Rick Cuéllar of El Mundo Entertainment ended a 12-year career with AT&T to attend film school in preparation for his newest endeavor, a cutting edge soap opera that would be aired only online. Six years later in November 2006, his vision became realized with the launch of Alamo Heights S.A., which is co-produced with zyntroPICS, Inc. The show is filmed in Houston, Texas and was originally designed to be released as sixty 7-minute webisodes, airing each weekday – with both English and Spanish versions – over a 12-week period and then available on-demand for six months.
The story, billed as a “Tex-Mex melodramedy cybernovela”, concerns the affluent Texas DeZavala family and the Monterrey-based Montes family, co-owners of a lingerie “empire” who put on fashion shows and sell their wares across the border. What sets this series apart from others – aside from the very high quality production value and the fact that the show is shot in HD – is that it is both filmed and produced in two languages – English and Spanish, and can be followed in either, thanks to a fully bilingual cast. But to be fair, the show works best in Spanish, where the melodrama can unfold in a more presentational manner. In addition to episodes, fans can enjoy a Flickr album with on-set photographs, keep up-to-date with the blog, profiles of the cast and crew, and links to the various advertising partners that keep the show running. There’s also a virtual casting call – actors and models can upload audition videos onto the Your Show page to submit themselves for casting – and a storefront for the fictitious lingerie store “hauT’amales”(with a tie-in to the real thing).
For some gratuitous model butt shots and a peak into the (booming?) Texas fashion industry, check out Episode 1a, which starts off with a high energy runway show featuring the bras and panties that make up the center of the family business. The drama continues to unfold in 1b, where we explore relationships, extra-marital affairs, and a shady business rendezvous. This very sexy show should be watched in chronological order to get the full effect. However, as with most soap operas, you can miss a couple days and still be able to catch up with the story line.