Latin America has been having a hard time developing shows during the new boom of streaming services. While there are productions that have been able to reach the quality standards of these platforms, the variety of the content has not been the best. While many other countries around the world seemed to be able to create all kinds of content, from dramas, science fiction, fantasy, comedies, and romance. Latin America seems trapped in the same old crime genre.
It is true that you write what you know, and Latin America has been having a hard time with crime as one of the defining elements of this culture. There is not a single day when crime is not on the citizen’s minds, as they move around the cities, always looking over their shoulder. The feeling that you are never safe, permeates every single other aspect of someone’s life. It is a tough place to live, for sure. In ways that people from many other countries would not understand.
Sintonia, which is set in Brazil, is one of those shows that has made crime, one of its major storylines. It is only natural as Brazil, and some of its cities have an impressive crime rate, nothing to brag about, but it is a reality that these people face each day. Thankfully, the show from day one has also tried to share the light with other aspects of life in Urban Brazil. And so, this is the way music, also finds its place in the series, alongside religion, as Brazil is the country with the second-biggest Christian population after the USA.
These last two elements, music, and religion, managed to bring a sort of balance to the show. Nothing is ever really black or white in real life and so Sintonia, doesn’t try to pull that agenda either. The music business is filled with amazingly talented people looking to create music, entertain people and spread happiness through their art. However, there are also people that participate in the industry only as a way to make money and are ready to do some pretty bad things in order to get paid.
The same happens when talking about religion. Christianity is a very important part of the Brazilian way of life. So it makes sense that for a show that is trying to depict the way people in the country life, it is shown as a very significant element in the storyline. Religion can bring peace to the individual, and union to the communities. While also, it can become a cesspool for corruption. Many leaders of the church end up being corrupted by the power their station provides them.
Sintonia does a great job when it comes to depicting all these aspects of Brazilian life in a way that feels balanced both in the good and the bad. The writing might not be anything fantastical. Actually, most of the dialogue and the storylines are way too predictable, and too cliché, we have seen stories like these many times before. However, the balance between all these aspects makes the show unique and gives dynamism to the show in ways it could be not achieved otherwise.
What really brings the show together are its main actors. Christian Malheiros, Jottape, and Bruna Mascarenhas play Nando, Doni, and Rita respectively, and all three of them are wonderful characters in their own right. In this third season of the show, you can really feel that the actors have dominated their roles as they bring even more impressive performances. Malheiros y Mascarenhas are some stunning young performers, and they bring nuance and strength to their roles.
Sadly, Jottape is still the weakest link of the main trio when it comes to acting, and to his storyline. The writers really are having a hard time trying to find something interesting for Doni to do. He keeps bouncing between being famous, and having a strained relationship with his girlfriend, to fixing everything in a matter of seconds. Jottape doesn’t really have the necessary range to be compelling. He isn’t bad, but he isn’t great either.
Nando’s storyline this season is quite compelling actually as we see the young man trying to be better. His involvement in the crime organization has become too deep and as he tries to get out of that life and become a legitimate businessman, things start getting more and more complicated. You can really feel that the character is at a crossroads, and sadly, all the odds seem to be going against him.
Rita, also, finds herself in quite a bit of a pickle. The love of her life is in trouble, and she herself has become entangled in matters that are very important for some people, and they don’t want Rita to be her own person. For most of the season, Rita finds herself in an existential crisis, as for the first time her faith and belief in God, put her in confrontation with her church. It is quite compelling and Mascarenhas sells the role completely.
If there is something off besides the cliché of the plot and the dialogue is that the conclusion to some storylines came very much from nowhere. The solutions came too easily for protagonists that a couple of scenes before were completely at the bottom of the well. It feels like lazy writing, honestly. And yet, thanks to its characters, Sintonia doesn’t stop being charming and is a good show to watch on Netflix when in the mood for something like this.