Critical Condition: Vida

Vida | SoHo2, 7.30 Thursday

☆☆☆☆ “The rare drama series to focus on Latino characters — who are female and/or queer, no less — Vida only somewhat lives up to the colour, richness and excitement maybe promised by its title (the Spanish feminine noun for ‘life’) … Sporting vibrant East La La Land locations and piquant touches of magical realism, the first six episodes ultimately unfold like an arthouse-y pastiche of Showtime hits The L Word and Shameless and Netflix’s Cuban-spiced reboot of One Day at a Time. Meaning it’s got to find its own way if it’s going to stick around.” — Variety.

☆☆☆☆ “A trip back to East Los Angeles for their mother’s funeral comes with unexpected emotional aftershocks for Vida‘s estranged sisters Emma (Mishel Prada) and Lyn (Melissa Barrera) in this quick-witted, half-hour dramedy … The show’s themes — gentrification, generational bias, and the surreal disconnect of returning to your childhood home after forging a new identity elsewhere — are universal, and Vida clips along nicely thanks to strong performances.” — Entertainment Weekly.

☆☆☆☆ “The show is definitely more adventurous in theme and subject matter than visual storytelling. The scripts don’t pander by subtitling the hybrid language detours, though everybody feels like they may be talking just a little slowly to make sure the monolingual can keep up. Without piling on our current president and the impact he’s having on largely immigrant areas, Vida shows the vulnerability of this community from without and the fractures from within, with a particular emphasis on how different generations respond to gay and queer issues and to female independence.” — The Hollywood Reporter.

☆☆☆☆Vida is shot through with affection for its setting and characters. But it’s the unsentimental, difficult kind of love that an adult child has for a parent with whom she’s had a rough history. It sees the imperfections rather than looking past them. One last word must be said for Vida. It’s short: six episodes, a half-hour each. In an era of TV gigantism, when ambitious shows distend their episodes like a Yes double album, this small thing is no small thing.” — New York Times.

☆☆☆☆ “Through two episodes, Tanya Saracho’s half-hour drama-comedy combo has a loud, clear voice brought out by a talented all-hispanic cast of Latinx  characters. It’s about family, romance, careers, growing up, death, and so much more, all from a distinct viewpoint — which is fitting, given the all-encompassing implication of its title (the English translation for ‘vida’ is ‘life’). All that’s to say the series could go anywhere, but it’s off to a good start in the first hour.” — IndieWire.

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