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Binge on the Best Chinese TV Shows to Learn Chinese

Who doesn’t love having fun while studying? Now’s the time for Chinese language learners to throw away the textbook for a while and join us in this fun journey! Watching Chinese TV shows properly will not only help you examine the native culture and society in an interesting context, but also help you unconsciously remember more vocabularies and phrases with less effort than if you were plainly trying to memorize them.

As long as you integrate these tips and follow the instructions introduced in this article, you’ll definitely find your way out along with these great Chinese TV shows. Get ready to improve your Chinese skills dramatically and let us guide you through the most popular Chinese TV shows.

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Table of Contents

  1. Watch the Shows in the Right Way
  2. Sites Where You Can Watch Popular Chinese Shows
  3. Ten Classic Must-watch Chinese Shows
  4. Conclusion

1. Watch the Shows in the Right Way

If you watch TV shows on a regular daily basis, soon you’ll be able to memorize vocabulary more efficiently by associating them with its context, vivid action, interesting plot, and visual image, which will also help you get a better sense of grammar, accent, and native culture.

Unlike academic textbooks, a well-produced TV show brings you to a whole new world and you’ll easily find yourself becoming motivated to keep watching. Eventually, you’ll become immersed in it.

Now, the question is, although watching TV shows helps and is more entertaining, can you rely on watching shows by itself?

Certainly not. If you truly wish to improve your Chinese skills systematically from all aspects, it requires a little dedication. Now, here are some tips to guide you as you utilize TV shows as a tool to study Chinese:

  • Find the right one: A show that can trigger your interest of studying is the key. First find a good TV show that matches your particular interests.
  • Identify which language skill you wish to improve: For example, if you want to increase your storage of vocabulary or grammar usage, you’ll need to pay close attention to the subtitles all the time. On the other hand, if you want to improve your listening skills, then it’ll be best for you not to look at the subtitles too much. (If you’re a beginner, it’s always good to watch Chinese TV shows with English subtitles, though, whether you look at them a lot or not.)

Furthermore, if you wish to practice your Chinese by immersing yourself in the Chinese environment, a show with only Chinese subtitles will be the best fit depending on your level.

Taking notes

  • Stay observant and take notes: When your main purpose is to study the language, don’t pay too much attention to the show itself. You don’t want to forget your “learner” identity. You’ll need to constantly observe by watching, reading, and listening to see if there’s anything you don’t understand that’s worth looking up.

    Stay like a hungry wolf who’s desperate for its food. Always stay alert when something you don’t understand pops up. When it happens, don’t be lazy! Pause it, and take time to take some notes. This will probably be a bit time-consuming, but it’s worth the effort.

    For instance, a forty-minute show may take you an hour to watch in this way. Just remember that it means you’re absorbing and learning!

2. Sites Where You Can Watch Popular Chinese Shows

Due to the restriction for copyright, many shows on Chinese websites only allow users who are located in Mainland China to watch. Fortunately, although you don’t live in Mainland China, you’ll still be able to find the most popular Chinese shows with the most recent updates on Youtube and some other channels.

For people who live outside of Mainland China, you can find popular Chinese TV shows on:

  • YouTube: This is the best channel for people who aren’t located in Mainland China to find the most recent updates without any charge. You can usually find them with both Chinese and English subtitles.
  • Netflix: This includes a variety of classic Chinese shows, though you’ll need a subscription.
  • ViKi: This streams free online and provides many recently popular Chinese shows with both Chinese and English subtitles.
  • AsianCrush: This is where you can enjoy all kinds of Asian shows.

For people who live in Mainland China, here are five Chinese websites that are exclusive to those who are located in Mainland China. If you’re not fluent in Chinese, no worries; just use Google to translate everything.

The best thing about them is that you can find almost every single category of Chinese shows on them, whether it’s a niche market or a popular one, a classic or a recent release. Just enjoy it all. With these sites you can find great Chinese TV shows to watch online:

3. Ten Classic Must-watch Chinese Shows

Here’s our list of popular Chinese TV shows and other recent shows. A lot of these are drama Chinese TV shows, so watching these is a great way to catch up on the latest Chinese dramas. That said, here’s our Chinese TV shows to watch online.

1- Chinese Paladin - 仙剑奇侠传 (xiān jiàn qí xiá zuàn)

Chinese Paladin, based on the popular role-playing game The Legend of Sword and Fairy, was released in 2005 and introduces Chinese Xianxia (仙侠) culture, which often involves appearances of gods, immortals, people, demons, and ghosts. There will also be various magic weapons and fairy instruments utilized by the characters.

There are also lots of romantic phrases waiting for you to learn since a great deal of love stories are involved in this series!

Preview of Chinese Paladin

Vocabularies:

  • 理解 (lǐ jiě) — understanding
  • 爱 (ài) — love
  • 心 (xīn) — heart
  • 人 (rén) — person

Classic quotes:

  • In Chinese: 相爱, 不如相知.
    Pinyin: Xiàng ài, bù rú xiàng zhī.
    In English: Falling in love is not as powerful as understanding each other in depth.
  • In Chinese: 她偷走了我的心,却是为了她爱的人。
    Pinyin: Tā tōu zǒu le wǒ de xīn, què shì wéi le tā ài de rén.
    In English: She stole my heart, and yet it is only for the one she loves.

2- Ipartment - 爱情公寓 (ài qíng gōng yù)

A sitcom produced from Mainland China, the i in the English title is a reference to ài (爱), the Chinese term for “love.” This series talks about a group of friends who live in the same apartment and their hilarious, entertaining, and heartwarming daily life, which will teach you a lot about romance and friendship.

If you ever feel that your life is difficult and needs a little bit of laughter to lighten it up, watch this show!

Preview of Chinese TV Show Ipartment

Vocabularies:

  • 以为 (yǐ wéi) — assume
  • 其实 (qí shí) — actually
  • 成功 (chéng gōng) — success
  • 每当 (měi dāng) — every time
  • 钥匙 (yào shí) — key

Classic quotes:

  • In Chinese: 别以为世界抛弃了你, 其实世界压根没空搭理你。
    Pinyin: Bié yǐ wéi shì jiè pāo qì le nǐ, qí shí shì jiè yà gēn méi kōng dā lǐ nǐ.
    In English: Don’t assume the whole world abandoned you, actually this world doesn’t have time to care for you.
  • In Chinese: 每当我找到成功的钥匙,就有人把锁给换了!
    Pinyin: Měi dāng wǒ zhǎo dào chéng gōng de yào shí, jiù yǒu rén bǎ suǒ gěi huàn le!
    In English: Every time I find the key to success, there is someone who would change the lock!

3- With You - 最好的我们 (zuì hǎo de wǒ men)

This is a 2016 Chinese web series based on the novel The Best of Us that shows you how memorable and unforgettable Chinese high school love can be. It’s much different from western culture due to Chinese education system and traditions. Remember to prepare tissues for the ending!

Preview of With You

Vocabularies:

  • 变化(biàn huà) - change
  • 可能(kě néng) - possibility
  • 唯一 (wéi yī) - the only
  • 最好(zuì hǎo) - best

Classic quotes:

  • In Chinese: 世界上唯一不变的就是变化,世界上唯一可能的就是不可能。
    Pinyin: Shì jiè shàng wéi yī bú biàn de jiù shì biàn huà, shì jiè shàng wéi yī kě néng de jiù shì bù kě néng.
    In English: The only invariable is to constantly change in the world, and the only possibility is impossibility.
  • In Chinese: 当时的他是最好的他,后来的我是最好的我。 可是最好的我们之间,隔了一整个青春。
    Pinyin: Dāng shí de tā shì zuì hǎo de tā, hòu lái de wǒ shì zuì hǎo de wǒ. kě shì zuì hǎo de wǒ men zhī jiān, gé le yī zhěng gè qīng chūn.
    In English: He was the best of him at the time, I became the best of me later. But between the best form of us, there was a whole youth that crossed by.

4- Ode to Joy - 欢乐颂 (huān lè sòng)
This story revolves around five women living in an apartment, sharing their daily struggles and experiences as independent modern individuals in an urban city, Shanghai. As those women grow a mutual bond together through laughter and tears, you’ll certainly obtain some worthy lessons of a lifetime.

Ode to Joy, a heartwarming Chinese TV show

Vocabularies:

  • 问题 (wèn tí) — problem
  • 自己 (zì jǐ) — self
  • 除了 (chú le) — except

Classic quotes:

  • In Chinese: 一个人不理你,有可能是对方的问题。 但是如果大家都不理你,就要从自身找问题了。
    Pinyin: Yī gè rén bù lǐ nǐ, yǒu kě néng shì duì fāng de wèn tí. Dàn shì rú guǒ dà jiā dōu bù lǐ nǐ, jiù yào cóng zì shēn zhǎo wèn tí le.
    In English: If someone doesn’t want to talk to you, it might be his problem. But if no one wants to talk to you, then you need to find the problem from yourself.
  • In Chinese: 除了自己,谁都不能和你过一辈子。
    Pinyin: Chú le zì jǐ, shuí dōu bù néng hé nǐ guò yī bèi zǐ.
    In English: Except for yourself, there is no one who can spend a whole life with you forever.

5- Nirvana in Fire - 琅琊榜 (láng yá bǎng)

Nirvana in Fire is a 2015 Chinese historical drama based on Hai Yan’s novel, which introduces a spectacular drama in ancient times that entails numerous complex imperial conflictions. If you’re curious about how the culture in ancient China was, this will be one of the best Chinese shows for learning Chinese you’ll never regret watching!

Nirvana in Fire

Vocabularies:

  • 公平的 (gōng píng de) — fair
  • 朋友 (péng yǒu) — friends
  • 背叛 (bèi pàn) — betray
  • 世间 (shì jiān) — world

Classic quotes:

  • In Chinese: 虽然这世间少有公平,但是我希望你可以永远保持这份赤子之心。
    Pinyin: Suī rán zhè shì jiān shǎo yǒu gōng píng, dàn shì wǒ xī wàng nǐ kě yǐ yǒng yuǎn bǎo chí zhè fèn chì zǐ zhī xīn.
    In English: Although it is hard to be fair in this world, at least I hope you will keep your original pure heart.
  • In Chinese: 人只会被朋友背叛,敌人是永远都没有‘出卖’和‘背叛’的机会的。
    Pinyin: Rén zhī huì bèi péng yǒu bèi pàn, dí rén shì yǒng yuǎn dōu méi yǒu ‘chū mài ’hé ‘bèi pàn ’de jī huì de.
    In English: Only friends can betray humans, your enemy can never have the chance to betray.

6- In Time with You - 我可能不会爱你 (wǒ kě néng bú huì ài nǐ)

This show is a 2011 Taiwanese television series that talks about a lifelong romantic relationship that is originated from friendship. As the main characters grow together and realize their romantic feelings towards each other, you can’t help tearing up. This is a heartfelt story that not only teaches you about love but also how to live life.

Touching Chinese romance - In Time with You

Vocabularies:

  • 失去 (shī qù) — to lose
  • 眼睛 (yǎn jīng) — eyes
  • 女人 (nǚ rén) — women
  • 昂贵 (áng guì) — expensive

Classic quotes:

  • In Chinese: 让女人发光的不一定要是昂贵的钻石,还有为爱流过泪的眼睛。
    Pinyin: Ràng nǚ rén fā guāng de bù yī dìng yào shì áng guì de zuàn shí, hái yǒu wéi ài liú guò lèi de yǎn jīng.
    In English: What makes women shine is not only expensive diamonds, as well as the eyes that you only teared up for love.
  • In Chinese: 如果我不曾拥有,那也就没有什么好失去的了。
    Pinyin: Rú guǒ wǒ bù céng yōng yǒu, nà yě jiù méi yǒu shén me hǎo shī qù de le.
    In English: If I have never owned it, then there is nothing to lose for me.

7- The Vigilantes in Masks - 怪侠一枝梅 (guài xiá yī zhī méi)

Taking Place in the Ming Dynasty, The Vigilantes in Masks is a Chinese TV show that’ll teach you not only the language, but important Chinese cultural information. Released in 2010, it covers fun and adventurous stories with a Robin Hood vibe. Through the lens of Chinese history, you’ll see many fantastic Kung Fu moves and ancient Chinese culture in the old society.

Chinese adventure

Vocabularies:

  • 失望 (shī wàng) — disappointment
  • 希望 (xī wàng) — hope
  • 绝望的 (jué wàng de) — hopeless
  • 支持 (zhī chí) — support

Classic quotes:

  • In Chinese: 绝望就是在你失望的时候给你希望,在你满怀希望的时候让你彻底失望。
    Pinyin: Jué wàng jiù shì zài nǐ shī wàng de shí hòu gěi nǐ xī wàng, zài nǐ mǎn huái xī wàng de shí hòu ràng nǐ chè dǐ shī wàng.
    In English: Being hopeless is to give you hope when you are disappointed, and then to make you disappointed again when you are full of hope.
  • In Chinese: 你做什么我都支持你。
    Pinyin: Nǐ zuò shén me wǒ dōu zhī chí nǐ.
    In English: I will support you no matter what you do.

8- Love O2O - 微微一笑很倾城 (wēi wēi yī xiào hěn qīng chéng)

This show talks about a couple who originally knew each other from a video game and happen to go to the same college. As they overcome numerous obstacles after falling in love through online gaming, they finally are able to enjoy their life together.

Love O2O

Vocabularies:

  • 一见钟情 (yī jiàn zhōng qíng) — fall in love at first sight
  • 如果 (rú guǒ) — if
  • 喜欢 (xǐ huān) — like
  • 瞬间 (shùn jiān) — moment

Classic quotes:

  • In Chinese: 如果我知道有一天会这么爱你,我一定对你一见钟情。
    Pinyin: Rú guǒ wǒ zhī dào yǒu yī tiān huì zhè me ài nǐ, wǒ yī dìng duì nǐ yī jiàn zhōng qíng.
    In English: If only I know someday I will love you this much, I promise to fall in love with you at very first sight.
  • In Chinese: 原来世界上真有这样的事,只要一瞬间,对一个人的喜欢就能到达顶点。
    Pinyin: Yuán lái shì jiè shàng zhēn yǒu zhè yàng de shì, zhī yào yī shùn jiān, duì yī gè rén de xǐ huān jiù néng dào dá dǐng diǎn.
    In English: Such thing like this truly exists, it requires only one moment for you to like someone to the maximum.

9- Fleet of Time - 匆匆那年 (cōng cōng nà nián)

This is a Chinese coming-of-age TV show that provides a glimpse of Chinese high school life along with many struggles between friends, classmates, teachers, and parents. You’ll learn many fashionable phrases that teenagers like to use.

Learn slang with Fleet of Time

Vocabularies:

  • 再见 (zài jiàn) — goodbye
  • 承诺 (chéng nuò) — promise
  • 青春 (qīng chūn) — youth
  • 毕业 (bì yè) — graduation

Classic quotes:

  • In Chinese: 再见,不是一句道别,而是一个承诺。
    Pinyin: Zài jiàn, bú shì yī jù dào bié, ér shì yī gè chéng nuò.
    In English: “Good bye” is not for departure, instead it is a promise.
  • In Chinese: 毕业那天, 你像往常一样跟我道别。多年以后,我才明白:那天与我道别的,是青春
    Pinyin: Bì yè nà tiān, nǐ xiàng wǎng cháng yī yàng gēn wǒ dào bié. Duō nián yǐ hòu, wǒ cái míng bái: nà tiān yǔ wǒ dào bié de, shì qīng chūn.
    In English: You said goodbye as usual on our graduation day. I only started to understand it many years after: it was youth who said goodbye to me.

10- Scarlet Heart - 步步惊心 (bù bù jīng xīn)

This is a 2011 Chinese television series based on a bittersweet love story of a woman who transported to Qing dynasty and had an unforgettable experience while she gets involved with people in the empire.

Experience an emotional journey with Scarlet Heart

Vocabularies:

  • 笑 (xiào) — smile
  • 每天 (měi tiān) — every day
  • 找 (zhǎo) — find
  • 世界 (shì jiè) — world

Classic quotes:

  • In Chinese: 我以后要你每天都如此笑。
    Pinyin: Wǒ yǐ hòu yào nǐ měi tiān dōu rú cǐ xiào.
    In English: I want you to smile like this every single day.
  • In Chinese: 你不来我的世界找我,那我就去你的世界找你。
    Pinyin: Nǐ bù lái wǒ de shì jiè zhǎo wǒ, nà wǒ jiù qù nǐ de shì jiè zhǎo nǐ.
    In English: If you won’t come to my world to find me, then I will go after you in your world.

4. Conclusion

Of course, In order to learn Chinese more efficiently from TV shows, a number of fundamental vocabularies and basic grammar knowledge can be helpful. We provide professional and entertaining lessons and articles here at ChineseClass101.com.

You’ll find the most effective materials to guide you through everything you need to know to become a great Chinese speaker. So what are you waiting for? One click is all it takes to see for yourself!

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