Last updated: June 25, 2021
Is it a good idea to improve your English watching TV series? Of course!
I will tell you today about the great TV series which will help you to improve your English. They are easier to understand than others if you just start practising natural English.
While TV shows like Sherlock, Doctor Who, Games of Thrones, or Suits are fun to watch, they are quite difficult to understand for English learners. Unfortunately, they are intense and use a lot of specific vocabulary.
If you are an Elementary or Intermediate English learner without everyday contact with English, you need to prepare yourself for difficult stuff. Start with easier TV shows, get used to fast speaking and conversational language, and then you will be unstoppable 😉
Why use TV series to learn English?
First of all, they are fun! Linguists say that you get much better learning results when you like what you are doing. Pick the shows which you are personally interested in. Learning will be easier this way!
But also don’t forget that TV series:
- improve your listening skills
- develop your confidence in understanding English
- teach you tons of speaking phrases and cool vocabulary
You can watch TV series in English with English subtitles on ororo.tv. It’s possible to change the speed and use the English-Russian dictionary installed in the player. And it is not expensive!
List of easy TV series to learn English with
I always advise starting with learning programmes like EXTRA or documentaries. They are created with learners in mind: not too difficult but good to make a start.
Extra is a TV show created specially for English learners. My students love it because it is so easy to understand. It’s a story of 4 friends living in London and teaching their Spanish-speaking friend English. There are 40 episodes available on Youtube or ororo.tv.
You could also try educational programmes like Crash Course, Smarter Every day, Planet Earth, Cosmos, etc. They are great for Beginner English learners: the actors have perfect pronunciation, the texts are well-written, and the narrative is not too fast.
But if you are up for a big game, here are the stories in English which are not too difficult to understand:
The Umbrella Academy (2019)
We have just finished watching this new TV show from Netflix and I think it’s definitely worth checking out. If you like superheroes and comics, it’s a great TV series to enjoy and learn English at the same time. Most dialogues are quite easy to understand, heroes speak clearly and not too fast. There is no slang or incorrect grammar – perfect for learning good conversational English!
Contrary to the common opinion, cartoons are not always easy to understand in English. The heroes use a lot of slang, funny voices, and it all makes it difficult if you are not acquainted with the American culture. This one, Futurama, is ok. The dialogues are simple, teach you a lot of everyday phrases. If you love science fiction, it’s your first choice!
This is a great TV series about 2 British writers who came to Hollywood. You will hear both British and American accents of English which is great for your listening practice. And it’s funny!
There is a place for British TV series too. Based on G.T.Chisterton detective stories, ‘Father Brown’ is quite comfortable for English learners. Because the action takes place in the 50s, the language is not too fast and quite clear to understand. If you like detective stories and British accents, this show is definitely for you.
If you like time travel and history at the same time, this will be a great choice for you. The actors in this show have very clear pronunciation, and the dialogues are not hard to understand.
Another sci-fi TV show – in a different genre, though. Romance and comedy in one package set in 2033, it’s really fun to watch to improve your English. Simple dialogues, a lot of funny moments, high quality photography – what’s not to like?
The Kominsky Method
I have found this comedy quite easy to understand – both heroes speak quite slowly. They are highly professional actors with great pronunciation.
It’s a show about two friends who live in California. I do believe it’s a nice pastime and will certainly improve your English: they use a lot of phrasal verbs and useful idioms, especially for those interested in American English. Just ignore the beeps 😉
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
The word ‘marvellous’ definitely describes well this witty TV series about a divorced housewife trying to become a comic in the traditional lifestyle of America in the 60s. The costume shows are usually quite simple to understand because the actors are trying to speak old-school. This one is not an exception – good dialogues, clear pronunciation, and funny jokes!
The title and the trailer are a bit horror movie style, but it’s actually an almost normal criminal drama. The girl becomes a zombie and this helps you fighting crime in modern-day US. I found this TV series understandable because the stories are not too complicated and the actors speak well.
It is another untypical police drama. Criminal stories are extremely popular but often are hard to understand for English learners because of very high speed and abundance of criminal terms. ‘Lucifer’ is something in between the comedy and the police story and it makes it easier than many. It’s funny in parts, and I am sure you will get used to the accents without problems.
The Big Bang Theory
There is still no clear understanding about this TV show for me. Some students say it’s difficult to understand, but some find it not hard at all.
Personally, I skip the scientific lingo and if you don’t worry about it, you will find that it’s pretty simple to understand the everyday talks between the main heroes, except for Sheldon. His speaking is a part of the comic effect of the show, but many people get used to it in the process.
The show is not too fast and has short episodes of only 20 minutes each which makes it great for learning English.
This is us
We have started watching this TV series out of personal interest, and I find it not very hard to understand. If you like a good quality life story, you will like this one too. It has an incredibly high rating on IMDB (8.9), and I have heard a lot of positive reviews. So, there is a chance you will enjoy this emotional story while improving your English vocabulary and listening!
The old good Alf has never let me down 😉 I remember this TV programme from my childhood, and I have been using it in my English teaching for years. It could look a bit antique, but it is really not difficult and very often funny. If you want to learn American English, you will get numerous phrasal verbs and set expressions from this show!
Final Thoughts on how to learn English with TV series
We are very lucky now to have a lot of authentic materials available to improve our English. TV series is a great way to pracise your listening skills and improve English vocabulary. You can use ororo.tv or Netflix to watch TV shows in English with subtitles, and it becomes a habit for you, your English will be becoming better every day.
Did you find an interesting TV series on this list? How do you use them to learn English? Please share your experience in the comments!
Free English Learning Guide
If you want to understand casual English in films and TV series, you need to know phrasal verbs. They are an important part of everyday English speaking.
Download our Guide ’55 Common Phrasal Verbs’ to expand your vocabulary for free
This Guide is for those who:
- have already studied English and are at A2-B2 level;
- want to expand their English vocabulary;
- want to understand native speakers, films and TV shows.