Best And Worst 2013 Telenovelas: From ‘La Tempestad’ To 'La Patrona', Find Out Which Soaps Did Or Didn't Make The Cut!

Telenovelas are the choice of programming in many Latino households and can be very time consuming. Most story lines follow the same pattern but they still manage to engage us if the chemistry is right between the main couple and if its written well. The eternal fight between good and evil is a persistent theme in these melodramas that consume 5 hours a week of our busy lives, but we happily do so to escape reality if only for a moment. This year we mostly saw remakes of telenovelas we have seen before like "Marimar," "La Tormenta," "La Hija del Mariachi," "Fina Estampa," "Un Esposo Para Estela" and "El Secretario." Many heartthrobs graced our screen like William Levy, Iván Sánchez, Juan Soler, Daniel Arenas, Fernando Colunga, Jorge Salinas, David Zepeda and Sebastián Rulli. We also saw many beautiful woman glow and brighten up our day like Angelique Boyer, Aracely Arambula, Ximena Navarrete, Ana Brenda Contreras, Blanca Soto, Sonya Smith and Maite Perroni. Telemundo and Univision are the largest Spanish-language television networks that devote their primetime schedule to this genre that we as Latinos grow up with and we have the best and worst telenovelas of 2013 here:

LA PATRONA: The year started with the debut of "La Patrona" on January 6 starring Aracely Arambula and Jorge Luis Pila. The story of a woman miner that is raped at a young age and left with a child. Gabriela Suarez (Arambula) becomes a strong single mother who faces the constant sexual harassment of her co-workers who are mostly men and the resentment of her son who just wants her to be a normal woman and tell him who his father is. When Gabriela falls for the son of the town's boss, her life takes a huge spin and is accused of committing crimes she did not do. She then has to rise and comes back for vengeance with a different name and get even with all those people that harmed her and seperated her from her son. The story is loosely based on "The Count of Montecristo" and was a very well received telenovela, so much so that Telemundo extended their relationship with Arambula and have signed her up for a remake of "Les Miserables." The acting was superb with Christian Bach as the main villain and beautiful locations in the countryside of Mexico. RANK: BEST

PASIÓN PROHIBIDA: On January 22nd a new telenovela on Telemundo titled "Pasión Prohibida" premiered starring Jencarlos Canela, Mónica Spear and Rebecca Jones. The main storyline of this drama revolves around a mother and a daughter that use men for their money. The daughter grows tired of playing around when she falls in love with a handsome man played by Canela. The very strict mother forces the daughter to marry an older man to inherit his money as soon as he passes. The concept of this telenovela was captivating but the execution of it left a lot to be desired. Mainly, the acting of Spear was not on par with the skills that a veteran actress like Jones has. The level of asking was uneven and the lack of chemistry between the main couple forced Telemundo to cut the telenovela short. RANK: WORST

PORQUE EL AMOR MANDA: Univision didn't premiere a new telenovela in primetime until March 11 when "Porque El Amor Manda" started. Fernando Colunga is always a hit on the network and this time he was co-starring with Blanca Soto, an actress that the Spanish network discovered. The Juan Osorio production was an adaptation of Colombia's "El Secretario" about a man who takes on the job of an assistant to the head of a company. They soon fall in love and get themselves into funny and ridiculous situations. It's this last part that made it hard to watch as Televisa actors are involuntarily funny in serious scenes, and not funny when they are in funny scenes. The mix of melodrama with comedy has not worked well for Televisa telenovela, but someone is watching as they continue making these projects. Colunga and Soto taking on the slapstick recurse was off-putting and cringe-worthy. RANK: WORST

EL SEÑOR DE LOS CIELOS: Telemundo has found much success with their narco-novelas, those melodramas that are focused on drug smuggling and ripped from the headlines story lines. Their latest venture into the genre was titled "El Señor de los Cielos" and made its debut on April 15 starring Rafael Amaya as Aurelio Casillas. Amaya famously appeared on another Telemundo hit, "La Reina del Sur," which had a similar premise. The lead character is loosely base on the life of real Mexican drug lord of the name Amado Carrillo Fuentes, who had shared the same nickname. Nothing new was discovered with this novela, but it was interesting to see how the writers took real-life scenarios and dramatized them to fit into this fictionalized version. Those who are familiar with the news reports from the cartels in Mexico were able to relate, while those who were not just enjoyed the roller coaster ride this story had. The production was taken care of Argos in Mexico, who are very familiar with this genre and made a superb job. With the storyline spanning over half of the episodes of a normal telenovela, writers were able to create story arcs in much less episodes causing story lines to be more agile. "El Señor" was a ratings success and a second season is already shooting in Mexico with Amaya set to reprise his role. RANK: BEST

QUE BONITO AMOR: On April 15, "Que Bonito Amor" premiered starring Jorge Salinas and Danna Garcia in a remake based on the Colombian soap "La Hija del Mariachi." The original story follows a Mexican man running away from justice and finding refuge in a Mexican-themed bar in Colombia where he meets a woman that sings with a mariachi. What made no sense is the Mexican remake that Salvador Mejía produced, where they completely changed the premise and aged their lead characters significantly. Garcia and Salinas are both great actors, but these roles were not meant for them and seemed forced. Despite its flaws, in ratings it did ok, but not better than its predecessor. "Que Bonito Amor" is a remake that should have not been done. RANK: WORST

CORAZÓN INDOMABLE: The remake of "Marimar" finally arrived stateside in May of this year starring Ana Brenda Contreras and Daniel Arenas. Many people held their reserves regarding this unnecessary remake as the previous version starring Thalía is still aired in reruns and does great in the ratings. Much to everyone's surprise, this new take was big in Mexico and proved to be a huge hit. The premise centers on an orphan girl who lives with her grandfather and sister, she soon falls in love with the handsome man that recently arrived to the ranch close to where Maricruz (Contreras) lives. Octavio (Arenas) only uses Maricruz as a way of annoying his family and abandons her once he finds a job as an airline pilot. Maricruz, hurt and lost leaves to the city and ends up in a home that, much to her surprise, turns out to be her father. She quickly refines herself and inherits all her father's money and returns to avenge herself from all those people that harmed her. The telenovela in México was extended past its original run of episodes and that success translated over to the U.S. with Univision extending its daily broadcast to 2-hours daily, making it one of the biggest hits of the year. RANK: BEST

DAMA Y OBRERO: Another remake on the Telemundo network premiered on June 24 starring Ana Layevska, José Luis Resendez and Fabián Ríos. The difference with this remake is that the original creator, José Ignacio Valenzuela, oversaw the new version for the Miami based network. The premise of this series revolves around an engineer woman who falls in love with a construction worker she oversees. As opposed to the Chilean version, the Hispanic adaptation did not fare well with the audience and was cut short and taken off air quickly. RANK: WORST

MARIDO EN ALQUILER: In July, Telemundo premiered one of its most ambitious productions to date, a co-production with Brazil's TV Globo titled "Marido En Alquiler." The telenovela starred Sonya Smith, Juan Soler and Maritza Rodriguez based on the Brazilian hit "Fina Estampa" by Aguinaldo Silva. The premise of "Marido" revolves around a single widowed mother who works day in and day out in support of her family as a handyman. Griselda (Smith) is proudest of her youngest son who is going to medical school to become a plastic surgeon, but the caveat is that he's ashamed of his roots and makes everyone believe at school he comes from a rich family. Griselda soon uncovers his plan and disowns him completely. Soon after she wins the lottery and becomes a millionaire, but her problems are not over yet as her husband who she believed was dead, returns to her life. This telenovela is of great quality and the production values are superior to any other telenovela produced by Telemundo in Miami, this being due to the lengthier pre-production time for planning and building sets. The audience has been tepid at best, but we can't help but support projects like this that make telenovela lovers love the genre even more. RANK: BEST

CACHITO DE CIELO: After being in the closet for a long time, Univision finally decided to air "Cachito de Cielo" starting in July. The telenovela starring Maite Perroni and Pedro Fernandez was given an afternoon time slot in the states following a poor reception in Mexico that led Televisa executives to cut the episode order short. The main storyline has a young couple in love, but has this romance broken when the soccer star dies suddenly during a match. Turns out his death was a mistake from the administration in Heaven and has to be sent back to Earth. The problem is that his family already buried the body and he can't come back in the same form. He returns in the body of a priest and soon finds himself pursuing his previous life. Although it was a good premise, the mixing of comedy into the story arc was done in a manner that took away from the main storyline with characters that seem just to be there to fill up time. These characters were soon eliminated in favor of a more dramatic genre, but it was too late for people to engage. RANK: WORST

LA TEMPESTAD: In July, Univision was all giddy for the return of William Levy to the small screen in "La Tempestad." The much hyped telenovela was seen as the salvation of the network that desperately seeked a new hit. That was not the case as it did not fare as well as it was expected. Initially it was believed that it was the hair extensions that the audience did not like so they chopped his hair. We don't think it was Levy's look, but a problem with the adaptation, based on the Colombian "La Tormenta." There was no real conflicts that could not be resolved in a couple of episodes. For this new version, they tried to give more relevance to the character Daniela Romo was giving life to and they added a storyline about her losing her twin daughters years ago. She then recuperates Marina (Ximena Navarrete) and the other twin soon appears. This was Navarrete's first acting gig after winning Miss Universe, why would producers give this girl that has no experience acting two roles on her debut telenovela? Nothing seemed right about this rushed adaptation and even Univision thought it was bad they started editing scenes to end it quicker. The only "tempestad" in this soap was the one in the writer's room who worked long hours to try to convert this mess into a success, but failed. RANK: WORST

SANTA DIABLA: This telenovela starring Gaby Espino, Carlos Ponce and Aaron Diaz premiered on August 6 on Telemundo. The telenovela started solid but soon dwindled down and has ultimately become a place holder for whatever the network decides to air next. RANK: WORST

LA MUJER DEL VENDAVAL: Univision premiered "La Mujer del Vendaval" on August 19 which stars Ariadne Diaz and José Ron. This soap is based on the Venezuelan "Un Esposo Para Estela" about a woman that needs to marry a man to take control of her estate. Although it was not a hit with audiences, the premise was decent and had many colorful characters. "Vendaval" even made the lead couple a real life couple as the stars are still together. RANK: BEST

MENTIR PARA VIVIR: It was until October 7 that U.S. audiences got a new telenovela and it was finally an original screenplay by Maria Zarattini titled "Mentir Para Vivir." The main plot centers on a woman that runs away from Colombia with her daughter and settles in Mexico after her husband is being persecuted by police for fraud. When she arrives in Mexico her young daughter is involved in a mix-up that leads her to believe she killed a man. She then takes responsibility and assumes the identity of a dead woman that is being looked for by her grandmother who is ill and wants to find her before she dies. The telenovela starring David Zepeda and Mayrin Villanueva was structured very well in the less than 90 episodes they had to tell the story, making it very agile and fast-paced. Although the main couple lacked the chemistry necessary to really have audiences trapped by this storyline, but the unraveling of the truth and production values were superb. RANK: BEST

LO QUE LA VIDA ME ROBÓ: After two weeks of premeiring in Mexico, Univision started airing "Lo Que La Vida Me Robó" on November 18. The soap starring Angelique Boyer, Sebastián Rulli and Luis Roberto Guzmán is a remake of "Bodas de Odio" with the most recent version titled "Amor Real." Yes, that "Amor Real" starring Fernando Colunga and Adela Noriega. The most obvious difference from the previous versions is that this 2013 remake is set in modern times. Although the main plot is a little outdated, with our main protagonist being in an arranged marriage to save her family from ruins. The premise seems silly but its a classic melodrama that we can enjoy every night with beautiful eye candy right before we go to sleep. RANK: BEST

POR SIEMPRE MI AMOR: The last telenovela to premiere this year was "Por Siempre Mi Amor" which started airing on December 2 starring Susana Gonzalez and Guy Ecker. This production by Ignacio Sada is a new take on "Mi Segunda Madre" about a woman who marries into a family that recently lost the matriarch. The main problem with this telenovela is that it's really slow in developing, the first phase takes a couple weeks and the real story doesn't start until after the kids have grown up. Audiences get easily tired especially if the main premise is so obvious. Writers should have sped the first phase, telling us that the kid hates the new mother as they see her as an intruder and move on to the next phase. This and the lack of chemistry between the main couple have proven to be a bad combination. RANK: WORST

Check out our telenovela roundup of the Best and Worst Telenovelas of 2013. Do you agree with our list? What were your favorite telenovelas this year?

WORST TELENOVELAS OF 2013
Cachito de Cielo
Dama y Obrero
La Tempestad
Pasión Prohibida
Porque El Amor Manda
Por Siempre Mi Amor
Que Bonito Amor
Santa Diabla

BEST TELENOVELAS OF 2013
Corazón Indomable
El Señor de los Cielos
La Mujer del Vendaval
La Patrona
Lo Que La Vida Me Robó
Marido En Alquiler
Mentir Para Vivir

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