Showtime's Resurrection Blvd.
is an engrossing series about the fortunes and fate of the Santiago family, who take pride in their deep, East L.A. roots and have, for generations, pinned their hopes for success on developing a boxing champion from among their male kin. The 20 first-season episodes included here focus on patriarch Roberto Santiago (Tony Plana), confident of eldest son Carlos's chances of winning a middleweight crown until the latter (Michael DeLorenzo) is seriously wounded by an angry ex-boyfriend of his sister Victoria (Marisol Nichols). In Carlos's place steps youngest brother Alex (Nicholas Gonzalez), a bookish, affable student who takes to boxing rigorously and alienates Roberto by signing with a crooked promoter (Ray Wise).
Around the edges of the central story, other Santiagos navigate love lives, ethics, and ambitions as grand as the American Dream. Middle brother Miguel (Maricio Mendoza) disappears for a while, uncertain of his place in the family. Sister Yolanda (Ruth Livier), a dedicated paralegal with her eye on law school, discovers a serious act of negligence at her firm and isn't sure what to do. Aunt Bibi (Elizabeth Pena), lively and strong, finds her hopes crashing when she can't buy the building housing her beauty shop. Watching all this and understanding more than he lets on is Uncle Ruben (Daniel Zacapa), an ex-fighter made mute by brain damage.
The pacing of events is fairly glacial, and individual episodes could certainly be tighter. But the leisurely programs allow for lots of pleasant frills, including a cameo by Cheech Marin and a nice, recurring role for Paul Rodriguez as a business manager. Certainly the strongest element of Resurrection Blvd. is the cast, which clearly thrives on 20 hours of breathing room and really shines in the season finale's 12-round showdown. --Tom Keogh
Jacque Gray, Tina Arning, Shannon Maureen Brown. Showtime's drama series about three generations of an East Los Angeles family's victories both inside and outside the boxing ring has won critical and popular acclaim. Includes all 20 episodes of the Santiagos' trials and tribulations. 5 DVDs. 2000-01/color/16 hrs/NR/fullscreen.