My Favorite Spanish TV Shows On Netflix

I’ve been in Spanish classes since Kindergarten, but I don’t consider myself fluent. I honestly don’t think I started learning much in Spanish class until I got to eighth grade or maybe even high school. It was always a class I had to take, that I enjoyed, but never felt super passionate about. But that all changed! So many things get me excited about learning Spanish (with the goal of becoming fluent). 

One is travel. I love traveling, especially to Spanish-speaking countries, because I have the opportunity to practice listening to and speaking in Spanish. Being immersed in the language and culture of a place is even more incredible, I find, when I can understand what’s going on around me and interact in a meaningful way that knowing the language allows; that’s why immersion is one of the absolute best ways to learn a language.

Another thing that gets me excited about learning Spanish, and that I can do anywhere (even in my dorm room in Gambier, Ohio), is watching television shows in Spanish. I find that really getting into a show and enjoying the experience of watching it helps me engage with the language more than reading a textbook or memorizing vocabulary via Quizlet. It’s also way more fun. I’ve learned a lot of fun words and phrases that they don’t teach you in school, if you know what I mean. It’s a great way to develop listening skills, especially hearing and understanding native speakers, even with subtitles on. There are quite a few Spanish shows on Netflix, but some of my favorites are El Internado, El Barco, Cable Girls, and Elite.

 

El Internado

El Internado means boarding school, so… it’s about a boarding school. Basically, the show follows a group of students at the Laguna Negra (black lagoon) school in Spain. It has all the classic elements of a high school show: drama, romance, pranks, teen angst, etc. but it has a mysterious twist. The school is located basically in the middle of nowhere in a creepy forest and all kinds of strange, macabre things happen there. The students get caught up in a bunch of scary, dangerous stuff like uncovering plots and secrets that they aren’t supposed to, finding dead bodies, etc. There are many layers to this mystery… I actually started watching it because I had to in my 9th grade Spanish class, but there are 7 seasons, so we obviously didn’t watch all of it, and I enjoyed it so much that I kept watching. I don’t know that I ever made it all the way to the end, but there was a good chunk of time when I was very invested in this show. I would highly recommend it, especially for people trying to learn Spanish!!

 

El Barco

El Barco means the boat, so… it’s about a boat. Not just any boat, though! It’s a boat carrying a bunch of students for a “semester at sea,” marine bio studying, scientific research type of thing. This ship is captained by a super nice and smart guy named Ricardo who's kind of the “dad” of the show (also he is literally a dad and his two daughters are also on the ship, one is 5 years old and the other one is 18-20 something? Who can really tell?). Then there are the students, like the captain’s daughter, Ainhoa (who is played by Blanca Suarez, who is a goddess, and also stars in “El Internado” and “Cable Girls”) and Andrés, who is a priest. There’s also the crew members, like Salomé (the chef), Julia (an instructor, because remember, it’s a school boat), and Burbuja (who is a sailor, and also his name means bubble). The character Ulises is a stowaway, and he gets discovered and is meant to be thrown off the ship at the next stop until… Every landmass on Earth goes underwater because of a global catastrophe. So essentially, this boat holds the last surviving humans on earth. It’s very exciting, dramatic, funny, and interesting. I recommend binging this show, that’s how it’s best appreciated in my opinion.

 

Cable Girls

Cable Girls, or “Las Chicas Del Cable,” is set in 1920s Madrid and follows a group of women who work as operators at a new telephone company. The show highlights the hard work and struggles that these women must endure in striving for equality. It also follows their personal lives, relationships, backstories, families, etc. Each character is so well-developed and the story arcs are very thoughtful and intriguing. It’s also really beautifully made. The sets, costumes, etc. are all so clearly meticulously planned and add so much to the story. Everything about this show sucks you in; it is definitely binge-worthy.

 

Elite

You may already know about this hit Netflix original series, but if you don’t… you totally should. It is set in Spain and follows a group of students at a prestigious school. Season one begins as three new students from a public school are given scholarships to the private school and ends with a murder. Season two continues the drama and, in my opinion, is better in many ways (except for Guzmán’s hair… which is honestly such a tragedy). The character development on the show is really great, and when watching, I found myself caring arguably way too much about the lives and problems of these fictional characters. I watched season one on my own, and then watched season two with my friend and fellow HCK contributor Alina Kalmeyer. We got so into it. Like, ridiculously into it. We would look forward to watching an episode or two whenever we both had a free night. We’d get all comfy in our pjs and get pillows and blankets, sit on one of our beds, and literally scream about the stuff happening on the show. We’d often have to pause the show and rant or yell about things because we were so into it. I highly recommend watching with a friend or two. It makes the experience even more fun!

 

I really enjoy and 10/10 recommend all of these shows, but if I had to rank them… #1 is “Elite,” #2 “Cable Girls,” #3 “El Barco,” and #4 “El Internado.” Check them out!

 

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