If, like me and most of my buddies, you have been binge-watching series on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon PrimeVideo during the confinement, chances are you will have come across some of the most famous ones as well as some of the hidden jewels. Let’s face it, the choice is excellent these days. The only problem is to make up your mind as to which series and how many episodes per day you should really be watching.
Don’t forget, for it to actually be educational, you must make sure you talk about these series to someone, in English! And for it to continue to be educational – just watch on! Drop the subtitles as it is the fastest way for your brain to pick up on new words and expressions and to assimilate the new information that is coming its way.
If you feel like you must use the subtitles, set them to English. Otherwise, you will be slowing down your brain unnecessarily and getting tired after only a couple of episodes. Whatever you do, do not switch the language from English back into your native language. Pretty please?…
Read on for EXSELLme recommendations of the American and British Series and TV shows that are most suitable for learning and improving your English.
1. The Night Manager
To start off with a little bit of a surprise, head to “The Night Manager” based on a novel by John Le Carré (that British chap who writes all the best British spy novels) and stars Tom Hiddleston, Olivia Coleman and Hugh Laurie. And here is the surprising bit, Hugh Laurie (best known as Dr House in America) actually speaks with his own British accent in this British series! Enjoy the intellectual baggage that comes with watching this short series, as well as Tom Hiddleston’s great performance – and of course comparing Hugh Laurie’s accents. Available on PrimeVideo.
2. Desperate Housewives
If you are only starting out using series as a means to improve your English, “Desperate Housewives” is the best place to start. Whether you are a teenager, a professional lawyer, unemployed or a single mom, this American series is the fastest way to get you to pick up a lot of the basic vocabulary and expressions. Available on PrimeVideo
Source: Femme Actuelle
3. The Good Wife
For those of you who wish to focus on formal English: vocabulary, expressions, intonation, rhythm etc – “The Good Wife” with its formal legal vocabulary would be a good place to start. You will also learn a thing or two about the American judicial system. Available on PrimeVideo.
Source: Allo Ciné
4. The Crown
The Crown on Netflix is perfect for those wishing to pick up on some Queen’s English. Make sure you write down some of the most powerful quotes you hear – then look up the historical context even further. This historic drama follows the life of Queen Elizabeth II from her ascension to the throne in 1947 to her 21st century rule. From the director of “Billy Elliot” and “The Hours”. Enjoy!
5. Peaky Blinders
If you want a challenge when it comes to studying British accents, Peaky Blinders on Netflix might be for you. It is another British period crime drama set in the aftermath of WWI. Peaky Blinders was a family-run gang who at the time held great power in the city of Birmingham. Tough
6. The Big Bang Theory
For the scientists amongst you, “The Big Bang Theory” on PrimeVideo is absolutely perfect for a technical vocabulary boost. However, beware of the difficult American accents and some high-pitched voices.
Source: Le Parisien
7. Two And a Half Men
For a 20-minute injection of good mood and a vocabulary boost, try “Two And a Half Men” on PrimeVideo. The series deals with a variety of daily scenarios, all the while providing hilarious jokes and causing giggles galore. A nice alternative to “Friends”. Bear in mind that they switched from Charlie Sheen to Ashton Kucher towards the end of the series so if you have a preference for one or the other, you will be able to pick and choose.
Source: Le Monde
Broadchurch is a serial crime drama set in a fictional town of Broadchurch in Dorset, England, just off the English Channel, and it would be perfect for those of you who love detective series and whodunnits. The series follows the town’s local police detectives, with each season focusing upon a specific crime investigation. The actors are magical. You will be sure to recognise Olivia Coleman as the Queen from “The Crown”. We dare you to attempt switching to another series halfway. You won’t! What’s more, you will get absolutely addicted to the original soundtrack by Olafur Arnalds.
9. The Wombles
We are nearly through our list and so it’s a nice place to finally introduce “The Wombles”. Tons of episodes are available on the good old YouTube, absolutely free of charge! Pure fun guaranteed for the whole family. The kids will laugh with it and learn with it – while the grownups will get an insight into the old-fashioned British cartoons that your international colleagues grew up watching. Enjoy the great British humour deftly dealing with all sorts of everyday life situations.
Last but not least, Mindhunter produced by inter alia Charlize Theron is a gripping new crime thriller from the US. If you don’t mind considering how a serial killer’s mind works, this series will be perfect for picking up on some criminal psychology vocabulary during some mind boggling interviews with imprisoned killers.
Feel free to get in touch with us if you wish to perfect your English or simply discuss the series you have watched recently. We run English classes for professionals at our offices in London and Alsace in France.
Remember that your level of English is all about you and how confident you are using it. So do not let your hesitation or lack of confidence in your English drag you down. Here at EXSELLme we would be delighted to point out the quickest ways for you to improve your English and be able to communicate freely and impress people when you speak. Our individual English sessions run throughout the year and we are happy to combine face-to-face meetings with virtual sessions.