I love that every morning as I drive to work I see a big billboard advertising the new season of Jane the Virgin. If you’ve followed my coverage of the show, you know I’m a huge fan of The CW’s critically acclaimed and Golden Globe award-winning drama.
Jane the Virgin’s first season masterfully balances a high concept with the right amounts of drama, comedy, and most importantly, whimsy. The magical realism aspect of the series makes it one of the most unique and pleasurable viewing experiences on network TV. The writers never over-do it, but use it to enrich a good story with strong and well-developed characters. The addition of the “Latin Lover Narrator” is the perfect finishing touch, enhancing the tone of the show by making it much more entertaining.
What’s more is that Jane has a cast of actors who give great performances each week. They ground their characters, who are constantly dealing with crazy circumstances. Gina Rodriguez is a breakout, pulling off a heart-tugging and earnest performance as the title character. She’s able to balance Jane’s romanticism and pragmatism so well that it’s no surprise she won a Golden Globe for this performance. The supporting cast are great; I especially love Jaime Camil as Jane’s father/telenovela superstar Rogelio de la Vega. His character’s conceited but lovable nature is hilarious, and Camil has brilliant comic timing. Ivonne Coll plays Jane’s religious, conservative grandmother, Alba, and anyone who grew up in a Latino household will recognize this character right away.
I love that Alba mostly speaks Spanish, not only because it is pretty groundbreaking for a network show to start off in Spanish, but it’s authentic in that it’s totally relatable to many people across America. As someone who grew up with a grandmother who only spoke Spanish, seeing Jane speak to her grandma in English and Alba reply in Spanish is one of the many things that directly related to my own reality. It’s sad that this is something so rare to experience when watching a TV show—at least for me and other people who feel under-represented in media. (Also, Jane the Virgin owns bonus points for tearing down stereotypes and making fun of clichés.)
In addition, the season one DVD includes some adorable special features. The Gag Reel is fun, but I loved the “Getting to Know the Cast of Jane the Virgin” featurette, where each of the main cast members were asked silly, fun questions about each other. It’s cool to see how well they know each other and get along. You can see why they have so much chemistry on-screen because of how close they are behind the scenes. Also – Ivonne Coll is a riot in this feature, and a stronger appreciation and admiration for the actress is guaranteed after watching it.
Jane the Virgin’s second season is less than a week away. Now is the perfect time to hurry up and see why everyone is talking about this CW show. It’s truly wonderful, and you don’t get such joyful television like this anymore.
Jane the Virgin The Complete First Season is now available on DVD.