‘Kings of the night’: the golden age of sports journalism in a Movistar comedy that also works when it gets serious

If you already comb gray hair and your roll is sports, it is very likely that José María García has accompanied you on some sleepless night. Those days of radio, of controversy and agitation on the airwaves have served as inspiration for Cristóbal Garrido and Adolfo Valor (‘I leave it whenever I want’, ‘Phantom Promotion’) get fully into a bizarre fiction with a peculiar universe of their own: ‘Kings of the night’.

With Javier Gutiérrez as García’s lookalikes and Miki Esparbé transformed into the young revelation eager to take over the world leading the cast, the series directed by Carlos Therón (4 episodes) and Adolfo Valor (2 episodes) benefits from unprecedented creative freedom that benefits from the popular memory of a time when our parents and elders spent the night with their ears glued to the transistor.

‘Kings of the night’, despite being a comedy (quite wild, moreover), allows itself the luxury of advancing with drama, airing the miseries of two eternal rivals who were once co-workers. To tell about this bloody personal war, Garrido and Valor take all the licenses at their disposal and fuse the best of the 80s with the most remembered of the 90s, thus creating a new alternative universe where several realities coexist in a new vision of the epoch.

Although the influence of names like Adam McKay can be sensed (if you hurry me a lot I would tell you that also Martin Scorsese during the first half of the season), the presence of Gutiérrez and the grotesque tone at times, make the series a cousin not so far from the more savagely restrained Animalario. That impressive ‘Urtain’ would fit here as naturally as ‘Alejandro y Ana’. Moreover, all the real characters involved in those plots could be part of this universe without assuming any departure from tone.

The wild years
If something is clear here, it is that that radio station was the end of an era and of a way of doing journalism that more than one person will think has been eradicated. If you really believe that, I recommend that you spend a night watching Telecinco’s programming, because the legacy of all those condors is still very much in force, but they have added cameras to their microphones.

Francisco Javier Maldonado, alias Paco el Cóndor (Javier Gutiérrez), is the most important sports journalist on Spanish radio in the 80s. The listeners admire him, the players fear him, the club presidents (and the government) hate him. Every midnight he gathers millions of listeners to the transistor. For years, the Condor has no rival. Up to now. His ex-partner “Jota” Montes leaves the ship in search of calmer seas, but they will turn his coexistence into a perfect storm of unimaginable consequences.

The cast of the series is completed with Alberto San Juan (another Animalario), Chiqui Fernández, Sonia Almarcha, Cristóbal Suárez, Celia de Molina, Fele Martínez or Omar Banana, among others. The six episodes, lasting 35 minutes, keep the bar high for intensity and don’t waste time on unnecessary subplots. In fact, those that at first might seem exactly that will end up unleashing a powerful drama that leaves us wanting more.

And that may be the big downside of ‘Kings of the night’. During these six episodes, sides are formed and characters are defined, and in both cases it practically culminates with the closing of the season, with honey on the lips. Be careful with the fact: it is very likely that the best is yet to come, so you have no excuse not to attend the radio event of the season.

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