"Vida" is one of two new series offered by Starz on Sundays, and it's looking like the better one of the two. Show creator Tanya Saracho set out to depict the lives of two Mexican-American sisters in L.A., and has given viewers exactly that.

Sisterly strife

Mishel Prada plays the successful businesswoman, Emma Hernandez, while Melissa Barrera plays her flighty sister, Lyn. They return to their old neighborhood to deal with the death of their mother, Vidalia, and are confronted with some major family secrets. The Hernandez sisters struggle to deal with each other, and the secret life their mother had in their absence, including their mother's "roommate," Eddy, played by Ser Anzoategui.

Emma is determined to settle their mother's affairs, and sell the apartment building and bar that the sisters and Eddy have inherited. Lyn just wants to find some closure with her past, including with her past love.

The neighborhood

While the show is primarily about the sisters, "Vida" opens on a scene featuring a neighborhood activist, Mari, played by Chelsea Rendon. Saracho describes Mari as the soul of the neighborhood, since she is campaigning against gentrification. In spite of the fact that most of the people from the neighborhood are introduced at least in passing from the start, thanks to the funeral for the Hernandez sisters' mother, the major figures are masterfully reintroduced throughout the show.

Additional facets of the sisters' personalities are revealed through their interactions with two men in particular. Cold and calculating Emma is pressed to show her business prowess when she deals with Nelson, played by Luis Bordonada. Johnny, played by Carlos Miranda, is Lyn's former boyfriend (and Mari's older brother.) He brings Lyn's train-wreck of an intimate life into sharp focus.

Production value matters

The underlying star of "Vida" is the rich cinematography, which is generally absent from most shows on the big four broadcast networks. Saracho and Starz employed cinematographer Carmen Cabana to ensure that the final product would have a big screen film quality.

"Vida" is a visually pleasing show that succeeds in drawing viewers into the lives of Emma and Lyn Hernandez from the start.

While it is exploring well-worn themes of sisterhood, death, and coming home, it is still offering a fresh perspective that hasn't been seen in wide-release in the U.S. With six half-hour episodes in the season, "Vida" is binge-worthy for late-comers and fans alike.