Unlike 10 years ago we now have access to radio stations, newspapers, and even television shows produced in different countries and languages. So, let’s harvest this incredible opportunity and use it to learn Spanish!
It is time to start watching a TV series that will help improve your vocabulary, pronunciation, and learn new expressions!
Chances are you are already using shows to relax and wind down at night or to keep you entertained on the weekends. Why not make a small habit change and start watching Spanish speaking shows?
Heck, if you want, you can even watch the same American shows but with Spanish dubbed audio or Spanish subtitles.
Personally, I did this with the show “Friends” and learned a lot form it. The opportunities are endless!
Below you will find the 7 best TV shows to learn Spanish so that you can improve your listening and comprehension while relaxing from the comfort of your sofa.
Finally, we finish with 5 tips to make your learning effective.
Destinos is a 52 episode Spanish series that was created with the sole purpose of teaching Spanish while focusing on words and phrases during everyday life.
The story is about a lawyer, Raquel Rodríguez, who travels to Mexico, Spain, Argentina, and Puerto Rico in search of the secrets of a dying man. While following along the plotline, you can learn about the dialect and accent of each of these 4 countries.
The series itself is very well done and geared towards a high beginner or lower intermediate Spanish learner.
Personally, I liked this series and watched it for a little while, but also found it a little too basic for what I was looking for. It started teaching the Spanish number system so I fast-forwarded a little bit.
The storyline itself is quite interesting and has some really good dialogue and a great plotline as the main character travels to different Latin American countries.
This series was also created specifically to teach Spanish. It is very similar to the super popular American TV series “Friends.”
The story is about a guy named Sam, an English native, who went to live in Barcelona to learn Spanish. There he lives in an apartment with two girls.
They are always correcting each other’s mistakes and laughing. It has a bit of comedy and also repeats many phrases from everyday life.
Another advantage is that they speak very slowly, so it is very easy to understand.
I checked this series out and liked it quite a bit. It is probably most geared towards the intermediate learner and like Destinos, it was created for the sole purpose of teaching the Spanish language to non-natives.
The speaking is slow enough for a high basic to intermediate learner to understand fairly well. For those at a more advanced level, you are most likely better off just watching the Spanish dubbed audio version of Friends with Spanish subtitles. That’s what I did.
However, if you are not currently at an advanced level, dubbed Spanish shows can be hard to understand and maybe even hard to find on the internet.
At 13 episodes, a little over 20 minutes long, Extra gives you time to get to know the characters and develops the plotline well throughout the one season.
Are there any drawbacks?
A quick perusing of the comments section and you will see some viewers calling this show “cringey,” so beware.
It does feel like they just completely copied the show Friends concepts and changed it to a Spanish version spoken slowly. But maybe that’s not really a bad thing as the American version was a big-time success.
This is a Spanish series about the life of the Queen Isabella of Spain who reigned in a time where it was expected that women were only mothers and wives.
This story shows demonstrates how she had to fight for her throne and all the challenges that she had to confront into maintaining the Spanish empire. To date, this show has put out three solid seasons of work.
I started watching this show to improve my Spanish, but quickly found that I was hooked on the drama and wasn’t learning much Spanish. 🙂
At the time, the subtitles were only in English and the dialogue of the show is spoken in 15th century Spanish. This made it difficult to understand. My focus on what was going on and the English subtitles probably limited my learning.
That being said, I really, really enjoyed the storyline and I loved the drama and action. The acting is fantastic by everyone involved. Queen Isabel is truly a compelling figure and it interweaves fantastic theater and keeps you wondering what is going to happen next at the end of each episode.
The themes of love and corruption that gets intertwined amongst the main characters and their competing forces make this a spectacularly interesting show.
For those at an advanced Spanish language level, this might be the perfect show for you.
Beginners and lower intermediates would probably be better looking elsewhere.
Keep in mind if you don’t understand fast spoken Spanish from Spain than this might not be good series for you if your purpose is to learn the language.
That being said, every little bit helps. And if you just want to watch an interesting show in Spanish while learning about Queen Isabella I than look no further than this show.
El Tiempo Entre Costuras (The Time in Between)
This show tells the story of Sira Quiroga, a young seamstress who leaves Madrid before the start of the Spanish Civil War. She starts a workshop in the haute couture district as a result of her difficult situation.
This is superbly edited Spanish drama that was created with a large production budget. The show premiered in October 2013 and averages over 5 million views per episode.
The time period for this show is in the early 1930’s. It truly does an excellent job of displaying key human elements such as love, war, and betrayal amongst political uncertainty.
Escobar, El Patrón Del Mal (Escobar, Boss of Evil)
The series is very well done and will keep you thoroughly engaged throughout the 70+ episodes. I had to limit the days I would watch the show each week due to how much I enjoyed it. I definitely fell victim to intense binge watching from time to time.
The best part is that the actors are Colombian so this show is ideal if you want to learn the dialect and accent of a Colombian speaker. Some of the common complaints you hear about Narcos is that it isn’t the most factual and not all that authentic.
Case in point, Narcos main actor, Pablo, is played by a Brazilian named Wagner Maura.
Although Narcos is a fantastic series for the casual observer, for those wanting to learn more about Pablo Escobar and the Medellin Cartel with a deeper plotline, I would recommend going with Escobar, El Patrón Del Mal.
It found it to be perfect to follow along the Spanish subtitles that accompany the Spanish speaking.
Also, it doesn’t have all the nudity like many HBO series have and which Narcos also features. However, if your opposed to watching lots of violence, killings, and corruption, this is not the show for you.
Gran Hotel (Grand Hotel)
his is an interesting story of a young man named Julio who goes to the “Gran Hotel” to look for his sister who worked there.
He realized that she had disappeared and of course in the meantime uncovers many mysterious secrets from this spectacular Hotel.
The series is about all that Julio does to try and discover what happened to his sister. It has romance and plenty of drama to it. The plot takes place in the beginning of the 20th century
Although I have not watched this show and don’t have much personally to add to it, I have heard very good things about it.
Gran Hotel is yet another Spanish drama with excellent filmography and is currently at 3 seasons long with 39 episodes worth of content to get you reeled in.
It is a high budget production and spoken with the Spanish dialect so keep that in mind in the case that you want to focus on Latin American Spanish.
If you want a superb series with plenty of intrigue and drama, I recommend you look no further than this show.