Have you heard? There’s this new Colombian television series about a terminally ill chemistry teacher who cooks methamphetamine with a high school dropout.
Sounds familiar, right?
Well, in the wake of the end of the critically-acclaimed and enormously popular AMC show Breaking Bad, a Spanish-language version is set to premiere sometime in near future. Referring to the metastasizing of cancer, Metástasis, like Breaking Bad before it, will follow creatively-named Walter Blanco, played by Diego Trujillo and his former student, Jose Miguel Rosas (Jesse), played by Roberto Urbina, as they create a meth empire while trying to survive Colombian drug cartels, narcotics agents and their dysfunctional families. Distributed by Univision, Metástasis is set to air in 2014 on UniMás, although no premiere date has been announced. Here’s the trailer, for reference.
After watching the trailer, it’s obvious that this remake is lifting entire scenes from the original series. Everything from Walter’s confession on camera to him running around in a panic in his underwear is featured in this extended television spot. While Walter and Jose are shown predominantly throughout, viewers also get the chance to see the Spanish-language versions of Skyler (Cielo) and Walt’s brother-in-law, Hank (Henry).
Yes, the trailer shows off the Spanish series’ more dramatic scenes from the first season, but the best stuff is obviously the breakfast scenes. Watching Walter trying to convince his son, Walter Jr., to eat vegetarian bacon brought back so many memories of the original series. Remember that one time when the White family sat around eating breakfast? Good times.
However, the two things that bother me about the trailer are the production value and the fact that it has the look of a telenovela. I guess I can forgive the production value. Not everyone has the backing of AMC, but the acting is a whole other matter. You have scenes that are copied from the American version, but the majority of the actors appear to be overacting in almost every clip. Breaking Bad excelled not only because the acting and writing were so good, but because showrunner Vince Gilligan and his team weren’t afraid to be subtle and quiet. Much can come across in a scene where nothing is said. Telenovelas are anything but subtle and it shows here. While Trujillo’s Walter matches Bryan Cranston’s seriousness, Urbina’s take on Jesse come across as a spoiled pretty boy rather than a meth addicted slacker.
Outside of the multiple similarities, Metástasis features a few notable changes. For instance, the much beloved RV, nicknamed the “Crystal Ship” by Jesse, has been replaced by ancient looking school bus, and Saul, not only a sleazy lawyer, is also the host of a popular late night talk show called Cuéntele a Saúl.
Despite my cautious misgivings about the trailer, I am interested to see how they handle some of Breaking Bad’s most popular characters. Drug kingpin Gustavo Fring and hitman Mike Ermantraut were not featured in the trailer. If this show can capture the cold calculating nature of these two, then I’ll be more than willing to give the series a shot. Gilligan, who acted as consultant on Metástasis, gives me some hope that the original source material will be treated with respect. Or it could be hilariously bad, which is also acceptable.
What do you think reader? Does this Spanish-language version of Breaking Bad pique your interest? Let us know in the comments below!