Netflix has teamed up with actor Mario Lopez to create a new Latino-themed family comedy series with just the right amount of mainstream appeal it seems.
The pitch: When Ashley Garcia — the world’s only 15-and-a-half-year-old robotics engineer and rocket scientist — gets the chance to work for NASA, she moves across the country to live with her fun-loving Uncle Victor, a pro football player turned high school coach who’s never met a responsibility he can’t shirk.
Sounds appealing enough, right? It’s also a show that promotes a young Latin woman who excels in science and mathematics. We like! “This is a show for the entire family, and hopefully as we expand the universe of Ashley, we also get to expand everyone else’s universe,” Lopez told Entertainment Tonight.
Lopez has got talent behind the project. He co-created and is the co-producer of the series alongside Speechless and Melissa & Joey producer Seth Kurland. On the writing team he also scored with the collaboration of TV scripter Jessica Lopez, who worked on Selena, That’s So Raven, and East Los High. She’ll be on a team of bards that includes the show’s writer and executive producer David Kendall (Melissa & Joey, Boy Meets World, Growing Pains). There’s also a woman behind the camera: the multi-cam director Jody Margolin Hahn is set to helm the pilot and additional episodes. Aside from working on FOX’s Cool Kids, Margolin Hahn also directed One Day at A Time starring Rita Moreno.
The half-hour, 16-episode series will star Paulina Chavez as the title teen character. The stunning newcomer who played Freda in Teenage Girl and the part of a young Kim Kardashian in 2018 television documentary Scandal Made Me Famous received praise from her hunky costar Jencarlos Canela: “Paulina is a little superstar. She’s so intelligent, and her timing when it comes to comedy is way ahead of her time,” he told Entertainment Weekly.
Aside from acting Canela is also a singer and songwriter in the pop Latino genre and a frequent face in gossip magazines like Hola! (Quick chisme: he has been caught summering in Spain with the Puerto Rican ex-Miss Universe Danna Hernández). He began his career as a telenovela actor on Telemundo and will also appear in the ABC remake of the Spanish-language soap opera Grand Hotel, executive-produced by Eva Longoria.
While we sit pretty awaiting word on the release date for The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia, let’s hope that Netflix gets their act together and begins creating even more shows like this one with diverse Latinx talent.