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The best shows for learning English — our TOP 12

The best shows for learning English

The most effective language learning is based on both passive and active learning. When you watch foreign language programs and series, you activate both processes. Of course, TV series for learning English are not a substitute for more classic forms of studying, however, they can be a great support. Therefore, today we will share our subjective compilation of the best series for learning English.

How to choose the right shows for learning English?

What should you look for when choosing a series for language learning? It is important to keep in mind a few tips that will make that learning more effective.

A show for learning English must be interesting

Which series should you choose to study English? Above all, one you like! Of course, this is an extremely subjective condition, and it is difficult to use this determinant when creating a ranking. So instead, we tried to create a set that was so diverse that everyone could find something for themselves.

Choose a series with subtitles

When deciding on a series for learning English, it is worth making sure that it has subtitles not only in your native language, but also in English. Why? Checking the meaning of words by comparing what you hear with the captions in your mother tongue can be problematic, as the translation is often not literal. Watching English-language series with English subtitles is much more effective. Reading and listening at the same time is the best way for your brain to learn new vocabulary.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew

The difficulty level must be appropriately adjusted to your skills. Watching a show where you only understand 10% of what you hear and read won’t give you the right results. Therefore, if your English is at a basic level, it makes sense to turn to a series for a younger audience.

Beginner English Learning Series

Let’s start with a few simple shows that will help you in the early stages of language acquisition.

Paw Patrol

This is a very popular production for the youngest viewers, so it will be a great educational support for beginners. The series tells about the adventures of a rescue team composed of four-legged heroes. Brave dogs, along with a 10-year-old boy, help people in need. Undoubtedly, the advantage of this animated series is its simple vocabulary and short, twenty-minute episodes. PAW Patrol is sure to work as a series for learning English, especially for younger learners of the language. However, slightly older people may find it boring.

Stranger Things and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

The next two items will also prove themselves as English learning series for beginners, although they are intended for older audiences. Both Stranger Things and the Chilling Adventures of the teenage witch Sabrina can be classified as series for teenagers, which does not change the fact that both productions are also loved by adult viewers.

Stranger Things tells the story of a girl with extraordinary abilities, Eleven, and the group of her friends who help the girl in the fight against a sinister government agency, but also against the threat of the dark world “on the other side”.

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina tells the story of a teenage witch who is just discovering her magical powers.

The advantage of both productions is that the main characters are children and teenagers, who usually use less complicated vocabulary than the heroes of productions intended strictly for adult viewers. Both are series for learning English that will appeal especially to fans of fantasy and science-fiction.

5 Series to learn English for the more advanced

Our planet

The first and only English-learning documentary series on our list is a fascinating BBC production. Our planet tells about the diversity of life on Earth. The series shows various habitats of wild animals, taking you on an extraordinary journey through the farthest corners of our planet. Why is it worth learning English with this series? The answer is Sir David Attenborough. The narrator is the world-famous British biologist and populariser of natural science, who tells the story in impeccable RP, a British accent considered representative of the British Isles. This is the accent that most English teachers use.

Sherlock

A modern adaptation of the classic novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, an English-learning series for lovers of detective stories. Thanks to this popular production, you will become familiar with more modern British, which is provided in the series by Benedict Cumberbatch. The famous actor plays the role of Sherlock Holmes in a daring way.

I Think You Should Leave

This time, we move away from British productions and propose an American series for learning English through fun. The show by Tim Robins consists of unrelated series of funny skits arranged in twenty-minute episodes. Undoubtedly, the advantage of this programme is its accessible, short form and the light tone of the series.

Love Life

Let’s keep going with the short format. The main character of Love Life is 20-year-old Darby, a New York resident who dreams of love that lasts till the grave. However, it doesn’t stop at daydreaming. She takes matters into her own hands, as we follow her relationships on screen. Each episode, which is about half-an-hour long, is about a different relationship. Reach for this series as part of your English studies if you like romantic comedies.

Insecure

This HBO production tells the stories of two friends from Los Angeles, Issa and Molly. It is mainly a comedy, which from time to time turns into a much more serious show. Insecure is a series that shows, in a very interesting way, what the life of the black community in the USA looks like. The language used by the characters is firmly embedded in modern realities, so this series for learning English should be reached for by people who are already at a fairly advanced level. The subtitles will certainly be useful.

4 Series to learn an English accent

The Crown

We mentioned Sir David Attenborough in the previous section as an excellent teacher of the British accent. However, to get a handle on a British high-society accent, it’s best to turn to the monarch. Here, The Crown comes to the rescue, and takes a closer look at the British monarchy and the fate of Queen Elizabeth II. This is the perfect series to learn the English accent in its most elegant form, and at the same time is a font of knowledge about the British royal family and British politics.

Peaky Blinders

If you want to learn English in its less formal style, we recommend the Peaky Blinders series. In this excellent English production, the main character uses the accent known as Brummie. It was once hailed as the ugliest in the British Isles, but is currently experiencing a much better period, which it undoubtedly owes to the series.

Misfits

Misfits is a great example of an English learning series transformed by a whole bunch of British accents. This mix of drama and science-fiction presents the fate of young people from various corners of the British Isles. Thanks to this, you will hear the accent from Yorkshire, Derby, London and even Ireland. Watching Misfits is a great way to test your listening skills. However, we warn you that this is a series for advanced learning.

Derry Girls

This series will help you learn English with a distinct Irish twist. It will take you to the small town of Derry in Northern Ireland, where five teenagers face their everyday problems. The whole of the action takes place in the 1990s, when Northern Ireland was torn apart by political conflicts, which is not without significance for the plot.

Where to watch series in English?

There are quite a few streaming platforms available. A large proportion of our English language series are available on Netflix:

  • Paw Patrol
  • Stranger Things
  • The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
  • Our planet
  • Sherlock
  • I Think You Should Leave
  • The Crown
  • Peaky Blinders
  • Derry Girls.

You can watch the rest on the HBO online platform:

  • Love Life
  • Insecure
  • Misfits.

It is worth supporting your English learning with Netflix by reaching for our application: SuperMemo. With its help, you will be able to consolidate the vocabulary learned during the viewing.

Where else can you watch productions for learning English? A prime example is our Olive Green interactive course, which is based on a feature-length action movie. By being able to influence the plot, this course is more engaging than passively watching TV series, and it provides just as much entertainment.

Advantages of learning English through TV series,

Visual context

Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of learning with Netflix and English learning series is providing a visual context. Body language can give you a lot of clues. The picture helps to outline some frames in which it is easier to put meaning.

Authentic language

By choosing a series to learn English, you can become familiar with the authentic language served by native speakers. The series are closer to life than the vocabulary and grammar you have contact with in textbooks.

Actual pace

Language learning materials are often recorded at a speed that makes it easier for you to effectively process what you are hearing. Netflix and English-learning series are a great way to get used to the normal speed native speakers speak at.

Colloquialisms and slang

By choosing the right series for learning, you can learn informal jargon and expressions used every day by specific social groups. Remember, however, that given shows are produced at a specific time, so the slang used by the characters of a particular series may not always be up-to-date.

As you can see, there are a lot of arguments in favour of learning English through TV series, and a lot of TV series that will help you with that. Our list certainly does not exhaust all the items that will help you improve your language. Therefore, we encourage you to explore streaming platforms on your own and to reach for our application while learning.