This is not a drill, people. The ultimate telenovela ranking is finally here.
Besides giving us the best moments in the history of television, telenovelas also unite us as people. If you don't believe me, show this list to your parents and grandparents and see how they will either be thrilled by the memory of a long-forgotten show, or furious at the fact that I placed it well below the rank it deserved. Here are the best telenovelas from Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, and Brazil ranked.
15. Destilando Amor
This 2007 telenovela was a total hit, not least because it featured Angélica Rivera, who was rumored to be dating potential Mexican presidential candidate Enrique Peña Nieto (who would go on to become a controversial president). Angélica Rivera eventually became First Lady, and with this came a series of controversies, some of which involved a white mansion rumored to be hush money for her staged marriage to Peña Nieto. Only two months after he left office, she filed for divorce, but the nickname "Gaviota" (Spanish for seagull), which she got from the telenovela, will stick in our minds forever.
14. Gata Salvaje
This Venezuelan telenovela is full of firsts, as in it was first filmed in the United States and later released in Mexico, and not the other way around, which is what usually happened. It made history and is very much enjoyable. The story of an indomitable woman nicknamed the "wild cat" who overcomes every single obstacle she encounters. Good stuff.
13. El abuelo y yo
A children's telenovela featuring Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna as kids, the future Mexican hunks of Hollywood. It's about two friends, Alejandra and Daniel, and their adventures with Daniel's grandpa.
This teen telenovela included all the extreme highs and lows of being in high school. Even if you're not into telenovelas, you have to admit this is one of the best moments in TV ("What, try it! It's cocaine!").
11. El pecado de Oyuki
In 1988, Mexico was into comic books, which is why they made this telenovela. Set in Japan, "Oyuki's Sin" is about a Japanese woman (played by a Mexican) who falls in love with an Englishman. A story about forbidden love, if you will, with terrible consequences.
10. El clon
Science fiction meets telenovelas in Brazil. "The Clone" tells the story of a clone. Yes, a clone. This story takes place in Morocco and Brazil.
9. La vida en el espejo
This show got way, way too real. The story of a family that falls apart after Isabel, Santiago's wife, has an affair with a younger man.
8. Pedro el Escamoso
Pedro is not your average ladies' man. He's awkward-looking but exudes such confidence that, somehow, it gets him a long way with women. That's until he falls in love for real.
7. Sin tetas no hay paraíso
This Colombian telenovela tells the story of a woman who believes herself to be too flat-chested to have a sugar daddy, so she goes ahead and gets a boob job. Nice family fun.
6. Cadenas de amargura
A Cinderella-like story in which Cecilia is forced to live with her aunts, an evil one and a good one, who make her life impossible.
5. La usurpadora
The classic story of how an evil twin is replaced by the sweet, good-natured one, and chaos ensues.
4. Yo Soy Betty La Fea
The original version of Ugly Betty, which we all love, too. An young secretary with braces and a terrible haircut falls in love with her handsome boss. It's a testament to true love and proof that looks aren't everything.
3. The María Trilogy
Back when Thalia wasn't making viral Instagram stories, she was starring in the hottest telenovelas of the 90s. These included Marimar, María la del Barrio ("María from the hood") and María Mercedes. Though Thalia enjoys much of the spotlight, it also gave us Soraya Montengro, the most sadistic villain we've ever seen in a telenovela. This scene is a must-watch.
I don't care how much they may make fun of telenovelas now. This was great television.
2. Café con Aroma de Mujer
A Colombian classic that led to many remakes, one of which is included on this list, Destilando Amor. The story of a inheritance that will go to the grandson if he manages to have a male child before everyone else.
1. Cuna de Lobos
The telenovela that stopped time in Mexico. "Cradle of Wolves" tells the story of power struggle within a Mexican family. It was so popular, though, that in its final episode, the streets of Mexico, normally saturated for most of the day, were deserted. People were home, glued to their TV screens. And for that, it gets number 1.
Don't tell me you don't like telenovelas. These shows defined you, and you know it. Do you agree with my list? Tell us why or why not!
Write for us:
Do you have an idea for an article about Latin American TV shows? Click on this link and learn how you can become a writer for Cultura Colectiva+.
If you liked this, you'll like these other articles as well: