The Israeli show “Hatufim” (Prisoners of War), remade in the US as the wildly successful drama “Homeland,” was named the best foreign show of the decade by the New York Times, taking the first spot in a list of 30 top international TV series.
“Hatufim” first aired in Israel in 2010, telling the story of three Israeli military men who were captured during a secret mission in Lebanon and held as prisoners for almost two decades. The critically acclaimed show aired in some 20 countries in its original Hebrew format with subtitles.
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In addition, several countries adapted the story for their own series, including the US where “Homeland” tells the story of an American soldier captured in Iraq and held by an al-Qaeda operative for several years and the CIA agent who, after his rescue, suspects he was “turned” during his time as a prisoner. Homeland’s first aired in 2011 and eighth and final season will be broadcast in February 2020.
In the New York Times piece, “Hatufim” was described as “tense but in a quiet, leisurely, realistic style; a taut and intelligent political thriller that was above all a melancholy, at times heartbreaking character study of soldiers and families damaged by war.”
The acclaimed Fauda” ranked in the 8th spot on the NYT list. The show premiered in Israel in 2015 and on Netflix in late 2016, portraying the complicated conflict between Israelis and Palestinians through the story of an Israeli counter-terrorism unit operating in the West Bank and trying to capture (or kill) Hamas terrorists. The first and second seasons air on Netflix with English subtitles. A third season is set to start in Israel
Israelis shows “Shtisel” – about an ultra-Orthodox family in Jerusalem – and the controversial “Our Boys,” a miniseries that tells the true story of the kidnapping and murder of a Palestinian teen in Jerusalem in the summer of 2014, received honorable mentions.