A long-time favorite Israeli television series is now being honored on a global level by the New York Times as the best international TV series of the decade. “Hatufim” (Prisoners of War) originally aired in Israel from 2009-2012. The series was recently added to the lineups of major international streaming services Hulu and Netflix.
Second place on the list was awarded to the British adaptation of “Sherlock Holmes.” Third place went to another political thriller – “The Bureau” – a French espionage series.
The first-place Israeli selection was not the only Israeli series on the list – eighth place went to the successful series “Fauda” that won the Academy of Television Award for best dramatic series for the year 2015. In 2017, “Fauda” won 11 Academy of Television Awards, among them for best drama, best directing and best actor in a drama. In November 2016, Netflix acquired international broadcast rights to the ongoing series. The third season of “Fauda” is expected begin at the end of January 2020.
“Hatufim,” which is credited with inspiring the hit American series “Homeland,” was called by The New York Times, “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 series, set in 2008, depicts three Israeli soldiers who were captured 17 years earlier while on a secret mission with their unit in Lebanon. The story begins as the soldiers return home and face difficulties as they try to regain a normal life with their families and society at large, all while dealing with the trauma of captivity and torture. Some have to deal with wives who have remarried, all have children who have grown up without them, and many loved ones have since passed on.
Adding to their troubles, while they are undergoing psychiatrist treatment to help them through these relationships, discrepancies in soldiers’ descriptions of what happened to them while imprisoned results in an investigation into what secrets they might be keeping from friends, families and the authorities.