I just read an article on CNN about learning languages by watching TV. Although I´m very skeptical about the remark that "After three months of watching 'Andrea Celeste,' I was fluent.", I do think that it´s an excellent way to help you learn.
Three months seems rather fast.. but then telenovelas I believe are aired daily, so that would mean watching a significant amount of TV over that span of time. Each episode is 45 minutes.
I used to watch the DJ Kat show and Fun Factory on Sky when I was a child, and that helped me quite a bit in learning English. Still took me years to become proficient, though.
When you're starting out, I think it's best to use subtitles in your own language or another language you already speak, otherwise the experience would be way too frustrating. And when you're ready, it's nice two switch to either subtitles in the language you're learning or no subtitles.
I felt I was ready to switch to no subtitles for Spanish, but we started watching a show from Chile....
@Gino. I think it helped a lot that her husband is a native Spanish speaker, but I do think the word "fluent" is used a bit too loosely sometimes.