Tuesday, July 10th, 2018

Bioseries: The New Stars of Television

Jonathan Blum

What do Luis Miguel and Juan Gabriel have in common, other than being international music idols? The answer is simple: their lives have been very successfully portrayed on television. You might think, perhaps, this is because they revealed things we didn’t previously know about them, but I believe what matters most is how their stories are being told, more than the stories themselves.

Over the past few weeks, Luis Miguel, a Mexican singer with a career of more than 30 years, has been the subject of conversation in Mexico and in Latin America. It’s highly unlikely you’ll meet someone who has not heard of Luis Miguel, La Serie (Luis Miguel, the Series) which, as you can tell by the name, tells the story of one of Latin America’s most popular recording artist.

Biographical content has gained ground over the past few years, and although some say it has always been around, it’s more popular than ever thanks to the novel way it’s being presented. A combination of factors has made producing and consuming this series very appealing.

Biographical series are television’s newest stars because, in addition to giving us a sense of nostalgia for the past, they expose the “other side” of the people we admire, narrating their lives from a different angle and giving voice to characters we hadn’t considered relevant before.

The impact of melodramas in Latin America has been the same for years; what changed is how their success is measured. The series about the life of La Incondicional’s singer is a case-in-point. It airs a new episode every Sunday on both television (Telemundo) and Netflix. Oddly enough, though its TV ratings have never been higher than those of the show Pequeños Gigantes, on the internet, it has been a trending topic and the subject of memes every week. The series’ success has managed to cross over to platforms such as Spotify, where demand for the entertainer has increased by 4,000 percent.

These shows don’t just seek high television ratings or more views on the internet—they want to go beyond the screen to become part of people’s lives. In addition to the Mexican examples, in other countries there are biopics about other entertainers, such as one on Sandro de America airing in Argentina. Meanwhile, TNT and Telemundo are working on a production about Selena, the Tex-Mex queen. On local television and streaming platforms, you can learn about Jose Jose, Jenny Rivera and, soon, many more. Whose life would you like to see depicted in a biographical series?