Emmanuel Esparza (LA POLA) stars as Julián Duarte, an innocent man sentenced to 20 years in prison for the murder of the wife of his best friend. The prison, called “La Bendita,” holds men and women separated by a wall of bars. There he meets Esperanza, played by Tatiana Vargas (RAFAEL OROZCO, EL IDOLO), who is in prison for murdering her husband to protect her daughter from him. Julián and Esperanza attempt to escape, but only Julián succeeds. Now a fugitive, he keeps a promise he made to Esperanza to deliver her diary to her daughter, Micaela, played by Laura Osma, which explains the truth behind her crime. Julián and Micaela then set off in search of evidence that will prove his innocence.
The cast also includes Endry Cardeño (LOS REYES), Christian Tappan (ESCOBAR, EL PATRÓN DEL MAL), María José Martínez and Josse Narváez.
Telemundo is rerunning the Brazilian telenovela AVENIDA BRASIL starting tonight, this time in prime time at 8 p.m. ET and presumably with English captions available. It was the best telenovela to air on Telemundo last year and from the look of the network’s upcoming schedule, easily will be the best this year as well.
There is something perverse in Telemundo’s scheduling one of the most expensive telenovelas ever made in front of their Miami clunkers TIERRA DE REYES and DUEÑOS DEL PARAÍSO, especially as the former, an ersatz PASIÓN DE GAVILANES, looks like one of the cheapest telenovelas the network has ever made. How is it Telemundo’s Miami remakes like TIERRA and last year’s EN OTRA PIEL manage to look shoddier and cheaper than the original versions Telemundo produced over a decade ago? Perhaps decreasing budgets account for why Telemundo is filling an hour in prime time with a rerun. If Telemundo runs AVENIDA BRASIL in its entirety, it will last until the end of the year which would be the longest Telemundo has gone without three of its original productions filling prime time slots since 2007 when the network aired A ESCRAVA ISAURA (LA ESCLAVA ISAURA).
As I wrote before Telemundo’s first broadcast of AVENIDA BRASIL last year, it is a telenovela I admire more than love. I loathe revenge stories and THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO in particular, which AVENIDA BRASIL retreads. No doubt part of the reason for AVENIDA BRASIL’s international success is the familiarity of the plot. Brazil’s more original telenovelas don’t sell nearly as well as this clichéd phenom, but then, they don’t do as well in Brazil either. Tired plot aside, the production values are exemplary and most of the acting is first-rate.
Quite often the ratings success of a hit telenovela will prove detrimental to its quality because the network can’t resist extending its run, sometimes adding months of episodes, whether the plot can sustain it or not. Such is the case with AVENIDA BRASIL which climaxes around episode 95, then labors on for another four months of increasingly ludicrous plot turns.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.