For more French series, check out my articles:

Credits:

Photo Credit @Netflix

Jo-Ann@PennQuarter.org

Wednesday 12th of January 2022

How does one find any of these to watch; Does one watch them on a computer or a TV in the U.S. and if a TV , how can one find the show? I have seen shows but friends have newer TVs than i have. mine has 13 regular channels theoretically but all aren't or weren't active. Then there are the educational channels that also have shows where they sell things that i have no idea how to access. So what channels are these programs (for want of a better word) on and how would i find them on a computer or on a TV ?

Valerie

Thursday 15th of October 2020

In the shadow of Iris (I like the twist), The Stranger (who did it?) and The Bonfire of Destiny (true event, the fire really existed in the Paris bazar). I am French so I am so glad that Netflix is investing in French movies and tv shows. I hope, Netflix will feature “The disappearance” (“Disparue) soon so everyone can enjoy this excellent ,who did it, tv series.

Sacha

Sunday 14th of March 2021

Thanks, Valérie for your recommendations, I might add them later on. I agree it is great that Netflix is investing in French series!

Bruce

Sunday 27th of September 2020

The Crimson Rivers , crime thriller with Oliver Marchal & Erika Sainte is fabulous . Dix Pour Cent was was very entertaining also with the famous cameo performances.

Sacha

Sunday 27th of September 2020

Indeed, The Crimson Rivers or in French Les Rivières pourpres is an excellent French movie produced by the famous Mathieu Kassovity :D Dix pour cent was my big discovery of 2019!

Erica

Wednesday 23rd of September 2020

I loved Les Revenantes!! Much better than the English version The Returned.

Sacha

Thursday 24th of September 2020

I never watched the English version but it is what I keep hearing about it :)

Victoria

Saturday 5th of September 2020

The Circle is really good. I find that they speak slower because of the message aspect and you can also see the words and hear the pronunciation at the same time.

Sacha

Monday 7th of September 2020

Merci Victoria! I will check out this series soon :)