There was a certain frustration in the atmosphere since 2020 when two works as brave, admired, seen and commented on as Veneno and Antidisturbios were released surrounded by other notable titles such as 30 Coins, Homeland, The Unit or The Ministry of Time. The coincidence of the series led to a joyful change in the mental framework of the viewer and the critic: the duty of the Spanish series, from that moment on, was to overwhelm with a clear look, an unquestionable quality and to strongly penetrate the artistic imagination. The coincidence was not interpreted as a historical exception but as a new constant.
Proposals such as Cardo, Intimidad, La ruta or Fácil, since then, demonstrated that this degree of quality was achievable. Among its successes are the vindication of minorities from a freedom without an iota of condescension, the denunciation of social problems without history being cannibalized by the message, the appearance of new authorial voices or even an offensive towards the foundations of the structure of a story.
These series, a matter of very subjective perception and how arbitrary the media conversation can be, did not channel an entire discourse around the fiction produced in the peninsula as Antiriots and Veneno did, possibly helped by an impact that went beyond the cultural. , or before The Ministry of Time and Vis a Vis in 2015, by committing to the genre and trusting the intelligence of the viewer.
In recent weeks, however, two brilliant works have coexisted on television: one with coverage that today only two authors as recognizable and respected as the Javis can obtain and another more obscured by its status as an intimate work. I am referring, of course, to La Mesías (Movistar Plus) and Déjate ver (atresplayer) by Álvaro Carmona. Both proposals, week after week, took television to new levels of originality and risk, often causing confusion in the viewer, always from a conscious authorial position that was never confused with distance.
In Déjate ver, the starting point is Ana (Macarena Sanz), an artist who helps the Spanish Banksy and who, after being diagnosed with a principle of invisibility (her toe is literally disappearing), the doctor advises her to change her life. She takes this consciously: she abandons her work and Japan, where she was settled, and returns to resume her career as a painter.
In a dystopian and surreal Madrid, Ana begins an introspective journey that thoroughly dissects fame and posturing, the abusive use of social networks, both the value of art and the pedantry and smoke that is sold in artistic circles, and the human being's need, basically, to be seen. Carmona, through her work, forces us to see it for all the talent she has. She exhibits the confidence of someone who knows she has a gale of powerful ideas to transform into conceptual jokes, without losing sight of the humanity of the protagonist to anchor the story emotionally.
In fact, in an interview that I was able to do with him, one of the principles that he had imposed on himself when creating Déjate ver caught my attention: that each episode was different from the previous one and that the viewer could never imagine where the shots would go. It was an express decision that, curiously, is also found in The Messiah.
There is little left to say about the work of Javier Calvo and Javier Ambrossi after the criticism published at the premiere (and after opening up in an interview). For those who still don't know it, the story focuses on Enric and Irene, two siblings traumatized by a toxic childhood. To be exact, they are marked by a toxic mother, Montserrat, who manipulated them and isolated them from society through the word of God. When they discover that their still-captive sisters have become a viral sensation with Catholic songs, they are forced to confront the past.
The evolution of Montserrat played by Ana Rujas, Lola Dueñas and Carmen Machi is approached from a disturbing naturalism to then suffocate with psychological terror and reach the final climax from an insidious luminosity. It is as if the Javis had wanted to enter the audiovisual terrain of the new batch of directors like Carla Simón and had introduced their personal DNA in the creation of characters and their gift (content) of accentuating drama.
In The Messiah they explore improvisation, they let the settings and situations breathe, they move away from the fetishization of the time and their previous emotional instinct, and above all they sign their least complacent story to date with a denunciation of the manipulation of the beliefs (not faith per se). The last episode represents this last point: under the false appearance of an epilogue, the protagonist's arc closes with a coherent daring, which challenges our notion of what the Javis are as authors.
It is an exemplary case of a story that, despite the fact that we know it was conceived by two brilliant minds, seems driven by its own inertia, brutal, overflowing and deceptively uncontrolled like a flood. This illusion of inevitable history is possible thanks to the tour de force of each and every actor who appears on screen. This includes Roger Casamajor, Macarena Gómez, Biel Rossell, Irene Balmes, Albert Pla, all the children's and youth talent, and especially Sara Martínez and Cristina Rueda for their uncomfortable Aina.
The coexistence of Déjate ver and La Mesías, therefore, must be understood as a miraculous coincidence that encourages the viewer and the creators of the peninsula to break down prejudices about what kind of stories have a place on television and how they can be told. Although above all it forces the directors of the channels and platforms to broaden their vision: trust in crazy ideas, let creators expand their horizons and provide the necessary resources to shape audiovisuals as art.
The series by Carmona and the Javis, furthermore, do not live in a vacuum. In recent months, Ana Rujas and Clàudia Costafreda increased our anxiety with a nonconformist Cardo, Montero and Maidagán paid tribute to the lives of ordinary people with the traditional and hilarious Poquita fe; and Joana and Mireia Vilapuig opened up in a metafiction game that denounced the vulnerability of actresses in the audiovisual industry in the Catalan Selftape. And, in a more commercial field, Carlos Montero breathed life into the romantic comedy with All the Times We Fall in Love, a genre so lacking in spark and memorable characters in recent times.
In this 2023, there are still projects a priori with potential to be released such as El otro lado by Berto Romero, This is not Sweden by Aina Clotet, the sequel to Veneno called Vestidas de azul; and still have to digest the supernatural Lorca of Fernando Navarro y Manson's Romancero, which has coincided with the second season of Álex de la Iglesia's 30 coins. But, regardless of whether they are stimulating, original and have something to say, it is time to celebrate: we are facing a dazzling and, what is even more valuable, inspiring harvest.