Now that I'm serious about learning French I'm reviewing the public television series French in Action. You don't even have to scrounge around on Youtube for episodes anymore, it's available for free via the Annenberg Learner web site (their CPB project was the original producer of the TV show version of FIA.)
I find I am understanding it much better this time around, possibly because it's now available as online videos instead of broadcast TV - if you miss something you can easily go back. And of course you can watch it whenever it's convenient, not when it is scheduled. I first saw this show when I was living in Pennsauken NJ and working at a print shop - I would come home for lunch and watch this show while eating. I had just enough time. Now of course I can watch it while I'm at work.
I also find that it's helping to increase my comprehension by continuing to watch Youtube stars of the francophone world. I've already mentioned PL Cloutier and his best friend Theo Gordy - and by the way PL is definitely gay, here he is with his boyfriend Thierry Doucet.
I also discovered Solange Te Parle (Solange talks to you) recently. She has recorded what seems like an infinite number of Youtube videos of her sort of rambling on about one thing or another.
She's unknown in the Anglophone worlds but she's pretty much a celebrity in the Francophone one. Here she is on TV. She has a Wikipedia entry - but only in the French Wikipedia and under her real name Ina Mihalache.
The entry says in part (thanks to Google Translate):
... Around the age of ten, she decides to lose her Quebecois accent to adopt the accent "to the French", it means the radio or on chains television French as TV5 . She explained that it was for her an "aesthetic choice", fueling a controversy in the province homeI think this means that she switched from her native French Canadian accent to a Frenchy-French accent to be better accepted by media in France. Google Translate isn't perfect.
But what is really great for me, pour apprendre le francaise, is that, not only do some of her videos directly address issues of language - the video in this post is the first of hers I've watched, in which she compares a French Canadian movie to a France-French movie and counts and discusses the number of English words each uses - but even better, her videos have both English and French subtitles. I find it easier to understand spoken French when I can read along with the French subtitles, which I try to do, but it's great to be able to double-check that my comprehension was correct by re-watching in English.
It's a brand new world of language skill tools these days. What an improvement over my workweek lunchtime French in Action sessions.