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Six Spanish Netflix series to keep you entertained during lockdown

With Spain's strict lockdown set to run until late April and plenty of home time on the horizon for 2020, there's no better time than the present to get stuck into an enthralling 'Made in España' Netflix series and improve your Spanish in the process.

Six Spanish Netflix series to keep you entertained during lockdown
Photo: Netflix

What’s good about this is that there is so much to watch that it’s almost impossible to get bored. And for those of you trying to improve your Spanish, watching a series in Castellano is not a bad way to hone your listening skills.

Netflix is the most popular online entertainment platform, allowing its subscribers to watch any series or movie from the catalogue just by having an Internet connection. Since its foundation in 1997, the company has kept on growing, reaching 130 countries in 2016, and invested more and more money in original content.

In 2016, the platform released its first original series produced in Spain: Las chicas del cable. Last July, they announced the creation of its first production hub in Madrid, in which new titles will be produced.

Here are The Local's six favourite Spanish series on Netflix that you simply shouldn’t miss:

Las chicas del cable

The first original series produced by Netflix in Spain premiered in March 2016, with a second season released in December of the same year and a recent third season which came out in 2018. Created by Ramón Campos and Gema R. Neira, it is set in the 1920s and 1930s in Madrid. Lidia (Blanca Suárez), Ángeles (Maggie Civantos), Marga (Nadia de Santiago) and Carlota (Ana Fernández) start working at the national telephone company, located in the centre of Madrid. The series follows their lives and tells stories of love, friendship, secrets and betrayal, set during some important moments of Spanish history.

This historic drama reflects the society of that time while using some elements from the present, such as modern music. Easy to watch and very enjoyable, you’ll hate the cliffhangers but love the characters.

Paquita Salas

This comedy mockumentary series created by Javier Calvo and Javier Ambrossi was released on the digital platform Flooxer in 2016 and aired on the TV Channel Neox, but in October 2017 Netflix bought the rights and it became an exclusive series of the platform. There was a second season (produced by Netflix) in 2018 and a third one in 2019.

Paquita Salas (Brays Efe), head of PS Management, is a talent representative who was very successful in the 90s but is now struggling with technology and life in modern times. After her most famous actress leaves her agency, she suddenly realises she needs to get her life back on track. Perfect for those with little time to spare (5 episodes per season, around 20 minutes per episode), you’ll swerve between laughing out loud to deep emotion in a flash.

Élite

The first season of this drama/thriller series premiered in 2018, and only twelve days later Netflix announced that it will be followed in the future by another season of 8 episodes. There are now three seasons available on the platform.

Created by Carlos Montero and Darío Madrona, it is set in the most prestigious private school in Spain, Las Encinas. When their high school is destroyed by an earthquake, three students get a grant to study in this elite academy, and the tension created after their arrival ends in a murder. The series looks at issues like inequality between the upper and working class, revealing the contrast between those who have it all and those who have nothing to lose.

La Casa de Papel (Money Heist)

Produced by Atresmedia and Vancouver Media and created by Álex Pina, the series premiered in May 2017 on Antena 3. Netflix bought the rights and edited it for global distribution with the English title Money Heist. The fourth season has just been released in early April 2020. It is the most-viewed non-English language series ever on the platform.

In the thriller/crime drama, a man called “The Professor” (Álvaro Morte) recruits eight people with different abilities to carry out the biggest bank heist in history. They enter the Royal Mint of Spain to print €2.4 billion. dealing with police forces and hostages.

El Ministerio del Tiempo

This historical fiction series was produced by TVE (the Spanish public TV network) and created by Pablo and Javier Olivares. The first two seasons premiered in February 2015 and February 2016, and aired on La 1, the main TVE channel. In September 2016 a third season was announced, and the public network reached an agreement with Netflix: thanks to the company’s participation in the production, this season would have a higher budget; in exchange, Netflix could add the first two seasons to its catalogue and have the exclusive online distribution of the third, after the episodes were aired on TV.

The Ministry of Time is an secret institution dependant on the Spanish Government. Only presidents, monarchs and a few more people know about its existence. Time travel is controlled by patrols, with the aim of avoiding intruders from the past to change the present to their benefit. It’s been said to be one of the best Spanish series, and it features different important characters and key moments in Spanish history.

La Catedral del Mar

Co-produced by Atresmedia, Televisió de Catalunya and Netflix and directed by Jordi Frades, this series is based on the novel with the same name written by Ildefonso Falcones. It premiered in May 2018 and has only one season of 8 episodes.

The series is set in Barcelona in the 14th century, when the city is at its peak and the construction of the Santa María del Mar church begins. Arnau Estanyol (Aitor Luna) arrives to the city as a slave and climbs the social hierarchy to a comfortable life, provoking the envy of his enemies who report him to the Inquisition. Through the story of this character, the series shows the social problems in medieval Barcelona under tight control of the Catholic Church.

READ ALSO:  Crooks, Clubbers and Commies: British cinema’s love affair with Spain 

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COVID-19

Spain rules out EU’s advice on compulsory Covid-19 vaccination 

Spain’s Health Ministry said Thursday there will be no mandatory vaccination in the country following the European Commission’s advice to Member States to “think about it” and Germany’s announcement that it will make vaccines compulsory in February.

Spain rules out EU's advice on compulsory Covid-19 vaccination 
A Spanish man being vaccinated poses with a custom-made T-shirt showing Spain's chief epidimiologist Fernando Simón striking a 'Dirty Harry/Clint Eastwood' pose over the words "What part of keep a two-metre distance don't you understand?' Photo: José Jordan

Spain’s Health Minister Carolina Darias on Thursday told journalists Covid-19 vaccines will continue to be voluntary in Spain given the “very high awareness of the population” with regard to the benefits of vaccination.

This follows the words of European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday, urging Member States to “think about mandatory vaccination” as more cases of the Omicron variant are detected across Europe. 

READ ALSO: Is Spain proving facts rather than force can convince the unvaccinated?

“I can understand that countries with low vaccine coverage are contemplating this and that Von der Leyen is considering opening up a debate, but in our country the situation is absolutely different,” Darias said at the press conference following her meeting with Spain’s Interterritorial Health Council.

According to the national health minister,  this was also “the general belief” of regional health leaders of each of Spain’s 17 autonomous communities she had just been in discussion with over Christmas Covid measures. 

READ MORE: Spain rules out new restrictions against Omicron variant

Almost 80 percent of Spain’s total population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19, a figure which is around 10 percent higher if looking at those who are eligible for the vaccine (over 12s). 

It has the highest vaccination rate among Europe’s most populous countries.

Germany announced tough new restrictions on Thursday in a bid to contain its fourth wave of Covid-19 aimed largely at the country’s unvaccinated people, with outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel speaking in favour of compulsory vaccinations, which the German parliament is due to vote on soon.

Austria has also already said it will make Covid-19 vaccines compulsory next February, Belgium is also considering it and Greece on Tuesday said it will make vaccination obligatory for those over 60.

But for Spain, strict Covid-19 vaccination rules have never been on the table, having said from the start that getting the Covid-19 jabs was voluntary. 

There’s also a huge legal implication to imposing such a rule which Spanish courts are unlikely to look on favourably. 

Stricter Covid restrictions and the country’s two states of alarm, the first resulting in a full national lockdown from March to May 2020, have both been deemed unconstitutional by Spain’s Constitutional Court. 

READ ALSO: Could Spain lock down its unvaccinated or make Covid vaccines compulsory?

The Covid-19 health pass to access indoor public spaces was also until recently consistently rejected by regional high courts for breaching fundamental rights, although judges have changed their stance favouring this Covid certificate over old Covid-19 restrictions that affect the whole population.

MAP: Which regions in Spain now require a Covid health pass for daily affairs?

“In Spain what we have to do is to continue vaccinating as we have done until now” Darias added. 

“Spaniards understand that vaccines are not only a right, they are an obligation because we protect others with them”.

What Spanish health authorities are still considering is whether to vaccinate their 5 to 11 year olds after the go-ahead from the European Medicines Agency, with regions such as Madrid claiming they will start vaccinating their young children in December despite there being no official confirmation from Spain’s Vaccine Committee yet.

READ MORE: Will Spain soon vaccinate its children under 12?

Spain’s infection rate continues to rise day by day, jumping 17 points up to 234 cases per 100,000 people on Thursday. There are now also five confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in the country, one through community transmission.

Hospital bed occupancy with Covid patients has also risen slightly nationwide to 3.3 percent, as has ICU Covid occupancy which now stands at 8.4 percent, but the Spanish government insists these figures are “almost three times lower” than during previous waves of the coronavirus pandemic.

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