Sparks are going to fly on television in Spain tonight, as a new season of ‘Survivors’ and ‘La cocinera de Castamar’, an adaptation of the novel by the same name, are premiered at the same time. Fernando J. Múñez which is in turn one of the great bets for the fiction series of Atresmedia this year. It is true that it was previously seen in Atresplayer Premium, but that does not remove an iota of interest from a duel that seems very interesting.
It will be tomorrow when we know how each one of them has worked in audience -the same day in which Netflix will also premiere ‘La cocinera de Castamar’-, but now I want to draw your attention to the miniseries of Antenna 3, since we are in an entertaining period drama that knows how to play quite well with palace intrigues to hook the viewer. It is true that your first minutes do not invite you to have confidence in what will come next, but knows how to straighten the course quickly.
My partner Alberto already mentioned how badly the prologue of ‘La cocinera de Castamar’ worked in relation to its realization, but I do not want to fail to mention that it is not far from parodic rather than achieving the desired dramatic impact. It would only be necessary to alter the interpretation of the actors a little and change the music for that effect to be full. It is true that it is a moment with its risks, but if you are not going to do it well, you can save it and simply present the trauma of one of the protagonists through the dialogues.
In fact, the series begins again right after that, jumping in time to present the situation in the palace coinciding with the arrival of the young woman played by Michelle Jenner that she will end up becoming Castamar’s new cook after a series of circumstances that allow her to dazzle with her culinary skills, but from her we will gradually discover things from her past, being what happens at the party that the Duke of Castamar sees forced to give where we find juicier things in this beginning of the series.
On the one hand, it is appreciated that the writing team knows how to use their wide cast to find that essential fluid rhythm first to catch the attention of the viewer and then to leave them wanting to see where the shots go. This applies especially to the character embodied by Hugo Silva, in which I detected certain echoes of John Malkovich in ‘Dangerous friendships’. And it is true that there are several destabilizing factors in the apparent harmony that reigns, but his vengeful and lustful plan is what works best of all.
There it is also appreciated that ‘La cocinera de Castamar’ does not sting when it comes to presenting the characters and we practically know everything we need about them quickly. More nuances are missing -which I imagine will come to clarify more everything that surrounds Jenner’s character-, of course, but his work as a presentation of this first episode is flawless and I already tell you that it continues to evolve favorably in the second chapter.
To this must be added a variety of well-basted wefts, offering a broad and complementary portrait of what life was like in Madrid’s high society in the seventeenth century. The inherent luxury of this is something that ‘La cocinera de Castamar’ also cares about on a technical level, avoiding at all times the solutions to get out of the way for the benefit of a careful setting work that allows us to better immerse ourselves in the universe that raises.
It is true that the attitude when facing the interpretations tends perhaps not to a modernizing touch, but more accessible instead of approaching it in a more strict way. It is a bet that benefits the series, since it achieves the balance point to make it more accessible without making it impossible for you to believe what is happening.
And it is that ‘La cocinera de Castamar’ could perfectly have been a luxury soap opera or an affected period drama, but there is a certain playful component in their DNA that enhances those palace intrigues and the relationships between the characters in the right direction to make their virtues shine more strongly.
Beyond that, the cast easily fulfills the assigned roles, especially Jenner and Silva, but it is also true that for now it has hardly been more than a first contact. A presentation in parallel to his arrival at the party in Castamar to force the duke played by the SUV Roberto Enriquez to abandon their mourning. The real key is to see how they develop, but at least they have left me wanting to move on.
‘Castamar’s Cook’ begins in such a way that it leaves you wanting to remove the episode and see something else, but it soon shows that it is a series that is worthwhile for its way of approaching palace intrigues with the necessary lightness so as not to become burdensome on so many fronts, but with the necessary solvency so that one gets fully into history and enjoys it. Recommendable.