Saturday, February 11, 2017

Upcoming Telenovelas: Stevey Tells Us What’s Happening in Mexico (2017)

The following post is from Commenter Stevey, who shares all he knows about the new telenovelas in the works in Mexico, that we may or may not see eventually in the U.S.

Hi everybody!!  In the past, I've tried to put together a little 'fact sheet' for you guys in regards to what's going on telenovela-wise 'South of the Border', in the land where they come from!   As I realize that whatever it is the staggeringly disgraceful boobs at Univision decide on by way of programming, will ultimately entail just what it is that YOU guys get to watch up yonder, America-way.  Some will make it, some will not... and god knows which will be which (hell, with the Univision execs being what they are, I doubt even HE knows!).  But, that being said, I wanted to come up with a post that hopefully you will find informative, enlightening, useful, entertaining, or any combination therein!  I apologize for its stupefying length, but it's a labor of love to be sure (I just hope it isn't as such reading it!)  To avoid editorializing (I unfortunately do that enough once I get going, for which I apologize... FWIW, I'm writing this paragraph last, so I know what I'm talking about here...), I'm just going to get right in on things, and on the projects that we've got on hand right now, or are already actively in preparation in some way...

Anyways, by means of 'introduction', I'll let you guys in on the producers BEHIND these projects:

Lucero Suarez, Nicandro Diaz, Rosy Ocampo, Ignacio Sada, Giselle Gonzales, Salvador Mejia.  

Let's start, shall we? :-)

Lucero Suarez (last three telenovelas- 'La vecina', 'De que te quiero te quiero', 'Amorcito corazon').  

Full disclosure- I really can't stand everything this woman does.  Not because they're loathsome or incompetent, but just because they're just.... so.... AVERAGE (I admit that 'mild' in general offends me, be it chicken wings, bocconcini cheese, or telenovelas).  But it's just that NOTHING of any consequence or importance EVER seems to happen!  Perhaps it's just that it's charms and allures elude my unwashed self, but I have yet to see a Lucero Suarez production where I just can't WAIT for the next episode.  I am never on the edge of my seat, never 'gripped' by anything that's going on on screen.  Never in awe of what she does with this medium and what it can provide and do for it's viewers.  Her novelas, to me, seem to be pleasant, inoffensive, somewhat-engaging affairs designed for people to whom that sort of thing attracts.  And there's nothing wrong with that!  I just don't get it....  Worse (and this again, of course, is only MY opinion), but I believe that Sra. Suarez has realized that her particular brand of product DOES attract it's share of audience (the same audience as watched her last production), so she produces more of the same, never pushing her own professional and artistic boundaries, and for that reason I have little respect for her.  Because of course, Televisa, realizing that they will NEVER have a 'hit' on their hands with a Lucero Suarez production ('mild' will never produce strong ANYTHING), but also- knowing what they're getting, know what they can expect, know also that they will get something that's pretty 'solid' in terms of an audience, they sign on.  After all, if something is 'middle of the pack'... well, 50 out of a hundred is still better than 20 or 30, right?  So everybody signs on for mediocrity, mediocrity becomes the order of the day, everybody starts wringing their hands anew and lamenting the death of the genre... and it all begins again.  (sigh) 

Anyway (rant over)...

Sra. Suarez's next production is called 'Enamorandome de Ramon', and it's protagonists will be Esmeralda Pimentel as 'Fabiola' and Jose Ron as 'Ramon'.  The story sounds kinda fun.  It commences with the fallout of the death of a wealthy couple, who instead of bequeathing their money to their daughters or anyone in their family, have left as their beneficiary their poor yet devoted and trusted nanny knowing that she will be fair to all, yet which elicits intrigue and outrage from said family.  Suffice it to say, Ramon is the son of the poor (but not anymore) nanny, Fabiola is the privileged daughter of the dead couple and you can see where this is going...

The supporting cast looks very good for this one!  Fabiola Guajardo is Sofia, the token "third point on the triangle- female side" (whose character, in an interesting break from the norm, is the daughter of an infamous mafia boss who breaks up with Ramon to protect him from her father (but then proceeds, I imagine, to come BACK into the fray at some point...), rather than just your token antagonista-slut), So that would be 'token third point of the triangle- female side', and on the other hand we have Gonzalo Pena as Francisco, the token "third point on the triangle- male side" (whose character is NOT a break from the norm, being the moneyed boyfriend of 'Fabiola', when she HAD money). We also Marcelo Cordoba as 'Julio', the token "irresponsible and arrogant uncle" of Fabiola and her sister, that it seems all odious rich families must have.  And Marisol del Olmo (who was so terrific as the villainous Catalina in 'Amor de barrio') here is in the central role of Fabiola's good-hearted and suddenly wealthy nanny Juana.  And, what is a good, odious, rich family without my favorite- an evil matriarch!  In that role we find Nuria Bages- one of those actresses who is constantly overlooked, yet is quietly good in pretty much everything she is in- in the primary villain role of 'Hortensia', grandmother to Fabiola and matriarch of the family, who schemes to deprive Juana of the money she was legally and justly left, and get it back in the clutches of her and her family.  Lisette, Yuliana Peniche, and Luz Elena Gonzalez are also in the mix somewhere...
Now, the usually reliable 'GrupoFormula' said that this one will have 240 capitulos but I think to myself that just CAN'T be right... (please! For the love of GOD!!!)

Okay... Next up... 

Nicandro Diaz (last three projects- 'Hasta el fin del mundo', 'Amores verdaderos', 'Soy tu duena')

Now, here's a producer with whom I just never know what I'm in for (unlike the aforementioned Lucero Suarez)... but, actually, with him, I'm not really sure if that's a GOOD thing.  Having produced two consecutive shows that were ratings hits (AV, and StD), he followed that up with an absolute disgraceful mess in HEFDM, which was a disaster even BEFORE the 'switching lead actors mid-stream' debacle.  Little backstory on why I'm using that ugly word 'debacle'- when it debuted, HEFDM inherited a rating of 30.9 for it's timeslot.  The telenovela that followed HEFDM ('Lo imperdonable'), inherited a rating of 21.7, meaning that HEFDM LOST over 9 whole points in ratings IN the prime time slot, something which the network STILL has not recovered from (and which has initiated the panic and chaos behind the scenes at the network which we have now).  He has given us a novela that was critically acclaimed ('Destilando Amor'), a ratings smash (the finale of 'Manana es para siempre' on Univision was watched by 11 million viewers and beat all of the first-run productions that were being shown on each of the Big Three networks in the States), and (not that it means anything) one of my very favorite novelas of all time ('Contra viento y marea').  He's also given us a comedy novela 'Vivan los ninos', and even a telenovela FOR children ('Gotita del amor)', among others!   Pretty much the only thing that he HASN'T done, I think, is a telenovela for sheep and I recall reading somewhere that even THAT was in the works... but then they did some market research and it was decided that would be a 'baaaa'-d idea ;-)

So, yeah, looking at his career trajectory, it's hard to deduce mucho of anything...

And with that having been said, his next telenovela is... well... uh... I don't know what to call it.

It's called 'El bienamado'.  It's based on the first Brazilian telenovela that was shown in color, 'O Bem-Amado', it's the story of a larger-than-life character who comes to a small town campaigning to win the presidency of a little municipality, under the promise that he will build the town a cemetery.  It's protagonist is Jesus Ochoa, and here I have to give full kudos to Nicandro Diaz.  Sr. Ochoa is not in any way your typical telenovela protagonist, he's pudgy and balding, he doesn't have the dangerous suavity of a Cesar Evora, or Sergio Goyri, or the dashing looks of a Jorge Salinas or Fernando Colunga.  But he's a highly respected, multi-award winning actor in Mexico, whose presence in telenovelas hitherto has been minimal BECAUSE he doesn't fit in with a typical telenovela aesthetic (unless he wants to get typecast as a slightly-ridiculous-but-benign grandfather in comedies).  Yet he was absolutely TERRIFIC- one of the best things in an already really great novela (EHDLS)- and has got presence, charisma, and character in spades.  He went through the audition process along with everybody else (including Jorge Salinas), and I give full props to producer Diaz for going with the man who he felt won the part fair and square.  

And, if Sr. Ochoa is our 'leading man', our 'leading lady' in this case is actually THREE ladies.  These would be the three spinster sisters whose help Odorico needs to accomplish his goal, and each of whom he gets involved with, unbeknownst to either of her other sisters.  These ladies are played by Chantal Andere as the eldest, Nora Salinas and Iran Castillo as the youngest.  Sharing lead roles in a staggering large cast of actors (over 60 are in the cast), we have Mariluz Bermudez as Odorico's independent daughter (who would probably be the closest thing to the 'heroina'), and Mark Tacher and Andres Palacios who play her two love interests as, of course, SOMEBODY has to cover the requisite 'love story' side of things (side note- I'm not sure which of these two suitors- of if EITHER of these two suitors- is a villain.  At this point it doesn't seem either of them are).  Nicandro Diaz has made it a point to stress that the town (it is filmed in the beautiful town on Loreto), the locale, and all of the (various) villagers are just as much a part of the story (which is probably why, as I said before, there's a staggeringly large cast.  I'm not sure if Sr. Diaz is channeling his inner Cecil B. DeMille, but it's kinda looking that way...).  

About what KIND of production it is... well, ominously for me, most of these cast members seem to be done up as over-the-top Characters with a capital 'C', so for people that like stuff like 'Que pobres tan rico', I think you'll be at home here.  Even more ominously for me, they're already using lots of those sound effects (eg. "BOING!", "WAH Waaahh!', or a couple of notes played on some random brass instrument like a tuba or a trombone) that one finds in old childrens cartoons or bad vaudeville.  Still more ominously for me (but this because i admit to being a little twisted)- try though I might, I can't find anyone or any character who would be considered the 'villain' of the piece, or generally speaking supplying the evil.  The closest things would probably be Salvador Zerboni, who plays a fortune-seeking bully, or Laura Zapata as 'Bruna', the respected law-abiding sheriff of the little one-horse-town who comes to view 'Odorico' as her arch-nemesis.  Of the many, MANY supporting roles you'll also find Alejandra Garcia, Diego de Erice, Raquel Pankowsky, Fernando Ciangherotti, Francisco Gattorno, and Olivia Collins.  I can't seem to find out exactly how many capitulos it is going to be, but I should point out that the original was 178 capitulos (and it didn't have a cast of 60...).  Kary Fajer is the head-writer, however, and she's done some good stuff (although she was also responsible for HEFDM too.  Hey, nobody's perfect.).  

Moving on!

Rosy Ocampo (last three productions- 'Antes muerte que Lichita', 'Que pobres tan rico', 'Mentir para vivir')   

Another one I can't stand.  If it could be said that I dislike 'mild' because I have little respect for it, the one thing I despise is 'cute' and 'schmalz', especially when it comes to humor (in the interests of clarification- I hate every single movie that Cameron Diaz has ever been in.  Stuff like that...), and, well, that's what Ms. Ocampo does best.  She's very good at it, though and generally speaking she never produces a low-quality product (production values are usually pretty high with Sra. Ocampo), or one that is not popular with viewers), so fans of hers will probably be very happy with her next offering...

Which is called 'La doble vida de Estela Carillo' (one thing I do like about her- she always comes up with really creatively idiosyncratic titles for her novelas!).  It's eponymous protagonista is Ariadne Diaz and her galan will be David Zepeda, whose character is named 'Ryan'. And unlike Sra. Ocampo's last two (quite successful) productions, this one WILL not be a comedy.  No, this one... uh, (I have to spit the bile out of my mouth as I type this, because doing so makes both my stomach churn and my spine knit) will be - well, if not a musical per se, than CERTAINLY more of a musical than telenovelas usually are.  It will enough a musical to the point that singing ability was actually a major factor in the casting process of its two protagonists, as Sr. Zepeda has always been considered an actor/singer throughout his career, and the story goes that Sra. Ocampo cast Sra. Diaz after she saw a video of her singing acapella on a YouTube channel.  The story is definitely a new one, and intriguing at face value- single mother Laura Oviedo (Diaz) decides to flee the dangers of Mexico to try and build a better and safer life for her and her daughter by seeking "The American Dream". In order to do this, of course, as an illegal alien she must illegally purchase an identity, so she does, that of 'Estela Carillo'.  She gets a job in Riverside, California (where else??) as a music teacher but her life starts getting complicated when she witnesses a shooting and saves the lives of all of her students that were in it.  Thanks to all of the ensuing press coverage, she becomes something of a hero which, of course, is probably not the best thing to happen when one is an illegal alien living under an illegal identity.  This is made all the WORSE when the past of the REAL 'Estela Carillo' comes back to haunt her...

Now, SOMEWHERE in this (which I think, as I said before, sounds like a pretty good story), they're fitting in what is apparently the main theme of the novela... which is of course (and this is a direct quote) "Mexican Regional music and its relationship with money laundering" and if that comes to your right out of left field having read my little synopsis, well, I'm right there with ya!  There will also be a focus on something that 'Vino el amor' decided it wanted to be the first to tackle, (to its credit), that being the plight of illegal immigrants and the difficulties they encounter on their schlepp north of the border.  Completing the quartet of actors in lead roles will be Danilo Carrera as 'Danilo', the man fighting 'Ryan' for 'Laura/Estela's love (although I'm not sure whether his character will actually be a 'villain', or more along the lines of another, entirely different suitor, along the lines of Gabriel Soto's 'David' and Raul Coronado's 'Miguel' in VdA.  All I know is that both characters share the same last name, 'Cabrera', so they're related somehow), and finally Africa Zavala (who in promotional pictures looks like she has had full-grown watermelons implanted underneath her skin), and who will be playing supplying the evil as our villana 'Morgana', and is apparently greatly looking forward to it.  And (perhaps ominously)- YES, both 'Danilo' and 'Morgana' will ALSO be singing, as Sra. Ocampo apparently insisted that both Sras. Diaz & Zavala, and Sr. Carrera take three months of singing lessons upon being cast.  

Rounding out the supporting cast we have Alejandro Tommasi as someone named 'Mr. Blake', Marco Mendez as a villainous corrupt music executive, and Erika Buenfil, will be playing widow whose name is 'Mercy'- a sadistic mass-murdering psychopath and butcherer of children. (No, I'm just kidding there... her character is actually named 'Mercy vda de Cabrera', so I'm guessing she's probably the widowed mother of 'Ryan' and/or 'Danilo').  A total of 67 capitulos have been ordered for this one (no word as to whether it's going to stay that way, or likely to change...)

Anyway, that's enough of that one....

Then we move on to Ignacio Sada (last three productions- 'Simplemente Maria', 'Por siempre mi amor', 'Un refugio para el amor')

This is a producer whose every production so far has been good, but not really 'great'.  He had one huge ratings bonanza ('Soy tu duena', in which he was just Associate Producer) but, christ, with Lucero & Fernando Colunga headlining your production, how could it NOT be??  And the rest of been... 'solid', I guess would be a good word.  Nothing overly memorable, but good novelas all the same.  He does keep trying, though... three of Sr. Sada's last four productions were remakes of what could be said to be 'classic' Mexican telenovelas ('Un refugio para el amor' was a remake of a Venezuelan novela)- 'Simplemente Maria' (a remake of the same titled original), 'Por siempre mi amor' (remake of 'Mi segunda madre'), and 'Soy tu duena' (remake of 'La duena'), so he gets points for guts and gumption and, with all three, he gamely attempted to try and make them his own (as Carlos Moreno Laguillo did so well with AQNMD), and this again is to his credit.  In some ways he succeeded, and in others... well, not so much.  One thing that, interestingly, they all shared was that each of them (especially SM and PSMA) were much more violent than the original. Let's not forget Sonia in PSMA getting shot, and then buried alive... Fun afternoon fare for the whole family!  Good times, and noodle salad!! 

Even with all of this (and something which I still don't quite get), Sr. Sada's productions are invariably relegated to the late-afternoon slot where usually more squeamish-viewer friendly producers like Nathalie Lartilleux and Lucero Suarez like to ply their wares.  This I don't understand.  Historically, Sr. Sada's stuff is not GOOD for the afternoon audience, which is generally speaking comprised of more Pearl-Clutchers (or should that be 'rosary clutchers'?).  He had a ratings hit with both Televisa and Univision with StD as Associate Producer... so for his first crack as Executive Producer in the five years since his last project ('Bajo las riendas del amor' they- understandably, I guess- put his next project 'Un Refugio ' in the afternoon slot.  IT did exceedingly well THERE.  Still, they kept him there for his next project, PSMA which really started pushing the daytime envelope in terms of 'adult themes' and violence.  It did... alright, and that's where they put his NEXT novela as well, the SM remake (which was even more dramatic and less 'rosy' than PSMA, and CERTAINLY more so than the original.  It was not really a ratings success, but I didn't think was a bad novela at all... But I just couldn't imagine the afternoon pearl-clutchers tuning in expecting to see a sunny remake of that wonderful rags-to-riches Saby Kamalich- then- Victoria Ruffo role starring that darling little Claudia Alvarez, and watching what was shown to them without keeling over from heart failure.  And who know?  Perhaps that's what happened as there certainly weren't many people tuning in... 

So, in the true fashion of never learning anything (perhaps Televisa is just thinking that the third time around will be the charm for Sr. Sada and the afternoon time-slop), here's what we've just started there:

It's called 'Mi adorable maldicion'.  Its protagonists are Renata Notni (quietly making a name for herself as a leading lady) and Pablo Lyle.  It's a remake of a Telemundo/Caracol production that was filmed in 2009, but didn't have its first airing until 2013 (the reason why is probably out there, but does anybody really care?), which was in ITSELF a remake of a Colombian novela called 'Lola Calamidades'.  It in many ways sounds like your classic fairy tale or telenovela 'rosa' (and hey, if they're DONE right- there's nothing wrong with going with the classics!!!).  The story involves a poor unfortunate girl (named 'Aurora') who was born into unfortunate circumstances totally beyond her control as a newborn, as she was born with the sign of a skull on her navel, which caused the superstitious bruja/healer midwife (who's in tight with those spirits and forces who exist in the NOT-our world) to automatically condemn her as a creature of pure evil, who will carry with her nothing but pain, misfortune, death, more commercials on television, and high gas prices.  This isn't helped when Aurora's mother dies ("See? The bruja and her spirits were right!") and her heartbroken father takes heed of this curse by trying to keep Aurora away both from the evils of the outside world as well as shielding other people from this curse that's of course entirely beyond her control (just in case that whole 'stigmatization' thing that the midwife has now spread throughout the land and could lead to a good stoning, buring at the stake, or some other unpleasantness from the local townsfolk... might actually be true).  Of course, lily-white and full of hope, good intentions, dimples, a winning smile, sweetness, light, happiness, and May, Aurora decides to disobey her father and venture out into the real world for once.  She's having a jolly ol' time of it all until, whoops... she runs into the midwife, who makes a big hue and cry about the embodiment of evil suddenly popping into town.  The villagers, roused from their porch sweeping and frijole drying, are about to do what people would normally do when in a large group and faced with the walking embodiment of misfortune and evil, when she is miraculously rescued by 'Rodrigo' (Pablo Lyle)... and you can get where the story goes from there.

In addition to the two leads, AQNMD fans should take note- we've got four actors from that production in important roles here.  We have Maya Mishalska ('Maite' in AQNMD) as 'Elsa', Aurora's kind and loving mother-figure, Laura Carmine (the villain formerly known as 'Nuria') as 'Monique', the rival for 'Rodrigo's love and the villain of the piece, Cecilia Gabriela (wonderful, sweet 'Raquel') in a TOTAL role-reversal as the evil 'Monique's villainous mother 'Corinne' (who is for some reason French.... I have no idea why), and who wants to aid her daughter in her schemes in the hopes that she'll be able to live in the style to which she'd like to become accustomed to, and finally Socorro Bonilla ('Micaela' in AQNMD), as 'Macrina', the midwife who is the source of Aurora's problems as well as the bruja, herbalist, occultist, consultor of the netherworlds, and general factotum regarding everything superstitious, dark, and/or magical for the entire village.  Alejandro Avila is also here as, as the 'galan' of the pueblo and everybody's favorite guy who also falls in love with Aurora (anybody see a potential problem here?).  And Roberto Blandon (Swag Daddy Suarez in LCDLP) is also here in a role nobody would ever recognize him in, a character called 'Severo'.  They're also really making a big deal out of Patricia Navidad being back, here in the role of 'Apolonia', whose character I don't believe is a villain, but who in all pictures I have seen is wearing a traditional poncho, chaps, sombrero, packing heat and carrying a whip, while scowling.  You guys can make your own deductions. :-)

As I said, it bears all the hallmarks of a 'fairy tale', which the previous incarnations were (or tried to be), but it remains to be seen where Sr. Sada decides to take it from there.  I will say one thing however, some of the characters look great.  Here are links to 
This one will last 120 episodes.
Finally, a producer whose next work everybody has been waiting on after her incredible YNCELH, Giselle Gonzalez (last three projects- 'Yo no creo en los hombres', 'Cachito de cielo', 'Para volver a amar'), who brings us 'La Candidata'.  

First off, I think it's great that the suits at Televisa decided to reward Sra. Gonzalez for her great work on Yo NO, which was a hit with critics and with viewers, by letting her freely choose her next project (FWIW- 'La Candidata' was NOT what they had in mind), AND then campaigned for her to get probably the biggest female 'draw' that Televisa has, Silvia Navarro (it was originally planned as a vehicle for Blanca Guerra).  It's something entirely new and different- both for Televisa as a network, and for the genre, and I give them kudos for going at it full strength.  At first... (more on that later).

Anyway, the story features the aforementioned Sra. Navarro as our heroine 'Regina', with Victor Gonzales playing her galan 'Gerardo'- a noble, 'thinking man's' galan (think the opposite of an Eduardo Yanez character).  The story involves an honest and noble junior senator (Navarro) who's also married to the most powerful politician around, 'Alonso' (whose face must hurt from doing nothing but scowling all the time, and is played by Rafael Sanchez Navarro in full glower).  You can probably already see where the 'love triangle' side of things is going...  Add into the fray Susana Gonzalez whose character has questionable morals and even more questionable intentions and our triangle becomes a quadrangle.  The plot begins when 'Alonso' decides to run for the Presidency and become the biggest cheese in all of Mexico.  In his quest to do this, Regina realizes just ruthless, vicious, corrupt and nasty her husband is, as well as how nefarious the people are who surround, serve, and/or enable him (names of actors whose characters help represent the loathesome and soulless aspect of things to which Alonso is a part of would be Juan Carlos Barreto and Patricio Castillo).  This is brought home even more vividly as 'Alonso' attacks the main rival for his climb to power, the upright and honest, noble crusador 'Gerardo' (Gonzalez) who, in addition to being the aforementioned noble and honest crusader for good ALSO and happens to be the guy (NATURALLY!) that Regina was in love with 'lo those many years ago before life, etc., got in their way.  Supporting roles are cast ably by the likes of Luz Maria Jerez as still another good and decent character everyone will take to their hearts (Regina's mother), Helena Rojo as the desperately unhappy, lonely, and unfulfilled wife of one of Alonso's evil advisors (the aforementioned Patricio Castillo), Ari Telch as a career political operative (Assistant or Chief of Staff or some such thing) who’s trying to be a sane head and a stabilizing force amidst all the muck, scum, and slime.  There are also two young actors that nobody's ever heard of but are doing a pretty great job (and whose names I'm too lazy to look up right now), as Regina's and Gerardo's respective late-teenage kids, and Laisha Wilkins as a woman who's equally amoral, lascivious, and influential (read: 'tramp').  

By no means is this your 'typical' fairy-tale novela.  Even its colors- greys, darks, whites, aren't typical telenovela fare.  Sra. Navarro's 'Regina' is in no ways wincing, mincing, nor even what one would consider typically 'ladylike', or hell even 'feminine', at least by telenovela standards (note- this is NOT in any way necessarily a BAD thing...).  She hardly ever smiles or laughs, and is still firm and iron-like even though she is good and noble.  Even her voice sounds deeper than I remember it ever being!  This is a very 'grey' novela... 'laughs'?  You sure ain't going to find them here.  Nor bronzed bodies, perfectly capped teeth, or characters who have cutesy nicknames.  But it's a very interesting, intelligent, cerebral type of telenovela that's different from the norm in so many ways.  All of this will undoubtedly put a lot of people off.  Others will find- in these differences that the show is so proud of- a refreshing breath of air.  And I must say that I am surprisingly pleased that the audience in Mexico have generally speaking been decidedly more in the 'latter' camp than I had thought they would be.  DON'T expect this novela to be a perfect '10', something which YNCELH came mighty close to, but if there were any doubts before, Giselle Gonzalez has proven herself unquestionably to be a producer of the highest caliber and worthy of the highest esteem.  One thing about this production bears particular mentioning, however... namely because I don't think anybody saw it coming: Nailea Norvind is absolutely KILLING it as Gerardo's mega-unstable and mega-possessive wife, 'Teresa', whose character has proven to be far more interesting, and far more of the great villana than Susana Gonzalez's 'Cecilia' (who considering she shares top billing, AND considering what a talented artist she is, really should have been given more to do IMHO).  She's incredible to watch in this.  Really.  

But... alas... 

There is one thing.  One- to me, at least- very BIG thing, and one that unfortunately, pretty much destroyed this one for me (I'll leave it up for you guys to decide): 

This telenovela... which is about a noble female politician who realizes how corrupt everything is around her, and decides to climb her way up the political ladder to bring down the corrupt and nefarious who have always run things.... well, it was originally contracted for "under 80 episodes".  This number was then fixed at around 67 or 69.  It was open for extension (I don't know how far any of those talks actually went, if they ever even happened at all).  Then the s**t hit the fan.

It seems that Televisa was accused of political bias upon airing this story about the (aforementioned) noble female politician combating corruption and slime.  This was/is because in the upcoming Mexican Presidential election (in 2018), one of the leading candidates is former First Lady Margarita Zavala, who is now attempting her OWN political climb. The network was accused of shilling for Sra. Zavala.  Varying rival political factors ensured that the heat was kept on, having absolutely no qualms or hesitations about sacrificing one poor, stupid telenovela at the altar of their own political game (enabling them to come across as the poor little candidate up against the big corporate giant Televisa and their chosen candidate who is, of course, in their back pocket).  Bullshit, of course... but political bullshit (which is why I find it so ironic, given the novelas subject matter- gender issue ASIDE).  Televisa was already put on the political hot seat even BEFORE this happened based on remarks a reporter made against a politician and at-that-point ANOTHER possible nominee for the Presidency before 'La Candidata' even aired (nasty words like 'bribery', 'corrupt', and 'buying the media' were bandied about by both sides).  So, as the Presidential race in Mexico heats up in Mexico, poor 'La Candidata' has become sort-of the proverbial 'elephant in the room'.  SO... (and, in my mind’s eye, this is unforgivable), a couple of weeks ago, they decided to excise- COMPLETELY- a whole whack of capitulos.  So, basically, everyone's gearing up and we're heading into the home stretch and to avoid any further scandals or unpleasantness- *POOF!*  they decided to change course later-than mid-stream.  As such, I'm afraind, this telenovela, which was scheduled to run until February 28, is now ending this Sunday, the 12th.  To me, again, unforgivable, as I can't imagine- even with such a talented producer and cast (no comment on the writer, someone named 'Leonardo Rechini', as I'm not familiar with him, but I think I can safely say is NOT a pseudonym for Ines Rodena or Cuauhtémoc Blanco.  Yet...), I can't help but wonder what this telenovela WOULD have been had the cowardly corporate suits just allowed it to 'be'.  Am I alone in getting depressed in thinking that this is just another victory for the old, the tired, the true, the mediocre???

Okay, one last thing... then I'm all done (and my hearty thanks- and congratulations- to all of you who've honored me enough to make it THIS far...)

Salvador Mejia is also working on his next project.  Not much has leaked out about this one as far as I can see... I DO know that the story (which is apparently an ORIGINAL story brought to us by the same people who brought us 'Gran Hotel') stars three brothers, who will be played by Cristian de la Fuente (who owes us BIG TIME after SdA), Horacio Pancheri, and Diego Olivera.  After a long and lengthy, involving casting call for the protagonista, Sr. Mejia decided on Mayrin Villanueva... and then changed his mind and decided to cast Claudia Alvarez instead because she was more 'fitting in with the age of the character', an act which I'm sure earned Mr. Mejia a spot on Sra. Villanueva's 'Christmas card list'. Other casting notes include the magnificent Daniela Romo as the mother of the three guys... and I dunno about you guys, but I'm REEEE-ally hoping that she'll be evil here.  She's such a great actress- her sheer presence is magnificent- but I just love it when she uses that imposing voice and regal bearing to chew up the scenery and devour any other actors in her way, as opposed to noble 'mujer sufrida' roles like 'Mercedes' in a telenovela that I personally loathed with a passion, 'La Tempestad' (but hey, that's just me and what the hell do I know??? ;-)  The always-good Cesar Evora is also on board here, as are Martha Julia, Ninel Conde's breasts, Ninel Conde, and Lisardo, who will be the main villain.  This one will also only be 80 capitulos, which I believe was the length of Sr. Mejia's last effort, 'Las Amazonas' (which kinda came and went and nobody noticed anything).  I wish I had more on this one for you guys, but that's all I seem to be able to find (I think I should probably shut up now lest I be the cause of painful eye-strain for you guys.  That's no way to spend your weekend!).

So, that's about it.  (I think...) Phew!  Well, I really hope that this was of interest to you guys, and I look forward to hearing back from you all, hearing any thoughts you might have, letting me know of any little tidbits that you might be aware of that I missed, as well as answering as best as I can any questions that you may have with what you've just read.  Until then, my thanks to you all for making up such a great group!  I haven't even met any of you, but I already like you guys MUCH better than the majority of the people on my Facebook 'friends' list (and what's THAT say???? ;-) (lol).

With my continued best wishes to all, I bid you all a terrific weekend.  Siate felice!  :-)  

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Gracias, Stevey. I'll read this in greater depth tomorrow and comment further.

Thanks, Stevey. Your info and insights are always appreciated.

Thanks so much, Stevey! It's really a crap shoot which shows Univision will show up here. It's a shame real world politics is affecting La Candidata. That sucks that they are cutting it short because politicians are upset that they are being called out in a work of fiction. I still hope we get to see it.

The other that looks interesting to me is La Doble Vida de Estela Carrillo-- yes, nortena music and all. It looks different and original. Here's the extended trailer:


Steven sweetie, I'd hate to break it to you but while exciting and all, your excerpt for Simplemente Maria holds what sounds like a spoiler and it still has yet to come to USA. Your topic had me on the edge of my seat and all but just a notice for you and those who haven't entirely read it yet.

Anon6:00PM- I've gone ahead and cut that spoiler out of Stevey's section on Simplemente Maria. You're right that we have not yet had that tn here in the US.

Thank yoi so much for this, Stevey! You clearly know your novelas ;) ill have to see if I watch but outside of my usual scope of Moreno and Gonzalez I want to see MAM because I love Renata Notni. She waa so great in Amor de Barrio and Quiero Amarte and she is making a name for herself. Also Cecilia Gabriela as a villain will be nice. Last time I saw her in one was Juro Que Te Amo and that wasnt even full blown.

Outside of that its Simplemente Maria because its very fast paced for a rosa novela.

A word on Lucero suarez...she was one of my go to before she started making full blown comedy (for the most part). Amar Otra Vez, Las Dos Caras de Ana and Querida Enemiga still rank high on my list. Last one I saw from her was Zacatillo which was a perfect mix of comedy and drama.

Ocampo is pretty decent too. I hope she makes another Zarattini original or Carla does. Theyre sorely missed.

Hi Everyone!

This is the first time I am commenting on the blog but I have been familiar with it since LQLVMR. I wish that I commented sooner but I always seemed to read the blog after the comments section was inactive; therefore, I felt it was useless to discuss with myself lol. I hope to discuss more often with you all as I love telenovelas and admit that they are a guilty pleasure of mine... something you all seem to know about! :)

In regards to the current telenovelas in Mexico, I will say that La Candidata is by far one of the best productions in recent years. You can see that a lot of effort is being invested to make it high quality and it has been nothing but that. The ratings are high and its the top telenovela airing. The only drawback is that the ratings are not at a level that Televisa wants it to be but in La Candidata's defense, Televisa's ratings have been going downhill for years.

Another telenovela that I find to be a good one is Nacho Sada's Mi Adorable Maldicion. When I first heard about MAM, my initial thought was that Pablo Lyle was perfectly cast but that Renata Notni was way too young to carry with him. I was mistaken. Notni outshines Lyle and takes you on a journey but when they are both on the screen together, they sparkle! Aside from the casting, the story is definitely better, IMO, than the one it's being remade from as that one had the typical Telemundo shenanigans and this one does not. Sada has been adding personal touches to the telenovela by choosing to add elements to it that were not in the original and making them work effectively. The ratings have also been great since the premiere and have only been increasing each day, almost reaching VeA. In my opinion, Sada is doing a much better job with this telenovela than with what he did with Simplemente Maria.

All the other producers have been average this time around... how I wish Carla Estrada would abandon HOY and bless us with another of one of her timeless productions.

- Ana

I tried to watch La Candidata but it started during a time where I was too overwhelmed with work (I still am, unfortunately). My only gripe with it is that you can't use the national coat of arms (because it's illegal for them to do so) so they made up one to look simmilar and it looks like a parrot instead of an eagle. Anyway, the idea that Silvia Navarro's role is based on Margarita Zavala is ridiculous and based only in the fact that they are female, if people actually payed attention to Zavala's personality and politics and watched a single episode of the novela they would know (and that's not a dig at either).

If you notice, Televisa's telenovelas have turned very political lately, El Bienamado is also a comedy about a man running for Mayor at a small town in Baja California Sur and La Doble Vida de Estela Carrillo is, of course, touching a subject that's been at the forefront in the news in the past year here in Mexico. Televisa is trying to recover its audience by appealing to the politically charged environment of late and I'm not sure what to think of their efforts because I haven't watched much. I do cringe thinking about what the actors on Vino el Amor might sound while acting in English, when people talk in Spanish in American shows they rarely sound convincing and acting in novelas is done so hurriedly and carelessly sometimes, add English to that and...

By the way, norteño music does not need good singing to be popular, alot of popular norteño songs sound like someone is being tortured (besides me), so I can see how anyone could become a norteño singer but I think Ariadne Díaz actually sounds good. Horacio Pancheri had been revealed to play the Ryan role at one point and I was excited for a Color reunion but I do think Zepeda fits the role better.

Also, Cecilia Gabriela played a string of villains while I was growing up so her latest string of good, likeable characters was a role reversal to me before.



Ana- Welcome! I hope to see you commenting on some of our current shows.
Jarocha- Always good to have you drop by, amiga.

Thank you both for the insights on Mexico's current crop of tns. Jarocha, it's interesting that Televisa is trying to hang on to their audience by injecting current real world themes (emigration, political corruption). It seems to be working for Vino, which has been dull as dishwater, but seems to be doing well in Mexico.

And from the trailer for La Doble Vida, I agree that Ariadne has a good voice, and David Z. looks great in that beard and has a manly look that fits the role, that I don't think sweet-faced Horacio would have been able to pull off. It looks like this tn is starting in Mexico tomorrow.

I have to go out in a few, but I want to ask our regular readers whether they will be watching Mujeres de Negro, which starts on Tuesday on UniMas. I'd like to cover that one if there will be enough readers to make it worthwhile. It's only 51 episodes long and I can tell you that the opening episode is a real shocker.

It stars Mayrin Villanueva, Alejandra Barros, Ximena Herrera, Arturo Peniche, and Leticia Calderon. It will also have Televisa's cherub, Diego Escalona Zaragoza, as Mayrin Villanueva's son.

Urban- I'll be watching Mujeres de Negro. It will be wonderful if you're recapping it. Have you told Jane and/or Anita so that they can set up a label and put it on the sidebar?

Hey Urban,

I will be watching as well. I could recap as well but I'd like to see how my viewing is going to be first, if that's okay. I have Unimas but I'd like to know if Hulu will carry it too as a back up. Let me know how it works out and thank you! :)

Urban, I like the cast of M de N , and I will give it a try .

Urban, I will be watching Mujeres de negro.

Vivi: I agree on Zepeda's beard. I don't usually find him attractive, except when he plays villains or when he has a beard like in STuD or here in LDVDEC. It's funny because I don't generally like beards but it works on him. And the accent works well on him. Not so much on Danilo Carrera, he is overdoing it as if he were doing a parody and I'm not sure that's intentional.


I haven't yet. I will e-mail her now.

Stevey thank you so much for this wonderful and very informative over view of what is coming for us viewers. I appreciate your own personal thoughts and commentary, it's like having our own novela critic ala Siskel and Ebert!

UA I think I will be giving M de N a try. It looks interesting and with a great cast.

Oh my manners....Welcome Ana! I hope you make a regular habit of posting and sharing your thoughts.

Hi again, everyone. With your permission, I wanted to add a little 'follow-up' in regards to one of the novelas that I had commented on earlier. I hope this is okay.

I had brought up the treatment meted out to 'La Candidata', and about it have had over two weeks of capitulos 'ripped from it's womb' (to paraphrase 'Macbeth'). Well, Sra. Gonzalez is now in my minds eye at the very top of the heap when it comes to telenovela producers. Even faced with the obstacles she and her team had thrown in their way, the finale aired tonight and now that all is said and done I can look back and see how, though it probably wasn't exactly as they had planned for it to wind up- and especially taking into consideration the sudden new time constraints they had and all of the sudden changing, creating, altering, abbreviating, adjusting, and/or excising they had to have done- Sra. Gonzalez, her writers, cast, and her team did an absolutely amazing job. For not only did they just manage to salvage what they had, but the end product that they came up with for us all was something that I think would be considered pretty great by any telenovela standards. This team should be IMMENSELY proud of what they have done, and I ANXIOUSLY await whatever the next project is that Sra. Gonzalez decides to undertake.

Here's hoping that THIS one comes up North-of-the-border way SOON!!

Just want to share that with everybody...

Oh!! And, for anyone who might be 'sitting on the fence' about MDN- don't. Take the plunge. Much like the aforementioned 'La Candidata', it's entirely different than what you're used to seeing, which I think alone makes it worth giving a try. But even beyond that, it's a pretty great production, and I don't think anybody that gives it a try will regret it. Just my two cents!! :-)

Best wishes to all...

I'm sorry, in my above posting, it should have read "For they not only managed to salvage what they had, but the end product that they came up with was something that I think would be considered pretty great by ANY telenovela standards.' Re-reading what I had written, the way I phrased that sentence didn't really seem to make that much sense... (but perhaps I am just tired!)

G'nite!! :-)

Oh!! And BTW, before I head off to my wee trundle bed, I wanted to say how thrilled, flattered, and grateful I am for all of your comments, and thank you all for reading. :-)

Also, a mea culpa- I am AGHAST at my 'Simplemente Maria' reveal! I don't know what I was thinking... :-( I guess, to me, it just seems to have passed quite a while ago and just viewing it as I was in relation to that producers other finished works, I didn't even think that it hadn't aired up yonder way yet, nor as such on commenting on something that happened in it that I now realize would naturally ruin things for those of you who are still waiting to see it, and haven't gone to the doctor for your Spoiler Shot yet (yeah right, if ONLY they made such a thing!) Does this mean that my follow-up line about PSMA is a ruiner, too? I don't want to spoil things for anybody... :-(

Also, to add my voice of welcome- Ana, thank you so much for coming out of the woodwork and joining us- your voice is greatly welcome and appreciated! It's great to read your input on things 'live and on the scene', as it were... I'm stuck up here in Toronto (first winter in Canada since 2006. I think I'd rather have syphilis...), where there is neither Televisa or Univision, and I miss not having contact with people who can help me stay connected with whatever's going on as it occurs. I'm glad you've joined our little group, and hope that we hear more from you!

Great news about MAM. Without any marketing or name-recognition to helping, Renata Notni is really making her mark as a viable young leading lady, and doing it through nothing other than good work. I kind of like that she hasn't been swooped up by a Mejia or somebody like that to star in the latest 'blockbuster' opposite William Levy or Fernando Colunga. Great to hear this one is apparently off to a good start. Thanks again! :-)

Thank you Stevey - this was awesome!!

Stevey- Por Siempre Mi Amor was already shown here in the US.

The Rosy Ocampo thing sounds good to me except for the fact that it's a musical. (Hate 'em.) But... only 67 episodes? I like the sound of that. I like it when they keep it short!

The Nicandro Diaz thing sounded good too until you mentioned the boioioing sound effects. I hate that.

La Candidata sounds intriguing. I might enjoy that as a change of pace. Too bad it got scapegoated by the political system.

Daniela Roma in a Salvador Mejia production? Again, I am intrigued. And a little bit scared!

Julie- The promo for La Doble Vida does not make it look like a musical. The norteno music business is at the center (like wine-making is at the center of Vino, or pottery-making is at the center of El Color de la Pasion), and many of the main characters either work in the business and/or are singers. But I don't think anyone is going to be breaking into song in the middle of dialogue, like a musical.

Stevey--Mil Gracias. Your thorough dissection of what "might" be up and coming for us over the next few months is so welcome. I've winnowed out some that I wouldn't watch, even if that were the only thing on (aka anything with David Zepeda--except Sortilegio, and telenovelas with extraneous sound effects), narrowed the list to the DON'T miss it for the world (aka anything with Silvia Navarro).

I'm in for watching Mujeres de Negro.

I can't believe I'm waiting anxiously to find out what 3 of my fave gentlemen (Cristian, Horacio & Diego) will do in Mejia's next project. Daniela Romo is high on my list of must watch, so as I said, anxious, but with great fear and trepidation.

Stevey, thank you again for whetting our appetites for El Mundo de Telenovelas Aqui y Ahora (y Manana Tambien, hehe).

Julie, did you watch Triunfo del Amor? That was Mejia's degradation of El Privilegio de Amar with Daniela Romo as the controlling mother of the good priest.

Nortena music? I give that a pass. I love ranchera and mariachi music so Que Bonito Amor was more than OK with me. Not to mention it had my two favorite Televisa men.

Stevey--I just checked my list of upcoming tns I'd like to watch and guess what, that Mejia production seems to have a name already, EN TIERRA SALVAJE. There were great similarities in the blurb I read from one of our commenters--Mejia, Cristian and Horacio. Please check it out for us, ok?

Stevey -

Thank you for your detailed and informative update! You have a flair for writing and wonder if your update is better than the actual telenovelas!!! I was truly laughing out loud at some of your comments (e.g., "...also on board ... Ninel Conde's breasts, Ninel Conde,"... )

If all these telenovelas are as good as they appear, I'm truly going to be challenged for time. Just carrying a second telenovela in the viewing schedule is a time-squeeze. Yikes!

'Mi adorable maldicion' ..... what is it about this telenovela "Lola Calamidades" that it keeps getting remade? I watched the Telemundo version "Bella Calamidades" a few years ago and it was cute but not prime time stuff. No curse from birth stuff that I remember, but more along the line of a wicked stepmother-or-aunt & stepcousins, a la Cinderella type theme, with a lot of light caricature type stuff. The MAM version looks like it will be darker, what with the curse theme playing heavily.

Thanks again!

Thanks for that info, Vivi.

Urban, no, I didn't see Triunfo del Amor. So Romo has already worked with Mejia? Interesting. Then again, Diana Bracho was in FELS - she was good in it, but I couldn't help thinking it was just a waste of her talent.

Mejia, like his wife, is able to get very good talent sometimes but it's usually wasted as all they do is (mostly) circos.

Also, Stevey, Notni started I believe when she was 12 and already had a novela with Mejia and his wife, Mar de Amor and Que Bonito Amor, respectively.

Actually, Julie, in the Toxic Mothers gallery that both were in I'd say the vote was tied as to which was the more evil. Both actresses are strong enough to compensate for script deficiencies, which is why they were such a pleasure to see together in EHDLS.

TdF paled in script quality to its earlier incarnation from 1998. The other thing that made it inferior was the choppy scenes that plague novelas today. The writers are catering to short attention spans. This is seriously hurting a lot of things about modern television and film, even when the story and cast are strong.

Speaking of choppy editing, Urban. One of the things I enjoyed the most abput TVA were the long scenes. Those ones that looked boring but were a treat for me because I love seeing actors go at it for a good 5 mins of dialogue. It was one of the best things about that mess.

Vivi: I suggest you watch the Philippine Teleserye, "Ang Probinsyano", where the widening corruption inside the Philippine government & law enforcement agencies are common.

I hate to say it, but for the actors who are willing to take on a Mejia role, there might be some personal career interest.

How many times has he made it to the top of the heap while someone who truly has talent is shut out, like Carlos Moreno Laguillo. There might even be some political pressure put on our own Univision to relegate his telenovelas to daytime, when they obviously belong in prime-time. His newest, Mujeres de Negro isn't even ON Univision. If you want to be premio-ed, who would you go with?

Last I read, Mejia is the current head director in Televisa. I believe it used to be Valentin Pimstein and then Carla Estrada for a little bit and eventually Mejia, and that's where the decline in Televisa started some say. He may not be one anymore but because he used to be one they may respect him a lot more for it. So that's why his are always prime time despite being a DISASTER (Corazon Salvaje).

I'll give the man this: his entradas are always amazing. From the music selection to the editing.

Annoyingly, most of my favorite TN music is from Mejia's TNs. So yeah, I'll agree with that. I've also noticed that the actors seemed to be enjoying themselves in the ones I've seen (Mundo de Fieras, FELS). That's actually kind of a big deal.

Maybe it's a vacation from serious acting work.

Thanks for all the info, Stevey.

La Candidata was probably the one novela I was already interested in (Silvia Navarro and Laisha Wilkins? Yes, please!), but the bit about how it got cut short at the literal last minute--and how the EP/writers apparently managed to salvage it--definitely has me curious. Being such a short novela, though, if it does make it Stateside I'd seriously expect it to end up on Unimas and/or in the midnight death slot. (See also Mujeres de Negro, which I was surprised to see coming to Unimas after however well it did on Univision Now. And I'm definitely there for that one, just to see if it's indeed as negro as it looks.)

I'm going to be watching "Mujeres de Negro" & most likely "La Candidata" (I'm assuming this will replace ECDLP).


My only real complaint about CS 2009 was Arecely Arambula and a few current pop songs that had no place in a novela de epoca. The incidental music was excellent.

However, the reality is that neither this nor TdA should have been made.

Watching TdA cured me of ever watching another Meh-jía telenovela again.

Stevey, thank you for your very informative briefing on what's next for Televisa. I knew some basic things about each telenovela, but you added some much needed details, and your witty comments on the side were truly the best part of your article.

I'm glad that La Candidata is doing OK, at the beginning I read some critics who were a bit disappointed with the pacing. I watched the first show and then I stopped because if I ever watch a tn again, it would have to be with the Caray gang.
My personal life is very busy right now with work, my daughter and moving to a new place, so tv watching is not a priority, but I'll probably do the best I can to watch the Cristian de la Fuente one, too. He DOES owe us after Sueno de Horror, so he better deliver this time, or else...

Hopefully my schedule clears a little bit before summer and I'll be able to come back here on a more permanent basis. I really miss you, guys!!!

Adriana Noel (who still hasn't figured out how to log back in to her google account)

Hola, Adriana! I hope you do get the chance to join us on a new tn soon.

Hola, Vivi! Me too. I tried with La Fan from Telemundo, but I bailed early on.
I do come lurking for articles like Stevey's, but I don't watch any of the current tns, so I'm always in and out.
Here's hoping that my ex-telenovio, Cristian, wins back my heart with a good story.
Adriana Noel

The new Mejia one will have me at "Horacio Pancheri" - Plus I'm one of the few who enjoys his shows, I think. That will be my next one should it come here. The actors seem to be having a good time on Instagram.

Also - not sure if this is the right thread for it but during the daytime, I've discovered that Galavision just started re-running Cuidado con el Angel. I've never made it all the way through, but they were just showing episode #2 yesterday. Also UniMas is daytime re-running Manana es Para Siempre, which I've also never seen. The recaps of that one on here are coming in very handy!

They could not have had any more commercials stuffed into the first episode of "Mujeres de negro" last night. Too bad because they were so distracting chopping up the action that much. I also did not appreciate the tad too loud constant background music. In spite of all of that,I enjoyed it.

Jarifa- Urban put up a superb recap of the first episode of Mujeres de Negro.

I saw an ad for La Doble Vida last night during Premio Lo Nuestro. Looks like it's starting in May. And of course La Piloto is replacing ECDLP starting on March 7th.

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