Unveiling Top Chinese Series for Beginners: A Starter Guide

Unveiling Top Chinese Series for Beginners: A Starter Guide

Publish date
Oct 3, 2023
A new language opens the door to a new world, and when it comes to Chinese, it's no different. But how do you start this journey? Well, what if we told you, you could learn Mandarin while sitting back, enjoying a gripping drama or laughing at a comedy series? Welcome to the world of Chinese series for beginners!
Watching Chinese series is a popular and effective way to grasp the nuances of Mandarin, the most widely spoken Chinese dialect. It’s not just about learning new vocabulary or phrases. It's about hearing the language in context, understanding the cultural nuances, and getting a feel for the rhythm and intonation of Mandarin. Whether it's a heated discussion between characters in a drama or a light-hearted conversation in a sitcom, you'll be exposed to authentic, everyday Mandarin that textbooks often miss.
Moreover, Chinese series offer a wealth of topics and genres, from romantic dramas to historical epics, providing you with a broad range of contexts to learn from. They depict the social dynamics, cultural norms, and daily life in China, giving you a deeper understanding of the country and its people. This kind of cultural immersion is a crucial part of language learning, helping you appreciate the language beyond just words and grammar.
So, if you're a beginner looking to learn Mandarin, grab some popcorn, sit back, and get ready to dive into the world of Chinese series. It's time to learn Mandarin the fun way!

Why Mandarin Should Be Your First Chinese Language

Congratulations on your decision to learn a Chinese language! Now comes the big question: Which one to start with? Enter Mandarin - the most spoken language in the world, and the key to unlocking the rich cultural tapestry and the booming economic machine of China.
Mandarin: The National Language of China
Mandarin, also known as "putonghua," meaning "common language," is the national language of China. It is spoken by over two-thirds of the Chinese population, making it the most widely spoken language in the country. Learning Mandarin gives you a direct channel to communicate with locals, understand their rich history, traditions, and modern lifestyle. It also opens up a vast array of literature and art that are not translated into English, truly enriching your cultural and intellectual exploration.
Mandarin: A Global Language
Mandarin is not just a language confined within China. It is the most widely spoken language globally, with over nine hundred million native speakers. The Chinese diaspora, spreading from Southeast Asia to Western countries like the USA, UK, and Canada, ensures Mandarin's presence worldwide. This makes Mandarin a powerful tool for connecting with a diverse global population.
Mandarin: A Tool for Career Advancement
In today's global business landscape, Mandarin proficiency is a highly sought-after skill. As China's economy continues to grow, professionals who can bridge the cultural and linguistic gap are in high demand. Learning Mandarin can open doors to numerous opportunities in thriving sectors such as electronics, technology, and manufacturing.
Mandarin: A Pathway to Cognitive Growth
Learning Mandarin isn't just about language acquisition. The cognitive benefits, such as improved brain function and the development of cognitive skills, can't be overlooked. It is an intellectually stimulating experience that invites personal growth.
In conclusion, starting your Chinese language journey with Mandarin brings a myriad of benefits. It's not just a language, but an invitation to a deeper understanding of the world's most populous nation, its rich history, vibrant culture, and dynamic economy. So, why wait? Let's dive right in and explore the top Chinese series for beginners to kickstart your Mandarin learning journey!

Top Chinese Series for Beginners

The allure of learning through entertainment cannot be overstated. It's time to spice up your Mandarin learning journey with these captivating Chinese TV series. Each one of these shows is a treasure trove of cultural insights, authentic language use, and contextual vocabulary, all wrapped up in engaging storylines that will keep you hooked.

Day and Night (白夜追凶)

Let's start with the suspense-filled series, Day and Night (白夜追凶). Aired in 2017, this gripping thriller revolves around the investigation of a mysterious case by a detective and his twin brother. This show is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the intricate web of Mandarin language while also enjoying a thrilling storyline.

Chosen (杀无赦)

Next, we have Chosen (杀无赦) from 2018. Prepare yourself for a thrilling journey as three individuals get embroiled in a deadly game of survival. This intense, action-packed series offers a unique blend of suspense and drama, making it an exciting backdrop for Mandarin learning.

Take my brother away (快把我哥带走)

Switching gears to a lighter tone, Take My Brother Away (快把我哥带走) from 2017 is a heartwarming series revolving around the misadventures of a brother and sister duo. The warm and humorous interactions provide a rich context for learning colloquial Mandarin expressions.

Ode to Joy (欢乐颂)

Ode to Joy (欢乐颂), a two-part series from 2016, follows five modern women living in the same Shanghai apartment complex. This show offers insights into the lives of modern Chinese women, touching on sensitive topics like financial issues and societal pressures. It's an excellent series for beginners looking to learn Mandarin while gaining understanding of contemporary Chinese society.

A Bright World (世界青年说)

If talk shows are more your speed, A Bright World (世界青年说) from 2015 is a must-watch. Bringing together young foreigners living in China, each episode explores different topics, offering a diverse range of perspectives. This show is not only entertaining but also highly motivating for beginners learning Mandarin.

A love so beautiful (致我们单纯的小美好)

For the romantics, A Love So Beautiful (致我们单纯的小美好) from 2017 offers a sweet and innocent love story. The show's simple yet engaging narrative makes it a perfect choice for beginners to learn Mandarin effortlessly while getting their dose of romance.

Go Ahead (以家人之名)

Go Ahead (以家人之名) is a heartwarming 2020 series that explores the concept of family beyond blood ties. As you follow the intertwined lives of three individuals who support each other through life's challenges, you'll find yourself picking up Mandarin phrases and vocabulary in a natural setting.

Love till the end of summer (夏至未至)

Lastly, Love till the End of Summer (夏至未至) from 2017 is a coming-of-age series that follows the journey of three friends from high school to adulthood. This series provides a captivating context for learning Mandarin while offering a glimpse into the dynamics of friendships and romantic relationships in Chinese society.
Ready for a binge-watch? These series are not just a source of entertainment, but a doorway to a richer understanding of Mandarin and Chinese culture. Happy watching and learning!

How to Effectively Learn Mandarin from Chinese Series

Unlocking the Mandarin language through Chinese TV series is not just about passive viewing. It requires an active and strategic approach to fully exploit the learning potential these shows offer. By using the right techniques and tools, you can turn your binge-watching sessions into productive language learning experiences.

Begin with Subtitles

For beginners, it's recommended to start with English subtitles. This will help you understand the context and plot, making the viewing experience more enjoyable. As your familiarity with Mandarin increases, transition to Chinese subtitles. This will aid in character recognition and boost your reading skills. Eventually, challenge yourself to watch without subtitles to test your comprehension.

Focus on Repetition and Context

Language learning thrives on repetition and context. Pay attention to recurring phrases and expressions, and note how they're used in different contexts. This will give you a better understanding of their meaning and usage.

Practice Active Listening

Active listening is a crucial skill in language learning. Try to pick out familiar words and phrases, and attempt to understand new ones from the context. You can also pause and replay challenging sections to better grasp the pronunciation and intonation.

Utilize Language Learning Apps

Language learning apps like Traverse can be an excellent supplement to your Mandarin learning journey from Chinese series. These apps offer structured lessons that reinforce what you’ve learned from the shows, helping you grasp the nuances of Mandarin more effectively.

Take Notes

Jotting down new vocabulary, phrases, or interesting grammatical structures will help reinforce your memory. Later, you can review these notes or use them for speaking and writing practice.

Engage in Speaking Practice

Mimicking the actors' pronunciation and intonation can significantly improve your speaking skills. Don't be afraid to pause the show and repeat after the characters. This 'shadowing' technique can help you sound more natural in Mandarin.

Incorporate Cultural Learning

Apart from language acquisition, Chinese TV series offer a rich source of cultural insights. Take note of cultural references, social norms, and manners portrayed in these series. Understanding these cultural elements can enhance your communication skills and deepen your appreciation of Chinese culture.
Remember, learning Mandarin from Chinese series is not just about understanding every word or phrase. It's about immersing yourself in the language, absorbing its rhythm, and embracing the culture it represents. So, sit back, enjoy the show, and let the Mandarin seep into your subconscious.

Popular Chinese Streaming Websites for Accessing Chinese Series

Whether you're a beginner or an advanced learner, accessing the right content is crucial for your Mandarin language journey. Luckily, there are several online platforms where you can stream popular Chinese series that not only entertain but also help you enhance your Mandarin skills. Here are five top streaming websites you should consider:


Often referred to as the "Netflix of China," iQIYI offers a vast range of Chinese series, from classic dramas to modern reality shows. With its user-friendly interface and extensive library, iQIYI makes it easy to find series that match your interests and language proficiency level.


Youku is another popular streaming platform in China, known for its diverse content. It hosts numerous Chinese series across various genres, including drama, action, comedy, and more. Youku's comprehensive offerings provide a rich resource for understanding China's culture and language nuances.

Mango TV

Mango TV, also known as Hunan TV, is a streaming service owned by Hunan Broadcasting System, one of China's largest television networks. The platform offers a wide array of Chinese series and shows, many of which have Mandarin subtitles, making it a great tool for language learning.


Viki is an international streaming service that provides a variety of Asian dramas, including those from China. What sets Viki apart is its active community of volunteer translators who provide subtitles in multiple languages, making it easier for non-native speakers to understand and learn new Mandarin phrases and vocabulary.


PPTV is a Chinese video streaming website offering a wide range of TV shows and movies, including popular Chinese series. With its broad content selection, PPTV is an excellent resource for immersing yourself in Mandarin language content.
Remember, with any language learning endeavor, consistency is key. So pick a series from these platforms, set a regular schedule to watch, and let the immersive experience of Chinese series guide you in your Mandarin learning journey.
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Using Traverse App to Enhance Your Mandarin Learning from Chinese Series

Elevate your Mandarin learning experience to the next level with the Traverse app. With its science-based approach, this handy tool amplifies the benefits you gain from watching Chinese series for beginners, turning your leisure time into a highly efficient and engaging learning session.
The Power of Mind Mapping and Spaced Repetition
What sets Traverse apart from other language learning apps is its combination of mind mapping, spaced repetition flashcards, and connected note-taking all in one app. As you watch your selected series, you can create mind maps to connect new vocabulary and phrases with their contexts in the series. This makes remembering new words and their usage much easier because they are linked to a visual and auditory experience.
Learning at Your Pace
The Traverse app also uses spaced repetition to optimize your memory retention. This method involves reviewing words and phrases at increasing intervals, making sure you encounter them just as you're about to forget. This approach aligns with the latest cognitive science research, ensuring that your Mandarin learning from Chinese series is not only fun but also highly effective.
Connecting with a Community of Learners
The Traverse app isn’t just a study tool—it's also a community. You can share your learning experiences, get tips from others who are also using Chinese series to learn Mandarin, and even contribute to the development of the app through feedback.
A Partner in Your Mandarin Learning Journey
Utilizing the Traverse app alongside Chinese series for beginners offers you a well-rounded, engaging, and effective approach to mastering Mandarin. It enhances the immersive experience of watching Chinese series by providing a structured and scientific method of reinforcing what you learn.
So, whether you're engrossed in the thrilling "Day and Night" or swooning over "A Love So Beautiful", Traverse is there to make sure that every minute you spend watching is a step forward in your Mandarin learning journey.

Conclusion: Start Your Mandarin Learning Journey with Chinese Series Today

Venturing into the captivating world of Chinese series isn't just an excellent way to entertain yourself, but a dynamic approach to acquiring Mandarin. It's like having your cake and eating it too – you get to immerse yourself in riveting storylines while simultaneously sharpening your language skills. It's a win-win for every lifelong learner out there!
Chinese series are your gateway to understanding Mandarin in its natural context. You get to hear the language as it's spoken by native speakers, pick up on cultural nuances, and even learn a few colloquial expressions along the way. With an array of series to choose from, ranging from the action-packed "Day and Night" to the heartwarming "Take My Brother Away," there's something to cater to everyone's taste.
Remember, diving into Chinese series for beginners isn't about binge-watching or passive viewing. It's about active engagement and strategic learning. This is where Traverse comes in. With its science-backed approach and unique features like mind mapping and spaced repetition flashcards, it ensures that your Mandarin learning is efficient, enjoyable, and effective.
In conclusion, embarking on your Mandarin learning journey with Chinese series is an innovative and enjoyable strategy. It's about leveraging entertainment to facilitate learning. But it's also about enjoying the process, because learning Mandarin isn't a sprint, it's a marathon. So, take a step today, indulge in a Chinese series, and let Traverse guide you to Mandarin mastery. After all, as the Chinese proverb goes, "Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere."
So, why not start your Mandarin treasure hunt with a Chinese series today?
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