10 Best Spanish Telenovelas to Binge Watch on Netflix U.S.
Are you trying to decide which telenovela (soap opera) to watch on Netflix? There are so many to choose from!
From murder mysteries to tragic love stories, Netflix telenovelas cater to your every desire for drama. However, these theatrical performances are more than just another show!
It’s easy to get frustrated and burnt out from language learning. Luckily, these extravagant plots of controversy, murder, and romance let you effortlessly learn Spanish from the comfort of your own couch!
Here are the 10 best Spanish soap operas on Netflix that will transform your average day into an electrifying learning experience!
Ready for a little drama?
Table of Contents:
- Origin of the Telenovela
- 3 Ways to Use Telenovelas to Learn Spanish
- Top 10 Telenovelas to Watch on Netflix
- Watch Spanish Entertainment to Improve Your Fluency
Origin of the Telenovela
Telenovelas are a type of television drama from Latin America. These TV programs stand out through their melodramatic storyline and consistent cast members. But, they didn’t start out this way!
Did you know that telenovelas actually originated from radionovelas?
In the 1930s and 40s, radio stations broadcasted short 15-30 minute segments with a recurring storyline. Typically, middle-class housewives listened to these short clips as they went about their daily chores.
Over the years, the segments grew longer and more complex. These radionovelas were such a hit that they soon evolved into overblown plots full of controversy, scandal, murder, and mystery!
Eventually, the radionovelas transformed into the popular telenovelas that you know and love today.
3 Ways to Use Telenovelas to Learn Spanish
It’s undeniable that telenovelas are entertaining, but they can be educational too!
Did you know that you can practice Spanish by watching Netflix on your couch?
Learning another language is all about immersion. The more Spanish you surround yourself with, the better your language skills will become!
Here are three tips and tricks for getting the most out of each episode!
1. Read the Subtitles
Telenovelas are an excellent way to train your Spanish ear.
However, you won’t be able to understand everything the characters are saying right away. This is where English subtitles come in!
Pairing English subtitles with authentic Spanish audio is a recipe for learning success.
By reading along with the show in English, you get to fully understand the plot and characters while also listening in Spanish. Your brain will associate the new Spanish words with their English translation.
2. Practice the New Vocabulary
Whether you’re watching a true-crime documentary or a Mexican soap opera, you’re going to pick up new vocabulary terms!
TV naturally teaches you loads of new information in a fun way. It’s such a natural teacher that you don’t even realize you’re learning!
Bring your attention to this new knowledge by practicing the Spanish words and phrases you hear. Write them down as you watch and then use them throughout your day!
3. Branch Out
Not a telenovela fan? Don’t worry! There are still plenty of amazing shows in Spanish for you to use. Here are some recommendations to get you started:
- 11 Native Spanish Shows on Netflix for Teenagers (14+)
- 10 Must-See Spanish Shows on Hulu
- 8 of the Best Spanish TV Shows for Adults
- 9 TV Shows in Spanish to watch on Netflix US
- List of Disney Movies to Watch in Spanish
Top 10 Telenovelas to Watch on Netflix
Looking for some good telenovelas to watch? You’re in the right place! Here are the 10 best novelas on Netflix that will transform your TV-watching experience.
Historic Teen Novelas
1. Always a Witch (Siempre bruja) [14+]
Director: Ana María Parra
Cast: Angely Gaviria,Óscar Casas,Sofía Araujo
Siempre bruja follows Carmen Equiluz as she escapes her execution and travels over 300 years into the future!
Set in both 17th-century and present-day Cartagena, Colombia, this fantasy telenovela dives into romance, comedy, and magic. Give this show a watch for a spell casting adventure in time-travel!
2. Bolívar, an Admirable Fight (Bolívar, una lucha admirable) [17+]
Directors: Luis Alberto Restrepo, Andrés Beltrán, Jaime Rayo
Cast: Luis Gerónimo Abreu, José Ramón Barreto, Shany Nadan
This Colombian Spanish-language historical drama highlights the life of Venezuelan liberator Simón Bolívar. The show begins with young Bolívar as a child and follows him until his tragic death in 1830.
From his romantic encounters to his liberation of several South American countries, this series details Bolívar’s big accomplishments. Yet, the cast still manages to humanize Bolívar and pull away his veil of heroism to reveal the real man underneath.
3. The Queen and the Conqueror (La reina de Indias y el conquistador) [14+]
Director: Camilo Villamizar, Juan Carlos Vásquez
Cast: Essined Rivera Aponte, Emmanuel Esparza, Juliette Arrieta, Manuel Navarro
Filmed in Colombia’s beautiful Sierra Nevadas and the stunning banks of the Magdalena River, La reina de Indias y el conquistador details the story behind the city of Cartagena de Indias.
Dive into this historical drama series for a deep lesson on Colombia’s past.
4. All for Love (Amar y vivir) [17+]
Director: Liliana Bocanegra, Santiago Vargas
Cast: Ana María Estupiñán, Carlos Torres, Yuri Vargas, Jim Muñoz, Julio Sánches Cóccaro
Irene spends her days tailoring away at the fruit stand with her mother. But, at night, she dreams of using her musical voice to achieve stardom.
Everything changes the day a young peasant appears. This military man returning home searches for his lost sister but runs into Irene instead.
Can the two unlikely friends work together to accomplish their goals? Or is there more between them than meets the eye?
Watch this Colombian telenovela to find out!
5. The Road to Love (Los Briceño) [14+]
Directors: Luis Orjuela, Carlos Mario Urrea
Cast: Katherine Escobar, Juan Manuel Restrepo, Mario Espitia
After suddenly getting kicked out of her family home at age 16, La Chiqui finds herself stuck in a world of macho men and big trucks. Despite everyone underestimating her for being a girl, she manages to stumble her way towards becoming a respected woman.
This Colombian comedy telenovela discusses everything from strong controlling family ties to complex love triangles.
6. The Money Heist (La Casa de Papel) [17+]
Director: Álex Pina
Cast: Úrsula Corberó, Álvaro Morte, Itziar Ituño
Feel the tensions rise as the mysterious El Profesor plans and executes an extravagant money heist. Trapped inside the Royal Mint of Spain by professional thieves, 67 hostages search for any chance to escape.
However, this robbery is about more than just money. Watch in anticipation as the evil mastermind uses his plan to expose secrets, challenge hearts, and question allegiances.
7. The House of Flowers (La casa de las flores) [17+]
Director: Manolo Caro
Cast: Veronica Castro, Cecilia Suarez, Aislinn Derbez, Dario Yazbek Bernal
All families have secrets. One wealthy matriarch is determined to keep her hidden.
However, after an unexpected appearance by another woman, the secrets seem to keep spilling out.
Watch this Mexican black comedy-drama as it depicts the endlessly compiling problems that familial dysfunction causes. This satirical telenovela proves that even the most perfect homes can be full of unspeakable scandals.
8. Rebel (Rebelde) [17+]
Directors: Luis Pardo, Juan Carlos Muñoz
Cast: Enrique Rocha, Juan Ferrara, Ninel Conde
Looking for a private school drama filled with angst, love, and music?
Rebelde is set in Elite Way School, a prestigious boarding school in Mexico City. Six musical scholarship students join together and stand against the high-class society that’s determined to kick them out.
9. Lady of Steel (Señora Acero) [17+]
Director: Roberto Stopello
Cast: Blanca Soto, Litzy, Damián Alcázar
This Mexican cartel novela follows two powerful women who will do anything it takes to protect those around them.
Former housewife Sara quickly finds herself involved in her husband’s cartel after his passing. She continues to climb the ranks to protect her son and friends.
Meanwhile, Vicenta Rigores Acero is busy helping immigrant families cross the Mexico-U.S. border. After discovering she is the daughter of famous drug lord Vicente Acero, Vicenta goes on to face her new family destiny.
10. The Queen of Flow (La reina del flow) [17+]
Director: Claudia Sánchez, Said Chamie
Cast: Carolina Ramírez, Carlos Torres, Andrés Sandoval
Talented songwriter Yeimi ends up in jail for 17 years despite being innocent. She uses this time behind bars to seek justice against the men responsible for her imprisonment.
This musical telenovela follows Yeimi’s story of heated revenge through Colombia’s famous musical genre of reggaeton.
Watch Spanish Entertainment to Improve Your Fluency
This list of telenovelas on Netflix is an easy way to practice Spanish at home and prepare for your own cinematic experience abroad in the Spanish-speaking world!
Whether you want to visit Latin America or communicate with more people, there are tons of amazing benefits to being bilingual. Supercharge your Spanish to get paid more, increase your cognitive abilities, and join more than 41 million Spanish speakers in the United States.
Watching Netflix telenovelas is a great way to train your Spanish ear. To take it to the next step, balance your listening skills with speaking and sign up for a free trial class!
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