For the past decade or so, American television has landed a large portion of its hits by simply repurposing successful foreign television series for U.S. audiences. Industries from the U.K., Sweden, Israel, and Latin America have brought American audiences everything from House of Cards to Homeland, and of course, Ugly Betty and Jane the Virgin. And as anyone can tell from glancing briefly at that list, it’s all worked out pretty well. So we can bet that USA Network is hoping for a big hit with its upcoming narco-drama, Queen of the South, based off the book La Reina del Sur (by Spanish novelist Arturo Pérez-Reverte) that eventually became a telenovela that ran on its sister network Telemundo a few years back.
Of course, the Telemundo version was an unprecedented ratings smash when it swept small screens from Miami to Mexico City back in 2011, earning a place in the history books as Telemundo’s most successful and most expensive novela ever. With daily viewers on Telemundo hovering close to 3 million, it’s no surprise La reina del sur is getting an English-language reboot. Even further confidence in the series’ prospects come from the source material’s author Pérez-Reverte, whose novels happened to inspire at least 10 adaptations for the screen — so the show’s creators can rest assured they are in good hands.
A new trailer from USA in the lead up to the show’s June 21 premiere gives us another taste of Alice Braga giving her all as a small-town Sinaloa girl unwittingly turned international queenpin. The slick, 90-second clip brings us more shots of guns, money, drugs, explosions, and dead bodies, and even seems to suggest that Braga’s queen is killed at the show’s outset. Whether this is just to mislead us a bit before the show’s premiere, we can be sure that it all looks impressively produced. Now we just have to wait another month or so to see whether there’s real substance behind the style.
Queen of the South premieres Tuesday, June 21 at 10 p.m. on USA Network.