Make HBO Max's "Veneno" Your Next Binge Watch, I Promise You Won't Be Disappointed

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Listen, I get it, these days it feels like a new show comes out every 10 seconds and it’s just too hard to keep up with it all — but when I tell you HBO Max’s Veneno is worth your time and tears (you will cry), I’m not playing around.

La veneno looking out a car window

Atresmedia / HBO Max

The miniseries, which came out last year and originates from Spain, tells the real-life story of Spain’s most beloved and fabulous trans icon of the ’90s Cristina Ortiz Rodríguez, also known as La Veneno.

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In the show, she is played by three different incredible actors (Jedet, Daniela Santiago, and Isabel Torres) at varying stages of Cristina’s life — with each one forming one cohesive image of who Cristina was as a person and how she came to be the phenom Spain knew and loved.

Jedet, Daniela Santiago, and Isabel Torres as Cristina La Veneno

Atresmedia / HBO Max

Cristina first rose to fame when she was interviewed by a reporter in 1996 at Parque del Oeste in Madrid, where she worked as a sex worker.

The series was based on the memoir Not A Whore, Not A Saint: The Memories of La Veneno by Valeria Vegas, whose own journey we also get to follow closely in the series. She is played by the very talented Lola Rodríguez and if her performance doesn’t blow you away, then I honestly don’t know what will.

Paca and Valeria in Veneno

Atresmedia / HBO Max

Javier Ambrossi, who created and directed the show alongside Javier Calvo, told Variety, “As gay men, we grew up without stories, without mirrors to look at or to guide our lives. We thought La Veneno was the perfect way to talk about how important it is to be visible and how it is not important to be perfect. It’s important to show yourself and that’s a political statement to be yourself that is undeniable.”

Javier Ambrossi and Javier Calvo doing an interview

FormulaTV / Via

They also told Time that they embarked on a three-monthlong casting journey to ensure that trans actors played trans characters in the series and also made sure “there was at least one trans person working in every production department behind the camera.” Ambrossi said, “LGBTQ stories should be told by LGBTQ people, because they are our stories.”

Three of Veneno's friends in the show Veneno


Now, don’t just take my word for it. Those who have seen it feel the same exact way I do, starting with Pose star Angelica Ross, who live-tweeted her experience with the show back in December:

Ok…VENENO!!!!! #venenohbomax
OMG!!!!! It’s soooooo good!!!!

Glee star Kevin McHale also took to Twitter and TikTok to spread the Veneno gospel.

But have you watched Veneno on @hbomax yet? Don’t speak to me until you have. Digo! #venenohbomax

Twitter: @druidDUDE



♬ original sound – Kevin McHale

Pose executive producer, director, and writer Janet Mock had some thoughts that deserved all caps:

#VenenoOnMax is BEYOND. Watch it. I am floored by the heart, the humor, the EVERYTHING of this series. 😭😭😭 #VENENO #girlslikeus

Twitter: @janetmock

Actor Trace Lysette was moved, which is honestly unavoidable when watching this series:

Just finished #VenenoOnMax ❤️ R.I.P. Christina aka La Veneno. I thank god every day for the trans women in my life.

Twitter: @tracelysette

Actor Wilson Cruz didn’t want the pilot to end:

Baby! I have to collect myself from the most exhilarating 1st episode of #VenenoOnMax and when I do… we are going to have to talk. It’s stunning. I cant wait to get to the next episode and I never want it to end. @hbomax WoW

Twitter: @wcruz73

Actor Johnny Sibilly knew he had just witnessed greatness:

And actor and writer Jen Richards took the words right out of my mouth:

Every once in a while something comes out and people wax so rhapsodically about it that you think it can’t possibly live up to the hype and then you finally watch it and realize that in fact no hype can possibly live up to how good it is. That’s #Veneno.

Twitter: @SmartAssJen

Hell, the show even made multiple “Best Of” Lists, with the New Yorker calling it one of the best shows of 2020 and Variety calling it one of the best international TV series of 2020.

Cristina saying, "I'm a blinking light, honey"


As for me? Let’s just say that I finished all eight episodes in one weekend in December and I’m sitting here in mid-January writing this because I haven’t stopped thinking about it since.

An end title card that says, "To all those who fought before us"


The acting is superb, the storytelling is powerful, the emotions run high, and each episode will have you feeling like you were just transported into Cristina’s world. If you do choose to watch it, might I STRONGLY suggest you watch it in its original language, Spanish. You can always use the English subtitles if needed, and it provides the most authentic viewing experience.

Cristina on TV saying, "Am I trans? Yes, I am"


I’d say more about the series or about Cristina’s life, but I obviously don’t want to spoil anything for you. Now go forth and get some Veneno in your life, because the show deserves to be talked about and celebrated for years to come.

Cristina saying, "You're about to see what the Spanish bombshell was like"



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