This new year has already brought us the Latinx-centered Party of Five series and now we can add another culturally relevant show to the roster with The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia premiering on Netflix on Feb. 17. The show stars newcomer Paulina Chávez, 17, as the titular character, a 15-year-old robotics engineer and rocket scientist whose accomplishments lead her to work with NASA. Cuban-American singer Jencarlos Canela (“Telenovela”) plays Uncle Victor, a former pro football player doing the bare minimum as a high school coach. This sets up for a wacky dynamic where Garcia will likely be the “adult” in the relationship after she has to move across the country to live with him, according to My San Antonio.
Mario Lopez and Seth Kurland (Friends) created and are executive-producing the series, with Kurland also serving as showrunner and writer of the comedy while Eva Longoria is set to direct a couple of episodes. “I am excited for the opportunity to partner with Netflix to tell a universal, family-friendly story with a Latin flavor,” Lopez said in a statement.
El Paso native Chávez moved to San Antonio with her family when she was 6 and by second grade she was the lead of the school’s theater renditions of Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and The Little Mermaid, My SA reports. The high school graduate is currently recording her first record with Canela, and she also plays violin with a San Antonio-based mariachi group, according to My SA.
“Paulina is a little superstar. She’s so intelligent, and her timing when it comes to comedy is way ahead of her time.” Canela told Entertainment Weekly adds, “This is a show for the entire family, and hopefully as we expand the universe of Ashley, we also get to expand everyone else’s universe.”
While it’s always great when a show is centered around Latinx culture, considering the lack of representation in media overall, we hope this series doesn’t experience the same treatment its predecessor One Day at a Time did. We’ll be watching Feb. 17 to support the Latinx in front and behind the camera.