21 amazing Spanish-language TV shows to stream

From “Money Heist” to “Who Killed Sarah?,” Diego Pineda rounds up 21 amazing Spanish-language shows to stream on Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max and more

miércoles 29 junio 2022 20:58

Long gone are the days when you would sit on your couch in the evening to tune in to the latest telenovela (soap opera). These had drama, action, iconic theme songs, and of course, romance. We were entertained, but also grew tired of the generic themes and basic stories such as the one of the poor girl falling for the rich guy. Today, your abuela’s telenovelas have evolved and improved in all aspects—from storylines and acting to diversity and production value. Thanks to streaming services, we can binge-watch our favorite series in Spanish and unlock another world of stories that are different from what we saw on TV networks such as Univision and Telemundo.

If you don’t know any Spanish but are still intrigued, there are always the subtitles or dubbing in English options that make these shows just as good. These shows can even serve as a learning experience if you want to brush up on your Spanish. You will be on the edge of your seat watching Money Heist, singing along with Queen of Flow, playing detective in Who Killed Sara? and wiping your tears while watching Veneno. Series from Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, and the United States are beginning to crossover to mainstream media, and I’m sure this is just the beginning of the diverse content and storylines we’ll be seeing in the future. If you’re looking for your next series to binge-watch completely in Spanish, here are our top picks from Netflix, HBO Max, Pantaya, Peacock, Amazon Prime, Paramount Plus and Hulu, in no particular order.

1. Elite

In post-‘Gossip Girl’ television terrain, ‘Elite’ has been the only series to stand up next to the beloved teen show

Move over Riverdale and Gossip Girl, because Elite will be your next favorite teen drama. It is daring, provocative, mysterious, and not afraid to break norms and push boundaries from your generic teen show. When three working-class students enroll in Las Encinas, the most exclusive school in Spain, tensions arise leading to drama, romance (there are a few love triangles), and even murders. You will fall in love with the cast and their diverse stories, while trying to add the puzzle pieces for the different mysteries of every season.

Where to find: Netflix

2. The House of Flowers

At first glance, the De La Mora family seems like #familygoals with their prestigious flower business and picture-perfect family. But once their dirty secrets are revealed by the father’s late mistress, their worlds are turned upside down in the most hilarious ways. Known as a “millennial telenovela,” this series satirizes the telenovela genre while appealing to a younger demographic. It tackles issues such as homophobia, transphobia, race, class, and sexuality—subjects telenovelas today still lack in terms of representation. If you like sarcastic dark comedies, this is a perfect match.

Where to find: Netflix

3. The Time in Between

Known as the “Spanish Downtown Abbey”, this series has everything you need from a romantic period piece—from its sophisticated fashion, compelling plot and lovely sceneries. It follows the life of Sira Quiroga (Adriana Ugarte), a humble seamstress who leaves Spain only to find that she has been betrayed by her lover. To make matters worse, she cannot return home due to political turmoil. She must start her life and career from scratch in Morocco which eventually leads her to become a spy. Get ready for some romance, betrayal, mystery and cliffhangers at the end of each episode that will keep you watching.

Where to find: Pantaya

4. Veneno

Get ready to laugh and cry in the raw and emotional roller coaster that is Veneno. This is an inspiring and touching story that centers around finding and accepting oneself despite life’s circumstances. It follows the life of La Veneno, a Spanish transgender icon and television personality as she tells it to Valeria, a young journalism student writing a book about Veneno’s life. The performances of the transgender actresses that portray Veneno throughout the years are phenomenal. The show does an amazing job shedding light on the transgender experience while also showing the negative impact that fame can have on someone.

Where to find: HBO Max

5. The Legend of El Cid

If you’re looking for a historical drama with high-quality production along with some epic battle scenes, The Legend of El Cid is your bet. It is the story of Rodrigo “Ruy” Diaz de Vivar (Jaime Lorente), a nobleman and war hero in medieval Spain, who is caught up in between two worlds and in a conspiracy to overthrow the king. As someone who doesn’t know much about Spain in the 11th century, the series does a good job in educating the viewers of the politics and relationships between the Christian and Islamic kingdoms of that time, while keeping us invested in the main storyline.

Where to find: Amazon Prime

6. Locked Up

When I first came across Locked Up, I thought it was the Spanish version of Orange Is the New Black. Though similar in the sense that they both portray life in a women’s prison, this one is much more of a dark thriller than a comedy. After being framed for fraud, Macarena Ferreiro (Maggie Civatos) must learn to deal with her harsh new life in prison and navigate complicated relationships, especially with Zulema (Najwa Nimri), the most feared inmate. It shows corruption within law enforcement as well as how life in prison can affect inmates in all aspects. If you can’t get enough of the first four seasons, a spin-off called Locked Up: The Oasis which shows the lives of Macarena and Zulema after prison as they take on a major heist.

Where to find: Netflix

7. Luis Miguel: The Series

If you grew up in a Latino household, you have to know who Luis Miguel is or at least remember listening to some of his music. It was not until I got into this show that I realized how much we did not know about his rise to fame especially when it comes to his family. The series, starring Diego Boneta, shows the story of one of the most famous Mexican and Latin American singers of our time—from his first performance as a child to his major concerts as a successful singer. You will be jamming to his music while understanding the backstory of his career and getting caught in family drama.

Where to find: Netflix

8. 100 Dias Para Enamorarnos

Imagine struggling in your 20-year relationship with the love of your life and before you think about breaking up, you give yourselves a 100-day break to fall back in love with them. Smart, huh? Well, the catch is that you can do absolutely anything that you want without the other person knowing. This comedy deals with a couple who does just that and things quickly get messy and go downhill in entertaining and funny ways. It portrays everyday life with the traditional dynamics and views of Latin American couples along with a fresh take on what we’re used to seeing on a traditional telenovela.

Where to find: Peacock

9. Dark Desire

At first, I thought Dark Desire would be the typical story of a teacher falling for her student and the drama that follows this forbidden love. But I was proved wrong, as this erotic story quickly turns into a gripping murder mystery where everyone is a prime suspect, and the suspense and twists will keep you watching. It shows that nothing is what it seems to be, and puts to question people’s true motives as they try to cover up their secrets and lies.

Where to find: Netflix

10. Velvet

Caption: Beautiful yet impossible love story

This feel-good show will suck you in with its incredible humor, style, and music. At the core, Velvet is a love story between the wealthy heir of a prestigious fashion house and his love story with one of its humble seamstresses in the late 1950s. But it is also a statement about class, gender roles and women empowerment. There’s lots of romance, high-end fashion, fights for money and power, as well as endearing moments from its incredible ensemble cast. If you can’t get enough of the happenings at Gallerias Velvet, you can enjoy its spin-off Velvet Colección and its grand finale.

Where to find: Netflix

The Dalí masks and red boilersuits of ‘Money Heist’ have become a symbol of resistance beyond the series, having been used in political protests in Puerto Rico

11. Money Heist

This masterpiece is probably one of the most engaging and exciting shows I’ve ever watched. It deserves all the praise and reviews because it is that good. It revolves around a group of eight thieves who are led by mastermind “The Professor” (Alvaro Morte) to carry out two strategically planned heists, one on the Royal Mint of Spain and one on the Bank of Spain. From the twists and reveals, the character development, the production value and the amount of detail in every single aspect of the heists—this show will always leave you wanting more. It has the perfect mix of action and suspense along with some humor and romance. It has become a global sensation as shown in the special Money Heist: The Phenomenon.

Where to find: Netflix

12. El Embarcadero

Would you secretly befriend your partner’s lover to find out why they lied to you and lived another life with someone else? In this series, high-profile architect Alexandra (Veronica Sanchez) must uncover the truth about the death of her husband, Oscar (Alvaro Morte), by taking on a false identity and moving in with his former lover. Not only do we get a realistic view from all sides of this love triangle, but also get clues to what happened the night of Oscar’s death. The more you watch, the more you will delve into the characters’ lives as you fall in love with the sceneries and cinematography.

Where to find: Hulu

13. Cable Girls

Who doesn’t love a show about strong-willed women whose goal is to empower other women and fight for gender equality? This series follows the story of four diverse women who become best friends while working at Spains’ first national telephone company in the 1920s. Besides coworkers, they become sisters and each other’s supporters as they face their demons, families, and relationships. These cable girls are stunning in style and personality and are super relatable to any woman today with their unique challenges and stories.

Where to find: Netflix

14. Los Espookys

This group of misfits is a breath of fresh air for horror comedies. Unlike in Scooby-Doo where the crew solves spooky mysteries, in this show, the crew is the one that creates the horror. Set in a fictional Latin American country, four friends create a business where they bring horror fantasies to life for their clients. Some of these stunts include a fake water monster, a staged exorcism and a haunted house. These adventures are just as eerie and spooky as they are hysterical.

Where to find: HBO Max

15. Queen of Flow

You will be hooked on this modern Colombian telenovela and its amazing storyline while also dancing to its songs on repeat. After wrongfully being imprisoned and having all her music stolen, songwriter Yeimy Montoya (Carolina Ramirez) seeks justice from those that wronged her and killed her family. This show has a little bit of everything for everyone— from drama and romance to action, music, and comedy. It is probably the best telenovela that I’ve seen recently since the story doesn’t drag, but instead keeps you engaged and invested in what will happen next.

Where to find: Netflix

16. Dime Quien Soy: Mistress of War

Prepare to revisit the 20th century through the eyes of socialite Amelia Garayoa. Not everything is glitz and glam as she leaves her comfortable life and family behind to join the fight for freedom. When she becomes an international spy, she embarks on a journey around the world that allows her to experience many of the major events of that time including World War II, the Spanish Civil War and the Cold War. What makes this series stand out among the many Spanish period dramas is how Amelia’s personal choices drive the story instead of her just being a victim of history. It also has amazing cinematography, production design, and wardrobe.

Where to find: Peacock

17. Who Killed Sara?

Caption: Channel your inner detective in this murder mystery

Everyone is not what they appear to be in this dark and juicy thriller. Years after being framed for the murder of his sister Sara, Alex (Manolo Cardona) is seeking revenge from the Lazcano family to uncover the real culprit. You will keep guessing who actually killed Sara and their intentions and once you think you have it figured out, a secret comes out that turns everything upside down. Prepare for lots of twists and rich family drama that will leave you confused yet entertained.

Where to find: Netflix

18. Parot

Set in Spain in 2013, this thriller is based on the annulment of the controversial Parot doctrine, which reduced the terms of imprisonment of inmates. As the series begins, these former prisoners begin to be murdered in similar ways to the cases they were convicted of. The investigation of the serial killings is led by detectives Isabel Mora (Adriana Ugarte) and Jorge Nieto (Jorge Albalá). Mora must try to hunt down the killer, while also dealing with her personal issues at home and a former inmate seeking vengeance on her. If you’re a fan of whodunnit mysteries, this show is a must-watch! It has violence, lots of mystery, and questions the role of the press and society when it comes to prisoners.

Where to find: Paramount Plus and Amazon Prime

19. El Candidato

This is probably one of the most underrated yet best bilingual shows out there. A rookie CIA field operative works with a CIA legend to bring down one of Mexico’s most dangerous narcos, Rafael Bautista. Sounds like Narcos, right? Though a similar concept, this one has its own set of unexpected reveals and twists. It does an outstanding job in portraying Mexico City and especially the ties that Mexican politicians have with narcos today. If you like drug dealers, corruption, suspense and action, this is a must-watch.

Where to find: Amazon Prime

20. Monarca

I’m a sucker for a wealthy family drama full of lies, secrets, and revenge. Yes, I know this story has been told a thousand times, but Monarca adds a modern, wealthy and authentic Mexican take to it. After their patriarch dies, the Carranza family must learn to control their tequila empire which isn’t that easy as the siblings begin sabotaging each other to take the reins of the family business. There’s everything from murders and corruption, along with great suspense and complex characters.

Where to find: Netflix

21. Club de Cuervos

You will be constantly laughing out loud with this show. It is for everyone, not just soccer fans. After their father dies, a brother and sister must battle to take control of the family’s soccer team. These two are polar opposites and their chemistry and attempts to obtain power definitely make the show a hilarious and fun adventure. It is hard to find a show that has a good mix of sports, comedy, and drama. If you become a fan, check out the two spinoffs, Club de Cuervos Presents: The Ballad of Hugo Sanchez and Club de Cuervos Presents: I, Potro.

Where to find: Netflix

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