Simply put, this biological fictional account is desperately generic and weak.
This review of Netflix’s Selena: The Series season 1 contains no spoilers – the biographical series on Selena Quintanilla’s life will be released on the streaming service on December 4, 2020.
We recapped every episode — check out the archive.
Admittedly and unfortunately, I know very little about Selena Quintanilla. Based on what I’ve seen and heard from this Netflix series, the late singer was full of life and energy. The series relays her personality well to the audience; she’s played with purpose by Christian Serratos. That’s at least one element the creators did well.
Netflix’s Selena: The Series is a biographical and fictional account of the beloved singer; it details a rags to riches story — it shows how her father patiently and strategically formed a band to support his daughter with his family from absolutely nothing. From that perspective, the story is admirable; it displays courage, strength, and hard work. These are lessons that the kids should replicate before they enter adulthood — how a legacy can take years to create and patience must be the number one factor.
Selena: The Series raises the importance and impact the American-Mexican singer had; Netflix brings on a rather surface-level angle on the “Queen of Tejano music” — how she managed to elevate herself to the top of Latin charts by teaching herself Spanish and embracing the culture despite desperately wanting an English album. The writing understands the importance she had on culture but also how a loyal family unit was a key driver to the success and the growing adoration of fans. It’s important to highlight that the Netflix series definitely understands this.
However, while I think Selena: The Series may please some fans on a nostalgic level, this feels like a rather poorly delivered biographical drama. Critics love to use the word “generic”, but in terms of this series, it’s the mere definition of the word. It’s so absurdly surface-level, from characters to representation — it’s sadly missed the mark. As a person who has no experience with this singer, it’s almost a crime that I learned nothing in-depth about a star that was loved by many. The series managed to make this a script that could easily be transferable to many stories; there’s only one suspicion that can be raised — it’s possible that biographical accounts were lightly read, which has generated this wafer-thin script and direction.
Characters feel like pawns to their settings rather than integral to their own story. The dialogue is senselessly wooden and predictable — the writers genuinely felt that the pull of Selena Quintanilla would be enough, but they’ve hit remarkably wide with the tone and delivery. It’s a great shame. Mostly because each episode is itching for depth and personality and a basic understanding of the time the characters were living in.
But, astoundingly, this is only season 1 of Selena: The Series, and with a more sinister storyline coming our way in the second season, the only hope is that the delivery of the story improves. Simply put, this biological fictional account is desperately generic and weak.