Netflix has revolutionised the way we watch all our favourite shows, opening up horizons we never got to experience before now. This is particularly true when it comes to watching shows in languages besides our own. Utilising Netflix to help us with our studies is a great way to expose ourselves to our target language in a natural setting, even if it feels like we’re doing no work at all! This time it’s the turn of German. Here are five shows and films that, if you’re learning German, you simply have to watch.
Everyone seems to be raving about this supernatural thriller, so this seems like a great place to start. This series is set in a small German town, starting out with the disappearance of a 15-year-old. Another child disappears soon after, and as a result the residents of the town start looking into an event that seems to take place every 33 years for answers. Four families are involved in the search for both the children and those answers, which leads to a bigger mystery surrounding the concept of time. Dark is a highly binge worthy show, so if you are watching this to focus on your German you might want to remind yourself of that before you get sucked in!
What A Man
What A Man might just be worthy of the Hollywood treatment. It is a rom-com that follows Alex, a 30-year-old school teacher who gets dumped by his girlfriend and embarks on a journey of self-discovery as a result. This is one to watch if your German is at least intermediate because a lot of the humour comes from wordplay. What A Man is a great way to learn real German nuances and colloquialisms but is best watched with subtitles no matter your level. It might be advisable to keep a notebook nearby for some of the best words and phrases that you’ll want to copy down; you might be too busy laughing though, and need a second watch!
Set in East Berlin during the 1970s, this 90s film looks at what it was like growing up in Sonnenallee; one of the few border crossings between East and West Germany. We follow a group of teenagers indulging in all the best parts of the West like pop music and consumerism, and as we do, get a glimpse at the interactions between regular citizens and border guards, and what life was really like for those on the East side. Sonnenallee manages to mix humour in with the serious nature of politics in Germany at the time, as well as focusing on the lives of teenagers that would be familiar anywhere in any decade. Definitely worth a watch!
Learning German? Check out our free German placement test to see how your level measures up!
Charité was a six-part miniseries that had huge success in Germany. It is set in 1888 and is based on a famous Berlin hospital of the same name. Our protagonist is Ida, a young nurse who is pursuing her dream job and falls in love along the way. For those who like a little medical history along with their romance Charité offers a glimpse at the cures for tuberculosis and diphtheria at the time. Ida shows us what it was like stepping into what was predominantly a man’s world, her determination in becoming a doctor thrown into question when the man she loves wants them to marry. This is a beautifully told story that includes a great amount of historical fact, giving us a glimpse into the medical history of Germany that otherwise we might not get to see.
Tempel makes our final choice of suggestions, though please don’t expect an easy watch! Mark Tempel is a successful boxer who ends up giving up his career to become a caregiver, and unfortunately gets sucked back into the world of his former criminal gang. This isn’t his fault though. A real estate company that is essentially a company of sharks threatens Tempel’s family, and he has to do what he can to protect them. Being drawn back into this violent underworld pushes his moral boundaries and also puts a heavy strain on his marriage. This is an impactful story with great if not harrowing visuals. Be prepared for that before you start to watch.
Netflix is host to some of the very best German media around, so when you are done with this list there are plenty more for you to enjoy. And once you feel like you are ready to take your German skills to the next level, you might want to take 1-on-1 German lessons.
Did you know that here at Listen & Learn, our teachers are all fully-qualified native speaking professionals hired for their experience and their passion for teaching? So when you are ready to seriously improve on your German language skills, place a quick enquiry now, and our friendly and highly knowledgeable customer service people are going to get back to you within one business day.