Rewind TV Review: "Jane the Virgin"

Earlier in the Fall 2014 television season, I wrote about Jane the Virgin, but since I started my new site, I thought it pertinent to republish my initial thoughts on this fun CW show based on the popular telenovela Juana la Virgen.

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Jane the Virgin

Starring: Gina Rodriguez, Andrea Navedo, Ivonne Coll, Justin Baldoni, Brett Dier, Yael Grobglas, Jaime Camil

Synopsis (the CW): When Jane was a young girl, her grandmother convinced her of two things: telenovelas are the highest form of entertainment, and women must protect their virginity at all costs. Now age 23, Jane’s life has suddenly become as dramatic and complicated as the telenovelas she has always loved.

Review: I’ve never gotten around to my review of CW’s newest show, Jane the Virgin, but guess what? I LOVE IT!

I have wanted a show that would replace Ugly Betty ever since the last two seasons of Ugly Betty were terrible and thus, were dead to me. Still, I loved Ugly Betty and hoped that a show would come along and make me feel fuzzy and bright once again. Enter Jane the Virgin

I am so happy this show has come along. Of course, I can get my American telenovela fix, but I am also thrilled to see a brand new talent like Gina Rodriguez on my screen. She had mentioned on Access Hollywood Live how she had turned down a role or two during her time in Hollywood (including a role on Lifetime’s Devious Maids) because she felt the role(s) were too stereotypically Latina. Her awareness of social/racial issues when it comes to Hollywood roles led her to this role as Jane, which hits all the right notes.

Jane is immediately likable, anchoring the show in realism, even when some of the show’s moments are way more soapy than realism requires. Some of the best moments from Rodriguez come when Jane navigates womanhood while dealing with the ramifications of her insemination (a medical mistake). Seeing her taking charge of her (and her child’s) life by standing up to her fiance Michael (Dier) and face the realities of becoming a mother are certainly some moments that should put Rodriguez in Emmy contention.

The fellow co-stars also know how to play the line between soap and realism. My favorites so far are Jane’s mother Xiomara (Navedo) and grandmother Alba (Coll). They provide us the core family unit that is so necessary to keep this show delightfully grounded. Dier’s character Michael is extremely interesting, since he’s currently portrayed as a “good guy,” but we can already see some hints at some dark elements to his character.

His dark side especially comes out when hotel owner (and Jane’s boss and the baby’s father) Rafael is anywhere near Jane. Rafael also is a character that has a dark side, but it would appear that his dark side is well in the past and he’s looking to keep himself on the right track. Rafael’s meddling wife Petra (Grobglas) is such a great villain, but again, we can see that there’s a different side to her that she’s trying to keep down. However, in Petra’s case, she might be someone who’s as much a victim as she is a villain.

What’s really fun is learning that Jane’s father, Rogelio (Camil) is the same telenovela star Jane idolizes from her TV screen. When will she find out her father is the famous hero from her favorite show? I sure hope it’s soon.

If you aren’t watching this show yet, WHY AREN’T YOU? Jane the Virgin comes on every Monday at 9/8c on the CW.

Rating: ***** (out of five)