Have you ever wondered why there aren't many shows, movies, or series around the Latinx experience? How about the lives of Latinx folks that don't end in tragedy–like–being portrayed as the bad drug dealers or being deported. Though that might be the case for some individuals and families with the Latinx/Hispanic population, we are also known for other things like being a normal family, having phenomal career paths, experiencing life as a gay person, or just living. These have been some of my most recent thoughts while being stuck inside and entering another week of self isolation, distancing or quarantining. Why are Latinx folks portrayed more on the big screen and in better roles?! Are you in the same boat and running out of things to watch?
Well amigos, do I have the cure for that! Did you know that some of the best shows out there happen to have a Latinx cast and showcases the different aspects of the Latinx community. I am here to show you all what you've been missing out on and bring some flavor into your TV series binge sesh! Every year there's at least one or two shows that make it onto our television screens and a lot of times these shows don't receive the credit they deserve. While I've been stuck at home I've made it my mission to support shows or movies that primarily have a cast or genre surrounding the life of Latinx individuals. To my surprise, there's actually a good amount of series out for us to enjoy–today I'm going to give you some insight on what I've watched recently, in hopes that you to will help support from the comfort of your own home.
Image Source: Seventeen
I contemplated leaving the best for last... but let's get real, we want to start watching the best shows first! Elite, oh, Elite! This series has easily become my favorite to watch on Netflix. So much so, that I ended binging this until 2 a.m. the other night and even ended with me crying from happy tears. Yep, it's that good! This series is based in Spain (oh, that Spanish accent is beautiful) and brings us through the lives of several teens in high school with some murderous and scandelous experiences. Does it get any better than that? Don't even get me started on what is today's internationally loved gay couple: Omar and Ander! A gay muslim teen who is dealing with his family not being accepting and dating his school Principal's son who also tons of issues with his best guy friends. That in itself could be a show. Elite has some of the best actors and story lines that I've seen in a while. This is definitely a Netflix series that will have you experience all of the emotions, but it's worth every laugh and tear.
Image Source: Netflix
The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia
Ashley Garcia isn't your typical 15 year old, that's right, she's actually the youngest robotics engineer and rocket scientist! Not only is she smart, but now she gets to work for NASA and move in with her uncle across the country. I must admit that I didn't think that I would get into this show solely because I found it to be a bit "teen-ish" when I watched the first episode. Granted, the show is literally about a 15-year-old, but adding the style of filming and the high schoool girl vibe the show gave off it just didn't look like my kind of show. But like any other new show I try to get passed the first two episodes to see if I can actually enjoy it or not. Which was the case for this show! Not only are we watching a teenage genius deal with working a job meant for adults, but she's also navigating feelings for a guy all while never having been kissed or in a relationship, how to make friends since all her life she was stuck in the books, and everything in between. We also get to see the life of her very attractive Uncle Victor, who in the beginning of the show starts off as your Latino bachelor and later develops into a different character. I am so glad that I stumbled upon this show not only for it's great cast and episodes, but for it's mission to show that Latina/x girls can be anything they want to be AND yes that includes being a rocket scientist! To top this all off, the show was co-created by Mario Lopez and includes many other famous Latinx folks throughout the show and behind the scenes. This show is perfect for teens, parents, young adults, and adults.
Image Source: Bustle
I learned about this show through one of my favorite previous Pero Like's cast members, Julissa Calderon. An outspoken, funny, and creative Dominicana who recently left Buzzfeed got a starring role on this new Netflix series Gentefied. To my surprise Julissa plays a lesbian Latina who resides in California and has a girlfriend who just so happens to also be a Latina and an artist. Which I was obsessed with because this is yet another show like One Day At A Time that shows you can be apart of the LGBTQ+ community, be a POC (Person of Color) and have an accepting family and that it's okay to be yourself. This is also one of the few Netflix series which is based on the lives of Latinx folks. Gentefied was brought to us by the amazing Latina actress and producer, America Ferrera, and showcases the lives of three Mexican-American cousins dealing with life in Los Angeles. Having visited Los Angeles as a Puerto Rican, it's pretty cool to see how the LA has really embraced Mexican culture and I think this show does a great job at showing both the postives and negatives that this population experiences there.
Image Source: WBOC
Party of Five
Freeform definitely has had some of my favorite TV series on their channel. Party of Five is one of those shows that I've also enjoyed to view recently. Party of Five is the remake of a show created in the 90's but with a 2020 view on the lives of families, specifically those with undocumented family members, and what happens when they are deported from the United States. Just like One Day At A Time this series aims to show the same concept as the original except with a new lens and focus on the Latinx population. With this being such a big topic currently in the U.S. I couldn't think of a more timely moment for this series to exist. It showcases the damage and trauma that is caused to children, family, friends, and even employees go through when loved ones are deported after having spent decades here and making it their home. On top of trauma, you have kids who are now having to learn to be adults and fend for one another. This show is definitely heart wrenching but I highly recommend for those that don't understand what a lot of families are currently going through and want to learn how to help fix this broken system.
Image Source: CNN
If you recall a couple years back, Lifetime released this show with more than half of it's cast members being of Latinx backgrounds. Nowadays, it seems to be more and more seen in media, but Devious Maids was definitely one of the first to do it. From the first episode starting out with a maid being murdered, fun romance scenes, and the quirkiest of Latinas on our screen this series WILL NOT disappoint. In fact, I am currently rewatching the first season of this series on Hulu and it's so good that we are spacing it out so we don't rush through all of the hilarious episodes. I will say at first I was turned off by the typical stereotype portrayed of Latinas being housekeepers in the show, however, they do a great job at proving no matter what job or situation a POC may be in, that we are more than the situations we are in. They show that these Latinas are bad ass and intelligent. If you love whitty comebacks and a fun set of characters then Devious Maids is the show for you! Watch a long with me since I'm still on season 1 ;)
Image Source: Vox
One Day At A Time
As I mentioned with 'Family of Five', Netflix's remake of One Day At A Time has a mainly Latinx cast. From coming out stories, dealing with mental health and post-traumatic stress (PTSD), an aging mother, and many other things that we all deal with but aren't usually talked about in the Latinx space. One thing that many of these shows including One Day At A Time does a great job at is telling these hard stories and having necessary conversations while showing that we can have a great time–with even better comedy. Another reason I enjoy this series is because it shows a different population such as the Caribbean perspective (specifically Cuban in this case) which is normally not shown on Spanish media. This is a great family show and you can watch on Netflix; the series has also been picked up for a new season the Pop TV channel.
Image Source: Seventeen
On My Block
With their third season being released earlier this month you know have many episodes to catch up on. On My Block is definitely a different show, though they do speak on different topics like gang violence and growing up in East LA as a POC, this show focuses more on specific adventure. If you're looking for a show that will keep you on your toes then On My Block is the right fit for you. And if you're anything like me then you will love the character Jasmine Flores... just trust me she is the best kept secret of this series. Start binging today on Netflix.
Image Source: Variety
Two Mexican-American hermanas who were sent away from their East Los Angeles roots have to return home after the death of their mother and start to discover so many well-kept secrets. Yeah, sounds juicy right? You bet it is! This show is definitely for the 18+ crowd due the nudity and tough topics touched on, but nonetheless it's a 5-star show that you are sure to love. Currently, you can catch up the previous 2 series on Hulu before the third season is released on Starz this upcoming April. But lucky for us, it seems like we've got some time to kill for a couple more weeks or so.
BE WELL, Whether you are watching Vida, One Day At A Time, or Coco–it's our duty to make sure we support media created by and/or for Latinx's. Though this list may offer many different options, I'd like to mention that not all of these are current series and some aren't even on current live TV. Which means that if we continue to support and advocate for more options that show Brown people on the big screen then Hollywood will listen and we will start to get more options in the media. This all starts with you picking up your remote and watching these shows, giving it a rating, giving them and the networks a shoutout on social media, and telling your network of people to check them out.
I hope that you are all hanging in there during this challenging time in the world and staying safe indoors if possible! If you're starting to lose focus and need something else to do, then I highly recommend tuning into some of these series and creating a schedule of different tasks for you to do throughout the day. Nothing better than catching up on emails, putting out a new blog post, having a clean house, and topping that all off with a nightcap with Netflix and some awesome Latinx actors on your screen. Remember: we're all in this together. <3