Erica Parise/Starz
Kristen Baldwin
April 20, 2018 at 02:47 PM EDT

Vida

We gave it a B

“Well, it isn’t a homecoming until someone calls you a puta, right?”

A trip back to East Los Angeles for their mother’s funeral comes with unexpected emotional aftershocks for Vida‘s estranged sisters Emma (Mishel Prada) and Lyn (Melissa Barrera) in this quick-witted, half-hour dramedy (premiering May 6 on Starz).

Flinty Emma wants nothing more than to bury her mom and get back to her job in Chicago, but when she and Lyn learn the truth about their mother’s roommate Eddy (Ser Anzoategui), it becomes clear that selling the family business and getting on with their lives will be complicated.

Created by Tanya Saracho (How to Get Away with Murder, Looking), Vida is, remarkably, still a rarity on English-language TV: A show about Latinos made by a Latino. But the show’s themes — gentrification, generational bias, and the surreal disconnect of returning to your childhood home after forging a new identity elsewhere — are universal, and Vida clips along nicely thanks to strong performances, including Chelsea Rendon’s fierce and funny portrayal of guerrilla activist Marisol, and Prada’s composed intensity as Emma.

The momentum only starts to wane when the story turns to Lyn’s romantic entanglement her neighborhood ex, Johnny (Carlos Miranda). What’s interesting here are the relationships between Lyn and Emma and the other women in their lives — including their mother Vida, the woman she was in their memories, and the reality she hid from them. B

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