Monday, May 20, 2024

Bingeworthy Mexican Netflix shows to teach you Spanish

I love watching TV and movies, and I’m not embarrassed to admit it. After all, we humans are practically programmed to really get into a good story.

I’m also a fan of watching Mexican TV (and Netflix) specifically for learning purposes. With technology that lets us put on subtitles at will, watching local shows and movies is a fantastic way to study both Spanish and Mexican culture, and one that I’ve long recommended.

Ojitos de huevo
Watching Mexican shows like Ojitos de Huevo can give you more than just new language skills – it can open the door to learning more about other cultures as well. (Netflix)

To help you enjoy them as much as I do, I’ve come up with a list of recent Mexican TV shows that you can find on some of the major platform services available — one is hosted on Disney, and the rest are on Netflix. 

I’ve tried to stick to lighthearted comedies and a couple of intriguing dramas, but there’s certainly more out there — especially if you expand your search to film! Mexico has an astoundingly varied and storied film history, so it’s worth a much deeper dive than we’re taking here for those especially interested.

El Galán

El Galán | Tráiler Oficial | Star+

This is an adorable show that I got to know because I was on the subtitling team for it a couple of years ago, and I… think I’m allowed to say that. It centers around an aging telenovela (soap opera) star looking for a comeback in his native Mexico after a couple of decades performing on cruise ships. Back in Mexico, he realizes that the world has changed quite a bit since his popularity as a womanizing and — let’s admit — obliviously sexist leading man. This is a comedy that follows this flawed but loveable ex-star as he tries to find his footing once again in a world with very different sensibilities than the one he found so much success in before.                              

La Casa de las Flores

La Casa de las Flores | Anuncio Fecha de Estreno Temporada 2

This might be my favorite modern Mexican TV show, and was so popular that it resulted in several spin-offs. This dark comedy centers around a wealthy family in Mexico City — as many Mexican shows do, admittedly — whose wealth was built initially by a flower shop. The show begins with a startling mystery and features some of the best comedic acting I’ve seen. My favorite character is one of the older sisters – especially since she speaks very, very slowly, making dialogue easy to follow. If you only have time for one show, make it this one!

Club de Cuervos

Club de Cuervos | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

For an incredibly humorous deep dive into the world of Whitexicans, you can’t get much better than “Club de Cuervos,” which centers around a pair of siblings who inherit a popular soccer club when their father dies suddenly.

The son is a bit of a loose cannon and the very face of unrestrained, slightly psychopathic but fun privilege, while his sister is serious and businesslike, far better equipped to take over the team but much less likable: what male-dominated industry wants a woman who hardly smiles bossing them around? This show is impeccably acted and uproariously funny – and well worth your time.

Ojitos de Huevo

Ojitos de Huevo | Tráiler oficial | Netflix

This show was an interesting mix of Disney-like simplicity in storytelling and some rather adult themes.

It centers around two disabled young men who have graduated from school and decide they want to leave their families in Querétaro to try to “make it” in Mexico City. One is blind, and the other has cerebral palsy. They’re both smart and funny, but they’re also young men who by definition are not in the most intelligent phase of their lives.

When one of the boys decides he wants to be a standup comedian, the pair and their band of misfit friends do everything to make it happen in this heartwarming and very funny one-season series.

Luis Miguel

Luis Miguel La Serie | Trailer Oficial | Netflix

I’ll admit that this is the only show on the list that I have yet to see, a biopic on one of Mexico’s best-loved artists. That said, it’s been highly recommended to me by several people, usually with an introduction like, “It’s surprisingly really good!”

If you don’t know who Luis Miguel is, you surely will soon if you spend very much time in Mexico. He grew up on stage, singing songs that most Mexicans know all the words to, and was the very definition of cool in the ‘80s and ‘90s. One of the cafés I frequent only plays his songs…and no one minds at all.

And apparently, he’s had a life fit for a soap opera, which is dramatized in this biopic series. 

This, of course, is a very short list, and doesn’t include many of the shows that are still watched nationwide on cable TV. But you can put subtitles on these, so they’re a great start!

Got any other Mexican TV shows you’d like to recommend? Feel free to list them for us all in the comments section!

Sarah DeVries is a writer and translator based in Xalapa, Veracruz. She can be reached through her website, sarahedevries.substack.com.

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