I was so excited when I found SELENA: THE SERIES in my Netflix preview content, as I am a big fan of the 1997 biographical music drama starring Jennifer Lopez – whose portrayal of the slain musician is, in my opinion, still the most dynamic performance of her career.
Here’s the Netflix synopsis: Before she became the Queen of Tejano Music, Selena Quintanilla was a young girl from Texas with big dreams and an even bigger voice. Selena: The Series explores her journey from singing small gigs to becoming the most successful female Latin artist of all time — and the years of hard work and sacrifice the Quintanilla family navigated together.
Broken into two parts, the first part of this series premieres on December 4 and contains nine approximately one hour episodes that explore the titular star’s (portrayed by Christian Serrato) journey towards superstardom beginning in her early years to her being on the brink of a successful record deal, and an unexpected relationship with band member Chris Perez (Jesse Posey) that threatens to separate the band and her family.
It’s clear that this series is both an attempt to bring Selena’s story to a new generation and give a (much needed) lengthier look into her life, especially the early years, that broadens the scope beyond what the major biopic was able to accomplish with its limited time-frame.
With introductions of former band members, a different look at her struggle to learn fluent Spanish to advance her musicianship and industry interactions, a focus on the educational struggles and social/relationship sacrifices made by her and siblings, and much more, the series gives a more extensive view of Quintanilla’s life than its predecessor and is a highly engaging watch.
Yet, it’s also obvious that the series is an opportunity for family members to correct what they believe was missing from the earlier film, with Selena’s sister Suzette Quintanilla serving as an executive producer, and allow fuller representation of the family’s, especially her siblings, struggles and significant moments as well.
As a matter of fact, one of my favorite scenes in part one is in episode three where Suzette (Noemi Gonzalez) has an especially touching interaction with a fan, and both receive some much needed encouragement.
But the most outstanding performance is that of Christian Serratos, who portrays Selena with hints of someone who’s definitely studied the singer as well as the Lopez performance – enough to pay homage yet weave them both into a stand-out performance of her own. And Madison Taylor Baez as young Selena is a vocal force, and a great little actress to boot. She is a young one to watch and keep an eye out for.
With a great soundtrack, a lot of cool 80’s nostalgia, and dynamic musical performances, “Selena: The Series” is a highly entertaining watch that has me looking forward to part two (so come soon)! I rate it 4 out of 5 beats on the MMTrometer.
SELENA: THE SERIES part one is available to stream on Netflix December 4.
Until next thought, Thomasena