TELENOVELA WATCH: 'Tierra de Reyes' Premieres Tonight on Telemundo

Gonzalo Garcia Vivanco as Flavio Gallardo, Aarón Diaz as Arturo Gallardo,
Christian de La Campa as Samuel Gallardo in Tierra de Reyes --
Photo Credit: Telemundo
Can you really make a telenovela called Tierra de Reyes (“Land of Kings”) in Miami? Apparently so, as Telemundo’s Miami hacienda telenovela premieres tonight at 9 p.m. ET. Los Miserables will move up an hour taking the thankfully departed Reina de Corazones time slot at 8 p.m. ET.

Tierra de Reyes is a new version of Telemundo’s Pasión de Gavilanes, a 2003 Colombian telenovela produced with RTI that is arguably the network’s most successful production, at least in terms of its international popularity. Pasión de Gavilanes was itself a remake of the 1994 Colombian telenovela Las Aguas Mansas, which also spawned an unfortunate Mexican production from Televisa in 2008 called Fuego en la Sangre that ludicrously miscast all its principals. That did not prevent Fuego en la Sangre from becoming a hit in the US and it is still regularly rebroadcast. Pasión de Gavilanes is also constantly being rerun which calls to question the wisdom of Telemundo going to this well again, particularly as their Miami studio seems inadequate for a hacienda telenovela like this.

The story, from the press release, is of “three brothers out for revenge against the family they hold responsible for the tragic and mysterious death of their younger sister. In their search for the truth, Arturo, Flavio and Samuel Reyes set out to conquer the beautiful daughters of hacienda owner Ignacio Del Junco, the man they suspect of causing their sister’s death. But fate makes them victims of their own trap and they end up falling in love with their enemies, Sofía, Irina and Andrea.”

The six protagonists for Tierra de Reyes are thankfully more age appropriate than the cast of Fuego en la Sangre, but they seem woefully ersatz and bland compared to their counterparts in Pasión de Gavilanes. Coming off four flops in a row - El Talismán, Rosario (still unreleased in the US), Santa Diabla, and Los Miserables – once again, an American telenovela producer will attempt to make Aarón Díaz happen. He is a handsome, but lifeless protagonist – he only seems to get a pulse when he is playing a psycho, where he overacts, but at least is amusing in doing so. His brothers are played by Gonzalo García Vivanco and Christian de la Campa. Christian de la Campa is another dud somebody at Telemundo is inexplicably a fan of as he keeps blighting their telenovelas – he always gives the impression he has just taken a two-by-four to the back of head. Gonzalo García Vivanco, the only good actor of the trio, was an effective romantic lead in OJO POR OJO, a sympathetic creep in Relaciones Peligrosas, and as a comic relief conman was the best thing in La Patrona despite having nothing to do for the final two-thirds of the telenovela.

Sonya Smith as Cayetana Belmonte, Kimberly Dos Ramos as Irina del
Junco, Daniela Navarro as Patricia Rubio in Tierra de Reyes  --
Photo Credit: Telemundo
The three sisters are played by Ana Lorena Sánchez, Scarlet Gruber and Kimberly Dos Ramos. Ana Lorena Sánchez and Scarlet Gruber are also the protagonists of the Miami telenovela Cosita Linda, which is currently airing weekdays at 2 p.m. ET on UniMás. Judging by their performances on that telenovela, neither seems talented or charismatic enough to explain why they have been cast as protagonists now in two telenovelas, but they aren’t embarrassingly poor actresses either, so their blandness is actually an improvement on the conspicuous wretchedness of recent Telemundo leading ladies like María Elisa Camargo and Blanca Soto. Kimberly Dos Ramos started out as a child actress and still seems to give facile child actress performances. She was amusing in the kiddie telenovela Grachi, but the superficiality of her acting undermined her juvenile lead roles for Telemundo in El Rostro de la Venganza and Marido en Alquiler where she was pretty but forgettable.

Sonya Smith plays the mother of the three sisters. She is one of the better actresses at Telemundo and this role seems thankfully more suited to her than her previous telenovela, Marido en Alquiler, where she was disastrously miscast.

Fabian Rios como Leonardo Montalvo -- Photo Credit: Uriel
Fabián Ríos is apparently the antagonist. Ríos is a rarity in that I find him far better in protagonist roles than antagonist roles. As the second protagonist in Corazón Valiente, Ríos displayed a wry humor that was enormously appealing and his chemistry with Ximena Duque made for one of the rare successful romantic pairings in recent Telemundo telenovelas. Antagonists are typically easier to play – the villains in telenovelas tend to be more interesting, more clearly motivated, and more active in moving plot. But Ríos in his antagonist roles is very monotonous, all contemptuous sneers, and his overexposure as a Miami antagonist – this is the fourth antagonist role at Telemundo in four years – only emphasizes his limitations.

The cast of Tierra de Reyes also includes Ricardo Chávez (Marido en Alquiler), Cynthia Olavarría (El Rostro de la Venganza), Diana Quijano (Dama y Obrero), Dad Dáger (Marido en Alquiler), Ricardo Kleinbaum (De Que Te Quiero, Te Quiero), and perhaps the worst actress in telenovelas today, Daniela Navarro (Relaciones Peligrosas).

R.G. Morin writes a regular column for We Love Soaps, "Telenovela Watch: A weekly look at the world of telenovelas for non-Spanish speakers." For feedback or questions, you can email R.G. Morin at

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