Top 10 German TV Shows Perfect for Learning German

In recent years, Germany has created some very exciting and interesting television series, from gripping crime dramas to satirical comedies. But did you know you can actually use these TV shows to learn the German language? Here’s a list of the reasons why watching German TV will advance your German skills, as well as the top ten German TV shows you absolutely need to watch if you’re learning German.

Why Should You Watch German TV Shows as a German Learner?

One of the best ways to enhance your language skills is through immersive experiences, and watching TV shows in the target language is an excellent method of doing this from the comfort of your own home. If you’re learning German, diving into a German television series can provide numerous benefits that go beyond traditional study methods. Here’s why you should consider adding German TV shows to your language-learning toolkit. 

Improve Listening Skills

Watching German TV shows improves listening skills by exposing you to authentic spoken German, including colloquialisms, slang, and various accents. This exposure helps you understand the natural flow, intonation, and rhythm of the language, enhancing your ability to follow conversations.

Expand Vocabulary

German TV shows offer a wealth of German vocabulary across various genres, introducing language learners to specialized terminology. For example, crime dramas like “Tatort” teach legal and forensic terms, while historical series like “Babylon Berlin” expose viewers to 1920s vocabulary. 

Enhance Pronunciation

Regular exposure to native speakers is key to improving pronunciation. Watching German TV allows you to mimic characters’ speech, picking up on nuances of pronunciation and intonation. Repetition of lines helps refine your pronunciation and sound more like a native speaker.

Learn Cultural Context

Understanding language and culture enhances comprehension. German TV, such as “Deutschland 83” and “Der Tatortreiniger,” offers insights into German culture, enriching language learning by providing context for cultural nuances and references.

Boost Comprehension with Visual Cues

TV shows offer visual context, aiding comprehension. Actions, expressions, and body language help infer meanings, facilitating retention. For example, observing a character’s reactions aids understanding of tone and intent, even when unfamiliar words are used.

Stay Motivated and Engaged

Traditional foreign language learning can feel tedious, leading to burnout. Watching TV shows offers an enjoyable and engaging alternative to practice German. Being interested in a show will helpsustain motivation, making the learning journey more enjoyable.

Pick Up Idiomatic Expressions

Idiomatic expressions and colloquialisms pose challenges in language learning due to their indirect translations. All German TV series are full of idiomatic language, offering opportunities to learn how to use them in context. 

Improve Grammar in Context

While grammar exercises and textbooks are crucial, observing grammar in real-life contexts is invaluable. German TV shows provide opportunities to see grammatical structures naturally used in conversation, reinforcing understanding of tenses, cases, and sentence structures.

Access to Diverse Accents and Dialects

German has a variety of regional accents and dialects, and TV shows will help expose viewers to them. Understanding these differences, from Bavarian to Saxon dialects, can be challenging yet rewarding. TV shows like “Tatort,” featuring episodes set in different German-speaking regions, offer a valuable opportunity to familiarize oneself with these variations.

Develop Listening Stamina

Watching a German TV series regularly improves listening stamina, crucial for understanding longer and more complex conversations. This endurance is essential for real-life interactions with native speakers and consuming other media like podcasts.

How to Maximize Your Learning Experience

To make the most of watching German TV shows, consider the following tips:

Use Subtitles Wisely

Start with English subtitles, then move onto German subtitles if you need them, and gradually switch to no subtitles as you become more confident. At later stages of learning, avoid using subtitles in your native language, as this can hinder your immersion.

Take Notes

Keep a notebook or the notes app in your phone handy to jot down new words, phrases, and expressions you hear. Review these notes regularly to reinforce your learning.

Rewatch Episodes

Rewatching episodes of a German series can help reinforce vocabulary and improve comprehension. The second time around, try to catch details you may have missed initially.

Discuss with Others

If possible, discuss the shows with fellow learners or native speakers. This can help reinforce what you’ve learned and provide additional insights into the language and culture.

Let’s finally move on to our top 10 recommendations for German television shows for German langauge learners! Are you ready? 

1. Dark

If you’re a fan of mind-bending sci-fi thrillers, “Dark” is a must-watch. This Netflix original series is Germany’s first and has received international praise for its intricate plot and eerie atmosphere. Set in the small German town of Winden, “Dark” revolves around the mysterious disappearance of two children, uncovering a complex web of secrets that spans multiple generations. As you follow the intertwining stories of four estranged families, you’ll be drawn into a narrative that challenges your perception of time and reality. 

2. Tatort

Tatort” is a staple of German television, running since 1970. This iconic German crime series is not just a show; it’s a cultural institution. Each episode features different detectives in various cities across Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, solving crimes that range from murder to political intrigue. What makes “Tatort” unique is its format, allowing local flavors and social issues to be explored in depth. You can dive in at any point, as each episode is a self-contained story. Whether you’re interested in the gritty streets of Berlin or the scenic landscapes of Bavaria, “Tatort” provides a glimpse into the diverse regions and cultures within the German-speaking world.

3. Deutschland 83

Deutschland 83” takes you back to the Cold War era, offering a thrilling mix of espionage and historical drama. The show follows Martin Rauch, a young East German border guard, who the Stasi recruits to infiltrate the West German military. As he navigates the dangerous waters of espionage, Martin struggles with his loyalty to his country and the moral complexities of his mission. The series is praised for its accurate depiction of 1980s Germany, complete with a nostalgic soundtrack and meticulous attention to period detail. If you enjoy spy thrillers with a strong historical context, “Deutschland 83” is a great choice.

4. How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast)

For a more contemporary and lighter take, “How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast)” is an engaging dramedy that will keep you hooked from start to finish. Inspired by true events, the series follows high school student Moritz Zimmermann, who starts an online drug business to win back his ex-girlfriend. What begins as a desperate attempt to impress soon spirals out of control as Moritz and his friends navigate the dangerous world of illegal trade. The show’s clever writing and relatable characters make it a standout in the realm of teen dramas.

5. Der Tatortreiniger

Der Tatortreiniger” (The Crime Scene Cleaner) is a German TV series that mixes dark humor with touching moments, making it a standout show. The comedy series centers around Heiko “Schotty” Schotte, a crime scene cleaner who encounters various eccentric characters and unusual situations in his line of work. Each episode focuses on Schotty’s interactions with the people he meets, which range from funny to touching. The show’s minimalist setup and clever dialogue allow for character-driven storytelling that is both entertaining and thought-provoking.

6. Dogs of Berlin

Dogs of Berlin” is a gritty crime drama that dives into Berlin’s criminal world. When a famous Turkish-German soccer player is murdered, two detectives—one with neo-Nazi ties and the other of Turkish descent—are forced to work together to solve the case. The series explores themes of corruption, racism, and moral ambiguity, offering a raw look at contemporary German society. If you’re drawn to intense, character-driven crime stories, “Dogs of Berlin” is a must-watch.

7. Babylon Berlin

Step back into the roaring twenties with “Babylon Berlin,” a period drama set during the Weimar Republic of German history. The series follows Gereon Rath, a World War I veteran turned police inspector, as he investigates a series of crimes in a rapidly changing Berlin. “Babylon Berlin” is renowned for its stunning production design, capturing the decadence and turmoil of the era with breathtaking detail. The show mixes historical events with fictional intrigue, creating a rich story of political conspiracy, crime, and social turmoil. 

8. Heute Show

For a dose of satire and current events, “Heute Show” is Germany’s version of “The Daily Show.” Hosted by Oliver Welke, this late-night comedy show offers a humorous take on the week’s news, politics, and social issues.”Heute Show” holds a mirror up to German society, often poking fun at politicians, media, and cultural trends. The show’s blend of satire and serious critique has made it a favorite among viewers who appreciate its clever and often biting humor. If you enjoy political satire with German flavor, “Heute Show” is a perfect choice.

9. Skylines

Skylines” takes you into the heart of Frankfurt’s hip-hop scene, offering a gritty portrayal of the music industry’s dark side. The series follows Jinn, a talented producer who gets his big break with Skyline Records, only to find himself involved in the criminal underworld. As Jinn navigates his rise to fame, he must deal with rival gangs, corrupt businessmen, and his own moral dilemmas. “Skylines” combines music with a tense narrative, exploring themes of ambition, loyalty, and the price of success. 

10. Beat

Another gripping crime drama, “Beat” centers on Berlin’s vibrant nightlife and the shadows that walk within it. The series centers on Robert Schlag, known as “Beat,” a club promoter who becomes an undercover informant for the police to infiltrate a powerful criminal organization. As Beat dives deeper into the criminal world, he must confront his own demons and the corrupting influence of power. The show’s setting and complex characters offer a dark, immersive experience that captures the essence of Berlin’s club culture. If you’re fascinated by stories of undercover operations and moral conflict, “Beat” will keep you on the edge of your seat.

In Conclusion

German television has evolved to offer a diverse range of high-quality shows that cater to all tastes. Any of these shows is sure to help you take your German to the next level, whether you’re in the mood for a mind-bending thriller, a historical epic, or a satirical comedy.

These ten shows provide a glimpse into the rich storytelling and creative talent emerging from Germany as well as provide you with ample vocabulary and culture learning. So grab some popcorn, settle in, and start watching – your journey to mastering German just got a lot more entertaining.

Similar Posts