The TV Series Review Vol. 3 No. 6: The admirable fight of the liberator Simón Bolívar (plus this month’s Top TV Series list)

Before my review, here’s the list of top TV series for September. For reviews of other TV series, please click the links below:

Top TV Series for September

What/If (United States)

Geek Rate: Mortal Worthy (3 out of 5 stars)

Starring Renée Zellweger, “What/If” is a neo-noir series tackling morality issues. Zellweger here plays as Anne Montgomery, a woman of extreme wealth who offers young scientist Lisa Donovan the funding she needs for her breakthrough medicine study that could save millions of lives. The show revolves around how Montgomery attempts to control Lisa. Power play, sex, and crimes are all abundant throughout the episodes. The show’s episodes are captivating, with the help of Zellweger’s awesome performance. It has a nice twist albeit an old and tiring one. 

Jinn (Jordan)

Geek Rate: Mortal Worthy (3 out of 5 stars)

An Arabic-language series, “Jinn” is a supernatural drama regarding the existence of genies or “jinn” in Arabic. The series is about a high school student who accidentally releases a jinn in the form of a teenage boy. Together, the mortal and this jinn will have to work together to stop an ancient darkness that threatens the world. Yeah, the synopsis is kind of corny, but believe me, this is not your usual supernatural series. Admittedly, the acting of the young cast was pretty bad but the story has a solid plot, and in most parts successfully delivered it until the end. “Jinn” has its ups and downs, in terms of how it was transformed in the screen, but this is a satisfying watch nonetheless. 

Bolívar (Colombia)

Geek Rate: Sky god Worthy (5 out of 5 stars)

The strife between Colombia and Venezuela continues as Bogota releases this TV series about the life of the most revered hero in Latin America.

In an address to the Constituent Congress of the Republic of Colombia, Simón Bolívar, the liberator of South America, stated: “Fellow citizens! I blush to say this: Independence is the only benefit we have acquired, to the detriment of all the rest.” The aptly titled about this revered hero, “Bolívar,” tackles his entire recorded life, from his childhood in San Mateo near Caracas (in modern-day Venezuela) to his teenage years in Europe, up to his rise as a war general against the Spaniards. 

Historians couldn’t agree about the real Simón Bolívar, with one side painting him as close to a god while the others dismissing him as an evil one, or worst, a coward. Bolívar’s life is too controversial and with countless anecdotes about him, including his journal, a further look on to his journey is needed. So here’s where the series “Bolívar” enters. There’s plenty of materials to use for this story, that’s true, but it was also apparent that the crew behind the show must tread carefully with a sensitive topic such as this.

There’s a sense when watching this series that its quality is not at par with what Netflix usually provides, to the set up to the over the top lines (as a trademark of telenovela shows). The long hours and eternally infinite episodes will deter those who would dare watch this show. This goes to tell you that this series is for history buffs and the audience in South America familiar with his story. In other words, this is not a series that would get international attention. But those who seek to learn more about this polarizing figure will definitely enjoy watching this series.

Geek Rate

zeus-512Sky god Worthy (5 out of 5 stars). With 60 episodes (more than 60 hours of total running time), this is a very long series to watch but to history buffs, this is one of the most satisfying shows in Netflix, amid the proliferation of Korean drama thingy. Of course, there are inconsistencies in the story, as the writers took some creative liberty to add or imagine some of the obscure facts about Bolívar’s life. The set could do some budget hike too. But over all, I’m glad “Bolívar” has been made available for people to watch. I just hope more shows like these will be shown in the future.

Characters

Bryan Ruiz as Juan Vicente Bolívar – When I read Simón Bolívar’s life years ago, I was curious about his family, their participation in honing him as a great hero. So I was interested about Juan Vicente. Was he like Jose Rizal’s older brother? So when I watched the series, I focused on how they will portray him. Bryan Ruiz did all he could with what little material he was given. There’s leeway provided to him to portray his part, which I felt was pretty overlooked.

Maximiliano Gómez as Child Simón – I wish they gave Gómez a longer exposure. Portraying Simón as a child, he effortlessly transport the audience to what Simón Bolívar was like as a kid. The series missed an opportunity to expand this part further. I get it, they want to go quickly to the adult version, but hey, this part is important too.

Luis Gerónimo Abreu as Simón Bolívar – Abreu apparently is a very famous actor in Colombia and how he was transformed as Bolívar is cool. He resembles the great leader like around 80%, with the help of his superb acting. The acting part gives life to the whole story but I hope he’s thinner. Look at the pictures.

JoJosé Ramón Barreto as Young Simón – Barreto is perfect for the job as the young Simón. To tell the truth, he’s the reason why I’m glued to the show. He makes this part of the liberator’s life more interesting that it is, which is evident in the thin plot. His acting, the way he portrays how an young adult Bolívar was already learning to be a leader, is not over the top.

Production Details

Directed by: Luis Alberto Restrepo, Andrés Beltrán, Jaime Rayo.
Cast: Luis Gerónimo Abreu, José Ramón Barreto, Maximiliano Gómez
Production company: Caracol Televisión
Distributor: Caracol Internacional, Netflix

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