Learn English with Netflix: 10 Series We Love

Brenda de Jong-Pauley

Amsterdam, 29 December 2020

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Learn English with Netflix (and popcorn) – 10 Series We Love

Everyone loves watching movies and series. and in these long days of lockdown, entertainment is a lifeline – an escape from the boredom of being at home almost 24/7. Fortunately, many of us have Netflix, which makes it easy to escape with a film.

But sometimes it’s hard to find the right thing to watch, especially if you are looking for something in your second language, English. That’s why we have created a recommendation list of 10 “Netflix Picks.” These are quality series that we think you will enjoy. Plus these series make very entertaining English lessons, right? They make it easy to study every day.

Now, pop the corn, grab a glass of wine, and “learn English with Netflix.”

1. The Queen’s Gambit

A smart, intense and unique story following a young chess prodigy’s rise from an orphanage to the world stage. But her genius comes with a cost. A riveting adaptation of Walter Tevis’ groundbreaking novel opened on Netflix in October 2020. The acclaimed series stars Anya Taylor-Joy as a girl in a man’s world.

2. The Crown

A beautiful, elegant series that lets you go royal and get behind the scenes with the British royal family. You say you want to speak posh English? Then this is the series for you, and there are already 4 seasons! The story opens when Britain was recovering from war and the empire was in decline. A young woman (Elizabeth) takes the throne as a matter of duty, not desire. Prepare for a royal world full of intrigue and revelations in The Crown.

3. White Lines

If you are longing for a vacation in Ibiza, this is the next best thing. In this thrilling,  fast-paced series from the creator of Money Heist, the body of a legendary Manchester DJ is discovered twenty years after his mysterious disappearance from Ibiza. When his sister returns to the beautiful Spanish island to find out what happened, her investigation leads her through a thrilling world of dance clubs, lies and cover-ups, forcing her to confront the darker sides of her own character in a place where people live life on the edge.

4. Breaking Bad

This top notch binge-worthy series is an “oldy but a goody,” from 2010. Set in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Breaking Bad follows Walter White, a meek high school chemistry teacher who transforms into a ruthless player in the local methamphetamine drug trade, driven by a desire to provide for his family after being diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.

5. Better Call Saul

A “dramedy” – a story with elements of both humor and drama – this quirky series follows the transformation of James “Jimmy” McGill (Bob Odenkirk), a former con artist who is trying to become a respectable lawyer, into the personality of the flamboyant criminal lawyer Saul Goodman (a play on the phrase “it’s all good, man!”). Jimmy has a good heart, but he is always creating trouble for himself and his girlfriend, also a lawyer. Set in New Mexico.

6. Grace and Frankie

A light and quirky comedy series from the co-creator of Friends, Netflix original comedy Grace and Frankie stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as two mature women who form an unlikely bond after their husbands suddenly reveal they are gay and leave them for each other.

7. Ozark

A dark family drama about a city family in the deep woods of the Ozarks (Missouri, USA). The Byrdes, husband and wife Marty (Jason Bateman) and Wendy (Laura Linney), their teenage kids Charlotte (Sofia Hublitz) and Jonah (Skylar Gaertner) — are for all intents and purposes an ordinary family. They are totally ordinary except for Marty’s job… the top money launderer for the second largest drug cartel in Mexico.

8. Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich

This sex crime doc series is dark and compelling. The four-part documentary features interviews with several of Epstein’s survivors including Virginia Giuffre and Maria Farmer, along with former staff members and former police chief Michael Reiter, a key individual from the first criminal case against Epstein.

9. Trump an American Dream

I always feel that watching Trump is like watching a car crash in slow motion. You know someone is going to get hurt, but you cannot look away. If you read the book, “Too Much and Never Enough” by Trump’s cousin, psychologist Mary Trump, this will fill in some of the visuals. Trump: An American Dream is a four-part British television documentary series, exploring the journey of Donald Trump through five decades, his public persona and career path leading up to his presidential run.

10. Suits

Suits is set at a fictional New York City law firm and follows talented college dropout Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), who starts working as a law associate for Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) despite never having attended law school. The show focuses on Harvey and Mike closing cases, while maintaining Mike’s secret. This show is famous for featuring Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex and the wife of Prince Harry of Sussex. She is an actor by profession and a celebrity philanthropist.

A note about Suits– Several of us worked together on this list, but our colleague Rudmer Veenstra insisted on Suits as the last of our 10 recommended series. He says he watched Suits to improve his English level, commenting that a lot of the English in the series is quite hard, and that made it a perfect lesson for him.

A note about subtitles: If your level is high, you can turn subtitles on or off. But I would suggest that if you can leave them on but only look when you need them, that is ideal. And use the pause and “back” function when you miss something. In that case, watch, listen and read the subtitle and then try to repeat the line yourself. Use Google translate if and when you need it.

Cut! That’s a wrap. (That’s movie talk for, “we’re finished.”)

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We hope you enjoyed our “Learn English with Netflix” article. Of course there are many more great series, we have only just “scratched the surface” (=made a beginning). In 2021 we expect to write more “Learn English with Netflix” posts, so please “stay tuned” (=keep paying attention).

Happy holidays, good health and good viewing to you, all year round!

Brenda and the English Center team, Amsterdam December 2020

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