Israeli series, adapted as Showtime’s ‘Homeland,’ wins international show of decade

The New York Times chose Israel’s “Prisoners of War” as the best international TV show of the decade.

By Arye Green, TPS

Israeli TV received global recognition on Friday when The New York Times chose Israel’s “Prisoners of War” as the best international TV show of the decade.

The series was created by Israeli director, screenwriter and producer Gideon Raff. In 2010 it won the Israeli Academy Award for Television for Best Drama Series.

The TV show was acquired by 20th Century Fox Television before it aired in Israel, and was adapted into the acclaimed series Homeland for Showtime in the U.S. It was also adapted into shows in India and Russia.

The series, set in 2008, depicts three IDF soldiers who were captured 17 years previously while on a secret mission with their unit in Lebanon.

The series explores the reintegration of the soldiers into Israeli society, which has made them national symbols, and into interrupted family life while working through the trauma of having been held captive and tortured.

The New York Times called the series an “intelligent political thriller,” praising its deep characters.

“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 New York Times described the show.

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The list of the world’s 30 best TV shows in the last decade included Israeli show Fauda, which came in eighth.

Fauda, a show about an Israeli counterterrorism unit, was described as an “absorbing, straightforward thriller” that “exploits the exigencies and emotions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its dusty, mazelike locales.”

The New York Times’ honorable mentions included two more Israeli shows, Our Boys and Shtisel.