TV series are a window to the world – the streaming services changed the way to consume media to reach new audiences. Streaming platforms such as HBO Max, Disney +, Netflix, Amazon Prime, among others, have achieved over 1.1 billion subscribers in 2020, according to GlobalData.
With the potential reach of streaming services, media entertainment products can reach audience ratings all over the world. In addition, media product storytelling is the best way to understand different cultures and realities, giving international viewers a deep dive perspective of the culture, history, and politics of a particular country.
Netflix announced in 2021 the project “Mais Brasil Nas Telas” (in English, “More Brazil on the Screens”) meant to bring more Brazilian stories to the international community. Moreover, the streaming service company announced 40 new Brazilian shows by 2022.
The Netflix announcement is an opportunity for international audiences to explore the culture, politics and dystopia stories of Latin America’s largest country. Here is a list of great Brazilian series that should be on your radar to watch.
Created by Pedro Morelli, the Brazilian plot starred Seu Jorge, a Brazilian singer/songwriter and actor, brings a reality-based story about the criminal factions which control the criminal organization from within the jail. The series was filmed in the deactivated wing of the Curitiba prison, an active prison in Brazil. It references a criminal organization, PCC, the First Command of the Capital, the biggest criminal faction in Brazil, with approximately 29,400 members in 22 of the 27 Brazilian states.
The series’ story is told from the perspective of Cristina (Naruna Costa), a lawyer that discovers that her brother, Edson (Seu Jorge), runs the criminal organization named “Brotherhood” inside prison. The unique narrative follows the ethical challenges of Cristina while she sinks deeper into the faction’s problems; at the same time, her loyalty is tested both by the police and the criminal organization.
Girls from Ipanema (Coisa Mais Linda)
“Most Beautiful Thing” is a series inspired by Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes’s iconic Bossa Nova song, which blends American jazz with Brazilian samba with over 500 different versions globally. The Brazilian hit from the 60s’ is considered the second song most played in history after Yesterday by The Beatles and became a cultural landmark for Brazil with its storytelling about Rio de Janeiro, the most known Brazilian city in the world.
The show from Netflix explores the Girls from Ipanema vibe from Jobim and Moraes, focusing on Malu’s (Maria Casadevall) life and her relationship with her new lover, a Bossa Nova singer Chico (Leandro Lima). Moreover, the show crosses Malu’s life with Adélia (Pathy Dejesus), a black woman living in one of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas. “Most Beautiful Thing” highlights the social issues from that decade, such as racism, sexism, and women’s rights. In addition to the impeccable soundtrack, the series cinematography transports the audience to a vintage Rio de Janeiro with a lot of tension, drama and sensuality.
Sintonia, a Netflix series released in 2019, explores the funk music along crime and religion in to São Paulo’s capital favelas through three main character’s Doni (MC JottaPê), Nando (Christian Malheiros), and Rita (Bruna Mascarenhas). Produced by Kondzilla Records, the largest music video production company considered the leading popularizer of funk ostentação in Brazil, the series raises important issues about organized crime, violence, poverty and the influence of the religious institution in a low-income community.
The Brazilian drama show innovates in breaking favelas stereotypes through human approach to the problems faced by these communities. The Netflix series invited ex-convicts actors who had participated in a social project focused on acting in a prison facility in Guarulhos, São Paulo. In addition to the fiction, the series brings the discussion towards the favelas community to the streaming platform using funk as the main anchor and, inside favelas, the central resource for social ascension in a country drowned by social inequality.