Let’s face it: America and England are clearly dominating the TV field! Even in France, most people watch American TV shows because they are usually more dynamic and interesting than their French counterparts. However, if you want to learn French while entertaining yourself, it could be nice to have some good TV shows to watch. Luckily for you, there are some excellent French creations and here is a short list of our favourites:
Before we begin, you should know that the best French TV shows are usually original creations by a paying French channel called Canal +, and Les Revenants is no exception to the rule. In a little French town, some people who were supposed to be dead come back to life and try to live a normal life again. The show is very mysterious and has some great actors that you’ll probably get quickly attached to.
Un gars, une fille
This TV show is now over, but you can watch it to learn some daily French vocabulary! This is a comic show about a couple’s life, where you have the point of view of the man, Jean (played by Jean Dujardin, who is now internationally famous thanks to his leading role in The Artist) and of the woman, Alex (played by Alexandra Lamy, former spouse of Jean Dujardin). The show is funny because of all the stereotypes they are using, and you can discover a couple’s life in a very French context.
This is also a TV show created by Canal +. The plot is centred on a police captain, a prosecutor, an examining magistrate and a criminal lawyer. The show is supposed to describe the secrets of the French political life in the most realistic way as possible. A 6th season is in preparation and the show is broadcasted not only in France but in other countries as well!
Another humoristic show that is now over! The series is based on the story of King Arthur, and shows the quest of the Holy Grail in a very comic way, as the Knights of the Round Table are totally incompetent. Moreover, the king has to overcome a chronic depression and his difficult relationship with his wife, Guenièvre. The show, in spite of being set in the 5th century, depicts very current problems while remaining funny to watch.
The show, as its name suggests, deals with the Corsican mafia. A 30 years old woman, Sandra Paoli has to take over the lead of a mafia gang after her uncle’s death. She has to survive and establish herself in a very masculine world. The show has been inspired by a real story and is very popular in France.
Bref is also a Canal + series. Its original length (around 5 minutes maximum per episode) and its accelerated dialogue make it very dynamic and unique. We follow a man (we don’t know his name) in his everyday life and we see him trying to overcome common problems such as difficulties to find a relationship, a job, arguments with friends and family… This is quite an entertaining show, but it can be difficult for a foreigner to understand every word of it because the characters speak very quickly!
H is an old series (well, it ended in 2002, so not so old, but not recent either!) depicting the life in a hospital. But nothing to do with Grey’s Anatomy, the show is a comedy show! The staff of the hospital are usually not very competent and the plot is actually more centred on the relationships between the characters than their work. The cast is composed of many famous French comedians such as Jamel Debbouze, Eric Judor and Ramzy Bédia. The show is so funny and loved by the French people that it is frequently repeated on several channels.
Fais pas ci, Fais pas ça
The series also has a unique form, as the first season is presented as a parody of a reality show where the characters are interviewed and so on. We discover two families who have nothing in common, especially concerning the education of their children, and we see them gradually becoming friends. In the second season, the show loses in parodic dimension and becomes a real fictional show. It is really representative of French people and French life in general so it can be interesting for you to discover the specialities of our country with this series.
Et voilà! Some of these series are still on air on French channels, but if they’re not, you can watch them on Netflix or on some free streaming websites (with a lot of advertisement…) with your friends and roommates!
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