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Cable Girls (Chicas de cable)

I must admit, I tried watching this show once and gave up halfway through and now I can’t understand why!  It’s so good and gripping from the moment it starts until the very end. This show is about women, their lack of rights, and their fight to be free.  The story starts off in Madrid, Spain in 1928 with our protagonist, Alba, trying to escape with her friend Gimena, but Gimena’s husband (or so we are led to believe) stops them and kills Gimena.  Alba gets arrested for her friend’s murder and makes a deal with the detective to rob for him in exchange for her liberty. And thus, her story begins there. 


Alba becomes Lidia to get a job as an operator at a massive telephone company in Madrid.  There she sees by chance her old boyfriend, Francisco – one who she became separated from due to a misunderstanding at a train station in Madrid.  He’s the head of the company and ensures that she stays there, where he can be close to her.  She becomes fast friends with some of the other operators who like her are also young women looking for independence and they support each other.  In fact, although there are love stories that form amongst many characters throughout the show, friendship plays a much bigger (and more important) role, especially amongst the women.   


A central theme in this series is also independence.  We see how back in the 1920’s, Spain (amongst many other countries in the world) was run by men, and women were seen as objects.  Women had almost no independence of any kind, and anything remotely close was still controlled by a man.  The show perfectly portrays how women can survive in a man’s world and the drastic extremes they must resort to for freedom. 


This series is 5 seasons and it’s available on Netflix with English and Spanish subtitles.  I would not officially recognize it for teenagers but given what they watch on Netflix, this is much more appropriate than other shows (such as Narcos).  However, I would not recommend it to students who aren’t in Spanish 4 minimum due to some of the more provocative scenes.  The fifth season (divided into 2 parts) is very tough to watch, as it occurs during the Spanish Civil War, and we see some of the brutality that people experienced during that time.  The darkest moments of the show are revealed, but it is worth watching it till the end.  There’s also mention of The Winnipeg, which is what my March 2023 book recommendation speaks about in great length, Largo pétalo de mar by Isabel Allende.  It talks about the Spanish Civil War and how Pablo Neruda, the famous Chilean poet, was charged with liberating many Spaniards by taking them on The Winnipeg, traversing the waters to take Spaniards safely to Chile. An added bonus is the list of actors, who if you’ve seen the previous shows that I’ve recommended, then you’ll recognize many of them, particularly Blanca Suarez (El internado & Abrazos rotos), Yon González (El internado & Gran Hotel), Martiño Rivas (El internado & Un puñado de besos), Maggie Civantos (Vis a vis), Nadia de Santiago (El tiempo que te doy) Concha Velasco (El Gran Hotel & Velvet) and Iria del Río (Velvet), amongst many others.  It’s a very talented cast and a very entertaining show!   



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