If French TV productions does not have the magnitude or world impact as its American counterpart, France is able to produce high quality shows for comedy, drama and detective series.
Note that the following list is personal and not based on the quality or the public reception :
Un village français ( 2009- )
Un village français ( A French village ) is an historical drama that tells the story of the fictional town of Villeneuve and its inhabitants as they live through the Second World War and the German occupation. Set somewhere in the Jura department, near Besançon, the first season ( out of six so far ) depicts the arrival of the German army and the first choices the inhabitants have to make to survive. Between collaborating, resisting and trying to live an ordinary life, the people of Villeneuve have tough choices to make before the liberation of 1945.
Un Gars, une Fille ( 1999-2003 )
Un Gars, une Fille ( A guy, a girl ) is the French adaptation of the Québecquoise series of the same name. Using a very short format ( between 5 and 10 minutes long episode ), this very funny comedy tells the story of an ordinary couple ( Jean Dujardin and Alexandra Lamy ) during their daily life. In total they produced 485 episodes and this mamouth work simply paves the march to the award winning film “The Artist”.
Plus belle la vie ( 2004- )
Plus belle la vie is a soap opera depicting the life of a neighbourhood in Marseille. It is one of the most successful French TV series with more than 2,800 episodes and is more pirated than Game of Thrones. Plus belle la vie has even been adapted in board games, video games and books.
Very Bad Blagues ( 2011- )
Very Bad Blagues ( Very Bad Jokes ) is a comedy series of very short episodes ( about 5 minutes ). It was first diffused on the web before being adapted for television. Very popular, the series does not have any particular storyline as the episodes addresses a large variety of topics, sometimes quite salacious.
Nicolas le Floch ( 2008- )
Nicolas le Floch is a series of 90 minutes long movies adapted from the Jean-François Parrot’s The Investigation of Nicolas of Floch novels. Le Floch is a French police detective in the 18th Century Paris, before the Revolution. Brilliant detective, he investigates crimes in both the lowest and the highest spheres of the Parisian society during the age of the Enlightenment, sometimes being called by the King to shed some light on court intrigues. As a side note, Nicolas le Floch may not be the easiest series to watch as it uses 18th century manners of speaking.