From Caracas to Istanbul, the geography of ‘soap operas’ on Spanish TV

In the heat of the Turkish phenomenon on our television, we look back to review how the passion for soap operas has evolved over the years

Spanish television has been experiencing in recent months a phenomenon as surprising as it is unexpected: the boom of the turkish series. While national fictions fight not to lose their place on free-to-air TV in the face of obvious changes in consumer habits, fiction from Turkey has started to colonize the main national chains before a group of spectators totally delivered.

After the success of this type of stories on DTT, where Nova and Divinty competing for years to be “the chain of the Turks”, titles such as Woman, my daughter Y Love Is In The Air have taken the dispute to the star schedules of Antenna 3 Y Telecinco until conforming programming grids more Ottoman than Spanish, at least as far as fiction is concerned.

Currently, four nights out of seven in the week are dominated, television speaking, by two Turkish hits: Woman Y My daughter. The first is broadcast from Monday to Wednesday in the prime time of Antenna 3 as an infallible leader since summer. And following his path, the second one has assaulted on Sunday and cannot with her or the veteran Deluxe.

Parallel, Telecinco has tried his luck with a novel far from the drama genre, Love Is In The Air, which looks for a gap between continuous jumps of the access al prime time. It does not lead, but there it is as the third in contention of a group of series that, in the current television season, add more viewers than Spanish fiction projects … including the dean Tell me.



What is this phenomenon due to? Why do Turkish series raise so many passions here? Are they better than Spanish productions? Three questions that can be answered with a quick look at the past, to when other soap operas with different denominations of origin already colonized a Spanish TV that likes the dramas and the entanglements of these universal series.

Next, we review the geography of a passion that has always looked beyond Turkey.

First stop: Brazil

The first channel that was seduced by the so-called “soap operas” was evidently TVE, which already in the 80s brought to its audience a type of series that were produced in Brazil and that by then they were beginning to triumph throughout the world.

Malú Woman It was the first Latin serial to aired on Spanish television and set, already in 1982, a precedent that remains intact to this day. This pioneering series followed the story of Small, a newly separated woman who had to fight to support her daughter. A plot that has been replicated in many soap operas and that, thanks to the typical ingredients of the soap opera, triumphs decade after decade.

After that first series came other Brazilian ones like Who loves does not kill (1984), The stone fountain (1986) and Doña Beija (1989) to 1, and Dancin’ Days (1985) a TV3, which also pointed to the fever for Rio stories with great acceptance by the audience.

Venezuela, the homeland of the first great success on TVE

Once that first contact with foreign newsletters was over, TVE continued to search for successes for its desktop from other parts of the world. He tried the Mexican Rich people cry too (1986) and Cradle of wolves (1988) and with the Colombian Old horse (1989), but it was the Venezuelan Cristal the one that hit the first big hit on Spanish TV between 1989 and 1990, reaching 8.6 million viewers (85% share) in the episode of the wedding of its protagonist.

It is not surprising that in the 90s, TVE continue fishing in Venezuela the titles of your evening grill. Then we saw The lady in Rosa (1990), Abigail (1992), Kassandra (1993), Leonela (1998) and the acclaimed Ruby (1991), another of the great successes of the decade.

Already in the 2000s came Wild cat (2003), which was the second most watched soap opera of its five years only behind the Peruvian Poor devil (2000). Eva Luna, Also from Venezuela, in 2011 the tour of Latin soap operas on TVE closed.

Cute Mexico, the birthplace of soap operas

Not only from the land of arepas came the most acclaimed soap operas of the 90s and 2000s. During the following years Argentine, Peruvian, Colombian serials were also seen on Spanish Television … and especially Mexican.

Especially remembered the case of Esmeralda (1998) and that of Beautiful rose (1999), the two most powerful titles. I am your master (1996), Maria mercedes (1996) and The usurper (1999) are also in the memory, as well as the novels of the following decade.

Passion of Hawks (2005) was a true phenomenon in Antenna 3, where its final chapter gathered more than 5 million in prime time and even defeated Big Brother. The Mexican version of Ruby (2006) and the juvenile Rebel (2006), both on the private chain, and Miss Barbara (2009) on public TV.

Other successes with designation of origin

Shorter is the list of Colombian soap operas that have triumphed in Spain. Its maximum exponent is I am Betty the Ugly one (2001) that was seen in Antenna 3 and had a Spanish adaptation in Telecinco under the title of I am bea (2006).

Among the Americans hit the ball Love you like that, little bean (2005) on TVE, which also aired its spin-off Love again. Marielena (1994) from La 1 y The body of desire (2005) from Antena 3 are also on the list of the most cutting-edge “soap operas” on Spanish TV before the Turks arrived.

To this day, although the generalist and thematic grills are focused on collecting the successes that come from Istanbul, Latino serials continue to have their niche (and their audience) in networks such as Nova. In its 15-year history, the theme of Atresmedia has revisited mythical titles such as the aforementioned with great success Frijolito, Brave love, When I Fall in Love Y Miss Barbara.I give you life (Mexico) and Betty and NY (USA) are its current phenomena, beyond Turkey.

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