We don’t ask for much from shows and films that have a lot of action. Give us good chase or fight scenes, give us a character or two that we can latch onto — whether they’re good or bad guys — and we’re good. A new Spanish series on Netflix, based on a 2020 film about a smash-and-grab robbery crew, pretty much scratches that itch.
Opening Shot: “MADRID.” A tractor trailer pulls into a truck stop.
The Gist: A group of robbers steal the cab of the tractor trailer and drive it to a warehouse where lots of expensive hams are being stored. They load the hams into another truck and leave. But as the police chase them down the highway, one of the robbers throws hams at them to slow them down. The plan isn’t exactly successful.
Sole (Asia Ortega Leiva), the widow of Ángel (Miguel Herrán), the gang’s old leader and the daughter of Rogelio (Luis Tosar), the stolen-goods dealer that hired them to steal the pricey hams, decides to bail the entire group out of jail. Since Ángel’s death, she’s been dependent on her father and really doesn’t want to be; he even sends stolen merchandise to her athleisure shop for her to sell, which she refuses.
Bills are starting to come due, she needs to support herself and her son, and the money that Ángel left, which is not as much as Rogelio believes she has, is running low. But Sole has a plan: First, get Mercedes (Patricia Vico), the attorney Rogelio used in his early days, to help her figure out how to grow the money she has left. Rogelio warns Sole from associating with Mercedes, but it seems that Sole knows what she wants to do.
The next thing is to take over the smash-and-grab robbery gang that Ángel was in. She knows they can be good at their jobs, but also can be distracted doing jobs; she feels she can keep them all in line.
Rosa (Alana La Hija del Jeque), who delivers food, goes to Sole’s house to deliver some beer. But it turns out that she delivers more than just food and booze, as we see in a part of town with a bunch of burned-out cars. She also has a connection to Sole; she calls Sole from a cell phone, and it comes up on Sole’s phone as “Estrella”, an old friend that got killed a few months prior.
After getting that call, Sole and Mercedes go to the police, specifically Duque (Fernando Cayo), the detective that has been after Rogelio for months. She thinks the calls are coming from the police, since they were the last to have Estrella’s phone. He’s positive he can get some proof of Rogelio’s operation via someone on the inside. He also tells Sole that he no longer has Estrella’s phone and that the last call to it came from her at the police station, when she was arrested in conjunction with a case involving Chinese mobsters and missing cash.
Photo: JAIME OLMEDO/NETFLIX
What Shows Will It Remind You Of? Sky High: The Series is based on the 2020 movie Sky High, with a lot of the same characters and actors carrying over to the series.
Our Take: There’s not exactly a ton of depth to Sky High: The Series. There’s a lot of scenes of the robbery gang doing their indelicate work; there’s no scheming in their work, no planning a heist that involves misdirection and other complex logistics. The group Sole is leading aren’t the brightest guys but are good at smashing and grabbing.
A new member of the group, Fernan (Álvaro Rico), is a bit of a mysterious wild card, but he’s also the most effective member of the group. He’s also Duque’s mole; that aspect will lend some intrigue as Sole and Mercedes conspire on bigger and bigger jobs. But for the most part, the story doesn’t give us a ton of character development.
Does that matter here? It’s like with the Fast and Furious franchise; there are characters there, but you mostly watch it for the car chases. That’s more or less what we are looking for here, which is lots of action and a little bit of story.
We’re not sure how Rosa will befriend Sole, but there is an meeting that seems inevitable. And perhaps there, with the connection between the two that Sole doesn’t know about, some more story will develop. Of course, Sole’s relationship with her father Rogelio, and everything that revolves around that, will also round out the storytelling. But how much we’ll get of that between the smashing and the grabbing will be anyone’s guess.
Sex and Skin: Nothing in the first episode, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be any during the rest of the season.
Parting Shot: After a relatively successful smash-and-grab of a jewelry store, Sole pays off a man who will give her crew access to a construction site. They need that access to grab the front loader they need to do the job.
Sleeper Star: Luis Tosar, a veteran Spanish actor, is properly menacing as Rogelio.
Most Pilot-y Line: Sole goes out with her friends, and the three of them wake up in her car the next morning. One of them sees a skyscraper and says one of her recent dates worked there. The other friend says, “Sure, and he brought you all the way up there to see… his office.” Yep, we get what “his office” means. We all get it.
Our Call: STREAM IT. Sky High: The Series isn’t anything deep, but there’s just enough plot to keep you watching between action scenes.
Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and tech, but he doesn’t kid himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.com, Fast Company and elsewhere.