There goes the family

{mosimage}Last summer the directors of programming at the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) needed a soap opera to fill the hours of the summer afternoons. They chose a Spanish series featuring a loud speaking and eccentric, yet traditional, family. Surprisingly, Los Serrano (Serranon perhe) became so popular that in autumn, YLE needed to rebroadcast the series from episode 1 and to reschedule it to the more convenient weekend afternoons.


In Spain, the first season of Los Serrano was first produced and broadcast in 2003. Soon it become one of the most successful Spanish TV series ever. The second season, the one currently broadcasted in Finland, reached an average audience of seven million viewers and an audience share of 38% in evening prime time.

The series follows the successful and original formula that Spanish TV series developed in the mid 1990s. This formula goes beyond the tradition one-hour episode. They are usually 75 minutes long allowing much room for commercials and covering the main programming slot in the evenings. The theme is not exactly drama or comedy, but a balance between both that differentiates the Spanish series from the American productions. The popularity of these series is based on its portrayal of middle class characters and families. The viewers can feel very close to the situations and stories told in the plot.

Médico de Familia
(Perhelääkäri) was the first big hit of this genre and it was the first Spanish series to be broadcast in Finland. Daniel Écija, the producer of Médico de Familia, is also the man behind Los Serrano. This time there are no doctors, but school teachers and tavern owners involved. The Serrano family is formed by Diego Serrano, owner of a typical Spanish tavern with his grumpy brother. Diego is married to a school teacher called Lucía Gómez. Together they formed a big family with three sons and two daughters from a previous marriage. To make a long story short, the series is about  the common problems and not so common adventures of the family and their friends and relatives at home, school and at the tavern. As it should be, there's love: flirting, humor and also some touching moments. 

The popularity of the series in Finland is quite surprising. It seems too Spanish for a Finn. First of all, the language is complicated. Characters are very expressive, they speak loud and they curse a lot. A team of eight translators is in charge of writing the subtitles for YLE. They have a lot of work. It takes one week for a translator to translate one episode. The heavy use of slang does not make the job easy. Every episode is a window to the less glamorous, but friendly, Spanish way of living.

The leading role of Diego Serrano is played by popular actor Antonio Resines. Born in 1954, he has a long experience in cinema and television, especially in comedy parts. But the series has also been a tool for promoting new talents. When the series started young actor Fran Perea, who plays the old brother Marcos Serrano, became an idol for teenagers. Also his musical career was built around the main theme of the series that he sang. For some time he topped the charts, but at the moment he is more focused on his career as an actor and has participated in several feature films, including Antonio Banderas' El camino de los ingleses (2006). In any case, every other episode there is an opportunity for Perea showing him playing a song with his acoustic guitar.

In Spain, the last episode of the sixth season of Los Serrano was shown. The series has reached more than 120 episodes and in January there will be a new season. There have been many and surprising changes in the plot, but Finnish audience still needs to wait what happens to this peculiar family. Meanwhile, to avoid unpleasant spoilers we recommend not to google Los Serrano.

Los Serrano – Serranon perhe

Weekends at 14.45 YLE

Fran Perea is visiting Helsinki this week. He will be signing autographs at the Anttila Megastore in Kamppi: 27.11 at 18:00