Binge and Repeat: Netflix’s drama ‘Selena: The Series’ focuses on family instead of the singer

Many of us recognize the name Selena Quintanilla. She was a vibrant star on the Tejano music scene and Jennifer Lopez played the iconic musician in the 1997 film “Selena.”

While Selena was a gifted singer, those who aren’t familiar with her music might remember her after her name dominated headlines after she was murdered by her fan club president in 1995.

Netflix’s new drama “Selena: The Series” tells the story of a young Selena and the rest of the Quintanilla family as they climb their way from performing in empty restaurants and backyard weddings to the singer’s rise to stardom.

What’s intriguing about this series is that Selena herself doesn’t get much in the way of screen time outside of her performances, instead the drama revolves around the Quintanilla family, particularly around her father’s desire to see his daughter become famous. The series also drifts away from the singer as it focuses on the personal lives of Selena’s two siblings A.B. and Suzette as well as other members of Selena’s band. This shift in focus could be attributed to the fact that Selena’s sister Suzette was one of the executive producers on the show.

When we do see Selena, she is shown as a young girl or a teenager who just wants to perform and be creative. The parts of the singer that the series does reveal to the audience are her passion for fashion design, her love of music and a desire to be herself. Viewers watch as Selena learns Spanish to perform her music and as she breaks her own heart by trying to hide her relationship with her guitarist from her family.

“Selena: The Series” does not cover Selena’s whole life, at least not in the first season. The drama ends just as Selena has gained the star status that she and her family sacrificed so much for, but it does foreshadow what is to come when the family discusses needing to hire someone to run the young singer’s fan club.

Christian Serratos provides a lovely performance of the bubbly young singer, but it certainly would have been nice to see her have more screen time as the titular character. Gabriel Chavarria offers a round and emotional performance as A.B., as the actor portrays him not only as a brother, but as a musician in his own right. Ricardo Chavira takes on the staggering role of playing patriarch and band manager as the strict and stubborn Abraham Quintanilla. Noemí Gonzalez plays Suzette with fire as the sister tries to find her place within the band. and Seidy López play’s Selena’s sweet mother and the only family member not directly involved in the band.

Selena: The Series

Seasons: One

Episodes: 9

Episode length: 35 minutes

TV rating: TV-PG

Language: English and Spanish

Similar series: Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist

“Selena: The Series” is rated TV-PG and has one season available on Netflix. Viewers might also enjoy watching NBC’s musical drama “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” streaming on Hulu and Peacock. While the series has nothing to do with Selena, the musical drama offers viewers with plenty of music and vibrant color.

tinamarie.craven@hearstmediact.com