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The Art of the Arc, and How It's Helping Latinos on TV

The idea of having a multi-episode story within the series‘«Űthat may last three weeks, six weeks, or more

By Se Fija!
Published on LatinoLA: October 10, 2011


The Art of the Arc, and How It's Helping Latinos on TV


In looking at the new and returning TV shows for the Fall, two things jump out: 1) There are virtually no programs‘«Űnone, nada‘«Űwith a dominant or singular Latino theme (that is, a show about a Latino family, or where the lead is a Latino playing a Latino). And 2) There many, many shows‘«Űmore than thirty this fall alone‘«Űin which a Latino actor is in the every-episode cast (sometimes playing a Latino character, sometimes not).

What doesn't jump out quite as readily is the newest trend in TV programming: the arc. This idea of having a multi-episode story within the series‘«Űone that may last three weeks, six weeks, or more‘«Űhas become very popular as a way to bring on-the-fence viewers back more regularly, and to feature prominent, recognized actors that the series might not be able (or willing) to afford on a more permanent basis.

The number of Latinos showing up in arcs this season is really pretty amazing‘«™and a little hard to track. You may not see it on a lot of end-of-season scorecards, and a few of these people may actually become regulars or permanent cast members, but at the moment more than a dozen different programs have already featured, or will be featuring, Latinos in multi-episode arcs.

On CBS, you'll find Monica Raymund currently on "Blue Bloods." Later this season, she'll show up as a state prosecutor and possible love interest on The "Good Wife." And though Raul Esparza is listed as a 'guest start' on "A Gifted Man," he's shown up more than once as the head of a low-income health clinic with the Spanish name that figures prominently in the show; he's obviously set for more.

On NBC, Alfred Molina has just finished an awesome three-episode arc on "Harry's Law," and Mel Rodriguez is in the middle of a set of shows for "Community."

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