Nigerians were introduced to telenovelas back in the nineties when the public broadcaster premiered the Rich Also Cry. And following the liberalisation of media in the 1990s, which paved way for privately owned television stations, telenovelas became a key programming genre to shore up ratings. “Wild Rose”, “When You are Mine“, “Secrets of the Sands” and “Second Chance” held many spell bound.
Back then, the telenovelas originated from Brazil and Mexico. The pictures weren’t all that pretty. There were lots of grass-to-grace stories but the storytelling was good enough until about five years ago when we were introduced to Telemundo on DStv and GOtv.
Telemundo took Nigerian telenovela fans by storm. It captivated its audience with beautiful casts, exotic locations, latest fashion and high quality pictures. The channel put its best foot forward by launching with “My Heart Beats for Lola”, “Precious Rose” and “Behind Closed Doors“. These are some of the channel’s best telenovelas yet.
Over the years, viewers also thoroughly enjoyed “Forbidden Passion”, “Cruel Love”, “The Queen of the South”, “Under the Same Sky”, “For Love and Justice”, “The Impostor” and “Husband for Hire”.
It retained the classic format of having a protagonist and villain. And went beyond just telling stories of passion but also real life lessons. So in “Under the Same Sky”, viewers learn what it truly means to be undocumented living in the US. Similarly, in “Dangerous Affairs”, they learn about the laws relating to consensual sex as they differ from one US state to another.
Viewers also love Telemundo for the dramatic storylines. Telemundo isn’t afraid of making you fall in love with a character and suddenly taking them away leaving its audience in tears. For instance, no one imagined that Bianca Santillana would commit suicide in “Forbidden Passion”. Or that Sister Amparo would be killed in “For Love and Justice”.
But Four years on, it seemed like Telemundo began to lose its rhythm.
TelenoveIa fans absolutely fell in love with Kate del Castillo in “The Queen of the South” and had longed for more of her but certainly not in” Queen of Miami”. Because to diehard fans, there cannot be another Queen of the South! “Queen of Miami” looked like a poor imitation and left fans quite disappointed. And so some began to search for alternatives. And they found Foxlife.
FOX life must have launched on DStv about two years ago. But not many women paid attention until they introduced Turkish telenovelas. Recently, “Lodestar”, “You Are Mine”, “Heartbeat” and currently airing “Second Chance” have captivated audiences.
Turkish telenovelas are proving to be as melodramatic as those on Telemundo. They have most of the elements which Nigerian telenovela fans have become accustomed to – largely a good story characterized by betrayal, deceit, the sudden death of a loved character. They also include glamourous personalities, lovely home décor and more. In “You Are Mine”, there’s the devious Elvan. In “Heartbeat” viewers are introduced to the beautiful Turkish town called Foça. And in “Second Chance” Hulyah and Fikriye demonstrate the universal truth that envy is at the root of hatred.
But that’s not all. The audience is also enjoying the exposure to the Turkish culture.
In “You Are Mine”, we see similar cultural similarities between Turkey and India. For instance, the joint family system – Edjer, his brothers and spouses live together with their mother. Elvan was also the victim of an arranged marriage. So “You Are Mine” was particularly captivating as it seems like a bit of Telemundo – the modern and beautiful – spiced up with a bit of Zee World – the traditional revered mother-in-law and the nosy sister-in-law. “You Are Mine” however ended abruptly leaving fans wondering if there’s a season 2. FOX life has work to do in this regard.
Telemundo might be getting it’s groove back with “The Boss” and “Lord of the Sky” but the spot it once occupied in our hearts is now shared with FOX life. Although FOXlife is not a 24-hour telenovela channel, for serial telenovela watchers, the one hour you get daily is well worth it!