What are some American and British TV shows I can watch to improve my English listening skills?
This question came from one of my students recently. Our conversation went something like this:
Student: What are some American and British TV shows I can watch to improve my English and hear both accents?
Me: Well, it depends on what kind of TV shows you like. What do you like? Are you interested in dramas and FBI type shows?
Student: No, I don’t like those. I like comedies.
Me: Have you heard of The Big Bang Theory? It is a popular show about a group of friends who are scientists that work at the California Institute of Technology.
Student: That sounds good.
Me: I don’t really know a lot of British shows, but I’ll find some and let you know. I would also try finding both an American and a British YouTube channel you like. That’s another great way to hear accents and natural English.
Modern Family is a popular American sitcom (situational comedy) about a diverse extended family.
The A Word: is a BBC comedy drama about a family whose youngest son is diagnosed with autism.
The IT Crowd is a British sitcom centered around 3 staff members of an IT department.
Silicon Valley: Another good one for IT folks and software engineers. Silicon Valley is not rated G – language advisory.
Here’s a fantastic YouTube comparison of The Office UK and The Office USA. It’s fast-paced, but has decent CC subtitles. Surprisingly, the subtitles are mostly accurate. This video also explains the differences between British and American comedy. I prefer American humor for all the reasons explained in the video. I’ve watched the American version of The Office but have very little interest in the UK version. Lots of people prefer the UK version. It all depends on your taste!
24: 24 episodes per season covering 24 real time hours of an FBI Counter Terrorist Unit and agent Jack Bauer’s awesomeness
Dexter: “A twisted masterpiece” – Crime drama featuring serial killer Dexter Morgan, a blood spatter expert working for the Miami police. Definitely rated R with disturbing violence and gore.
The Good Doctor: American remake of Korean medical drama about autistic savant surgeon Shaun Murphy. I’m a fan!
The Handmaid’s Tail: Hulu dystopian drama based on best-selling novel by Margaret Atwood. Some disturbing scenes. Amazing cinematography.
House: House is a very popular somewhat comedic medical drama starring Hugh Laurie
How to Get Away with Murder: Award winning drama/thriller, How to Get Away with Murder is about a law professor and law students who get in and out of all kinds of trouble
Prison Break: Season 1 is brilliant. Michael Scofield gets himself put in prison to help his wrongfully imprisoned brother escape.
The Resident: The Resident is a great medical drama.
Sense8: Netflix science fiction drama about 8 strangers in different parts of the world who are connected in a way unlike any other
Suits: Manhattan legal drama with great characters.
White Collar: Brilliant con artist and FBI agent pair up to solve crimes in White Collar.
Have a question? Let me know either in a comment below or by sending me a message on my Facebook page.
I look forward to hearing from you!
What’s your favorite TV show for learning English?
Links take you to trailers on YouTube.
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