In this article, we’ve put together a list of the best TV shows to learn German and help you discover a little more about their culture.
The Best TV Shows to Learn German
This series is the German equivalent to The Office. Everyone in Germany loves the series, and it’s and already into its 5th season.
Stromberg is a manager of an insurance company called “Capitol Versicherung AG”. The plot revolves around life in the office, and that’s the basis of the series. Stromberg is also central to the series’ plot, as he’s the ridiculous and immature boss, just like in the American and British versions of the series.
The level of German is advanced at times, and beginners might find some phrases difficult to grapple with. However, the fact that the situations can be repetitive and that there is no enormous change between seasons makes it easy for you to keep up with the context.
Sendung mit der Maus
Sendung mit der Maus is a famous German children’s cartoon which has existed since 1971. The series uses cartoons to educate children on various subjects. If you think you’ve lost your inner child and feel that cartoons aren’t your thing anymore, let me assure you that everyone loves this series in Germany – yes, adults too!
Another series from the 80s, Löwenzahn, features a charismatic main character who explains the world around us in 30-minute episodes, some more complex than others. The show has reached cult status in Germany and isn’t too hard to understand for beginners.
This German TV show is the equivalent to“Plus belle la vie,” a French series we covered in another article. The show follows the lives and problems of the main characters, who all live on Lindenstraße. The language, as well as the plot, are easy to follow. You can also watch episodes with German subtitles for free online!
Türkish für Anfangers
Literally “Turkish for Beginners,” Türkish für Anfangers is a drama-comedy about the life of Lena, a woman who lives in a Turkish-German family. The series covers the difference between the two cultures, and how they get on together, throughout 3 seasons and 52 episodes. This is a great series to learn cosmopolitan, modern German.
Bonus: Der Mann ohne Namen
Technically it’s not a TV series, but it is a series! MosaSeries: Der Mann ohne Namen is a gripping audio series designed specifically with language learners in mind. Follow the saga of a man who wakes up in a hospital with amnesia… and learn German vocab, grammar, pronunciation, and conjugation while you’re at it!
What about you? Do you know any other series you think would fit here? If so, tell us about them in the comments! And if you’re having trouble following along with these shows because you don’t know enough grammar, take a look at our German grammar guide.
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German comedy is typically under appreciated, so I’d recommend ‘Der Tatortreiniger’ and ‘Mord mit Aussicht’ (I believe these belong to a genre called Dorfkrimis or Dorf Krimis). You’ll notice that Bjarne Mädel, from Stromberg, is in both of these shows (he’s very entertaining).
Benjamin Blümchen is a classic series for children that is sometimes overlooked and can be found in audio-books (Hörspiele) or with video (check youtube for full episodes). My favorite Hörspiel episode is ‘Benjamin Blümchen – Auf dem Mond’. Very entertaining.
For anyone interested in more standard adult material, ‘Der Letzte Bulle’ is a funny cop drama that ran for 5 seasons so there is a lot of material to work with (episodes are 40+ minutes). Interesting side note; the wikipedia page for this show mentions 3 different remakes (Estonian, Japanese and American).
Finally, there is the phenomenon called Tatort. It’s an interesting piece of German television history / culture and the modern episodes can be very good. The series has been running for ages (900+ episodes; 90 minutes per episode) and doesn’t revolve around any one character, city or police department so you can get quality exposure to different accents (dialekts?) and scenery. The very recent episodes starring Til Schweiger are my favorites.
Regarding the series’ listed in this blog post; Türkisch für Anfänger is a fun show, but can get a bit frustrating with some of the relationship drama and the character Ulf just about ruins Stromberg, which is otherwise very fun, by being horribly obnoxious (I have to skip past most scenes where Ulf plays a major role).
Sorry if I wrote too much, but German is the language I’ve been learning for a while and just one of my favorite languages in general.
Thank you very much Jorel for sharing these TV shows!