CANCELED—Gender and Genre in Mexican Television
CANCELED | Presented by Paul Julian Smith.
Cuna de lobos ('Cradle of Wolves') was initially a classic telenovela from 1986 of 170 episodes. It boasts one of the most notorious and enduring female villains of Mexican television, the murderous 'black widow' Catalina Creel (played by local veteran María Rubio) who famously wears an eye patch. In response to changes in the ecology and audience of Mexican broadcast television, Cuna de lobos was remade to great critical and popular acclaim by Televisa in 2019 as a 'series', a genre still relatively rare in Mexico. Now it consisted of just twenty five episodes and starred Spanish film actress Paz Vega. The production context for the series was the still hegemonic but threatened free to air broadcaster's new slate of remade heritage titles, launched under the rubric 'Fábrica de sueños, reescribiendo la historia' ('Dream Factory, Rewriting [Hi]Story'), of which Cuna de lobos was the second installment. This paper analyzes the textual differences between the original novela and the remade series, especially in regard to the changing characterization of the female protagonist and the emergence of a major new gay male character. It also examines the key role of the series' experienced executive producer Giselle González, a rare Mexican woman show runner. Finally, it argues that the Cuna de lobos story, with its characteristic theme of inheritance and genealogy, offers a unique opportunity for examining the history of gender and genre in Mexican television over a period of some thirty years.