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14 Best German Shows on Netflix to Watch in April 2024

For high-quality German shows that’ll keep your eyes glued to the screen, head over to Netflix. 

Fast-paced spy thrillers, lavish period dramas, amazing sci-fi that’ll get you thinking—Netflix has all of these and more. Several of them are mini-series too with ten episodes or less, so you can finish them fast.

Here’s a roundup of the best German series on Netflix that you can watch right now:

Contents

1. Dark (2017)

Genre: Science fiction
Main Actors: Louis Hoffman, Lisa Vicari, Maja Schöne, Oliver Masucci 

As Netflix’s first German-language original series, “Dark” was a major success. It’s the top show that I want to recommend here because it’s mind-blowing.

Two children disappear mysteriously in a small town. During the investigations, the secrets of four main families are unearthed, including illegitimate children and several affairs.

At the heart of the series is time travel. Several characters take advantage of a hidden wormhole, traveling as far as the 1950s and even the distant future. However, they struggle to break the time loop—where the past and future need to be consistent so events cannot be changed.

2. Biohackers (2020)

Genre: Science fiction
Main Actors: Luna Wedler, Jessica Schwarz, Thomas Prenn

Genetic experiments outside the laboratory, scientists testing out new substances on themselves, mice glowing in the dark… The German thriller “Biohackers” explores these, showing how cutting-edge science can be used in morally questionable ways.   

Mia, a medical student, wants to find out the truth behind her brother’s mysterious death. She suspects that it’s linked to genetic experiments done by a prominent biology professor, Dr. Lorenz. As she tries to expose him, she becomes deeply interested in biohacking herself and starts to draw the attention of influential researchers and even corporations—all with their own agendas.

3. How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast) (2019)

Genre: Comedy
Main Actors: Maximilian Mundt, Danilo Kamperidis, Lena Klenke

This quirky coming-of-age series is about a high school student, Moritz, who teams up with his best friend, Lonny, to sell ecstasy online. Somehow, their shop becomes one of the most popular drug marketplaces in Europe. While his goal at first is to win his ex-girlfriend back, it gets harder and harder to maintain his regular high school life while handling rival drug dealers and dodging the police.

It’s an entertaining watch because Moritz isn’t your typical drug dealer at all. In fact, he’s a bumbling teenager who sees himself as a good student. The details are pretty authentic—Reddit and Discord get featured a lot!

4. Barbarians (2020)

Genre: Action
Main Actors: Laurence Rupp, Jeanne Goursaud, David Schütter

“Barbarians” is an action-packed show that revolves around a defining moment in history: the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in 9 AD.  

The main character here is Armenius, a chieftain of a Germanic tribe who was raised by Romans. Back then, the Roman Empire was among the most powerful in the world, and the Germanic tribes were mistreated under their rule. Because of this, Armenius decides to rally the tribes to rebel against the Romans.  

Visually, “Barbarians” doesn’t hold back, from intense battle scenes to full-on whippings and crucifixions. I found it cool that the characters also spoke German and Latin all throughout.

5. Babylon Berlin (2017)

Genre: Thriller
Main Actors: Volker Bruch, Liv Lisa Fries

“Babylon Berlin” is said to be the most expensive German series ever, with a budget of  €55 million. It brings 1920s Berlin to life in all its decadent glory, from the lavishness of the set to the sheer amount of historical detail.

Police inspector Gereon is transferred from Cologne to Berlin to look into a pornographic ring run by the Berlin Mafia. He partners up with Charlotte, who has a day job at the police while working at nightclubs.

As they explore Berlin’s underworld, they discover massive crime dealings, like arms smuggling and drug trafficking. I was fascinated by the diverse characters, including Armenian mobsters and Soviet rebels.  

6. King of Stonks (2022)

Genre: Comedy
Main Actors: Thomas Schubert, Matthias Brandt, Larissa Sirah Herden

“King of Stonks” is based on the Wirecard scandal, which is the biggest fraud incident in Germany ever.

A fintech company called CableCash is about to release its IPO, and it promises to revolutionize the banking industry. Felix Armand is its ambitious yet somewhat amoral CFO. As the pressure mounts on him to exceed everyone’s expectations, he starts to make increasingly unethical decisions, including manipulating stock prices, faking financial reports and even doing money laundering.

It’s chaotic, exciting and brimming with dark humor. I binged all six episodes in one go because events were so fast-paced!

7. Woman of the Dead (2022)

Genre: Thriller
Main Actors: Anna Maria Mühe, Yousef Sweid, Felix Klare

This Austrian thriller presents a compelling revenge story.

Blum, a funeral home owner, is devastated after her husband dies in a hit-and-run accident. She suspects that there’s foul play behind it, and she soon uncovers a deeper conspiracy involving influential members of her town. While she’s originally a caring wife and mother, she becomes consumed by thoughts of revenge and even starts to become violent, targeting those involved one by one.

Her character is pretty unique because she takes advantage of her skills as a funeral home owner, such as knowing anatomy very well. There are plenty of breathtaking shots of different parts of Austria, including the Alps.

8. Oktoberfest: Beer and Blood (2020)

Genre: Thriller
Main Actors: Misel Maticevic, Martina Gedeck, Klaus Steinbacher, Mercedes Müller

We normally think of Oktoberfest as a fun festival, but “Oktoberfest: Beer and Blood” shows its dark side.

Let’s rewind to the year 1900. Munich is about to celebrate Oktoberfest, but this year, a brewer named Curt Prank wants to secure a prime spot at the festival. He’s willing to use ruthless tactics, such as bribing, sending out thugs and ruining other brewers’ property and reputation.   

This has messy consequences that even Curt himself couldn’t have predicted, with other businesses betraying him. To make it worse, his daughter has her eyes set on the heir of a rival brewer. 

Murder, violence and political manipulation—they’re all here, and it’s loosely based on true events too!

9. Freud (2020)

Genre: Crime
Main Actors: Robert Finster, Ella Rumpf, Georg Friedrich

“Freud” is the first Austrian Netflix original. I watched it as soon as it was released, and the plot twists constantly kept me on my toes since the show turned out to be a psychological thriller (with magic involved)!  

In 1880’s Vienna, Freud hasn’t invented psychoanalysis yet—he’s still at the start of his career and eager to make a name for himself. The story takes a supernatural turn as he’s called to help in a series of grisly murders and occult rituals. To figure out what’s really happening, he teams up with a medium named Fleur Salomé and a war veteran, Alfred Kiss.

10. Billion Dollar Code (2021)

Genre: Thriller
Main Actors: Leonard Scheicher, Marius Ahrendt, Mark Waschke, Misel Maticevic

This eye-opening courtroom drama delves into who really created Google Earth.

Two German computer visionaries, Juri Müller and Carsten Schlüter, develop an innovative software called Terravision in the 1990s. It’s a precursor to Google Earth and shows the earth in a digital, three-dimensional way using satellite imagery and data visualization.

Years later, after Google launches Google Earth, Juri and Carsten realize that their pioneering technology was used without their permission. They decide to sue Google for patent infringement, leading to a high-stakes legal battle.

The narration is engrossing, and I felt disturbed afterwards at how big companies can just sometimes take other people’s inventions as their own.  

11. Kleo (2022)

Genre: Thriller
Main Actors: Jella Haase, Dimitrij Schaad, Julius Feldmeier, Vladimir Burlakov

“Kleo” might be a spy thriller, but it’s also hilarious and sometimes absurd.

Kleo Straub, a former East German spy and assassin, is wrongfully imprisoned in 1987. She’s released after the fall of the Berlin Wall, but then discovers that her imprisonment was part of a deeper plot involving former Stasi members and West German businessmen. Fueled by revenge, she goes on a deadly mission across Berlin and beyond to track down and eliminate those who betrayed her.

“Kleo” actually throws a lot of unpredictable curveballs, to the point that I still can’t get over the finale. There’s tons of dark humor too!  

12. The Empress (2022)

Genre: Drama
Main Actors: Devrim Lingnau, Philip Froissant

Fans of “The Crown” should totally go for this period drama. It’s focused on the life of Empress Elisabeth of Austria in the 19th century. Also known as Sisi, she unexpectedly becomes the empress after falling in love with Emperor Franz Joseph.

Because of her free-spirited and rebellious personality, she has a hard time adjusting at first to her new status as royalty. Aside from this, her relationship with Franz gets strained too as they deal with the politics of the Austro-Hungarian empire and personal vendettas from the court.

It’s not historically accurate, but the production quality is top-notch, with gorgeous costumes and palace scenes.

13. The Signal (2024)

Genre: Thriller
Main Actors: Florian David Fitz, Peri Baumeister, Yuna Bennett

You can fly through this new Netflix limited series in just a few hours.

A female astronaut named Paula goes missing after boarding a flight to see her family, which leads them on an eye-opening, life-altering journey to find her. Paula works for the International Space Station as a scientist, and the more her family learns about her disappearance, the more they learn about her work.

This leaves them with more than questions about where she is. It makes them question everything they know about the world they live in.

Soon, everyone in the family finds themselves in danger. And wrapped up in a new, mind-blowing discovery Paula makes.

14. Crooks (2024)

Genre: Thriller
Main Actors: Frederick Lau, Kida Khodr Ramadan 

“Crooks” is a new Netflix Original German crime drama that follows a former safecracker named Charly.

Charly lives a peaceful life with his family in Berlin, but suddenly he’s forced to face his past and reenter criminal life. The mission? To steal a highly valuable coin.

But the odds aren’t in his favor. And when the heist goes wrong and risky complications arise, Charly finds himself running from gangs, a new mysterious master thief and other secret criminal groups searching for the same coin.

 

With all of these highly rated German series, you can prepare some popcorn, get cozy and start watching! 

Aside from being entertaining, German TV shows can help you improve your German language skills. To learn German through TV show and movie clips, check out FluentU. 

FluentU is one of the best websites and apps for learning German the way native speakers really use it. FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

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To keep things fresh, FluentU keeps track of the words you’re learning and recommends further lessons and videos based on what you've already studied.

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Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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