‘Selena: The Series’ broadens the legacy of the late icon and her Tejano music


Image courtesy of IMDB.com

A year before her death at the age of 23, the singer Selena Quintanilla was asked, “When you’re gone, how do you want to be remembered?” That question sits at the heart of Netflix’s rich and tender “Selena: The Series.”

The final season of the two-part series chronicles the singer’s life from 1992, when her career was about to take off, to 1995, when she was killed working on her solo debut English record.

Quintanilla’s well-documented death may have cast a large shadow, but it does not overwhelm the show with dread. Rather, the 18-episode series created an in-depth exploration of her life and the music that propelled her to stardom.

The 1997 movie “Selena” fell short on that depth, despite the movie being held in high regard for its Latinx representation.

In the series, the characters that surround Quintanilla are more built out and humanized, better rounding out the story of her life.

For Quintanilla, her family and career were one in the same — the family was her band until she was set to become a solo artist. Part Two of the series focused on the difficulty of the transition for the young star.

Although “Dreaming of You” became her most well-known hit, her Tejano music shines most brightly in the show. Since discovering it in the series, I have been listening to “No Me Queda Mas” on repeat.

The best moments of the show are finding out how the band’s greatest hits came to be. The recreations of their live performances are enjoyable to the point that you can briefly forget that Quintanilla is gone.

The series succeeded because it honored Quintanilla’s Mexican-American heritage unflinchingly and painted her as a talented but nuanced person who wanted to do it all.

It celebrated the icon’s life while introducing a new generation — myself included — to her lasting impact.

4 out of 5 stars