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Cool & contemporary vocab: TV

Nowadays, people watch a lot of different series on TV. Sports programmes are also popular as well as reality shows, quiz shows, chat shows, sit-coms and the news of course.

Below you’ll find lots of useful vocabulary that proficient English speakers use to talk about their favourite TV programmes. Using them yourself will help you to sound more ‘natural’ in conversation and will also help you to get a higher IELTS score in the speaking test.

Learn them, use them and enjoy them!




meaning: where the last few minutes of an episode or series finish in a dramatic way where you don’t know what will happen next.
example: I love watching crime series where each episode ends on a real cliffhanger and you can’t wait to find out what happens.


meaning: something that is full of suspense.
example: The last episode was a real nail-biter / really nail-biting.


meaning: when you watch a lot of episodes at once.
example: Tom isn’t coming out this weekend because he’s binge watching ‘Game of Thrones’.


meaning: something that is usually trying to be funny but lacks style, quality and originality and is a bit silly.
example: The new series is not as good as the first. The dialogue is so cheesy and the acting is awful.


meaning: it looks very impressive due to the colours and images.
example: ‘Hannibal’ was a visually stunning series.


meaning: when a TV network asks the producers of a TV series to make another one.
example: ‘Agent Carter’ was not renewed for a 3rd series.


meaning: something you should not miss because it’s very good.
example: ‘Stranger Things’ is a must-see for fans of the Goonies and 80s Spielberg films.


meaning: a TV series or film that successfully blends or mixes different styles to create something exciting and original.
example: ‘Preacher’ is an excellent genre-bending epic that is part western and part supernatural thriller.


Phrasal Verbs


meaning: when a TV network/channel pays for a new show, often after seeing its pilot.
example: The network has picked up 3 new series this year.


meaning: when an old series or character returns to the network/channel.
example: I heard they’re going to bring back Dr Harris in the new series.


meaning: when the amount of viewers declines.
example: The number of people watching the new series of ‘Top Gear’ dropped off every episode.

We hope you found these useful. Try googling them to find more examples in context and don’t forget to practise using them with your friends!!

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If you have a topic that you would like us to add in our “Cool & Contemporary vocab” series, please let us know by adding a comment here!

By Jenny Bedwell on 2016 08 01

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Katharina - Germany

Katharina - Germany

​I just got my results and I’m overwhelmed! I got 8.5 in Listening, 8.0 in Reading, 7.5 in Writing and 8.5 in Speaking (former results: 7.5, 8.0, 6.5, 7.0) after doing the Speaking + Writing Plus course! Thank you so much, Jenny, for your help!

Not only the helpful Skype sessions and detailed corrections and comments of those looking over all my essays, but also the kind and motivating emails and conversations that helped a lot and made me carry on and believe I can do it. I am so happy. This is my best Christmas present this year!

I would recommend iPassIELTS without any hesitation to anyone taking the IELTS test needing even very high marks.

With the Top-ups I could keep having feedback on the tasks I needed until I felt fully prepared. I definitely made the right choice here. Thank you so much!

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