Welcome to Day 3 of our discussion of streaming TV services specializing in foreign programming.
Of the three, Walter Presents is the most unique, offering only foreign-language programming. Before you ask, there is no dubbing into English, and you will have to be prepared to read subtitles (in English, of course).
But is that any different than traveling to a foreign country and not preparing some phrases in their language before you go? Just because you want to travel the world to see the splendors you've only seen in magazines doesn't mean you can expect every native to speak your language for your convenience.
That's why we have Walter Presents. Whether it's true that Walter personally picks every drama or not, the service does a good job selling the idea. Walter takes the time to personally introduce many of the available shows. It gives you a comfortable feeling before you head into something about which you know very little.
The story is Italian television producer Walter Iuzzolino loves foreign dramas. Apparently, Walter watches thousands of hours of television to find what he loves. He finds huge hits from countries all around the world that are critically acclaimed, often award-winning nationally and internationally. It's premium stuff, he says.
Walter has great points to make. The stories we tell are all the same, but the way we tell them differs around the world. Watching culturally significant dramas is like traveling the world with each new program you see.
In interviews, Walter has talked about growing up in Italy viewing dubbed foreign programming. While dubbed content is terrible, he asserts, viewers are "offered a lot of different styles and textures: different ways of photographing, different actors, different writing, different paces."
As an adult in Anglo-America, Walter wondered what I have often myself. Where is all the foreign television that exists and is never seen on mainstream television?
I know many of my readers fled early on when they saw "subtitles." Something I've learned when watching subtitled television is that the more engaged you become with the programming, the less likely you are to realize you're reading them.
I watched the original French series Les Revenants (The Returned) through a friend when it aired in the UK, and when I think back on the experience, I cannot recall a moment stumbling through the visuals; instead, my memory is of immersing myself in a vivid experience, not words on a screen.
That's excellent storytelling and cinematography, not a burden to be suffered.
All of this is to say after his myriad hours of watching dramas, Walter personally curates what will be shown on Walter Presents. Thus the unique title of the service.
Sure, when you hunker down to watch something on Walter Presents, you have to commit to shutting down the world around you so that you can immerse yourself in the experience, but you can rest assured it wasn't picked by a bunch of random thumbs.
So what can you find on Walter Presents? A lot of crime noir, and a lot of recent world-wide hits.
There are four seasons of the Netherland's mafia drama Black Widow. Walter compares it to The Sopranos if Tony was killed in the first episode and Carmela inherited the business.
I watched French historical drama Resistance, set during the Second World War and based on true events about heroic French youth fighting for freedom from Nazi occupation, starring Cesar Domboy from Outlander.
It only felt natural to follow that up with another historical drama, Line of Separation, this time from Germany and also based on the true events of a small town that was separated down the middle after the fall of the Third Reich.
While the fictional town was named after a real creek, Tannbach, the real town, Mödlareuth, was split between East and West Germany. Those of you lucky enough to have caught Deutchland 83 will recognize one of the stars, Jonas Nay.
There is also an intriguing murder mystery called Lifeline out of Spain in which a renowned surgeon receives a heart transplant and soon begins having nightmares and visions of the man to whom the heart belonged. This one stars Juan Diego Botto from Good Behavior.
You'll find other series out of Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Israel, Belguim, Brazil and more, and there are new shows added all the time.
Walter Presents is available across all platforms, as an Amazon Channel and online.
Over the past two days, I've shared with you three alternatives to Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu for streaming foreign television. Each has a niche they're trying to fulfill and offer something special for those who subscribe.
If you're a big fan of television from around the world, you'll find something in this group (if not all three) worthy of a handful of dollars a month to keep you in the loop on programming outside of the States.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.