Exploring Spanish-Language Netflix

Mastering a new language requires practice. Immersion is the ultimate way to dive head first into another culture. The closest thing to immersion while not traveling is watching movies and TV shows. They allow you to hear various accents and dialects, expand your pool of vocabulary, and learn something about the country, even if it is fiction.

I was first introduced to Spanish-language shows last year as a way to prepare for an AP exam. Now, I watch them for the entertainment. Here are the top shows I have watched so far on Netflix:

1. Velvet

Velvet is unlike any other show I have ever seen, allowing you to watch without trying to compare it to anything. The show follows the love affair of Alberto Márquez, the heir to Galerías Velvet, and Ana Ribera, a seamstress at Galerías Velvet.

While the show is set in 1950s Spain, it features countless powerful female leads while also addressing a woman’s place and perception during this time period.

2. El Tiempo Entre Costuras

El Tiempo Entre Costuras (The Time in Between), while also about a dressmaker in 1930s Spain, the plots could not be more different. Sira Quiroga falls dangerously in love with a man she meets while purchasing a typewriter who abandons her to fend for herself in Morocco in the midst of the Spanish Civil War and impending World War.  

3. Gran Hotel

Gran Hotel is comparable to a Spanish-version of a Downton Abbey murder mystery series. There is constant drama and intrigue that feeds into uncontrollable binge watching. Julio Olmedo travels to the Gran Hotel in search of answers regarding his sister’s disappearance but finds himself in the middle of much larger problems than he first imagined.

While Gran Hotel is no longer on Netflix, there are other methods of watching the show. On Netflix, it was replaced with El Hotel de los Secretos, a Mexican version of the same show with only minor changes.

4. Violetta

If you are curious about what Disney Channel is like in foreign countries, Violetta is an Argentinian telenovela from Disney. Keep in mind that it is a Disney show, so there is overdramatic acting and constant teen drama. However, it does provide you the opportunity to explore the Argentinian accent as well as the Spanish accent (there is one character from Spain).

Violetta returns to Buenos Aires to move in with her father after living in Europe for several years. She secretly pursues a music career at a school for the arts and has to navigate her relationship with her father and the kids at school.

Don’t feel bad if you have to watch with English subtitles; it takes time to develop the skill of watching with Spanish or even no subtitles. Give one of these shows a chance, and explore what else Netflix has to offer from around the world.

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