The Chinese Wikipedia (维基百科) has this huge list of Chinese TV dramas. There’s all sorts of stuff there, arranged into categories like “historical”, “fantasy”, “urban” and loads more.
I find TV dramas make excellent listening practice, for a number of reasons:
- They’re very cheap to get hold of in China (and I’ve heard that there may be ways to acquire them elsewhere…).
- They’re actual stories with interesting characters and plots to follow.
- The production values are nearly always higher than those for artificial learning materials etc.
- You can actually see the way people say and respond to the expressions you’re learning.
- They usually have subtitles so you can combine your reading and listening skills to understand more.
- You get momentum going as you learn the vocabulary for people, places, plot lines etc. Each episode is a little easier to follow than the last.
- There’s a huge variety of stuff to suit different tastes, from historical dramas, mythical / fantasy type stuff, modern soaps.
- They’re often based on real Chinese history, legends or popular culture.
- They’re hard, but it’s real native-level material that can push your abilities to a higher level.
Admittedly they’re often a bit cheesy, and the acting is a little dodgy most of the time. But if you get into the spirit of them and have a laugh, Chinese TV dramas really are an abundant source of great listening practice.
And listening doesn’t just improve your comprehension - it’s an excellent way to acquire new phrases and vocabulary, as you see them in action in a memorable way. You can also watch and re-watch episodes and scenes to squeeze the maximum benefit out of them. It’s also possible to rip audio off stuff you’ve already watched and then listen to it on your mp3 player.
So I’d really recommend having a browse through the list and seeing what you can get hold of. The Grand First Episodes Project on Chinese Forums is also worth checking out. 加油！
Link: 中国大陆电视剧列表 - 维基百科