Top 5 Israeli TV shows: The country is home to some amazing series, here are the best streaming right now
Love American adaptations of Israeli TV shows? Go straight to the source and sample some original Israeli productions
The creative chutzpah of the Israeli television industry is undeniable. There is a rush of American prestige TV drawing directly from successful Israeli shows, from HBO's 'Euphoria' and 'In Treatment' to Showtime's 'Homeland'.
The Israel-based media company Keshet International that collaborated with HBO on the upcoming 'Our Boys' is adapting its award-winning Netflix series 'When Heroes Fly' for the American audience, while ABC has ordered a pilot of a TV series based on its popular show 'The Baker and the Beauty'.
But instead of waiting for adaptations, here are the top 5 Israeli shows that you can watch right now!
With the third season due for a global release on Netflix in 2019, after it finishes airing in Israel, 'Fauda' follows a top Israeli agent, Doron, who comes out of retirement to capture a Hamas terrorist known as "The Panther", who he thought he'd already killed. The first two seasons are already available on the streaming platform.
'Fauda', which translates as “chaos” in Arabic, is partially based on the real-life experiences of creator and star Lior Raz who served in the Duvdevan Unit of the Israeli Defense Forces. The Unit is known for its covert undercover operations and the series itself delves into the reality of going deep undercover and the grey morality of the chief protagonist.
While the first two seasons were primarily located in the West Bank, the action will shift to the Gaza strip for the third season. The Times of Israel quoted co-creator Avi Issacharoff about how great it was to portray the worldview of an undercover soldier and the son of a terrorist, side-by-side. “Drama allows you to give something that journalism is less able to do,” he said.
If there ever was a case for how good TV can reveal more about the world we live in, Shtisel makes it. The 24 one-hour episodes released in its first two seasons creates a nuanced portrayal of how religion and patriarchy play out in a fictional orthodox Jewish family living in a deeply religious, Internet-free neighborhood in Geula, Jerusalem.
Lauded for its complex "Shakespearean writing" and visual style, it's cultural cache and universality reaches beyond the grounded particularities of the series. Renewed for the third season on Netflix, you can also look forward to the Amazon Studios adaptation that will remake 'Shtisel' as 'Emmis'. It will be set in Brooklyn, New York.
Srugim (Amazon Prime Video)
Described as a better version of 'Friends', this TV series brings to life the daily adventures of a group of young, religious singles living in Jerusalem. 'Srugim' is an honest and humorous exploration of dating, love and relationships when religious beliefs collide with modern challenges and pressures.
You can look forward to well-written characters who grapple with concerns like feminism, divorce, homosexuality and losing faith. While its three seasons on Amazon Prime cannot compare to the 10 season-run of 'Friends', it makes up in quality what it lacks in quantity.
Prisoners of War (Hulu)
Ever wondered how 'Homeland' would be without the over-wrought Carrie Anne Mathison? Look no further than the original Israeli series it was based on - 'Prisoners of War'. The show deals, far more, with the toxic effects of war on the macho male psyche, exploring the trauma of two Israeli soldiers who are captured, tortured and turned to the Palestine cause.
The titular characters' arcs, who spend 17 years in captivity in Lebanon before returning to Israel, focus on how they reintegrate into Israeli society. Their storyline is far more gripping and nuanced than the annoying Brody storyline of 'Homeland' that was stretched beyond its welcome.
Mossad 101 (Netflix)
Based on an Israeli intelligence unit, the series is more than just an action drama. There is an oddball sense of humor when it comes to this show about an unorthodox training course for 13 Mossad agents.
The show rests on the premise that the commander of the course is fed up with the mediocrity of Mossad's agents and creates a training program that throws the trainees into radical situations and expects 'creative' solutions. The cast features Aki Avni, Yehuda Levi, Itai Tiran and Omer Barnea — some of the most good-looking men on Israeli TV. So grab a cup of coffee and settle in with this one. You can binge-watch two seasons worth of episodes.