10 American TV Shows I Want to See In Spanish

Do you love television? Don’t lie. You love television. I also love television. Heck, everyone loves television. This means that television is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the Spanish language. So! Without further ado, here is list of a few American shows that are worth your time watching in Spanish:

  1. Dexter is full of blood and guts and great character development. For a show about a serial killer, it is also surprisingly accessible and blackly comic. Let me give you a brief primer- Dexter, our titular hero, is a blood spatter specialist working for the police department who masquerades at night as a serial killer. The twist? Dexter is a serial killer with a consciousness, a serial killer who only murders fellow serial killers. The show follows him as he evades the authorities and struggles to cope with his lust for murder, which he has dubbed his “dark passenger”. You have excitement; you have intrigue; and better yet, you also have a pretty dang good story too. Things started going downhill for the Dexter series around season 6, but the shows before that (especially the widely loved season 1) is top quality T.V. The best part? I think it is just a great show to watch in Spanish. This is because Dexter has a penchant for narrating to the reader. For example, he might be walking down the sidewalk, and in his warped, emotionless mind, he’s thinking to himself about how alone and isolated he feels. All of this information is communicated to the reader by a Dexter’s voice overlaid on the scene. In other words, he is talking but his mouth is not moving. This small point is extremely important because it makes the Spanish dubbing significantly more convincing than many other live action shows.

  2. Louie- I’m not entirely sure how to describe Louie, so let me just start off by saying that it is my favorite comedy show. Louie (played by immensely talent comic Louis C.K.) is a middle age bloke who struggles to cope with the modern world and the reality of being a single dad. It is the only show I know that is a riotously funny as it is completely depressing. Let me just give you a quick scene. Louie is pulling an all-nighter as he desperately tries to prepare for the rapidly approaching Christmas morning. As he inspects the presents that he has spent an inordinate amount of time searching for, he comes to a horrible realization. Both of a doll’s eyes have fallen into the back of its head. For the next four hours or so Louie panickly tries to fix the doll. After a copious amount of tinkering with the doll and cursing in frustration, Louie just breaks down and begins crying, alone, in his apartment. Now, I personally think this show is fantastic to watch in Spanish because of its use of street phrases and slang. I have seen few shows that have as realistic of dialogue as Louie does. This means that someone watching this show to learn Spanish would hear how actual people on the street speak- an invaluable exposure absolutely necessary for any serious language learner.

  3. Game of Thrones- I have not watched Game of Thrones in quite a while and, even though I really enjoyed it at the time, I honestly remember very little about the story. It’s pretty complex. There’s something about dragons, and political medieval conflict, and there is also really good characters, I’m pretty sure. It also has some of the most surprising scenes I have ever seen on television. Whatever. It’s popular enough to where I’m sure you have heard of it before, so you probably don’t need me giving you a summary. Now, I think Game of Thrones is good for language learners for a very specific reason. Because of the complexity of the story line, the show absolutely forces you to understand the dialogue. In other words, this show will shove vocabulary and grammar comprehension down your throat; it makes you pay close attention to what is happening on the screen.

  4. Cowboy Bebop- Ah…Cowboy Bebop. Isn’t that just the best name for a television show? It’s a Japanese anime that follows the melancholy lives of a gaggle of space-age bounty hunters. I recommend this unique gem as a language learning tool mainly because, if you haven’t seen it, it’s completely different than on this list. I can’t emphasize enough how variety in your viewing habits will aid in your comprehension.

  5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer- Do you know the movie The Avengers? Of course you know The Avengers. Well, the Director- Joss Whedon- also directed this idiosyncratic show called Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Yes, yes. I know it sounds hokey. That’s what I always get from people when I recommend it. But trust me when I say it has some of the best dialogue of show out there. The dialogue is also very funny, and this is specifically why I think you should watch it in Spanish. Every line of dialogue becomes a little mini quiz- if you laugh, you understood it. It’s very simple. If not, well, just rewind until you can say “yes, I get it. That is witty.” You can’t beat instant feedback like that.

  6. Firefly- This is another great show from Joss Whedon. I recommend it for the same reason I recommend Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The best way I can describe this legendary cult series is a brilliant cross between hardcore science fiction and the antics of cowboys in the Wild West. Check it out.

  7. Supernatural- I know a lot of people who really, really like supernatural. I am not one of those people, but I will admit the show is entertaining. It follows two boys- Sam and dean Winchester, as they battle supernatural and/or mythical beasts. I recommend this show for the opposite reason that I recommend Game of Thrones. The storyline in Supernatural is generally the following: A bad beast does something bad; Sam and Dean find the bad beast; Sam and Dean nearly die fighting the bad beast. It’s repetitive and simplistic, yes, but it’s different from other shows that follow a similar format in that, within this repetitive structure, there are always unique and entertaining elements. So you have two things to consider: it’s easy to understand and it’s entertaining to watch. Sounds perfect for learning to speak Spanish, doesn’t it?

  8. Hannibal- this is not a show for the lighthearted, but my goodness is it excellent. It follows literature’s most infamous cannibal, the surprisingly erudite Hannibal Lector, prior to the events in the Oscar-winning movie The Silence of the Lambs. In other words, it follows good-old Hannibal before everyone realized he was eating people. It’s both mesmerizing and disgusting to watch as Hannibal manipulates everyone he comes in contact with. Nothing has sent chills down my spine quite like Hannibal’s endless slew of double entendre: “oh, my dear friend, I never feel guilty for anything I eat”. I include this show mainly because it employs some more advanced vocabulary than I have seen in other shows. The dialogue is dense, intellectual, and a joy to unravel.

  9. House of Cards- Viewers of House of Cards watch as Frank Underwood- the brilliant and vicious majority whip for Congress- connives and manipulates his way up the totem pole of American politics. Underwood is vicious, cold-hearted, and regularly uses dialogue not found in any other shows: namely politically oriented vocabulary. No other show will help you learn the Spanish word for Super-Pac, for example.

  10. The West Wing- the West Wing is all dialogue all of the time. It can be difficult to follow. Heck, it can be difficult to follow in English if you’re not paying attention. If you are an advanced Spanish speaker looking for additional immersion, this should be your go to source. Not only will it help you learn difficult vocabulary, it will also submerge you in the fascinating world of American politics.

  11. Photo Credit: Bart Naus

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