New to Netflix and part of their Original content, Samantha is a Brazilian drama series that runs at about 30m per episode, of which there are only seven. First off, Netflix don't make it clear that it is dubbed, as Brazilian Portuguese is the original language so you may want to adjust the settings for subtitles if you prefer it that way. So now that's out of the way what is Samantha all about?
The premise for the show is that Samantha was once the most popular child in Brazil back in 1985 when she fronted a hugely popular live kids show but in the intervening years her star is no longer shining bright and she has to be content making a living performing the big hits from the show despite the fact that she is now about 40 years old. She also has two teenage children and is pretty much living hand to mouth but can't let go of the dream of being famous. She is married to Dodoi, a famous Brazilian footballer who has just spent 12 years in prison and while she initially wants nothing to do with him, she soon realises that his popularity could be the key to her renewed success.
Samantha is a difficult show to quantify. On the one hand it's pretty much how you would imagine a child star's life actually turning out if they can't keep up in the business and you do empathise with her as she re-imagines the glory years. On the other hand Samantha is thoroughly unlikeable both as a child and as an adult. The quintessential spoilt brat who made everybody miserable as a kid has not really grown up and is still willing to do whatever it takes to be famous again. And while there are some moments where you genuinely cannot believe the level of manipulation she will engage in to get what she wants, it does appear that she won't cross the line when it involves the well being of her family.
Samantha is well cast and Emanuelle Araújo plays the part brilliantly, hence the dilemma of both loving and hating her at the same time. The family dynamic is good as well as the obvious hurdles that a desperate person is willing to jump over to get what they want. But for me it just missed the mark and after a few episodes of being underwhelmed, I moved on.