‘El Rey, Vicente Fernández’ On Netflix, is a very long Biographical Series about Mexican singing legend Vicente Fernández — covers close to 30 hours over 36 episodes, wow!
Vicente Fernández’s career spanned close to six decades, and he was one of the most revered singers in Mexico until his death last December.
So a biographical series about him would likely be extensive. But El Rey, Vicente Fernández is 36 episodes long. That’s more of a telenovela’s length than something you’d see in a biographical series.
Which means that the creators, Dago García and Jhonny Alexander Ortiz, are going to take their sweet time telling Chente’s story.
That’s what we see in the first episode, which bounces back and forth mostly between 1950 and 1966. We know that we’re going to see other time periods, since Camil (Jane The Virgin) is the series’ top-lined star. But we only see him briefly here, sometimes in short scenes that compare him to his younger selves. But it seems that, given how the show will concentrate on his childhood and the early part of his career, we may not see a lot of Camil until episode 13 or so.
For fans of Fernández, this deep dive into his life may be just what they’ve been looking for.
But for people less familiar with his life and career, it may be worth skipping some episodes or just reading a biography on him. And that’s not because the show is at all bad; the show has an authentic look and feel with good performances by the various actors playing Chente — Camil, Dante and Acab. But it definitely moves slowly, and there isn’t enough dramatic tension to carry someone through such a large number of episodes if that viewer doesn’t have at least some prior knowledge of Fernández and his career.
Opening Shot: A scene of people entering a bullfighting ring. “Plaza de Toros, Mexico,” “September 15, 1984”.
Vicente Fernández (Jaime Camil) pulls up to the stadium in a taxi and stumbles in, with a cut on his head and holding his side. He looks like he’s not well enough to perform, but his wife Maria (Marcela Guirado) — whom he calls “Chuquita” — knows otherwise. He puts on his mariachi costume and belts out his songs as if he wasn’t hurt. But he also hallucinates being on a horse and seeing the same mustachioed man that he’s been seeing since his youth.
Flashing back to 1966, a young “Chente” (Sebastian Dante) is in León, Guanajuato, on the first stop on what he hopes is a long tour that will help him buy a gas station with his brother-in-law.
He’s encouraged by the tour manager, Palermo El Gordo (Carlos Corona), but it seems the others on tour are a bit jealous. Chente is trying to stay out of trouble and away from booze, so he doesn’t gamble away the money he’s trying to save. Little does he know that Palermo is keeping news from him in order to keep him on the tour.
We then flash back to 1950 in Jalisco.
Ten-year-old Chente (Kaled Acab) is a daring kid who makes bets with his cousins, especially with his favorite cousin, Gustavo (Juan Pablo Hermidia).
But all bets are literally off when he goes looking for his father Ramón (Enoc Leaño), who’s getting beaten up by the thugs working for the local loan shark. Ramón drinks and gambles and fights vehemently with Chente’s mother Paula (Marissa Saavedra). But when he’s sober, Ramón is on his side; he even is amenable to Chente quitting school and singing for a living and tells him he’s going to come with him to a new job he’s starting in Guadalajara. Everything seems to be going well, especially as Tavo helps him woo young Chuquita (Ishkra Zaval)… until a tragedy strikes.