A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Carmen puts her own needs aside in hopes of saving life of man she loves -- however, nobility of this sacrifice is sullied since the man she loves also happens to own her. Storyline involving young man who dies by suicide.
Positive Role Models
Lead actress is an Afro-Latina woman, a rarity for shows filmed in Latin America. This diversity is laudable; it's just too bad she's cast as a slave who is the love interest of her owner's son. Still, Carmen is a likable, optimistic woman who grows stronger with each challenge she faces.
Violence & Scariness
Carmen is tied to a post and burned alive, but special effects are so cheesy it doesn't have any major gross-out impact. A character is shot, others are whipped. A character dies by suicide, which is referenced but not shown.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some mild make-out scenes, no nudity.
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"Damn," "hell," "f--k."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult characters drink alcohol and smoke. Witchy potions work like knockout drops when slipped into someone's drink.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Siempre Bruja, which also goes by the English title Always a Witch, is a supernatural-themed series from Colombia about a 17th-century witch who escapes being burned at the stake thanks to a mysterious wizard and his time-travel skills. Carmen (Angely Gaviria) isn't only a witch, she's a slave -- and the show depicts her being sold to a light-skinned Latinx family, and quickly becoming romantically involved with the son (they are literally shown flirting with one another as she's on the auction block). The special effects are pretty low-rent, which makes any potentially scary or violent scenes less so. There are some mild kissing and make-out scenes, and language includes "damn," "hell," and "f--k." Characters smoke and drink, and witchy potions are brewed that act almost like roofies when slipped into someone's drink. The show is available to watch in a dubbed English version or in the original Spanish with English subtitles.
Is It Any Good?
While it's exciting to see an Afro-Latina woman in the lead role of a series set and filmed in Colombia, the exploitative "slave romance" storyline undercuts the progressiveness of this choice. Siempre Bruja simply lacks the depth to adequately explore the sticky issues of consent and exploitation inherent in this type of story, even going so far as to show Carmen making goo-goo eyes at her prospective new owner's son while she's on the auction block. Cristobal, meanwhile, is portrayed as "one of the good ones" -- not like the other members of his light-skinned family who own Carmen -- and he does heroic things on her behalf. This cheap treatment of a complicated subject is nothing we haven't seen before, and is especially disappointing to see in 2019.
The series is much more successful when it focuses on Carmen's adventures in modern-day Cartagena, finding her way as a magical fish-out-of-water who must adjust her 17th-century sensibilities while learning basic skills like how to use a smartphone -- along with more advanced subjects like interacting with the opposite sex as a free woman. She's a fun character, and definitely strong, if underdeveloped. It's an imperfect show overall, but hopefully, future seasons will find stronger and more empowered footing in stories that focus more on these aspects of Carmen's personality than in ill-advised romances.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.