The Netflix True Story Series That’s Much Better Than The Movie Version

By Shanna Mathews-Mendez | Published

Selena Quintanilla was an icon for many people in Mexico, the United States, and beyond for many years during the 1990s. She was a singer, songwriter, performer, and fashion designer, and the world loved her. Fortunately, the Selena series on Netflix gives us an in-depth look at the story of her life, so her legacy can live on.

Decades After The Jennifer Lopez Film

The Selena series comes many years after the film version, which was released in 1997, only two years after her death. In the film starring a young Jennifer Lopez, we only have two hours to try to understand that brilliant woman who was a rising star while still a teenager. We learn that Selena’s father had musical aspirations of his own and encouraged his kids, Selena, AB, and Suzy to form a band.

The Rise Of Selena

We watch Selena grow up singing, fall in love with her future husband, Chris, a guitarist in her band, start a clothing line, and get killed by her fan club president. It’s beautiful and sad. We understand from the film that Selena could have been so much more; she was truly on her way to greatness. While the Selena series ends with the same resulting lesson, it also offers two full seasons with ten episodes each that reveal who this striking singer was. 

Selena’s Childhood

The first season of the Selena series shows a young girl who is entirely wrapped up in her family and eager to please her demanding father, Abraham Quintanilla. The patriarch of the Quintanilla family worked night and day to bring his daughter and her siblings to fame. He saw what Selena could become long before anyone else, and truly, if not for Abraham, she may have never become a singer.

Breaking Away From Her Father

The first 10 episodes of the Selena series show us how the family lost their restaurant, slept on the floor of a family member’s home, struggled to buy a bus, and lived, again, on the floor of said bus for years. AB wrote the music and played the guitar for Selena, and Suzy played the drums. The entire family was fully invested in Selena becoming a star. 

And as the Selena series reveals, she always lived to redeem her father’s past failures. The band was even called Selena y los dinos, after Abraham’s failed band from his youth. The show’s last episodes help viewers understand how Selena sought independence, began to write her own music, and was inspired to branch out into fashion. 

Young Love

We watch the development of her love for Chris in the Selena series in a way a movie cannot hope to capture. She’s young and naive, and Chris is worldly and experienced. He’s also the only real male she can access under her father’s incredibly watchful eye. In the background of it all, Selena’s mother is a loving, nurturing, supportive figure. 

Selena Is Only On Netflix


While there has been much criticism of the Selena series on Netflix for the poor production value and over the fact that Christian Serratos is too old, and too skinny, to play the very young, curvy Selena, the story is one that is well told. You have to suspend disbelief a bit and suffer through a bit of low-budget mess to appreciate the heart of the narrative. It’s worth it. 

The extensive background on inspirations for songs, the music as an ever present supporting character, and the arc of the narrative make the Selena series far better than the film, and worthy of fans’ attention. The show made me fall in love with Selena and her music all over again. Stream it on Netflix now.