If 2022 is the year that you’ve decided you’re finally going to get around to learning German - whether that’s for work, travel, or just for fun - then stick around. We’re going to round up the very best German TV shows on Netflix to learn the language with.
Learning a new language by watching subtitled TV is one of the most effective - and entertaining - ways to gain fluency.
You may be wondering if you read that right, but research has consistently shown that immersive learning techniques, such as regularly watching TV shows in the target language, are one of the quickest ways to become proficient.
Plus, it’s hard not to maintain motivation when ‘learning’ involves bingeing on a fabulous box-set!
Here at the language learning platform Lingopie, we’re committed to providing our members with a comprehensive and ever-changing library of subtitled films and TV shows in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Korean, Japanese, and Russian to make your learning journey a breeze.
Best German Shows on Netflix to Learn German
Be warned: this dark thriller from 2018 is highly addictive!
The story begins when a murder victim is discovered to have had her scent glands removed, and the hunt begins for the killer, leading the detective working the case to a group of friends with whom the victim attended boarding school.
The screenplay, acting, and direction are exquisite throughout, and you’ll soon forget that you’re picking up a new language at all as you become immersed in this clever, tense drama.
Enduringly popular with both audiences and critics alike, Perfume is one of the very best shows to learn German on Netflix. Enjoy!
Think a fusion of Donnie Darko and Stranger Things, and you’ll be on the right lines with this fantastically entertaining series; expect twists and unexpected plot turns throughout.
There are three series of this science fiction thriller to savor that ran from 2017 to 2020. The show follows the characters who reside in a small German town who are seeking to find out the truth behind the recent disappearance of a child.
Spoiler alert: time travel features…which is enough to make this one of the most enjoyable Netflix shows to learn German with!
The series has been widely critically acclaimed, picking up a number of nominations and wins at major TV award ceremonies.
The first series of Freud aired in 2020 and was nominated for two Romy awards; the show reimagines the life of a young Sigmund Freud and begins in Vienna with a fictional crime case that segues into the uncovering of a large-scale conspiracy.
As a way of learning German, Freud is a great pick: it’ll keep you both guessing and on the edge of your seat from the first scene to the finale and is a fascinating exploration of Freudian psychoanalytical theory, too.
Set in 9AD, this wildly popular German historical drama TV series focuses on the occupation of Magna Germania by the Ancient Romans; the native Germanic peoples are resisting the presence of the Romans, but efforts to dispel the invaders are hampered by tribal infighting.
One particular Roman officer has conflicted allegiances, and the story follows the fallout of these mixed loyalties.
Fun fact? While the dialogue spoken by the tribespeople is in German, the Romans in the show speak entirely in classical Latin: as a historical drama, Barbarians is unique in this.
Ok, so this one’s a film: but once you’ve started to learn German with Netflix shows and are ready to move on to a longer feature, you may well find yourself looking for a cracking German movie, and Kidnapping Stella fits the bill perfectly.
This film is a remake of ‘The Disappearance of Alice Creed’ and focuses on a young woman who is kidnapped and held for ransom but is able to use her wits and limited resources to foil her captors.
Shot on location in Munich and at the University of Freiburg, Biohackers explores issues around gene modification technology, its potential consequences, and the ethics surrounding it.
This is a binge-worthy sci-fi treat that follows a group of characters who find themselves caught up in a world of illegal genetic experimentation.
This series moves at breakneck speed and is both thought-provoking and relevant in the current climate of scientific advances. If there’s a more entertaining way to learn German, I don’t know what it is.
Dogs of Berlin
The darker side of Berlin is the focus of Dogs of Berlin; the series follows two members of the police force who, following the murder of a Turkish-German soccer star, must delve into the city’s underbelly to try to solve the crime.
First aired in 2018, this show takes in the Berlin mafia clans and various other members of Berlin’s shadow-side, as it explores the simmering tensions in the city between Germans and the minority Turkish community.
Set on Germany’s beautiful north coast, Holiday Secrets deals with some serious subjects, including suicide, alcoholism, dementia, and mental illness; it may not be light viewing, but this careful, thoughtful exploration of nostalgia, family ties, secrets, and how we view the past makes for a series that’s well worth a watch.
And now for something a bit lighter: Rising High is a comedy thriller that follows a group of grifters who are planning to execute a get-rich-quick scheme.
The crew pull off a property scam that involves them purchasing derelict flats and selling them to customers within the ten-day grace period. But the law catches up with them in the end…
What makes this series even more remarkable is that it’s based on a true story!
Released in 2020 and set in Brooklyn, USA, and Germany, Unorthodox received eight Emmy award nominations and won at the German Television Awards in the categories of Best Production and Costume Design.
This series follows a young woman who flees from a Hasidic Jewish community and a loveless marriage in Brooklyn to begin a new life in Berlin.
However, once her husband discovers that his absent wife is pregnant, he crosses the ocean, determined to bring her home, whether she wants this or not.
How Does Learning German With TV Work?
Learning German by watching a host of fantastic TV shows and movies is a great way to become fluent, whether used as a stand-alone method or in conjunction with online or in-person study.
So - why is learning a language by watching TV effective?
- It allows the viewer to be immersed in the language on a regular basis;
- Viewers can become familiar with accents, pronunciation, and dialect;
- It’s a great way to pick up new vocab, phrases, and slang;
- It’s been proven to build confidence in speaking and listening to the language;
- Learning this way is convenient and can be easily fit into the viewer’s lifestyle and commitments;
- Viewers have the opportunity to encounter the German culture, traditions, and politics;
- It’s fun, meaning that staying motivated with learning is not a problem.
What Are the Benefits of Learning German?
There are many benefits of learning a second language. Being bilingual will look great on your resume and will open up several brand new career options for you, such as those of translator, interpreter, or a teacher of English to German-speaking students.
Learning German if you’re planning on traveling to Germany (or a German-speaking country) has the potential to uplevel your vacation or business trip exponentially: you’ll be able to navigate your way around the country and day-to-day transactions with ease and soak up the culture more effectively and fully.
Learning a second language is beneficial to brain health, too!
Not only has bilingualism been proven to be a protection against the effects of age-related cognitive development, but those who can speak more than one language tend to have better decision-making skills and an increased capacity for both logical and creative thinking, memory, and concentration.
What’s more, once you’ve learned one new language, it’s much easier to learn a second new language, even a third, so becoming proficient in German could be just the start of your language learning adventure!
How To Get Started Learning a Language By Watching TV
If you’re ready to get started learning German by watching quality films and amazing TV series, then have a look on Netflix for the shows we’ve listed above.
If you really want to make the most out of Netflix, try the 17 best shows to learn Spanish on Netflix.
You could also sign up to the Lingopie language learning platform to get access to a huge range of subtitled German boxsets and movies; there are additional tools available on the platform, too, to help support and consolidate your learning.
TV shows and films are categorized so that you can easily see which would suit you as a beginner learner and those appropriate for intermediate and advanced viewers.
So, to learn a language with Lingopie, simply grab a snack, settle yourself comfortably on the sofa, choose your first show, and revel in the fact that you’re learning German while binge-watching a great series!
Or, why not try learning two languages at once? Challenge accepted?