“This goodbye is too bittersweet for words,” the showrunner said in a crafted letter Wednesday as Starz made public the cancellation of series starring Melissa Barrera, Mishel Prada and Ser Anzoategui. (Read the full letter from Saracho below.)
Having debuted on May 6, 2018, the Boyle Heights-set and LGBTQ-focused Vida saw estranged sisters Emma (Prada) and Lyn (Barrera) returning to their old East LA neighborhood to bury their mother, sell her bar and get back to their very different lives, only to discover secrets of identity, affection and community. A complex relationship with gentrification, on a variety of levels, also characterized the series, which I deemed one of the best new shows of 2018 – and is in my opinion is also one of the best shows of this Peak TV era.
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In that vein, just before Vida’s second season aired, the show won the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comedy series last year.
As dozens of shows go dark due to the coronavirus, the decision by the Jeffrey Hirsch-run Starz to pull the plug on Vida was actually made several weeks ago, I hear. Cast like In the Heights star Barrera and staff were long aware of where things were going. Still, post-production on Season 3 of Vida was concluded in the just past couple of weeks.
To that end, penned by an all-Latinx writers room, the six-episode final season directed by Saracho and Jenée LaMarque aims to bring the story to its intended conclusion, Saracho indicated today.
“I do hope you’re able to give this, our last season, a good send off, because let me tell you, it is a powerful one,” the Alliance of Latinx Theater Artists of Chicago co-founder added. “It is just as compelling as ever with some imagery and themes I’ve never seen on television before. I’m profoundly proud of it.”
Check out the trailer above. And here’s Saracho’s letter:
I have not been able to write this letter — every time I try my palms get sweaty, my heart does a cumbia beat and I get nauseous. It’s taken me days. Because no matter how you slice it, this is a farewell letter. So I’ll get that part out of the way: Season Three will be VIDA’s final season. Rather than dwell on the ‘hows’ and the ‘whys,’ what I’m burning to get to is the ‘thank-you’ part. That’s the part that’s making my chest ache.
When I began this journey three and a half years ago, I never dreamed that by the end of the process I’d be so wholly changed — mind, body and spirit — and that I’d be standing so strongly in my abilities to run and create a TV show the way it should have always been created: By us. When I started this, the landscape was a bleak one for Latinx representation. In the television landscape, the narratives about us were few and far between and were stuck on stereotypical. And I had only heard of one Latina showrunner who’d been allowed to run a show solo. Also for brown queers, there was truly no representation.
This is where the thank-yous begin: Because you championed our delicate and darling little series, we were gifted three beautifully compelling, trailblazing seasons of television. Sincerely, this is why I wanted to personally write this letter, to express that your support has meant everything. It has meant two renewals and validation that our brown narrative is worth telling. I will never be able to thank you enough for your reception and endorsement. Truly.
This goodbye is too bittersweet for words. I’d be lying if I said I’m not sad about not getting back into that magical writers room to keep crafting our story. But after all, I got to tell the exact story I wanted to tell, exactly how I wanted to tell it, and that is rare in this industry. I leave steeped in gratitude. Thankful to Starz for not just allowing VIDA to happen, but for being great co-parents as we raised her together. And grateful for the collaborators whose careers we were able to launch: Latinx cinematographers, writers, actors — almost entirely female — who are now out there and in demand. What a beautiful family we built. And what a beautiful show.
Mil gracias. I do hope you’re able to give this, our last season, a good send off, because let me tell you, it is a powerful one. It is just as compelling as ever with some imagery and themes I’ve never seen on television before. I’m profoundly proud of it.
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