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Episode 28: Netflix and Chill, Binge Watch Your Way to Spanish Fluency

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    Learn Spanish Con Salsa Podcast

    Episode 28

    Netflix and Chill: Binge Watch Your Way to Spanish Fluency

    Have you heard that watching TV in Spanish can help you reach fluency? In this episode, I give you my personal recommendations for 7 Netflix series you can watch in Spanish.  You’ll find learning Spanish with TV series entertaining, addictive, and informative.  Most importantly, they’ll increase your Spanish exposure and help you improve or maintain your level of fluency.





    Hola a todos y bienvenidos. Welcome to another episode of the Learn Spanish con Salsa podcast. In this episode, we’re going to talk about how to Netflix and chill in español.  Okay, so I’m going to give you my seven favorite and Netflix shows that are in Spanish so you can binge watch and improve your listening comprehension at the same time. You might be surprised to find out that there’s a ton of Spanish content on TV. You just have to know where to look. This goes beyond just watching the news. In Spanish. You can find sports programming, children’s programming and of course, the telenovelas, the Spanish language soap opera is that are often very dramatic and very popular in Latin America. So if you find yourself with some free time and you start to binge watch a show in Netflix, try one of these seven shows. Now before I get into my list, I do want to give you a quick tip.

    01:28 – 02:20

    Now there are a lot of shows that are on Netflix that actually are available in Spanish, so not only can you turn on the Spanish subtitles for a show that is in the English language, but some shows actually have the option to turn the audio to Spanish so you can listen to a show in Spanish as well. Now found this to be very valuable, especially if it’s a series that you’ve already binge-watched in English because you already know the characters, you already know the story. That frees you up to be able to pay attention to the language so you can actually get more exposure to Spanish by binge watching the show with the Spanish audio option turned on that you’ve already previously watched in English. I personally have found Spanish versions of the show breaking bad as well as black mirror. Those are two of my favorite Netflix series.

    02:21 –


    So I’ve gone back since then and watch them with the Spanish audio and it’s been pretty entertaining to hear the Spanish versions of some of those episodes. Now one bit of caution on this. One thing you don’t want to do is turn on the Spanish audio and also turn on the Spanish subtitles. Now the reason for that is that you’ll find that oftentimes if not all the time, these will not match. So, you’ll be listening to the Spanish audio and you’re reading the Spanish subtitles, but the words are not quite sinking up. And that’s because for whatever reason, and I’m not quite why this is, but it looks like the studios have actually hired two separate companies, one to do the subtitles in Spanish, which is for a Spanish speaking audience and another to actually do the voiceovers or dub the episodes in Spanish. So whoever the actors are that are doing the voiceovers, they’re reading from a completely different script.

    03:23 –


    Than the person who actually translated and did the subtitles for the episode. So I definitely recommend if you’re going to listen to the Spanish audio, do it without the subtitles. And again, if it’s a show that you’ve already watched in English, you should already know what’s going on and you really shouldn’t need the subtitles anyway. So let’s just a little tip. If you went to binge watch your favorite English language shows with Spanish audio. Okay, so now let’s get back to our list of Spanish language series that are on Netflix. The first show I’d recommend is the show Narcos. Now unfortunately, this show is very stereotypical and it is about drug traffickers from Colombia, the main character who is actually Brazilian, which a lot of people don’t know. He actually had to learn Spanish in order to play this role of Pablo Escobar. So it’s all about what happened in Colombia during the rise of Pablo Escobar and the drug cartels. In later seasons

    04:20 –


    It also talks about the Cali cartel and how they took over after Escobar. Now, despite the subject matter, this is a really well-written show and it’s really interesting to watch. They do a good job of pulling you into the story. So you’ve learned about all of the different players that were involved. Now this show was really good for beginners because the narration is actually done in English and there’s only certain scenes of the show that appear in Spanish. And anytime there’s a Spanish scene, there are subtitles that match what the speakers are saying because it was intended for an English speaking audience. So this is a good way to get your feet wet if you’re not ready to watch a show that’s 100% in Spanish. So I definitely recommend you check out Narcos. And the second show I really enjoyed on Netflix is Ingobernable and that stars Kate Del Castillo

    05:11 –



    Ingobernable translates roughly to ungovernable. So something like unruly and it’s a political drama based in Mexico City. Now Castillo actually plays the first lady of Mexico and in the first episode she experiences a really shocking event and she spends the rest of the series trying to reconcile that event. So, I don’t want to spoil it for you so I’m not going to tell you what happened, but I promise you it’ll have you hooked from the first episode now because it’s based in Mexico, you’re going to be exposed to a lot of the Mexican accent and a lot of slang that’s associated with Mexico. Now for both Narcos and Ingobernable, I would definitely suggest that you keep the kids out of the room while you watch these shows. There is a lot of adult language in some of these episodes, but they are really good stories. So that is number two.

    06:03 –


    Now the third show I recommend is a little bit quirky. It’s actually called ¿Quién fue? Like who was that? This series explores the lives of various historical figures and very well-known figures. They’d tell them that these hilarious reenactments that are a little bit over the top and a little silly, but if you find history boring, this may be a way to sort of get you into history while you’re practicing your Spanish. So, it’s good for a good laugh when you have some downtime. And I will say one of the episodes, just to give you a little flavor about how goofy it is. There’s actually one episode about Ben Franklin and it actually shows him, you know, discovering lightning with a kite and he’s got like these ripped abs and he’s, you know, bragging about all of his accomplishments. It’s really a little bit silly. I definitely recommend it because the episodes are pretty short and it’s good for a laugh.

    06:51 –


    Now quick note for all of these, it really helps if you change the settings in your Netflix account to Spanish. So, if you go log in actually on the computer to your Netflix account, actually go ahead and change the language so that it will default to the Spanish version for all of your shows. If you really want to commit to practicing Spanish while you watch Netflix, if you change the language to Spanish, you won’t have to worry about constantly having to go back and select that Spanish audio option as your bend watching the shows. So that can get a little frustrating. So, I definitely recommend just changing your Netflix account settings to the Spanish language. And that way you don’t have to worry about it. Now my fourth recommendation also stars Kate Del Castillo and it’s based on a book by the same name. So, this series is called La Reina del Sur or queen of the South.

    07:41 –


    It’s a really interesting story. It’s another one that’ll grip you from the first episode. So definitely check that one out. The fifth series I recommend is called in En Pocas Palabras or in not so many words, and this show covers different topics for each episodes. So, they talk about a little bit of everything and it usually pretty interesting topics. So they cover everything from cryptocurrency to fed dieting. So this is a good way to expand your vocabulary and be able to talk about different topics in Spanish. And the episodes are also pretty short. So, if you’re looking to increase your exposure to Spanish but you don’t have the stamina to watch an entire movie or a series, this can be a good series for you. Now to make it easier for you to find all of these shows. I will actually link to all of them in the show notes so you don’t have to go searching on Netflix.

    08:30 –


    I’ll give you a link directly to each series so you know exactly how to find it. Okay. Moving on to recommendation number six. Recommendation number six is a classic Mexican telenovela called El Señor de los Cielos and this is a very popular soap opera, so it’s really hard to ignore this one. So definitely check it out. If you want to be up to date with Latin American culture and you want to be familiar with this soap opera that almost everyone has seen. And unfortunately this is another drug trafficking show, but it’s about the post Escobar era. Okay, so a little stereotypical, but again, a lot of Latinos know the show have watched it before us, but this is a good one to watch so you won’t feel left out if it comes up in conversation. Now, the last one I recommend, and this is actually both my most favorite series and the most challenging series, it’s called Celia and it’s about Cuban singer, Celia Cruz.

    09:24 –


    Now, if you don’t know who Celia Cruz is and you haven’t heard her sing, you owe it to yourself to look her up right now and listen to her voice. She was really known for having a strong and beautiful voice and she’s very popular throughout Latin America. So, the series really explores a lot of historical events as it relates to her life. So, this show is really quite extensive. I believe there’s about 80 episodes. So, when you start watching this one, make sure you have some free time on your calendar. Now what’s good about this show is that exposes you to the Cuban dialect of Spanish, but that’s also what makes the show really challenging. The accent really may take some getting used to, and if you don’t know any Cuban Spanish, some of the vocabulary might throw you off. And this is another one that if you watch it with the subtitles, they’re not a hundred percent accurate.

    10:14 –


    So, it can be a little bit tough to catch the language in the show, but if you’re looking for a challenge and you want to learn more about Celia Cruz, I definitely recommend this one. Now, while this is available on Netflix, it originally aired on Telemundo, so if you want to actually watch the chapters with accurate subtitles, I recommend going to the Telemundo website. And again, I’ll include a link in the show notes so you don’t have to go searching for it, but you’ll find if you watch it on a website, if you turn on the closed captioning. Now this is not the subtitles in English, it’s the closed captioning option, which is really for the hearing impaired in Spanish. You’ll find that the words actually match up with what the speakers are saying. Which again does not happen on Netflix. So I would definitely recommend if you’re really interested in Cuban Spanish or in the life of Celia Cruz or you just want to really improve your Spanish and get deeper into your study with this series, check out the Telemundo website, turn on the closed captions and really sit and study line by line and scene by scene.

    11:16 –


    Because I can tell you most people that have watched this series that are not native Spanish speakers have really relied on the English subtitles and that really can take away from the experience of the show. So, try to resist the temptation of reading the English subtitles because you’re so captivated by the story and try to take some time, slow it down, watch it with the closed captioning in Spanish and see if you can really pick up what’s being said. This is also a great series to discuss with your tutor. So, if you have a tutor on Italki or if you’re in the Spanish con Salsa community and you have access to one of our coaches, you can definitely take one of these episodes and review it, with a tutor or a coach. So, that you can really understand some of the nuances in the language.

    11:58 –


    Like I said, this one can be a challenge, so if you’re an intermediate level or if you have any interest in Cuba, I definitely recommend this series. So, those are my seven favorite Spanish language shows that you should binge watch on Netflix right now. Just again as a quick recap, the first show I recommended is the critically acclaimed Narcos, which is about the life of Pablo Escobar and the drug cartels in Colombia. The second show I recommended was Ingobernable, a political drama that follows the first lady of Mexico. The third show I recommended was ¿Quién fue? and that gives a comical look at some historical figures. The fourth show I recommended is La Reina del Sur or the queen of the South. Another critically acclaimed series with a very interesting story. And a side note about this. I mentioned before that it’s based on the book. That’s another book that you can download from http://www.audible.com so if you listen to the episode on recommended resources for intermediate Spanish learners, I mentioned audible.com and one of the books that you can get is La Reina del Sur and this book is available on that site.

    13:08 –


    So that’s another way to increase your exposure if you read the book and then watch the series so you’ll already have an idea about what’s going on. I also recommend it En Pocas Palabras, El Señor de los Cielos and last but definitely not least Celia. So go ahead and check out the show notes at thehttps://www.learnspanishconsalsa.com/netflix/ and you’ll get links to all of these series for your next binge watching session. That is it for this episode of Learn Spanish con Salsa. And as always, I would love to hear from you if you watch one of these shows, tell me which one is your favorite or if there’s a show that’s not on my list that you think I should add. Definitely go to the show notes page and comment. You can also reach us at Learn Spanish con Salsa on Instagram, and I love to hear about your favorite shows as well. So, definitely reach out and don’t hesitate to contact us. And as always, I hope you learned something in this episode that will take you one step closer on your journey from being a Spanish beginner to bilingual. Adiós.

    14:16 –


    This episode of Learn Spanish con Salsa is brought to you by our partner Italki the effective fastest way to become fluent in a foreign language. You’ll make more progress with one on one lessons customized for your learning style and goals. You can take lessons from anywhere at a time that is convenient for you. Connect with people from around the world, learn the real language and learn how people really speak. Get started today and get a free $10 credit with your first lesson purchase. Just visit http://www.go.italki.com/spanishconsalsa. That’s http://www.go.italki.com/spanishconsalsa

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