Mexican Telenovelas: A Deep Dive into Their Popularity and Impact

Mexican telenovelas

Mexican telenovelas are considered one of the country’s most successful cultural products in the international entertainment market, which is why Mexican culture is known in almost every corner of the world and Mexican telenovelas have contributed to the construction of cultural stereotypes.

For many years, Mexican telenovelas have managed to position themselves as the main productions, which is why they have been distributed in more than 70 countries.

While the Mexican telenovelas of the 80s, 90s and 2000s have focused on melodrama, nowadays we can see Mexican telenovelas that also focus on the economic, social and political problems that afflict more than one country, so that in addition to entertaining, their content makes many viewers feel identified with the problems that the protagonist may face.

It should also be noted that Mexican telenovelas have managed to diversify in order to be able to adapt to all types of audiences, so in Mexico there have been produced juvenile novels, children’s novels, comedies, police telenovelas and even period telenovelas; here we will tell you everything you should know about Mexican telenovelas.

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History of Mexican telenovelas

It was in the forties that the first telenovela was released on the American screen, while in Latin America, the first telenovelas were launched in 1950 on TV Tupi, these were adaptations of great works of classical theater, such as those written by Shakespeare.

It was between 1957 and 1958 that Mexico presented the first Mexican telenovela that aired from Monday to Friday, called Senda prohibida (Forbidden Path), the material was written by Fernando Villeli. Senda prohibida was broadcasted on Telesistema Mexicano and had a duration of 30 minutes; the story was about Nora, a small town girl who seduces her boss and manages to end his marriage, Nora after achieving her goal regrets the damage she did.

The importance of Televisa in Mexican telenovelas

Since their inception, Mexican telenovelas produced by the Televisa television network have been a success, which is why the channel plays an important role in the development and success of Mexican telenovelas.

Televisa has managed to touch the hearts of Mexicans and foreigners, mainly in the feminine gender, who through the channel’s productions have connected and have felt identified.

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Therefore, Televisa has undoubtedly a great cultural importance in the Latin American country, and this is mainly due to its dominance in the open television frequencies in Mexico and the fact that the channel controls most of the frequencies, however, it should also be noted that its audience in open television has been decreasing, and this is due to the growth of other entertainment options through other media such as streaming platforms and YouTube.

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What cultural impact do Mexican telenovelas have on Mexican society?

The first thing you should know is that telenovelas in Mexico are so successful because they offer complete plots and quality audiovisual productions. In view of this, the themes that are reflected in the telenovelas are inspired by daily experiences focused on a social sector, which is why in them we can see the characters developing in sectors of higher strata and in turn others in lower extracts.

Therefore, the social impact of Mexican telenovelas has to do directly with the storyline they offer, and many people feel identified with them, so they base certain aspects of their lives on what is shown on screen.

It is also important to highlight that the international success of telenovelas has made the Mexican culture known, so their success has had a great influence on the development of social and cultural values of Mexicans.

Common themes and plots

Mexican telenovelas are usually focused on melodrama, so we will see the main characters living sentimental problems, intrigues, deceptions and confusions. However, in recent years other genres such as detective, suspense, action, science fiction and dramatic comedy have been tackled.

Therefore, Mexican telenovelas currently offer controversial topics such as drug addiction, homophobia, crime, social problems and serious illnesses.

Telenovelas such as La Viuda Negra, La doble vida de Estela Carrillo, and telenovelas that focus on drug trafficking and femicides are inspired by real events that directly or indirectly identify Mexican society. On the other hand, telenovelas that focus on love resonate with the public since they offer a panorama that many people dream of.

International impact of the Mexican telenovela

For many years, Mexican telenovelas have stood out internationally, so many countries around the world are familiar with certain aspects of Mexican culture, such as its customs, gastronomy and social problems.

While Mexican soap operas of great success in the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s have focused on melodrama, showing a love story that has to face difficulties but triumphs in the end, for some years now, soap operas that reflect the social problems of Mexican society have also been successful at an international level, and one or another that seeks to reduce the tension in its viewers with productions of the comedy genre.

The international success of Mexican telenovelas has also caused audiovisual productions to diversify in order to adapt to all types of audiences, so Mexico offers telenovelas for all ages and social backgrounds.

The remakes of old Mexican telenovelas and those from other countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and Argentina have also received favorable results at international level, as was the case of Rebelde, a Mexican adaptation of an Argentinean juvenile soap opera that achieved an immeasurable success worldwide.

It should also be noted that the super productions that have toured the world have managed to launch several actors and actresses to worldwide fame, which allows the Mexican human product to demonstrate every day its great talent in the world of entertainment.

What are the outstanding Mexican telenovelas?

Learn all about the most famous novelas in Mexico:


It was aired from 1980 to 1981, and starred Lucía Méndez. Colorina tells the story of a prostitute who falls in love with a millionaire man. In the novela, the protagonist goes through various social and economic obstacles that make her mature and finally overcome her demons. The story was quite successful, transcended borders and allowed Lucía Méndez to continue reaping success.

Cuna de lobos

This classic Mexican telenovela aired from 1986 to 1987, was starring Diana Bracho and Gonzalo Vega, and featured one of the most outstanding villains, Catalina Creel, who was played by the iconic María Rubio.

Mexican telenovelas

Cuna de lobos tells the story of how the matriarch of a family fights against everything in search of power and fortune.

Wild Rose

It was aired from 1993 to 1994, and is considered one of the telenovelas that allowed Verónica Castro to catapult herself as an iconic actress of Mexican telenovelas.

Castro played Rosa, a humble woman who struggles to get ahead, Rosa’s life changes when she marries a rich man who offers her a better life, but this is truncated by her new husband’s family, who do not accept their relationship.

It is important to mention that this is one of the most adapted and successful novels in Mexico.

María la del barrio

Another of the great productions of Mexican telenovelas is María la del barrio, broadcasted from 1995 to 1996. The telenovela consecrated Thalia with her Marias trilogy.

Mexican telenovelas

This telenovela narrates the life of a poor, hardworking, beautiful and charismatic girl who becomes a servant in a family home where she meets the love of her life.

Itatí Cantoral, who played the role of the popular villain Soraya Montenegro, also participated in this telenovela.


Rubí aired in 2004 and tells the story of an ambitious woman who uses her beauty to become a millionaire, no matter who she tramples on in the process.

Bárbara Mori is in charge of playing the main character, as well as other prominent actors such as Sebastián Rulli and Eduardo Santamaría.


This is the most successful Mexican youth telenovela and brought Anahí, Dulce María, Maite Perroni, Alfonso Herrera, Christopher Uckermann and Christian Chávez to worldwide fame both on the small screen and in music.

Mexican telenovelas

The story narrates the life of 6 students who, while facing the common problems of adolescence, try to succeed in music with their band RBD.


This novela was the one that catapulted Angelique Boyer as one of the best actresses of the contemporary small screen.

It narrates the life of an ambitious girl who seeks success by climbing the social ladder and demonstrating her intelligence and beauty.

Love has no recipe

One of the contemporary projects that has achieved success is “El amor no tiene receta”, starring Claudia Martín and Daniel Elbittar.

Mexican telenovelas

The story narrates the life of two people from different universes who end up falling in love, proving that love has no recipe.

Production and distribution of Mexican telenovelas

Mexican telenovelas are of great importance for the country and are one of the audiovisual products that generate the highest income within the audiovisual production sector, thanks to their national and international sales.

Currently in Mexico there are two major producers of open television that offer stories that are not only seen in the nation but also in several countries around the world, Televisa and TV Azteca. The impact of Mexican telenovelas is so great that the major producers consider them their star product.

The commercial groups in charge of selling its programming abroad offer franchises of channel operations and video licenses, as well as marketing services and promote artists.

The distribution of novelas is divided into three regions: Latin America and the United States, with an office in Miami, Europe with an office in Madrid, and Asia and Africa, with an office in New York. It is also worth mentioning that since 2007 they opened an office in Shanghai to focus especially on the Chinese market.

You already know all about Mexican telenovelas, now tell us which is your favorite telenovela?

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