16 Spanish-Language TV Shows on Netflix (February 2018)

Getting hooked on a binge-worthy Spanish-language TV show is a great way to practice vocabulary and listening skills. You also learn about other cultures and gain exposure to different accents and slang. If you are an intermediate or advanced learner, I recommend watching with Spanish subtitles as studies have shown it enhances language learning. I also note down any interesting new vocabulary to add to my Anki flashcards later.

Here are 16 recommended Spanish-language TV series streaming on US Netflix as of February 21, 2018. Some are personal favorites; others are reader recommendations I haven’t had the chance to watch yet. The Netflix originals will stick around, but watch the rest while you can, because content disappears as licensing agreements expire.

1. La Casa de Papel (Money Heist)

La Casa de Papel trailer

Addictive, entertaining heist thriller from Spain. A clever take on the bank heist formula reminiscent of Reservoir Dogs. A crowd-pleaser with lots of twists and turns to keep you guessing with some suspension of disbelief required. Season 2 to follow.

Accent: European Spanish

2. Ingobernable

Kate del Castillo kicks butt in this binge-worthy suspenseful thriller. Lots of Mexican slang, especially the chilanguismos spoken in Mexico City, and great location shots of the capital. Interestingly, del Castillo’s parts had to be filmed in San Diego, because the actress risked arrest in her home country. She is wanted by authorities for having met with drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán while he was on the run in 2015. Real life meets narconovela!

Accent: Mexican

3. Tiempos de guerra (Morocco: Love in Times of War)

Morocco: Love in Times of War (Tiempos de guerra) - Netflix

Historical drama from the producers of Gran Hotel, Velvet, and Cable Girls, with some of the same cast. Follows the challenges confronting a group of high-society women from Madrid who volunteer as nurses in Melilla, Morocco, during the Rif War of the 1920s. Ridiculously romantic and predictable, but still manages to be a lot of fun.

Accent: European Spanish

4. El Chapo

To be honest, I find the real-life cartel kingpin El Chapo repugnant and didn’t want to watch anything glorifying his sociopathic exploits. But I started this gripping crime series on my Spanish teacher’s recommendation and me enganchó de volada  I was hooked straight away. Two seasons of this Netflix-Univision co-production now on Netflix, with a third to follow in 2018.

Accents: Mexican, Colombian

5. Cuatro Estaciones en La Habana

Cuatro Estaciones en La Habana - NetflixWonderfully written and acted adaptation of a legendary noir detective series. Fall in love with the melodic Cuban accent and the stunning city of Havana in this riveting four-part crime thriller.

Accent: Cuban

6. Gran Hotel

This fan favorite is back on Netflix Instant by popular demand. Juicy Spanish period soap with plenty of romance, murder, blackmail, betrayal, and comedy. A Spanish Downton Abbey meets Hercule Poirot. The plot twists are definitely preposterous but this highly addictive show never fails to entertain.

Accent: European Spanish

7. El Internado

Suspenseful mystery thriller set at a remote boarding school in Spain that blends supernatural elements, drama, and romance. A little slow-moving at times, but slyly addictive. Considered one of the best Spanish TV series ever made. If you enjoyed Lost and Alias, check this one out.

Accent: European Spanish

8. Juana InésJuana Inés trailer

If you are seeking a meticulously researched PBS-style documentary about the life of this extraordinary scholar, philosopher, and poet, this isn’t it. However, if you are in the mood for an entertaining melodrama “inspired by actual events” featuring forbidden lesbian love, sneering villains, and bad Spanish accents, then this could be just the ticket. And despite the drama’s soapiness, Sor Juana’s incredible story still inspires and fascinates.

Accents: Mexican, bad European Spanish

9. Mar de Plástico

Murder melodrama set in southern Spain. Suffers from plot holes and poor acting, but offers fascinating insights into contemporary Spanish culture such as the ethnic tension between the locals and the town’s communities of African immigrant workers, gypsies, and Russians. The arid Andalusian landscapes are depicted with wonderful cinematography.

Accent: European Spanish

10. El Marginal

Gritty, suspenseful drama set in an Argentinian prison. Fascinating introduction to Lunfardo, the unique slang native to Buenos Aires. Fortunately, Spanish subtitles are in standard Spanish to help you translate.

Accent: Argentinian

11. La Reina del Sur

Kate del Castillo kicks butt again in this insanely popular telenovela. Del Castillo plays a young Mexican woman who becomes the most powerful drug trafficker in southern Spain. Gorgeous locations in Morocco, Mexico, Spain, and Colombia. This narconovela probably glamorizes the drug trade, but I loved the powerful female characters.

Great for Spanish practice due to the wide diversity of accents provided by an international cast. Based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Spanish author Arturo Pérez-Reverte.

Accents: Mexican, Colombian, European Spanish, and even Moroccan

12. El Señor de los Cielos

I’m slightly embarrassed to admit my affinity for this narconovela, but if you can get past the violence and machismo it’s a suspenseful and highly addictive show that will keep you watching back-to-back episodes (and there are a lot of them, in traditional telenovela style). Great casting and dialogue in Season 1; however, in my opinion Season 2 went downhill fast.

Accents: Mexican, Colombian

13. Velvet

Recommended by many of my readers. A steamy love story set in the glamorous fashion world of 1950s Madrid.

Accent: European Spanish

14. Tiempo Entre Costuras

Charming spy drama set during the Spanish Civil War. The pace is a little slow but it’s worth a watch just for the gorgeous locations in Spain, Morocco, and Portugal. I plan to read the María Dueñas novel it’s based on of the same name during my next trip to Spain.

Accent: European Spanish

15. The Day I Met El Chapo

In this fascinating docuseries, Mexican actress Kate del Castillo presents her side of the now-infamous meeting between notorious drug trafficker El Chapo, Sean Penn, and herself. I’ve always admired del Castillo for her strong convictions and badass female roles, but here her ambition and naïveté get her into deep trouble. Sean Penn outs himself as a total slimebag, and Kate becomes a convenient scapegoat for the corrupt Mexican government.

Interesting insights into Mexican culture (the influence of Televisa and telenovelas, Mexicans’ deep distrust of their own government) and lots of colloquial Mexican Spanish.

Accent: Mexican

16. Narcos

OK, Narcos is partially in English, but it’s still a compulsive watch and a fun way to practice Spanish from the comfort of your couch.

Accents: Colombian, Mexican (Note: Some of the Colombian accents are notoriously fake as the cast was drawn from across Latin America. Brazilian actor Warner Moura’s portrayal of Escobar was particularly ridiculed.)

More Suggestions

More shows to check out on Netflix:

  • Club de Cuervos – People love this Mexican comedy-drama, but I just couldn’t get into it. You should check it out though. I probably should give it another try since I’ve been told you have to get through the first few episodes to get hooked.
  • Las Chicas del Cable (Cable Girls) – Popular Madrid-based drama. Definitely plan to watch this before my next trip to Spain in 2018.
  • La Niña – Highly acclaimed series about the challenges faced by a former Colombian guerrilla fighter kidnapped as a child as she tries to reintegrate into society.
  • La Esclava Blanca – Excellent Colombian telenovela that tells the story of Victoria, a white girl saved and raised by slaves in the Colombian Caribbean who later returns to fight for the freedom of her adopted family.
  • Bala Loca – Chilean political thriller that gets good reviews.
  • Yago – Addictive and operatic Mexican remake of a hit Turkish crime drama.
Also check out: Best Spanish Podcasts
Have feedback on these shows or more Netflix recommendations? Please share your suggestions in the comments.

All images © Netflix

22 Comments on “16 Spanish-Language TV Shows on Netflix (February 2018)

  1. Super fun post to read – thanks! Makes me want to learn Spanish… 😉

    • Thanks, Rainier! I’ve found Spanish to be really easy and rewarding, as there are so many opportunities to practice it online and in my travels. With your flair for languages I’m sure you’d pick it up quickly. 😉

  2. Thanks for this great summary. The only one of these I’ve seen is Tiempo Entre Costuras, which I loved. Another series that I loved was Las chicas del cable. I watched El guardián invisible the other night, which includes some Basque as well as Spanish. I haven’t published a review of the last one yet, but it’s coming.

    • Hi Virginia, it’s great to hear from you! I definitely have Las Chicas del Cable on my list… looks great. Have you seen Velvet? I have that one on my list too. Just added El Guardián Invisible to watch before my upcoming trip to Spain, thanks! Basque is so fascinating.

  3. Another great one that I couldn’t stop watching was Velvet. Typical telenovela but set in the 1950s fashion world.

    • Thanks for the recommendation, Julie! I definitely have Velvet in my queue to watch before my next visit to Spain. I may just add it to this list before then since several other people have also recommended it. 🙂

    • Hi Maria, La Casa de Papel is new to Netflix and I haven’t had the chance to check it out yet, but I definitely will soon. Thanks for the recommendation!

  4. To those don’t mind violence and vulgar words, I suggest to watch Narcos which season 1&2 showing about pablo escobar and season 3 showing about cali cartel.

  5. I just finished watching el chapo season 1 & 2, season 1 quite boring but season 2 more of action packed war amongst cartel dealers with el chapo leads the war mostly. most of el chapo’s advantage came from government liason don sol that support him internally especially the army of entire season 2. Worth to watch and better than season 1 for sure!

  6. Mar de Plastico (2016, 2017; crime drama; murder mystery; European Spanish)

    • Hi Charles, thanks for the suggestion! I watched a couple of eps of Mar de Plástico and enjoyed it, but hadn’t gotten back to it yet… I was planning to do so before my next visit to Spain. I should add it to the list!

      • Hi Ingrid, you’re welcome. I also liked “Estocolmo”; it’s another Argentinian crime thriller set in the more swanky but seedier news- and boardrooms of Buenos Aires. Another in the same genre is “La Bala Loca” set in Santiago, Chile. Enjoy!

        • Gracias, Charles, I’ll check those out, especially La Bala Loca… we don’t have any other Chilean series in the list right now!

  7. My favorites are El internado, el tiempo entre costuras and velver, of course El gran hotel was awesome too. I need to watch the other ones

    • Agree, and thank you for reminding me El Gran Hotel is back! I need to add it.

  8. Oh my gosh, “Club de cuervos” is hilarious! I love it. Give it another go.

    • Thanks for the encouragement! So many people love it that now I feel like I have to give it another try. 😉

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