Telemundo launched with a bang in 2013, and the bang wasn’t so much that the channel was introduced amid fanfare but that the first set of telenovelas to premiere on the channel – My Heart Beats for Lola, Precious Rose, Behind Closed Doors and Aurora – held us spellbound.
The channel promised to bring viewers dramatic storylines, exotic locations and glamorous personalities, and it initially lived up to its promise. If you were looking for romance, suspense, or even laughter, the telenovelas gave us all. A case in point was the character “Javier Ruiz” who left us in stitches with his sarcasm, although Behind Closed Doors was a thriller.
The uniqueness of telenovelas lie in their heightened excitement as they approach their climax. We experienced these crescendos with some of the great telenovelas namely; Queen of the South, Forbidden Passion and Someone’s Watching, which graced our television screens in 2014. We knew that Ariel Piamonte would discover that his nephew Bruno Hurtado was having an affair with his wife, Bianca Santillana. We expected a devastated Ariel to end his marriage to Bianca but we never imagined that Bianca would commit suicide. It was a brilliant end!
One year on, it began to look like Telemundo had lost its oomph. Some of its telenovelas such as Elena’s Ghost and Where is Elisa were below par, in my opinion. We began to see telenovelas with unrealistic plots. It was inexplicable that it took so long to defeat the characters, Fernanda del Castillo and Benado del Castillo in Fearless Hearts. Because of these unrealistic plots, Telemundo lovers began to lose interest and as this lethargy set in, coincidentally, Zee World launched on GOtv. As with telenovelas, a lot of Nigerians grew up watching Bollywood movies so Zee World became an instant hit – as eyeballs seemed to have shifted from Telemundo.
Over the last six months, the channel seems to have got its groove back. With telenovelas known to have Spanish roots, and hugely successful in Latin America, it looks like Telemundo is returning to basics by recording in Mexico. For instance, the recently concluded, Impostor and currently running For Love and Justice were recorded in Mexico. While the locations may not be as exotic as those of the United States, the story lines are more relatable.
In For Love and Justice, we can feel the passion between Commander Daniel Ponce aka commander, and Lucia Duran. We can feel the commander’s pain. He puts up a front and acts tough when on duty as a police officer but cries in his bedroom. We can relate to his jealous feats and ensuing irrationality. We can also relate to Lucia’s secrecy for fear of losing the love of her life – Daniel.
In this month’s GOtv programme highlights, we learn that Lucia’s daughter Roxana is in serious danger while Liliana finds out that the police are after her and that someone has sent her a very unpleasant gift. El Diablo’s plan is also revealed as his brother Rafael disappears.
In December, a new telenovela The Face of Destiny will launch of Telemundo. Whatever the reason behind Telemundo’s rebound – Zee World a “seeming competitor”, the Mexican settings or otherwise – it is good and we are loving it!