Love Emotional Family Dramas? Stream This Show On Crave

Welcome to “What’s Good,” a weekly column where we break down what’s soothing, distracting, or just plain good in the streaming world.
Photo: Courtesy of Bell Media.
What’s Good: Vida on Crave 
Who It’s Good For: If you’re looking for a raw, emotional family drama with a very attractive cast, gut-wrenching writing, and stellar performances, Vida is for you. Fans of The L Word, Gentefied, This Is Us, and Pose will appreciate its authenticity and ability to depict the hard shit with a dash of humour.
How Good Is It? I know, I know, I’m late to loving Vida. The critically acclaimed Starz series premiered in 2018 and its third and final season is now streaming on Crave (we’re three episodes in). I may be late, but I’m now on board the Vida bandwagon and driving it. Not only is the series a revelation in queer Latinx representation on television, it also features some of the best portrayals of on-screen romantic relationships that I’ve ever seen — the good, the bad, the mess and complexity of being (and staying) in love. And the sex scenes? WHEW. They’re steamy while simultaneously utterly real and not at all gratuitous. Other shows should take note.
At the heart of Vida is the complicated love between the Hernandez sisters, straitlaced-but-not-so-straight Emma (Mishel Prada) and free-spirited, boy-crazy Lyn (Melissa Barrera), who move back to their childhood neighbourhood of Boyle Heights in East L.A. when their mother Vidalia (Vida for short) dies. Vida has left her daughters a mountain of debt, a struggling building with a bar attached, and a big secret: she’s got a wife named Eddy (the endlessly endearing Ser Anzoategui). In Season 1, we learn that Vida wasn’t supportive of Emma’s sexuality, so the fact that she was a lesbian herself is a shock. (The aftereffects of this reveal is what the show is built on.) Emma — who is usually all-business and no emotion — is wrestling with her own queerness while grieving a mother she thought never accepted her, and Lyn — a party girl used to financially relying on rich dudes and her mom — is forced to be independent for the first time in her life.
Your urge to protect and root for the Hernandez sisters will kick in after the first episode. As the show progresses, something else takes hold: an overwhelming sense of kinship with a family that isn’t yours but feels like it is. Included in this TV family is Mari (Chelsea Rendon), a young activist and the kid sister of Lyn’s ex-boyfriend who is railing against gentrification in Los Angeles. Mari starts off hating the “whitina” Hernandez sisters (to her, they stand for everything she doesn’t when they decide to take over their mom's bar). She’s dealing with her own coming-of-age struggles and figuring out what it means to fight an oppressive system in a changing world. Mari adds a layered dimension of the Mexican-American experience to the show. The fact that Emma, Lyn, and Mari explore their Latinness differently is what makes Vida so riveting. You’ll find something to relate to in each of these women’s quests for self-actualization.
Vida’s showrunner and executive producer Tanya Saracho called its final season “bittersweet” but also said that she “got to tell the exact story I wanted to tell, exactly how I wanted to tell it, and that is rare in this industry.” That is rare, especially for women of colour, and the fact that Vida had an all-Latinx writers’ room is why it’s so exceptional. Vida is not an action-packed thriller nor is it a twist-heavy telenovela, but that doesn’t make it any less of an electrifying watch. It’s exciting to see a show realize its full potential and create a vibrant, bold world you don’t want to leave.
Things that are also good:
· The Canadian Screen Award-winning, Karena Evans-starring, and Jasmin Mozaffi-directed Canadian drama Firecrackers on Crave
· Gin martinis for breakfast — don’t judge me
· Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse may no longer be on Netflix but if your kid (or you) is hooked, the instant classic is now also on Crave
· Taking Gabrielle Union’s advice and absolving yourself of guilt, stress, and anything but putting yourself first!
· Despite less-than-stellar reviews, Hollywood on Netflix is actually pretty good
Little Fires Everywhere is — and I can’t stress this enough — FINALLY COMING TO CANADA

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