Pick a language to speakRight Arrow
Ready to learn?
Pick a language to get started!

7 TV Shows To Watch If You’re Learning English

There’s no shortage of English TV shows, but choosing the best one for language learning isn’t easy. Here are some of our favorites.
7 TV Shows To Watch If You’re Learning English

There are many, many English TV shows. If you want to use television to learn a language, you have plenty of options. The issue you’ll more likely run into is choosing which show to watch. There are worse problems to have, but it’s still a problem.

Choosing English TV shows for language learning is more than just watching whatever you happen to see first. There are a few things to look for: You want a show that uses relatively simple English at first; medical shows or fantasy stories are probably going to be somewhat confusing. You also might want a show that not only teaches you language, but also teaches you about English-speaking culture. And of course, you want a TV show that is fun to watch.

We collected a few of the best shows for learning English, organized from easiest to hardest. As usual, we recommend subtitles, at least to start.

7 TV Shows For Learning English

Peppa Pig

Streaming Platform: YouTube
Seasons: 7
Show Premise: We’re starting out our tour of English TV shows with one of the simplest. This animated British children’s show has made Peppa Pig into a celebrity. The plot is pretty simple, following Peppa (an anthropomorphic pig) and her friends on their adventures. It’s meant for preschoolers, so it can be an easy place to start if you’re just beginning your English studies. It might be a bit slow for adults, but that’s kind of the point. At the very least, you’ll understand who Peppa Pig is.

Adventure Time

Streaming Platform: Hulu, Cartoon Network, HBO Max and others
Seasons: 10
Show Premise: Adventure Time is about a boy named Finn and his talking dog Jake, who go out on adventures to save people. That makes it sound simple, but it’s all set in a post-apocalyptic, magical world, and the dog can change shape into anything he wants. It’s for children, so the language is good for beginners, but it also features stories about emotional trauma and difficult relationships. If you love animation but want something a little more complex than Peppa Pig, this is a good option.

Stranger Things

Streaming Platform: Netflix
Seasons: 3
Show Premise: Stranger Things is a science-fiction horror drama, because you know we had to include at least one of those on this list. The show is about the United States government accidentally opening an entrance to an alternate dimension called the Upside Down. And if that sounds too advanced, don’t worry — the show is mostly focused on a group of young kids. If you want to learn some basic English but don’t like sitcoms very much, this is a welcome change of pace.

The Great British Bake Off

Streaming Platform: Netflix
Seasons: 
8
Show Premise: The Great British Bake Off is a popular reality show in which people compete to make the best baked goods. Unlike other reality shows, everyone is nice to each other in this one, even helping each other out from time to time. The format is also helpful for English learners because every episode has the same structure. You might learn more vocabulary about baking than you need (and you’ll hear lots about “soggy bottoms”), but maybe it will inspire you.

Friends

Streaming Platform: HBO Max, available to rent on other platforms
Seasons: 10
Show Premise: Friends is one of the most successful sitcoms of all time, with hundreds of episodes. It follows a group of…well, friends, as they live their lives in New York City. There’s drama, relationships and anything else you could ask for. Admittedly, the show has been criticized for its lack of diversity and homophobic jokes, but it’s also one of the most frequently used English TV shows for students of the language. The vocabulary is relatively simple for a show about adults, and it uses enough casual American English to teach you (slightly outdated) slang.

Schitt’s Creek

Streaming Platform: Netflix
Seasons: 5
Show Premise: The name of this show is a childish pun on an English curse word, but don’t let that fool you. The show is about a wealthy family that loses all of its money and is forced to move into a motel in a rural town. While the characters are a little annoying, the show evolves over time, and it really has a lot of heart. Schitt’s Creek ended a couple years ago, but it’s modern enough to provide a better look at modern American culture.

Insecure

Streaming Platform: HBO Max
Seasons: 5
Show Premise: Insecure follows Issa and Molly, two friends living in Los Angeles. It’s mostly a comedy, with some very serious moments, and it also specifically explores what it’s like to be Black while living in the United States. This show is for more advanced English learners because its quick talking and modern language can make it a little difficult, but it’s definitely worth it (and you can always use subtitles).

Header Photo From Netflix / Schitt’s Creek

Learn a new language today.
Author Headshot
Thomas Moore Devlin
Thomas grew up in suburban Massachusetts, and moved to New York City for college. He studied English literature and linguistics at New York University, but spent most of his time in college working for the student paper. Because of this, he has really hard opinions about AP Style. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and getting angry about things on Twitter. He's spent a lot of time trying to learn Spanish, and has learned a little German.
Thomas grew up in suburban Massachusetts, and moved to New York City for college. He studied English literature and linguistics at New York University, but spent most of his time in college working for the student paper. Because of this, he has really hard opinions about AP Style. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and getting angry about things on Twitter. He's spent a lot of time trying to learn Spanish, and has learned a little German.

Recommended Articles

How Many People Speak English, And Where Is It Spoken?

How Many People Speak English, And Where Is It Spoken?

Did you know English is by far the world’s most studied language? And that 20% of the world speaks it? Read on to learn more interesting facts about the English language.
Quiz: How Well Do You Know The Differences Between British And American English?

Quiz: How Well Do You Know The Differences Between British And American English?

Americans think British English is weird, Brits think American English is weird, but we can all agree: Australian English is the weirdest.
8 Books To Help You Learn English

8 Books To Help You Learn English

From classic children’s literature to Hemingway, there’s something on here for English learners of all skill levels.