TV in Switzerland: 6 shows you have to watch

TV in Switzerland: 6 shows you have to watch

Whether it be in the lull after work or on a lazy weekend, there’s often nothing better than sitting in front of the television and binge-watching some great shows. To prime expats and internationals on TV in Switzerland, here are six great Swiss programmes to add to your watchlist!

TV shows from Switzerland: 6 ones to watch

While TV shows from Switzerland haven’t achieved the widespread popularity of those from the UK or America - barring one Nootable exception - they do provide expats with an interesting insight into the mind of the Swiss - especially if your understanding of German, French, or even Swiss German is up to scratch.

From comedies and sitcoms to cop dramas, here are six Swiss TV shows that are well worth a watch:


In the era of billion-dollar blockbusters and star-studded silver screen productions, it seems right to mention Switzerland’s most ambitious and expensive TV show to date: Gotthard. Made by Zodiac Pictures on behalf of national broadcaster SRF, the two-part drama series documents the building of the first Gotthard Tunnel from 1873 to 1882, and the hardships workers faced while mining, exploding and drilling their way through the mountains.

The show follows the story of Max Bühl, who comes to Göschenen, Canton Uri to work on the tunnel. There he meets love interest Anna Tresch, and soon the pair are forced to face the political, personal and human cost of building the tunnel - in reality, over 1.000 people died while building the first tunnel or due to health conditions caused by the work. At just 180 minutes long, it is well worth a watch!

Video: STUDIOCANAL Germany / YouTube


There’s trouble in the Swiss mountains after a man is murdered and the daughter of an entrepreneur disappears shortly before a new ski resort is built. It’s up to cantonal police officer Rosa Wilder and federal investigator Manfred Kägi to find out who committed the murder and what happened to the girl in the Swiss hit show Wilder.

In essence, this show is a Scandinavian drama done Swiss-style, with a dark and brooding plot that sees Wilder’s traumatic past come to haunt her as the case and her demons become entwined. If you are still sad about the end of The Bridge, Wilder is certainly a good substitute.

Video: MHz Choice / YouTube


Switching gears, ever wanted to see a comedy show about a cop in a small town, but with a stereotypically Swiss twist? Then Tschugger is for you! The SRF show - whose title is a dialect word to describe the police - is a satire that takes a lot of inspiration from 1980s-style cop shows, equipped with over-the-top action, one-liners, witty dialogue and piercing synth music.

The story follows the escapades of a rural department of the cantonal police in Valais, which gets turned upside down with the arrival of a man from Zurich and the discovery of a drug operation in the area. Much like in 80s shows, the plot often takes a backseat to action, but do expect murder, intrigue, crime, cults, drugs and punishment. If you fancy switching your brain off for a few hours and trying to tune into quite impenetrable Swiss accents, this is the show for you.

Video: Sky Show CH / YouTube


Available on Netflix with English subtitles, Neumatt is a high-emotion Swiss drama series about a management consultant's efforts to save a farmstead. Caught between his personal life, family, and past, the local community and the international companies vying to foreclose, will Michi make the right choices? Tune in to find out!

Video: Netflix Deutschland, Österreich und Schweiz / YouTube

Fascht e Familie

Turning back the clock somewhat, Fascht e Familie (Almost a Family) is a 1990s funny sitcom romp that is the perfect tonic for anyone caught up or worried about the ongoing housing shortages. The comedy concerns a real estate agent who is fighting tooth and nail to sell his aunt Martha’s house from under her nose.

Unfortunately for him, the ad he uses mistakenly offers furnished rooms for rent. Fearing the call of the retirement home, Martha calls her nephew’s bluff, opening up her home to a group of weird and wonderful tenants who quickly form into "almost a family." Naturally, high jinks ensue in their efforts to stop the evil uncle from selling the home.

Video: ThePuenktli1 / YouTube


Finally, no list of Swiss TV shows would be complete without mentioning the one that is by far Switzerland’s biggest silver screen export: Pingu. Indeed, between its first episode, which aired on March 7, 1990, and the end of the fourth season in April 2000, the adorable family of emperor penguins were created and shown by SRF. It would later be picked up by the British children’s channel CBBC for a further two seasons, with the final show ending in March 2006.

Pingu is the story of a family of penguins who live at the South Pole, with plots focusing mainly on the small son of the same name. The show was a hit in Switzerland, the UK and Japan, and was exported across the world.

This is largely thanks to the fact that the characters speak “Penguinese”, an invented grammalot language that was originally voiced entirely by Carlo Bonomi. “Noot noot” is by far the most remembered phrase in Penguinese - perhaps one language that is even more of a challenge to understand than Swiss German.

The clay animation style has made Pingu a timeless classic, with re-runs of the show now available on YouTube for all to see.

Video: Pingu - Official Channel / YouTube

Swiss TV to excite and enjoy

While they may not be as famous as the hot ticket Netflix or Amazon shows, Swiss television shows provide an invaluable insight into the country's culture and humour, and can even help you learn German or French along the way! Have a favourite Swiss show that we’ve missed out on? Let us know in the comments below!

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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