Saturday, July 9, 2016

Pilot Review: Queen of the South

Queen of the South (USA)
Premiered June 23 at 10pm

Have you ever wondered what “Narcos” would be like if it was produced by USA? Here’s your answer! While this story is a fictionalized adaptation of a telenovela rather than based on a real-life figure, the similarities are very noticeable. This show actually feels a lot more like “Burn Notice” than anything else, a unique show that I miss. Unfortunately, this series might be stylized but it’s not quite as solid in its execution. I’m never too fond of characters who hallucinate themselves, and so the notion of a trapped Teresa picturing a future, fancier version of herself when she was facing certain death didn’t impress me all that much. I do like seeing Alice Braga in this role after she was a strong lead in “Kill Me Three Times,” and I like that she has what it takes to anchor a series like this. For a while, I thought that she and Alice Krige, an older South African actress who I know best as the Borg Queen from the “Star Trek” universe, were the same person, and I’m glad to be able to tell the two talented women apart at this point. I’m a fan of Joaquim de Almeida from his days as Ramon Salazar on “24,” though I’m not sure that he’ll play such a big role in the show given his questionable predicament when he last appeared in this pilot. The other actress of note is Justina Machado, who plays a far more vocal and vain wife than the one she played on “Six Feet Under.” I’m mildly intrigued by the end of the episode, but not enough to continue watching this show.

How will it work as a series? The only real glimpse of the present-day Teresa was at the start of the episode, and so it seems that, imagined visions aside, this show will be firmly grounded in the period of Teresa’s path to her position of power. There’s sure to be intrigue, but it’s not as riveting a premise as it wants to be.
How long will it last? Because I’m so far behind, this show has already aired three times. The ratings haven’t been too bad, and reviews seem to be mixed, skewing towards generally positive. I think USA will probably want to give this one a chance, but I wouldn’t consider it a guarantee.

Pilot grade: C+