Thursday, November 7, 2013

Telenovelas vs. Series

During the Q&A portion of my Colombian Consumption presentation this week, I was asked my thoughts on the future of telenovelas with the immersion of series. I really liked this question because I have never really thought about it.

A telenovela is watched and consumed usually everyday of the week, while a series is once a week. I think this affects many things such as: production, story lines, and a little bit of consumption.

Although we have only talked about the production of telenovelas in class, I would assume the production of a series only differs in the time constraint. Since an episode in a series is only aired once a week, this gives the writer(s) and production team more time to produce episodes. This allows each episode to be more room for extravagancy I think. For example, El Capo visits many locations in Colombia and later even the United States and also has many expensive props and FX.

The success of El Capo can clearly be seen with its continuation in El Capo 2 and El Capo 3. Although this is giving the audience what it wants (more, everyone always wants more) I think it when compared to telenovelas, the continuation can be a good thing and sometimes a bad thing. Telenovelas have to finish, therefore there has to be a point and a main focus to the story. On the outside this appeals to me because I feel like there would be more meaning. The writer has this many episodes to say what he or she has to say so every episode better be worth it. On the other hand, when you’re actually watching a series or telenovela you love, you obviously never want it to end.

When I finish a book I love, it makes me so happy if there is a sequel. I don’t know what kind of person I would be if JK Rowling decided to end Harry Potter after the first book. (but really… what would life even be like? Would there even be a point?) And on the other hand, would the

I digress...  Having series, allows for more seasons, thus giving the audience more. This can also allow episodes to drag on and can affect the quality, thus affecting the consumption.

I think the Telenovela will continue thriving for many years to come. There will always be people that like both Telenovelas and Series as long as their good.


  1. Michelle,
    I think you're absolutely right. Series and Telenovelas are both valuable in their own right, but series will never take the place of telenovelas. The time aspect is just too different for every consumer to choose one or the other.
    Your comment about series dragging on really stuck out to me. I agree with that. I don't know how many times I've thought, "What?? How is that show on its 7th season already?? That's been on TV for so many years now!" If you look at it though, 7 seasons adds up to approximately 140 episodes; about the same amount of episodes that a well-received telenovela has. However, this telenovela will be on TV for about 6 months rather than 7 years. It's hard to say which one keeps peoples' attention better, but one thing is certain: many people prefer telenovelas for their pacing, and I don't see that changing any time soon.

  2. Both of you guys have really interesting points. I love that with telenovelas I only have to wait one night to find what what will happen next. The Friday episodes are always the worst because you have to wait two full days until you can figure out what will happen next. I feel that both have a different appeal to viewers. Neither will fade due to the presence of the other. In the case of El Capo, I feel that even though viewers love that the story is progressing even more and they are learning much more about the characters than they ever imagined after the end of the original telenovela, the network needs to know when it is time to end it. No one wants to have unoriginal plots and story lines that drag on. I am interested to see how many El Capos will be produced in the future and if other successful telenovelas will follow its lead in producing sequels.

  3. Katherine,
    I never really thought about how a seven seasons can add up to the amount of episodes in a telenovela! I guess that really shows how crazy telenovela production is! I don't see telenovela production fading any time soon either.

    I agree with your comment about El Capo. Going deeper in each character's lives throughout the seasons is something I think fans really love. Another thing that gives series some sort of edge on telenovelas is the opportunity of introducing new characters in different seasons for new lead roles. The love stories change in El Capo in the new seasons with the introduction of new love interests.

  4. I like what you said about telenovelas forcing the writer to say what it is they have to say because they know it will end. Rather than a rambling series (gossip girl comes to mind) where many things could be being said but not all of them are answered because "there is always next season" or they get forgotten. But then there are also the exceptions to the rule like the British TV show "Skins", which is very much like a telenovela, who say what they want to say with one group of actors then in the next season introduce new actors and a new story line (American Horror story also falls into this category).
    When I first read your post title I thought it was about how Latin America differentiates telenovelas vs series. For example on the Caracol website the Pablo Escobar novela is called a 'series' even though it runs every night just like a novella. I think Sin Teta's was under series as well. And my thought were that maybe only those focusing on the love story is considered a telenovela while Escobar is more historical fiction? I will continue to wonder.