‘Vida’ Showrunner Tanya Saracho on Season 2, New Characters, and Social Feedback

     August 7, 2018

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From showrunner/executive producer Tanya Saracho, the Starz original series Vida will be returning for Season 2 with 10 half-hour episodes, which inevitably means more family and neighborhood drama. The story centers around two Mexican-American sisters, Emma (Mishel Prada) and Lyn (Melissa Barrera), from the Eastside of Los Angeles who couldn’t be more different from each other, but when circumstances force them to return to their old neighborhood, they find themselves dealing with a more family secrets than they ever could have imagined.

While at Starz presentation at the Television Critics Association Press Tour, Collider got the opportunity to sit down with show creator Tanya Saracho to look ahead to Season 2 and talk about the next steps for these characters, as well as what she learned from being a showrunner on the first season, providing work opportunities, relying on her team, and where things are at with the development of her Chicago-based Brujas series, which will follow four Afro-Caribbean Latinx women and using the brujeria counter-culture as a foundation.

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Image via Starz

Collider:  I’m so happy to be talking to you again, now that you officially have a second season. The first season really felt like it was only the beginning of this story and that there really is so much more story to tell.

TANYA SARACHO:  Those six episodes were like a three-hour pilot and you just get the story started, by the end. By the end, it felt like, “And now we can begin.” It was the prologue. Now, we have 10 episodes and I have to do a proper season. I’m learning a lot. I’m a sophomore showrunner.

If that was the prologue, how are you looking at Season 2?

SARACHO:  These sisters shook on it. They basically just had a handshake. That doesn’t fix their decades long broken-ness. I don’t think we can even begin mending the broken. We have to identify it first. Also, I don’t know what your experience is, but I’ve witnessed family going into business together, and it’s a nightmare. It never works. So now, they’re business partners and one of them is very business-minded while the other is learning a lot about herself. And then, you have the personal stuff that they have to deal with, too. It was only a little bit over a week, from start to finish, so nothing has moved too far. Everyone is not too far away from where we started.

Eddy (Ser Anzoategui), especially, is a character that we only just started to get a real sense of, by the end of the first season.

SARACHO:  I know! I feel like we had to deal with that, in the first season. For five episodes, you think that this traditional Latino neighborhood is so woke and so open. But don’t forget that our bodies are also sometimes not welcome by our own community. We are sometimes in danger. That needed to be said, in the first season, but I’m sorry to have left everyone with that. The fate of Eddy is still up in the air.

What’s it like to get feedback on the show, especially on social media?

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Image via Starz

SARACHO:  People have their opinions. We only had three hours of television. Now, I don’t want to let anybody down. That’s my own personal little struggle. People really attached themselves to the characters and felt represented in a way that a lot of brown, queer, young, Latinx people where like, “I’ve never seen myself reflected like that.” There’s so much responsibility with that. I don’t know the real answer. I do read things, but it doesn’t affect the story. It affects the conversation in the writers’ room. Do we have a responsibility to tell this story? We’ll have five hours of TV, and we, as Latinos, queers and women have a lot of issues. There are so many layers. They’re a family. They’re sisters. You start there, and then you have the whole world outside.

How much of what you’re going to be doing with Season 2 is what you thought you’d do with Season 2?

SARACHO:  For first season, I knew where we were gonna go. I knew how it was gonna end. The second season started when we were still editing Episode 6, so I didn’t have the time to dream. I love how this season has revealed itself. The characters are shouting out for their storylines, so we’re following them. I had an idea for a big life event for one of them, and then it didn’t go. That wasn’t where the character told us to go. I’m not talking about the actor, I’m talking holistically. I have a writers’ room that really believes in that, and Starz has been great. We pitch them something at the top, and then, upon more character whispering, we’re like, “This feels more organic.” So, we’re going where they lead us.

Television