Controversial new Netflix series Griselda has received mixed first reviews ahead of its worldwide release on January 25.
Sofia Vergara, 51, stars as Miami’s ‘Cocaine Godmother’ Griselda Blanco in the six-part series – which tells the story of how Blanco’s legendary reign paved the way for the most infamous Colombian cartel.
However, while Vergara has been praised for her depiction of Blanco, the show has been slated by critics over its ‘pacing issues’, ‘shoddy’ scenes and ‘one-note’ supporting characters.
The Hollywood Reporter critic Daniel Fienberg writes: ‘As dramatically shoddy as Griselda increasingly becomes, Vergara keeps it watchable. The hardest-working member of the Modern Family cast — she consistently elevated Gloria from walking stereotype to intricate punchline machine, yet never won an Emmy.
‘Vergara, an executive producer here, deserves full credit for unveiling a whole new set of serious chops.
Controversial new Netflix series Griselda – starring Sofia Vergara – has received mixed first reviews
‘She never makes Griselda quite as frightening as the real woman was — an opening quotation from Pablo Escobar admitting to being afraid of her makes it particularly odd that Escobar isn’t used as even a minor character — but she locates Griselda’s insecurities and her brains even from under the layers of makeup.
‘What keeps it from being a truly great performance is the absence of any sort of worthy scene partner, though co-stars Vanessa Ferlito and José Zúñiga have a scene or two where they come close.’
Further criticism was leveled at ‘one-note figures’ such as Martin Rodriguez’s Rivi and Maximiliano Hernández’s Papo.
Loud and Clear critic Clotilde Chinnici gave the series two and a half stars out of five and took aim at the character development and pacing of the show – but praised ‘magnetic’ Vergara’s acting.
The review reads: ‘While the stakes of Griselda are clearly high, some of the conflict feels a bit artificial at times and overly dramatized to move the plot along. Similarly, the motivation of the characters, and their development, such as Darío and ever Griselda in the last two episodes, is not always clear and often rushed.
‘I found the overall issue with Griselda to be a pacing one. Some plot points are introduced and dropped too quickly for me to actually care or have time to understand their repercussions, especially in the second half of the season, which ultimately hurts the feeling of danger and threat Griselda seems to be constantly under.
‘The episode structure also does not help as it always follows the same formula, with a slow beginning and cliffhanger high stakes ending, and thus becomes fairly predictable by the end of the show.’
Lauding Vergara, the review added: ‘Griselda always remains the sole focus on every single scene she is in, thanks to Sofia Vergara’s magnetic acting. Despite Griselda being the main character the series is centred on and the dramatized re-edition of the story we see in the series, I did feel like the show left me wanting more. Her character development seems rushed at times and her motives are too unclear by the end of the Netflix show.’
Sofia Vergara , 51, stars as Miami’s ‘Cocaine Godmother’ Griselda Blanco in the six-part series – which tells the story of how Blanco’s legendary reign paved the way for the most infamous Colombian cartel
Star Tribune critic Neal Justin branded Vergara’s performance ‘game-changing’ and predicted she would win an Emmy for the role.
The review reads: ‘Sofía Vergara got famous for playing a Charo clone on Modern Family, getting laughs off her cartoonish physique and mangling of the English language. Her future as a Colombian cuchi-cuchi star seemed locked. But first looks can be deceiving.
‘It’s worth noting that Charo is actually a brilliant flamenco guitarist. And Vergara can do a heck of a lot more than pretend to have the hots for Ed O’Neill. The proof is in “Griselda,” a powerful new series that starts streaming Thursday on Netflix.
It’s the story of real-life drug lord Griselda Blanco, who controlled much of the cocaine market in Miami throughout the 1980s. Vergara uses wigs, fake teeth and prosthetic eyebrow covers to sell her transformation to become a dramatic actor.
‘But it’s her cold-blooded fierceness that really convinces viewers she’s stepped far away from the sitcom world. She’s at her best in the second half of the six episodes when her addiction to coke and power leads to a downfall. She thinks she’s going to be Michael Corleone, but she’s really Tony Montana.
‘There’s a captivating B story about a detective (Juliana Aidén Martinez) who seems to be the only cop in Florida who refuses to underestimate Blanco. But this is Vergara’s showcase. Don’t be surprised to see her making lots of acceptance speeches come awards season.’
However, while Vergara has been praised for her depiction of Blanco, the show has been slated by critics over its ‘pacing issues’, ‘shoddy’ scenes and ‘one-note’ supporting characters
Roger Ebert critic Cristina Escobar also gave the series two and a half stars, branding the show an ’empty vessel’ writing: ‘Those who enjoyed Narcos and Sons of Anarchy will find plenty here to entertain them on the surface, but in terms of larger social commentary or insights on the state of Latinidad, it’s an empty vessel.
‘Ultimately, Griselda is a high that leaves you a little worse for wear.’
Variety critic Aramide Tinubu lauded the high-octane drama, writing: ‘Fast-paced and well-acted, the show is brutal, fascinating and full of high drama. It all begins with a bold escape.’
‘Martín Rodríguez’s turn as Jorge ‘Rivi’ Ayala-Rivera, a top-hitter in Miami, is one of the most mesmerizing performances of a criminal mastermind on TV recently.
‘Slithery, erratic and sensual, he has a disturbing presence anchoring the audience in the era and super-specific world.’
This comes as it emerged Vergara is being sued by GBlanco’s estate who want to block the new Netflix series over its alleged ‘unauthorized use of their family’s image and likeness.’
One critic said: ‘Martín Rodríguez’s turn as Jorge ‘Rivi’ Ayala-Rivera, a top-hitter in Miami, is one of the most mesmerizing performances of a criminal mastermind on TV recently’
Vergara who was slammed by the son of ‘Cocaine Godmother’ Blanco, stars in the series which tells the story of how Blanco’s legendary reign paved the way for the most infamous Colombian cartel.
A lawsuit obtained by TMZ and launched by Blanco’s adult kids acting as representatives for her estate, names Vergara as a defendant and Netflix – with the estate suing both parties over what they claim is the unauthorized use of their family’s image and likeness in this upcoming series.
The series is set for release on January 25 – but the family are trying to block its release and have asked a judge for an injunction.
Giselda’s son Michael Corleone Blanco claims he has been doing interviews for years to try and get his and his mother’s life story on paper in the hopes of developing into a production.
A lawsuit obtained by TMZ and launched by Blanco’s adult kids acting as representatives for her estate, names Vergara as a defendant and Netflix – with the estate suing both parties over what they claim is the unauthorized use of their family’s image and likeness in this upcoming series (pictured Michael Corleone Blanco – Griselda’s son)
He alleges these interviews date back to 2009 and continued until 2022.
He claim the unnamed parties wanted to develop the story into a book – and says they told him they’d start shopping it around Hollywood in 2016
He alleges they pitched it to a producer ahead of a meeting with Netflix about it and claims he was then told Netflix was interested – but did not want to use any of the information from the interviews he had done.
Michael says he has now learned the new Griselda show does include a lot of his anecdotes and material – and says he was not paid.
He and his siblings allege Netflix ripped off their family story and weaved it into the plot of their show – with the children claiming use of their own images and likenesses in the show without their permission violate their rights.
DailyMail.com has contacted representatives for Vergara and Netflix for comment.
This comes after Michael spoke exclusively to DailyMail.com about his anger and disappointment over the fact Sofia and her team refused his offer to consult on the project.
He labeled the rejection a ‘slap in the face’ – and said they ‘wouldn’t have got away with it’ if his mother was still alive.