Last Sunday, September 25, ATRESplayer Premium premiered The Gypsy Bride one of the platforms big drama bets for this season and evidenced by the fact that just three days after launching on its subscription access platform, Antena 3 went all in by airing the first episode on its free to air channel.
But it isn’t just the decision to release it for free that demonstrates their confidence in the product. The day and time they scheduled the launch was none other than Wednesday during prime time, to face off against Telecinco’s hit reality La isla de las tentaciones. Giant versus giant.
You see, The Gypsy Bride ticks all the boxes to become a major success, to win over audiences and critics alike, as one of those flagship products every network would love to have on its listings:
Once you commit to the tale, you’ll be glued to the screen
The eight-part series follows the trail of Elena Blanco, a homicide inspector from the Case Analysis Squad (BAC) as she investigates looking for the culprit in the murder of The Gypsy Bride. Or so it seems at first, that is until it starts to appear that she may actually be looking for a serial killer targeting “gypsy brides”.
Thus begins a crime thriller that doesn’t spare on the macabre details at each crime scene, symbolic references, or rituals common to several of the murders, something of a hallmark, or the killer’s calling card. To make matters more complicated, there is no shortage of possible culprits and even innocent people locked up.
The whodunnit is served in a tale adept at reeling in and trapping audiences in its net, little by little. At first by appealing to the public visually with an impeccable array of cinematography and staging delights. But then the show continues to captivate with a storyline that becomes ever more complex with every step the investigation takes, until you find yourself hanging off the edge of your seat, trying to get to the bottom of it all and becoming one of the investigative team who need to find the truth.
Stellar casting making every character more than plausible
Nerea Barros was cast to play detective Elena Blanco, drawing inspiration from many of the great police inspectors of scripted drama. The protagonist seems to have inherited the frostiness of agent Dana Scully (The X-Files), the impossibility of separating her personal from life a la Catherine Cawood (Happy Valley) and even the obsession with her work of Saga Noren The Bridge (Bron/Broen), among others.
Blanco is a complex character, replete with shades of grays (more darkness than light) and shading an actress has to manage to show without showing them. A challenge the winner of the Goya for Marshland accepts with ease.
But the rest of the cast are equally adept at keeping up with the pace and you no longer see Darío Grandinetti, Ignacio Montes, Mona Martínez, Lucía Martín Abello, Vicente Romero, Francesc Garrido, Moreno Borja, Zaira Romero and Oscar de la Fuente, for example, as you enjoy each of their characters, each crafted to the tune of each actors idiosyncratic profiles, to such an extent that you end up adapting them into your fictional universe.
A perfect adaptation of the book to the screen
The series is based on the first novel from the Carmen Mola saga and it’s worth mentioning that the true identity of the author only became known after winning last year’s Planeta Award in October. The best-selling female writer turned out to be none other than three men: novelists and screenwriters Jorge Díaz, Agustín Martínez and Antonio Mercero.
This fact is important, because the talented trio were also involved in screenwriting on this screen adaptation, along with Paco Cabezas who directs the series. And adapting this top-selling dark literary saga for the screen is indeed a formidable challenge to face.
But succeed they did and managed to transform the language used in the book, adapting it for audiovisual treatment and converting reader’s imagination into raw images, packed with just the right amount of dark and violent symbolism as the story requires. Not to mention that they also achieve the perfect pace in each episode, growing each plot twist to end with a cliffhanger that makes watching the next episode an absolute must.
A tour de force that pays worthy homage to the literary saga by creating in the viewer the need to consult the book to discover how the tale unfolds between the covers while also awakening the curiosity of the reader, enticing them to watch the audiovisual work, and doing so while leaving both groups equally satisfied.