If you watch shows like Narcos or Queen of the South but also wish there were more Latino-centered prestige dramas that didn’t revolve around the war on drugs, here’s a television series to keep an eye out for. Laura Esquivel’s best-selling 1989 novel Como agua para chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate) is headed to the small screen. Endemol Shine Studios, which just acquired the rights to Esquivel’s magical realist story, hopes to turn the wildly popular Mexican family drama into a global English-language property. That’s prestige TV we can get behind.
For those who haven’t yet read the recipe-filled novel, or watched the 1993 Ariel Award-winning film of the same name, Like Water for Chocolate follows an ill-fated romance. Tita, the youngest de la Garza daughter, is tasked with following family tradition: she mustn’t marry and must take care of her mother until her death. That doesn’t stop her from falling in love with Pedro. When her mother interferes and suggests that Pedro marry Tita’s oldest sister, Rosaura, the two young lovers are forced to keep their true feelings in check. Spanning several years, and various births and deaths, the widely translated novel has delighted readers for close to three decades with the way it combines hints of the supernatural with the sensual. Tita’s cooking is intimately tied to her own mood, resulting in some of the book’s most captivating scenes.
The decision to turn Esquivel’s beloved novel into a television series, in English no less, is a sign not only of the enduring appeal of Tita and Pedro’s romance, but of the increased commitment by North American production companies to telling stories by, about and for global audiences. That’s precisely what Esquivel zeroed in on upon announcing the news. “It fills me with joy to know that Like Water for Chocolate will be brought to television screens throughout the world by a studio that bets on quality in producing content for each of its projects.” Let the dream casting begin!