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Diablero Season 1: Buffy in Mexico, and a hot priest

Image from Diablero, currently streaming on Netflix

I chuckled when I realised the hot guy introduced sweaty after a run was a priest. I grew up Catholic, so did most of my childhood friends. At around 13, a new, young priest was assigned to the diocese. All the girls I knew at the local Catholic school had crushes on him. One of my closest friends would only attend mass if he was the one officiating. We later found out that the priest had to be reassigned because he confessed to feeling attracted to a parishioner, though they have never spoken (he would only see her attend mass on Sundays). So, yes, these things happen. Whoever cast Christopher von Uckermann as Father Ramiro Ventura has a sense of humour. Or just cruel. I feel for Nancy.

Backing up a bit from childhood reminisces, Diablero continues Netflix's admirable business model of giving us shows from various parts of the world. Set in Mexico City, it follows Elvis Infante (Horacio García Rojas), a demon hunter, as he helps a priest, Father Ventura, find the daughter he only just found out he had. Other members of the scooby gang include Keta (Fátima Molin), Elvis's sister who lost her baby eight years ago, Keta's ex Isaac (Humberto Busto), who is also an underground boss who occasionally hosts demon fights, and Nancy (Gisselle Kuri), who could invite demons to possess her and exert some control over them.

With only eight episodes in the first season, Diablero did not have enough time to fully address all the tantalising bits of mystery it introduced. What it did, instead, was set the table for this new world, show us some of its tricks and rules, and make us look forward to a second season (it is already available, though I have not seen it yet). One of the most promising aspects of the pilot for me was that the show was set in a city of 25 million people. Buffy, a show that I loved, was set in a small town; that immediately limits the casualty, and makes it easier for the demonic creatures to move around without being noticed. Diablero's setting carried with it a promise of a larger scale conflict. Imagine demons loose in a crowded mall or even a busy street. How about a demon that jumps from one body to another? The first season has not yet fully taken advantage of its setting, but I am hopeful the show will get there (the second season, perhaps?).

That being said, Diablero is an entertaining show, and it is anchored by a breezy performance by Mr. García Rojas. The show's conceit would fall apart if it were not for his easy presence. Still one of my favourite aspects of the show happened in the first episode, when Elvis used a soda bottle to contain a demon after he finished drinking it; it was a good snapshot of the character, cool under pressure and also, lower middle class. Mr. García Rojas is also ably supported by the rest of the cast. The horror aspects of the show weren't much, so it was perfect for a horror lightweight like me.

The first season of Diablero made me wish it had more episodes and was given more time to flesh out its narrative, to propel it with more force, more energy, more weight of the story, to its season finale. We haven't even seen Elvis use half those weapons he carried with him. But then again, I think back to those early episodes of Buffy. Saving the world is just another Tuesday, and that's not a bad thing.

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