I hate nothing more than giving something a bad review. I am aware of the hard work that it takes and of the certain way that the stars need to align, in order for a TV show to come to fruition. I just can’t find a positive spin on Selena: The Series, which premiered on Netflix on December 4th.
If there’s one thing Selena’s family is going to do, it’s make money off of her.
Look, I knew it was suspect from the minute they announced Christian Serratos as Selena, but I was willing to go into it with an open mind. Then the trailer dropped and my open mind began to close. Yet, I still sat down on December 4th to support. Where do I even begin?
The wig department! I will say nothing more but I will submit this picture as evidence of what I mean (lets not pretend to not see the way the wig is inches off of her scalp!!!!!)
If you ever need to see how misogyny influences storytelling, then I urge you to watch Selena. I’m still trying to figure out how Selena became a side character in her own story. The entire series feels like a love letter to Abraham Quintanilla and A.B. Quintanilla which feels irritating to say the least. They take the fierce woman that we all fell in love with and turned her into someone who “made it” because the men in her life worked so hard to get her to where she was. Cue the eye roll.
I have seen Christian Serratos’s work on The Walking Dead and I know that she is a good actress, but she was a terrible choice to portray Selena. First of all, she doesn’t resemble Selena and colorism is at work yet again! It is not lost on me that they cast a light-skin Latina to portray the beautiful morena that Selena was. Not only does Christian not physically resemble Selena but her portrayal feels goofy and like an SNL impersonation that would never make it to the live show. I know that it sounds harsh and trust me, I don’t feel great as I type those words, but everyone who worked on this show knew just how much it would be analyzed and they still chose to turn in mediocre work. Christian had no stage presence, danced off-beat for 100% of her dancing shots and could’t sync up with the singing even once.
We all know that J.Lo’s portrayal of Selena was also heavily-criticized but you will never take away from the fact that J.Lo captured Selena’s vibrancy and joy. J.Lo was a dancer and the essence of Selena was felt throughout the entire film. I have spent hours wondering how the film was able to capture so much heart and nuance when a 9-episode series could not.
Suzette, Selena’s sister, recently made a statement in regards to the backlash the show was getting and essentially said how the show was meant to be about a Mexican family who “made it” despite the odds. Though I can appreciate that, the problem still lies in the fact that this was marketed as a show about Selena. I would have welcomed a show about the family or the Tejano music industry at the time, had it been presented as such.
My final thoughts on the matter: Let Selena rest. We have her music, we have old footage and we are grateful for all of it. All Selena’s family has done since her death is profit off of HER talent. Honestly, if we’re going to get any more Selena content, then I want to see the Chris Perez and Selena Quintanilla love story. Shame on Abraham Quintanilla for suing Chris when he tried to bring that story to life.
As an avid participant of the #RepresentationMatters movement, I am fully aware that giving this show a bad review may mean that we don’t get as many LATINX shows in the future and I still refuse to clap for something that doesn’t deserve it. When I mean I want representation, I mean that I want representation that is worthy of our culture, of our hearts and of our perseverance; this show is most definitely not that.
Have you seen the show? What did you think?