Television in Latin America reinvents telenovelas and series in 2020

03/01/2020

The new fiction projects in Spanish-language television announced for 2020 and the first years of the new decade bring new experiments in the traditional telenovelas genre, stories with more modern themes and action-packed series starring women.

Cuna de Lobos with a new telenovelas version. Photo: Televisa
Cuna de Lobos with a new telenovelas version. Photo: Televisa

"The challenge is to capture young people and the most sophisticated viewer, without losing the most loyal audience," Carlos Bardasano, president of W Studios, one of Televisa's and Univision's production arms, told Efe.

"The goal is to make television of the same quality as Hollywood, but with our Latin stamp," said Marcos Santana, president of Telemundo Global Studios.

With this in mind, the first major project will premiere in the United States on January 21. It's the new version of "Ruby," the telenovela that made Uruguayan Barbara Mori an international star and that will be in the hands of Mexico's Camila Sodi in 2020.

The production is part of "Fábrica de sueños", a project in which Televisa is reinventing legendary telenovelas in series format and with cinematographic techniques. This new venture has incorporated the lessons learned from the adaptations of "La usurpadora" and "Cuna de Lobos" which, for example, were first released in Mexico.

The new "Ruby" comes with 26 chapters the others were 20, Leonardo Padron, the screenwriter who returned Univision to first place in the nights, and the production of W Studios, which developed for Televisa the successful "Love to Death" and "The Dragon". The modifications will be more profound in "The Privilege of Love", the next on the list.

The recordings were expected to begin in the next few weeks, but Televisa has decided to return to the drawing board and make more profound changes to the concept of "Dream Factory", with longer series and a lighter tone that balances the melodrama.

Televisa is not alone in deepening its experiments with telenovelas. In Argentina, it has announced "Separated", by the production company Polka, in which the protagonists are seven women, who are not family as well.

The South American country is thus following the path opened up by "One Hundred Days to Fall in Love," the successful television series by the production company Underground, which this year has two versions in the United States - on Telemundo and Showtime - and another in Chile.

The strongest characters in the production, which has the tone of a romantic comedy with touches of drama, are two friends, who decide to separate from their husbands of almost two decades to evaluate the relationship. In the process, they deal with issues of gender equity, children facing challenges of harassment and sexual identity, and other current situations.

The trend of women at the center of the series also extends to police and action women. In the first quarter, Telemundo premieres the second season of "La Doña", in which Aracely Arámbula leads a criminal operation. And "Operation Pacific", in which Majida Issa is the chief agent of an elite directorate of the Colombian police.

In Mexico, Bárbara Mori is in charge of the series "La negociadora", on the Claro Video platform, in which she plays the best agent in a hostage crisis.

Also in that country, Fernanda Castillo is filming the second season of "Enemigo Íntimo", which will focus on the confrontation between a brother cop and a sister drug trafficker. These four productions are characterized by action-packed outdoor scenes.

Televisa will also broadcast "Vencer el miedo" (Overcoming Fear) from January, with a story about four women from the same family who are dealing with problems of sexual harassment, gender violence, and teenage pregnancy.

For its part, Colombia's most anticipated television series is the second season of "La Reina del flow". This Caracol TV production broke audience records on Telemundo International and Netflix.

By Mexicanist