Prison Break, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The Shield, Game of Thrones, all these names mean something to you? This is quite normal since these are successful series, produced mostly by the United States. An obvious comic character, a strong plot, an explosive cast, welcome to the world of series!
However, according to a survey conducted by Betaseries, the geographical origin of series is the last criteria that the French take into account when choosing them. Because good shows can be produced elsewhere than in America. Italy is a perfect example of this, thanks to content broadcast on the small screen that rivals cinema. So what are the best series made in Italy? That’s what we’re going to see right now!
Created in 2006, this series, directed by Riccardo Donna and Tiziana Aristarco, has two seasons, each episode lasting 50 minutes. This Italian programme, which has since been discontinued, is based on the Spanish TV series Cuéntame cómo pasó by TVE.
Overall, the Spanish version tells the turbulent story of a Spanish middle-class family, the Alcantara, from 1968 to the second half of the 1980s. The Italian version traces the Ferrucci family’s journey through the 1960s, in the hope of keeping a united cocoon, despite many Italian and global political and economic and social changes.
Broadcast on Eurochannel, Raccontami is a perfect illustration of the changes and upheavals that Italy experienced during this period. As a result, different characters will clash, including the ambitious father and the more down-to-earth mother. The generation known to the three children marks a very special way of life, which this series has managed to transcribe to perfection.
TV, Film & Media can be very useful in learning a language like Italian. Photo via VisualHunt
As indicated in the title, Gomorra is a series taken from the homonymous book written by Roberto Saviano, whose action takes place in Naples. Also created by Roberto Saviano in 2014, the series describes the career of Ciro di Marzio, a member of the Savastano clan led by Pietro Savastano, a great drug baron.
We then witness his initiatory journey in this universe filled with crimes, trying to reconcile his ambitions with a merciless clan war. It goes without saying that the title of the series, Gomorra, is not unlike the name of the famous Italian criminal organization, the Camorra.
This Italian series has become a real reference in its field. Applauded by the public, it continues season after season, and the fourth will be broadcast in 2019. The success is such that a film from the series will be produced soon, enough to make the slightest American series jealous!
Previewed at the Venice Mostra on September 3, 2016, The Young Pope is an Italian series, but not only! Indeed, it is an Italian, French, and Spanish co-production! Composed of ten episodes, this Italian series was created by Parolo Sorrentino. Among the actors in this major series are Diane Keaton and Jude Law.
This first series is increasingly successful, so a second season is being developed, and will probably be broadcast in 2019. Shot in English, the story is about the journey of Pius XIII, a newly appointed pope, also known as Lenny Belardo. Defying the Vatican’s expectations and ambitions from the very beginning of its reign, it often opposes what cardinals expect and hopes from him.
Nominated twice at the 69th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards (a major American ceremony), this is the first Italian television series to be nominated. A great victory for Italian culture, therefore, which shows that the best TV series and the contents to see absolutely are not specifically American. So many developments for Italy!
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to Italian television. (Source: stock.tookapic.com)
Created in 2007 by Enzo Monteleone and Alexis Douce, Corleone is a mini-series in six episodes of about 100 minutes each. Inspired by the eponymous book of an investigation by Giuseppe D’Avanzo and Attilio Bolzoni, this Italian series starts from the point of view of “Corleone”. The leader of the cosa notra Salvatore “Toro” Riina tells his story, not forgetting to mention his enemies.
Suspected of having killed hundreds of people, we then witness his long ascent into the mafia, punctuated by bloody history, from his early childhood.
There’s a good chance you’ve already heard of the Prodigious Friend. Indeed, this Italian series, broadcasted since the end of November 2018, is based on the eponymous book saga, written by Elena Ferrante. A worldwide success in bookshops, the serial adaptation is scheduled to be released in thirty-two episodes and was watched by more than 30% of the Italian public during its first television broadcast.
True to the basic story, developed in the books, it is simply the story of friendship between two little Neapolitan girls, who grew up in the poor neighbourhood of Naples in the 1950s. This friendship will then gradually evolve into adulthood. A friendship of more than 60 years, whose Neapolitan framework will be there throughout the work, and which will eventually wither away.
Directed by Saverio Costanzo, this series features all the characters of the saga and is told by Elena Greco, one of the two “friends”. The first eight episodes of the Prodigious Friend were shot in the outskirts of Caserta, where the poor district of Naples (Luzatti) was reconstituted in an industrial area. We also find the island of Ischia and Naples itself among the filming locations.
Use the best Italian hits and songs to learn Italian.
Since 2017, Suburra has been available on Netflix! Created by Daniele Cesarano and Barbara Petronio, it addresses many of the themes dear to Italian series, and even to series in general: power, the division between two generations, but also the construction of one’s own identity according to an established pattern.
The series takes place in Rome in 2008 and describes the life and struggle of influential protagonists within the Vatican government, but also in the Italian capital. The challenge of this struggle was to obtain independent territories, while the mayor was about to resign. All these events, therefore, take place before the facts reported in the homonymous film Suburra, developed in 2015.
Use films to improve your Italian. (Source: Wallpaper Cave)
Baby is also one of Netflix’s successes in Italy. With its first season broadcast since November 2018 on Netflix, it is a worldwide success, making it almost a cult series. It is also rumoured that a new season would already be in production. Created by Andrea De Sica and Anna Negri, Baby is inspired by the Italian scandal “Baby Squillo”.
This scandal is the macabre discovery of a prostitution network of minors in the Italian district of Parioli in 2014. In the Roman capital, Chiara and Ludovica have a double life. Indeed, these two teenagers from the famous district attend a private high school and have an apparently perfect daily life.
However, the background is quite different, since there are pressure and insecurity, which will lead them to prostitute themselves. By associating with bad people, the two girls will fall into an infernal spiral, bringing the drama of the series. With a well-crafted scenario, everything is in place to make it a success!
Instead of watching TV, listen to Italian radio.
With the original title “Non Uccidere”, Squadra Criminale is a police television series, produced in Italy, and created by Claudio Corbucci. Broadcast since September 2015 in Italy, the episodes are divided into two 45-minute parts in France, Belgium and Germany, and have been broadcast there since 2017.
The series tells the story of Inspector Valeria Ferro. The latter works at the Turin Judicial Police, and can thus discover a wide range of backgrounds. Assisted by several recruits, Valeria Ferro, obstinate, tough and relevant, will gradually show and reveal her difficult past, as investigations progress.
This is the most skilful mixture when it comes to making a series: seemingly significant events, which gradually reveal the weaknesses of the main person. Enough to make you want to create original creations and take yourself for Spielberg!
As we can understand, Italy is a country rich in culture, whose proposal for series is a perfect example. Between dramatic series, police series, breathless soap opera and engaging main characters, everyone will find something for everyone!