LAND OF WOMEN Review: Making Wine While Whining in Spain

Eva Longoria, Carmen Maura, Victoria Bazúa, and Santiago Cabrera star in the limited series, debuting globally on Apple TV+.

Managing Editor; Dallas, Texas, US (@peteramartin)
LAND OF WOMEN Review: Making Wine While Whining in Spain

Would you like a little whine with your grapes?

Land of Women
The first two episodes debut globally Wednesday, June 26, on Apple TV+. New episodes debut every Wednesday through July 24. I've seen all six episodes of the limited series.

Maybe it's just an accident of timing, but after watching the good-to-excellent crime thriller series Gangs of Galicia, which unfolds in Northwestern Spain, I was underwhelmed by Land of Women, which largely unfolds in Northern Spain.

Of course, the two series couldn't be more different. Gangs of Galicia speaks to our site's primary interests -- genre films and series -- while Land of Women is much more broadly described as a "dramedy," leaning heavily on its comic intentions. As such, it relies upon the audience responding to its particular sense of humor and the characters who exist in that realm.

Inspired by Sandra Barneda's best-selling novel La tierra de las mujeres, the series was created by Ramón Campos, Gema R. Neira and Paula Fernández, and was directed by Carlos Sedes. In the series, Gala (Eva Longoria) has just opened a wine shop in New York City when she discovers that her husband Fred (James Purefoy) is accused of stealing $15 million from a gangster, who dispatches two menacing hoods (Amaury Nolasco and Jim Kitso) to demand immediate repayment from Gala -- or else!

Frightened out of her mind, the privileged Gala follows her husband's example and takes flight, dragging her mother Julia (Carmen Maura) out of her retirement home and her daughter Kate (Victoria Bazua) out of college to the first safe place that pops into her head, namely, her mother's picturesque hometown of La Muga, Spain, in the heart of the wine region.

Upon arrival, and expecting to hide out in the old family homestead, they discover that it has been sold to Amat (Santiago Cabrera), who is the only male member of the local collective that has been growing grapes and making wine, not very well, it seems. Oh, if only Gala could help them, thanks for her superior knowledge of wine. ...

The entire premise, as laid out above, is obvious and groan worthy, for my taste, though perhaps one or two episodes weekly could be swallowed more easily. The good points about the show is that it endeavors to be super-positive and supportive of women at every stage of life -- including those who have transitioned, such as young Kate -- and those who have been incredibly promiscuous in their bed partners, such as the aging Julia, who cannot even narrow down who she might (or might not) have slept with in her younger days.

All this is presented as a broad comedy, which is fine, even if the overwhelmingly self-centered characters are not inherently appealing and spend far too much time bemoaning their fate when they're not whining about one another. It's all a matter of taste, of course, and I can't say that the series is entirely without merit, since the cast includes Eva Longoria, providing a vigorous lead; the wonderful Carmen Maura, the versatile comic actress and Almodovar favorite; and the flavorful Ariadna Gil, a longtime favorite, even if she's only in a slender supporting role here.

Also of note: the dialogue is mostly in Spanish, but there are lively exchanges about the differences in the Spanish language as spoken in Catalan, Mexico, and New York City, and that's rarely explored in films or television shows. Kudos to the creators, writers, and Eva Longoria for including those discussions.

The locations in Spain look sumptuously beautiful, so this could also be a show for lovers of landscapes and an excuse to drink wine, if one were so inclined to do so. As I write this, however, I am entirely sober, and I must admit it's a thumb's down for me.

Land of Women

  • Ramón Campos
  • Paula Fernández
  • Teresa Fernández-Valdés
  • Victoria Bazua
  • Eva Longoria
  • Santiago Cabrera
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Apple TV+Carmen MauraEva LongoriaSantiago CabreraVictoria BazúaRamón CamposPaula FernándezTeresa Fernández-ValdésVictoria BazuaComedyDrama

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