Tuesday, November 12, 2013


LA TEMPESTAD (weeknights at 9 p.m. ET) is in its last week on Univision with its finale airing this Friday. Never a particularly good telenovela, LA TEMPESTAD was a watchable middle-of-the-road entertainment with a decent serving of genuine camp, but the last few weeks haven’t even been that because of the hatchet editing performed by Univision to rush the show off the air. Two or three episodes are being chopped down to an hour, rendering the central plot incoherent; the subplots have been largely excised altogether, left on the cutting room floor are most of the scenes featuring the enormously entertaining actor René Casados as well as relationship between the Nora Salinas and Arturo Carmona characters – the most likable pairing on the show.

In the past when a prime time telenovela did poorly in the ratings, Univision would just change its time slot as they did in 2012 moving EL TALISMÁN from 8 p.m. to noon and in 2010 moving the CORAZÓN SALVAJE remake from 9 p.m. to midnight, an inconvenience to viewers, but at least they still got to see the entire novela. Previous to this year, I can only recall one other prime time telenovela Univision chopped down, LLENA DE AMOR in 2011. This year, two telenovelas have already been subject to network shortening, which makes this viewer a bit wary as to whether or not to start watching new novelas on their network for fear if the ratings are too low, we won’t get the whole story.

The problem could be easily mitigated if Univision would at least upload the complete original episodes on HULU or their UVideos website, but instead, they upload the mangled versions they air on TV leaving viewers scrambling to other unofficial online sources if they want to see the episodes in their entirety.

Ironically, the Televisa telenovelas considered, for whatever reason, not worthy of a prime time slot, CACHITO DE CIELO and LA MUJER DEL VENDAVAL, are being treated better than the nighttime fare, so far airing in their entirety in their afternoon time slots.

Telemundo is also wrangling with their prime time schedule, their indecision as to what to fill the hole left by the cancellation of DAMA Y OBRERO played out in public last month as they first aired promotions for the 2012 Brazilian telenovela AVENIDA BRASIL only to yank the promos and opt instead for a rerun. A rerun of the network’s only real phenomenon-level hit - their 2011 telenovela LA REINA DEL SUR – but a rerun nonetheless.

LA REINA DEL SUR returns this week, airing weeknights at 9 p.m. ET. Adapted from the novel by Arturo Pérez-Reverte, it’s the story of a Mexican woman swept up into the world of drug trafficking and discovering she has the intelligence and resourcefulness to not only survive that environment, but flourish in it.

I think the first half of LA REINA DEL SUR is probably the best thing Telemundo ever produced, a dark adventure story of culture clashes. I find the second half far less interesting and imaginative, bogged down by the conventions of the narco-novela genre. Even that section is far superior to the network’s other drug fantasies thanks to the rich lead performance of Kate del Castillo and the qualities brought by the Spanish actors like Alberto Jiménez and Cristina Urgel.

The return of LA REINA DEL SUR means MARIDO EN ALQUILER (weeknights at 8 p.m. ET) can go back to one episode a night and not a moment too soon. I have found MARIDO EN ALQUILER difficult to endure of late as the cartoonish elements have taken over. The villainess’s ridiculous Snidely Whiplash plots are met with equally puerile responses from the increasingly annoying heroine. The villainess tries to burn down the heroine’s house almost resulting in the death of her daughter. The heroine’s response: she sprays the villainess with a garden hose. An especially tired scenario has already been played out at least three times: the heroine holds some public party or event, the villainess strolls in, uninvited, makes an ass of herself, the heroine rolls up her sleeves as if to sock her, shouting ensues and the two have to be physically separated.

The escalating stupidity of the plot would be more tolerable if any of the numerous – at least nine - couplings had the least bit of chemistry, but its astonishingly lacking. There is a tossed off quality to the pairings that perhaps accounts for this lack of interest, the characters too shallowly conceived, many too poorly acted, and with too little time devoted to each of them to make them matter.

More unfortunately, after a much longer wait than usual, the lead couple portrayed by Juan Soler and Sonya Smith were finally paired together and the results were white bread bland. There is no sizzle, no excitement, they dutifully go through the motions, professional, but dead. Perhaps the insipidness of the pairing should have been predictable – both actors have a rather asexual screen quality. Sonya Smith in recent years has become ethereally beautiful and elegant – suitable for icy blondes, nuns and queens. Juan Soler in this novela is all affected boyishness and coy smiles, like an aging juvenile actor still relying on the bag of tricks that worked in his youth, he comes off like a forty-something teenager. Neither has a pulse.

The comedy has become cheaper and bawdier - single entendre jokes about the size of penises and the like. Everybody suddenly decided rolling their “r’s” is hilarious. Maritza Rodríguez and Daniela Navarro seem engaged in a perverse competition as to who can give the more wretched performance. Navarro may have actually pulled out in front thanks to her ludicrously exaggerated derrière - it upstages every scene, one can’t help but gawp at it in fascinated horror.

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 [email protected].


  1. La Tempestad I agree with the horrible hatchet editing that was done to this novela it is so sad to see all these actors hard work down the tube since after seeing this not too great novela for so long now and the story line being so terrible they cut the episodes so badly that there are really no words to describe this horrible ending too bad it started really good and interesting.

  2. I love this novela and it is a shame that it did not receive the recognition nor the respect it deserved. The actors in this novela did a really good job with their roles and It is more than obvious that the director let the actors take free rein in their roles, which was genius. Ivan Sanchez did an amazing job at portraying Hernan as a freaking psycho! Cesar Evora was humorously entertaining with his antagonistic Role as Fulgencio. This was Ximena Navarrete's first acting experience and let me say that for it to be her first time acting, she did an incredible job, not only portraying one role but two and she deserves a tremendous amount of credit. I am left with William Levy and what can I say except that he does such a great job at every role he takes on and Damian Fabre was not the exception.
    Univision cut the wrong novela. Instead of cutting La Tempestad they should of cut that dreadfully never-ending novela they call Corazon Indomable, which has been dragging which seems for an eternity.
    Despite the ratings, La Tempestad is a fresh, entertaining and genius production. Its impeccable ability to deliver suspense and drama at just the right moment, is what makes this novela unique. Others will leave you hanging until the ending of the novela which is probably the reason why they actually see through to it til the end. Meanwhile the Tempestad delivers every night.

  3. La Tempestad is horrible I can see why they chose to edit and rush it off the air. Horrible acting and horrible plot lines. One of the worst novelas I have seen in recent years. I was confused as to why Dama and Obrero was cancelled when Santa Diabla has the same ratings and it was not shortened.

  4. I think its time that all novelas run 100 episodes or less. Viewing habits have changed and most people cannot dedicate 7-8 months of watching the same plot. I think thats why shorter noevlas like La Reina del Sur, El Senor de los Cielos all have more ratings different plots and shorter runs. I used to watch 3- 4 novelas at a time now I can barely keep up with 1.

  5. La Tempestad is not a horrible novela it started with a great story line and very interesting plot with very good actors unfortunately ratings dropped but not because of the actors they all did a great job especially Ximena Navarrette her first acting job did very well acting dual roles. They should have move the novela to a later time instead of editing all those episodes that the audience would like to see I hope in the future this hatchet editing stops.

  6. I'm gonna miss La Tempestad, it's actors did an incredible job playing their roles. Hopefully we can see it in its entirety when it's released on DVD. I wish them all the very best.

  7. I have enjoyed watching La Tempestad, mainly because of the main actors, William Levy and Ximena Navarrette. I also think that the rest of the cast did an excellent job, unfortunately the ratings dropped. I read that when the novela La Tempestad was airing in Mexico, the producer was under scrutiny(Mexican audience) because he decided to have Ximena as he's leading actress with no acting experience. I wonder if the novela was to fail from the get go. I personally think that Ximena Navarrette did an excellent acting job,and I wish everyone the best.

  8. Screw La Tempestad!!!!! I'm still mad about the horrible cutting of IMHO the best novella of this year, Secretos Del Paraiso!!!

  9. I didn't watch Secretos del Paraiso, but I am surprised that it had the same fate as La Tempestad. Really atrocious what these networks have done! I thought La Tempestad was better than most (i.e. Triunfo del Amor, Corazon Indomable, Marido en Alquiler). The protagonists had great chemistry, and most, if not all the actors were wonderful. Even the crew had great chemistry with each other, and the Capitan. The only couple I didn't care for was Lazaro/JasLu. It was not your typical galan who was well-dressed, rich, worldly; a real galan nonetheless.... sigh

  10. R.G. Morin - your summation of Marido en Alquiler is so spot on. That's why it is unwatchable to me, for all the reasons you mentioned.