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THE BEST TV SHOWS TO LEARN SPANISH

Many people have asked me for help with the Spanish learning process as well as for advice on how they can practice Spanish at home. Listening comprehension is an important skill to develop as a beginner/intermediate learner. So, how can you practice listening comprehension at home doing an activity that you actually enjoy doing/already do? From my own experience, I can tell you that TV shows are incredibly powerful tools for learning another language. In this post, I will list my favorite TV shows to learn Spanish. I have watched  used each show listed both practice listening comprehension as well as to expand my vocabulary. The best part is that you can watch all of these shows online!

Read more: Simple Tips to Sound Like a Native Spanish Speaker

Okay, Spanish TV. Before I start my list, my first piece of advice on going about watching TV in Spanish is to use subtitles. HOWEVER, DO NOT PUT THE SUBTITLES IN ENGLISH. Use Spanish subtitles. If you have them in English you’ll read the English instead of focusing on Spanish. Listen in Spanish with Spanish subtitles to both check that your listening comprehension is correct as well as to detect vocabulary that is new for you.   

Be aware that these shows are almost entirely in Spain Spanish, so get ready to be comfortable with all the ceceo that you could possibly desire and plenty of vosotros conjugations.

If you like The Tudors, The Borgias, Wolf Hall, Reign, you’ll like…

1. Isabel

shows

RTVE/Via isabeltve.tumblr.com

Suggested level of Spanish: intermediate

Okay so, Isabel is based on the life of Spain’s (or rather Castilla’s) Queen Isabella I. If you know much about Spanish history, you know this is going to be an interesting time piece, because Queen Isabella and her husband, King Ferdinand, were the ‘Catholic monarchs’ that actually sponsored Christopher Columbus’ (Cristóbal Colón in Spanish) expedition to the so-called “New World” as well as the same monarchs who lived in la Alhambra. 

In this show, you’ll find all of the drama from other royal-themed time pieces, such as the ascent to power, the difficulty of holding onto the crown, as well as the romantic liaisons. 

You can watch Isabel on Drama Fever.

If you like Homeland, you’ll like…

2. El Tiempo Entre Costuras

shows

Boomerang TV-Atena 3/Via atena3.com

Suggested level of Spanish: Intermediate

YOU GUYS THIS IS THE BEST MINISERIES EVER. Based on the book (ALSO AMAZING) by the same name, it fulfills all of my historical fiction needs. Sira runs away from her home in Madrid just in time to miss the military coup in 1936 that begins the Spanish Civil War. She runs off with a guy spur of the moment who (of course) turns out to be bad news. So, she ends up stuck in Morocco with no idea of what to do next…reinventing herself as a top designer for Nazi wives and doing some undercover spy work sounds like a good idea. 

The one season of El tiempo entre costuras is on Netflix.

If you like Good Girls Revolt, you’ll like…

3. Las Chicas del Cable

Netlifx/Via cablegirls.tumblr.com

Suggested level of Spanish: Upper intermediate

It’s the 1920s in Madrid and women are finally starting to have to opportunity to be independent. The four main characters in the show quickly grasp the chance to work for a large telecommunications company as telephone operators. Las Chicas del Cable follows each woman and her life, struggles, and why she wants to be a “modern woman”.

You can find Las Chicas del Cable on Netflix (get ready to binge).  

If you like Revenge, you’ll like…  

4. Águila Roja

GIF EMBOZO

RTVE/ Via foroaguilaroja.rtve.es

Suggested level of Spanish: Intermediate

Just like Emily/Amanda, Gonzalo is out for revenge, only in his case he’s out to avenge the death of his beloved wife. Gonzalo may be a schoolteacher, but he also has some crazy ninja skills and becomes a sort of superhero in the village of Madrid (it’s the 17th century). It’s easy to follow because of all of the action, plus let’s be honest, we all love Sátur, Gonzalo’s quirky servant/friend/sidekick who also serves as a bit of comic relief. Águila Roja also has its fair share of romance, mostly having to do with Gonzalo and Margarita (Gonzalo’s sister-in-law) and the tension of “will they or won’t they” FINALLY get together. 

You can watch Águila Roja on Drama Fever. 

If you like Breaking Bad, you’ll like…

5. Narcos

shows

Netflix/ Via urbanrealism.tumblr.com

Suggested level of Spanish: Upper intermediate

While Narcos has its moments where only English is spoken, a majority of this Netflix-original series is actually done in Spanish. This show follows the story of Pablo Escobar and Colombia’s drug cartels as the DEA try to fight the huge influx of cocaine into the United States and hunt down the big producers. The way the show is narrated makes it crazy good, as well as the fact that for half of the show you are following Pablo Escobar, while for the other half of the show you follow the DEA agents. The Spanish in this show is extremely informal, but still great listening practice. 

You can find Narcos on Netflix. 

Have you used TV shows to further your learning in a foreign language?

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