Israel’s ‘Hatufim’ is NY Times’ best foreign show of the decade
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Winning the TV war

Israel’s ‘Hatufim’ is NY Times’ best foreign show of the decade

Paper calls series that inspired ‘Homeland’ a ‘taut and intelligent political thriller’ and a ‘heartbreaking character study of soldiers and families damaged by war’

An image from 'Prisoners of War' ('Hatufim'), the basis for the US program, 'Homeland' (YouTube screenshot)
An image from 'Prisoners of War' ('Hatufim'), the basis for the US program, 'Homeland' (YouTube screenshot)

The New York Times has named Israeli TV series “Prisoners of War” (“Hatufim”) the best international TV show of the decade.

The show, which loosely inspired the American TV drama “Homeland,” was praised in the paper’s countdown of global television programming 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 show had two seasons consisting of 24 episodes in total. It currently streams on Hulu in the US and on Netflix in Israel.

Though “Prisoners of War” took the top spot on the list of 30 best shows, another Israeli program made the top 10: hit counterterrorism thriller “Fauda.” The NY Times said the show “shrewdly exploits the exigencies and emotions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its dusty, mazelike locales.”

Two more Israeli shows received honorable mentions: “Shtisel,” a drama about a recently widowed ultra-Orthodox man and his son as they try to find love within the confines of their strict religious life; and “Our Boys,” a 2019 show which tells the story of the gruesome murder of an Arab teen by Jewish extremists in 2014. The series has been controversial in Israel for choosing to focus on that event while giving little attention to events that precipitated it — the kidnapping and murder of three Jewish teens in the West Bank.

Other shows in the top 10 included the BBC’s “Sherlock” and “Killing Eve,” Netflix’s “The Crown” and Italian mob show “Gomorrah.”

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