Mercado on TV: Veneno is visually stunning, reverberates with authenticity and is a wild ride


Don’t miss ABC’s Big Deal from comedian Christiaan Van Vuuren and director Craig Reucassel. Brilliant

Veneno (iview) is the most electrifying drama of the year. It tells the extraordinary story of transgender sex symbol Christina Ortiz Rodriguez who became a beloved TV superstar in Spain with a regular audience of eight million viewers. 

La Veneno, as she named herself, is portrayed by four incredible actors throughout her life. Guille Márquez plays little Joselito who redesigns his Holy Communion gown so he can sashay into the village chapel looking like a supermodel. Beyond outrageous.




Jedet, Daniella Santiago and Isabel Torres then take over to play the icon throughout her life, but there is another story as well. Budding journalist Valeria Vegas (Lola Rodriguez) is writing La Veneno’s autobiography and she struggles to figure out the truth from her new mentor’s exaggerations.

Veneno is visually stunning to watch and its quieter moments reverberate with authenticity. It is a wild ride over eight episodes and has much to say about bigotry and ignorance. Five stars, two thumbs up, don’t miss it.    

Big Deal (Tuesday on ABC) is an entertaining new documentary series about how political donations are ruining Australia. And comedian Christiaan Van Vuuren (pictured above) and director Craig Reucassel find plenty of humour and heart in amongst all the corruption.

The first episode should leave you stunned and angry, but the second episode will restore your faith in people power. Like The War On Waste, this is an important series that gives practical solutions on how people can make a difference. Brilliant. 

And Just Like That (December on Foxtel) is the upcoming Sex And the City sequel that will bring back everyone except for Samantha (Kim Cattrall). Imagine then if she was to get her own spin-off in which Samantha would still have wild sex but was also bringing up two adorable kids.

Can’t see it? Well that is the premise for Spreadsheet (Wednesday on Paramount+), the new Aussie comedy about lawyer Lauren (Katherine Parkinson). She is dating so many wildly inappropriate men, her obsessive gay best friend Alex (Rowan Witt) keeps a spreadsheet for her because he appears to have no life.



Spreadsheet is a hot mess, although nothing is messier than Lauren squatting in a work toilet cubicle while Alex takes a pic of her vagina while trying not to vomit because she is trying to identify which dick pic belongs to the man who has ejaculated a litre of semen into a jug. Seriously.

There is no joy in reporting that any new Aussie comedy isn’t great, especially with the decline in local production now that drama quotas have been dropped. Seven won’t even commit to a second series of RFDS and it was one of the best new dramas of the year. Sigh. 

Read more Mercado on TV here.

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