5 TV Shows You Can Stream To Help You Learn French

Here’s your excuse to lounge around and binge-watch television: these French TV shows can make learning the language easier!
August 12, 2020
5 TV Shows You Can Stream To Help You Learn French

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: consuming media in the language you’re learning is a great supplement to your studies. Whether you’re watching French TV shows or movies, reading Spanish books, or listening to Italian podcasts, immersing yourself in the language you want to speak will help cement it in your brain. And you may even pick up some cultural insights while you’re at it! So sit back, relax and start streaming these French TV shows.

5 French TV Shows To Check Out

Call My Agent!

French TV shows call my agent
Photo: Netflix

Where To Watch: Netflix
Number Of Seasons: 3 (ongoing)

Show Premise: Also known by its French title Dix Pour Cent (“Ten Percent”), Call My Agent! tells the story of four agents working for a talent firm in Paris. Equal parts funny and dramatic, the show takes viewers behind-the-scenes as the agents work to solve crises involving their film star clients.

Learning Tips: English subtitles are available on Netflix, and we recommend you use them, at least at first. They can guide you through the storyline and help you pick up new words and phrases in French. Though it’s fictional, Call My Agent! was created by a television writer, and it can give viewers a glimpse into the real French film industry.

Spiral

French TV shows Spiral
Photo: Marc Gouby/Canal+

Where To Watch: Hulu
Number Of Seasons: 7 (ongoing)

Show Premise: This police procedural and legal drama follows the members of Paris’ criminal justice system, from cops to judges. Hulu describes Spiral, or Engrenages (“Gears”) in French, as “a dark series with constant and increasing tension.”

Learning Tips: Spiral is in French with English subtitles. Again, we’d recommend leaving the subtitles on in the beginning and then turning them off when you feel more comfortable with the language. See how much of the plot you can still follow!

Black Spot

French TV shows Black Spot
Photo: Facebook – Black Spot/Zone Blanche

Where To Watch: Amazon Prime
Number Of Seasons: 2 (ongoing)

Show Premise: Black Spot, which is titled Zone Blanche (“White Zone”) in French, is set in a small, isolated town surrounded by forest. It’s also a town where the murder rate happens to be six times the national average. The creepy thriller features the town’s sheriff Major Laurène Weiss and a prosecutor from out of town investigating the murder of a woman found hanging from a tree.

Learning Tips: Black Spot is also in French with English subtitles. This storyline is a little more complicated, so following along with the subtitles is advised. Because it’s video on demand, you can always pause and rewind if you miss something or need to watch a scene again.

Marseille

Marseille
Photo: Netflix

Where To Watch: Netflix
Number Of Seasons: 2

Show Premise: The first French-language Netflix Original Series, Marseille stars the famous French actor Gérard Depardieu as the long-time mayor of the seaside city Marseille. It’s a political drama complete with backstabbing deputies and assassinations. Netflix canceled the series after its second season.

Learning Tips: Netflix has updated their settings, so the default is for the show to be in its original French with English subtitles. We highly recommend leaving it as is, rather than switching to the English-dubbed version. You obviously won’t improve your French skills if you watch the English dubs! While the show isn’t based on a true story, you can still learn a lot about French culture and see the beautiful scenery of Marseille while you watch.

The Long, Long Holiday

The Long, Long Holiday
Photo: Netflix

Where To Watch: Vimeo (French) / Amazon Prime (English)
Number Of Seasons: 1

Show Premise: This animated miniseries is not just for kids. The Long, Long Holiday (Les Grandes Grandes Vacances) tells the story of two young children living in Normandy during the German occupation of France in World War II. The kids go to visit their grandparents but end up staying longer than expected when their father goes off to fight and their sick mother is sent to a medical facility. The show is described as “smart” and “poignant.”

Learning Tips: Because this is an animated series, supposedly suitable for kids ages 10 and up, the language is somewhat simpler and may make this show the best choice for total beginners. That being said, The Long, Long Holiday with the original French audio is only available on Vimeo without subtitles, so you’ll need to have a decent understanding of the language to follow along. The English version is on Amazon Prime — it might be helpful to watch it in English first so you know the basic storyline before watching in French.

Header Photo: Netflix

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Author Headshot
Dylan Lyons
Dylan is a senior content producer, overseeing video and podcast projects for the U.S. team. He studied journalism at Ithaca College and previously managed social media for CBS News. He’s currently pursuing his MBA part-time at NYU Stern. His interests include podcasts, puppies, politics, alliteration, reading, writing, and dessert. Dylan lives in New York City.
Dylan is a senior content producer, overseeing video and podcast projects for the U.S. team. He studied journalism at Ithaca College and previously managed social media for CBS News. He’s currently pursuing his MBA part-time at NYU Stern. His interests include podcasts, puppies, politics, alliteration, reading, writing, and dessert. Dylan lives in New York City.

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