Selena: The Series

Credits

Cast

Network

Reviewer

Emily Clark

TV Series Review

Most people who watch Netflix’s Selena: The Series will probably walk into it knowing a bit about the Tejano star’s music and life. But just in case you don’t, here’s a brief overview:

Selena Quintanilla was discovered by her own father, Abraham, when she was just 8 years old. He pressured his older children, A.B. and Suzette, to form a family band in order to showcase Selena’s talent.

In the years that followed, the family faced financial hardships, lost their restaurant, had to move several times, wound up on food stamps and even had to build their own stage lights for Selena’s shows.

But it all paid off. Selena won Female Vocalist of the Year at the Tejano Music Awards and soon after, their band, Selena Y Los Dinos, were signed to a record label, launching a successful career.

Como La Flor…

Even then, though, things were not always rosy for the Quintanilla family. When things got stressful and money got tight, Abraham had a tendency to take it out on his children.  And although he wasn’t technically an abusive parent, he certainly put a lot of pressure on his kids to succeed in the music industry where he had failed. Selena’s siblings struggled with their own issues, and sometimes felt overshadowed by their talented younger sister.

Things weren’t always great for Selena either. Though successful, she had to drop out of high school due to her busy touring schedule. She missed out on normal teenage things like making friends and going out on dates. And when she finally did fall in love with someone as an adult (fellow bandmate Chris Perez), her dad fired him to keep them apart.

… Se Marchitó

Netflix, naturally, focuses on the drama found within the Quintanilla family and their mutual struggle for success. But the events we see are reportedly true to life. After all, Selena’s father and sister were producers on Selena: The Series and her brother also served as a consultant. Though obviously protective of Selena’s legacy (she died tragically at the age of 23), the series seems to offer an honest look at the everyday life of the young star.

Some families may not like the romantic aspect of the show. We never see anything more than a few kisses onscreen, but Abraham didn’t approve of his then 18-year-old daughter getting involved (he thought she was too young), and the couple goes behind his back to pursue their love. Selena also designed her own outfits, many of which showed quite a bit of skin, and these costumes were duplicated for the show.

But there’s no harsh language to look out for and violence—at least through the first season—is kept to a minimum(though there is a scene where Selena punches a fan after he grabs her during a bar fight). [Spoiler Warning] Things could also get a little hairy next season when Selena’s death is depicted. But the series’ creators aren’t trying to shock or titillate. They’re interested in not just telling Selena’s story, but protecting her legacy. And that makes for a surprisingly wholesome, inspiring show.

What we see here isn’t over-dramatized depiction of a young singer’s life, but rather the story of a family that loved each other and worked together to overcome every obstacle they faced while chasing their dreams.

Episode Reviews

Dec. 4, 2020, Episode 1: “Daydream”

After discovering that his youngest daughter is a talented singer, Abraham Quintanilla forms a family band with his children.

A grown-up Selena wears a top revealing her midriff and cleavage. We see a married couple cuddle in bed together (fully clothed). They later share a kiss. Several couples dance romantically. Selena’s parents tell her the difference between familial love and romantic love.

Abraham is too proud to let anyone see him at the welfare office or using food stamps to buy food, so he makes his kids do it for him. (He later makes A.B. do a dumpster dive for free stage equipment as well.)

Abraham says a doctor initially thought that Selena was a tumor, not a baby, when she was in utero. Suzette throws drum sticks at her brother in anger. She also gets angry that she isn’t as naturally talented as her siblings. Abraham lies to Selena to spare her feelings. He also lies about having professional lighting equipment in order to get a gig. We learn that Selena means “Goddess of the Moon.” Someone flatulates and people laugh.

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Emily Clark
Emily Clark

Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and indulging in her “nerdom,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything she loves, such as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.

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