If your Chinese is already at an intermediate level but you’re still having trouble engaging in a natural conversation, then you should probably start watching a 电视剧 (diànshìjù: soap opera). Watching Chinese TV is undoubtedly the easiest way to improve your Chinese listening skills. Here are three handpicked dramas along with links to watch them. Don’t worry if you can’t understand everything at first, it will become easier with time. Just sit back, relax and feel the magic of 电视剧 working on your brain.
Set in 1930’s Shanghai, this kitsch romantic drama is about the young daughter of a general’s estranged first wife. Almost everybody I have met has watched it, and in 2001 it was one of the most popular 电视剧 in China! However, don’t tell anybody you’re watching it until you’re finished, or they might accidentally let out a 剧透 (jùtòu: spoiler).
Two 阿姨 (āyí: aunty) strive to find their unmarried adult children a partner before it’s too late, but are their high standards unrealistic? I’m not a huge fan of the modern romantic dramas, but this one made me lol.
This drama is pretty good, despite the terribly translated English name. This wartime epic follows the journey of two best friends, one an amateur spy and the other a rich general’s daughter. Things get messed up really quickly. A big step up in quality from most other dramas, but way more challenging to understand because of the plot twists, cryptic messages and double-crosses. (Heads up. Youtube link ahead! Get your VPN running.)