Covid-19 is one of the biggest crises we have witnessed in our lifetime. It is unlike anything we have ever seen or experienced. But is there a way to turn it into an opportunity that could solve all our problems?
Sure there is!
For some people with experience and wisdom the best investments are those done during crises. For example, if you ask a financial expert the question “What is the best investment?” they might tell you, it is to buy an investment when it’s in turmoil. But if you ask the same question to a wise man with life experience, he may say “it is the investment in your own education”
Try and find the silver lining of this crisis and turn it into your opportunity. When you are obliged to stay home and deprived from many activities you used to do, make an investment in yourself.
But at this point you might come up with many obstacles and/or excuses such as lack of time, energy, money or opportunity for further education. But what about learning a new language?
Thanks to the advancements in technology and the internet today, everyone at any age anywhere can learn a new language or improve their second language without spending a dime.
The only problem here is that we all have misconceptions about learning a foreign language. The reason behind this is mainly the negative memories we have due to the difficulties we had with the boring grammar rules and unnecessary exceptions.
Be realistic, demand the impossible! Yes. There is a way to make learning a language easy and entertaining, and at the same time amazingly successful. There are so many free apps, online sources, tools, audio-visual materials, podcasts, tv-series that can help you learn and improve a foreign language totally free and totally entertaining.
Here are some TV-series that will help you no matter what your level is.
Best TV Series to Learn Spanish
Learning Spanish could turn into an entertaining leisure activity. Especially if your level of Spanish is around B1. There are “un monton de” (a lot of) Spanish TV shows available online. But don’t worry, if you are a beginner, you also have lots of options such as Hollywood animations dubbed in Spanish that you will love to watch regardless of your age or experience in the language.
Here are some of the series I enjoyed watching without subtitles even though my Spanish is not perfect. Most of my picks are from Netflix but I also recommend you check rtve.es since there are many TV series available for free and with full transcripts that could help you find many useful dialogues in written forms. So, you could stop while watching a show and read the transcript in order to understand a scene when needed. Some of the Netflix series include different Spanish dialects where rtve.es series are mainly European Spanish. If you would like to get familiar with different accents then Netflix series should be your pick.
Please keep in mind, no matter how far along you are in learning Spanish, it will help you to improve your skills. However, your choices are important to maximize the benefits you get out of learning a language through television. Try to avoid watching things below your level. Also avoid watching series that you don’t understand at all. If you enjoy and understand the show and it’s dialogue, that will benefit you most. Perseverance and patience are the key elements in learning a language. So be patient and try to watch at least two full episodes in order to evaluate a show.
Best Spanish Series to Improve Your Comprehension Skills
The Ministry of Time (El Ministerio del Tiempo)
The accents are all European Spanish. It is perfect for B1-B2 levels
8.2/10 IMDB rating
Pros: This is my best pick for some reason. First the Spanish used is always pure and perfect, very clear to understand and grammatically correct. Sometimes you might think that the scenario was mainly written to teach Spanish language and history. You learn a lot about historical Spanish figures and landmarks. The dialogues are always full of idioms, quotes and proverbs.
Cons: It looks like a low budget series. The last two seasons could be less interesting than the first two. Usually actors speak very fast and it might be difficult to catch everything.
It is highly recommended to check https://www.rtve.es/alacarta/videos/el-ministerio-del-tiempo/ where you can read the whole subtitles in a better way when you connect with your laptop. (transcripcion completa)
Accent Spanish European, even though the original series is in Catalan. B1/B2 level
8.6/10 IMDB rating
Pros: It has the highest rating among Spanish series. Since most of the dialogues are within the classroom you will have the chance to improve your listening comprehension more than any other series. Besides you will learn or refresh your knowledge about philosophy.
Cons: The first season was great but then as it happens in many other series each season was worse than the previous.
8.3/10 IMDB rating
Since it is a historical series the spoken Spanish is a bit different. It could be interesting to hear brothers and sisters speaking in the 2nd plural form to be formal.
Pros: The quality and ratings are high. Perfect if you like historical series. Actors are great. The dialogues are advanced. Very good to practice “Vosotros” conjunctions which you will hear more than any other series.
Cons: Not a good choice to practice frequently used phrases in daily life today.
European Spanish accent. Perfect for B1/B2 levels
7.6/10 IMDB rating
Pros: It has a unique story. A police series with supernatural overtones and lots of comedy and action. Easy to follow conversations. You will improve your knowledge about daily spoken Spanish. You will see the use of formal you (usted) quite often in all episodes thanks to one of the main characters. (Yoyo)
Money Heist (La Casa de Papel)
European Spanish accents. But you might also hear different accents such as Argentinian (Palermo) It can be difficult for B1 levels. But if you have seen it in English now you can try in Spanish.
8.5/10 IMDB rating
Pros: Top Spanish series full of action. The negotiation talks are perfect for listening practice. You could practice every single tense, subjunctives and conditionals.
Cons: frequently used slang language, colloquial expressions and jokes might be difficult to understand. That’s why it is not the best option to practice Spanish.
Olmos y Robles
European Spanish accent
6.8/10 IMDB rating
Pros: Dialogues are very clear to understand, and the form of sentences are easy to follow. Not boring. It could be regarded as an action comedy but do not expect to see something like a high budget Hollywood action movie. All the main characters are so peaceful and sympathetic.
Cons: It is not one of the Spanish series with high ratings. Not recommended if your main purpose is not learning Spanish.
You can hear all accents including Colombian, Brazilian, Mexican, Spanish
8.8/10 IMDB rating
Pros: Full of action. True story. If you want to improve your listening comprehension skills in different Spanish accents it is perfect.
Cons: Use of slang, continuous change in language and accents sometimes make it difficult to adapt to the language.
Mexican Spanish accents
7.9/10 IMDB rating
Pros: Full of action, true crime story. Full Mexican Spanish with minimal English dialogue.
Cons: Lots of violence. Slang language.
European Spanish accents
8.4/10 IMDB rating
Pros: Conversations are very clear and grammatically correct. No slang. You may like it if you are a fan of period dramas with scandal, love and suspense.
Cons: Not much action, could be boring if you don’t like drama series
Mexican Spanish accents
7.2/10 IMDB rating
Pros: Lots of action. Perfect if you love political dramas.
Cons: The story could get a bit boring in the last episodes.
LOCKED UP (Vis a Vis)
Mainly European Spanish accents (but you will also hear Argentinean: Dr. Sandoval)
8.3/10 IMDB rating
Pros: Perfect for fans of the prison escapes.
Cons: Prison dialogues may not be the best to practice Spanish
12) CABLE GIRLS (Las Chicas del Cable)
European Spanish accents
7.8/10 IMDB rating
Pros: Full of complex, advanced dialogues that will improve your Spanish
Cons: Like many other series the last seasons are not as good as the previous ones.