Caution: Part 2 Spoiler Alert!
When you’re gone, how do you want to be remembered? Selena is asked in an interview before her Astrodome concert. For which she responds “…I want to be remembered as somebody who gave it her all” and for that reason she deserved to have her story told in a superior manner.
Consisting of 9 episodes, like part 1, Part 2 of Selena: The Series takes off right where part 1 left off, in a parking lot as the bus drives away leaving Chris behind after Abraham finds out Selena and Chris were romantically involved. For the remainder of the first episode Selena is heartbroken and attempts to move on. The episodes, titled after some of her beloved songs (or lyrics from them), continue to consist of ugly wigs, horrible green screen sequences (mainly while driving), and a weak script. But it does have a few compelling stories including songs’ origins, Selena’s struggle going solo on her English album, and Yolanda’s involvement in Selena’s life. An interesting detail, I wasn’t aware of, was that Selena wrote Bidi Bidi Bom Bom.
I was hoping Serrato’s interpretation of the queen of Tejano music would improve as the series progressed, but instead it gradually became frustrating to watch her throughout part 2. This version of Selena comes across as a poor imitation of JLo’s Selena. She still fails to convey Selena’s essence, organic charisma, and onstage presence. During many of the singing numbers the lip synching was off and many of the iconic music videos felt lazy.
Her lack of chemistry with Jesse Posey, who plays Chris Perez, makes every single one of their scenes nearly unbearable to watch (and in part 2 it’s a good amount of screen time together). On the other hand, the supporting cast portraying Abraham, A.B, Suzette, and Marcella, were great. In the first half I wasn’t completely fond of the supporting cast but it appears they became comfortable with their characters as the series progressed. Abraham and A.B take a back seat while Suzette and Selena (with Chris) take center stage.
Episodes 1-7 were decent. I was on board to learn about Selena’s dreams outside of her singing career. Although I was distracted by Serratos performance (not once did I believe I was seeing Selena), her ambition to open the boutique & her fashion line kept my interest.
Episode 5, Oh No, gives insight to being Selena for 24 hours. She struggles to be on time to her meetings, forgets to contact music producers, misses lunch with her mother and sister, all while trying to interview potential candidates for her soon to open boutique.
Episode 6 titled “Lo Mas Bello” is responsible for making me shed a tear or two. Selena is in the studio recording “No Me Queda Mas” while Ricky, the band’s keyboardist, and A.B are sitting across from her in the next room. Ricky’s face is subtle as he watches Selena singing, then gradually becomes overwhelmed with emotions the moment Suzzette places her hand on his shoulder to complement his songwriting. Selena notices Ricky’s reaction and realizes the song carries an emotional weight which prompts Selena to learn the origin of the song. Ricky’s subtleness and profound heartbreak transcends through the screen; making it perhaps one of the most emotionally moving sequences in this whole series. Reminding audiences that heartbreak can inspire the most beautiful songs.
The last two episodes were so bad that it ruined the entire series for me.
Which brings me to the exact moment it happened; the Astrodome concert towards the end of episode 8. A sequence that’s supposed to be a grand spectacle due to its iconic significance becomes borderline offensive with atrocious lip synching and choppy editing with a back and forth between the fans and the musical group that feels chaotic and disjointed. The stage felt very much like an artificial stage lacking a magical atmosphere or any real sense of musical event. I appreciated the details including the bandaid on the finger and the lipstick on the microphone. But Serrato’s inability to capture Selena’s on-stage presence completely ruined the concert scene; so much so that I had to pause it to watch the actual concert as a palate cleanser.
The final episode takes us to Selena’s last day where the inevitable happens – we all know the sad ending to this story
I understand the decision to not sensationalize Selena’s death, but I wasn’t happy with the handling of her passing. Nobody truly knows what happened that day aside from Selena and Yolanda which explains the viewers hearing the gun shot through a different perspective; the cleaning lady.
We then see Abraham and A.B receiving the tragic news which is then confirmed via a radio announcement. In the last 3 episodes we’re introduced & re-introduced to some of Selena’s fans, who were all present in the Astrodome concert. But those stories unfold so quickly it prevents any emotional stakes in those fan experiences from developing. So when the fans learn about Selena’s death their heartbreak isn’t convincing and the whole sequence falls flat.
The viewing audience isn’t given time to process her passing when suddenly one month has passed and her song “Dreaming of You” is released. We see the family grieving and even the music producer gets his time to shine, but the way Chris was handled in this last episode has the Quintanilla family’s disdain for Chris written all over it. The music producer is given time to cry and mourn but somehow this series decides Chris can lay in bed facing the ceiling then turn sideways for no more than 10 seconds of screentime? This didn’t sit well with me and I can’t imagine it will sit well with millions of Selena fans who know their impossibly romantic love story.
I acknowledge the limited opportunities to know Selena’s journey as accurately possible. Afterall, we’re different and interpret life based on our perceptions and perspectives. I’m aware we’ll never know her story from her lens, but instead from her family’s, which has both its pros and cons.
Overall, Selena: The Series Part 2 finishes telling the story of the Quintanilla family and their rise to stardom. The poor writing, ugly wigs, noticeable green screen, and rushed last two episodes keeps me from recommending it. This was another missed opportunity to introduce newer generations to a Latina icon whose undeniable impact on the community, culture, and music industry still resonates deeply today.
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