We need some affirmation. The news is horrifying, our government’s response is lacking, and things seem like they’re going to keep getting worse before they get better. TV can be an escape but it can also be frustrating when you feel like you’ve seen everything that speaks to you. I mean, how many times can you watch Jane the Virgin?
That’s why we put together this list of Latinx shows coming out this year. It’s just different when the characters speak your language (I’m talking Spanglish here). When they eat the food your family eats, when they look like you and your crew. Historically, Latinas may be the least represented when it comes to our numbers in the population but, there are talented people working to change that statistic. And before COVID, it seemed like we were finally making progress. On Netflix, we have Gentefied and On My Block. We’ve taken over Charmed and Roswell. And you can’t hold us back by canceling One Day At a Time or giving mixed reviews to Briarpatch.
So here’s a primer on the Latinx shows coming out this year, what’s available to stream now, what’s still being released, and what’s likely delayed. Don’t worry, global pandemic or not, there’s still plenty of the Latinx excellence coming to your TV!
Everyone’s favorite teen murder mystery soap Riverdale is in its fourth season and renewed for its fifth. Which means we all get to spend more time with the rum-peddling, Latinx crime family the Lodges. This season added Vida’s Mishel Prada to the mix as Veronica (Camila Mendes)’s half-sister. What country do they trace their lineage to? How do they all know Spanish if they don’t speak it at home? Why does high school senior Veronica dress like a sexy gothic secretary? We don’t know! But we know we’ll be tuning in. Watch the current season now on the CW and past ones on Netflix.
We know that women of color are the original witches so it’s nice that TV is finally catching up and giving us the bruja plots we’ve been asking for. The CW made some missteps in updating the Charmed franchise (only casting one Latinx actress in its Latinx reboot, cutting all the fun feminist flair that made the first season so good) but we’re still watching. Here’s hoping season three, hopefully coming out later this year, is a return to form. In the meantime, watch the current season on the CW and the first one on Netflix.
Party of Five
Today, the story of children figuring out how to grow up on their own in America is an immigrant one, thanks to our country’s pension for deporting our family members. Freeform’s Party of Five reboot explores what it’s like to grow up in one of these American families with the Latinx Acostas. The show also touches on issues of faith, sexuality, gender identity, race, and class, reminding us all that there’s a lot of work to be done. Stream the whole first season on Hulu.
Diary of a Future President
Lord – let there one day be a Latina President of the United States! With this year’s election, this dream seems further than ever. But not so in Disney+’s Diary of a Future President, which stars Tess Romero as Elena Cañero-Reed, a 12-year-old Cuban American girl who’ll grow up to be President. I just hope enough boys and girls and gender non-conforming kids watch the show now so when it’s their turn to vote, their imaginations are not as limited by gender (or ethnicity) as the current electorates’ seems to be. Stream the show now on Disney+.
Grey’s Anatomy fire-fighting cousin, Station 19, has Jaina Lee Ortiz as Andrea “Andy” Herrera at the helm. She saves lives and bed hops with the best of them, bringing a decidedly Latinx flavor to the genre thanks to her relationship with her dad (Miguel Sandoval). You know his type – hard-working, overprotective, fundamentally decent but unable to see his daughter as the fully-capable adult she is. And Andy is hyper capable. Strong inside and out, she’s easy to root for. Catch up on Hulu or watch live on ABC.
Rosario Dawson is pretty much always a joy to watch. But seeing her as the unflappable gumshoe returned to her backwater Texas home town in USA Network’s Briarpatch is a positive delight. The show teases its small-town inhabitants without condescending and gives Dawson plenty to do (and wear – those suits!). I particularly like watching her face off with Alan Cummings and Kim Dickens. This show is definitely worth a watch.
Fan-favorite Brooklyn 99 is back with its seventh season this year, once again proving that you can have TWO LATINAS (or more!) on a “mainstream” show! Stephanie Beatriz as Rosa Diaz and Melissa Fumero as Amy Santiago are two incredibly different people from their styles to their personalities to their sexualities and it is gratifying to see this diversity inside the Latina experience reflected.
While I can’t help but mention that the drug trade is over-represented when it comes to the media’s portrayal of Latinx communities, there’s no denying Netflix’s Narcos: Mexico. The second season came out in February and featured so many of our favorites – Diego Luna, Joaquín Cosío, and Michael Peña to name a few. We just hope these guys keep getting as interesting of parts playing non-cartel related characters. So go ahead and stream Narcos on Netflix.
The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia
Imagine Doogie Howser but make it Latina. Or a family-oriented Big Bang Theory that you might actually want to watch. That’s Netflix’s The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia which follows actress Paulina Chávez as the titular character as she becomes NASA’s youngest engineer. As a girl who loved science and math but found the world hostile to those ambitions, I can only imagine what a show like this would’ve meant to younger me. Watch the whole first season on Netflix now.
Gentefied is the Latinx dream show of 2020. It’s set in Boyle Heights, features the Chicano family the Morales, and tackles issues of gentrification, identity, and sexuality. That it does all that while making us laugh and see ourselves and our families is even more impressive. For those ready to binge, please wait to cast judgment until the third episode (at the earliest). Gentefied has a bit of a slow start but is more than worth the wait. On Netflix now.
On My Block
Netflix’s On My Block is the black and brown teen caper show you didn’t know you were missing. The third season came out March 11 on Netflix and features our favorite south-central LA teens falling in love, dealing with gang violence, masturbating, worrying about their parents, and digging up graves. If that sounds like a lot, it is. But On My Block makes it all work while elevating a new class of POC talent in its young stars.
Futuristic robot dystopia Westworld is finally back for its third season starting March 15. Despite the show’s setting change (the now sentient, human-passing robots are out of their gilded cage and in the real world), Westworld still appears to center Thandie Newton, Evan Rachel Wood, and Afro-Latina Tessa Thompson. We’re excited to see what this crew gets up to now that they’re free and get lost in the time-jumping structure that defines this enigma of a show. Luckily, the whole season is taped so don’t expect any COVID-related disruptions.
There’s a certain joy in watching a show where the “aliens” are white people and those without papers are part of the family next door. The original (1999) Roswell was filled with white people, completely ignoring what New Mexico actually looks like. The 2019 reboot consciously rights this wrong with lines like “this is New Mexico – we all speak Spanish!” and the casting of Jeanine Mason as our principal heroine Liz Ortecho. She’s surrounded by a diverse cast of mixed acting abilities and runs through a suspenseful if sometimes clunky script. All of which makes Roswell our latest guilty pleasure. Watch live on the CW as the second season should air uninterrupted.
One Day At a Time
Rita Moreno. Justina Machado. Norman Lear. Pop TV’s One Day At a Time is brimming with talent and has the near-perfect rating on Rotten Tomatoes to prove it. Why Netflix failed to renew this show for its fourth season is beyond us but we’re so glad Pop TV picked it up. The fourth season opens with a crack at their old network, a guest appearance by Ray Romano, and a bit about the Census. Sign us up – we’ll be watching as long as we can. Unfortunately, taping is indefinitely delayed thanks to COVID so we’ll just have to treasure the episodes that do get released.
Tanya Saracho’s Vida is back for a third and final season and thank God, because the second season ended in such a cliffhanger (the Hernandez father is alive?!?!). In the latest installment, we’re still rooting for the bar to succeed, Eddy to catch a break, and Lyn to find something more beautiful about herself than how she looks. But regardless of what happens, we know Vida will be sexy, complex, and Latinx in all the best possible ways. It premieres April 26 on Starz and we’re excited to watch the whole thing.
Women get erased in all sorts of arenas and women of color only more so. That’s why the fun, edgy, and beautiful trailer for HBO’s Betty looks so promising. The new show follows a group of women skaters through their adventures on the streets of New York. Based on the semi-autobiographical Sundance film Skate Kitchen, Betty likewise features Latina Rachelle Vinberg and her real-life crew making mischief and growing up. The show’s set to premiere May 1 on HBO and we hope they got everything filmed before quarantine orders closed down sets nationwide.
Season three of FX’s Pose started filming and we can’t wait to see what they cook up next for Blanca and her house. We can’t stop rooting for this ballroom community as it faces the AIDS epidemic, cultural appropriation, and intense discrimination. That said, there’s so much joy in Pose from the clothes to the dance moves to the (chosen) family values. Here’s hoping the women of the show start getting the recognition they deserve, right next to Billy Porter and his almost EGOT. We just hope they got a bunch of episodes in the can before everything ground to a halt!
Queen of the South
Do women make for better leaders? Gentler, kinder, more giving? Or do we end up overcompensating for this stereotype by being even more ruthless than the guys? Queen of the South’s Teresa Mendoza navigates all this and more as she vies to run a better drug cartel in a man’s world. And not lose her soul in the process. The fourth season might be delayed but you can catch up on the last three on Netflix.
Absurdist and random, HBO’s Los Espookys is what you’d expect from Fred Armisen and his proteges Ana Fabrega and Julio Torres. The Spanglish comedy features cracks on the horror genre, rich kids, angst, and the United States. HBO’s renewed the show for a second season so thankfully all the “spooks” and silliness should be back this summer, although we’re not sure how the Coronavirus has affected production.
Fluffy has quite the fan base and his high-school sitcom Mr. Iglesias won’t disappoint as he stars as the titular life-changing teacher. Iglesias is surrounded by students and teachers of varying races, making the family-friendly schtick serve as a lesson in multiculturalism as well. Fluffy even dedicated this show to his real-life high school and the heart involved in all that shines through. The first season is available on Netflix now and we were scheduled for a second this summer before the global pandemic hit.
This Sons of Anarchy spinoff has the Mexican motorcycle club getting its star turn after playing second fiddle to the white gang. With stars JD Pardo, Clayton Cardenas, and Edward James Olmos, there’s plenty to root for in this gritty thriller. The third season will follow Pardo’s EZ as a full member of the club and hopefully explain who that corpse was in the season two finale. Here’s hoping they got pretty far in taping it!