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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 and culture themselves.
  • 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, released in the same year: 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 the next year too.)
  • Ass Pull:
    • While not unforgivable, it is jarring that there was a working time machine in the series after all, despite Salvador having emphatically stated there was no such thing other than the naturally generated time doors (and the introduction of the anacronópete in Season 4 only made it even more blatant). Considering it took just one season for the first time machine to be introduced, one wonders if the creators would have not done a better job in the long run by having Salvador being a bit less taxative with his answer.
    • Argamasilla's and Houdini's powers, as the setting had never established that such things were even possible in the first place. The same with Levi's magic.
    • In Episode 42, Lola appearing in an anacronópete to meet with the similarly elderly Pacino, without any further explanation about how, when and where they got their rendezvous.
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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 an excessive focus on his character failures during 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, almost turning him into a Butt-Monkey. 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 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, while others dislike her for being too different, specifically less good-natured and exposition-friendly than Amelia. However, a more positive side considered her an interesting addition and praised her as a source of moral ambiguity and development for the old Lola.
  • Bellisario's Maxim: The series's time travel rules amount basically to what the plot needs at the moment, often changing from an episode to another without any commentary, so viewers started invoking this a long time ago on the idea they are to be enjoyed rather than analyzed.
  • 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.
    • The time dynamics of the series are a point of contempt based just on how inconsistent and ever-changing they are, with its rules amounting basically to "what the episode's plot demands". The fact that a popular fan theory about its workings was proved wrong precisely by the actions of the most divisive 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. Thus, while some people found them interesting, most viewers thought they were too bizarre and out of context. It's even worse if you know and admire the historical Houdini's work debunking spiritualists, including Argamasilla.
    • Is the series capitalizing truly on its ideas, or is it committing the mistakes of Águila Roja and creating interesting storylines only to throw them away after having barely used them?
    • Julián's controversial actions at the end of Episode 41, when he comes back in time to save his wife Maite. Some defended this route, claiming it was a matter of time that the character evolved into trying to do (again) something like that, while others exploded on the belief it undoes all of his character development since the start of the series, ruining also his ship with Amelia and the promising storylines that had been tied to him in the same season. Director Olivares didn't precisely help matters by claiming in Twitter that "Julián IS ''The Ministry of Time" and replying to a fan "don't touch Julián or else I will become pissed off", leading to accusations that Julián is openly a Creator's Pet.
    • Salvador's decision to kill the infant Salcedo at Episode 42. While some would have not preferred another option to move him into his further motivation to retire from the Ministry, others believe it was insultantly out of character for a benevolent and wise character like him, especially with all the resources he would had in order to secure him (which is exactly what Ayala, not being a Ministry agent, figured out to do).
  • Cliché Storm: The Season 4 finale in year 2070 crammed up just every Cyberpunk/Distopy cliché imaginable in a matter of minutes, as well as an incredibly unsubtle Whole Plot Reference to the last installments of Terminator that got even name-dropped. Of course, it could hardly have been another way.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: The exchange between Díaz Bueno and his mental hospital's psychiatrist is such a massive mix of Take That, Audience! and Genius Bonus that it comes across as just hilarious.
    Bueno: With this machine I will be able to travel through time. It's the anacronópete, you know it, don't you?
    Doctor: No.
    Bueno: [nonchalantly] This country lacks so much culture. You're a good proof of it.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending:
    • 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.
  • Evil Is Sexy: You can hate a lot of Susana Torres, but not her looks or love for mini-skirts.
  • Growing the Beard: The fanbase is split about where was the point in which the series finally established its place, but most are unanimous in that Season 4 is being the better yet.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • 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.
    • Episode 19 has a character drastically change history, and it is pretty much comedy. Then comes chapter 21 and it becomes drama.
    • On the first episode, before Salvador gets to show Julián the time doors, he has already mentioned time traveling, prompting Julián to quip "Right. So the time machine exists, and it is Spanish", to which Salvador responds introducing the time doors. Come season 4, turns out the time machine does exist, it is Spanish (the Anacronópete)... and the bad guys own it.
    • The Season 3 finale involves the characters spreading a deadly virus originated in the past to prove how dangerous uncontrolled time-travel can be. By 2019, the pandemic would have caused the collapse of civilisation (at least in Spain). Then the real 2020 happened.
  • Idiot Plot: Episode 41, praised by critics and fans alike as it might be, is entirely moved in this fashion. Its very premise has Salvador hiring a body double for the king Ferdinand VII, only that the actor is kept unaware of the time travel and gets told that he is just participating in a weird experimental TV format - something that turns out so predictably disastrous that they end up having to tell him about it nonetheless, thus destroying all the plan's purpose. The reactions of the rest of characters also make it look like Castelló is the Only Sane Man of the episode.
  • 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... certainly 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 in the Trivia page), 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.
    • In Episode 39, Carolina discovering Julián's and Alonso's corpses due to her failure during the mission is a shocking, powerful moment... that gets immediately marred by her reaction, a hysterical, choky "Fuck, I screwed up - fuck, I screwed up".
  • 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 classical performer like Julián's and that his character created a trite Love Triangle between the three main leads. However, after Julián was supposedly 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 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.
    • A more specific example happens with the supernatural stuff. People who didn't like Argamasilla and Houdini were in fear that the gimmick might become recurring since the former was recruited into the 2016 Ministry at the end of the episode. While the character never appeared again, they were ultimately proven right when the supernatural only increased in Season 3, with Abraham Levi using Kabbalistic magic to travel through time and an ancient sorcerer turning a human immortal.
  • 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.
  • Spoiled by the Format: An aspect the fandom has been consistently unanimous since the series's very beginning is how infuriatingly spoiler-charged the previews for the next episode tend to be, with the usual case being that just every twist in their plot is shown in detail in the montage. Season 4 probably broke the camel's back with its Episode 42 preview spoiling a twist that had been entertained by fans since Episode 1 of all things.
  • Strangled by the Red String: While Episode 40 received critical acclaim by his plot, acting and touching homage to the until then rather unknown Spanish inventor Emilio Herrera, the interactions between the young Salvador and Sofía make an unfavorable contrast for how quickly compressed their romance feels. Judging for the episode's events, they have their first steamy makeout session mere days after being introduced to each other.
  • 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 (although it has to be questioned whether the producers would have allowed the show to become so gritty). 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 preferred 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 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:
    • 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 embarrassingly share a horse with one of his companions. 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 on paper. 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 for its many possibilities.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Characters are not wrong whenever they opine Velázquez is an arrogant prick, but Salvador in particular becomes positively volcanic towards him every time Velázquez doesn't immediately comply to his requirements, even if it is very minor business. This sometimes makes it look like it is Salvador and not Velázquez the one who is being unapproachable.
  • Values Dissonance: The show's creators seemed to invoke this in Season 4, whose preview even oddly emphasized the scene of Luis Buñuel speaking about charging deliberately against anything forbidden. Previous seasons, produced during the double term of right-wing Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, would usually take potshots towards his party's stance, most famously taking the Adolf Hitlarious approach when portraying Francisco Franco. Now under the term of the left-oriented Pedro Sánchez, however, they took the opposite route instead, re-introducing Franco as a Magnificent Bastard and making sex-positive jokes about prostitution (another big no-no for the time) in the same episode.
  • 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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