If you’re a traveler, check out these twelve Netflix shows, where the settings and local cultures can have as much presence as the characters.
Master of None
Season two of Aziz Ansari and Alan Young’s hit Netflix show starts off in Modena, Italy—where Dev has been learning how to make pasta like a local—before heading back to Brooklyn. From A-list hotspots to secret speakeasies, foodie experiences are infused into the show. Watch the latest season, wipe the drool from your chin and then pack your bags for the Big Apple.
Get ready for some serious travel inspiration as top-notch chefs the world over give you an in-depth look at their culinary arts. Created by Jiro Dreams of Sushi’s David Gelb, the show profiles a new chef in each episode showcasing their locations as much as the grub. Watch the recently released Chef’s Table: France with your bucket list in hand—you’ll be adding a whole lot of coveted reservations to it soon.
Daughters of Destiny
The lives of five Dalit girls are showcased in this docu-series exploring the fate of India’s lowest caste. As members of the experimental Shanti Bhavan school, the girls attend at no cost and are separated from their families when young in order to break the cycle of poverty. Director Vanessa Roth filmed the series over seven years, capturing the girls growing up and coming into their own in this unique system. The four 60 minute episodes will leave you hopeful for the future, and with a hankering to experience the beautiful complexities of India.
With Judd Apatow at the helm, you know you’re in for something good. This romance-bucking love story set in the hills of Los Angeles features two flawed characters who don’t seem particularly right for each other. The muted drama of their relationship plays out on the LA scene, featuring film lots, palm trees and many local bars. You might just finish the season believing that you too can find an unlikely love in LA.
From the creators of Chasing Ice comes this Netflix Original documentary about the struggle to document the climate-change driven destruction of coral reefs. Sweeping shots of vibrant underwater life juxtaposed with miles of bleached coral will inspire anger and frustration at our own ability to destroy the most beautiful parts of our world—and will make you want to see these vanishing corals with your own eyes.
The rise and fall of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar—filmed on location in the lush hills of Medellín—plays out as a seat-clenching crime thriller in this Netflix Original series. Wagner Moura steals the show as an Escobar you’ll love-to-hate, while the stellar camera work will have you googling, “Is Colombia safe for travel?”
Sarah Hyland leads an ensemble cast in this coming-of-age flick about six strangers crossing paths at a music festival. In a desert filled with plenty of neon and denim cut-offs, music-lovers and high-seekers gyrate to an almost constant soundtrack. While the clichés are plentiful, the party scenes will have you jonesin’ for Coachella—or heading in the complete opposite direction.
From the writer of The Queen, this Golden Globe-winning series follows the reign of Queen Elizabeth II from her ascendency in the 50’s to present time. The intrigue and drama will keep you watching, while the sweeping vistas of African Savannah and British countryside will have you hunting for your passport.
The Ivory Game
Leonardo DiCaprio executive produces this documentary highlighting the wide-spread poaching of elephants for their tusks. Filmed undercover over 18 months, the doc features impressive cinematography to tell the depressing tale of slaughter and corporate greed fueled by the high demand for ivory. You’ll be inspired to put your tourism to good use to support local organizations helping these majestic elephants survive.
Terrace House: Aloha State
After the international success of the original Terrace House set in Japan, Netflix has sponsored the next installment of this reality series. Based in Hawaii, six strangers are placed in a house for their personal situations to unfold on camera. Don’t expect the inflaming drama of American reality shows—what sets Terrace House apart is its uniquely engrossing focus on the restrained interactions of its characters. The latest Netflix version plays out on the island of Oahu and will inspire much paradise-envy.
Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp
This tongue-and-cheek prequel to the 2001 cult classic shows the counselors of Camp Firewood on the first day of that infamous summer. Many of the cast members have become megastars in-between films—including Paul Rudd, Bradley Cooper, Amy Poehler and Elizabeth Banks—and their comedic chops are on full display in this eight episode miniseries. If anything could make you want to go back to summer camp (or maybe just hang lakeside in New England) this is it.
Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories
This hidden gem tells the thought-provoking tales of customers at a Shinjuku diner-with-a-twist: the chef will prepare anything the clients request. The characters reminisce and interact with one another, weaving stories inspired by their meals of choice. Thoughtful and poignant, this show will leave you hungry to experience late-night Tokyo.
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