Friday, 29 April 2011

El Aguila Roja

It is often said (including earlier on this blog) that watching television programmes is a good way to learn a foreign language. The problem though is that it can sometimes be difficult to find interesting material to watch. Personally I cannot stand watching most dubbed programmes, so I like to find good programmes that were originally made in Spanish. My favourite at the moment is 'El Aguila Roja', which means 'The Red Eagle'. The concept is similar to Zorro or the Scarlet Pimpernel, i.e. a period twist on a superhero theme.

The action takes place around 400 years ago, which was a pretty interesting time in Spanish history and literature. The hero is Gonzalo, schoolteacher by day and masked crime-fighter by night. After the murder of his wife he is sworn to track down her killers and avenge her death. Following the trail leads to a much bigger conspiracy which is gradually revealed to both Gonzalo and to the viewer. The only people who know about Gonzalo's secret identity are his sidekick, Satur, and the mysterious monk Agustín. Gonzalo's son Alonso starts to suspect the truth as well. The villain of the piece is the Comisario - a kind of medieval chief of police - and romance wise there is a complex love polygon involving Gonzalo, his sister-in-law Margarita, Juan the local doctor, Marquesa Lucrecia and the Comisario.

All in all it is an enjoyable period action series with plenty of swordfights and stunts plus a bit of romance, conspiracy and intrigue. It is good fun but definitely not to be taken too seriously. It is not really suitable for kids, despite having a similar feel to many English language shows that are family viewing, because it can get a bit graphic at times both in violence and sexual scenes.

One of the best things about the programme is that you can watch it for free courtesy of Spanish network RTVE at (click on Capitulos completos). There is also an upcoming Film version to look out for.

Some useful vocab -

amo = master / boss
cuñada = sister-in-law
comisario = police captain / superintendant / commisioner
marquesa = marchioness
el aguila roja = the red eagle

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