Television is more exciting than it has ever been – even if you no longer need a TV to watch your favorite show!

Today’s great American and British shows are watched around the world the moment they are released and everyone has their own favorite Scandi crime series. But while some TV is instantly universal, other wonderful shows are little-known outside their country of origin.

Using IMDb user ratings as our guide, we identified the most popular TV shows produced in every country around the world. In cases where we couldn’t find a highly-rated series produced in a given country, we looked for TV shows filmed in or with a story line set in the area.

We found some real must-sees in among this diverse collection. The show with the top rating is from Sri Lanka. Koombiyo (Ants) is a crime drama about a homeless man who gets caught up in the world of organized crime. Koombiyo has a 9.8 rating on IMDb but its future is in doubt as the show’s main writer has mysteriously gone missing.

2019 has been a fantastic year for TV so far. Our study found that new shows have gone straight to the ‘all-time’ number one spot in Brunei, Congo, and Malawi.

Where in the world will your couch take you next?

Highest rated TV shows around the world

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North America

Canada’s top choice show is one of the longest-running on the list. The X-Files captured the public’s imagination when it launched in 1993 and earned its place as an all-time classic. FBI agents Mulder and Scully remain an iconic duo today, investigating the crimes and unexplained events the government sought to bury.

Costa Rica’s favorite show is also a long-runner. La Pensión debuted in 1999, and is still running twenty seasons later. It is a light-hearted comedy about a luxurious boarding house that has fallen on hard times, and the colorful characters that live there.

Most popular TV series in North America

Europe

The UK, France, Germany, and the Scandinavian countries all boast huge international hits. The UK number one, Sherlock, updates Arthur Conan Doyle’s 19th-century detective serial to modern day London, with the international movie star Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role.

Germany and France have had worldwide success with their answers to The X-Files. German show Dark is an often confusing and sometimes scary time travel series. Les Revenants (The Returned) tells the spooky tale of what happens when a town’s dead people begin to reappear alive and well.

Most popular TV series in Europe

Asia

The 2018 South Korean television series Miseuteo Syeonsyain (Mr. Sunshine) is the country’s top-rated show on IMDb. It has broken viewership records at home and been distributed internationally by Netflix. Mr. Sunshine is a period drama about a Korean boy born into slavery in the 1900s, and Korea’s fight for independence.

Taiwan’s latest hit is a 10-part drama series following the fates of all who were involved in a fatal shooting – the victims, the killer, the media, and those caught up in the trial. Thailand is represented by a love story from 2018, called Love By Chance. It has a rating of 8.6 on IMDb.

Most popular TV shows in Asia

South America

The top-rated Argentine TV series is a cross between and The A-Team and Quantum Leap. Los Simuladores (The Pretenders) follows a team of con artists who create ornate fake situations to solve regular peoples’ problems. It was popular enough to be remade in Spain and Mexico.

Venezuela’s highest-scoring show is a 1992 telenovela called Kassandra. Oddly, it was the most-watched show in Bosnia-Herzegovina when a local TV company showed a pirated version during the Bosnian War. “We are completely different cultures and miles apart, but I think we all have a common denominator, which is love,” explained Kassandra’s leading lady, Coraima Torres.

Highest rated TV shows in South America

Africa

The most popular local TV show in Morocco is a crime reenactment series that creates dramas out of old cases from court archives. At one point, over half of viewers in Morocco aged under 22 would tune in to Moudawala (Deliberation) to see the latest episode.

Recent Kenyan comedy-drama Sue na Jonnie is a mistaken-identity crime show that has captured imaginations in Kenya and abroad. Its far-fetched storylines and authentic Mtaani (street culture) humor have earned it a 9.4 rating on IMDb.

Most popular TV series in Africa

Oceania

The Almighty Johnsons is a 2011-2013 comic fantasy series about a family of Norse gods living in modern day New Zealand. It was popular enough for viewers to successfully demand a third series after the show was cancelled.

Australia’s highest-rated show is the break-out space opera Farscape. The cult show is now celebrating its twentieth anniversary. Many of its original stars used the show as a launchpad into other top science-fiction shows and movies.

Highest rated TV shows in Oceania

As our maps show, there is no shortage of interesting and diverse series to watch when you know where in the world to look. Why not watch one of these hit shows tonight? You might just find your new favorite show!

Methodology

We used IMDb to find TV shows produced in each country and sorted them by User Rating to find the highest-rated shows. In many cases the shows with the highest ratings had too few votes to constitute a reliable sample, so we sorted the list by Number of Votes to find the highest-rated show with the highest number of votes.

For cases where no shows were produced in a given country, we identified highly-rated TV shows that had been filmed in or had a story line set in the country. Those cases were flagged in the research sheet: http://bit.ly/TheWorldsFavoriteTVshows

COUNTRYTV SHOWYEARIMDb RATINGGENRE
AfghanistanAfghan Star2005-7.1Reality TV
AlbaniaBesa2018-8.9Crime
AlgeriaSultan Ashour 102015-8.2Comedy
AngolaJikulumessu2014-20158.1Drama
ArgentinaLos Simuladores2002-20049.1Mystery
ArmeniaChaos2019-9.4Drama
AustraliaFarscape1999-20038.3Adventure
AustriaBraunschlag2012-8.3Drama
AzerbaijanBalta2018-8.5Animation
BahamasIsland of Bryan2019-7.9Adventure
BahrainArabia Motors2017-6.9Reality TV
BangladeshAaj Robibar19908.5Comedy
BarbadosKeeping Up with the Joneses2011-7.9Comedy
BelarusTurtl’ Pavr!2012-20187.4Animation
BelgiumIn de Gloria2000-20028.7Comedy
BelizeMad Dogs2015-20167.5Comedy
BhutanPrincess and I2012–20137.6Comedy
BoliviaSigo siendo el Rey2016–7.4Drama
Bosnia and HerzegovinaLud, zbunjen, normalan2007-8.4Comedy
BotswanaSaving Sirga: Journey into the Heart of a Lion20178.1Documentary
BrazilO Mecanismo2018-8.7Crime
BruneiAseudal Yeondaegi2019-7.8Drama
BulgariaPod prikritie2011-20168.9Action
CanadaThe X-Files1993-8.7Crime
Chile31 Minutos2003-20148.4Comedy
China (People’s Republic of China)Meteor Garden2018-8.3Drama
ColombiaPablo Escobar: El Patrón del Mal20128.5Biography
Congo (Democratic Republic of the: Kinshasa)The Widow2019-6.9Thriller
Costa RicaLa Pensión1999-7.4Comedy
CroatiaBitange i princeze2005-8.4Comedy
CubaAlgo más que soñar1991-7.5Drama
CyprusVourate Geitonoi2001-20047.9Comedy
Czech RepublicCetnické humoresky1997-8Comedy
DenmarkForbrydelsen2007-20128.4Crime
Dominican RepublicTrópico2007-7Drama
EcuadorEnchufe.tv2011-7.6Comedy
EgyptWannous2016-8.6Drama
EstoniaLitsid: The Whores2018-8.8Drama
FinlandMadventures2002-9.2Documentary
FranceLes Revenants2012-8.2Drama
GeorgiaTiflisi2014-9.1Action
GermanyDark2017-8.7Crime
GhanaAn African City2014-8Comedy
GreeceSto Para Pente2005-20078.5Comedy
GuyanaGuyane2016-7.5Drama
HungaryAranyélet2015-8.9Action
IcelandÓfærð2015-8.1Crime
IndiaSacred Games2018-8.9Action
IndonesiaSi Doel Anak Sekolahan1996-8.4Comedy
IranShabhaye Barareh2005-20068.3Comedy
IraqKurd Idol2017-8.4Reality TV
IrelandLove/Hate2010-20148.5Crime
IsraelShtisel2013-8.8Drama
ItalyGomorrah2014-8.7Crime
JamaicaA DAY IN THE LIFE OF TYLER12018-9.3Adventure
JapanDeath Note: Desu nôto2006-20079Animation
JordanAl Hajjaj2003-7.9Drama
KazakhstanKazakh Khanate2017-8.5History
KenyaSue Na Jonnie2017-9.4Drama
KosovoÇka ka Shpija2015-8.3Comedy
KuwaitSwar Shuaib2014-8.2Talk Show
KyrgyzstanBorn in the USSR1991–8.7`Documentary
LatviaLiktena Lidumnieki2003-9.3Drama
Lebanon (Republic of Lebanon)Al Hayba the Comeback20188.1Action
LiechtensteinFerdy1984-6.7Animation
LithuaniaStarkaus & Radzeviciaus keliones2006-9.3Documentary
LuxembourgComeback2012-20137.9Comedy
MacedoniaPrespav2016-20198.6Comedy
MadagascarMadagascar2011-8.5Documentary
MalawiThe Boy Who Harnessed the Wind20197.6Drama
MalaysiaSaladin2010-8.9Animation
MaltaDivision 72016-8.9Action
MexicoNarcos: Mexico2018-8.4Crime
MongoliaMarco Polo2014–20168.1Drama
MontenegroBudva na pjenu od mora2012-7.1Drama
MoroccoMoudawala2019-9.6Crime
NepalHimalaya Roadies2017-9.2Reality TV
NetherlandsPenoza2010-20178.3Crime
New ZealandThe Almighty Johnsons2011-20138.2Drama
NigeriaTinsel2008-8Drama
NorwaySkam2015-20178.7Drama
PakistanEnaaya2019-9.2Drama
PanamaQuién TV2013-8.3Comedy
ParaguayGonzález vs. Bonetti2005-7.8Comedy
PeruLatin Lover2001-9.2Drama
PhilippinesMara Clara2010-20118.6Crime
PolandKryminalni2004-7.2Crime
PortugalOdisseia2013-8.6Comedy
QatarImam20179.3Biography
RomaniaUmbre2014-8.8Crime
RussiaKukhnya2012-8.5Adventure
Saudi ArabiaKhawatir2005-9.4Reality TV
SerbiaSenke nad Balkanom2017-9.1Crime
SingaporeSerangoon Road20137.1Crime
SlovakiaZa sklom2016-8Action
SloveniaTruplo2018-8.8Comedy
South AfricaBlack Sails2014-20178.3Adventure
South KoreaMiseuteo Shunshain2018-8.8Drama
SpainLa casa de papel2017-8.6Action
Sri LankaKoombiyo2017-20189.8Crime
SwedenBron/Broen2011-20188.7Crime
SwitzerlandThe Team2015-7Crime
SyriaAl-Zeer Salem2000-9.1Action
TanzaniaSiri ya Mtungi20128.6Drama
Taiwan (Republic of China)Wo men yu e de ju li2019-9.3Crime
ThailandLove By Chance2018-8.6Romance
The GambiaRoots19778.3Drama
TunisiaChoufli Hal2005–20099.4Comedy
Trinidad and TobagoWestwood Park1997-20046.3Drama
TurkeyLeyla and Mecnun2011-20149.1Adventure
UgandaBeneath The Lies2014-20168.6Crime
UkraineNyukhach2013-7.3Action
United Arab EmiratesFarouk Omar2012-9Biography
United KingdomSherlock2010-9.1Crime
United States of AmericaBreaking Bad2008–20139.5Crime
UruguayVoces anónimas2006-7.7Horror
VanuatuLove Patrol2007–7Drama
VenezuelaKassandra1992-7.2Drama
VietnamGap nhau cuoi nam: Tao quan2003-9.2Comedy
ZimbabweStudio 2632002-9.1Drama

 

Sources

Keen to find out more about some of the series on our maps? Here is the full list of top shows, their genres and IMDb rating, country-by-country. For the full research behind this project, visit http://bit.ly/TheWorldsFavoriteTVshows