I’m Not Just about Asian Dramas-Spanish Telenovelas: Isabella and Red Eagle

Introducing Isabel and Red Eagle: The Spanish Answer to Historical Dramas

**Contains SPOILERS**

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Isabel/Red Eagle

When I started this blog, my sole purpose was to present dramas that others were not talking about. All of the popular ones, I can easily find other bloggers covering them so I did not see a need to add my own into the mix; however, what I did see was a hole that needed to be filled. A hole whereby dramas that maybe others were not talking about or did not have the ‘popular‘ actors in them but were just as good, in some cases GREAT and just overlooked.

If you noticed the title of my blog does not focus just on Asian Dramas but on dramas themselves. Sometimes, you will see me discuss not only Korean dramas but Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese, Filipino, Argentinean as well as Spanish. I consider myself to be an International lover of ALL dramas. With my last Argentinean blog on MonteCristo, I’d like to introduce you to a couple of really great historical based dramas: Isabel and Red Eagle.
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Isabel

This drama is a biography about the Queen of Castile, Isabella the Catholic. The first season, offered by DramaFever, chronicles the period between 1461 and 1474: from the end of her childhood to her marriage with Ferdinand II of Aragon and her difficulties in ascending to the throne following the death of her half-brother, Enrique IV.

Isabel Trailer

Runtime: 45 min. each episode
Number of Episodes: 13

 Let me introduce you to the Cast of Isabel:

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Michelle Jenner as Isabella I of Castile

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Rodolfo Sancho as Ferdinand II of Aragon

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Gines Carcia Millan as Juan Pacheco

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Ramón Madaula as Gonzalo Chacón

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Pablo Derqui as Enrique IV

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Bárbara Lennie as Queen Juana

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Ainhoa Santamaría as Beatriz de Bobadilla

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Jordi Díaz as Andrés de Cabrera

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Pedro Casablanc as Alfonso Carrillo de Acuña

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William Miller as Beltrán de la Cueva

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The rest of the Cast 
Juan Messeguer as Diego de Mendoza
César Vea as Pedro Girón
Clara Sanchís as Isabel de Portugal
Arturo Querejeta as Alonso de Fonseca
Sergio Peris Mencheta as Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba
Víctor Elías as Alfonso de Castile
Jordi Banacolocha as Juan II de Aragón
Royal_Family_zps2d9e7042 The drama features the passionate struggle of a woman to become queen. This is the story of a woman who decided to be the master of her own destiny without knowing the many sacrifices that this would entail. As a child, she was snatched from her sick mother and was forced to go live at the Court by her half-brother, Enrique IV.

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She was a devout Catholic. She suffered the loss of her brother Alfonso who she loved dearly and protected constantly from others as well as himself.

She refused to compromise her life and accept any arranged marriages, defending her right to choose a spouse, eventually choosing Ferdinand of Aragon.

After their wedding, she endured the slander, jealousy and economic constraints. She had to handle diplomacy with a hardness of character able to put an army in check (and her own husband, if need be). And above all, by an obsession: to be queen.

All this has Isabel, a great drama depicting the early years of Isabella. But, beyond the historical facts, this drama chronicles the passions, emotions and sacrifices of a woman ahead of her time who refused to be figurehead. A woman, with flaws and virtues, who aspired to reached a goal intended only for men. And that she would soon face challenges no one could imagine.

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Red Eagle

Águila Roja (Red Eagle) is a Spanish live action TV drama about a masked hero who fights injustice in 17th Century Spain. Best known for its use of Ninja motifs and weaponry, the drama is known to be the most watched show in Spain’s history, and also the most expensive, with a budget of almost one million euros per episode.

 Red Eagle Trailer

Runtime: 75 min.
Number of Episodes: 13

Here is the Cast of Red Eagle:

David Janer as Gonzalo de Montalvo

Inma Cuesta as Margarita

Francis Lorenzo as Hernán Mejías
Miryam Gallego as Lucrecia

Guillermo Campra as Alonso

Javier Gutiérrez as Sátur

The rest of the cast:

Patrick Criado as Nuño

Pepe Queroas Floro

Erika Sanz as Inés
Adolfo Fernández as Father Agustín
Pepa Aniorte as Catalina
Santiago Molero as Cipri

A Spanish historical-fiction drama, set in Spain in the 17th century, tells the story of Gonzalo de Montalvo, a man who was once forced into exile to the Far East but returns after learning Ninja-like skills, only to find his wife murdered by a conspiracy known as “La Logia” (The Lodge), lead by Lucrecia, widow of the Marquis of Santillana.

Teacher by day, he adopts the identity of Águila Roja and fights the corrupt local Sheriff, Hernán Mejías while investigating the Lodge’s plans- all while raising his young son, Alonso, who is unaware that his father is a hero.

He also picks up Sátur, a lovable scoundrel and swindler who helps him with his alter-ego and adds a touch of humor to the otherwise dead-straight show.

Águila Roja is a drama of adventures and intrigue dealing with the themes of courage, nobility, friendship and love, and just good old fashioned fun.

Things I’ve learned while watching Red Eagle:

  • Anyone Can Die: The number of people who have died is extremely high. Just about no one is safe; including children.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Many times.
  • Artistic License – Martial Arts: Gonzalo is basically a Ninja, which would be great… if it wasn’t for the fact that he was trained in China, not Japan. His swordplay contains a lot of theatrics; a lot of Sword Twirling.
  • Bad-ass Teacher: Gonzalo.
  • Even the kids are brutal: The depiction of bullying is pretty brutal. When Nuño forced one of his main bullies to eat animal crap from the ground, *shudders*. The killing of the little handicapped boy by Nuño was shocking.
  • Calling Card: A red feather that Águila leaves at the scene of his attacks.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Characters actually *die* from it. It’s brutality is depicted in a horrible way at times; very graphic so definitely not for children.
  • Dark Is Evil: The Commisar (Sheriff) and his men always dresses in black.
  • Mother dies at the very beginning: Gonzalo’s wife dies in the Pilot. Their son Alonso blames him for not being there with her to save her life.
  • Historical Fiction/Historical Truth: Even though this drama is basically fiction, there is definitely truth blended in that depicts the times during the Inquisition.
  • Comic Relief: Sátur. Why is it that no one recognizes him as the escaped prisoner at the beginning?
  • What Shows this Drama reminds me of: It’s a cross between Zorro and Robin Hood and a subtle mix of Batman and just a touch of The Chinese Connection (Bruce Lee for you young folks).

So, do I recommend them? Well, these dramas are definitely for those of us who love history. They provide a lot of information for the periods when they take place; however, if you are squeamish about violence, I’d suggest you skip these. Those drama lovers of sageuks and other Asian dramas will most likely appreciate these the most.

I totally enjoy both and hope DramaFever provides us the opportunity to see the other seasons as they become available. Red Eagle, already has 3 other seasons available with the 5th season to be released this summer, 2013; Isabel, season 2, has not been released yet. I am looking forward to watching all of them.

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