8 of the Best Spanish TV Shows for Adults in 2020
Do you struggle to find the time or motivation to focus on your Spanish learning? Imagine if you could combine learning with leisure. In addition to reading, audiobooks, and conversational practice, watching Spanish TV shows is a fabulous way to practice your vocabulary and listening skills. It’s a way to learn about other cultures and gain exposure to different accents and dialects, too.
Watch and Learn
When possible, watch with the Spanish subtitles on, as studies show this enhances language learning. It’s worth it to go the extra mile and take notes of interesting new vocabulary words from each episode. Add them to your learning journal or flashcard set and study them frequently!
Rather than watching your normal TV shows, try some out in Spanish! Here’s a list of awesome shows to get you started. No te preocupes if you don’t understand every word you hear, because most likely you won’t. Know that you are picking up the cadence of the language while exposing yourself to vocabulary and grammar. Enjoy!
Great Spanish TV Shows for Language Learners
Extra is a perfect starting point for beginners since it was designed to help Spanish learners improve their comprehension. Hence, the dialogue is simple and easy to follow. The premise is similar to Friends, the popular series from the 90s about a group of friends in New York City. The main character of Extra is an American man who moves to Barcelona where his new amigos help him learn Spanish.
Destinos revolves around a lawyer investigating the secrets of a dying man. Because she travels around a lot, you’ll hear many different dialects and accents in the different episodes. This is another show designed for Spanish-language learners. (I remember watching it in my high school Spanish class in the nineties whenever we had a substitute teacher.) Each episode includes specific vocabulary words which are displayed on the screen when spoken by a character, as well as a set of exercises to encourage more active engagement with the show.
Spaniards in London
This web-based TV show can be streamed in both Spanish and English, and each episode offers subtitles in both languages, as well. As the title suggests, it’s the story of a group of Spaniards in London trying to fit into British culture and learn English. As in Extra, the plot is highly relatable for those of us striving to become bilingual. It’s a handy learning tool for beginners.
El Chavo del Ocho
This classic Mexican sitcom is one of the most popular Spanish TV shows around. It ran from 1971 to 1992 and is still shown widely in syndication. The story has to do with the hilarious adventures of a boy who gets into all sorts of trouble. Although the show uses a lot of popular slang, which can be difficult to keep up with at first, it does represent how native speakers really talk. Most of the conversations are short and the characters speak slowly, making El Chavo a great and entertaining learning resource.
Netflix and Amazon Shows for Intermediate and Advanced Students
Capadocia: Un Lugar Sin Perdón
The subtitle of this show translates to “a place without forgiveness.” It’s a Mexican drama that follows the stories of various prisoners incarcerated in a Mexico City women’s prison. The plot revolves around a lawyer named Teresa Lagos who advocates for rehabilitation and inmates’ rights and fights the rampant corruption in the prison system. Bonus: Capadocia is available for free on Amazon with an HBO channel subscription trial.
Based on the novel of the same name by renowned Mexican writer Xavier Velasco, this series (“Guardian Devil”) tells the story of Violetta, a young woman who flees Mexico to live her dream in New York City. Unfortunately, she gets involved with the villainous Nefastófeles when she runs out of money.
Not for the fainthearted, this series tells the story of a dark moment in 20th century Mexican history from the point of view of the head of Mexico’s secret police, Fernando Barrientos, as he seeks the presidency. Barrientos is willing to manipulate, betray, and kill in his quest to brutally achieve total power. This series (whose name translates to An Unknown Enemy) was released in 2018 on the 50th anniversary of the Tlatelolco tragedy of October 2, 1968 in Mexico City, when military and police forces massacred hundreds of unarmed university students who were protesting.
La Casa de Papel
The Paper House series tells the story of a mysterious man known as El Profesor and who recruited and trained professional thieves. Together, they attempt to pull off the biggest robbery in history. Released in 2017, the story is modern and fast-paced, which makes it compelling for many viewers. It’s even possible that you’ll forget you’re learning Spanish while you watch it.
Immerse Yourself in Multiple Spanish TV Shows
Improving your Spanish will be both easy and enjoyable with the help of these widely varied TV shows. Just like when you are looking for new books, seek out shows in Spanish that maintain your interest. If it bores you, you’ll end up daydreaming or walking away from the show. Por supuesto, you’ll need to keep watching in order to learn! Try out as many as you can. Your next favorite Spanish series is waiting for you!
Sign up for a free class today at Homeschool Spanish Academy and discuss your favorite Spanish TV shows with one of our professional Spanish teachers.
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