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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: How to Talk About TV Shows in English - Spoken English Lesson

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Hi, Im Kasia.

Welcome to Oxford Online English!

In this lesson, youll learn how to talk about TV and TV shows in English.

Do you watch TV?

How and where?

What kind of shows do you like or dislike?

Youll see how to answer these questions and more in clear, detailed English.

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Now, lets get back to our topic.

Heres a question: how much TV do you watch?

Do you watch much TV?

Not really.

I used to, but now Im too busy, and I dont have the time.

Sometimes I put something on in the background while Im doing other things, like cooking

or cleaning.


I go through phases.

Sometimes I get really into a show, and I binge-watch it over a few days, or Ill

have weeks where I watch a lot of TV in the evenings.

But, at some point, I get tired of it and I take a break for a few weeks.

So youre either watching TV all the time, or not at all?

I guess!

I get addicted to things easily.

Ive never really understood the whole binge-watching thing.

Ive never been *that* into a show.

I can watch one, two episodes of something, but then I want to do something else.

Thats a better way to do it.

Its fun to watch a really good show, but sometimes I feel guilty, like I could be doing

something better with my time.


Do you watch much TV?

In the dialogue, you heard several phrases you can use to talk about your TV-watching


Look at four sentences.

Do you know what these mean?

Are any of them true for you?

Go through phasesis a general phrase.

You can use it to talk about many things.

It means that you have times where you do something a lot, and then times when you dont

do it much.

So, if you sayI go through phases’, and youre talking about watching TV, you

mean that there are times when you watch TV regularly, and times you dont.

Maybe one month you watch a lot of TV, but the next month, you hardly watch any.

If youget intosomething, then you become really interested in it.

If you get into a TV show, you start watching it, and then you like it and you want to watch


You can useget intofor other things.

You could sayI got into photography when I was a teenager’, meaning that you developed

a strong interest in photography at that time.

Binge-watchmeans that you watch a lot of episodes of a TV show in a very short time.

Maybe you watch a whole season of a show in one or two days.

Abingehas the idea of something unhealthy.

Finally, if you put something on in the background, you arent really watching it.

Maybe youre half-watching, or youre listening but not watching.

What about you?

Look at four questions: Could you answer these questions?

Try it now!

Make sure you answer with a full sentence.

Try to use the language from the dialogue and this section.

Pause the video and make your answers.

How was that?

Could you answer fluently?

If not, remember that you can always review the dialogue and the section again.

Lets look at our next topic.

Are you watching anything good at the moment?

Im looking for a new show to watch.

Theres this medical drama Ive been watching.

Its on Wednesdays at nine oclock.

You should check it out!

On Wednesdays’?

You mean on actual TV?



You still watch broadcast TV?

I havent connected my TV aerial for years.

So, you just stream everything?


Thats weird.

I mean, no one I know watches broadcast TV these days.

I guess Im a bit old-fashioned.

I like having a choice of channels.

Mainly, Im a big sports fan, so I get a cable package.

That way, I can watch football and basketball games live.

That makes sense.

Still, having to watch something at a specific time seems so inconvenient.

I like being able to watch what I want when I want.

I have a set-top recorder, so I can record things and watch them later.

Plus, you can skip the ad breaks.

Ad breaks!

I had forgotten about those.

Most streaming services dont have any ads.

So, you never stream things?

Youve never used Hulu or Netflix or anything like that?

No, never.

I just dont have much interest.


How do you generally watch TV?

In the dialogue, we talked about two different ways to watch.

Do you remember?

You can watch broadcast TV, meaning traditional TV where you choose a channel and watch programs

on a schedule, or you can watch TV on a streaming service, like Netflix or Hulu.

You also heard some different advantages of these two ways to watch TV.

Heres a question: can you think of two advantages of watching broadcast TV, and two

advantages of streaming?

In the dialogue, you heard these: ‘I like having a choice of channels.’

I can watch football and basketball games live.’

I like being able to watch what I want when I want.’

Most streaming services dont have any ads.’

If you watch something live, you watch it as its happening, in real time.

Adis short foradvertisementoradvert’.

Ad’, ‘advertandadvertisementall have the same meaning.

Also, theyre all countable nouns.

Be careful not to mix these up withadvertisingwhich is the abstract noun, and is uncountable.

Can you think of any other advantages of broadcast TV or streaming services which werent mentioned

in the dialogue?

Try to think of one more advantage for each.

Pause the video if you want some thinking time!

What did you think of?

Of course, there are many possibilities!

Here are four ideas.

Broadcast TV is usually free, because its supported by advertising.

Broadcast TV has more news and current affairs programs.

Streaming services produce their own exclusive shows and films, which you cant watch anywhere


Many streaming services let you watch TV shows from other countries and in other languages.

Did you get similar ideas?

Do you agree with these points, or not?

What about you?

Do you watch broadcast TV, streaming services, or both?

Which is better for you, and why?

Pause the video and try to answer these questions with at least three full sentences.

Take your time, and practise your answer several times, until you can speak fluently.

Could you do it?


Lets move on.

What kind of thing do you watch?

It depends.

Sometimes, if Im tired at the end of the day, Ill just put on a sitcom, or a cookery

show or something.

If I want something more serious, I like drama series, and some documentaries.

I like comedy a lot, too.

Do you ever watch stand-up?

No, mostly just sitcoms, and a few cartoons like Bojack Horseman and things like that.

Bojack Horseman?

Whats that?

Its a really dark animated comedy.

Whats it about?

Its about a horse who used to be a famous TV star, and its set in a world where animals

live together with people, and

You know what?

Its a little hard to explain.

But, its really good.

You should check it out.

Whos in it?

Lots of people.

Will Arnett, who was in Arrested Development, and Alison Brie.

A lot of other big-name actors, too.

Is it funny?

Yeah, it is, but its dark.

Its quite sad sometimes.


Maybe Ill take a look.

Wheres it on?

Its a Netflix production, so I think you can only watch it there.

In the dialogue, you heard several questions you could use to ask someone about TV shows

they watch.

Look at the questions.

Can you complete the missing words?

Can you remember the answers, or can you work them out?

Lets look together.

Could you answer these questions for yourself?

Well look at how to answer in a minute; first, lets check the meaning of the questions.

What doeswhos in it?’ mean?

And what aboutwheres it on?’

Whos in itis asking about the actors.

Youre probably asking whether the show has famous actors.

You can use the prepositioninto talk about acting in a show or film.

For example, you can say: ‘He was in Arrested Development,’ orRobert de Niro was in


Wheres it onis asking about where you can see something.

You can use the prepositiononto talk about where or when a show is happening.

You can use it for other things, too, like films at the cinema, plays at the theatre,

or concerts.

Now, think about the first question: what kind of thing do you watch?

You could answer this by saying: ‘I mostly watch crime series.’

I watch a mix of documentaries and medical drama.’

I watch a bit of everything.’

What about you?

How would you answer this question?

Next, think of a show you really like.

Look at the questions from the dialogue.

We added some adjectives to the third question, because youll need different ideas depending

on the show.

Can you make four sentences, answering these questions, to talk about a show which you


Lets see a sample answer: ‘Im watching a sci-fi show called The Expanse.

Its about human society in the future, when people live all over the solar system,

and the tensions between different factions.

The main story is about the discovery of alien life on one of Saturns moons.

It doesnt have any big-name actors in it; I havent seen most of the cast anywhere


I think its quite original, although the story takes some time to get really interesting.

I watched it on Netflix, but I think now its only on Amazon video.’

What about you?

Try to make an answer like this, talking about a TV show you like.

Use the questions to give your answer structure.

Either write your answer down, or say it out loud.

Or, do both!

Could you do it?

Try as many times as you like.

For now, lets look at our last section.

Are you watching the new Game of Thrones season?

No, actually.

I gave up on it a while ago.

Why, is it good?

Yeah, I think so.

Where did you stop?

About two seasons ago.

I liked it at the beginning, but I felt like it went downhill in later seasons.

Some storylines just made no sense, and there was a lot of padding.


I think its just got better with time.

The season theyre making now is the last one, and I think its the best yet.

The plot has so many great twists.

Normally, I can guess where a story is going, but with this, its full of surprises.

Personally, I thought it was quite predictable.

One problem was that it got too melodramatic.

Every episode finished with a huge cliffhanger, like a bad soap opera.

Well, they had a lot of plot threads to resolve from earlier.

I think theyre doing a good job with it.

I hate it when shows leave storylines hanging and dont explain things properly.

I am a little curious to see what happens with some things, but probably not enough

to watch it again.

I can tell you if you

Nono spoilers.

I might change my mind.

You should!

If you dont like a TV show, what reasons could you give?

You heard several points in the dialogue.

Do you remember them?

Look at some phrases you heard: Could you explain the meaning of these?

Go downhillis a conversational phrase meaningget worse’.

If you sayI liked it at the start, but it went downhill later’, youre saying

that the quality of the show got worse with time.

If something makes no sense, it isnt clear or understandable.

If you saysome storylines made no sense’, maybe you mean that the characters made unrealistic

decisions, or problems were solved in a very unrealistic, fantastical way.

Paddingmeans something which is added just to fill time.

If a TV show has a lot of padding, theres a lot of empty content, which doesnt add

to the story or the characters.

Of course, you could use these sentences in different ways.

For example: ‘It went downhill after the end of season one.’

Some storylines didnt go anywhere.’

There was a lot of boring dialogue.’

Finally, lets look at three more useful words you saw in the dialogue.

Look at three sentences.

Can you explain the highlighted words?

Acliffhangeris a dramatic ending to an episode, where you really want to know

what happens next.

Often, a cliffhanger means that the episode ends right in the middle of a key story moment.

Plot threadsare like storylines.

Many TV shows have many characters and plot threads, which go in parallel to each other.

Generally, you want a show to resolve all its plot threads, meaning that every storyline

has an ending.

Otherwise, a bad show might leave storylines hanging, meaning you never find out what happened.

Finally, aspoileris when someone tells you about the story of a film or TV show before

you watch it.

Sometimes, TV reviews or articles will include the wordsspoiler alertat the beginning.

This is warning you that you shouldnt read it if you dont want to find out the story

for yourself!

Heres a final task for you.

Can you describe a TV show you really like?

Say what kind of show it is, what its about, and why you like it.

Put your answer in the comments, and you can get some feedback and corrections!

Thanks for watching!

See you next time!

The Description of How to Talk About TV Shows in English - Spoken English Lesson