My Top 15 Best Argentine Telenovelas

Carolina

Carolina

Argentinian Carolina has an extensive movie background in the cinematic universe. She is our resident TV analyst and a seasoned expert in global streaming platforms. She showcases her comprehensive knowledge through her love for Netflix 'Originals', Frozen, The Good Place, and The Dragon Prince.

Argentina is a special case regarding telenovelas, and I’m not saying this because this is my country. The Argentine production was strong and rich until the military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983.

This regime was driven by censorship of content and persecution of actors, creating some kind of delay in its evolution.

During those years, freedom of speech didn’t exist, so the stories in telenovelas were highly controlled by the people in power.

With the coming of democracy in 1983, little by little, Argentine telenovelas caught up with the pace, but they lost the international slot for years.

In the ’90s, during a huge economic crisis, telenovelas began to revamp and be sold worldwide, regaining, once again, its past glory.

The new century found Argentina as one of the biggest producers in Latin America, not only exporting “canned” content but also selling ideas and stories.

Producers began to experiment with new topics and formats, creating telenovelas that broke the mould.

Currently, Argentine fiction is in crisis, a big one. For a couple of years, due to the forever economic crisis, production was decreasing. Not only telenovelas but other types of formats as well.

The invasion of Turkey’s telenovelas has a big influence too.

Now, fiction production for TV and films is facing its biggest crisis with the recent cut of subsidies from the national government.

But, let’s focus now on the best Argentine telenovelas. My favourite ones were already covered in this article.

This list is just a curated selection of titles that were popular in their time, and for some reason or another, they stood out.

1. Padre Coraje (Father Courage) (2004)

Action, Adventure, Drama – 189 episodes

Padre Coraje was a successful telenovela produced by Pol-ka Producciones for El Trece TV with an ensemble cast led by Facundo Arana and Nancy Dupláa. The story is set in 1952 in the fictional town of La Cruz.

The town is in the hands of powerful despotic people. When Alejandro Guerrico, one of the most respectful men in La Cruz is killed by people related to power, these same people, belonging to La Logia, decide to blame someone.

Coraje, a justice warrior, who is like a modern Robin Hood, is accused of the crime. Now Coraje must clear his name and do justice for Guerrico.

While heading to La Cruz, Coraje and his band see how Father Juan, the new priest to the town who none has met yet, is being assaulted by thieves. They fight the thieves, but sadly Father Juan does not survive.

Coraje sees an opportunity to dress as the priest and use his identity to infiltrate La Cruz and seek justice. Padre Coraje was part of the new trend of telenovelas where the classic tropes were mixed with action, suspense and crime.

The love story is, of course, part of the plot when Coraje, now as La Cruz priest, falls in love with a young woman from the town, who happens to be Guerrico’s daughter.

If you want to watch Padre Coraje, you can find it on YouTube in the official playlist by El Trece TV channel.

2. Resistiré (2003)

Drama, Mystery, Romance – 220 episodes

Resistiré was a game changer for Argentine telenovelas and also was the most successful in terms of audience, which any other fiction could beat yet.

Produced by Telefé Contenidos, this telenovela leaves behind the classic structure by mixing horror, suspense and drama in equal parts. This formula was new in Argentina, creating a social phenomenon.

To have an idea of how big Resistiré was, the last episode broke an audience record, and it was screened in the Gran Rex theatre with an audience of 3500 people.

The telenovela is composed of an ensemble cast led by Pablo Echarri and Celeste Cid, including Fabian Vena, Sandra Ballesteros, Carolina Peleritti, Daniel Fanego and Hugo Arana.

The story focuses on Diego Moreno (Echarri), a tailor working in a men’s clothing shop. He meets on different occasions a beautiful woman named Julieta (Cid), whose boyfriend, Mauricio Doval (Vena) ends up in debt with Diego.

When Diego loses his job and needs money to help his parents, he accepts Mauricio’s offer to work in his country house. There, Diego meets Julieta again, and they start feeling attracted to each other.

However, what Diego finds in that place is Mauricio’s disturbing secret, including organ and blood trade to be sold in the black market, along with a laboratory performing illegal experiments on people.

Now Diego must fight Mauricio to prevent this madness from spreading. As you can see, the main topics in Resistiré are far from the novela rosa.

I consider Resistiré as one of the best telenovelas of this new wave. Luckily, all the episodes are available for free on the Mi Telefé website.

3. Las Estrellas (2017)

Drama, Romance – 171 episodes

Las Estrellas was produced by Pol-ka Producciones for Channel 13. Although this series includes several tropes from the traditional telenovela, it’s also innovative in how it approaches the topics.

Las Estrellas follows five sisters from different mothers, reunited after their father’s death, Mario Estrella. The condition left by Estrella is if his daughters want to inherit his 6 million dollars, they need to be in charge of his hotel for a year.

They must work together and get along as sisters; otherwise, they lose the money. Las Estrellas has an ensemble cast of five beautiful young women featuring Celeste Cid, Marcela Kloosterboer, Natalie Pérez, Violeta Urtizberea, and Justina Bustos.

Even when the core topic around a group of characters very different from each other forced to work together is no new, the chemistry between the characters makes Las Estrella a great series.

What do I love about Las Estrellas? The lesbian relationship involving one of the main characters is portrayed naturally through the story.

Las Estrellas is available on YouTube in the playlist of the official channel of El Trece TV.

4. Esperanza mía (My Lovely Hope) (2015)

Comedy, Musical, Romance – 194 episodes

If you love the Sister Act films, you probably are going to love Esperanza Mía. Nuns, secret identities, and musical numbers.

What could be wrong? This telenovela was produced by Pol-ka Producciones for Channel 13, and it was an immediate success among the younger audience because of the main actress, Lali Espósito, who is a popular singer in Argentina.

The mix of musical numbers with romance proved to be a formula that never fails. Esperanza Mía follows Julia Albarracín (Espósito), a 21-year-old girl living in a small town in Buenos Aires with her adoptive mother, Blanca.

The pollution generated by the plant where Blanca works makes her sick, and she finally dies as a consequence. Before her death, Blanca gives Julia all the evidence about the responsibility of the factory for the pollution.

However, Julia’s life is in danger once she tries to go to justice.

She asks for help from her mother’s old friend, Concepción, who is the superior mother in the Santa Rosa convent. Concepción decides to hide Julia in the convent by changing her identity to Esperanza and disguising her as a nun.

As expected, Julia’s arrival at the convent goes hand in hand with conflicts, secrets, and, of course, romance. In the convent, Esperanza meets a young priest, Tomás Ortiz, played by Mariano Martínez.

Between them is born a romance that they must keep a secret because of their religious condition. Esperanza Mía had live shows in the theatre during the winter recess in 2015, and it also was a success in merchandising.

You can find all episodes on the official website of El Trece TV.

5. María de nadie (1985)

Drama, Romance – 220 episodes

After the success of Venezuela’s telenovelas starring Grecia Colmenares in other Latin American countries, the actress received a proposal from Peruvian businessman José Enrique Crousillat to make a telenovela in Argentina.

Grecia accepted, and María de Nadie was her first telenovela outside Venezuela. Based on a story by Delia Fiallo, María de Nadie follows the titular character, a poor young woman from the countryside who goes to Buenos Aires after her father’s death.

María is a humble and naive girl searching for a job to earn money for her mother and little brother. Once in the big city, she meets Juan Carlos Arocha, played by Jorge Martínez.

They develop a magical attraction filling all the tropes of the rich boy/poor girl love story. Of course, the path of their love is full of drama, tragedy, and secrets.

6. Muñeca brava (1998)

Comedy, Drama, Romance – 270 episodes

Muñeca Brava is the typical novela rosa with the trope of a poor girl in love with a rich boy. Starring Natalia Oreiro and Facundo Arana, Muñeca Brava follows Milagros (Oreiro), an orphan girl raised in a convent along with other orphans.

When she turns 18, she starts working as a maid in the house of the Di Calvo family, where she meets Ivo (Arana), one of the family’s sons. The relationship between Milagros and Ivo is complicated for several reasons.

Ivo has a difficult relationship with his family, mainly with his father. Also, Ivo and Milagros’ social difference is the first obstacle they must overcome, but then, they must face other threats like the suspicion of being siblings and Ivo’s short marriage.

There are three remakes of Muñeca Brava, Anjo Selvagem from Portugal, Al diablo con los guapos from Mexico, and La Tyson, corazón rebelde from Peru. Muñeca Brava is available on Netflix in Latin America.

7. Los exitosos Pells (The successful Pells) (2008)

Comedy, Drama, Romance – 160 episodes

Los exitosos Pells was a successful telenovela co-produced by Underground Contenidos and Endemol Argentina for Telefe.

Starring Mike Amigorena and Carla Peterson, Los exitosos Pells follows a married couple of successful anchors in the most famous news program in the country. However, their marriage and professional relationship are fake, they only put on a show in front of the cameras for the sake of fame.

Martin Pells (Amigorena) is an egoistic, manipulative and arrogant man who is about to sign a contract with a rival TV station, so his current boss, Franco Andrada, confronts him and in the heat of the argument, he pushes Martin.

As a consequence, Martin ends up unconscious and remains in a coma. Andrada hires an underground actor and drama teacher who happens to be very similar to Pells to replace him not only in the news program but also in his private life.

With humour, intrigues, and secrets, Los exitosos Pells derails a little from the classic telenovela. The success of the series made the story to be adapted to other countries.

Chile made its version under the same title, and Ecuador adapted it as El exitoso Lcdo. Cardoso, Mexico as Los exitosos Pérez, and Peru as Los exitosos Gomes.You can watch all the episodes of Los exitosos Pells on Telefe’s official website.

8. Vidas robadas (Taking Lives) (2008)

Crime, Drama, Mystery – 131 episodes

Vidas robadas is not your typical telenovela. Although it was originally conceived to follow the classic tropes with a side story about a heavy topic such as human trafficking, this subplot gained importance and weight through the story and among the audience.

So, the writers decided to change the focus, even changing the role of the main male character played by Facundo Arana. He went from the classic handsome guy to an action hero with a purpose.

The story takes inspiration from the abduction of Marita Verón, which shocked Argentina’s public opinion in 2003 and remains an unsolved case. Marita’s mother, Susana Trimarco, advised the writers and showrunners about her experience searching for her daughter.

The telenovela follows Juliana Miguez, a young woman living in a small town in Buenos Aires who is kidnapped and forced to be part of a prostitution network.

The story is developed on different fronts, one is Juliana’s journey in a nightmare world of prostitution and mafia, and another one is with her parents Rosario Soler, played by Soledad Silveyra and Juan Míguez, played by Patricio Contreras, who never give up in searching their daughter.

But also there are other subplots like the one following Bautista Amaya, played by Facundo Arana, an anthropologist who recently lost his wife and sees himself involved in the search for Juliana.

I don’t want to tell more about the story and the characters because I’m afraid to spoil the plot and believe me, this is a telenovela that is worth your time to watch.

Due to the main topic, this telenovela is among the ones with a social message, addressing a reality that is harsh but needs to be spread to raise awareness in the audience.

Although the reception was not as high as expected, in part because of the difficult topic and in part because it had to compete with an entertainment show from the rival TV station, Vidas Robadas left a mark due to its social message, being declared of social interest by the Legislature of the city of Buenos Aires, receiving a similar distinction from the National Chamber of Deputies.

Vidas Robadas is available on Prime Video in Latin America.

9. Soy gitano (Gipsy Love) (2003)

Drama, Mystery, Romance – 251 episodes

With an ensemble cast featuring Osvaldo Laport, Arnaldo André, Juan Darthés, Julieta Díaz, Romina Gaetani, Valentina Bassi, Malena Solda, Joaquin Furriel, Juan Palomino and Jilia Calvo, Soy gitano explores the loves, betrayals, and secrets of a gipsy family living in Buenos Aires.

The rivalry between two families, the Amayas and the Heredias, dating for 25 years, is still affecting the lives of their children and grandchildren. Soy Gitano follows the classic tropes of telenovelas, spiced up with Gipsy culture.

I didn’t pay so much attention when it was aired, but it was one of my mom’s favourites. Now, I wish I had spent more time with her watching it… Soy Gitano is available on YouTube in the official El Trece TV playlist.

10. Estrellita mía (1987)

Drama, Romance – 160 episodes

Based on the radio drama “El ángel perverso” by the legendary author Delia Fiallo, Estrellita Mía is among the eight adaptations this story has as a telenovela.

Starring Ricardo Darín, now a high-profile movie star, and Andrea del Boca, a telenovela legend, the story follows Estrellita, a peasant girl who goes to Buenos Aires with her sick mother.

After her mother dies, she goes with her biological father to work in his house as a maid. In that house, she meets Juanjo, a depressed man married to a disabled woman in a wheelchair, who is faking her condition.

Juanjo and Estrellita fall in love, and she ends up pregnant from the affair.

This incident leads to several dramatic events that make Juanjo and Estrellita’s relationship almost impossible. Estrellita mía can be found on YouTube in uploads made by fans.

11. Grecia (1987)

Drama, Romance – 153 episodes

When I say that the basic structure for any telenovela rosa is the Cinderella fairy tale, I’m not exaggerating. Grecia doesn’t hide this and openly says it’s inspired by the classic tale.

After the success of María de nadie, Grecia Colmenares shot another telenovela in Argentina.

The story follows the titular character, an orphan girl who grew up in a catholic orphanage after the mysterious death of her parents. When she comes of age, she’s sent to live with her aunt.

However, things get harder for her because of the hate of her cousin Jorgelina. Besides this, Grecia and Jorgelina are going to compete for the love of Gustavo, played by Gustavo Bermúdez.

Thankfully, if you’re interested in watching this telenovela, it’s complete on YouTube.

12. La 1-5/18, somos uno (2021)

Drama

This telenovela deals with a very Argentine topic, villas miseria. If you are from any other country in Latin America, maybe you know the concept, but for any other people, it could be hard to grasp.

Villa miseria is the Argentine term for a shanty town, mostly on the outskirts of big cities, sadly, lately, they’re spread everywhere. These settlements, besides the poverty, are often the refuge for criminals, drug dealers, and marginal people in general.

La 1-5/18, somos uno is inspired in a real villa in Buenos Aires, La villa 31. Some scenes were shot there. The story revolves around several people living in this place, dealing with poverty and the lack of rights, but trying to keep the community spirit by helping each other.

Can this telenovela be considered with a social message as it happened with Vidas Robadas? No, the plot just follows the basic structure of a telenovela with the novelty of the setting.

In my personal opinion, I think this telenovela romanticises the poverty, misery, and lack of dignity that, sadly, people living in these places are exposed to.

However, it was a great success and one of the last fictions produced in Argentina. This telenovela is available on YouTube on the official channel.

13. Más allá del horizonte (1994)

Drama, Romance, War – 200 episodes

Más allá del horizonte is a huge and epic period drama set in the 19th century. This telenovela was the first to be aired in primetime in Argentina, being a success among a varied audience.

This success allowed other telenovelas to be placed in primetime later, creating new production values and topics. Grecia Colmenares and Osvaldo Laport are the protagonists, playing different characters through the generations.

The story begins with María (Grecia Colmenares) recently orphaned and adopted by her aunt Asunción (Luisa Kuliok). She grows up with Victoria, Asuncion’s daughter, as they were real sisters, in the family’s ranch, La Esperanza.

When they turn 20, they move to Santa María city, where the love for one man, Sergeant Enrique Muñiz (Osvaldo Laport), creates a rivalry between them.

This incident is the trigger for betrayals, lies, and tragedy, which is passed on to the next generation of daughters and sons, who are ignorant of their origin.

The story covers more than 20 years in the lives of the characters, portraying not only their romances and misfortunes but showing a historical period with a lot of care in production.

Más allá del horizonte can be found on YouTube thanks to fans’ recordings.

14. Montecristo (2006)

Drama, Mystery, Romance – 145 episodes

The Count of Montecristo by Alexander Dumas has been the source of inspiration for many telenovelas. The reason is the novel itself is the cornerstone of modern melodrama, ticking all tropes of the genre.

Montecristo is perhaps the most ambitious adaptation of Duma’s novel in the telenovela genre.

Besides being a huge success regarding audience ratings, Montecristo became a social phenomenon by addressing an obscure and sensitive topic for Argentine society: the missing people during the military dictatorship between 1976 and 1983.

Here enters the excellent job by writers Adriana Lorenzón and Marcelo Camaño in taking a classic novel about revenge, betrayal, and love into current times and adapting some key plot elements from the original to Argentina’s darkest past.

The story follows Santiago Díaz Herrera (Pablo Echarri), a novel lawyer who is about to get married to Laura Ledesma (Paola Krum) and is betrayed by his best friend, Marcos Lombardo (Joaquín Furriel).

Most of the action takes place ten years later when Santiago is back to get revenge against the people who betrayed him and get back what he lost.

The last episode was screened on giant screens at the Luna Park Stadium in front of 7,000 people at the same time it was aired on Telefé.

Montecristo marked a before and after in the telenovela genre in Argentina, besides the audience success, it was the first fiction to address the missing people topic openly and put on the table the discussion about identity and the right to claim it.

Till today, Montecristo is the focus of social, psychological, ethical and political analysis by critics and intellectuals alike. Telefé Contenidos sold the story to several countries, currently, there are eight versions of Montecristo.

If you want to watch this telenovela, you can do it on the Mi Telefé website.

#15. Provócame (2001)

Drama, Romance – 131 episodes

Provócame is the type of telenovela I call “a guilty pleasure”. In fact, anything with Chayanne is a guilty pleasure for me.

I know that I’m not going to get the most deep story at all, but the Puerto Rican singer and actor has a huge dose of charisma to compensate for anything. When Chayanne was at the peak of his popularity, he got the proposal to make a telenovela in Argentina with two popular actresses to complete a love triangle in fiction: Araceli Gonzáles and the late Romina Yan.

With a strong ensemble supporting casting featuring Silvia Montanari, Dorys del Valle, Jorge D’Elía, Federico D’Elía, Gino Renni, and Lydia Lamaison, the story follows Pedro Balmaceda (Chayanne), a young man coming from Miami to Argentina as the caretaker of a famous jump horse named Chocolate, recently acquired by the Linares family.

In the ranch “La Esperanza”, Pedro meets two women, Ana Laura Villalobos Kent (Araceli Gonzáles) and Marisol Anzóategui (Romina Yan). Both of them fall in love with him.

However, Pedro falls in love with Ana Laura who is engaged to Mariano Linares (Federico D’Elía), while he develops a fatherly bond with Julieta, Marisol’s daughter.

Little by little, Pedro will realise he’s the key to unlocking many secrets from the Linares family. Provócame is available on the official Telefé channel on YouTube.

Summary

Argentina was once one of the major telenovela producers. This list is proof of the richness the country achieved through the decades in this genre.

Luckily, several of these titles are available for free on YouTube, and if you aren’t a Spanish speaker, this is a great opportunity to start practising the language.

I know many titles were left out because it’s impossible to include them all. Did I miss a telenovela you like? Please, let me know in the message box below.

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