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YMMV / The Ministry of Time

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  • Acceptable Ethnic Targets: US Americans are the most recurrent enemies in the series and the collective that gets the most Take Thats after the Spanish government itself.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Philip II's death.
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: The first season did well critically and was a modest success in share, but knowing the penchant of RTVE executives for cancelling any innovative series that didn't turn into an unexpectedly extreme success, it was widely believed that El Ministerio would suffer the same fate as period detective drama Víctor Ros: receiving good reviews and a very significant share only to be cancelled and forgotten. However, it was averted in the end, getting renewed for a second season and then for a third due to the strong fan following. (Hilariously, Víctor Ros was Un-Canceled for one more season in 2016 too.)
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  • Awesome Ego: Velázquez. Alonso claims he had never seen a man so full of himself before, but Velázquez is still one of the funniest characters on the show. Would you expect less from one of the biggest painters of all time?
  • Badass Decay: Ernesto. A common perception is that he lost too soon his aura of uber-competence and badassery due to what is perceived as an excessive focus on his character failures in the early episodes. His dedicated episode "A Deal in Time" had a mixed reception at the best, and from then the storylines about his disfunctional personal life only increased in number and variety. The rest of the series also helped to this sentiment, as even when the episodes stopped being about him, he rarely featured moments of brilliance again.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Pacino. For some, he is a Replacement Scrappy for Julián who tries to replace the latter's wits with bad jokes and whose actor is basically fanservice and little more. For others, he is much more interesting and charismatic than Julián and makes a better team leader.
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    • Following the same route as Pacino, young Lola Mendieta was inevitably compared to Amelia and called in question as a worthy third member to the team. Some accuse her of being too similar to Amelia and thus making a cheap stand-in (though others, ironically, dislike her for being less good-natured and exposition-friendly than her), while others consider her an interesting addition and praise her as a source of moral ambiguity and development for the old Lola.
  • Broken Base:
    • The Reveal of Ernesto's past as Tomás de Torquemada's father. While some would have preferred another background for his character, others think it is interesting and fits him; in any case, pretty much like the Badass Decay example above, most think that the revelation of his secret past came too soon in the series and would have been more intriguing if they had kept it unanswered for more time.
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    • The time dynamics of the series are a point of contempt based just on how inconsistent and plot-driven they are. The fact that a popular fan theory about its workings was proved wrong precisely by the actions of the most controversial character at the time, Pacino, didn't help much either.
    • The supernatural elements in Episode 14, specifically Argamasilla's and Houdini's powers, are a deep breaking point because they were introduced out of nowhere, particularly in a setting that had never established that such things were even possible in the first place. Thus, while some people found them interesting, most viewers thought they were too out of context. Even worse, people who didn't like them were in fear that they might become recurring since Argamasilla was recruited into the 2016 Ministry at the end of the episode. (And it's even worse if you know and admire the historical Houdini's work debunking spiritualists, including Argamasilla.) The mentioned debate turned even more heated when, just as they feared, the supernatural elements only increased in Season 3, with Abraham Levi using Kabbalistic magic to travel through time and an ancient Iberian sorcerer turning a human immortal.
    • Is the series capitalizing truly on its arcs, or is it redoing the errors of Águila Roja and creating interesting storylines only to throw them away without using them?
  • Evil Is Sexy: You can hate a lot of Susana Torres, but not her looks or love for mini-skirts.
  • Harsher in Hindsight / Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Which category this falls into depends on how you look at it. When Walcott is captured in Episode 5 and taken to the Ministry headquarters, Salvador asks which year is it; Walcott promptly replies 1981 — the year in which he was when he was captured — only for Salvador to show him a newspaper dated in November 2015, the headline of which reads "Pollution in capital reaches worrying levels". Madrid actually had alerts for excessive pollution in November 2015 — only, this was aired in March 2015, eight months earlier, and probably filmed way before.
    • Chapter 19 has a character drastically change history, and it is pretty much comedy. Then comes chapter 21 and it becomes drama.
  • Inferred Holocaust:
    • While lighthearted, the series mentions repeately that preserving History is also preserving misery, injustice and deaths avoidable with present day technology.
    • In "Time of Slaves", Pacino overrules orders to free Tomasín and his mother only and sets all the slaves free. Except for Tomasín and his mother, all the slaves immediately jump on their hated overseer and begin to kick him, presumably to death. The slaves don't speak Spanish, and the patrol cannot tell them that there is no time to lose or how they can escape, so they are left behind in the 1850s.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Philip II. He takes over the Ministry, ensures the Armada Invencible wins and then rules over all times with an iron hand, taking out anyone that can be a threat to his empire. Then, after Amelia, Alonso and Julián manage to get him to halt his plans, he reveals that, even in this changed future, he is incredibly unhappy. And his death scene is really sad.
  • Narm:
    • The show usually averts Politically Correct History, but Amelia makes a quite out of field claim that Medieval Spanish Muslims were not invaders, unlike the Almoravids, and that they "lived in harmony" with the Christians. The truth is... more complicated than that.
    • The moment in Episode 25 in which Pacino looks directly to the camera and comments how "there is nothing original, but some ideas are more original than others." While it is not clear whether the line is meant to be a self-serving tribute to the show's writers or a Take That! to the NBC ripoff affair (see Follow The Leader above), any of the two is jarring enough for how clearly it is a case of Writer on Board. It doesn't help that the same episode features later a very prolonged scene between Salvador and Ernesto in which they go overboard with an Anvilicious Author Tract about Spain's sociopolitical problems.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Upon his first appearances, Pacino was disliked by a good chunk of the audience, who saw him as a bad replacement for Julián. It didn't help that Pacino's actor was mostly known for being a Mr. Fanservice instead of a classic performer like Julián's and that his character created a trite and badly received Love Triangle between the three main leads. However, after Julián was killed in Season 3 and his role was given full time to Pacino, the character development that came from the increased screentime helped him to warm up to the audience, and he is now considered by many to be actually more interesting and likable than his predecessor. Another point in his favor was the removal of Amelia, which took away the love triangle altogether.
  • Seasonal Rot: An episodic rather than seasonal effect: both the first and the second seasons were perceived to have a noticeably decline in the quality of the episodic plots through their run. The effect is especially notable in Season 1, comparing the critically successful "[1]" pilot episode to the confusing and disappointing "The Legend of Time" finale. The second season, however, subverted it by compensating several late mediocre episodes with the divisive but generally well received "Change of Time" finale.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: Season 1 had major Ship Tease involving Julián and Amelia — even turning to Because Destiny Says So —, but after Pacino started showing interest in Amelia in Julián's absence (heck, they actually make love before he returns to the 80's), an important part of the fanbase split into Team Julián and Team Pacino, Captain America: Civil War Gag Sub included. And now the bad news for Team Julián: he got McLeaned in the season 3 premiere.
  • Special Effects Failure: The CGI door that is lowered when the Ministry goes in quarantine in Episode 13 looks like it came straight out of Half-Life. It must be said that there are few of those moments: many shots throughout the series are actually made in CGI, and the result is more than acceptable.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Many were disappointed that Ernesto was not Torquemada himself, having found redemption after his historical "death" and feeling shame for his own acts, rather than his bloodline. The final storyline actually makes less sense by abusing the already unrealistic Identical Grandson trope.
    • A very popular theory was that Ernesto came from the future, which would open a new door over the established rule of no doors towards the future, but after it was Jossed, his secrecy turned to be simply shame to being the father of one of the most despicable figures in Spanish History. Many people would have prefered the former.
    • Even although his very nature as an immortal was frowned at by many, Arteche would have been an invaluable character to develop as a regular Ministry agent thanks his multiple involvements with history, his relationships with Alonso and the never seen Iberian wizard, and his past allegiance to the Sons of Padilla. Instead, he got disposed of in just one episode, and even worse, entirely offscreen.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • The time dynamics of the series could have been a case of You Already Changed the Past: by correcting the possible changes in the past, the Ministry was allowing the present to happen, but as the present had already happened, it implied that every attempt to change the present from the past would be unsuccesful and that the heroes would never fail their mission. This theory was Jossed at the second season, but there are people who would have prefered it.
    • When the team first arrives in 1808 and Carrasco gives them horses to reach their destination, Julián confesses that he cannot ride. This seems like the beginning of a Gilligan Cut to Julián receiving express riding lessons, or having to (shamefully) share a horse with one of his companions, for example. However, in the next scene he is riding alright, just a little bit less confident than his companions are.
    • Sadly, when Queen Isabel (Michelle Jenner) and Julián (Rodolfo Sancho) meet, the only reaction comes from Julián, who swears he has seen the Queen before. Rodolfo Sancho was the actor who played King Fernando in the RTVE series Isabel (see Casting Gag).
      • From the same episode, they had Eusebio Poncela reprise his role as Cisneros, but the confidant of Isabel at that point in the mother series was still Talavera (as Cisneros didn't join the court until one year later, both in reality and in the series). Talavera was an enemy of Torquemada and could have been used to play a part in the plot to save the rabbi.
      • Later, when Christopher Columbus appears on the series, he is a rather different character from his version from Isabel, and is played by a different actor. They could have got an interesting continuity point by bringing him again as the original one.
    • In Episode 19, Lombardi (a journalist who has been trying to find proof of the Ministry for several years) travels back to the past and becomes enshrined as the one who found America. Unfortunately, this is only used for a few jokes about people not even knowing Christopher Columbus before the team travels back in time and fixes history.
    • While the Season 2 finale had its detractors, most people were unanimous in that its premise (King Philip II using the time doors to take over Spain in all ages, rewriting the series's story) was a very strong plot. Many people think it would have been worthy of an entire arc, or at least something more than a single episode (in fact, the same season had already featured a two-part episode), as it ended up feeling rushed and too compressed.
  • The Woobie: Philip V. Mad as a hatter, he tells Julián in a lucid moment that he misses France and is fed up of being the king, and mentions sadly he is the king only because his wife forced him to retake the crown after the death of his son (who had become king after Philip abdicated). It manages to turn his earlier funny scenes from tongue-in-cheek shows of lunacy into sorrowful signs of how broken and overwhelmed by his reality he is.

Alternative Title(s): El Ministerio Del Tiempo


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