November 18, 2019  (Web Review)

Velvet: Season 1

MHz, 5 discs, 1,210 min., in Spanish w/English subtitles, not rated, DVD: $39.99

Reviewer rating: 2.5/4

This Spanish period soap opera takes its title from the elegant art-deco-style women’s clothing store in Madrid where the action is centered in the 1950s. Velvet’s complicated narrative revolves around the marital prospects of handsome Alberto Márquez (Miguel Ángel Silvestre), who returns home after years of study in London just as his store owner father Rafael is hosting the annual unveiling of new designs. Rafael commits suicide during the festivities, leaving Alberto to deal with the sad fact that the operation is on the verge of bankruptcy. Fortunately, a solution quickly arrives in a bailout offer from a wealthy businessman, which comes with a condition: Alberto must marry his daughter Cristina (Manuela Velasco), who has long loved him. That conflicts with Alberto’s undying desire to wed Ana (Paula Echevarría), niece of the store’s manager Emilio, who works in the sewing pool under the rule of domineering Doña Blanca. As the Alberto-Ana-Cristina triangle plays out in high-rise offices and opulent hotels, and Alberto’s conniving relatives conspire to seize power, numerous mini-dramas arise among the employees on the sales staff and in the workshops below ground level as romances and professional ambitions collide and secrets from the past intrude on the present. While it fails to achieve the soap opera heights of Dallas or Dynasty, Velvet is a glossy guilty pleasure that should appeal to fans of those series. Presenting all 15 episodes from the 2014 debut season, this is a strong optional purchase. [Note: Velvet: Season 2, Velvet: Season 3, and Velvet: Season 4 are also available.] (F. Swietek)