Monday, October 6, 2014

TELENOVELA WATCH: 'Las Bravo' Premieres Tonight on Azteca

LAS BRAVO premieres tonight at 8 p.m. ET on Azteca. It is a Mexican telenovela from Azteca based on a 2013 Chilean telenovela called LAS VEGA’S. It features a highly unusual premise for a telenovela, from the official synopsis:

“LAS BRAVO is the story of Valentina Bravo and her three daughters – wealthy, privileged and prejudiced women whose sheltered world falls apart with the death of the family’s patriarch. Left behind with an exorbitant debt, the four women are forced to push aside their pride and get their hands dirty managing their newly found cash cow – a strip club for women. Las Bravo must learn to get along with a group of male performers equally desperate for survival. Along the way, the Bravo family will learn independence, find themselves and discover plenty of opportunities for love.”

LAS BRAVO stars Edith González as Valentina. González is enjoying something of a renaissance at Azteca after hitting a bit of funk in the late 2000s at her longtime home, Televisa, bottoming out with a pitiful role in CAMALEONES in 2009. Her fascinating turn as DONA BÁRBARA for RTI/Telemundo in 2008 briefly interrupted the Televisa sludge, but her move to Azteca in 2011 to star in CIELO ROJO marked a full-on rejuvenation in her talents as an actress. Her performance in VIVIR A DESTIEMPO in 2013 is one of the crowning achievements in her career that dates back to child roles in the 1970s and includes the lead in the landmark 1993 version of CORAZÓN SALVAJE. One hopes LAS BRAVO will continue her Azteca quality streak.

González is joined in LAS BRAVO by a two veteran leading men: Mauricio Islas (EL MANANTIAL) and Saúl Lisazo (EL CLON). The daughters are played by Paulette Hernández, Carla Carrillo and Carolina Miranda. The cast also features Héctor Arredondo, Pedro Sicard, Lambda García, María Fernanda Quiroz, Cecilia Piñeiro and Alberto Casanova.

I’m hesitant to discuss telenovelas that air on Azteca because that network, formerly known as Azteca America, has an abysmal track record when it comes to their telenovelas, frequently juggling their time slots, truncating them or pulling them off the schedule all together. One hopes the network’s name change will coincide with a stronger commitment to their telenovelas. Recent months has seen an increase in the number of time slots devoted to telenovelas on Azteca. In the previous two years, Azteca typically ran only a single telenovela; currently, four hours on the schedule are filled with telenovelas. Two hours in the morning feature Azteca productions that aired in Mexico but were skipped by Azteca America: VIDAS ROBADAS from 2010 and PROHIBIDO AMAR from last year. An afternoon slot is devoted to juvenile telenovelas including Nickelodeón Latinoamérica productions like GRACHI and 11-11: EN MI CUARA NADA CUADRA. VIOLETTA, an Argentine telenovela from Disney is currently airing in that 3 p.m. ET slot.

FAVORITES FOR WEEK OF September 26-October 2, 2014

Favorite telenovela: HASTA EL FIN DEL MUNDO (weeknights at 9 p.m. ET on Univision)

Favorite scene: from LA GATA (weeknights at 7 p.m. ET on Univision). While I don’t think much of LA GATA, I did love the fight at the charreada. It was so ridiculously absurd, it was sublime in its silliness as the gata, Esmeralda (Maite Perroni), tumbled over the railing to the dirt below fighting with her lover/betrayer Pablo (Daniel Arenas). My favorite bit was when Esmeralda attempted to climb back up into the stands to attack Pablo’s fiancée, like the gladiator played by Woody Strode in SPARTACUS climbing to attack the patricians. The long passionate kiss between Pablo and Esmeralda in front of the audience including that fiancée was the perfect capper to the fun nonsense.

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].

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