Netflix is one of the biggest online streaming platforms, allowing you to watch movies, series and much more, directly on your TV, PC or smartphone.
Thanks to its extensive collection of high quality programmes, many people have an account on this platform. If you are one of those people, you should make the most this opportunity for learning Spanish by watching the many series and movies on Netflix.
At OnSpain we want to give you some tips, so you can choose the genre that most suits your taste.
5 Netflix series to learn spanish
Having so much free time in summer, you’ll definitely find a moment to watch your favourite series. And if you have the opportunity to practice your Spanish, even better!
At OnSpain we love all the different series. In the last few years, Netflix has acquired and produced several Spanish speaking shows, which are valuable not only for the language, but also for the the themes they deal with. In fact, the shows we’ll discuss in the following paragraphs, apart from being useful for improving your Spanish, are very popular with Spanish audiences.
Why you should practice your Spanish by watching a series
Despite seeming difficult at first, it’s something you might take into consideration. Watching a series is a fantastic and fun way of learning vocabulary, grammar and colloquial expressions used in everyday life in Spain and in other Spanish speaking countries. And in some cases you could even learn some history.
Another reason to watch shows on Netflix is that it will help you improve your train your ear, that is, to understand the spoken language.
How to watch a series, depending on your level
If you have started recently to learn Spanish, it’s normal not to understand everything in a show or a movie. That’s why we recommend three ‘levels’ to watch a Netflix series in Spanish.
- Watching it in Spanish with subtitles in your mother tongue: the first step is always the toughest, but it will be worth it. The majority of shows are translated, or at least subtitled. The advantage is that you’ll always understand what is being said, and you’ll be able to identify any word that might sound unfamiliar.
- Watching it in Spanish and with subtitles in Spanish: a great step forward, as your Spanish will improve greatly. Even if you don’t understand everything they say, you’ll still understand everything you read. Therefore we recommend you have a medium/high level of Spanish to watch the series in original version with subtitles in Spanish.
- Without subtitles, as if you were Spanish: finally, the most engaging way to watch a show. At On Spain, if you feel fluent enough and you can understand most of what the characters are saying, we suggest you watch the series in Spanish with no subtitles. This way you don’t miss anything!
Our 5 spanish speaking Netflix series selection
1) El Ministerio del Tiempo
El Ministerio del Tiempo (The Ministry of Time) is a TV series which was produced by the Spanish public television (Televisión Española) between 2015 and 2017. It has been so successful that has been adapted in Portugal, Italy, China, France and Germany.
The main plot is very interesting as it is about a governmental Ministry (such as that of Justice and Health) which is in charge of travelling back in time in order to avoid changes in the past . During the time travels, the main characters meet famous historical figures, such as Miguel de Cervantes (the author of El Quijote), Pablo Picasso and Alfred Hitchcock. In fact, the protagonists belong to different times in Spanish history.
Besides learning Spanish, it’s an interesting series because it allows you to learn about Spanish history and the events and protagonists that left their mark on it
2) La Casa de Papel
The main argument in La Casa de Papel (The Money Heist) is a robbery. Yes, as in many other shows and movies. However, in this case there’s one more plot twist. Instead of robbing a bank, the thieves break into the Royal Mint of Spain,the institution responsible for producing banknotes and coins. You may have already heard about this series, since it has become more and more popular over the last year.
Apart from the vocabulary related to the main story, the vocabulary in the series is not very complex, and has some colloquial expressions. Another interesting point is that you’ll be able to learn expressions and vocabulary related to the Police and solving crimes.
3) Allí abajo
Allí abajo (down there) is a comedy series that plays with cultural differences and clichés of one the regions of Northern Spain (País Vasco) with Andalucía in the south. The main story revolves around the love story between Iñaki, a very typical man from the Basque country, and Carmen, the head nurse at a hospital in Seville.
It’s a great series for understanding the different ways people speak from the north and south of Spain. It can also help you to understand about the day to day vocabulary and habits of the people from the Basque country as well as those from Andalusia. Prepare yourself for all the play on words!
4) Vis a vis
Are you hooked on Orange is the new black? If you are, then you can’t miss this Spanish show. Vis a vis could be considered as the Spanish version of Orange is the New Black, albeit in a less comic fashion. This series for learning Spanish was a huge success when it was released and still has a lot of fans.
Just like Allí Abajo, it has a lot informal – not to say vulgar – vocabulary. Although is not our intention to have you learn swear words in Spanish, we want you to watch this series, since it’s a risk worth taking.
5) Sandra, detective de cuentos
We don’t want to suggest you only crime series. Sandra, detective de cuentos (Sandra the Fairytale Detective) is quite a recent Spanish animation series (2009). The main story is similar to El Ministerio del Tiempo: Sandra travels around several fairytales, solving mysteries and solving problems.
Yes, it’s a kids show. And yes, it’s quite funny as well. However you should watch it if you want to practise your Spanish by watching TV series. Also bear in mind that because it is a kids show, the characters speak very slowly and the sentences they use are much easier.
This is our list of Netflix TV series for practising spanish, although there may be some we haven’t mentioned. If there is a Spanish speaking series that you enjoyed and it’s not listed here, tell us about it!