Top 10 Addictive and Thought-Provoking Spanish Shows
Spain has produced some of the most captivating and binge-worthy television dramas in recent years. From mystery thrillers to historical epics, Spanish shows have become hugely popular worldwide.
Spain has a rich history of film and television production. But it wasn’t until the 2000s that Spanish dramas started gaining global recognition. Shows like Money Heist, Elite and 30 Coins proved that Spanish shows could compete with top English language programs. Blending mystery, action, romance and social commentary, these dramas showcase the best of Spanish creativity.
Top 10 Spanish Shows You Should Be Streaming Now
In the past decade, Spanish dramas have exploded in popularity far beyond Spain’s borders. Thanks to streaming platforms like Netflix, Prime Video and HBO, these shows now have international audiences hooked. Known for their gripping storylines, high production values and talented casts, Spanish dramas have become some of the most acclaimed shows worldwide.
If you’re looking for your next binge-worthy obsession, here are 10 fantastic Spanish language dramas to add to your list. From crime thrillers to historical fiction, these shows will transport you with their dramatic stories, charismatic characters and cinematic visuals.
Number 1: Money Heist
It’s impossible to talk about famous Spanish dramas without mentioning Money Heist. This action-packed crime thriller has become nothing short of a global phenomenon. Created by Álex Pina, Money Heist follows a group of thieves led by the mysterious Professor as they attempt ambitious heists.
The show’s first seasons center on a plan to break into Spain’s Royal Mint and print billions of euros. Mixing high stakes action with in-depth character studies, Money Heist has you rooting for criminals like never before. The red jumpsuits and Salvador Dalí masks sported by the thieves have become iconic.
With pulse-pounding twists across its five seasons, Money Heist is a wild adrenaline rush. Ursula Corbero and Alvaro Morte lead the skilled ensemble cast who bring life to these complex bandits. Money Heist has set viewership records worldwide, underscoring the global appeal of Spanish dramas.
Number 2: Elite
Looking for a scandalous and sexy thriller? Elite delivers all that and more. Set at an exclusive private school in Madrid, Elite explores the dangerous conflicts that erupt between working-class students and their privileged classmates.
The ever-expanding cast is led by actors like Maria Pedraza, Miguel Herrán and Jaime Lorente. Their magnetic performances drive storylines that include steamy hookups, wild parties and even murder. Elite’s first three seasons focus on the mysterious disappearance of a student, with new crimes to unravel each year.
With its opulent backdrops and pulsing soundtrack, Elite is an addictive glimpse into the lavish lives of Spanish teens. Over four seasons, the show has explored thought-provoking themes about sexuality, religion and class divides. Combining Gossip Girl style melodrama with Big Little Lies’ mystery, Elite is Spain’s answer to must-see high school dramas.
Number 3: 30 Coins
If you like your dramas with a side of the occult and demonic forces, 30 Coins has you covered. Horror master Álex de la Iglesia created this ambitious series, drawing inspiration from the likes of H.P. Lovecraft. The show centers on a mysterious small town and its otherworldly secrets.
When Father Vergara, played brilliantly by Eduard Fernández, arrives as the new local priest, he discovers the town is home to strange cults and paranormal entities. Battling these dark forces alongside a renegade mayor and a vet with psychic abilities, Vergara finds himself in a fight for humanity’s future.
30 Coins adroitly mixes creepy, religious-tinged horror with philosophical questions about the nature of good and evil. The striking visuals and enigmatic storytelling create an atmospheric world to get lost in. With demons both literal and figurative to overcome, 30 Coins is proof that Spanish creators can master any genre.
Number 4: Valeria
Get ready for lots of laughter, passion and dilemmas of the heart with Valeria. This lighthearted dramedy is based on the beloved novels by Spanish author Elisabet Benavent. With clever writing and a charming female ensemble cast, Valeria offers a modern look at four friends building their careers and seeking meaningful relationships in Madrid.
At the center is Valeria herself, an aspiring writer struggling with writer’s block as she tries finishing her first novel. actresses Diana Gómez imbues the character with neurotic wit and artistic romanticism. By her side are her three best friends, each navigating their own challenges with men, work and self-discovery.
With hilarious situational comedy and relatable characters you root for, Valeria is Sex and the City transported to millennial Madrid. It’s a vibrant, feel-good look at female friendship and modern Spanish womanhood.
Number 5: Las Chicas del Cable
For a female-driven historical drama, look no further than Las Chicas del Cable. Set in 1920s Madrid, this show (known in English as The Cable Girls) follows four young women working for the national telephone company during a period of sweeping social change.
Created by Ramón Campos, Las Chicas del Cable focuses on strong female protagonists fighting for empowerment in a patriarchal society. Led by actresses Blanca Suárez, Ana Fernández and Nadia de Santiago, the show touchingly depicts lasting female friendships.
Over 5 seasons, Las Chicas del Cable has explored romantic relationships, LGBTQ+ discrimination and the role of women in the workforce. With gorgeous period details, the drama immerses you in Spain’s vivid history. Las Chicas del Cable proves Spanish creators excel at delivering progressive, socially relevant stories.
Number 6: Gran Hotel
Combining mystery, romance and fascism-era history, Gran Hotel is an opulent period drama. The show is set in an aristocratic hotel in northern Spain during the early 1900s. When Julio Olmedo arrives at the hotel looking for his sister, he uncovers its hidden darkness.
The show hooks viewers with its upstairs-downstairs intrigue, following both the hotel owners and the staff. Created by Ramón Campos and Gema R. Neira, Gran Hotel features sumptuous costumes and cinematic locales. Whether showcasing glittering ballrooms or behind-the-scenes scheming, the show is visual eye candy.
Leading man Yon González is excellent as Julio, who finds himself entangled with both the hotel heiress and a wrongfully accused maid. Gran Hotel has all the melodrama and betrayals of a classic soap opera, augmented by strong performances and an arresting historical setting.
Number 7: 45 Revoluciones
45 Revoluciones (known in English as 45 RPM) is a music-loving drama set in the 1960s. When Guillermo Rojas inherits a record company, he moves from Spain to Madrid to reinvent the business. The show gorgeously captures the vibrancy of Madrid in the ’60s, when rock ‘n’ roll was taking off.
Created and directed by Ramón Campos, 45 Revoluciones follows the label’s misfit staff and their quest for the next big hit. Friendships, love triangles and artistic struggles unfold against a soundtrack of popular Spanish music from the era.
With its behind-the-scenes look at the lives of DJs, producers and artists, 45 Revoluciones has compelling characters brought to life by a talented ensemble. It’s an affectionate ode to the transformative power of music, as well as a snapshot of Spanish counterculture in the 1960s. For music fans, it’s an infectious drama with heart.
Number 8: La Catedral del Mar
Based on the bestselling novel by Ildefonso Falcones, La Catedral del Mar tells an unforgettable historical saga. Set in 14th century Barcelona, it chronicles one serf’s pursuit of freedom from feudal oppression. The show details the construction of the stunning Santa Maria del Mar cathedral, while following Arnau Estanyol’s rise from humble beginnings to becoming a trading power player.
With themes of class, religion and human rights, La Catedral del Mar provides insightful social commentary on Medieval Spain. Arnau’s trajectory from peasant to nobleman is full of romantic and economic intrigues. Alongside the magnificent cathedral backdrop, the drama paints a vivid picture of society in 14th century Catalonia.
Directed by Jordi Frades, La Catedral del Mar showcases picturesque recreations of medieval Barcelona combined with a moving narrative of ambition and sacrifice. As a prestige period drama, it demonstrates the grand scopes and budgets Spain devotes to scripted television.
Number 9: Vis a Vis
Vis a Vis takes viewers inside a women’s prison for a darkly comedic drama. When naïve Seville native Macarena winds up imprisoned for fraud, she experiences the harsh realities of life behind bars. The tension mounts as dangerous inmates pull Macarena into the prison’s criminal power struggles.
Created by Daniel Écija, Vis a Vis has been compared to Orange is the New Black for its offbeat humor and social commentary on prison conditions. Over four seasons, the relationships between cell mates provided both laughs and surprising emotional depth. With rich Latina representation on screen, Vis a Vis featured a predominantly female lead cast who each made their imprisoned characters compelling, from Maggie Civantos as Macarena to Najwa Nimri as volatile inmate Zulema.
By turns absurd, raunchy and moving, Vis a Vis is an unpredictable ride. The cliffhangers and last minute twists will leave you rapidly clicking “Next Episode.” Exploring women’s lives behind bars, Vis a Vis makes prison much more than a locked cell.
Number 10: La Peste
Rounding out the list is La Peste, a historical thriller set in 16th century Seville. When a ruthless outbreak of the bubonic plague begins ravaging the city, the inhabitants are driven to darkness and paranoia trying to survive. With vivid scenes of devastation and chaos, La Peste underscores the immense human suffering caused by the iconic disease.
Created by Alberto Rodríguez and Rafael Cobos, the show delivers a frightening look at a city in the grasp of an epidemic. No one is spared from the spread of infection and growing death toll. The inhumane measures adopted for quarantine further highlight the devastation.
Yet amidst the bleak backdrop, the show finds poignant moments of hope and humanity. Pablo Molinero leads an excellent ensemble cast featuring Sergio Castellanos, Cecilia Gómez and Patricia López Arnaiz as citizens trying to endure the horrific conditions. La Peste provides a sobering look at one of history’s darkest chapters, made impactful through skilled direction and affecting performances.
Spanish television is clearly on a roll, producing first-rate dramas that travel far beyond Spain’s borders. With their top writing, acting and production values, these popular series show how Spanish creators have mastered compelling storytelling.
Whether you’re looking for a scandalous thriller, historical epic or high-stakes crime caper, Spain’s vibrant TV industry has you covered. The works of visionary creators like Álex Pina and Ramón Campos demonstrate the country’s excellent entertainment output. As Spanish shows continue gaining audiences worldwide, they prove that great television transcends languages.