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https://www.duolingo.com/TPotts1

Best Spanish TV shows

TPotts1
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Does anyone have any suggestion on which Spanish language shows available on Hulu Plus or Netflix would be a good for a beginner? I'm not averse to watching children's shows. Or do you have any thoughts on after which level it makes the most sense to start watching shows?

Thanks in advance.

4 years ago

54 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/mreaderclt
mreaderclt
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Would you prefer English subtitles, Spanish subtitles, or none at all? Streaming services usually only offer either English or Spanish subtitles.

I think Spanish subtitles offer a better learning resource, but it's way too much work when you're just starting out to translate everything.

One option is to get DVDs (or Blu-rays if you already have a player). They often have the option of switching back and forth on the subtitles. IMHO, few movies or [especially] TV shows are worth the expense of a DVD, but luckily, Spanish-speaking nations have some of the world's best cinema talent.

If you're not averse to watching movies, I've found that films made for grown-ups about children offer the best of both worlds for those of us still learning a language. The plots are interesting, but the dialogue is often simple enough that we can follow along.

So, here are four great Spanish-language movies that involve children but are not "children's movies. They all offer English subtitles.

Two movies from Hulu Plus' Criterion collection that I recommend are "Spirit of the Beehive" and "Cría Cuervos." The same young actress (Ana Torrent, who's now in her '40s but then was a child) stars in both of them.

"Spirit of the Beehive" ("El espíritu de la colmena") is brilliant. It's set in Spain shortly after Franco rose to power and centers on a young girl (about 6) who becomes fascinated by the American movie "Frankenstein," especially after her older (very conniving) sister tells her that the monster is real and is a spirit that she can talk to if she's good and follows a few simple rules. The girl comes to believe that an escaped convict (very likely a soldier who fought on the losing side of the Spanish Civil War though that's never stated) is the spirit of Frankenstein. It helps if you've seen the original "Frankenstein" but it's not a requirement."The dialogue between the two sisters is especially easy to follow.

"Cría Cuervos" is darker, but I believe it's considered even more of a classic. It's set in the early '70s. Torrent's (still very young) character starts out less than whole - her mother died of cancer and she doesn't feel her father treated her dying mother well. The movie begins with her father's death while having sex with another man's wife, and the child's reaction to the death sets the tone for the rest of the movie. Torrent imagines her mother coming back to life, so you'll see a lot of Geraldine Chaplin (who plays her mother) and Torrent speaking to each other in Spanish, and that dialogue is very easy to follow. I will never forget the phrase "No tengo sueño" ("I'm not sleepy"), I will always love the song "Porque te vas," (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFvYFSxBnAg) and I will never keep old cans of baking soda around the house.

On Netflix:

"Butterfly:" You'll think you're watching another - though exceptionally well done - "Cinema Paradiso" type coming-of-age movie, this one about an aging teacher and a young asthmatic boy in Spain right before Franco takes power. But pay attention, because that's NOT what this movie is about.

DVD or rent it on Amazon, the Apple store, etc.:

"Pan's Labrinth:" A lonely girl with a psychopathic stepfather (he's a high-ranking officer in Franco's regime) encounters a faun in an ancient maze who believes that she is the lost child of legend that must complete three dangerous tasks to return to his world. I've watched this one on DVD with both English and Spanish subtitles. It's one of the rare movies that is worth the expense of a DVD. The dialogue between the girl and the faun is easy to follow.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JamieKoi

Thanks a lot man! :D

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/supermajic

Gracias por esto! Veré todos estes peliculas!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zach.LS

Thank you!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ahughescoolmine

I would suggest this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/spanish/mividaloca/spanish_tv.shtml It's a fantastic interactive package of 22 short episodes. It includes shopping, ordering, getting directions, booking a room, getting a travel ticket etc. Then I would suggest using Extra and then onto movies and songs online.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jensonbrad
jensonbrad
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Capadocia on HBO is awesome! I just finished season 3

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LisaRushing

Gran Hotel is great and so is Velvet. Both are on Netflix.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JazminG

I suggest something with a lot of action/adventure so you don't mind that you don't understand a lot of dialogue. Personally I don't like kid stuff, especially cartoons, because I find it a lot harder to understand when they are speaking in squeaky cartoon voices. I liked Gabriel, a telenovela about a vampire; Mañana es para siempre, which is a romance but with enough action and mystery to it that I liked it (I don't like romances and WAY too many telenovelas are romances). I don't know if either of those is on Hulu, I got them on DVD from the library. My current telenovela, which is on Hulu, is Isabel, about the Spanish queen and with gorgeous costumes and scenery but which I think would be too hard as a beginner. I also like to listen to regular American TV shows dubbed in Spanish.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/gerrardt

If you have Netflix, try "Reina del Sur" and "Narcos"

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/game-biz
game-biz
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Destinos is a Spanish learning video series that I highly recommend. Here is a link where you can watch all 52 episodes with either Spanish or English subtitles:

http://www.learner.org/series/destinos/

It's a little old (made in the early 90's I think) and can be really cheesy at times, but it's very good for beginners to intermediate learners. Also there's some interactive stuff on that website for each episode as well.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mattlokk

i just had a flashback to watching these in 10th grade...

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vlingo

Oh, man THANK YOU! This show used to come on my local PBS station late at night and I would watch it all the time. Then it just stopped airing. I NEVER thought I'd find it again. LOL I loved this. They speak at a great speed and there is actually a pretty good story. I'm so happy about this LOL.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EraseBegin

Absolutely hilarious, I love it!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mskb1
Mskb1
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I LOVE Destinos! Great even for beginners. Watch it multiple times. Really well done. Addictive.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/monrez

Teresa its about a young woman desperately seeking to leave the grinding poverty of the neighborhood where she lives. Despite being beautiful and having support and love from her parents, she lives a miserable and resentful life, blaming poverty for her sister's death. After Rosa dies from a heart disease, Teresa vows that she will never be poor again, making plans to escape the life of poverty surrounding her, using her beauty as a way to make it to the top. She is in love with Mariano, a man who lives in the same neighborhood with her and is studying to become a doctor in order to meet Teresa's expectations and fulfill all her dreams. But Teresa is impatient. you can watch Teresa on Hulu . Watch it with someone who speaks Spanish.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/gerrardt

I really like "Caso Cerrado" with subtitles. I also recommend a movie called "Instructions not Included" or "No se acceptant devoluciones"

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/henry2500
henry2500
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Plaza sesamo is pretty good, as it is geared for teaching children. They have many episodes on Hulu Plus.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Samsta
Samsta
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Best thing to do in my opinion is watch Extr@ Español. It's a show that is designed for language learners (they also have shows for learners of English, German, and French). There are 13 episodes (I think). They speak slower than normal, but not too slow, in my opinion. It helped me a lot. By the time I had finished my tree, I could understand at least 90-95%. And just so you know, they use Spanish from Spain, so you may hear some words that you aren't familiar with (vosotros, vuestro, zumo, for example) and an accent that uses a lot of "th" sounds (in Spain, "ci", "ce" and "z" are pronounced with "th" sounds instead of the Latin American "s" sound).

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Aditya92
Aditya92
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This series is really great. They didn't speak too fast and I understood a lot. It really gives you motivation :) Gracias!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dankabass3

I just watched the 1st two episodes; they are great; I cant believe how much I actually understood knowing I only started learning Spanish about a month ago. thanks for the advice

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/NickM98
NickM98
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Hey, thanks. I will use that for French and English (Well, by this moment I already understand like 98% of British English, but I still have to improve my American English listening skills).

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Samsta
Samsta
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Well, unfortunately for you, Extr@ English uses British English. It shouldn't be too difficult to find other sources for listening to American English though, haha. It's everywhere.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/NickM98
NickM98
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Yeah, I think I'm the only person who has trouble finding American English. Anyway I just want to get used to listening it, not to learn it very in depth.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Samsta
Samsta
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I know what you mean. That's strange that you have trouble finding it. I know that you watch Doctor Who -- how do you watch it? Through Netflix? You can find lots of American shows on Netflix.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/NickM98
NickM98
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I don't have Netflix currently, I want to have it, but I never remember to buy it. I download it from a site (yeah, I know that's illegal, but anyway). In American English, I watch The Big Bang Theory and Friends, but mostly on the TV, so they have the subtitles in Spanish and I can't help but reading them subconsciously.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MystyrNile
MystyrNile
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I might as well plug some YouTube channels i watch. There's sWooZie and Veritasium for instance.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BartHumphries

"I can't help but read [subtitles] subconsciously."

Have you considered taping a piece of paper across the bottom of your screen? Painters tape should hold a long strip across the bottom and to the sides of your TV and be easy to remove.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mskb1
Mskb1
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One suggestion I read is to use Spanish subtitles with Spanish audio. Keep track of new words, look them up, and then watch & listen again (and again).

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MystyrNile
MystyrNile
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I just watched the first episode of Extr@ es. It seems pretty cheesy and i don't like laugh tracks, but...

http://wiki.teamfortress.com/w/images/1/10/Heavy_positivevocalization05.wav

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/thewaffler1

Thank you!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ZacDR

Thanks

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fishysteph

I used to watch children's shows to help learn/practice words as a beginner. If you have univision they usually have kids shows on in the morning (my favorite was pocoyo :) ). You can also watch shows/movies that you already enjoy and have either spanish subtitles or spanish voice over w/ english subtitles. I know others will have some great suggestions! Good luck!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/itastudent
itastudent
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I watch some telenovelas on Hulu, but my Spanish is pretty advanced. Anyway, whatever thing you decide to watch, if you already have good reading skills, I suggest you to watch something with caption in Spanish. That helps a lot, and you can stop to look for the words you are not able to understand. Anyway, a lot of times Hulu doesn't have captions for all the episodes of their series, so it could happen that you start watching a few episodes with captions and then you don't have captions anymore.

If your Spanish is very basic, I suggest you to do as already suggested by others: find children's shows. I don't know if they are available on Hulu/Netflix thou.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tessltess
tessltessPlus
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Drama Fever also has some good shows ...

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Vrriya

Just throwing this idea out here as well: spanish channels on cable (I recently found I have like 10 spanish channels from cartoons to news to music videos). I can barely understand them so I keep them on in the background and do other things in the meantime. However, it makes me super happy when I can catch a word or two. It keeps me motivated to keep learning and I'll repeatedly google words that I don't know. It's pretty fun and super helpful for me. :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TPotts1
TPotts1
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Thank you all for so many ideas.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CattleRustler

Also, find spanish music that you like and listen to that. I did that with Ricardo Arjona. I have about 10 songs I like so I printed out the lyrics and I sing along each night (I was a backup vocalist in a band years ago, so Im not too bad, lol). I was already good at pronunciation before DL (have some prior experience) but my vocabulary was practically non-existent. The lyrics have taught me a ton of vocab beyond what DL has. Plus I have a latina chiquita, and a bunch of spanish speaking friends that I can ask questions of. Also the music forces your listening skills to improve, and also your ability to speed up your phrasings, depending on the song. I still get tongue twisted here and there, but very infrequently.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mskb1
Mskb1
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Singing and learning lyrics is powerful. I believe the words get stored in more than one place in the brain. I know my native English has words whose meanings are connected to specific songs. When my mother was dying of cancer that had traveled to her brain, she reach a point where she could no longer speak, but remarkably, she could sing! (Don't smoke cigarettes. It will ruin all your hard won language skills and destroy your chances of making use of them.)

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JazminG

I forgot to mention that while I was on the exercycle at the gym today the TV show Bones came on dubbed in Spanish (I don't know how to program that on their TV, it just happened), and I was very impressed with how much I can understand now compared to just a few months ago. So just listening, even when a lot of it goes over your head, is really helpful.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/VickiZee

Some great suggestins here. I watched the first episode of Destinos and extr@ Spanish. Very different but I'm sure they will help me greatly! :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RAMOSRAUL

Depending on your level, some series (old):

  • Farmacia de guardia
  • Brigada central
  • El chavo del ocho
  • Al filo de lo imposible
  • La vida es así (and spin offs)
  • verano azul

they are not particulary good perhaps, but they were real series and some were for kids, so they are fairly easy (that is, easier than the ones that are not for kids :P). Also some insights on life culture

PS: all but the third are from european Spanish. This means that they are (with several degrees) in a "neutral" Spanish, where accents have been removed or almost removed.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JamieKoi

"Muzzy El Grande" is very good for beginners + pre-intermediate "El labirinto del fauno" is an awesome movie, watch it couple of times. "Ext@ Spanish" is alright, I like the level of language used, but I hate its cheesiness. You can also listen to music like "Calle 13"

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/athenaarnoldfox

I recommend "Grand Hotel" it is on Sky Arts with english subtitles, I love it, you really fall in love with the characters and the actors!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mdh0153

Check out "Bob Zoom en español" on Netflix. It's a kids singing show, I'm a 1/4 through my tree and still looking up a decent amount of the vocab they're using for kids songs haha. The music is pretty well put together, so not totally annoying to watch.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/billybolton
billybolton
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Destinos was a public broadcasting show put out a long time ago if you can find it.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ScallionN

House of Cards and a few other Netflix originals are multilingual now! They have subtitles and audio tracks in multiple languages, so you can go back and forth and compare. My partner is a native speaker and noticed a few words that are uncommon, or "wrong" (just not frequently used in that context) but I suppose it makes sense because of the formal setting. You're gonna learn way too many words for political terminology, though, haha

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HedgehogRoberts

We love el internado!!! It is on Netflix with English subtitles. The Spanish on it is European. Our neighbors are from Mexico, and we had conversations with them in Spanish to practice. They remarked that it sounded like we were speaking French Spanish lol

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/weepeemee

I've been watching Españoles por el mundo and Madrileños por el mundo which i highly recommend. The people on there are super outgoing and their lives are very very interesting. You get to see how Spanish people interact with each other and also the Spanish perspective of other countries. it's also like a tourist guide so you learn more about other countries. What I found is that Spanish people are less squirmish about food, they also adapt more to local culture than Americans. You can find many episodes on YouTube

Perdidos en la tribu: there's a Spanish version, Chilean version and Argentine version. It's about entire families going to live in a tribe in Africa and Asia and having to adapt to the tribal way of living. They have to listen to everything the tribal people say and do everything that they do. Perdidos en la ciudad: where the tribal people go to Spain to live with the Spanish families that came to live with them before. they have adapt to the modern way of living and learn how to use modern amenities. I highly recommend this, it's very funny.

There will be a series on Charles V holy roman emperor called Carlos: Rey emperador coming soon (in September)

El ministerio del tiempo. Although this is a bit hard to understand as it has too many historical references as well as allusions to Spanish literature and archaic vocabulary

El internado, as other commenters mentioned Velvet Gran hotel Ok all of these are from Spain. I actually haven't discovered any Latin American content yet so if anyone has any recommendations for Spanish tv shows and telenovelas from Latin America I would greatly appreciate it!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/taurusalison

Extr@ is great for beginners

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/katia35244

I know this is an old thread, but it came up when I was googling around for the same reason... so in case anyone else is looking! Here's a good current list (04/2016) of what's available on Netflix: http://www.movies-net.com/category/spanish-language-tv-shows I queued probably a dozen shows off the list and started with "Toobys", an educational show for preschoolers. It's perfect for earworm songs that use basic grammar. There's three or four other kids' shows that look good (or at least not annoying), and a stack of more "grownup" stuff. Gringolandia looks like it'll be fun, and I've also started watching the Breaking Bad adaptation from Colombia.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LilyAlayneOwen

This is a great thread! Thanks for posting. About to go check out all of these!!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kj252

Voces Inocentes
I believe it is on YouTube with English Subtitles

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/reannah302

watch Jane the virgin, some of the family speak spanish and there are subtitles, gives you some spanish without overwhhelming you :)

1 year ago