Everyone knows the Queen. No one knows Isabel.
— First season tagline
Companion book cover.Eng Isabel
is a 2011 Spanish Historical Fiction
series produced by Diagonal TV and aired by national broadcaster Televisión Española
and its international station, the Canal Internacional
as a Spanish answer
to The Tudors
, the series follows closely
the various shenanigans that marked the life and later reign of Queen Isabella I of Castile, the Catholic
(1451-1504), beginning in the time when a teenage Isabel and her brother Alfonso are brought from reclusion in the Castle of Arévalo to the Deadly Decadent Court
of her half-brother, King Enrique IV, in Segovia. While surviving ridiculous levels of court intrigue, wars and treacherous advisors
, what was once a little girl so far in the line of succession that nobody though she had a hope to rule makes use of her own self-strenght and ambition to become the historical figure that we remember today as the Queen that united the crowns of Castile and Aragon through her unauthorized marriage
to King Ferdinand II, conquered Granada, sponsored Christopher Columbus
, founded The Spanish Inquisition
and expelled the Jews from Spain.
As of September 2014, the show is in its third season. The first one covers the period between 1461 and 1474, from the end of Isabel's childhood to her coronation in Valladolid; the second, from 1474 to the surrender of Granada and the expulsion of the Jews in 1492, and the third ends with Isabel's own death in 1504. It is debated if the series will continue without Isabel
, or be replaced by a Spiritual Sequel
centered around a different monarch.
Even before airing, the series acquired fame in its home country for its very Troubled Production
that nearly got it cancelled before its debut. Isabel
was expected (and advertised) to begin airing in the fall of 2011, but TVE pushed the premiere back a whole year after the first season was already completed as part of a Loophole Abuse
to conform with its government-approved budget, since TVE's yearly cost is based on the cost of programs that have aired
during said year. The series budget has not been disclosed but is believed to be high by Spanish TV standards, with former showrunner Javier Olivares merely stating that it is not superior to that of Aguila Roja
, also airing at the same time in TVE and reputed to be the most expensive Spanish TV series ever
. In the meantime the filming of the second season was put on hold and even the sets were dismantled. Diagonal TV went to the lenghts of organizing a premiere of the first episode on a Madrid theatre in May 28, 2012 to pressure TVE into airing their product. Luckily, when Isabel
finally began airing in the fall of 2012 the series was immediately met with success
, becoming one of TVE's most popular programs (averaging 20% share) and was praised by viewers and critics alike for its acting, historical accuracy, fabulous wardrobe design
and set design.
The series is available in DramaFever with English subtitles and has been acquired by stations in a number of countries in Europe and the Americas.
Since the vast majority of the series content is History, there will be no
covered spoilers bellow. Read at your own risk.