Heirs to the Land review: A fast-paced melodramatic period drama

Heirs to the Land or Los Herederos de la Tierra is a Spanish historical drama set in 14th century Barcelona, based on the happening life of a young man named Hugo. It is adapted from a novel by Ildefonso Falcones and is a sequel to Cathedral of the Sea (La Catedral del Mar). All eight episodes are now streaming on Netflix.

Story

Hugo is forced to separate from his family after his father’s death. He is taken under the wing of Arnau Estanyol, whose own son, Bernat, is leaving on a journey of self-discovery. 

The King’s death causes a wave of political unrest to befall the kingdom as the people are divided into supporters of the queen and supporters of Prince John. Arnau is forced to face his enemies, the Puiges, and is apprehended for his past mistakes. 

Bernat and Hugo attempt to find their place in the world while braving the hurdles of life as Christians in 14th-century Barcelona. 

Performances

The entire cast has delivered an excellent performance with the perfect portrayal of their characters’ emotions.

Although most of the female characters are written to be quite one-dimensional, Elena Rivera (Caterina), Natalia Sánchez (Marta) and Maria Rodríguez Soto (Regina) depict their characters with apt intensity.

David Solans and Yon González did a good job playing the young and adult forms of the protagonist, Hugo Llor, trying to survive alone while keeping his vow to the Estanyol family. 

Rodolfo Sancho played Bernat Estanyol, a young man hunting for wisdom, with his eye set on getting revenge. 

Aria Bedmar led the second half of the season as Mercé, often finding herself at the center of the conflict. 

Positives

Heirs to the Land manages to stun the audience with well-executed shots and an exceptional cast.

Through the use of well-made costumes and sets and realistic dialogue, the series accomplishes its goal of transporting the viewers to 14th-century Barcelona.

The variety of historically accurate conflicts dealt with through the series is admirable.

Negatives

As a sequel to Cathedral of the Sea, the series is heavily based on existing tensions but fails to go over them, making it difficult for new viewers to keep up.

Instead of allowing the audience to get accustomed to the setting and characters of the series, the characters are faced with heavy obstacles right off the bat. New characters are introduced at every turn in the storyline.

The abundance of plots seems to diminish the quality as the series only skims the surface of most plots in a hurry to move on to the next. The ones it chooses to explore deeply are an unfortunate set of romantic conquests, deeming the variety in plots almost meaningless.

Verdict

Brushing up on lore from Cathedral of the Sea is advised to better understand the initial episodes. Heirs to the Land is not a leisure watch as it requires its viewers to constantly pay attention and take note of the names and changes in titles. It is sure to be enjoyed by those looking for a melodramatic period drama.

Rating: 3/5


Also Read: Heirs to the Land summary and ending explained