TELENOVELA WATCH: 'La Guerrera,' 'Uepa! Un Escenario Para Amar' Premiere, 'Fugitivos' Finale

LA GUERRERA, the Spanish dubbed international edit of the 2012 Brazilian telenovela SALVE JORGE, premieres tonight at 9 p.m. ET on MundoFox. Created by Glória Perez (O CLONE, INDIA), LA GUERRERA is about a single mother who falls victim to sex traffickers in Turkey.

LA GUERRERA stars Nanda Costa (CUENTO ENCANTADO) and Rodrigo Lombardi (INDIA), and features Cláudia Raia (LA FAVORITA), Giovanna Antonelli (O CLONE) and Carolina Dieckmann (COBRAS & LAGARTOS).

It is difficult to recommend a telenovela airing on MundoFox in prime time given the network’s egregious editing of past telenovelas including their last two Brazilian productions: LADO A LADO and RASTROS DE MENTIRAS (AMOR À VIDA), the latter being virtually unwatchable. To the network’s credit, they have followed up their butchered prime time airings with more complete reruns in the afternoons shortly after the prime time versions concluded; but I remain wary to dip into a new prime time telenovela on the network.


UEPA! UN ESCENARIO PARA AMAR
Also premiering today is UEPA! UN ESCENARIO PARA AMAR at 3 p.m. ET on Azteca. It is a remake of the 2001 Azteca telenovela COMO EN EL CINE, about a young woman living a double life – passing herself off as a psychologist while actually dancing at a bar nights to pay for the prestigious boarding school her younger sister attends.

UEPA is part of a telenovela genre that has largely died out in Mexico – the telenovela juvenil – which are aimed at young audiences and deal mostly with high school students, teen pop idols, and first loves.

The young protagonists of UEPA are Gloria Stalina and Erick Chapa, the telenovela also features Betty Monroe (LA MUJER DE JUDAS), Ana Belena (HUÉRFANAS) and Martha Mariana Castro (CORAZÓN EN CONDOMINIO).

There are question marks regarding how much of UEPA! UN ESCENARIO PARA AMAR we can expect to air in the US after its run in Mexico was cut short at just 30 episodes. Azteca is labeling those 30 episodes as season 1 in Mexico, but given the network’s ratings struggles, who knows when or if the rest of UEPA will be broadcast. Perhaps it will fare better here.

FUGITIVOS
FUGITIVOS (weeknights at 9 p.m. ET) concludes this Wednesday on UniMás. This Colombian telenovela was a rare misfire for CMO Producciones following LA RONCA DE ORO, LA PROMESA and CORREO DE INOCENTES. FUGITIVOS still benefited from CMO’s superior direction, editing and production values – indeed, with the beauty of its cinematography, FUGITIVOS perhaps functions best as a travelogue of the Colombian countryside. Even at a mere 42 episodes, the story was thin and believability was constantly strained to shoehorn action set pieces.

FUGITIVOS does include an extraordinary discovery in newcomer Laura Osma as the heroine’s troubled daughter. I’m not even sure she is much of an actress, but Osma has an alluring screen mystique and mournful lost girl gaze that is captivating, like a Luc Besson anti-heroine. Emmanual Esparaza give a workmanlike performance as the protagonist. The excellent Christian Tappan is wasted as a cliché bad guy obsessed with her heroine.

De-glamorized beauty queen Taliana Vargas as the female lead, deepening her voice and lumbering her walk, never ceased to seem a bit of stunt casting. I thought the same was true of de-glamorized Endry Cardeño, a transsexual actress whose role in FUGITIVOS is first as a male hired gun, but we then learn the character is transitioning – a rather incongruous subplot, but given depth by Cardeño’s fine performance.

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 argeemorin@hotmail.com.

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