What's television's secret? The hottest international shows right now are coming from Spain. These shows are loaded with mystery, deception and long-simmering family disloyalty. But don't mistake them for trashy soaps - they're high-quality productions that look great, with incredible performances and bold, audacious scripts. Once you get hooked into one of them, say goodbye to your spare time because these shows will sink their claws in deep.
The latest Spanish series to launch at SBS On Demand is a perfect example of what makes this current wave of shows from Spain so great. Gigantes is a crime story with a family drama at its centre. In episode 1, we meet the Guerrero family - Abraham and his three sons Daniel, Tomás and Clemente. Abraham is a horrendous man who has risen to the top of the underground in Madrid and now controls all of its drug trafficking. After years of living under their father with his continued power games and general bad behaviour, his sons start to get restless and that's when the real power games begin and very quickly fizzle out. A botched murder attempt on one of the brother's wives ruins the lives of all three.
And that's just the first episode. This is Spanish TV and there are no rules to follow. Episode 2 jumps forward 10 years and that's when the series really takes off. What is life like for the brothers who have experienced such betrayal by their own kin? And how does that impact their lives when they're filling the power vacuum left by an ailing Abraham?
Another addictive Spanish drama now streaming at SBS On Demand is great mystery series I Know Who You Are. When Juan Ellis wakes up after a car crash, he struggles to remember much including what happened to his missing niece, Ana. Juan is a high-profile lawyer and he sets out to solve the mystery of what happened to Ana, while also filling in the gaps in his own memory. Could he actually be guilty of the crime that he is being accused of, or is Ana the innocent victim of the fall-out of professional rivalries and family issues that Juan simply doesn't remember?
Spanish dramas take us on dark trips into the hearts and minds of their characters. These are easy-to-watch programs with characters navigating complex family and professional relationships that can have life-threatening results for any character who makes the wrong move. But the best thing about a Spanish drama is how willing the shows are to break the rules of what viewers expect to see on TV.
You'll never guess what happens next.
Get started now and press play on these great Spanish dramas at SBS On Demand:
The patriarch of the Guerrero family, who has controlled drug trafficking in Madrid for years, suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. Only one of his three sons can take his place. The war has begun.
Alejandra is a high-profile architect who is shattered by her husband's suicide. After discovering that he led a double life with another woman for years, Alejandra tries to appease the pain by approaching her under another identity to discover why her husband lived a lie and what really happened on the fateful night of his death.
A noir thriller set in 16th century Seville, when the corpses of several murdered people are found, it's considered an omen of the end of the world.
Prestigious lawyer, Juan Elias, wakes up after a car crash suffering from amnesia. He soon discovers that he's the main suspect in the disappearance of his niece. The case will pit two powerful families against one another, dredging up secrets from the past they thought long forgotten.