TV Series for Learning English

Beyond comedic sitcoms, there are more dramatic TV shows that people have loved. Some shows are major productions, much like a film. With series, the story can develop on a deeper, more nuanced level since it’s over a longer period of time.


[United States– 2004/2010 – 6 seasons – Adventure, Science-Fiction] Following a plane accident, a group of survivors found themselves on an apparently remote, lifeless Pacific island. While waiting for help, they must learn how to survive on the island and with each other. But the isolated area also contains many mysteries… Lost is a very captivating series and was put together very well. The action unfolds on two levels: in the present, you see the mysteries of the island; in flashbacks, you see the past of one of the characters. What’s amazing is that this show manages to pull you in and keep you interested, with situations that build upon each other in interesting ways. I’ve watched 3 or 4 episodes at a time, only stopping because of not being able to stay up any longer.

Language Concerns

In Lost, you hear a wide range of accents, which helps train your ear. You can really hear the differences in the characters’ English, whether they are young, old, American, British, Australian, or Scottish. The vocabulary is varied and covers many areas since each character has his or her own unique way of talking.

Prison Break

[United States – 2005/2009- 4 seasons – Action, Thriller] Lincoln Burrows is waiting on Death Row in Fox River penitentiary after having been found guilty of murdering the U.S. Vice President’s brother. But Michael Scofield thinks his brother Lincoln is a scapegoat, and being blamed. He devises a plan to not only get incarcerated in the same jail as his brother, but to also escape together. The young protagonist’s knack for architecture allows him to craft a brilliant plan, which is one of the most fascinating things about the show. The political angle and major suspense also make it a good watch.

Language Matters

After having watched all 4 seasons, I’ve mastered vocabulary dealing with criminal behavior, incarcerated life, and engineering. Since the plot takes place in an American prison, there’s plenty of slang and a good amount of strong language.

Breaking Bad

[United States – 2008/2013 – 5 seasons – Drama] An honest Chemistry professor (Walter White, 50 years old) is afflicted with cancer, and to take care of his pregnant wife, and his handicapped son, he begins making drugs with one of his former students.

This series is one of the best. It’s got suspense, beautiful visuals, and great acting. It’s my favorite series (Sam).

Language Matters

A little like Prison Break, the vocabulary you learn with Breaking Bad is criminal and drug talk. Jesse Pinkman uses a lot of slang, but Walter White, the teacher, talks rather normally.

Grey’s Anatomy

[United States – 2005 – 7+ seasons – Medical Drama] The Grey of the title refers to Meredith, a surgeon in residence at the make-believe Seattle Hospital. The series alternatives between the stories of patients and those of the doctors. Slowly but surely, we learn about each person that works there and the relationship they have with each other. Grey’s Anatomy episodes are well written. Each case involves a mix of themes including friendship, love, jealousy, and life.

Language Matters

Obviously in a series like this one, you hear a lot of medical and scientific terminology. Even native speakers may not understand much of this jargon. Besides the specialized vocabulary, you do get to hear many idiomatic expressions (common phrases that don’t translate easily into other languages).


[United States – 2007- still on air – 6+ seasons – Comedy] Californication tells the existential ups and downs in the life of Hank Moody, a writer from New York who is working on his nihilistic book God Hates Us All. Forced to move to Los Angeles, which he hates, the protagonist is torn between his attempts to salvage his career and his relationship with his ex (whom he still loves, and with whom he has a child). The show is funny, with David Duchovny playing the main character. Between sexual adventures, alcohol and writing, Californication speaks on hedonism and transgressive philosophy in a funny way, with the media industry of California in the background.

Language Matters

Curse words, slang, and strongly suggestive language are the main ingredients of this series. You’ll hear familiar, crude, and “very real”English, with word plays and much humor.

Difficulty Understanding ?

If you have trouble understanding shows in English, don’t get discouraged! You may just be lacking vocabulary and oral comprehension practice. You just need to learn more vocabulary, and the best way to do that is to use our spaced-repetition method. You can get started by downloading our MosaLingua application to learn English.


I hope you have been inspired by one of these shows that Luca and myself have used to learn English. There are many others, of course. Don’t hesitate to add in the comments section below your favorite shows to watch for learning!