Disney Channel is launching two new series that will represent the good, the bad and the funny.
“Ultra Violet & Black Scorpion” focuses on two very unique crime-fighting superheroes while “The Villains of Valley View” looks at what happens when a family of super villains try to live a normal life.
The first two episodes of both new comedy series will premiere back-to-back on the cable channel starting at 8 p.m. June 3. If you miss the openers, the first 10 episodes of “Ultra Violet” will be available on Disney+ on June 8 while the first five episodes of “Villains of Valley View” will be released on the streaming service on June 22.
In “Ultra Violet,” Violet Rodriguez (Scarlett Estevez) is living the life of an average Mexican American teen until she is chosen by a magical luchador mask to transform into Ultra Violet. She turns to her luchador uncle, Cruz (J.R. Villarreal), who fights crime Black Scorpion, for training.
Although Cruz takes Violet under his wing to teach her the responsibilities of her special powers, she doesn’t always see eye-to-eye with him when it comes to his methods for capturing crooks.
The fact “Ultra Violet” features a female superhero is a major step in the genre. That is magnified by both Violet and Black Scorpion being Mexican American. The diversity is what Estevez sees as being the reason the series is so special.
“It makes it stand out from the others,” Estevez says. “I could count on one hand the number of shows that are like ours. I think being a part of this show is so special and it is important for people to get to watch because it definitely represents the Latinx culture in a way that really isn’t shown in other shows.”
The added bonus for Estevez is that the series is aimed at a young audience who will get to see someone like them on television. Even as young as Estevez is, there weren’t a lot of programs of that nature she could watch.
Television has traditionally cast people who look like Villarreal as a thug or drug dealer. Villarreal sees his casting as the super hero as a monumental moment.
Villarreal says, “It is so important for this show to be out not just for me or Scarlett or anyone in our families but for anyone like us who has not seen anyone who looks like us represented in such a positive light.
“It’s such a gift and much needed and a testament to the times now and the progress that we have made.”
The perspective Villarreal has in terms of the importance of his new series comes from two decades of acting. His past credits include “House,” “CSI: Miami” and “Akeelah and the Bee.” “Ultra Violet” pushed him more physically than any other acting job but he loved doing all of the training and learning all of the fight choreography needed to portray a superhero.
Both actors add that while “Ultra Violet” deals with a specific ethnic group, the series has a very universal appeal having to do with family.
Estevez says, “There is that Latinx culture but then families in general can sit down and watch this. There is so much heart in that family that we put into this show that I think makes it extra special.”
Despite being only 14, Estevez has more than a decade of acting experience having appeared in her first national commercial at the age of 3. Her credits range from “Raven’s Home” to “Bunk’d” to “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.”
Estevez tries to learn something new from every acting job. It was the work Estevez did on “Lucifer” – playing the daughter of the woman who captures the Devil’s heart – that helped prepare her for all of the special effects work on “Ultra Violet.”
Estevez and Villarreal lead the all Latinx cast that also includes: Marianna Burelli as Nina Rodriguez; Juan Alfonso as Juan Carlos Rodriguez; Brandon Rossel as Tiago; Zelia Ankrum as Maya Miller Martinez; and Bryan Blanco as Luis León.
“Ultra Violet” examines what it means to be a hero. “The Villains of Valley View” looks at how the other half lives after teenage supervillain Havoc (Isabella Pappas) stands up to the head of the League of Villains. Her family is forced to change their identities and relocate to a sleepy Texas suburb.
With the help of their new neighbor Hartley (Kayden Muller-Janssen), Havoc – who goes incognito as Amy – and her family must find a way to hide their superpowers and blend into the normal world.
The ensemble cast of “Valley View” also includes: Lucy Davis as Eva/Surge; James Patrick Stuart as Vic/Kraniac; Malachi Barton as Colby/Flashform; and Reed Horstmann as Jake/Chaos.