The comedy will star Jencarlos Canela and Paulina Chavez
Netflix is adding a live-action comedy centering on a Latinx family to its roster of shows. For 16 episodes, The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia will tell the story of a 15-year-old robotics engineer and rocket scientist who moves in with her uncle when she gets a chance to work for NASA.
The title character will be played by newcomer Paulina Chavez, and singer-actor Jencarlos Canela will play her fun-loving uncle, Victor. Mario Lopez and Seth Kurland created and are executive-producing the series, with the latter also serving as showrunner and writer of the multicam comedy.
“I am excited for the opportunity to partner with Netflix to tell a universal, family-friendly story with a Latin flavor,” Lopez said in a statement.
Canela, who will also appear on the Eva Longoria-produced Grand Hotel, tells EW exclusively that he’s proud to be part of the Netflix project, which he says the whole family can enjoy together.
“I feel so much respect for what Netflix is doing — bringing this group together and helping us to make this show a reality,” he says. “Seth is an incredible writer, and I’ve always admired and respected Mario Lopez. He is a Latin American icon in my eyes, and to have his support on this journey is unbelievable to me.”
Of his costar, Canela says, “Paulina is a little superstar. She’s so intelligent, and her timing when it comes to comedy is way ahead of her time.” He adds, “This is a show for the entire family, and hopefully as we expand the universe of Ashley, we also get to expand everyone else’s universe. When I got the call I couldn’t believe it, but now that it has sunken in, I am filled with excitement and thrilled to kick off filming.”
The new series announcement comes in the wake of Netflix canceling its critically lauded Latinx remake of One Day at a Time after three seasons. As conversations continue about the importance of diversity and representation on screen, Expanding Universe looks like a positive step in catering to an underserved community.