This New Netflix Show Is About an Afro-Colombian, Time-Traveling Teen Witch

"Siempre Bruja" tells the story of a 19-year-old who is burnt at the stake in the 17th century and wakes up in present-day Cartagena.
October 12, 2018, 1:36pm
Screengrab via YouTube

When CW announced its Charmed reboot this summer, the network billed it as a multicultural reimagining of the show with three Latinx actresses at its center. Turns out that wasn't actually true—only one of the three leads is of Hispanic descent, according to the Mary Sue.

That's where Netflix's new show Siempre Bruja comes in. The Caracol Televisión-produced series features a host of Latinx talent and is only the second ever Colombian original series for the streaming giant. The genre-blending historical drama follows the story of Carmen, a 19-year-old Afro-Colombian slave and witch who travels through time from the 17th century to the present-day Colombian city of Cartagena in a desperate attempt to rescue her loved one. It stars Colombian actress Angely Gaviria, last seen in Pambelé, a biopic about boxing champion Antonio Cervantes Reyes, Barranquilla-born YouTuber and musician Dylan Fuentes, and telenovela actress Valeria Emiliani.


"We’re excited to continue investing in the wonderful content and talent Colombia has to offer, and especially to be working with Caracol, as well as the creators of hit shows such as La Esclava Blanca," Netflix vice president of International Originals Erik Barmack said in a statement. "Our second Colombian original Siempre Bruja is not only a magnetic young adult story that audiences will love, but also holds a powerful message of empowerment that will connect deeply with members both in Colombia and globally."

Though its time-travelling plot has its origins in fantasy, the witchcraft element in Siempre Bruja has deep historical roots. In real life, the city of Cartagena was one of the seats of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, which tortured men and women in the name of rooting out witches, heretics, and blasphemers of the Catholic faith. It is thought that over 800 people were put on trial in Cartagena over the course of the Inquisition, including black slaves accused of witchcraft and enchantment.

The new teaser for the show, released on Tuesday, shows Carmen (Gaviria) condemned by a priest to be burnt at the stake in 1646, only to emerge from the ocean in 2019 and all that entails, including honking cars, parties in clubs, and group selfies. The ten-episode series is inspired by the 2015 novel Yo, Bruja by Isidora Chacón, and is due to come out sometime in 2019.