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The Best Romanian TV Series of All Time


Imagine you could speak Romanian well, right now.

Then imagine you were suddenly in Romania, surrounded by Romanian friends on a night out. Do you think you’d be able to keep up, linguistically speaking?

Probably yes. But culturally is another matter. Romanian people talk about Romanian things—and when you learn Romanian from half a world away, you’ll do well to learn about some of those Romanian things yourself (like Romanian TV series).

Now, let’s not pretend that Romanians don’t enjoy American and British entertainment as well. They totally do. However, any conversation that doesn’t brush against something popular that’s unique to one’s own culture is a pretty boring conversation to have.

There is, of course, a way to master the Romanian language and become deeply familiar with its culture at the same time. It’s called “watching a ton of TV.” Or more specifically, watching a ton of the most popular Romanian TV shows.

Table of Contents

  1. How TV Can Be a Better Teacher than Anything Else
  2. The Most Popular Romanian Shows as of 2019
  3. Finding Ways to Watch Romanian Shows Online
  4. Reconnect with the Romanian Childhood You Never Had
  5. Conclusion

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1. How TV Can Be a Better Teacher than Anything Else

Improve Listening

People who are used to learning languages from books and teachers might be a little taken aback by this. After all, don’t you need someone to show you the ins and outs of the language to make sure you’re doing it correctly?

Well, you’d be surprised.

Romanian isn’t totally foreign to English. Tons of words come from recognizable shared roots. And that means even a complete beginner has a very rough foundation to build on.

The more you simply let your ears get used to the Romanian language, the more your brain is going to make connections all by itself.

This happens even faster when you can watch the action happening on-screen, like when you watch TV shows in Romanian. If you watch just ten episodes of some soap opera only in Romanian, I guarantee that you’ll start understanding whole words and phrases before long.

Now, although you might know someone who claimed to learn such-and-such a language to fluency just from watching cartoons, that takes a really long time. But in general, watching Romanian TV shows with English subtitles (or even without) can be an effective study tool.

TV is a fantastic supplement to a structured language-learning program, just like the one you can find here on RomanianPod101. Integrate high-quality native content into your studies, and you’ll experience massive gains. Plus, Romanian movies and TV really pack a lot of entertainment!

2. The Most Popular Romanian Shows as of 2019

Family Watching TV

1- Las Fierbinti

It might not be immediately clear to non-Romanians, but the “Las” in the title is a riff on “Las Vegas.” Fierbinti is a tiny fictional village in rural Romania, and this show is a sitcom that covers pretty much anything and everything that can happen in a small town. It’s a parody of the actual Romanian society.

The main characters are the mayor and the bartender, but of course, it includes a full cast of complex characters as well as supporting extras.

Basically, this is the show you want to watch if you’re at all interested in life outside the cities in Romania.

There are a whopping 237 fifty-minute episodes to get through, meaning that if one particular storyline doesn’t grab you, just skip around and you won’t have missed much. It’s consistently had a good following and solid reviews over its fifteen seasons, and is one of the most popular Romanian TV shows. If you want to watch it, here is a link to their official YouTube channel.

2- Secretul Mariei

Here’s another gem of Romanian television. Translating to “The Secret of Maria,” this show is about two identical twins who live very different lives. Lorena has a blissful marriage to a man from an old-money family, with the only hitch being her disapproving mother-in-law.

Maria is an exotic dancer who tries to put on a brave face and ignore the fact that she would do anything to be with her sister’s husband.

This is another long-running serial, and over the course of its 100+ episodes, you’ll see that Lorena’s life is nowhere near what it appears to be to outsiders.

3- Umbre

What else can you expect from Romania television?

Recommended to an adult audience only, this HBO Europe series aims to raise the bar for Romanian crime dramas. Taken at a glance, it’s a relatively familiar story about a working-class cab driver who secretly leads a double life as a mob enforcer. When a job goes wrong, he’s got to work double-time to keep his lives separate and make things right.

However, Umbre ( meaning “shadows” ) has some uniquely Romanian touches. More time is given on-screen to the day-to-day workings of the life of the main character, Relu.

You don’t get that as much in some other fast-paced crime dramas. And the show was actually criticized by Romanians for including a huge amount of slang and rude words in the dialogue. That makes it an extra challenge and an extra reward for the dedicated Romanian learners out there. Definitely one of the best Romanian TV shows for really learning the language.

4- Atletico Textila

A corrupt owner of a failing football team and a run-down textile factory gets locked up, and his wife has to take control, even though she doesn’t know the first thing about football management or textile factory management. Hilarity ensues as the players start getting used to the idea of playing on…that kind of team.

This is an interesting window into Romanian culture. For one thing, the idea of a woman running a football team is seen as a crucial part of the reason why the series is funny. But on the other hand, the manager is portrayed as energetic and motivating, and so the show as a whole respects her drive.

All in all, we definitely consider this one of the top Romanian TV shows. Give it a try! You can find the first episode here.

5- The Silent Valley (Valea Mută)

Here’s another HBO series for you. In addition to the high production value that HBO series are known for, this one definitely breaks new ground when it comes to famous Romanian TV shows.

It’s about two young men discovering their true romantic feelings for each other—while at the same time grappling with the brutal killings they witnessed in the Romanian wilderness. How will their relationship survive the investigation that they become central parts of?

The Silent Valley was actually based off a Norwegian series called Eyewitness. Producers knew that they were taking a risk by realistically portraying love between two young men in a show meant for a more conservative audience, but they did it anyway and were critically acclaimed for their work.

6- Jocuri de Celebritate

Of course, there’s gotta be a game show on here! The title translates to “Celebrity Games,” and the plot is simple. Two teams of contestants, with three people to a team, answer quiz questions and play games to take home 10,000-lei prize money (roughly 2,300 USD).

The twist: On one team, you’ve got two well-known celebrities plus one ordinary Romanian. That ordinary person has the chance to hang out with the biggest names in Romanian entertainment plus win the equivalent of about four months’ salary.

Game shows are actually a really good way to practice listening to Romanian. They’re not scripted, so you know that what you hear is a totally natural usage of the language.

Plus, you’ll likely hear the same set lines and explanations of the rules over and over! And of course, watching a couple of episodes of this gives you a real fast rundown of who’s who in Romania—those pop culture references aren’t gonna learn themselves!

If you’re at all interested in Romanian reality TV shows or game shows, this is a good place to start.

7- Fructul Oprit

One thing to know about Eastern and Southern Europe: They love watching Turkish soap operas. Like, seriously—the numbers show that Turkish soaps on Romanian TV channels regularly attract just as many viewers as Romanian shows. Fructul Oprit ( translating loosely to “Forbidden Fruit” ) is based on a couple of key plotlines in well-known Turkish dramas, and it was even partially filmed in Istanbul.

Its theme is, overall, love.

In upper-class old-money circles in Bucharest, the question of who will end up with whom is a serious matter for families to consider. You can’t control love, and you can’t control fate. So when tragedy strikes a single couple, the dominoes really begin to fall in all directions.

3. Finding Ways to Watch Romanian Shows Online

Laptop Keyboard

So, can you find these Romanian TV shows on Netflix?

Netflix, you may be surprised to hear, is available in Romania but doesn’t have any of these Romanian shows available. Give it time, though—it’s only been two years since Netflix even entered the Romanian market.

So apart from Netflix, where can you watch Romanian TV shows online?

First off, YouTube and DailyMotion are excellent sources for finding Romanian TV series online. Search for any of these shows above, and you’re practically guaranteed to find a wide selection of complete episodes available on either of these streaming sites.

Naturally, just because they’re available now, at the time of this writing, doesn’t mean they’ll stay up forever. But on the other hand, YouTube is famously lax about enforcing copyright claims for smaller countries—and some of these TV shows are popular enough that they’re just uploaded directly by the production companies! For example, Atletico Textila has the first fourteen episodes up on the network’s channel.

Outside of that, AntenaPlay is the streaming hub for the Romanian entertainment channels Antena 1, 2, and 3. You can sign up for an account if you live in Romania, or you can get a Romanian friend to give you their login information. Once you have access, you can watch quite a few of these shows on demand.

If that’s not an option or these shows haven’t done it for you so far, don’t go away yet…

4. Reconnect with the Romanian Childhood You Never Had

Sometimes it’s good to ignore all the crime drama/love triangle stories and just enjoy something more simple and laid-back. That’s where cartoons come in.

The language in cartoons is often at a similar level grammatically to what you might hear in shows for adults, but you know it’s rarely going to veer into the technical or obscure. And the audio quality is usually much better because the voices are all dubbed in a studio instead of recorded during filming.

Here are three YouTube channels popular in Romania that, between them, have about a zillion hours of Romanian cartoons for you to enjoy.

1- Robotzi

Out of the three, Robotzi is the most out-there. It’s a cartoon about robots, produced independently and definitely aimed at an audience of teenagers or older. The episodes are very short and bite-sized, and they rely on fast-paced dialogue and wordplay to get their humor across.

2- TraLaLa

As a polar opposite, this is a YouTube channel with not one, but four, different short cartoon series (six, really, but two are wordless).

As you can tell by looking at the thumbnails, these are made for younger children—but the characters speak fast with hardly any breaks. Follow along with the adventures of Vikings, forest creatures, zoo animals, and insect buddies, and watch your Romanian abilities rise to meet the challenge!

3- Cartoon Network Romania and Disney Romania

Time for the big leagues. These American kids’ entertainment juggernauts have found big popularity with Romanian dubs of their shows, and they’ve put thousands of clips online of current and classic kids’ shows dubbed into Romanian.

Ben 10, Powerpuff Girls, and, rather appropriately, Hotel Transylvania, all have dozens of clips uploaded with high-quality Romanian voice tracks.

And here’s one last hint: If you can’t find a particular cartoon that you loved in your childhood on these or other official channels, use the general search terms dublat meaning “dubbed” or dublat în limba română meaning “dubbed into Romanian.” You might find what you’re looking for after all!

5. Conclusion

To get the best bang from your TV-watching buck, you should make a habit of balancing active study with passive watching.

So, say you’ve got sixty minutes in total to sit down and learn Romanian from TV shows.

Twenty minutes, or 1/3 of your actual time, should be spent watching slowly and carefully. Maybe you repeat something you watched before, maybe you write down all the new words and sentences you can hear.

The remaining 2/3 should be spent on just listening with your ears open, not pausing to look anything up, but not entirely zoning out either.

This is because when you study something new, seeing it “in the wild” is the best way to really lock it into your memory. You’ll experience a kind of rush when a previously indecipherable sentence suddenly reveals itself to be full of yesterday’s vocabulary words—and that feeling will make the memory ten times stronger.

So really, there’s no time to waste. Head on over to some of the websites linked in this article, and don’t forget to also check out the Romanian material available right here on!

Oh, and before you go, let us know in the comments which of these Romanian TV series you want to watch first! We look forward to hearing from you!

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Author: Yassir Sahnoun is a HubSpot certified content strategist, copywriter and polyglot who works with language learning companies. He helps companies attract sales using content strategy, copywriting, blogging, email marketing & more.