After experiencing a time cornered by the global avalanche of fiction (including Turkish series), Latin American telenovelas are experiencing a new golden age in Spain and today they are a genre that both private networks and global platforms are betting heavily on.
With more than seven weeks leading the ranking of the most watched on Netflix in the category of non-English speaking series, the success of the Colombian “Café con aroma de Mujer” is an example that the genre has returned with force and is conquering territories that go beyond specialized channels and audiences that were not used to seeing them.
Given the initial boom of the platforms -driven by the pandemic- and the anxiety to see “so many series and fast stories” from all over the world, “soap operas were left behind”, but now there is a reconnection with “deep stories, intimate and romantic”, says Adriana Suárez, in charge of the adaptation of the series of the Colombian channel RCN.
People, adds the expert in the genre, “was nostalgic for seeing stories in other more intimate and slower times”, rediscovering those “stories that make us dream”. “This is the human being, of cycles,” adds Suárez.
And not only “Café con aroma de Mujer” is among the favorite productions of the platform with the most subscribers in the world. The Colombian “La Reina del Flow” has been in the “top 10” for thirteen weeks, one more than “Yo soy Betty, la fea”, a 1999 soap opera that still holds a Guinness record as the most successful in history. Some data reveals that, although it is a genre full of stigmas and prejudices, the public of soap operas is no longer just older women.
A TREND THAT RETURNS RENEWED
The return of Latin melodrama also comes after the year 2021 where Turkish series (also called soap operas due to their slow pace and long duration) swept fans of the genre from half the world, Latin America included, and also took over prime time of channels in open as Telecinco or Antena 3 in Spain.
Telecinco is beginning to show signs of this new trend towards Latin melodrama. This Wednesday premiered (with 2 million viewers) the return of “Pasión de Gavilanes”, which has returned with the second season of the story that in 2003 dazzled millions of viewers in Latin America and Spain.
“It is a trend that we have been noticing since September of last year, we already observed that this return of soap operas was brewing and now this trend has been fully confirmed,” says the director of Production and Content Consulting at the Spanish television consultancy GECA Gloria Salo.
“The great world operator is Netflix and this platform is interested in the genre (…). The fact that they have been included in the catalogs of the platforms is making their success have a greater impact”, he adds.
Salo highlights one of the keys so that this genre is also becoming strong on platforms, the great loyalty of the public: “they provide many hours of consumption because a telenovela can have more than 100 chapters”, he points out.
Regarding the new titles that are being created, he warns of a “diversification of themes.” “There are still romantic plots of family intrigues, but there are also social or comedy themes,” he points out.
In the opinion of Suárez, who made a version of the successful “Café…” based on the original telenovela created in 1994 by the master of the genre, Colombian Fernando Gaitán, adapting telenovelas to the new times is the key to their current success and for them to remain in the future.
“We have been relegated a lot thinking that soap operas are always the same story that repeats itself, and obviously there are stories that are like that, but the challenge for those of us who like to make soap operas is to renew ourselves, not confront or fight against the series, but try to tell these stories that we like taking into account that reality has changed”, he explains.