How NOT to run a network
Well, It’s been an interesting few days for Yago.
To be fair, it wasn’t really Yago itself, it was Univsion and its inability to make any sort of decision about programming. First viewers were told it was being relegated to a midnight slot on a different network, then just yesterday it was decided that Yago would remain on Univsion and in a prime time slot.
I would complain and rant about this, but it it’s a waste of time. Univision has made it pretty clear that they are going to do what they want…and it usually involves screwing the viewers. *shrugs* Whatever.
Whatever the ratings may be, I am obsessed with Yago. I wish we could have more shows like it.
This article on NovelaLounge really explains perfectly what makes this show special. I certainly can’t say anything better or say it differently. But I will anyway because I have a fantasy that Univision actually pays attention and I just want one more positive voice out there.
Yago, the show, is beautiful. I agree that at times the hazy, Vaseline™-on-the-lens lighting is annoying, but I can overlook it because everything else is so damn….well, beautiful. If they’ve filmed in a sound stage with cardboard sets, I can’t tell because they filmed it to look like a movie or series. I also love the little touches that seem like a nod to the original Turkish production. I’ve never seen the original, but there are little musical details and some set details that feel more like a Turkish aesthetic than the usual Mexican one.
Sure, there are some visual oddities, wrought iron work in a prison for instance. Who cares? I’ve started to watch this not as a “real” tale set in Mexico City in modern times. This is some other Mexico. Some alternate Mexico. In so many scenes the fashions seem to reflect a 20’s and 30’s aesthetic that fascinates me (and can I just say I love Sara and Ambar’s wardrobe?) It’s just a different world. Again, I don’t care.
Is the story original? No. It’s The Count of Monte Cristo for Pete’s sake. I can’t fathom why anyone would expect an “original” story if they know that.
Still, Yago has a lot going for it. First and foremost “Nos ha gustado que la producción de Armendáriz no nos trate como unos imbeciles.”
The whole production assumes I have half a brain and that I am NOT just there to ogle pretty, plastic actors or snark (there’s a time and place for it I guess, but in the last year or so I’ve just not been entertained by that kind of show.) I am engrossed in a story. There are mysteries to be solved. And who exactly are our players? There are so many questions I have. I love that the past narrative is woven in with the present narrative in order to shed light on a scene or a character.
Have any of you seen the Verizon ad with Diego Luna? It’s hilarious. He goes on and on about the effort actors put in to making a film. Speaking about the movie in question he says “¡Eso fue actuación!”. I find myself saying that repeatedly each episode. Even the weakest acting link, Pablo Valentín (Abel) seems to be settling down.
I can’t even begin to do justice to a review of Rosa María Bianchi’s performance. She is killing it. KILLING.IT.
Action and pacing
Here’s where I disagree with NovelaLounge and other critics of telenovelas lately.
I’ve read a few articles and almost each one has said that now that they are making shows with fewer episodes there needs to be more action. To translate and quote NovelaLounge: “every episode needs to end like it’s Friday.”
In my opinion, 66 episodes is still a lot. I think everyone is starting to confuse action with violence or edge-of-your-seat excitement. I’m pretty sure that’s why there’s a whole lot of circo crap out there. Cuna de Lobos had 85 episodes, and I don’t recall feeling like every single episode was filled with “action.” (Seriously, what the hell does that even mean?) The story just built and built and built. It was a psychological story…exactly like Yago.
I should probably confess here that I actually kind of like books and shows that seem to be about what most people would call nothing. I love to people watch. I’m perfectly happy to read and watch character studies. This is what Yago feels like to me. The more I watch, the more “gray” each main character starts to feel to me.
But can we be honest here? There’s not a lot of plot to any story. Beginning, middle, end. It’s pretty simple. It can be long or short. We’ve recently had to suffer through telenovelas where it took almost 200 episodes to cover the beginning, middle and end. There was a lot of garbage between those three elements. We kept watching then–why are we being so harsh now?
So I’m glad that Univsion decided to keep Yago in the prime time slots, but no matter where they put it, I will continue to obsessively watch this show.