Telenovela is set to become the best television comedy about television since 30 Rock. The cast of Telenovela features established telenovela stars mocking telenovelas, and they are likely aiming to strike the sweet spot between parody and reverence that has helped the telenovela-inspired Jane The Virgin become such a big hit. The show follows fictional telenovela star Ana Sofia Calderon who, despite being a star of an incredibly popular telenovela, does not speak Spanish. This sounds like an easy-to-make recipe for comedic mischief, but the most revolutionary thing about Telenovela isn't the premise, it's the cast.
Telenovela has not only assembled an extremely talented cast, they've assembled a cast made entirely of Hispanic and Latino actors and actresses. Instead of one or two actors of color amongst a sea of white faces, the people behind Telenovela have stayed true to the world that their story takes place in and honored it through its casting. It's a fantastic example of networks taking a risk by not making the "safe" choice and casting a few white actors to represent any Caucasians who watch the show. Instead, the show doubled-down on its premise and concept, and is increasing visibility for Hispanic and Latino people in popular culture, while providing a platform for some amazing actors and actresses who may have trouble getting cast in other roles. Here are all the faces to look forward to seeing on Telenovela.
Eva Longoria is one of the funniest women working in Hollywood today, and it's so wonderful to be in a world where she gets a weekly platform to showcase her acting abilities again. After her breakout role in Desperate Housewives, Longoria has taken up a variety of passion projects and cameo appearances in comedy shows like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and playing a parody of herself in indie film In A World.... Longoria stars in the series as telenovela star Ana Sofia Calderon, and also serves as executive producer.
Jencarlos Canela is not only playing telenovela actor Xavier Castillo in Telenovela, but he'll also be playing the role of Celebrity Heartthrob in everyone's dreams once Telenovela premieres. Canela has a long history playing hunk telenovela heroes, playing the lead roles in Más sabe el diablo, Mi corazón insiste en Lola Volcán, Pasión prohibida. His role on Telenovela plays to his strengths while allowing him to parody his typical roles.
Amaury Nolasco's most recognizable role was as Fernando Sucre in all four seasons of Prison Break. While Prison Break was a primarily dramatic series, he got to showcase his skills for dry, subtle humor occasionally. On Telenovela, Nolasco is getting the chance to take broader strokes comedically as "the villain" of the show, Rodrigo Suarez. (It's not clear whether Suarez is the villain of the show, the show within the show, or both.)
Diana Maria Riva
Diana Maria Riva has a long history in television and film and brings that experience to the role of Mimi Moncada who is a costume designer and Ana's best friend. She was recently featured in drama series The Bridge and indie film Short Term 12, which you should watch as soon as possible because it's amazing.
Jose Moreno Brooks
Jose Moreno Brooks is a fresh face to show-business and, after years of bit parts, is finally being given a chance to shine on Telenovela. Jose Moreno Brooks is playing Gael Garcia, one of Ana's co-stars on the show-within-the-show.
Alexandra Meneses has played small roles on multiple shows including CSI, Prison Break, and Everybody Loves Raymond. She joins Telenovela playing a larger-than-life personality on the show's telenovela alongside Ana.
Jadyn Douglas is another fresh face to television, having acted primarily in small-scale independent films prior to her role in Telenovela as Roxie Rios.
Izzy Diaz plays writer Isaac on Telenovela after having had a bit role on seemingly every television show of the past 10 years. His IMDB page lists credits from Parenthood, Lost, Happy Endings, NCIS: Los Angeles, Monk, The West Wing, Workaholics, and The Closer. His experience with television makes him a great choice to play the mad genius behind the show-within-the-show.
Telenovela will certainly end up being the steamiest new comedy of the year, and, with a cast like this, it would be no surprise if it was one of the best. The range of talent on the program is great news for any telenovela fans who want to see a show dedicated to parodying the genre. And, no matter what, any television show that brings weekly Eva Longoria to the world is bound to succeed.
Images: John Tsiavis (8), Nino Munoz/NBC