Carl Andor Review: Aguila Roja

Aguila Roja (Red Eagle), the 9-Season Series from Spain

Review by Carl Andor: I have seen the original Zorro series from Disney, the Robin Hood series with Richard Greene, and myriad films with Errol Flynn, Tyrone Power, Cornel Wilde, Douglas Fairbanks (Sr. And Jr.), and am a fan of Swashbucklers current and past. This series is up there with the best of them.

The production quality is amazing, and the cinematography and special effects, outstanding. The writing, direction, editing, and especially the acting are among the best I’ve ever seen in an action/adventure series.

I’ve shown the first episode to several friends, who were immediately interested in seeing the rest, despite the lack of English subtitles. It’s pretty easy to follow the action, which is, at times, very intense. It’s very much a “good versus evil” vibe, in which the lines between good and evil are sometimes blurred. There are often unintended consequences and family issues (they don’t know he’s leading a double life, and he’s trying to protect his family and friends).

If I had to describe it, I’d say it’s like Zorro on steroids. The pace is fast, there are court intrigues, clashes between the aristocracy and the peasantry, a secret society that is determined to overthrow the monarchy of King Phillip IV.  The time frame is the “golden age” of conquest of the new world, where the aristocracy in Spain is very rich, and the peasantry constantly struggles.

The #1 hit series in Spain ran 116 episodes over nine seasons, and featured a wonderful ensemble cast of characters both good and evil, eccentric, sometimes downtrodden, sometimes noble. It’s won numerous awards. The hero is portrayed by David Janer (pronounced Ganner), who is well versed in martial arts, swordplay, horsemanship, and is a superb actor. Initially, he has wife and young son, and when his wife is found dead, he is determined to find her killer. The series blossoms out in many sub-plots throughout, it’s fast paced, and the characters are three dimensional and very believable.

So, why hasn’t it been promoted in the US?  The answer is easy, it WAS at one time! 

I first encountered this series on a Spanish television station here in the US. It had been edited for time and content, and included commercial breaks.  After the third season they stopped broadcasting it on my local station. I contacted the production company, RTV, to inquire. I never got an answer, but I was able, at that time, to watch additional episodes on their official website. Alas, they more recently cut off the ability to see it to the US. (That is a US decision, I believe, due to some non-frontal nudity, and some of the subplots involved subjects that here would be rather touchy to the more parochial public). I contacted Forbidden Planet Bookshop in London to see if they knew about the series. (They had not, so it was not available in England, either.)

I was thrilled when I was able to order the first 4 seasons from Spain some years back, and later learned I could play the (European zone “PAL”) DVD’s on my computer’s DVD drive. The TV series is now available on some streaming services. Note also, there is also a film version that was made when the series grew into a hit, and that is available on Amazon streaming. I don’t know if it has English subtitles or not. I know there are translation apps of verbal-to-written, which might help those who are non-Spanish speaking. The series is available on some streaming services. It’s worth checking.

When the complete series (116 episodes over 9 seasons), became available, I IMMEDIATELY ordered it!  I’ve just finished the last episodes.  Now, I want to go back and see it from the beginning, AGAIN!