By Gabby Rente
After a hard day of assignments and meetings, I love to sit down and watch something on Netflix. What I like about Netflix is that it has a wide array of shows from all over Latin America and Spain.
For the second installment on the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, here is a carefully-curated list of Hispanic shows to watch on Netflix.
Las Chicas del Cable (Spain): This is a show for anyone who loves “Downton Abbey.” “Cable Girls” is my personal favorite because it is a historical fiction drama focusing on women’s suffrage in late 1920s, Madrid. Starring Blanca Suárez, Ana Fernández, Nadia de Santiago, and Maggie Civantos, this elegant show tells the story of four women from different backgrounds getting jobs as telephone operators at a phone company. Secrets will be revealed, hearts will be broken, and lives will be at stake.
Celia (Cuba): Another historical drama, this show focuses on la reina de salsa herself, Celia Cruz, and how she came to fame. A young music teacher challenges the status quo in a time where Salsa was dominated by white males. Viewers who are hoping to catch a glimpse of Cuba will be disappointed to hear that the filming was done in Puerto Rico, Colombia, and New York, but the designers do a fantastic job of capturing 1950s Cuba.
El Ministerio del Tiempo (Spain): Get ready to learn about Spanish history, because this show will take you back in time again and again. Enlisted to work for the secret government agency, the Ministry of Time, Alfonso, Julian, and Amelia are all from various time periods throughout Spanish history. But they must overcome their differences if they want to preserve history and maintain the present. You’ll meet characters like Lope de Vega, Diego Velázquez, and even some familiar faces, like Alfred Hitchcock. If you don’t understand a historical reference, I recommend looking it up, because it’s pretty cool.
Gran Hotel (Spain): This show is perfect for any Agatha Christie fans out there. Set at the turn of the century, odd happenings take place at the illustrious Gran Hotel run by the Alarcón family, but they are not as saintly as they appear — nor are the many guests who check in for the night. Starring Yon González, who also plays a major role in “Las Chicas del Cable,” this show will steal your heart-and more.
El Tiempo Entre Costuras (Morocco/Spain): Based on the novel by María Dueñas, this show has a lot to say in only eight episodes. Seamstress Sira Quiroga, portrayed by Adriana Ugarte, who also starred in “Palm Trees in the Snow,” finds herself separated from her mother in Morocco during the Spanish Civil War. She learns to make a life for herself amid the political turmoil that comes with the arrival of World War II. Suddenly, being a seamstress has the perfect set of skills for spywork.
Club de Cuervos (Mexico): A brother and sister find themselves in charge of a football (or “soccer”) team in this dramatic comedy. What is most interesting about this show is how it leans into dry and ironic humor. The first episode or so get a little wild and explicit, but it cools off afterwards. Watch this show if you love “Orange is the New Black” or “Parks and Rec.”
Siempre Bruja (Colombia): If you loved “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” or “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,”then you’ll love “Siempre Bruja” (“Always Wicked,” in English). It’s about a young witch who is sentenced to be burned at the stake in the 1700s, but makes a deal with a wizard to travel through time, ending up in modern-day Cartagena, Colombia. What I appreciate about this show is that it portrays the true diversity of Hispanic ethnicity. For example, an afro-latina plays the leading role. What could be done better is how the show handles serious topics and strings out one racial cliché along the way. Still, it’s progress in and of itself.
Casa de Papel (Spain): Also known by its English name, “Money Heist,” this psychological thriller is currently the number one for foreign Netflix originals. A group of burglars and thieves join ranks to pull off the most daring theft in history: an infiltration of the Royal Mint of Spain. When their plans begin to unravel, patience and relationships are tested. This is an excellent show to watch if you love “Breaking Bad” or “Inception.”
If you are watching any of these shows to learn Spanish, then I recommend watching a season with the Spanish audio and English subtitles on, then switching the subtitles into Spanish.