Streaming: German series in India, and where to watch them
Only a few years ago, German television was a strictly regional affair. The native dramas were mostly conventional procedurals made up of standalone episodes – the TV equivalent of comfort food. Certainly nothing that would inspire binge-watching in the manner of Breaking Bad. Few German-language series traveled beyond the borders of Germany, Austria and Switzerland – with that market of 100 million people, why would TV networks or producers have needed to think internationally, or change anything at all?
Fast-forward to 2020, and it’s a very different story, getting livelier by the minute. The competition for audiences and prestige from international series combined with the arrival of streaming services hungry for original content has transformed the German television industry. With a mandate to innovate, writers and showrunners are discarding the old formulas and discovering a new creative reach. New opportunities are luring big-name acting and directing talent to the TV medium like never before. Audiences are the clear winner with the debut of ambitious and sophisticated serials like Dark and Deutschland 83, to name just a few of the shows that are both critics’ darlings and a hit with viewers.
In this dossier, we highlight German serials that you can stream in India and clue you in on where to watch them. Caution: these series are addictive! If you’re not careful, you’ll catch some serious binge fever!
For viewing in Germany
We are kind of lucky to get our hands on some of the most amazing German series in India. However, there are a few that cannot be accessed from here. But, if you happen to be in Germany, here's a quick collection of some binge-worthy shows for you check out!
Weissensee is a series about the decline of the GDR and two East Berlin families who could not be more different: while one is loyal to the regime and works closely with the Stasi, the other is part of the dissident underground. It’s a story of love between members of two warring families, of betrayal, greed, struggle and power. But Weissensee is also a political thriller in which German history plays an important role before, during and after reunification.
If you suffer from claustrophobia, then this series might cause some anxiety. Das Boot retells the events that took place aboard German Kriegsmarine U 612 submarine in 1942, and realistically recreates the oppressive atmosphere on board. The price tag is not for the faint of heart either: the 2018 series sequel to Wolfgang Petersen's 1981 film cost 26.5 million euros. So Das Boot was even more expensive per episode than pay-TV channel Sky’s mammoth Babylon Berlin.
Money makes the world go round... and down the tubes. How much are your morals worth? What would you be willing to sacrifice to be a player in the male-dominated banking world? Your relationships, your values, your health, your loyalty? The series Bad Banks is about the European financial market, but its relevance is global. An open question throughout the series is whether Jana, the lead, has to “act like a man” to survive in a cutthroat environment, and only at the close of the series does she form an alliance that strikes a redemptive note.
In the current boom in German TV dramas, no show has drawn more rave reviews worldwide than Babylon Berlin. Based on Volker Kutscher’s bestselling novels, the first season follows a police detective into the nightlife and political turmoil of Weimar Berlin. The series’ lavish budget is all there on the screen, but critics are swooning over far more than the extravagant production values.
Since the very first episode in 1970, Tatort has been a Sunday evening ritual for many Germans and a ratings darling for broadcasters that draws a loyal viewership of around ten million viewers each week. The series follows a number of crime detecting duos in various locations, and viewer favourites like Chief Superintendent Thiel from Münster and his moody partner Professor Boerne, or tough detective Lena Odenthal from Ludwigshafen, can drive ratings even higher.