Netflix’s “Selena: The Series” is lackluster but still has its positives

On Friday, Netflix released “Selena: The Series” which revolves around the early beginnings of the late Selena Quintanilla, the Queen of Tejano music whose life was cut short in 1995.
The most difficult obstacle for this series to get past as for the approval of the public is the many comparisons this series is getting to “Selena: The Movie” which released in 1997 and has generally been well received by viewers.
What much of the public is failing to realize, is that this series is not supposed to be a replica of the movie. This is a new story meant to highlight Selena before stardom and much of the plotline is based on real-life stories the Quintanilla family provided that were not told during the movie.
It’s cool to go back and look through old interviews with different members of the Quintanilla family and hear the stories shown during this series. This includes various performances Selena had with the same exact songs, outfits and settings.
Ultimately, I think this series is… alright. Much of the immediate reaction towards this series was negative, which I totally understand, but it does have its positives.
I wanted to write off the series as soon as I started watching when the opening scene was Selena performing a concert in Chicago, Illinois, with horrible lip-sync, along with the fact the audio used was actually from Selena’s last concert at the Astrodome in Houston, Texas.
Christian Serratos, known for her roles in “Twilight” and “The Walking Dead” was tasked with trying to bring Selena back to life through these nine episodes and something is missing in her performance.
Selena’s on-stage charisma and dance moves were not showcased by Serratos which I feel are necessary when interpreting her, as this is what most of the public can remember about her besides interviews or public appearances.
I understand this is an incredibly difficult task but Serratos’ performance lacked some of Selena’s key characteristics.
Many criticized Serratos’s physical appearance, but again, what the public fails to realize is that she is supposed to look like Selena and not Jennifer Lopez, the actress who portrayed Selena in the movie.
In the movie, Selena is always portrayed as her more well-known look of her straight black hair, while in the series we see Serratos who goes through Selena as a young teen with red or black curly hair, short black hair and then her straight black hair when she reaches her 20s.
Production also seemed to not have enough of a financial backing towards this project as some of the scenes seemed to be cheap, like one where Selena and Suzette Quintanilla, Selena’s sister who is played by Noemí González, are driving on what is obviously a green screen instead of an actual highway.
The wigs used throughout the series did not seem like the best either since in many episodes it seemed like they were poorly put on or it showed that it was obviously a wig as opposed to it being the character’s actual hair.
Many characters were not introduced properly, as they were just thrown into scenes as time went on, without the audience really finding out who they were or any of their personality.
A prime example during the series of this is Chris Perez, who one day just showed up at the Quintanilla home with no introduction except that Selena found him attractive. When getting to know Chris, her main love interest, Selena asks him questions about himself to which he responds, “I just play the guitar, that’s it.”
Everything about this series could have been better because I think someone who impacted not only the Latinx community but the whole world like Selena did deserves a better tribute.
For many of this new generation, this could be their first introduction to Selena and this production does not do justice to how much of an icon she is outside of her music.
Besides this, it’s definitely entertaining and you learn new things about the Tejano artist. You really get that insight of the Chicanx struggle of trying to be as close to your roots as possible, represented by Selena singing in Spanish, but also trying to be as American as possible, represented by Selena’s desire to sing English since she was little.
This was touched on briefly in the movie, with the full struggle shown in the series. Specifically, a scene where Selena insists to sing in English but receives zero reaction from her Latinx live audience to where the band transitions into an upbeat cumbia in Spanish where the audience erupts.
Selena in real life became a businesswoman selling her clothes, but here it is shown how from a very young age she was interested in designing clothes, with scenes showing her interest as well as how she designed the band’s full wardrobe. Seeing this allows to see how gifted she was beyond music.
Of course, music could not be left off this production. The creative mind behind Selena’s biggest hits was AB Quintanilla; her brother who was played by Gabriel Chavarria, who produced all of her music in Spanish. You get to see how some of her biggest hits were created which is eye-opening to see when you grew up listening to all of Selena’s music.

The series is left with a cliffhanger which means that Netflix will probably bring us a part two of this series which will hopefully be able to improve and culminate with a great product to show the last part of Selena’s life leading up to her death.
“Selena: The Series” is streaming now on Netflix and although it has its flaws, I recommend you check it out whether you love Selena and her music or if this is the first time you are meeting this icon whose legacy is well and alive, even 25 years after her death.