You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV Review: ‘Jane the Virgin’ Season 2


Gina Rodriguez, Andrea Navedo, Justin Baldoni, Yael Grobglas, Brett Dier, Ivonne Coll, Jaime Camil, Anthony Mendez, Yara Martinez, Bridget Regan, Priscilla Barnes, Emily Baldoni, Robert Clendenin.

The collective exhale can begin. Loyal viewers of the CW comedy “Jane the Virgin” may have had some fears about whether it would be able to sustain the quality of its freshman season, but judging by the first episode of season 2, Jane Villanueva and her friends and family are in safe hands. If anything, the season 2 premiere is an even more accomplished distillation of the show’s consistently invigorating mixture.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about “Jane the Virgin” is that it makes its addictive blend of tones and stories look easy to pull off, but it’s difficult to think of a show that unites more on-screen elements and moving parts. The season premiere contains the usual strategically deployed texts, amusing (and informational) chyrons, diverting narration, not to mention heartfelt family drama, slapstick physical comedy, the occasional dash of melodrama and sly social commentary. Add in the season premiere’s healthy dollop of forward movement in the plot, and the energetically paced episode could have been a train wreck. It’s anything but.

In the opening minutes, the narrator (the indispensable Anthony Mendez) briskly gets the audience up to speed and reminds viewers that season 1 ended with the kidnapping of Jane’s newborn, Mateo. Though the machinations that set that in motion are referenced and the name of the villainous Sin Rostro is mentioned now and again, “Jane” doesn’t delve too deeply into the crime-solving aspect of the Villanueva story. The show has always been grounded by its characters’ relationships and aspirations, and Jane’s adjustment to being a new mom is the core of the premiere’s beguiling comedy and effectively sincere drama.

Despite its commitment to Jane’s emotional arc, the show remains chock full of laugh-out-loud moments. The use of one creatively deployed on-screen element is likely to induce many chuckles, and there is a scene in the opening minutes of season 2 that depicts Jane (Gina Rodridguez) attempting to run mere hours after giving birth. Most shows wouldn’t be able to segue beautifully from that goofy sequence into an emotionally resonant moment, but “Jane” unites heart and humor like few other shows on the TV landscape.

Perhaps because the season opener has to do a fair amount of recapping on the status of various characters and story lines, audiences are treated to a lot of Mendez’s narration in the episode, but that is, of course, only a good thing. Most shows struggle to unload exposition gracefully, but “Jane” has managed to turn one of the “eat your vegetables” aspects of television storytelling into a candy-coated treat.

Though the show’s entire cast is full of actors who clearly relish finding every gradation of heartbreak, silliness and hope that creator Jennie Snyder Urman throws at them, Mendez remains a standout in this accomplished cast. The Narrator is not just a conveyer of information, he’s a personality in his own right; a witty pal who roots for the characters even as he wryly describes their missteps, confusion and conflicts. If only the technology existed to make the Narrator and the delightfully self-regarding Rogelio (Jaime Camil) the voices of an app that could narrate viewers’ lives. Even though Jane’s life isn’t glamorous, having it described by Mendez — or observed by the blithely oblivious Rogelio — makes even the most workaday existence seem 40 percent more fun.

With ease and assurance, Rodriguez reminds viewers why she won a Golden Globe for her performance as Jane. The character’s intense desire to be a good mother is palpable, and yet with nothing more than a raised eyebrow, Rodriguez can find the amusing aspect of any scene. Both of her exes, police detective Michael (Brett Dier) and hotel owner Rafael (Justin Baldoni), remain understandably besotted with her, and yet the show’s focus remains the Villanueva women and the strong bonds they share. As the clan adjusts to the changes wrought by the arrival of a child, everyone in Jane’s orbit is recalibrating his or her relationships and expectations, and as Jane’s beloved abuela, Alba (Ivonne Coll), reminds her own daughter, Xiomara (Andrea Navedo), sometimes the most powerful thing a mother can do is allow herself to admit she feels overwhelmed.

Thanks to the legacy of the great TV dramas of the last two decades, there’s a strong association between quality and darkness in the one-hour realm, and of course no one would argue that shows like “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men” are not tremendous accomplishments. But angst, a thirst for power and self-loathing are not the only effective vehicles for telling affecting stories about the human condition, and “Jane’s” quiet insistence on its heroine’s complexity and goodness never gets in the way of the show’s ability to be funny, surreal and frequently moving.

In any case, the innovative blend of form, mood and tone in “Jane the Virgin” continues to be an accomplishment of the highest order. It is envisioned, edited and curated with great deftness and economy, and the fact that it is so entertaining and accessible should not preclude it from being at the center of conversations about the best the medium has to offer.

Rogelio would have no problem putting himself in the highest tiers of artistic accomplishment, and though “Jane the Virgin” does not share the telenovela superstar’s amusingly grandiose tendencies, “Chapter Twenty-Three” shows it still deserves to be regarded as one of TV’s finest offerings.

TV Review: 'Jane the Virgin' Season 2

(Series; CW, Mon. Oct. 12, 9 p.m.)


Filmed in Los Angeles by CBS Television Studios and Warner Bros. Television, in association with Electus.


Executive producers: Jennie Snyder Urman, Ben Silverman, Gary Pearl, Jorge Granier; co-executive producers,  Jessica O’Toole, Amy Rardin, Paul Sciarrotta, Corinne Brinkerhoff, David S. Rosenthal, Lewis Abel; supervising producer, Dara Resnik Creasey; producers, Micah Schraft, Gina Lamar; director, Brad Silberling; writer, Urman; production designer, Cynthia Charette; editor, Gregg Featherman; music, Kevin Kiner; casting, Alyson Silverberg, Jonathan Clay Harris. 60 MIN.


Gina Rodriguez, Andrea Navedo, Justin Baldoni, Yael Grobglas, Brett Dier, Ivonne Coll, Jaime Camil, Anthony Mendez, Yara Martinez, Bridget Regan, Priscilla Barnes, Emily Baldoni, Robert Clendenin.

More TV

  • Mediapro Unveils The Mediapro Studio, With

    Spain's Mediapro Unveils New Studio, With 34 Series in Production (EXCLUSIVE)

    The Mediapro Group – the Barcelona-based multinational co-founded by Jaume Roures – is unveiling The Mediapro Studio, with 34 scripted series already in production worldwide. The new production company will be based in Fuencarral, northern Madrid, just a few miles from Netflix’s soon-to-open European production hub. It will be overseen by Javier Méndez as chief [...]

  • BBC Drama and Comedy Box Sets

    BBC Drama and Comedy Box Sets Coming to Sky, Now TV

    BBC Studios and Sky have joined forces to add a raft of catalogue comedy and drama from the pubcaster to the Sky platform and its Now TV streaming service. The deal kicks in next month and includes dramas “McMafia” and “Spooks” and classic BBC comedies “The Vicar of Dibley” and “Only Fools and Horses.” The [...]

  • Jim PackerPRESS PLAY: Variety Home Entertainment

    FilMart: Jim Packer Says Liongate Ready to Support Starz Global Rollout

    A keynote speaker at Hong Kong’s FilMart this week, Jim Packer, Lionsgate’s president of worldwide TV and digital distribution, shares plans to support Starz’ international expansion. And he recounts his experience of watching Netflix change up through the gears. Back in 2012, when Lionsgate was still casting “Orange is the New Black,” Jim Packer, Lionsgate’s [...]

  • Hong Kong's TVB Boosts OTT Plans,

    Hong Kong's TVB Boosts OTT Plans, Sets 'Court Lady'

    Hong Kong’s Television Broadcasts is set to boost its OTT platforms locally and abroad with new packages and initiatives targeting the Southeast Asian market. The city’s biggest broadcaster has also renewed its partnership with China’s Huanyu Entertainment following the wild success the two enjoyed last year with palace drama “Story of Yanxi Palace.” The new [...]

  • The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

    Stephen Colbert Cancels 'Late Show' New Zealand Trip After Mosque Shootings

    “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” had been scheduled to make a surprise trip to New Zealand this week — but those plans have been put on hold in light of last Friday’s terrorist attack that left 50 people dead. On Monday’s show, Colbert revealed the now-shelved trip, which had been kept under wraps but [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Hollywood Agents, Writers Guild Make Little Progress in Talks

    Leaders of Hollywood agencies and the Writers Guild of America made little progress in Tuesday meeting to negotiate proposed rule revisions to how agents represent writers. The WGA said after the meeting — the fifth since Feb. 5 — that talks would resume later this week but did not give a specific day. “The Agencies [...]

  • THE MASKED SINGER: L-R: Monster (T-Pain)

    New-Model Murdochs: Fox Corporation to Emerge Tuesday

    A new era for the Murdoch clan and the media business begins with the debut of Fox Corporation on Tuesday, a day before Disney completes its acquisition of 21st Century Fox. The new-model Fox will begin trading Tuesday on the NASDAQ under the FOXA symbol. On Tuesday, 21st Century Fox will initiate a complex transfer [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content