The Best German-Language TV Shows for Language Learning on Netflix
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m attempting to learn a new language — German. I use apps, grammar books, podcasts, tutoring, and my personal favourite, German-language TV shows.
Watching TV in your target language is genius because you get to listen to real speech in real time — not the slowed down, stilted speech you hear on your German for Beginners podcast or on Duolingo. It’s great for your comprehension, and you get to become a little immersed for a few minutes a day in German culture and history. I often find it a nice change of pace from trying to memorise vocabulary or grammar rules, and it’s just as effective. Plus, guilt-free TV binging. Enough said.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I can find it a little challenging at times to navigate the Netflix foreign language offerings. They don’t keep them all handily in one place. That’s where this list comes in. I will update this as new shows are added or old ones removed, so please check back occasionally when you’re in need of a new German TV fix!
Babylon Berlin is my personal favourite — and a lot of other people agree with me. And I do mean a lot. It has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and is the most expensive German-language TV show ever created. It is also the most-watched, and has been a huge hit for Netflix which co-produced it.
Babylon Berlin defies categorization. It is part detective show, part film-noir, part thriller. Based on the novels by Volker Kutscher, it follows police detective and WW1 veteran Gereon Rath as he navigates the sparkling, fast-paced, dangerous world of 1920s Berlin along with side-kick and aspiring police detective Charlotte Ritter.
Babylon Berlin is also a window into an era of German history many people know nothing about. The inter-year wars of the Weimar Republic saw hardship and suffering after the penalties imposed at the Treaty of Versailles at the end of WW1. They also saw Berlin become the thriving cultural capital of the world. The show captures an element of this era brilliantly, and it’s well worth watching just for that.