Selena: The Series Review


Abigail Cayetano

Selena the series is now streaming on Netflix and has caused a mixture of reactions. People are either loving it or hating it. Some fans are feeling a sense of betrayal and are hating it because they feel the actors portraying the family are using their role in the series to boost themselves. Technically speaking, the show’s cast and crew had some big shoes to fill after the movie was released in 1997. Of course no one will ever compare to the Queen of Tejano Music, so the show had to portray her character perfectly. In which Christian Serratos, who plays Selena, did. She brought to life the Queens charisma and personality.

The Actors

To star as Selena in the Netflix Original Series, Serratos, quit filming for the Walking Dead and prepared for the role by watching interviews that Selena did and started meeting with a dialect coach and choreographer. Serratos made a good casting role as Selena not because of how she looked but how she brought Selena to life. When it comes to the smile and the laugh, Serratos truly nailed the part of Selena. That’s exactly what Selena’s family looks for when casting for the roles

Finding someone to bring Selena’s father, Abraham Quintanilla Jr., to life was also important to the series. Ricardo Chavira makes the audience feel just how protective he is of his children and his dignity.

Traits that are specific to the character are what make the character. Which is why finding someone who not only looks like the character but brings it life is so important.

Fact vs. Fiction

Another detail that was problematic was the concept of the series versus what was actually shown. Before the series was launched, writers said that the series would go into detail about Selena’s life. The series is about her life story, not just her death or the turning points in her career.

With her life being the focus, one would think that there wouldn’t be any false scenes. For example, the scene when Selena gets pulled out of high school, when in reality she was in middle school when this happened. Another example that was falsely shown is the album cover photoshoot. The series shows that the Quintanilla’s didn’t like the look that was chosen for the 1989 album, when in reality, Selena was the one who chose the outfit. The record company and her father were the ones who didn’t like the look and thought it was inappropriate.

Another fabricated detail is how the series shows Chris and Selena meeting. The series shows Chris goes to her house to try out for a spot in Los Dinos but, Chris Perez said that the first time they met was in a Denny’s parking lot.

Rather than the series being completely and truthfully about the singer’s life, it has some “Hollywood” additions. These “details” can definitely mislead some of her fans.

The Series vs. The Movie

To start off, one major difference between the movie and the series is the focus of each screen biographic is what each of them show viewers. The purpose of the show is to go deeper into details of her life as well as her family’s lives.

Many people who saw the movie didn’t know that Selena changed the look of her hair so many times. She actually had long hair when she was a child and short curly hair when she was 17. Selena also changed her hair color on multiple occasions. Most of her fans today only know her as the long hair with bangs Amor Prohibido singer.

Along with her hair changes, there were multiple details that were not included in the movie that were included in the series.

There may be fans who have not seen the movie or who have not followed her life story. Which is why the fast pace of the series and missing details create a conflict for viewers. The series zoomed past some things that could have been included and some topics that could have gone into more detail. For example, how and when Selena started to dance on stage instead of just standing and singing as well as her practicing or the advancement in her dancing.

Another thing to note, the series included songs and concerts that the movie had not, songs from albums like Selena (1989) and Ven Conmigo (1990).  Which is why most of the playlist for the series were songs that fans of the movie didn’t recognize.

The Budget

One thing that doesn’t make any sense is the budget. The budget for the 1987 movie was 20 million dollars while the budget for the show was 675 million dollars, over 30 times the movie amount. And yet, there were multiple problems with scene quality. For example, the wigs for the show could have been better. The wigs for each character didn’t look real and although it is only a mini-series, the crew could have done better in making wigs look more realistic. Another example is, the scene where Selena is driving her car and Suzette is in the passenger seat, you can tell that the scene was recorded in front of a green screen. The speed of the car was shown to be at a speed of at least 20 miles per hour but there was no wind and the scene definitely looked really fake overall.

Due to the fact that the budget was higher for the series, the episodes could have looked better.

Rating: B+

Despite getting a wide range of reviews and reactions, the series still ranked #1 in the U.S. on Netflix by Saturday, Dec. 5, just one day after being released. Overall, the series could have been better when it comes to quality and the details. Although, the series was really eye opening to the parts of, not only Selena’s life, but also the lives of her siblings.

It is unknown how many parts Netflix plans on releasing, but from the year that the last episode ended it seems that there may only be two parts. The 9 episodes that were released showed a 1979 to early 1990’s timeline.