Isabel, the Spanish Series You Should Be Watching

Picture taken from TVE. Copyright Javier de Agustin

To my delight, I have just found out that Sky Arts is broadcasting Isabel, an awarded Spanish show that is currently on its second season back in my home country.

Now that I am in London, I find this little things particularly touching, since they allow me to have tiny moments of homesickness. Maybe because in Spain I watch this with my mum -whose name also happens to be Isabel.

To put you in situation, Isabel tells the story of whom were the most important monarchs in Spanish history: Fernando of Aragon and Isabel of Castile, commonly known as “Los Reyes Católicos” (The Catholic Monarchs): America was discovered during their reign, and they also reconquered the parts of Southern Spain that still belonged to the Muslims. They did many other things, of course, and everything is splendidly depicted in the show.

The first season begins with a teenager Isabel, and it shows her life from her marriage to Fernando up to her coronation as Queen of Castile. The second season is showing, so far, the Civil War against her niece Juana La Beltraneja -whom everybody knew was a bastard child- and, apparently, it’s going to cover the period that leads to the discovery of America. A third season has already been ordered.

It is worth mentioning that the settings are the actual castles that were used 500 years ago, and the stories, the characters’ appearances, the clothing and the way of speaking are completely accurate. This is not only a TV series; it is a piece of history, a high quality documentary.

1082494_527894457278460_305449956_oAnd about the actors, well, they are all well known thespians of the Spanish panorama, and quite respected. But the main ones I need to talk about are Michelle Jenner and Rodolfo Sancho, who play Isabel and Fernando.


I confess myself to be a huge admirer of Jenner. She started working as a voice actress when she was a child -she was the voice of young Hermione in the first Harry Potter films- and she reached fame at the age of 19, thanks to Los Hombres de Paco, a Spanish TV show that was an absolute hit. Her performance as Isabel has earned her the praise from critics and audience, and if you see the show, you will not be surprised by this. She provides a balance between sweetness and strength to Isabel, which is exactly what the character needs.

As for Sancho, he has been a household name -and heartthrob- for 15 years, since he starred in Al Salir De Clase, a teenage soap opera that served as a platform for young actors -most of the important thirty something actors in Spain right now come from that show, and some of them can be seen on Isabel-. I find quite interesting the fact that even though Sancho is 11 years older than Jenner, their characters marry when they are both 18 and it seems completely credible.

Please, watch Isabel. It is a brilliant piece of art, and you will learn about an important part of Spain’s history that I am sure you didn’t study at school.

¡FELIZ DÍA DE LA HISPANIDAD! Only us Spaniards would make our National Day out of the anniversary of conquering some other place (You´re welcome, America).


Update: now you can read more about season 3 in my new post about Isabel.

Second update: after the final episode, I wrote my last love letter to the show, as a thank-you note for everything Isabel has meant for me.

Categories: Spanish Historical Fiction, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 54 Comments

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54 thoughts on “Isabel, the Spanish Series You Should Be Watching

  1. Krista Culbertson

    I’ve always found Isabella fascinating. So glad to hear there’s a show! Definitely going to try and watch.

    • Virginia Cerezo

      You’ll love it! It’s probably the best miniseries Spain has filmed 🙂

  2. Brilliant post ,Thank you for following my blog.Have a delightful week.jalal

  3. Just as Isabel was one of the greatest political leaders in human history, her “General,” Gonzalvo Fernandez de Cordoba was one of the greatest soldiers & is often referred as the “Father of Modern Infantry Tactics” or of Trench Warfare. The actor playing him does a wonderful job & the platonic romance between Gonzalo, her protector, & Isabel adds an interesting dimension to the drama.

    • Virginia Cerezo

      I know, all the liberties they take on the show are always good. The second series is even better.

  4. Babette

    has anyone found serie 2 available on the net ? I watched episode 14 but can’t get it to work anymore…

  5. Kathy Phelps

    I just finished both season 1 and 2 here in the US on a streaming site called I watched the season 3 trailer that you posted and it looks like it is going to be something like Ferd & Izzie meet The Borgias, but I could be totally wrong. There were no subtitles on the trailer and I don’t speak Spanish.
    I was fascinated about the battles between the nobles in the early episodes. This seemed very similar to The Wars of the Roses. I watched the White Queen last summer and really enjoyed it. It was the White Queen that got me interested in the time period.
    Season 2 was more exciting and included much more familiar history. I really liked the scene where Columbus is fiddling around with his globe in the anteroom waiting for someone in the court to pay attention to him. Nothing ever changes!

    • Virginia Cerezo

      It is one of the most accurate series I’ve ever watched. They are filming season 3 right now, and it is going to end with Isabel´s death, so I guess season 4 will be about Fernando, their daughter Joanna the Mad, etc… And yes, Sancho is a hottie!! 😛

  6. Kathy Phelps

    Forgot to mention, Rodolfo Sancho is a real hottie!

  7. Guest

    Hi Virginia Cerezo
    Where could someone who lives in Australia watch season 2 of Isabel? I watched season 1 on rtve but season 2 does not work for me.

  8. Rachel

    Is Isabel season 2 planning in being aired in the uk? If do when? Thanks

  9. tani4ka

    Is anybody know where I can find Spanish subtitles?

  10. Charmaine Walker

    I only seen season 1 on Sky Arts in Ireland and loved it, and would really like to no when the 2nd series is starting or can i buy it online with English subtitles.

    • Virginia Cerezo

      Hello! I think somewhere in the comments someone posted a link to a website where you can watch them with subtitles 🙂

      • ElAmado

        Not in the UK unfortunately! In the UK it seems that you can’t buy Isabel with English subtitles on DVD or BluRay and no date for when SkyArts will be showing Season 2 (or 3)… Another example of how us in the UK are treated like second class citizens 😦


    isabel season 3 is currently airing in spain…anyone know where we can watch it? dramafever doesn’t have it!

    • Virginia Cerezo

      They aired an episode two days ago comprising season 1 and 2, and season 3 starts next Monday. I will soon write a post to preview the third season, so follow my blog or my Twitter if you like and you will soon have news about it 🙂


    do you know when drama fever will air it or any other website with english subtitles?? thank you!

    • Virginia Cerezo

      I believe some people posted on the comments links to the seasons. Check them just in case you can still watch them there 🙂

  13. Pingback: Isabel Series 3: The End of a Reign is Near | Corleones & Lannisters

  14. Gloria

    I have watched Season 1 and 2. This is a fascinating story. When I was in school, we did not learn much about Fernando and Isabel, just that they gave Colon the money to go on his trips. Found it fascinating and to see the beautiful country side of Spain and their castles. The actors are fantastic. Truly enjoy it. Waiting to start watching Season 3. In the US they are already on it, but I have missed a lot, so I will wait to watch it here.

  15. Patricia López

    Love to hear our history is interesting to people of other countries. This is a really good serie, very well done, respecting the real history and makes people go to look in History books looking for some more imformation. Right now I’m so sad because it has just finished, but I’m glad to say that they are planning a new serie based on Carlos V (the grandson of Isabel and Fernando). I hope it will go on and finally arrives at our TVs.
    Great blog! Saludos desde España 🙂

    • Virginia Cerezo

      Gracias! I am happy too about the impact of the series worldwide. I cannot wait to watch the Carlos V story (especially because I think they should cover the 1504-1516 era as well!). I am watching the finale again and I will write about it (if my intense crying allows me to!)

  16. Pingback: Farewell, Isabel | Corleones & Lannisters

  17. abder premero

    Hopefully a voice over in other mainstream languages would be available soon, as it need an an open up a debate, about any achievement or failure within their rein and aftermath !!!

  18. Pauline

    Hi ! I watched season 1 and loved it. Is there no way to have the english subtitles for season 2?
    Dramafever doesn’t work in France ! I tried to watch in spanish but I can’t follow…

  19. Emilia

    I have wanted to watch this series for about a year but I have never found it with english sub, since I live in Sweden I can’t watch it on DramaFever and SkyAir. Any advice on where I can watch it?

    • Desie

      I watched the series on dramafever with english subtitles. I used unlocator to unlock it cos I’m not from the U.S.. Just google unlocator and it should come up!

      I’m half way through season 2 and I’m completely hooked on this series. The storyline is so intense and I love how there is so much romance in between all the wars and conquests, which make it so much more interesting for me. I love the romance between isabel and fernando, and between the sultan and his spanish lover because they are all powerful people with so much responsibilities. The series perfectly captures all the responsibilitie that come with being a monarch and what princess life was like. Being a princess was not so easy! It’s not like our modern concept of a princess, pampered and spoiled, I think they were so strong and admirable. All the women in the series were! Which is incredible considering the time period. I especially feel sorry for Juana la beltraneja, it was not her fault she was born into politics. I feel so sad that she was confined to the convent for the rest of her life. The scene of her crying as she entered the convent broke my heart. I wish isabel was more lenient towards her sister! Like maybe send her away on exile or something. Overall a fantastic series! In my opinion, better than the Tudors in many ways.


    Ojalá se hagan más series sobre la historia de España, me encantaría sobre la vida de Juana la Beltraneja, Inés de Castro, Juana la Loca y Catalina de Aragón

  21. Rich

    We watched the first series and it was awesome. We’re still waiting for the second series to show on UK TV! Does anyone know if/where/when this will happen?

  22. still no date for sky to show season 2 with english subtitles||||| we need to keep asking sky to do it |

  23. Oh, no! Not another great series to watch: I just caught up on El Ministerio del Tiempo!! 🙂

  24. Alexis

    I started watching this on sky arts and reached episode 6 series 1. To my horror, when I went to download episode 7 it has disappeared! Gone and I now feel totally bereft… Please can someone put me out of my misery and tell me how I can find the rest of this series?!

  25. Talah

    Is there any way I can get the DVDs in English subtitles ?
    I really really wanna watch it and so far only amazon has it but only in Spanish

  26. michellespeters

    Hola Virginia! Que gusto encontrar a otras personas a quienes les gusto Isabel tanto como a mi. En mi blog estoy escribiendo sobre la serie por si gustas leer 🙂

    Hi Virgina! It’s nice to find other people who love Isabel as much as I have loved it. I’m writing about the series on my blog, in case you’d like to read it 🙂

  27. Sue

    I’ve watched up to season 3, episode 5 with English subtitles, I can t find episodes 6-13 of season 3 with English subtitles. I’m obsessed! Can anyone recommend anything? I’m in the US.

  28. Maite

    Where can I watch Isabel with English subtitles?

  29. Kimberly Wylie

    Hi! I’ve just watched the first season of Isabel and I loved it! Michelle Jenner was absolutely amazing as Isabel, and the whole cast was equally outstanding! I’m now trying to find the second and third seasons with English subtitles. The link that people suggested above no longer works, and I was hoping someone could point me in the right direction.

  30. Charles Lauren

    I watched the entire series and enjoyed it immensely. The greatest weakness for me was the actor who played Ferdinand. He was totally miscast and unbelievable in the role.

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