El Rey Vicente Fernandez News: Mike, a dramatised biographical series on Hulu about boxer Mike Tyson, didn’t do enough to explore Tyson’s complicated biography, in our opinion. To what extent, however, does the inverse make for a more compelling biographical series? A new series based on the life of Mexican singing superstar Vicente Fernández spans over 30 hours across 36 episodes. Is it an excessive amount or just right?
El Rey Vicente Fernandez: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?
El Rey Vicente Fernandez: The first shot depicts spectators making their way inside a bullring. “September 15, 1984,” “Plaza de Toros, Mexico.”
The Gist: El Rey Vicente Fernandez (Jaime Camil) arrives at the stadium by cab, clutching his side and showing signs of a cut on his head. His wife, Maria (Marcela Guirado), whom he nicknamed “Chuquita,” may be fooled by his appearance but knows otherwise. He dons his mariachi garb and continues to perform as if he were not harmed. But he also has hallucinations in which he rides a horse and encounters the same moustached figure who has haunted him since he was a child.
El Rey Vicente Fernandez: In a flashback to the year 1966, we see “Chente” (Sebastian Dante) in León, Guanajuato, on the first leg of a tour he believes would earn him enough money to purchase a petrol station with his brother-in-law. Tour manager Palermo El Gordo (Carlos Corona) is supportive, but the other musicians seem envious. So that he doesn’t waste the money he’s saving on drinking and gambling, Chente is attempting to keep out of trouble. He has no idea that Palermo is deliberately withholding information from him in order to keep him on the road.
The scene shifts to Jalisco in 1950. Chente (Kaled Acab), age 10, is a brave youngster who likes to place wagers with his relatives, particularly his favourite cousin, Gustavo (Juan Pablo Hermidia). But when he goes seeking his father Ramón (Enoc Leao), he finds him being beaten up by the thugs working for the local loan shark, and all bets are off. Chente’s mom Paula had to deal with Ramón’s violent drinking, gambling, and arguing (Marissa Saavedra).
While under the influence, Ramón is not on Chente’s side, but when he’s sober, he informs him he’s coming with him to a new job he’s beginning in Guadalajara and approves of Chente dropping out of school to pursue a career in music. In particular, with Tavo’s assistance, things are looking up with regard to his attempts to court Chuquita (Ishkra Zaval), a young woman. not until something terrible happens.
What Television Programs Will It Make You Think Of? Similar to biographical shows like Mike, El Rey Vicente Fernandez is quite lengthy.
Our Take: Vicente Fernández had a career spanning over six decades and was one of the most respected singers in Mexico until his death in December of last year. A biographical series devoted to him would thus have a lot of material. In contrast, El Rey Vicente Fernandez runs for a total of 36 episodes. That’s longer than what you’d see in a biographical series and more typical of a telenovela.
El Rey Vicente Fernandez: This implies that Dago Garca and Jhonny Alexander Ortiz are taking their sweet time narrating Chente’s narrative. This is shown in the pilot episode, which takes place mostly between 1950 and 1966. Given that Camil (Jane the Virgin) is the series’ main attraction, we may assume that we will travel across time. However, we only get glimpses of him here and there, and they often include flashbacks to his earlier self. However, considering the show’s apparent focus on Camil’s formative years and early professional endeavours, we may not get to see much of him until around episode 13.
El Rey Vicente Fernandez: This biographical saga may be precisely what Fernández’s admirers have been yearning for. People who aren’t up to speed on their life and work may choose to skip ahead or read a biography instead. It’s not that the show is horrible; in fact, it looks and feels real, and the three actors who portray Chente (Camillo, Dante, and Acab) all provide solid performances. But it proceeds slowly, and if you don’t know anything about Fernández’s career, there isn’t enough emotional suspense to keep you watching for so many episodes.
Sex and Skin: None.
Parting Shot: To close, a record label executive visits a downcast Chente when he learns about his brother-in-law. The offer might be life-altering for Chente and his family.
Sleeper Star: Kaled Acab, who portrays young Chente, has an outstanding voice, and this was one of the first things we noticed about him.
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Most Pilot-y Line: When Palermo learns that Chente’s brother-in-law has been killed in a car accident, he chooses to withhold the news from his star so that he may continue travelling. Instead, he criticises Chente for not mingling sufficiently with the group’s other members. I already want to go out and have fun after the concert,” Chente retorts. That doesn’t seem like the most natural line of discussion, but maybe it’s simply the translation.
Our Call: PLAY IT if you like Vicente Fernández, or DON’T PLAY IT if you don’t. The Netflix series El Rey Vicente Fernandez looks great and has solid acting. However, the time effort is likely to turn off most readers who are unfamiliar with Fernández.