Selena: The Series Review
So, I binged watch the Selena Series with much disappointment.
If I were to write this article in comparison the Selena movie, I would say don’t bother watching this if you’re expecting this to be similar to the movie.
On the flip side, although I was disappointed with the storyline, I will say there were things they touched on you didn’t see in the movie, in how each person in the Quintanilla family struggled with their choices and growing up with a strict father, Abraham, in what he expected from all three of his children.
***Spoilers may be included in this article!***
Starting off with the trio, while they were young, we learn Selena got her name from a neighboring mom in a semi private room, at the hospital where Selena was born. Apparently, the woman who was expecting a girl, ended up giving birth to a boy, and suggested to Abraham and Marcella to use the name Selena. Abraham, running to a local store, looking up baby names, found the name Selena meant, “Goddess of the Moon”. Feeling confident they stayed with the name.
It would be one day, while he and Marcella are in the kitchen, they hear Selena belting out a song so perfectly, it made Abraham excited and gave him the idea to begin a band, Selena Y Los Dinos.
The series goes on to depict Abraham already owning his restaurant (not sure if the movie depicting him quitting and beginning a restaurant is accurate), and as in the movie, Selena did sing at the restaurant.
The problem was, they were singing English songs and while they were travelling around to different small time venues performing, they were not capturing an audience because they were only singing English songs to a primarily a Mexican audience who preferred the type of music where they can dance.
The actor who plays Abraham, Ricardo Chavira, was best known for his role as Carlos Solis in the television show, “Desperate Housewives”, plays a very good Abraham not to take away from, Edward James Olmos, who played an excellent Abraham as well. The difference with the series, the teaching of the songs were broken down in a way where the movie depicted an Abraham who left the kids to practice on their own. On the television series, Abraham forced his children to listen to different songs and break down the different instruments being played so they can learn how to really listen to the songs.
It was almost abusive in some sort of way where Abraham didn’t allow his children to just be, their lives were now eat, breathe and live music.
Now here was something interesting, I wasn’t aware of. There was a group who opened up for Selena Y Los Dinos in the early days, Peter Astudillo and Joe Ojeda were a group who sang very fluid Tejano music. They were so good, in the series, Abraham made a snarky comment to his son AB the opening act band should not be better than the headlining band.
At some point, one of the band members could no longer be in the band because his new baby and his wife had become a priority, just as the cusp of Selena getting a record deal. It just so happens because Pete and Joe were part of the headlining acts, they ended up becoming a part of the band as per Abraham’s decision making for the band.
It was pretty clear who was the one in charge and this series depict an Abraham who took control of everything and ran the entire family with an iron fist, from who they can date, when they can date, if they were allowed to party, even if it meant a gathering for the guys to unwind, which was also forbidden, the list goes on an on. It definitely wasn’t the humorous type Edward James Olmos played in the movie.
This series was very different.
We saw a darker side of AB, as we saw with Suzette struggling to play the drums, until a little girl in Mexico who made an escape to see the band, made you think she wanted to see Selena when in fact she was there for Suzette because she wanted to play the drums like her. This being the epiphany for Suzette to make a commitment and keep playing with the band, despite feeling AB was out to replace here with an electrical instrument. While the series seemed to struggle in the definition of each character, we come down to Christian Serratos, who plays Selena.
Ohhhh, how much I want to be nice about this but I’m having trouble.
First I have to say, I love Christian Serratos. Playing Rosita on The Walking Dead, she sure has built that character to a tee (hopefully they won’t kill her off either). The Walking Dead has had trouble maintaining an audience the last two seasons and I pretty much lost interest while the episode of the finale still sits in my DVR.
Christian is a great actress and from the back with the long hair, the body structure Selena had, you can think that’s Selena reincarnated. But when she turns around, it’s a whole different story.
I felt at times, while watching, I was watching a story about a girl who’s aspiring to be a great Tejano singer. It didn’t feel like I was watching the story about Selena. It was confusing to see a tanner looking child playing Selena and singing at different venues before the restaurant shut down. Then we have a teenage Selena who is much lighter in skin tone.
I didn’t feel the authenticity of Selena. Even playing her as a young Selena with the short curly hair, it was just Christian Serratos, playing dress up for someone she wanted to be, but just couldn’t get there.
On top of that when Chris came into the band, the sparks of their relationship was far and few between. Were they in a relationship or were they not? How long were they sneaking around before Abraham caught them and even then, there was this lackluster of what were they getting caught for, were they in a relationship or not?
Here’s the sad part of this whole story, is we know what the end is. The end doesn’t change because of how many different ways the story can be told.
If this is a series where they wanted to concentrate on the love/hate relationship or even the struggles they all went through as individuals instead of just giving us bits and pieces of it, I would reconsider my whole review.
While Selena lives on in the hearts of many, her unforgettable smile, her innocence which resonated with everyone who encountered her and who had the blessing to get to know her, the series missed out on really focusing on Suzette and AB and what they went through in the development of this band. Clearly AB seems to have demons he was dealing with at the time, why not focus on that. He was learning how to produce and write songs and I know that doesn’t come easy. And Suzette who was sequestered to play the drums. What was she thinking in all of this? How did she support her sister?
Again, there were dips and dabs of moments but they weren’t enough to understand how we got from point A to point B.
I do have to give props for the reflection of the hip hop 80s music they played a lot during the episodes which was a big influence for Selena’s desires to make an English album, which was a big dream for her at that time.
But of course I am left to wonder when this series is over, will it end when Selena gets killed and that’s it? After all, when she was brutally murdered by the lowlife Yolanda Saldivar, we never really got an inside look of the struggle the family went through after this tragic loss. How were they able to rebuild? When did they feel comfortable again making music?
I think, in a series, such as this, we should have the benefits of seeing what happened after.
Yes, the ending of Selena’s life was horrible. I for one, didn’t know who she was or any of her music until she was killed and I became obsessed. I remember there was a website that had pictures of people after they died (yes I’m morbid like that) and there was a picture of her on a cold table, just there and all the time I wondered why.
Why did this happen? Why didn’t she tell someone she was going to meet this crazed woman? Why couldn’t she be saved? Why did she die?
Even then it still bothers me because of her innocence and she had so much to live for. So many dreams and music gone in an instant.
I think we as humans become obsessed with something, we don’t have control over, but we replay it over and over, thinking somehow we can find something we missed and maybe it could have been stopped.
Sometimes I think to myself, this is exactly what this series is.
While we respect the legacy, we can’t take away, what is inevitable. And while we may never get an answer as to what happened that fateful day, the fact remains, her music will be everlasting, and she will be the forever memory for all of us.