by Sophie Jones

Find out which show best suits your needs using the following factors: accents, difficulty level, and subject matter.


The American sitcom Friends is one of the most popular sitcoms ever. Who doesn’t remember this show? We’re happy to have our New York Friends back on Netflix after so many years. Those who enjoyed the show will be able to recall the hilarious stories of Chandler, Phoebe, Monica, Rachel, Ross, and Joey, as well as improve their English language skills. These series are recommended for the simplicity of their plots and the pace of the dialogue.

By doing this, you can become accustomed to everyday speech and sentence constructions that are commonly used in English-speaking areas. Despite the show’s humour, idioms used, and even some made-up terms like Unagi and Bamboozle, it’s very entertaining and you can still follow the story.

The Big Bang Theory

Leonard, Sheldon, Raj, and Howard, four socially awkward scientists from California, are joined by their neighbour Penny. This is how the 12 seasons of geeky Heaven comedy begin. You can learn informal spoken English, everyday expressions, and American cultural references from these short and funny episodes. These episodes can be rewatched many times.

Most of the episodes, especially in the early seasons, are about physics and the jokes are often also science-related, so get ready to learn some advanced vocabulary. Some episodes also include language from engineering and science. Due to the show’s multicultural characters, you will also hear different English accents.

The Crown

In another Netflix hit show based on the life of Queen Elizabeth II, The Crown follows the life of Royalty. Set six years before Elizabeth became queen, the show starts in 1947. First, they show Elizabeth’s last years as a princess followed by her first year as a queen. The series was announced to run for six years and have ten sequels. Anyone interested in learning English in a standard British accent will enjoy this show.

The show portrays Britain’s history in a more formal setting and uses less common language, but it is still a terrific way to learn more about the British monarchy.

Grey’s Anatomy

This show is a good choice for medical language students. Throughout the show’s 17 seasons and approximately 45-minute episodes, we are provided with a glimpse of the stressful lives of doctors attempting to achieve success as medical professionals. There are five trainee surgeons at Grace Hospital in Seattle when the story begins, with a special focus on Dr. Meredith Grey.

A wide range of intricate plots, including medical cases of increasing strangeness as well as personal relationships like superficial friendships in the workplace and passionate relationships, are presented to viewers, all seasoned with dramatic storytelling. With a unique mix of romance and medical plots, the show offers an abundance of medical terminology, as well as social expressions. Plus, if you want to work on expanding your English language vocabulary for med school, this series should definitely be on your watchlist.


Sherlock Holmes is a modern adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective stories. The show can be understood without knowing the original but can change your perspective. This British crime show consists of four seasons and episodes of about 90 minutes each. Detective Holmes, a “consulting detective,” assists the Metropolitan Police Service, primarily Chief Inspector Greg Lestrade in solving various crimes in the series. His roommate John Watson, who recently returned from Afghanistan, assists him.

Holmes’ conflict with his arch-enemy Jim Moriarty is constant throughout the series, even though it depicts a variety of criminals. Sherlock is a great pick for people who would like to practice learning British English while enjoying a good detective story as well. However, while many Sherlock Holmes adaptations exist, this one takes the cake for its impressive performances by Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. If you like classic detective stories with a modern twist, this is for you.

Is It Possible to Learn a Language This Way?

Yes. However, it will take time, dedication and practise – unless you’re a very young kid and still in your “critical period” language learning phase. It’s helpful to get a basic understanding of the plot and key characters of any foreign language show before diving into it. Reading up on the show and knowing what you’re looking for can help you follow along in another language.

Make sure to switch the subtitles on, as they can be quite helpful. Whenever you finish watching a show in the language you’re learning, try watching it again without subtitles. As you know what is going to happen the next time, you can concentrate on picking up new words, phrases, and speech patterns you were not aware of the first time.


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