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The telenovela ( Spanish telenovela [ ˌtelenoˈβela ], television novel , in Brazilian Portuguese novela ) is a special form of television series that originated in Latin America . Since the 1980s, telenovelas have also been known in other regions of the world - especially in Eastern Europe , the Balkans , North Africa , China and the USA .


Telenovelas have their origins in pre-revolutionary Cuba . There heard - even before the advent of radio - workers in the cigar factories while working read aloud serialized novels , which resulted from the disruption of work to work. The tradition has been preserved to this day. In 1930 a radio novela was broadcast for the first time in Cuba and novels were converted into radio plays .

In the 19th century, serial novels were also known and popular in Europe. Works by Alexandre Dumas ( The Three Musketeers ) and Charles Dickens ( Oliver Twist ) originally appeared in newspapers and magazines . A continuation was created for each new edition. If the stories enthused the readers, the author could write longer on the novel and earn more.

In the 1950s, Latin America discovered the serial novel for television. The first telenovela dates back to 1950. Sua vida me pertence was a Brazilian-Cuban-Mexican co-production and was broadcast twice a week. Senderos de amor (Cuba, 1951) and Ángeles de la calle (Mexico, 1951) followed and were shown once a week. Senda prohibida , from 1957/58, by the screenwriter Fernanda Villeli, was the first telenovela that was shown daily. The first telenovela to be presented to a wider international audience was Simplemente María (Peru, 1969).

The most successful telenovela productions came and still come from Mexico and Brazil , where they run during prime times. To a lesser extent, telenovelas are also popular in Argentina , Venezuela (e.g. the telenovela Morena Clara , which is also shown in Germany ), Chile and Colombia .

The telenovelas were first ported to Spain , Portugal and Italy , then to the CIS countries , the republics of the former Yugoslavia , North Africa and China. Latin American telenovelas, from the Televisa (Mexico) and Rede Globo (Brazil) production facilities, are more widespread worldwide than US, Australian and British soap operas combined. It is not uncommon for up to six different telenovelas to run per channel.

The most successful telenovela of all time, which exported to a total of 95 countries, The Slave Isaura (Rede Globo, Brazil) was also the first television show with a foreign actress on Chinese television: 450 million Chinese followed the suffering of the white slave. Lucélia Santos , a well-known Western star since then , received the Golden Eagle for the main role . In Poland , Niewolnica Isaura is the highest- rated program ever to be shown on television. On average, the telenovela had an audience rate of 81%, and even 92% in record times.

After the fall of the Iron Curtain , Russian television broadcast the Mexican telenovela Los ricos también lloran . The series reached 100 million viewers.

The Venezuelan telenovela Kassandra made it into the Guinness Book of Records - as the most exported Spanish-language production of all time. Kassandra ran in 128 countries, was the first telenovela to be broadcast in Japan , and made actress Coraima Torres world famous.

In 1986 the power went down nationwide in Mexico due to overload while the last chapter of the telenovela Cuna de Lobos was on. A similar case occurred in Brazil in 2007 during the broadcast of the last chapter of Paraíso Tropical .

In Germany as early as the 1980s, Latin American telenovelas, often significantly shortened, could occasionally be seen. The slave girl Isaura was cut from 100 to 40 chapters.

From November 1, 2004 to October 5, 2005, Bianca - Ways to Luckily, was the first German telenovela to be shown on television.

The difference between telenovelas and soap operas

In German usage, the word telenovela is increasingly replacing the word soap opera , even though the genres were different.

Structure of the telenovela

The telenovela tells the classic story from the perspective of the mostly female main character ( protagonista ). However, telenovelas with male or teenage main characters and topics that appeal to the entire audience are also produced.

Telenovelas usually broadcast one chapter a day. The concept of the cliff hanger is also always used: a chapter ends with a dramatic event, the outcome remains open at first. This should motivate you to tune in again the following day. Unlike soap operas, telenovelas have a clearly defined beginning and a predetermined end. They usually last a minimum of four months to a maximum of a year (80–250 chapters), but this depends on the plot .

Telenovelas are laid out on a large story arc. The secondary characters are always linked in one way or another with one of the main characters - thus also the secondary with the main story. This enables the so-called multiplot , which means that several storylines can be told in parallel. The main actors remain slightly in the foreground. Since the individual characters do not know many a secret, there is enough space for tension, drama, tears and happy moments.

Structure of the soap opera

A soap opera pursues many completely independent acts on an equal footing for an unlimited period of time. Because of the never-ending plot, the cast changes constantly. Soap operas spin endlessly from one story arc to the next. Only falling audience numbers can end the plot of a soap opera. In this case, a rounded end is usually omitted for cost reasons (e.g. The Colbys - The Empire , Models Inc. , Central Park West , Carousel of the Dolls ).

In most other television series, however, each episode represents a new plot. There are hardly any cliffhangers, and the individual episodes are self-contained (e.g. Our Little Farm ).

Characteristic of the telenovela

The strongly emphasized melos in the drama is characteristic of telenovelas . In addition to what is spoken, appropriate facial expressions (silent accompanying music) accompany dramatic situations. Deep emotions that facial expressions cannot express are emphasized by music. Especially the thoughts of the characters - mostly those of the female main character - are spoken in a so-called voiceover . The stylistic device is intended to express the genre relationship to a written novel.

Plot lines from telenovelas

The telenovela likes to use fairy tale motifs. Particularly popular are Snow White - (the bad stepmother or mother-in-law makes life difficult for the good girl) and Cinderella variants (the poor girl seeks happiness in a wealthy man). Telenovelas are also filmed on current, time-critical topics that show the emancipated career woman. People are also happy to show how the working class and so-called upper society differ. Or racial conflicts, for example in the telenovela Gitanas , which is about gypsy women . The telenovela O Clone is about the love between the Muslim woman Jade and the Christian Lucas; Substance abuse and cloning are also part of the plot. The characters in La Chacala deal with occultism . The telenovelas Lacos de familia and De cuerpo y alma each focus on a leukemia and a young woman with heart disease. While the heroine in Abrázame muy fuerte or Esmeralda is blind , Cristal deals with breast cancer . In Yo soy Betty, la fea , even an unattractive but clever woman turns off her seductive competition. In Los hijos de nadie , street children are the focus. The telenovela Nada personal also addressed the high crime rate in Mexico. The finale of Machos - la brutal pasión de siete hermanos from Chile, with men in the leading roles, was followed by over 60% of all television viewers on Canal 13 . The Argentine telenovela Rebelde Way with young people as the main actors was also successful.

While most other Latin American productions continue to rely on archetypal plot lines, innovative and critical topics are often broached in Brazil. The following pattern has become common on the Rede Globo station :

Usually there is a happy ending .

The production of telenovelas

Procedures, techniques

Telenovelas are produced in two ways: The first was introduced by Chilean Valentin Pimstein in Mexican telenovelas: You work with open scripts and initially shoot 30 to 50 episodes. Polls are taken of viewers while they are being broadcast. In this way, the authors can call up new characters and additional entanglements according to their wishes. The second is also from a Mexican - Ernesto Alonso . The telenovela will be completed in full. If there is a great response from the audience, chapters can be added later in the middle section. The telenovela Salomé was increased from the original 150 chapters to 180. Productions with little success can be shortened so as not to block attractive broadcast slots.

In contrast to German telenovela and soap opera productions, the Latin American telenovela production companies often spend large sums of money on sets , costumes , make-up and styling . Likewise, they take outdoor photos more often and pay attention to beautiful landscape shots. They rely on well-known and respected actors instead of anonymous newcomers. Fernando Colugna , Victoria Ruffo , César Évora , Helena Rojo , Thalía , Gabriela Spanic and Lucélia Santos are just a few of them. Such production would be too expensive in the long run for soap operas.

Since telenovelas have to keep to a fast pace, they work with different production methods than normal series. Studios with particularly high production use prompts . The actors have a small hearing aid in their ear that whispers the text and the associated facial expressions and gestures to them . This saves the actors from having to learn the text and frequently repeat unsuccessful scenes. The microphone is in the other ear . This prevents time-consuming synchronization in the event of problems with the sound recording. On average, a Latin American telenovela has to produce 43–50 minutes of broadcast material per day of shooting. With a German soap opera like Gute Zeiten, Bad Zeiten , it is only 25 minutes that you have to achieve per day of shooting. For usual, once a week broadcast television series, such as In all friendship , one reckons on average one week of shooting time per episode (10–12 minutes per day of shooting).

It is mostly worked with teams of authors or with many individual scriptwriters. As a rule, one author provides the basic line of action, while the other writers work the various guidelines from chapter to chapter. Smaller studios also work according to the conventional method and have the script written by a single author. Not infrequently, well-known Brazilian writers such as Jorge Amado have worked on scripts.

Several directors are also used. This means that several sets can be rotated in parallel , which also saves time.

Some telenovelas are even filmed tapelessly on removable hard drives . This supports the high production speed and saves the usual waiting times through digitizing or importing into production. The occasionally desirable "romantic look" is in the same step by Avid - the plug- superimposed on the filmed material. In Germany these techniques were used in the telenovela Sturm der Liebe .

Televisa (Mexico), the leading production company alongside Rede Globo (Brazil), produces between 12 and 16 telenovelas annually. It exports around 80% of its productions.

Major production companies

Telenovelas public relations

Shortly before the start of a new telenovela, an extensive advertising campaign is common in Latin American countries : trailers are shown in the advertising blocks of the ongoing telenovelas and advertising is booked in various print media such as magazines. Many billboards indicate the upcoming production. Often questions on the billboards animate the audience, e.g. B. "What stands between ... and ...?" , "Why did ... return?" , "What is ... up to?" , "Who is ... thinking of?" , "What is ... dreaming about ?" . Most countries adopted this successful strategy.

The theme song plays an important role. The melody should be catchy and highly recognizable. Many of the theme songs from telenovelas were able to secure high positions in the charts . Representing all of them, Mi destino eres tú (telenovela of the same name) by the singer and actress Lucero , Hoy (from Amar otra vez ) by Gloria Estefan or Nunca te olvidaré (telenovela of the same name) by Enrique Iglesias : for a long time number 1 in the charts in Latin American countries. Three different versions of the opening credits were filmed for the telenovela Amar otra vez . Gloria Estefan sang two versions intended for export, and Enrique Iglesias sang the version intended for Mexico. In the telenovelas Rebelde Way and Rebelde , the actors played the bands ERREWAY and RBD . They could later start great careers under these names. The Brazilian telenovela O Clone used songs by Shakira , Andrea Bocelli , Ajda Pekkan , Sting , Elton John , Sarah Brightman , Lara Fabian and many other international stars. Natacha Atlas appeared in a small guest role in the same telenovela. The Australian group Dead Can Dance provided the intro to La Chacala with the piece Nierika . Laura Pausini (“Viveme”) and Reyli Barba (“Amor del bueno”) sang two different intros for La madrastra . Tiziano Ferros Alucinado became the theme tune of La invasora .

In countries where telenovelas are popular, magazines and magazines deal with the series format. The leader in this field is the Mexican magazine TVyNovelas from the production company Televisa - sold since 1979 and offered as a licensed edition in many countries . There are also some independent magazines such as B. TV Novele - produced in Serbia and published throughout the former Yugoslavia. Background reports, previews of upcoming chapters and productions, posters and interviews with the actors are offered. In this way, fans in Latin America, the original home of telenovela, learned about the success of the first German telenovela Bianca - Paths to Happiness .

The Mexican production company Televisa has now released many telenovelas from its own production on DVD . English subtitles are usually available as an option . In many countries licensed DVDs are also sold in a dubbed version or version with a subtitle in the national language. The popular soundtracks with music from the Latin novelas are also on offer.

For German telenovelas there is a separate fan magazine, novels, soundtracks and DVDs for almost every telenovela.

Events around a telenovela

The Gala Premios TVyNovelas , organized annually by the Mexican magazine TVyNovelas since 1981, selects the best telenovela , the best leading actress , the best leading actor , the best theme song , the best screenplay and much more. A similar event, at which prizes are currently being awarded in thirteen categories, is being organized by the Brazilian magazine Contigo! organized. In Latin America, this gala has a status similar to that of the Oscars .

The so-called Telenovela Summit ( Cumbre Mundial de la Industria de la Telenovela y la Fición ) has been held annually since 2003 . International telenovela productions are presented here and prizes are awarded. The largest and most successful telenova production facility, Televisa from Mexico, only participated in the third event.

New versions of telenovelas

The telenovela Simplemente Maria , from 1967, was filmed another five times; in Peru (1969), Brazil (1970), Venezuela (1972), Argentina (1979) and Mexico (1989). The latter version from Mexico met with particularly wide acceptance in Russia and made Victoria Ruffo , who played Maria , very popular.

The telenovela Yo soy Betty, la fea , filmed in Colombia from 1999 to 2001 , was such a success that it received the successor telenovela Eco Moda . What's more, the script was written in Russia (Ne rodis krasivoy) , the Netherlands (Lotte) , Mexico (La fea más bella and El amor no es como lo pintan) , India (Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin) , Germany ( Verliebt in Berlin ) , Greece (Maria, i Aschimi) , Israel (Esti Ha'mechoeret) , Spain ( Yo soy Bea ) , Serbia and Croatia in coproduction (Ne daj se, Nina) , Czech Republic (Ošklivka Katka) , Turkey (Sensiz Olmuyor) , Belgium (Sara) , Poland (Brzydula) , Vietnam (Cô Gái Xấu Xí) , the Philippines (I ♥ Betty la fea) and the USA (Ugly Betty) , China (Chou Nu Wu Di) and Brazil (Bela, a feia) accepted. Other productions made use of motifs from the framework plot such as B. Mi gorda bella (Mexico), La mujer en el espejo (Mexico), Dame chocolate (Mexico), Patido fea (Argentina) and Tudo por amor (Portugal).

In LaLola from Argentina (2007) the main actor, an archetypal macho, is transformed into a woman overnight. This telenovela has since been filmed in Chile (Lola), Belgium (LouisLouise), China, Spain and Turkey under the name Lola .

Four versions of the telenovela Esmeralda have been filmed. Two in Mexico (1972/1997), one in Venezuela (1984) and one in Brazil (2004). The Mexican version from 1997 was awarded as “Best Telenovela of 1997” at the gala of TVyNovelas magazine .

Since 2004 a new version of the once very successful novela Die Sklavin Isaura has been filmed in Brazil.

Yolanda Vargas Dulché's success story Rubi was first filmed in 1968 as a telenovela in 53 chapters. The feature film Rubi followed in 1970, which was based on the same story. In 2004, the remake of the telenovela Rubi , with 115 chapters, was awarded the prize for “Best Telenovela 2004” by TVyNovelas magazine .

In 2005 a Mexican version of the telenovela Kassandra, written by Delia Fiallo , was filmed, entitled Peregrina . Fiallo has also authored other successful and award-winning projects such as Guandalupe , Luz Maria , Esmeralda , Milagros , Soledad , Rosalinda and many more.

There were various offshoots of the Argentine telenovela Rebelde Way . The Mexican version under the name Rebelde even surpassed the success of the original.

The European telenovela

The success of the imported telenovelas prompted many countries to venture into their own productions.


For example, the telenovela Jelena was produced by Power House Entertainment in Serbia in 2004/2005 . The telenovela is based on a script written especially for this production by the Mexican Joaquín Guerrero Casarola y Gómez . For better marketing , the first chapter of Jelena was even projected on the Belgrade “Trg Republike” on October 18, 2004 with a video projector on a screen. Shortly after filming was finished, the telenovela was exported to 12 countries (including Mexico). On October 1 and 2, 2004, Jelena received a prize for “the best screenplay” at the “Second International Telenovela Summit” in Barcelona (before Reich und Schön ). In 2007/2008, another telenovela was broadcast on RTV Pink with Ljubav i mržnja . After the Croatian Roman Majetić was able to achieve very high ratings with the productions of his AVA television production in Serbia, he opened the AVA film branch in Belgrade in 2007 . His first project in Serbia is the telenovela Zaustavi vreme . After his production company began to record failures, the series could not yet be marketed, although the production costs amounted to around 10 million euros.


In neighboring Croatia, AVA Television Production produced the telenovela Villa Maria (2004/2005), and they too got reinforcements from Mexico; by the director Alicia Carvajal . Ljubav u zaleđu (2005/2006), Obični ljudi (2006/2007) and Ponos Ratkajevih (2007/2008) are the titles of the following Croatian telenovela productions from AVA . In order to be able to position them better on the neighboring Serbian market, AVA hired not only Croatian but also Serbian actors. Mexican stars also had guest appearances in the first two telenovelas. Sun played Omar Germenos and Gloria Peralta in Villa Maria and Juan Pablo Medina and Paola Toyos in Ljubav u zaleđu with. At the “Second International Telenovela Summit” in Barcelona, ​​the production company AVA Television Production received two awards for the telenovela Villa Maria . The prizes were for the direction and the production. The telenovela from AVA Television Production for the 2008/2009 season was called Zakon ljubavi and was broadcast in autumn 2008 on Nova TV . Although the AVA Production telenovelas celebrated great success on the public broadcaster HRT , the new series on another broadcaster was unable to build on the success story. Of the planned 185 chapters, 73 were filmed and 60 broadcast before the telenovela was canceled. Meanwhile , HRT commissioned the production company Ring Multimedia to design new telenovelas for the daily evening program. It was the first time that another production company in Croatia had ventured into this television format. The productions Sve će biti dobro and Dolina sunca built on the ratings successes of the telenovelas previously broadcast on the same slot. From 2009 to 2011 the telenovela Najbolje Godine was broadcast on the private broadcaster Nova TV , in which the Serbian actress Katarina Radivojević gives the lead role. This was followed from 2011 to 2013 by the telenovela Larin izbor with Doris Pinčić , which was the most successful in terms of audience ratings on Croatian television. For the 2013/2014 season the telenovela Zora dubrovačka followed , which is about the siege of Dubrovnik . From 2014 to 2016, Kud puklo, da puklo was broadcast, which was a mixture of telenovela and comedy. In 2016/2017 Nova TV broadcast Zlatni dvori with Katarina Baban in the lead role. The telenovela Čista ljubav with Tara Rosandić has been broadcast since autumn 2017 . The private broadcaster RTL Televizija broadcast the telenovela Ne daj se, Nina with Lana Gojak in 2008 , which is a remake of the telenovela Yo soy Betty, la fea . From 2011 to 2013 Ruža vjetrova was broadcast. Tajne (2013/2014), Vatre ivanjske (2014/2015), Horvatovi (2015/2016) and Prava žena (2016/2017) followed.


Turkey is also a successful production country . The private broadcaster Kanal D can be found among the main producers . Binbir Gece , with Bergüzar Korel and Halit Ergenç , was broadcast in Azerbaijan , Bulgaria , Croatia , Kuwait , Romania , Macedonia , Serbia , Greece , Montenegro , Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia , in addition to the country of production . Bergüzar Korel and Halit Ergenç , who are married in real life, visited Croatia and Serbia for promotional purposes , where they were greeted with euphoria. With the Croatian actress Marijana Mikulić they worked in two commercials for the department store chain IDEA Konzum . In addition, Binbir Gece is one of the three most-watched foreign television series in Croatia in the last thirty years that was not made into a film in English (alongside the Czechoslovak series The Hospital on the Edge of the City and the Italian hospital series Incantesimo ). Other international successes included Gümüş with Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ and Songül Öden , Yaprak Dökümü and Aşk - i Memnu . The Serbian singer Emina Jahović was hired for the main role of the new telenovela Lale devri , who will be dubbed for this role.


Romania is one of the leading nations in Eastern Europe for the production of telenovelas. Several series were marketed internationally. Some, such as “Ingerasii” and Lacrimi de iubire from Media Pro Pictures , were also broadcast by the Mexican broadcaster. The Inimă de ţigan production , which was also very popular in Eastern Europe outside of Romania, was particularly successful .


The first Russian telenovela Bednaja Nastja was shot in 2003/2004 in cooperation with AMEDIA , Russian World Studios and Sony Pictures . The telenovela, which is set in the 19th century, also met with a positive response from beyond the borders of the former USSR . In China, the dramatic story of Princess Anastasia, told in 127 chapters, was able to secure high ratings. The Russian debut film was even broadcast in the United Arab Emirates on the EDTV Dubai channel. Due to the positive audience reactions, further Russian telenovela productions followed.


In Italy, in 1999 with Vivere and 2001 with CentoVetrine , two internationally successful telenovelas were produced.

German-speaking telenovelas


Since November 2004, when ZDF launched the first German telenovela Bianca - Ways to Happiness , produced by the German production company Grundy UFA in cooperation with teamWorx, the series format, so far little known in this country, has appeared more and more frequently on German-language television. Their success led to another follow-up telenovela, Paths to Happiness (formerly Julia - Paths to Happiness ). A little later after Bianca - Ways to Happiness , Sat.1 started the second German telenovela with Verliebt in Berlin , also produced by Grundy UFA (in collaboration with Phoenix Film). The story of Lisa Plenske was extended several times, to a total of 645 chapters instead of the originally planned 225. In love with Berlin and Sturm der Liebe as well as ways to happiness were continued after the end of the plot with new protagonists and a new plot. In love with Berlin and Sturm der Liebe could also be exported.

The German telenovelas are losing their original core more and more, and so there are now ways to happiness, storm of love and red roses a hybrid of telenovela and daily. After the components of the telenovela such. If, for example, the “foreseeable end” is lost, the format can only be categorized by the main love couple, which cannot be narrowed down in a daily.


The Austrian private broadcaster ServusTV has been producing the television series Trakehnerblut since 2017 , which contains the typical elements of a telenovela, but is not officially considered one. The series is broadcast weekly on Thursdays. Eight episodes are planned.

Foreign language telenovelas in German-speaking countries

Every now and then, foreign-language telenovelas were sold in German-speaking countries. The following is an overview of those that have also received a German-language synchronization.

Latin American telenovelas
  • Azul - Paradise in Danger (Azul) Mexico 1996, 60 chapters ( Passion *)
  • The right to love (Direito de Amar) Brazil 1987, 160 chapters ( Das Erste *, ORF )
  • The Clan of Wolves (Cuna de Lobos) Mexico 1986, 85 chapters - 120 chapters in Mexico ( RTL *)
  • The surrogate mother (Barriga de Aluguel) Brazil 1992, 180 chapters - in Brazil 243 chapters (The First *)
  • The slave girl Isaura (Escrava Isaura) Brazil 1976, 40 chapters - in Brazil 100 chapters (The first *)
  • The godfather's daughter (Cosecharás tu siembra) Argentina 1991, 187 chapters ( DF1 Herz & Co *)
  • The wild rose (Rosa Salvaje) Mexico 1988, 99 chapters (RTL *)
  • Dona Beija (Dona Beija) Brazil 1986, 63 chapters - in Brazil 89 chapters (Passion *)
  • Fire of love (Cuando llega el amor) Mexico 1990, 45 chapters (RTL *)
  • GO! Be yourself (Go! Vive a tu Manera) Argentina 2019, 30 chapters ( Netflix *)
  • Helena (Helena) Brazil 1987, 72 chapters (Passion *)
  • Juanita is single (Juanita, la soltera) Argentina 2006, 116 chapters ( 9Live *)
  • Marimar (Marimar) Mexico 1994, 149 chapters (RTL *)
  • Morena Clara (Morena Clara) Venezuela 1995, 137 chapters ( TM3 *)
  • I never forgot Soledad (Mi pequeña Soledad) Mexico 1990, 160 chapters (RTL *)
  • NOOBees (N00Bees) Colombia 2018, 60 chapters ( Nickelodeon *)
  • Paradise of Desires / Deceptive Paradise (Riacho doce) Brazil 1990, 45 chapters ( Tele 5 *)
  • Rebelde Way - Leb dein Leben (Rebelde Way) Argentina 2002, 26 chapters - in Argentina 318 chapters (Nickelodeon *)
  • Rodrigo - Game of Hearts (El Auténtico Rodrigo Leal) , Colombia 2004, 101 chapters ( pulse 4 *)
  • Rubi - Bewitching Beast (Rubi) Mexico 2004, 115 chapters (Passion *, RTL)
  • Call of the Heart (Tu o nadie) Mexico 1988, 60 chapters (RTL *)
  • Salomé (Salomé) Mexico 2001, 150 chapters - 180 in Mexico ( RTL II *)
  • Sinhá Moça - The daughter of the slave owner (Sinhá Moça) Brazil 1986, 170 chapters (The First *)
  • Soy Luna (Soy Luna) Argentina 2016, 220 chapters ( Disney Channel *)
  • Playing with fire (Roda de fogo) Brazil 1986, 180 chapters (Tele 5 *)
  • Top Model (Top Model) Brazil 1989, 180 chapters (Tele 5 *)
  • Total Dreamer - dreams come true (Totalmente Demais) Brazil 2015, 130 chapters - in Brazil 175 chapters ( Sixx *)
  • Vale Tudo - At Any Price (Vale Tudo) Brazil 1988, 170 chapters (The First *)
  • Violetta (Violetta) Argentina 2012, 240 chapters (Disney Channel *)
  • Wildcat (Fera radical) Brazil 1988, 170 chapters (Tele 5 *)
European telenovelas

(*) = German first broadcast

The social influence of the telenovela

Telenovelas have made a significant contribution to health education in Latin America - and to the emancipation of women, whom they usually portray as strong and enlightened people. The mother's character is often central and positive in the stories. Telenovelas with male and youthful characters in the lead roles are being produced more and more frequently - the influence on the population group is also increasing.

In the Argentine telenovela Simplemente Maria , Irma Roy is the young Maria who - hoping to earn some money - moves from the provinces to the big city . When she becomes pregnant, she leaves her significant other. But she continues to educate herself and works as a seamstress to stay afloat. Well-founded studies have shown that while the telenovela was being broadcast, sales of Singer sewing machines skyrocketed, the number of registrations for adult education courses rose steadily, and moves from the country to the city increased significantly. When in 1969 the Peruvian version of Simplemente Maria “Maria's” wedding was filmed in the Plaza de Mayor in Lima , 10,000 people gathered to attend the event.

When the two telenovelas Lacos de familia and De cuerpo y alma (each about a young woman suffering from leukemia and a young woman with heart disease) were running, blood , bone marrow and organ donations skyrocketed. A study initiated in this regard was named The Camila Effect , after the main character from Lacos de familia : At the beginning of the telenovela, an average of 20 bone marrow donors registered each month. There were 900 new registrations when the telenovela became more and more an issue of leukemia towards the end.

In Nada personal or Xica da Silva , the social grievances, prostitution and the high crime rate in Latin America are openly addressed, which also had an educational effect.

In its telenovelas, TV Azteca in particular addresses things that otherwise would never have had the chance to be openly addressed on Mexican television. Among other things, the case of the presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio Murrieta , who was murdered in 1994 , was processed under a different name in a telenovela. Corrupt politicians often served as negative images. In order to escape the youth cult and to provide other age groups with adequate topics, TV Azteca included middle-aged characters in the stories much more often. Issues such as failed marriages and the life afterwards, relationships with significantly younger or older partners, and other moral taboos were raised. Women in high positions who assert themselves against envious men in their professional life were more common. TV Azteca is also increasingly providing images of male identification . Studies have shown that higher-income forming public with better education and skill productions of TV Azteca those of Televisa preferred. In addition to Nada personal , TV Azteca achieved great success with Mirada de mujer and Cuando seas mía .

In Serbia, the telenovela Kassandra was so popular that it is mentioned in the fourth grade sociology book in high schools . The folk singer Šaban Bajramović dedicated a song to Kassandra on his then current album, while Dragana Mirković recorded a video clip for her song Dušu si mi opio , which was heavily inspired by Kassandra .

The popularity of the first Croatian telenovela Villa Maria was so great in neighboring Serbia that the pop singer Tijana Dapčević featured it in her jugo-nostalgic song Sve je isto samo njega nema (Everything is the same , only he is no longer there (in relation to Tito )) mentioned. "Čujem u Beogradu, da se gleda Villa Maria ..." (I hear that you are looking at Villa Maria in Belgrade ...), read the said line of text. In the song La Gitana , the duo Flamingosi parodies typical situations from various telenovelas together with the singer Emina Jahović . In his song Španska serija , the singer Aleksandar Kapriš asks his partner to choose between himself and the telenovela. In the song Srbija , which the pop group Luna sings with Lepi Mića and Milić Vukašinović , Serbian habits and idiosyncrasies are taken aback . In the middle of the video clip, the song stops and the actors gather around the television to watch a telenovela.

Despite the mostly positive effect of telenovelas, fanatical side effects occasionally hit the genre as well.

In December 1992, the Globo actor Guilherme de Padua murdered his colleague Daniella Perez, who played lovers in a series with him. Privately, however, Perez did not want to know anything from her colleague, why he killed her. This murder attracted more attention than the simultaneous resignation of the then President Fernando Collor de Mello . Thousands still make a pilgrimage to the crime scene on an expressway in Rio to mourn the murdered woman.

When the main character Kassandra in the telenovela of the same name was falsely arrested for murder, television viewers in the town of Kučevo in Serbia formed a citizens' initiative . They sent a letter to the Venezuelan government and the then President of Serbia, Slobodan Milošević , in which they demanded “We know that Kassandra is innocent! Stop your suffering! ” . In neighboring Bosnia-Herzegovina , the population was outraged when Kassandra disappeared from the program without explanation. The US State Department came to the rescue and sought advice from Antonio Paez of Coral Pictures . After doing research, it was found that Bosnian television never had the rights to broadcast the telenovela. It was admitted to having taken over the signal from another station in the region that had broadcast the telenovela. When this was no longer technically possible, the telenovela stopped. However, since Antonio Paez knew about the financial needs of Bosnian television, he donated all 150 chapters of Kassandra to the station . Due to the great public response, Coraima Torres (Kassandra) and her colleague Henry Soto (Randú) visited Bulgaria and Serbia.

Occasionally people neglect their own lives because of the imaginary stories. In Indonesia , the government announced that "it is inexcusable not to go to work because of the Kassandra telenovela ". While the telenovela Marimar was being broadcast, the mosques had prayers brought forward during Lent on Ramadan in Abidjan . That saved the believers the agony of choice.

The telenovela under fire

Opponents often complain about the highly idealized and unrealistic illusory world created by telenovelas. In their opinion, such series with their glamorous backdrops and always good-looking actors are very far removed from everyday life.

Another central point of criticism are the appearing figures, which are often criticized as wooden and stereotypical . Instead of a varied presentation, the characters would be reduced to simple-minded characteristics, so that in the end only clichéd polarities (good - bad, good-natured - resentment etc.) remain.

Many psychologists assume that telenovelas serve their TV audiences primarily as an escape from reality. Brazil and Mexico are leaders in production. According to the critics, the glamorous world of the telenovela is intended to comfort the viewers in the slums and favelas about social grievances, oppression, opposition , injustice and demonstrations . When a lot of unhappy and fate-punished people experience justice in the series, the audience rating increases significantly.

Mexican telenovelas in particular are occasionally characterized by stereotypical characters and simple storylines. A common motive is the poor but good-looking girl who falls in love with a rich man while his family tries to destroy the relationship.

The sharpest criticism of the German telenovelas is the allegedly poor adaptation of the format.

German productions are accused of using the narrative techniques of a soap opera and publishing them under the name Telenovela . The journalist Melanie Ruprecht wrote: “The biggest mistake is to dismiss this format as ridiculous or shallow. In Latin American countries it plays an important role and has an important social function. In love with Berlin, on the other hand, will produce at most two new pop stars. "

The Grundy UFA boss Rainer Wemcken, however, sees the situation completely different. He can not grasp the view that foreign telenovelas in German-speaking, and says: "If a telenovela is to bring the right rate, it must Made in Germany to be." .

The Mexican director Alicia Carvajal was satisfied with the script of the Croatian telenovela Villa Maria , but she had other points of criticism: “There is constant smoking and drinking in Villa Maria , something that would be unthinkable in Mexican series, because there you are aware of the educational influence of the telenovela consciously and uses it to guide young people on the right track! "


  • With 605 chapters, Mundo de juguete (produced in Mexico from 1974 to 1977) holds the record as the longest Latin American telenovela.
  • With more than 3000 chapters, Sturm der Liebe (since 2005) holds the record as the longest German telenovela.
  • On September 19, 1985, Televisa domiciled in the district of San Angel in Mexico City , had at one earthquake strongly affected. Many of the original records have been destroyed.
  • Well-known singers and actresses began their careers as protagonists in a telenovela: Thalía , Shakira , Paulina Rubio , Patricia Manterola, Salma Hayek .
  • Due to its great success, the telenovela Salomé was subsequently expanded from 150 to 180 chapters. In Germany, however , RTL II only broadcast the original version with 150 chapters.
  • Actress Carolina Dieckmann had her long, blonde hair cut for the role of leukemia Camila in Laços de Família .
  • O clone was partially shot in Morocco and was the first production to be shown on US television with English subtitles.
  • The Suarez circus , which appears in the telenovela Kassandra , is a real circus. The actors traveled from town to town with the artists during the filming.


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Web links

Wiktionary: Telenovela  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations