10 best German TV series of all time

10 best German TV series of all time

Looking for a new binge-worthy German series? Whether you’re wanting to learn about German culture and history, spruce up your vocabulary with some new slang words, or just train your ear in for spoken German, watching TV is an excellent way to improve your fluency without paying for a German course. Here’s our round-up of the best German TV shows of all time. 

German series: The best of the best

From historical tear-jerkers and mind-bending sci-fi flicks to sitcoms and classic crime dramas, we’ve put together this list of some of the best German series ever made (in our humble opinion). The good news is, that many of them are available on popular streaming platforms like Netflix or Amazon Prime. 

If your language ability is up to it, we would recommend watching these series in German with German subtitles - it really enhances your learning. Dig out the popcorn, draw the curtains and settle down for a weekend on the sofa. 

Babylon Berlin

Starting with one of the most ambitious, expensive and impressive German series ever made, Babylon Berlin is a gripping noir thriller set in 1920s Berlin. The plot follows a police officer suffering from PTSD who teams up with a typist to dig into a dark criminal underworld of drugs, pornography and corruption. The gorgeous set pieces that bring the roaring 20s so vividly to life make this series a real showstopper. 

Video credit: Sky TV / YouTube


Netflix’s first-ever German-language production became a major global hit, and it’s not hard to see why. Set in the fictional town of Winden, the moody, mind-bending mystery series Dark starts with a child’s disappearance and follows four interconnected families who urgently work to track down answers. Fans of Twin Peaks and Stranger Things will be thrilled. 

Video credit: ONE Media / YouTube

Deutschland 83 

Compulsively watchable, at times heartfelt, often laugh-out-loud funny and all set to a fun 1980s soundtrack, Deutschland 83 was the first German-language drama to air on a major US network and is an engrossing portrayal of life in Germany at the height of the Cold War. It follows a rookie East German spy who is recruited to infiltrate the West German army. 

Video credit: Series Trailer MP / YouTube

4 Blocks 

Set in the Neukölln district of Berlin, 4 Blocks is a gritty crime drama series that revolves around Toni, the boss of a powerful organised crime family who wants to become a legitimate businessman. His plans to retire are thrown into disarray when his hot-headed brother is arrested in a police sting with nine kilos of cocaine in the boot of his car. As the two brothers fight for control of the family, Toni descends into a downward spiral of crime and betrayal. 

Video credit: Stream Source Trailers / YouTube


Set in a hospital in Berlin in 1888, Charité is a historical show that is both gripping and educational, charting the accomplishments of famous German doctors and scientists as they make advances in medicine amid the enormous social upheavals of the late 19th century. Think Grey’s Anatomy set in Imperial Germany, with plenty of compelling subplots and great acting. 

Video credit: UFA / YouTube 

How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast) 

Loosely based on a true story, How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast) is a Netflix teen comedy that follows the adventures of Moritz, a nerdy boy who launches an online drug business in a misguided attempt to win back the love of his life, and quickly becomes one of the biggest dealers in Europe. It’s a sharp, funny series that injects thrills and action sequences into a classic Bildungsroman story. 

Video credit: Netflix / YouTube

Das Boot 

Rather than making a do-over of the classic 1981 war film, Das Boot dropped in 2018 with the tagline: “New submarine. New crew. New story.” This big-budget, thrilling series does more than enough to stand on its own two feet, showcasing the grim reality of war through the story of an inexperienced submarine crew on a secret mission, and a young woman torn between loyalty to her home country and the French resistance movement. It’s a war film, a thriller and a love story, all in one. 

Video credit: Rotten Tomatoes TV / YouTube


If you prefer a different slice of German history (and are happy not to get too hung up on historical accuracy), Barbarians might be just what you’re looking for. This epic historical drama tells the (fictional) story of Arminius, a soldier who leads a rebellion of Germanic tribes against the Roman Empire. It should appeal to fans of Game of Thrones or The Last Kingdom who are looking for a new fix.

Video credit: Netflix / YouTube


We couldn’t do a list of German TV series without including this classic, which has been a staple of Sunday night telly in the federal republic since 1970 - making it the longest-running German TV drama of all time. Each episode features a different team of police inspectors from a different German city, unravelling a new mystery. The production values might not be as slick as other options on this list, but it does have a well-deserved cult following. 

Video credit: DenverCarrington / YouTube


Following in the footsteps of Kill Bill and Killing Eve, this highly-stylised revenge thriller follows Kleo Straub, a decommissioned Stasi assassin who after the fall of the Berlin Wall goes on a revenge rampage against the people who betrayed her. It might not be totally original, but Kleo is a good romp with great characters and some fabulously kitsch backdrops. 

Video credit: Netflix / YouTube

German TV shows you need to see

Fire up the television, put your feet up and get watching! Think we’ve missed any great German TV shows? Feel free to leave your recommendations in the comments below. 



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

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