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5 TV Shows You Can Stream To Help You Learn Spanish

By helping you improve your Spanish from the comfort of your bed, these shows provide the only excuse you need for binge-watching TV.
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5 TV Shows You Can Stream To Help You Learn Spanish

Looking for a fun way to make that new language stick? Watching television in the language you’re learning is a great way nail pronunciation and cadence, and you could even pick up a few new vocab words. But when a show is entirely in a foreign language, you might rely too heavily on those English subtitles. Instead, beginners should consider watching an English series that features characters who speak another language, providing a more manageable dose of language and the added bonus of English context clues. Here are five of our favorite Spanish TV shows for learners (and where you can stream them online).

1. Jane The Virgin

Spanish TV Shows — Jane the Virgin

Streaming Platform: Netflix
Number of Seasons: 3 (ongoing)
Show Premise: In this quasi-parody of a traditional Latin American telenovela, protagonist Jane Villanueva, who is saving herself for marriage, ends up getting pregnant due to a medical mistake. Hilarity (and plenty of drama) ensues.
How It Uses Spanish: At the beginning of the series, Jane lives at home with her mother and grandmother (whom she calls by the Spanish word abuela). Jane’s abuela plays a large role in the show and speaks entirely in Spanish. Sometimes Jane and her mom will speak back to Jane’s abuela in Spanish, but often they will simply respond in English. In addition, Jane’s formerly estranged father, Rogelio, speaks Spanish quite a bit throughout the series. Because the show is in the style of a melodramatic telenovela, the Spanish tends to be spoken relatively slowly, making it easy for beginners to follow along (though English subtitles are also provided).

2. Power

Spanish TV Shows — Power

Streaming Platform: Hulu
Number of Seasons: 4 (ongoing)
Show Premise: This crime drama/thriller takes place in New York City and is produced by rapper 50 Cent. In the show, James St. Patrick juggles two jobs — owning a popular nightclub and being a major player in a large drug ring. He’s trying to get out of the latter position but keeps getting pulled back in.
How It Uses Spanish: St. Patrick is bilingual and uses his Spanish on a fairly regular basis. He speaks Spanish with the girlfriends of various drug dealers in his network, and the main DEA agent pursuing him also speaks Spanish throughout the series. Additionally, some of the episodes take place in Miami, where many characters speak Dominican or Cuban Spanish. Try to ignore the English subtitles and follow their conversations!

3. Orange Is The New Black

Spanish TV Shows — Orange is the New Black

Streaming Platform: Netflix
Number Of Seasons: 5 (ongoing)
Show Premise: Based on a nonfiction memoir by Piper Kerman, Orange is the New Black is an extremely popular Netflix dramedy about the inmates at a federal women’s prison and their lives before and after incarceration.
How It Uses Spanish: A sizeable percentage of the prison population in the show is made up of Spanish speakers, so many of the conversations between inmates are in Spanish with English subtitles (don’t look!). Spanish is also spoken in flashbacks to the Hispanic inmates’ pre-prison lives. It’s an extremely compelling and very funny show, which makes it a good choice for Spanish learners to binge.

4. Narcos

Spanish TV Shows — Narcos

Streaming Platform: Netflix
Number of Seasons: 3 (ongoing)
Show Premise: Narcos tells the true story of Colombian cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar and the law enforcement agents hunting him and other drug cartel leaders.
How It Uses Spanish: This one features the most Spanish out of all the shows on this list, so it might be a good choice for more intermediate learners. A large portion of the series is in Spanish, as it takes place in Colombia, but there are also English parts, like when DEA agents are speaking to one another. If you do decide to watch Narcos, be sure to follow along with Babbel’s guide to speaking Spanish like Pablo Escobar.

5. Dora The Explorer

Spanish TV Shows — Dora the Explorer

Streaming Platform: Amazon Prime
Number Of Seasons: 8 (ended)
Show Premise: To end on a fun note, Dora the Explorer was an educational, animated show for preschoolers that aired from 2000 to 2014. The show followed a 7-year-old Mexican-American girl who went on adventures with her talking backpack and monkey friend.
How It Uses Spanish: During her travels, Dora introduced viewers to Spanish words and phrases. It’s a children’s show, so the speed and difficulty level of the language is ideal for total beginners. There is also some Spanish in the various songs Dora sings throughout the show, and music is another great way to learn a language. Dora teaches some English words and phrases, in case you need some brushing up on that front, too.

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