Sunday, November 29, 2015

9pm - Tierra de Reyes versus Lo Imperdonable

Wow, I cannot believe I am writing my last post for this semester already. It feels like it just flew, especially being so caught up in telenovelas all the time. 
I decided to dedicate this last post to two telenovelas in particular, both inhabiting the 9pm timeslot, but one at Univision and one at Telemundo. 
Keeping in mind the ongoing and getting-more-interesting-by-the-minute competition in terms of rating between the two networks I thought it would be very interesting to look at these two programs as two of their projects this year. 

General Information

Tierra de Reyes (further TdR) 
is a Telemundo telenovela, produced by Telemundo in 2014 and was broadcasted on the network from December 2014 to July 2015 at 9pm, followed by Bajo el mismo cielo. 
It’s 159 chapters are an adaption of a telenovela called Las aguas manses from 1994. It was written by Julio Jimenez, a Colombian libretista, who rewrote his own works 8 different times, check him out on Wikipedia, it’s fascinating. So he himself did a remake in 2003 called Pasión de Gavilanes for RTI, Caracol and Telemundo. There were 3 more telenovela adaptations.
In 2008 Telemundo did a version called Fuego en la sangre
In 2010 there was a Spanish Television show called Gavilanes (I HIGHLY recommend it, I got addicted) and right now 
in 2015 there is also a version in the Phillipines. 
This current adaptation is done by Rossana Negrín. 

Lo Imperdonable (further Imperdonable) 

is a telenovela produced by Televisa in 2015 and broadcasted originally on Canal de Las Estrellas in Mexico starting April 20, 2015 at 9:25pm and from May 18, 2015 to November 2, 2015 on Univision at 9pm, but you can also watch it on Hulu, which is what I did (not the whole show I admit). 
It’s 121 chapters are an adaption of a movie (1952) and a telenovela (1965) called La Mentira. 
There have been 6(!!) more telenovela adaptions through the years, 
2 from Brazil (1966, 2010); 
one by Telemundo (!) in 2008 
and 3 by Televisa itself (1982, 1998, 2010). 
I can’t believe it was only 5 years ago and they are already writing another adaptation. This really proves the point about the „ever-the-same“ telenovelas Televisa churns out that we talked about in class. 
This latest adaptation is done by Ximena Suárez (fun fact: She is also responsible for the adaptation Pasión y Poder that is broadcasted at the moment at the 9pm timeslot on Univsion).

So before we move on I would just like to state the circularity of what I just uncovered. 

TdR is originally Columbian and was remade several times, once by Televisa.(and now on Telemundo)
Imperdonable was originally Mexican and was remade endlessly, once by Telemundo. (und now on Univision)
Crazy, right?


TdR is called  „una intrigante historia de amor y venganza entre dos familias“ by Telemundo. So it is very emotions-centered with a big chunk of revenge and two families that are opposed to one another.
Imperdonable centers around - wait for it - revenge! Who would have thought. It has a lot of pain and mourning and a lot of betrayal. 

Going through our „typology slides this is the how I would classify the two telenovelas in question: 

As you can see only three „categories“ are actually different. I think the main difference is the tone, which I will further refer to in the descriptions. So although comparisons are always difficult, at least I am not comparing two programs that are just completely different. 


TdR tells the story of three brothers Gallardo and the three sisters del Junco. And yes, you guessed right, they fall in love with each other and from three couples. But not instantly and with a lot - a lot - of obstacles. The brothers and one sister, Alma, who dies pregnant, supposedly suicide. They blame her (married) lover Ingnacio del Junco, who died earlier under mysterious circumstances. They decide to go work for his horse ranch and to find a way to avenge their sister. At the range they meet his three daughters, the three sisters they will (ultimately) fall in love with. But one of them is married to a really bad, conniving husband who just wants to get the ranch and their mother is also not very innocent. So on top of their revenge there are some additional obstacles to overcome. In the end there are three happy couples and all the protagonists are truly feliz
Here is a trailer.

Imperdonable tells the love story of Veronica and Martín. Martín’s brother commits suicide because of a women, who’s name is V... Prado-Castelo. He finds the cousins Veronica and Virginia. Virginia is the absolute villain who makes Martín believe it was Veronica who drove is brother to suicide. So he seduces and marries her to then make her life hell in revenge. Soon it becomes clear that it was not Veronica, the women Martín wanted to have his revenge with. But by then he is profoundly in love with Veronica and she cannot forgive him to not have believed in her. So now he has to fight to get her back (and there are like a million further obstacles on the way). 

Here is a trailer (we also watched it in class). 


TdR has 6 protagonists. The three brothers and the three sisters. Each of the six characters has some very distinct and defining features. The brothers are: the reserved, the adventurer, the dreamer. The sisters are: the dedicated, the ambitious, the free spirit. All six are inherently good and not very „deep“. There is one clear antagonist, who is Sofia’s (oldest sister) husband. Their mother is an interesting case. She could be called the "ultimately regretful villain". Initially she was scheming for her own good, but also just being a hurt wife, because remember, her husband was cheating on her with the sister who turned up dead. But she also had an affair with her daughter’s husband (the mega villain). There is a wide range of side characters, who are partly bad and partly good. 
In general I think due to three main couples and therefore automatically three storylines as well as a villain who has more than just one evil side, are quite an attraction because it heightens that chance that you can identify with one of the characters or are passionate about one of the love stories.

Imperdonable has 2 protagonists, Martín and Veronica and one main antagonist, Virginia (the cousin). The is really, really evil. Outwardly evil without any good side. A classic villain, addicted at a luxurious life style, power and wealth. Veronica on her part seems without flaw, a perfect,strong, loving and successful woman. Martín is a litte more flawed, not being able to contain his revenge and making Veronica’s life hell, at least for a while. But after that is the most loving husband you could ever imagine. 

There are a lot of side characters, for example the „amor juvenil“, which are Ana Perla and Pablo. They’re problems are less caused by emotions than by other people who want to prevent them from being together. They are both simple and good characters, whereas Ana Perla always struck me as very naïve and Pablo just never really seemed to be able to assert himself. 
This story is less „wide-spread“ but if you are rooting for the main couple in really has the potential to suck you in because they are getting a lot of screen time and passing for a lot of obstacles. Also their problems stem from an interesting emotional conflict that has to be overcome by them and not, like often in the novelas, due to outer circumstances. 


TdR is set in Houston, Texas. The main part takes place on the horse ranch where all characters work and live, but there are also some parts in the city. 

Imperdonable takes place in Mexico City as well as in a litte, very very tiny village near a gold mine, that is called Mina Escondida and is very romantic, very „innocent“ and features some beautiful landscape backdrops, waterfalls etc. 

Star Power

Wow, both shows are really just filled with super star power. 
In TdR we have Telemundo „royalty“ Sonya Smith, who has starred in programs like Marido en Alquiler and is very known in the Telenovela world, she plays the mother. Fabian Riós, the villain, is also a well-known Telemundo face, especially in antagonistic roles. Of the brothers mainly Aáron Díaz has become famous lately, he is the actor Dr. A told us about in Santa Diabla, that did such a bad job that they had to switch protagonist and antagonist around. But that didn’t seem to stop his career. Honestly I feel it’s more his looks than anything that get him the screen presence. But he has a huge fan club! 
Gonzalo García Vivanco is another face, not as well known, but since 2012 he has been quite active in successful Telemundo productions like Relations Peligrosas or La Patrona. 
On the sister side Kimberly Dos Ramos is probably the best known, having played a lot of Telemundo productions since she moved to Miami in 2011 from Venezuela. Fun fact, the other two sisters, Scarlet Gruber and Ana Lorena Sánchez both were part of the Cosita Rica reboot that Univision did with Venevision. They played the parts othe twins and Paula C respectively. (In my opinion it doesn’t even compare to the original, at all)

Imperdonable obvioulsy features our beloved Spaniard Iván Sánchez, or also „El Gallego“, the role that made him famous back in La Reina del Sur. Ana Brenda Contreras is definitely an important face at Univision, she was the protagonist of three successful novels (including this one) 2011, 2013 and now 2015. She has a big following. Gretell Valdéz (antagonistis also not a new face, she as been working in Television for a while and her big role came with last year’s Lo qué la vida me robó. Most of the other actors (and they are a lot) are faces you see a lot at Televisa, I mean that makes sense, they have a big actor pool to choose from. The young love story actors Gaby Mellado and Sebastián Zurita were not as famous, which I have noticed is a technique to „introduce“ actors into productions so they climb up the latter to ultimately became THE protagonists.

Social Media Presence

TdR has a Facebook Page (776,429 Likes). It’s maintained by Telemundo, with branding and looks very curated. A Twitter Account (31,500 followers). It is a verified account with over 3000 Tweets. The homepage at Telemundo has all chapters available. On YouTube there are a lot of fan videos that follow the three main love stories and make new cuts that have just the scenes of those couples. Also, Samuel and Andrea (youngest bother, middle daughter) had the hashtag #SamDrea. So cute! 

Imperdonable Facebook Page (5,095 Likes). It doesn’t look official and I don’t think it’s actually curated by Univision or Televisa. The Twitter Account (15,400 Followers) doesn’t look as well curated either, it’s not verified (little blue tick) and it doesn’t have a banner. The account tweeted only 19 times. 

The homepage at Univision also features videos of the show, but they are also completely available on Hulu.
On Youtube there are some fan videos about the main love story, but they are more specific scenes or compilations and less a „short cut“ of just scenes of that storyline. That might be due to the fact that it had more screen time because it was the main one and not one of three. 


TdR had accumulatively 2,161,000 total viewers and 1,206,000 adults 18 to 49 on premiere night, according to Nielsen. Locally, the novela ranked #1, among Spanish-language networks in its time slot, in Miami and Philadelphia, among adults 18-49.
The Finale was the #1 Spanish-language primetime program last night averaging 2,389,000 total viewers and 1,256,000 adults 18-49, according to Nielsen. It outperformed Univision for a fourth time in the last five weekday nights on the night of its finale which was set against Imperdonable. 

The univision show helped make Univision the No. 3 network during the 9 p.m. hour among both Adults 18-49 and young Adults 18-34, outperforming ABC and FOX in each demographic. The novela saw week-to-week growth among Total Viewers 2+ (+2% to 2.3 million), Adults 18-49 (+8% to 1.1 million) in August 2015 (when it was set against Bajo el Mismo Cielo on Telemundo. 

In the week from July 13 to July 19, Imperdonable helped make Univision the No. 2 network during the 9pm hour among young Adults 18-34, outperforming CBS, NBC and FOX. Unfortunately I did not find any numbers but we already know that it was outperformed by telemundo in the next week during the last week of TdR. 

Where am I going with this?

Wow... Thank you for making it all the way down here. I know I can get a little excessive with my posts. So after all this description and summarizing. What is the main difference? Why is Univision losing its comfortable distance towards Telemundo? 
From a promotional standpoint it simply seems to me that Univision has not embraced Social Media as well as Telemundo has. That of course is no guarantor for ratings or success but I think it is an important factor, especially since younger people are valuable targets. Then the Telemundo novela offered a greater variety. In all kind of aspects. Three main love stories instead of one, three young very attractive actors instead of 1 (or 2 if you want to count Sebastián Zurita). Also I personally felt the chemistry between the amor juvenil couple did not work at all in Imperdonable. It just was not convincing, no flying sparks. 
More nationalities, more possibilities to identify with the different characters. Cayetana, the mother, as a really interesting and challenging character and not a plain a villain as Virginia... 

All in all, I think Telemundo put more care to its program, trying to offer more to the audience than the 

traditional plot and model. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked Imperdonable, but I could see that if you are not fascinated by the Martin/Veronica arch, there is not much left to be fascinated by. Where as in TdR if you - like me - are really upset by Aáron Díaz’s acting, there is still Gonzalo García Vivanco to be happy about and Sonya Smith to like. 
And when my Twitter constantly reminds me of TdR and less of Imperdonable... I think that’s a factor as well. 

Have you watched any of these? What do you think? What would you judge from the trailers?

Final Note (not part of the actual blog)

Due to our Telenovela conversations and a lot of our readings, I became more and more interested in Cosita Rica. They just rebroadcasted in on Venevision Plus and on November 23rd they showed the finale which prompted a lot of discussions on Twitter of how great this novela was. I have not seen much and I already agree. I looked into the love story that steals the show“. And looking at Cacique, Veronica and Maria Suspiro... I really think none of the couples above even play in the same category. Just look at the this scene... I think this novela is truly something very special. And this chemistry is incredible!

Thank you all for a great semester. I really loved this class and all the lectures, discussions and conversations. 

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