1. Lie to me
Genres: Crime Drama, Psychology, Detective
Lie to Me is an American tv series inspired by the scientific work of the psychologist Paul Ekman, a human lie detector. He is one of the most recognized scientists of the twentieth century, a pioneer in the study of the connections between emotional states and facial expressions. Lie to Me; originally ran on the Fox network from January 21, 2009 to January 31, 2011.
This crime drama created by Samuel Baum is the perfect series to improve your level of English in just 40 minutes of intrigue and detective work, everything based on real events. There are 3 seasons with a total of 48 episodes with the same plot making an incredibly engaging and entertaining drama series.
Its common English vocabulary and very easy argument, repeated on every episode, make this series a show for an audience with an intermediate level.
Country: UK / Scandinavia
Genre: Historical Fiction, Action
This Irish and Canadian co production is conquering everyone. The story of Ragnar Lothbrok, a famous Viking hero from the Scandinavian mythology, who, as the legend says, descended directly from Odín, their god of war. He, followed by his allies and family, plans to be the first person of this land to sail west and discover new lands and new plunders.
It’s full of intrigue, action, and exciting plot twists. Everything covered by the historical facts that will show you and teach you a little bit about Norse history and mythology.
But, what is more interesting is that they speak slowly, this makes Vikings a very easy show to understand.
Level: Upper Elementary, Low- Intermediate
Country: Colombia, Chile, EEUU
Genre: Historical fiction, Magical Realism, Illegal Drug Trade
Narcos is an American crime web television series created and produced by Chris Brancato, Carlo Bernard, and Doug Miro. Based on the rise of cocaine trade from Colombia during the 80’s. The story starts with Mateo Moreno, known as “Cucaracha” (Cockroach), a cocaine maker, who escapes from Chile during the Pinochet dictatorship and to find the main character of the series, Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria.
The whole argument show us the world of illegal drug trade from its beginning to its power and fame. It also reflects upon the how is drug produced and marketed in the United States, and who the drug mafia are and how are they related.
One of the most important characteristics of this series which has made it the most famous series of this last two years, is the easy way to understand the dialogues. The series is to be commended by how firmly it commits to basically being a bilingual series.
In fact, about 50 percent of the entire first season features dialogue spoken in Spanish, as dialectically appropriate. It’s a choice that represents a commitment to authenticity, and will help people with an upper elementary level of English.
4. The Get Down
Genre: Musical, 70’s, Hip-Hop
Summer of 1977. New York is still a decadent and mistreated city. All they had to survive were wordplays, makeshift dances, some marker pens and spray tubes. This teenagers group from South Bronx will put on the world map Funk, Hip-Hop and Disco.
Despite, being the typical American tv series, where all the principal characters fight for their dreams with a happy ending, The Get Down has something different that makes it special and interesting. The theme takes advantage of the musical trends of these years and shows how it all started in its place of origin.
With a very informal English and full of street talk vocabulary, this series is a great option if you are trying to speak more fluently and to be more comfortable in colloquial conversations.
5. Game of Thrones
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Medieval fantasy
Wars, drama, conspiracy, love, betrayal and brilliant performances. Everything inside an excellent plot, where seven powerful families fight for their honour and the possession of Westeros. Does it sound familiar to you? Based on the series of books called A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, this show has become one of the most famous series of all times.
The language is beautiful and easy to understand, and reflects perfectly where the characters come from -North, South, West, Est; rich, poor…-. Game of Thrones is highly recommended to improve your English and you will get used to listening to different accents all the time, different ways of talking and a lot of vocabulary you have never heard before.
Level: Upper intermediate
Country: United States
Genre: Law and Business, Witty Comedy
Witty, funny, and it always keeps you in suspense. With Harvey Specter, one of the best lawyers in New York City, and Mike Ross as the main characters, Suits is a show about leadership, justice, confidence and all in the law and business world. Both young friends and lawyers they will run into many power struggles along the way to success.
Because of its intelligent humor and the big quantity of technical vocabulary, you should keep a notebook by your side while watching. If you are a business person or lawyer, or if you are interested in that world, you can benefit a lot from learning all that vocabulary and expressions.
7. House of Cards
Level: Upper Intermediate
Genre: Politics, Journalism, Remake, Thriller
Created in the UK for BBC television as a mini-series based on the book by Michael Dobbs, this political thriller will make you never look the same at your local politician. It’s incredible realism and the agility of the plot make it one of the best series to learn vocabulary and formal expressions in English.
The story is about the revenge of a frustrated politician, Frank Underwood, who has been waiting his entire career for a promotion. Along with his wife, played by Robin Wright, they set up to climb to the top of Washington D.C. politics.
This is a great series to get used to and practice American accents with a lot of technical business and political vocabulary. Do not feel bad if you need subtitles!
7. Stranger Things
Level: Low Intermediate
Country: United States
Genre: Terror, Drama, Fiction
This series created for Netflix, written and directed by the brothers Matt and Ross Duffer, ran for the first time on July 15th, 2016, with the support of the critics and the press, who praised the performance, the rhythm, the atmosphere, the characterization and the clear tribute to the 80’s in Hollywood, with obvious references to the works of Steven Spielberg, Stephen King or George Lucas.
The story is set in Hawkins, Indiana, during the 80’s, where a twelve years old boy disappears. At the same time, one girl with telekinesis powers will help the boys’ friends to find him. But this is just the beginning, they will then deal with a mysterious governmental organization and dark forces who plan to destroy all of them.
With short dialogues and a very understandable English, Stranger Things will very soon be one of the most seen series this year.
8. The Americans
Country: United States
Genre: Historical fiction
This series is a drama, set in the Cold War, about soviet spies from the KGB, trained and infiltrated as North American citizens. The show is round the life of a married couple who live in the United States.
Secret operations, death, FBI, spies… Even though The Americans is fiction, it is based on the notes of a book that belongs to Vasili Mitrojin, an agent of the KGB; anecdotes from the FBI…
The locations and the respect for the historical facts, added to the amount of different vocabulary make this series an opportunity to improve a high level of English and, also, learn some history.
10. American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson
Country: United States
Genre: Crime, Law, Drama
This mini series narrates the process of real crime cases centered around some of history’s most famous criminals. It’s plot has hooked North Americans to the tv for months. American Crime Story has everything: a famous footballer who fell from grace, maltreatment and a passional crime. Racism, sexism, police violence and a broken justice are the themes for a series that touches on police violence against African Americans.
With very strong vocabulary, they speak quickly, but understandably if you put on the subtitles. If you still have doubts you, you should reconsider because the team has just received 22 Emmy nominations. Curious about modern historical famous events? Keep a notebook with you and play it on!