“El Internado” Is Leaving Netflix

**Update** 10/17/2018

As of yesterday, El Internado: La Laguna Negra is back on Netflix. I haven’t confirmed this, but I suspect that this is the result of a rumored deal between Atrés Media and Netflix. I am leaving this post up as I believe there is still useful information here for those using the show. Furthermore, very few shows stay on Netflix in perpetuity. I am glad that I have my DVDs (that I purchased from Amazon.es) in case it goes away again in the future. The assurance that I can still use the show if the wireless goes down provides me peace of mind.

What Happened & Where We’re At NowEl Internado cast

Spain’s Antena 3’s El Internado: La Laguna Negra will no longer be available on Netflix as of August 1, 2018. The show, which ran from 2007 to 2010, has played a prominent role in many CI classrooms in the past several years.

We’re left with two options: a.) discontinue using El Internado or, b.) purchase the DVD set and continue using the show as before. In my opinion, the show is too captivating and we have put in too many hours creating great supplemental resources to stop using it. Have you downloaded my free first season readings/episode guides? They’re between three and six single-spaced pages a piece and have embedded comprehension questions to support your students’ understanding of the episodes.

Why This Might Not Be So Bad

Netflix’s decision to pull the show is a two-edged sword. It’s unfortunate any time that such a compelling resource becomes unavailable to a motivated student who wants extra input outside of class.

I’ve always been ambivalent about students watching ahead. For the majority of those who watch ahead, it’s beneficial since they can focus more on the language because they’re not expending mental bandwidth processing what’s happening on the screen.

With that being said, I have experienced several problems when kids realize that the show is on Netflix. First, some students who watch ahead get bored when we watch it in class, especially when I really slow down to explain scenes that feature a lot of incomprehensible language that is critical to the plot. Second, some kids just aren’t good about not spoiling things. Paula’s eyes lighting up at the end of Episode 3 as she stares at her bedroom ceiling just wouldn’t be the same if you knew it was coming, now would it? Finally, some students unfortunately pay less attention to it than they would otherwise because they know they can catch up on what they missed anytime they want to at home.

I’m not going to lie, I like being in control of pacing the show and being the “gatekeeper.”  I traditionally showed it for part of class on Fridays provided we got everything done from earlier in the week. El Internado was a “carrot” that would be there for them on Friday if they had a good week (which they almost always did).

Why You Should Buy the DVD Set

Even though its first episode hit Spanish TV over a decade ago, it will be awhile until El Internado starts to feel dated (the characters’ flip phones might be the first domino to fall…) While the complete series DVD set from Amazon.es runs around $100 plug shipping, you need to keep in mind just how much content (7 seasons of episodes that are 70+ minutes each) you’re getting for that price. If you used the show for 45 minutes once a week (including viewing time and discussion), how much was your cumulative saved planning time worth by the end of the semester? This isn’t even including the increased student buy-in that you are going to kindle from the first day you watch it.

There are subtitles on the official DVD box set, however they are only in Spanish, whereas you could change them to English on Netflix. This shouldn’t affect how you would use the show in class since we want to keep the input in the target language 90% or higher of the time.

Do you need help convincing your administrator to either give you permission to use the show in class or purchase the DVD set (or both)? Download my admin letter below.

El Internado Letter to Administrators – Microsoft Word Document

Don’t waste your time with the bootlegged boxed sets on eBay. While I’m no fan of how Antena 3 has treated educators in the U.S. who created resources for El Internado (and consequently put Antena 3 on the map in the Spanish teaching community here), as professionals we don’t want to support piracy. Non-original DVDs also tend to be poorly edited, feature lower resolutions, and lack subtitles.

What You Need to Know About DVD Regions

DVD region codes allow copyright holders to control international distribution of their content. For example, a film studio doesn’t want consumers in Japan to be able to watch a DVD from the United States of a movie that is still in Japanese theaters and vice versa. The U.S., U.S. Territories, and Canada use Region 1. Europe, along with several other countries and zones, uses Region 2, and so on.

LG DP132H Region-Free DVD Player

A basic but name brand region-free DVD player like this one will let you play the DVDs from Spain (or anywhere in the world) for around $50.

Fortunately there are now region-free DVD players available that ignore region coding and will play all DVDs. This  LG region-free DVD player upscales non-HD content and ships free with Amazon Prime.

The DVD set from Amazon.es comes in a sturdy, well-designed plastic case. There are four episodes per disc (two on each side).

Back when I was in Mérida, México for my undergraduate study abroad program, I remember calling the Blockbuster movie store on the phone (now there’s a sentence that will make you feel old!) to ask them about the region codes on their DVDs. I ended up switching the region on my laptop’s DVD drive to Region 4 for the duration of my stay. This is an option if you don’t want to buy a separate player, but beware that most optical drives on PCs and Macs will only allow you to switch regions five times before it permanently stays on your most recent region setting.

While you’re here, make sure that you join the “Teaching El Internado” Facebook page that Travis Murray (another Buckeye State Spanish teacher) and I started. It’s a fun place to talk about the show, ask questions about how to use it in class, and share resources. We just added our 500th member this week.

What are you going to do for your classes this fall in light of Netflix’s decision? Leave a comment down below!

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Marc is an educator, blogger, veteran, and small business owner. Feel free to send him a message here or read his story here .

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  • Susie Sprague Link

    Will Netflix bring back El Internado. Are DVD.s available with English sub titles?

  • Rachel Castro Link

    Thank you for this site. I just discovered this and am set the show tomorrow. 🙁 So of course I canceled those plans, but am following your suggestions and ordering what I need!

    • Rachel, that’s exciting! Is this the first time you’re using the show as part of your curriculum? I’m getting ready to release guided readings (between three and five single-spaced pages a piece) for each episode of season one here within the next couple of weeks. Thanks for your support!

  • Tara C Camacho Link

    I noticed you can find this for much cheaper on amazon.es! It runs around 88 Euro for the complete series. From what I can tell, it can be mailed to the US even faster than the one found on the US Amazon page.


    • Thanks for the heads up, Tara. I’ve updated the link in the post to take you to Amazon’s Spain site. I had to look into how ordering from overseas Amazon sites works and it turns out that it’s no problem at all. I’m not sure if the VAT is built into the price already or if they add it during checkout, but this is still a much better deal than what they are selling it for on the U.S. site.

  • Lindsay Tuvell Link

    Hi! I absolutely am enjoying this show (only on Episode 2) and I love your generosity in sharing these guides for season 1. Do you happen to have any detailed notes on the scenes to skip over or the scenes with horrible language? If so, I’d gladly pay for them. Thank you so much!

    • Hi Lindsay,

      I know there is a document out there that teachers have been adding to for scenes to skip. The language is pretty constant throughout. I’m trying to find the document for you.