Selena: The Series debuted on Netflix last week and Latinas, well, we have THOUGHTS. Pretty much every single one of us. So while we’re normally agitating for more Latina critics, we know we can’t just sit back and savor this moment – we have to support these mujeres problématicas, defending them against the “why-can’t-Latinos-just-support-each-other” crew (otherwise known as men). That’s why we at LatinaMedia.co pulled these ten, Latina-authored takes on the show:
Mala Muñoz of Locatura Radio is arguably leading the resistance against Selena: The Series. Her Twitter and Instagram have been an unending delight, providing damning critique of The Series. Take this video where Mala asks “how do you de-sex Chris Perez? How do you de-sex Selena?” before pointing out that thanks to the weakness of the show, “now it looks like that in all these years since Selena died, we have no answer to Selena… No one else is out there. We have cultivated no talent. We have no dancers in our community. We have no singers in our community. We have no bombshells in our community.” Check out her entire coverage.
With our favorite headline of the bunch, Tejana critic Kate Sánchez is all of us. For But Why Tho?, she writes, “In truth, I am desperately trying to find good things to say about this series… It took a larger than life personality and made her into a mousey character whose moments of strength are fleeting and who’s famous smile is nearly nonexistent. This series is painfully mediocre and while not every Latinx story… has to be perfect, taking the story of an icon and presenting it in the calmest way misses every reason why people are still inspired by La Reina today.” Read her full review.
For Elle, film critic Yolanda Machado calls out the sexism in The Series, writing “For Latinx women in particular, Selena was an example of what a strong woman who believed in herself could achieve. But that Selena is non-existent in Selena: The Series, her voice muted and buried in order to preserve one of the most destructive elements in Latino culture: an unquestioning allegiance and devotion to machismo.” Read her full commentary.
Over at VICE, Alex Zaragoza takes the economic angle, frustrated at the Selena industrial complex and its implications for the woman herself and our entire community. She writes, “The ubiquity of her image and story is running into exploitative and even boring territory. Unfortunately, Selena: The Series does nothing to upend this… We deserve better, and Hollywood needs to wise up to our exhaustion. I want a world where Selena is one story, not the only story.” Read her full story.
Rosa Parra takes a break from Latinx Lens to review Selena: The Series for Luz Collective, noting “Overall, Selena: The Series misses the target of telling a compelling and nuanced story by instead delivering a generic musician’s journey to stardom. While the series contains some great facts about Selena Quintanilla, Queen of Tejano, unfortunately, these glimmers in the storytelling are overshadowed by frustratingly poor dialogue.” Check out her full review.
Kristen Maldonado tried to find the good in the show but ended up “disappointed,” saying “you know we’re getting a story of a Latina icon and… we deserve more… The production quality was not there. The scripts felt really safe. It was really missing the depth and the heart and the like star power of what Selena should be about.” Watch her full review.
Kayla Sutton finds a mismatch between the show’s subject and its execution, noting Selena’s excellence makes The Series look worse by comparison. For the A.V. Club, she writes, “Selena adored her fans; she opened her life up to them, but it’s hard not to wonder if she would be okay with multiple tellings of her story from one point of view—her family’s… Unfortunately, Selena: The Series follows in its predecessor’s footsteps too often to match the ground-breaking spirit of its subject.” Read her full review.
Ariana Romero of Refinery29 focus on a different reason The Series doesn’t work: glossing over the youth of its titular character. She writes, “Allowing an adult to play someone who was a child for much of their race towards stardom undercuts the debilitating pressure inherent to that journey. You can’t fully grasp the stress of teen Selena’s story when the person playing her looks like an adult, no matter how hard the actress works (and Serratos gives Selena her all).” Read her full commentary.
IndieWire Editor Kristen Lopez gets to the root of the problem, writing “Selena: The Series certainly knows what it wants to say — that it’s leading lady was a good girl, a brilliant singer, and a woman on the cutting edge of the music scene who would have created a revolution if given the chance. Unfortunately, by putting Selena on such a high pedestal she takes on near Christ-like significance.” Read her full review.
Our Cristina Escobar writes in RogerEbert.com, “Each Latinx show can’t and shouldn’t have to be perfect. Our worth, our visibility, our ability to make big Hollywood productions shouldn’t ride on Selena’s (well-padded) shoulders… It’s Selena’s sister, Suzette, who’s really the metaphor [for the show], not the titular legend herself. Suzette’s not particularly good at what she does, but we love her and root for her anyway.” Read her full review.