On Monday, KCRW’s podcast programming premiered Celestial Blood, an audio cultural mash up that’s a throwback to the telenovelas Latinx audiences grew up watching. Mexican actress Kate Del Castillo (La reina del Sur and Ingobernable) sets the stage every episode as the narrator of the show, inviting us to the world of the Lucero family and all of their hidden secrets. With a Netflix hit show and blockbuster novelas under her belt, the versatile actress jumps into podcasting to add her vocal talents as the sharp and funny guide of this audio family dramedy.
Centering on Sol and Mundo, twin sister and brother, the series invokes mystery as the duo journey to find out more about their estranged father Arturo after his funeral. With clues from a shoe box filled with correspondence that reveals their dad had other celestially named children, they set out across borders to track down their long-lost siblings. Castillo’s storytelling drops in and out to give us some chisme about Arturo Lucero and the family’s past. At one point when the twins ask where their father might have ended up after his passing, Castillo interjects with witty irreverence “He’s in hell,” much like the omnipotent narrator in Arrested Development or Jane the Virgin’s sassy off-screen voice.
The podcast introduces audiences to a format that’s reminiscent of popular serial shows while taking inspiration from novela tropes like high-stake family secrets and the supernatural. It’s rooted in relatability as it recounts the story of two siblings from New York and takes them on a journey around Latin America to reconnect with their siblings, find out where they come from, and uncover the truth about why their father left them all behind.
Celestial Blood was created by producer Gisele Regatao in New York in conjunction with Los Angeles’ NPR affiliate KCRW. The voice cast includes Jose Antonio Melian, Adriana Sananes, Reza Salazar, and Jacqueline Guillen.