As discussed in one of our previous blog posts, following entertainment trends in your target language is incredibly helpful. Whether you are a beginner looking to familiarize yourself with the sounds of your new foreign language or an advanced learner interested in expanding your vocabulary, watching shows, movies, news, and television in the language will do the trick. Spanish learners can be considered rather lucky, as there are many options readily available on Netflix and other streaming services. I have crowdsourced advice both from the internet and my friends to make a shortlist of shows and movies in Spanish. You can enjoy them both for entertainment and for knowledge – who thought getting smarter could be so easy?
La Casa de Papel
This show is everyone’s favorite on Netflix – and the fact that it is set in Madrid makes it only better! A group of people with nothing to lose make an ambitious plan to print out billions of euros (hence the English name Money Heist) and do so in a carefully planned out manner. The plan involves messing around both with the Royal Mint of Spain and the Bank of Spain. The unique storytelling relies on flashbacks, misleading narratives, unclear motivations and will keep you on the edge of your seat! There are four parts to this show, and with a fifth one coming soon, there is plenty of action for you to catch up on.
Fans of everything spooky and supernatural will enjoy this one, as Veronica follows a story of a working-class family girl playing around with an Ouija board (or a spirit board) with a group of friends. During the session, she passes out and upon waking up starts experiencing paranormal symptoms and behaving oddly. Again, set in Madrid and based on a real story (look up Vallecas case and enjoy a lovely bedtime story), this movie is a must-see.
Oriol Paulo movies
From a very pleasant personal experience, anything made by this director deserves a watch. His movies not only were acclaimed critically but even received remakes in different languages! The most recommended movie is The Invisible Guest, as it is one of the most suspenseful stories that I have seen. A murder case, affairs, and mysteries all wrap up in the story of a man waking up and finding his mistress dead in a hotel room – which was locked from inside and had no way for someone else to enter or leave it. The other movie, Mirage, follows a rather different story of time travel, mother’s love, and coincidences. Whichever one you choose, you are in for some mystery and plot twists.
We are back to the series category with High Seas – a three-season Netflix show that combines a historical set of the late 1940s, a chain of mysterious murders, and luxurious sea travel. Two sisters travel from Spain to Brasil in a cruiser following their father’s death. They do not seem to have a peaceful voyage, as people die on board. Add some post-World War II secrets to this, and you have a riveting show with a quaint aesthetic.
Finally, we have another Netflix series to add to this list. Revolving around an elite secondary school with rich kids and social subtleties, this story follows the lives of three working-class students who ended up in this school for other reasons than being rich themselves. Again, mysteries are plentiful, and some subtle social topics are delved into, so if love yourself a good old teen drama, enjoy – the series has been renewed for more future seasons, which makes it perfect for binge-watching.
To make the most out of your “language immersion” (yes, that is what we call binging on Netflix now), do not feel discouraged if you do not understand everything flawlessly without the subtitles! If you are a more methodical learner, feel free to write down phrases or vocabulary you find useful. However, if you want a relaxed experience, it is also okay! Hearing the sounds of language and expressions that sometimes are repeated will all add up. And do not be shy – rewatch the series and movies again for an even more natural yet non-straining language learning experience. Have fun!
By: Viktorija Tuzaite, NHL University of Applied Sciences ’21