the seven ingredients that have made it one of the most successful Spanish series of the year.

‘La valla’ has been one of the most notable successes (and in part, unexpected) of all those that Spanish fictions have brought us in 2020, in a year full of premieres as unique and different from each other such as ’30 Monedas’, ‘Patria’ or ‘La Veneno’. It has been premiered week by week on Antena 3 in the open (after spending at the beginning of the year on Atresplayer) and a day later on Netflix, where it has invariably occupied the lists of the most viewed by viewers.

His mix of disparate but complementary ingredients (from family drama to political thriller to science fiction in the near and recognizable future) has been interspersed with his almost accidental reflection of a reality in times of pandemic that sometimes it is difficult for us to differentiate from so many dystopian parables. ‘The fence’ has arrived in what has unfortunately been a horrible year in the real world, but which has shown that fiction always spins finer than we think … even unintentionally!

the seven ingredients that have made it one of the most successful Spanish series of the year

We have compiled some elements of ‘La valla’ that make it really special. The combination of all of them in very specific doses are the masterful recipe for your success. This is how the narrative springs of one of the Spanish series of the year work.

Combination of genres

‘La fence’ tells how, in a Spain in the near future in which social classes are separated by a huge fence and society is completely subordinate to the army, a family struggles to recover their young daughter, kidnapped and victim of a terrible confinement and experiments. Perhaps in his blood lies the secret to ending an atrocious pandemic that has decimated the population in combination with the scarcity of natural resources.

the seven ingredients that have made it one of the most successful Spanish series of the year

As is customary in so many family-oriented Spanish fictions, ‘La valla’ plays at combining genres and styles: the drama of everything related to the girl (Laura Quirós) and the memories of the grandmother (Ángela Molina); adventure and action with rescue maneuvers and confrontation with the powers that be; some romanticism with a morbid point, since the father of the family (Unax Ugalde) is a widower and the character of Olivia Molina, sister of his dead wife; and all seasoned with some social criticism in the vision of that bleak future.

Dystopian Spain

The pessimistic future, a dark derivation of the present, is a science fiction convention that, as ‘Cyberpunk 2077’ shows, would already be. Perhaps a less hackneyed (and conservative) perspective on the future would be refreshing; for example, there are currents of science fiction that claim the opposite side of the spectrum, utopias, as a way of looking at the future and criticizing the present with less platitudes than dystopias.

the seven ingredients that have made it one of the most successful Spanish series of the year

But the point is, dystopias still work, and with the same springs that already established ‘1984’ by George Orwell more than seventy years ago: in ‘La valla’ we have a militarized Spain after the Third World War, in a perpetual state of emergency and with the planet collapsing little by little due to the scarcity of natural resources. All the conventions of the dystopian genre are in ‘The fence’, from top-down violence to the use of propaganda to wash minds and consciences, and without a doubt that makes it a recognizable and comfortable fiction.

Alert: virus

It is amazing that it coincided in time by chance, but ‘La Valla’ has connected with the situation in Spain (and the rest of the world) in an amazing way. To begin with, the inclusion in the plot of a devastating virus of semi-unknown origin. In the series it is infinitely more deadly than in reality, but it is inevitable to see ‘The fence’ with a bitter feeling of “What if what we are experiencing gets out of hand?”.

the seven ingredients that have made it one of the most successful Spanish series of the year

The phrase “State of emergency”, something that had been experienced in Spain on very rare occasions, is often pronounced in the series, as is also the case with the use of face masks, people in isolation suits spraying disinfectant on people standing in line ordered to undertake daily tasks … ‘The fence’ does not speak of COVID-19, but it is clear that it has landed at a particularly sensitive time to the issue of mass infections.

Postwar airs

Of course, the subject is not explicitly brought to the table except with some reference to fratricidal wars of the past, but With the images of the besieged streets, it is inevitable to think of so many films set after the Civil War Spanish. And not only because of the ocher photography that runs through the series and the tone of hopelessness. Or the military control of the population and the interference of the army in the affairs of the state

There is also the focus on children, some orphans and others confined in hospitals and orphanages, and who are a reflection of the infant generation that suffered so much in the postwar period. The ration cards and the lines to get bread. The suspicions of the neighbors, among whom there are snitches and collaborators. The constitution of a resistance that faces the situation, with clear urban guerrilla dynamics Inspired by real circumstances. All this adds up to a vision of the conflict of warlike airs and parallels with still recent circumstances in our history.

the seven ingredients that have made it one of the most successful Spanish series of the year

The Écija touch

The creator, executive producer and screenwriter of ‘La valla’ is Daniel Écija, an essential proper name to understand the Spanish fiction of the last two decades. Since his first great success in 1995 with ‘Family Doctor’, massively popular productions have followed one another in his career such as’ Periodistas’, ‘7 vida’, ‘Un paso para’, ‘Los Serrano’, ‘Los Hombres de Paco ‘,’ Aída ‘,’ El internado ‘or’ Águila roja ‘, among many others.

His is the combination, brand of the house, of genres and actors of different generations to appeal to different age ranges among viewers. And without a doubt, the series feels good about the need to restrict the duration of the episodes to one hour, without reaching the kilometer-long durations that weighed down on its creations from a few years ago. He has a trade after a couple of decades in the middle, and it shows in a more agile and successful series than usual.

The Netflix-Atresmedia combination

It has just finished its successful time on Antena 3 and Netflix, where it has been released week by week and practically simultaneously (in an unusual agreement, but very juicy for both platforms, in the streaming one only one day after it was open ), ‘La valla’ closes its first season with very notable audiences: it has rarely dropped below 10% share on Antena 3 and it has remained the 13 weeks in the top of the most watched of Netflix (and there it continues, although it has already concluded).

the seven ingredients that have made it one of the most successful Spanish series of the year

Undoubtedly, despite the fact that its passage through the Atresplayer platform was not so spectacular – it premiered at the beginning of the year without making too much noise – its arrival on the broadcast coincidence in September 2020 with the post-summer moment of the pandemic Y the undeniable benefit of Netflix’s support in its broadcasting has made it one of the most watched Spanish series of the year. A very successful combination of thoughtful strategies and a sense of timing.

An excellent year for Spanish fiction

Streaming platforms and the multiplication of competition have forced Spanish production companies (plus those that have joined the scene, such as HBO -which has debuted this year in production- or Netflix) to diversify their projects. take care of them much more. The viewer has benefited from a good number of more varied premieres than ever (from the terror of ’30 coins’ to the drama with roots in the present day of ‘Homeland’), and prejudices and preconceptions about fictions in series in our country have been left behind.

‘La valla’ has benefited from that, from a panorama where authors with names and surnames fit (Los Javis are a phenomenon that would have been unthinkable a few years ago), and at the same time, adaptations of literary best-sellers such as those that Netflix chains . Y that everything is fed back in a more or less beneficial and healthy way for those involved. A change of paradigm and perspective on the part of producers and spectators, of which ‘La valla’ is a perfect example.