Lethal Weapon: ABS-CBN’s Latest Tagalized American Series

ABS-CBN has once again imported an American series and dubbed it in Filipino.

Unfortunately, viewers will not get to see a third season of ‘Jane the Virgin’, whose first two seasons were aired by the network last year with lukewarm results. Instead, ABS-CBN will premiere another American TV series which, based on the title, should be familiar to moviegoers worldwide.

Remember the ‘Lethal Weapon’ series of films? Between 1987 and 1998, the franchise released four films starring Mel Gibson as Martin Riggs and Danny Glover as Roger Murtaugh, each of which were commercially successful.

Fast forward to 2016, and the ‘Lethal Weapon’ franchise now has its own TV series. This time, the roles of Martin and Roger were given to Clayne Crawford and Damon Wayans respectively.

The ‘Lethal Weapon’ series also stars Jordana Brewster, Keesha Sharp, Kevin Rahm, Johnathan Fernandez, Michelle Mitchenor, Chandler Kinney and Dante Brown. Recurring cast members include Floriana Lima, Richard Cabral, Tony Plana, Hilarie Burton and Thomas Lennon.

In the United States, ‘Lethal Weapon’ premiered on September 21, 2016, and was aired on FOX. The series was renewed for a second season following a strong performance in the ratings.

But as ‘Lethal Weapon’ makes its way to Philippine free TV, there are some doubts as to whether or not this series will fare well with most Filipino viewers. For starters, the ‘Lethal Weapon’ series is currently aired on Warner TV Philippines, which means some are already familiar with the story.

And considering their unenthusiastic response to ‘Jane the Virgin’, ABS-CBN may have taken a huge risk with this move. While ‘Lethal Weapon’ is only a mere filler for the network in anticipation for yet another franchised reality show (the first season has 18 episodes in total), it only defies the fact that ABS-CBN wanted nothing more than to dominate every chance they get.

That said, the next several Saturdays could see ABS-CBN slip up a bit after a long reign atop the ratings game. ‘Lethal Weapon’ may only be a temporary fix, but a period of losing could be in the offing.

‘Lethal Weapon’ airs every Saturday after ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ on ABS-CBN.

A Secret No More: Richard Gutierrez Joins ABS-CBN

Richard Gutierrez has found a new home.

On Wednesday, May 31, ABS-CBN held a press conference to announce the acquisition of the former long-time GMA artist. In a statement, Richard told the media about his decision to join ABS-CBN.

“I have always been curious how it is to work in ABS-CBN. I only hear great things about this network. Finally, now I’m here, I’m excited that I have been given the opportunity to work here.”

Richard graced the much-anticipated event alongside his mother Annabelle Rama, ABS-CBN COO for Broadcast Cory Vidanes, Star Creatives COO Malou Santos and Finance head for Broadcast and News and Current Affairs Cat Lopez. The news quickly spread like wildfire on social media, with many netizens congratulating Richard on his decision.

Prior to joining ABS-CBN, Richard Gutierrez made his mark on rival GMA Network, starring in teleseryes such as ‘Mulawin’, ‘Lupin’, ‘Sugo’, ‘Kamandag’, ‘Codename: Asero’ and ‘Captain Barbell’. He also starred in films such as ‘Let the Love Begin’, ‘Mulawin: The Movie’ and the ‘Mano Po’ franchise.

Richard’s most recent series was the TV5/Viva production ‘Ang Panday’, which aired last year. He also made a few guest appearances on ABS-CBN programming during a four-year period as a freelancer.

The first salvo for Richard with the Kapamilya network will be the upcoming fantasy-action series ‘La Luna Sangre’, starring alongside Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla. Although former ‘Mulawin’ co-star Angel Locsin will also make an appearance on the third installment of the ‘Lobo’ franchise, don’t expect the one-time love team to appear on-screen together.

However, ABS-CBN did announce that a planned reunion of Richard and Angel in an upcoming Star Cinema film is in the works. In addition, another untitled Star Cinema movie alongside Angelica Panganiban is also planned for Richard.

Let’s just hope that ABS-CBN will make good use of Richard Gutierrez. With a reputation of turning fading stars back to relevance, this is an opportunity for the network to once again weave their magic on a talent that still has some mileage left.

Mulawin vs. Ravena Premiere Means New Characters for Ang Probinsyano

The threat is indeed real.

With the premiere of GMA fantaserye ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ later tonight, long-running ABS-CBN action series ‘Ang Probinsyano’ introduced a new slate of supporting actors that will add more color to an already endless story. They are:

  • John Arcilla
  • Angel Aquino
  • Ejay Falcon
  • Jhong Hilario
  • Lito Lapid
  • Mark Lapid
  • Sid Lucero
  • Long Mejia
  • Pokwang
  • Mitch Valdes

These actors will join the main cast that features Coco Martin, Ms. Susan Roces, Yassi Pressman and Awra Briguela, among others. Ironically, John Arcilla was last seen in the just-concluded GMA fantaserye (and ‘Ang Probinsyano”s archrival) ‘Encantadia’, where he was cast as Hagorn.

Another chapter soon. #FPJAP

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The addition of new actors indicate that another fresh storyline for ‘Ang Probinsyano’ is about to take shape. After all, a new rival in ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ will come into play and the best way for the former to maintain viewer interest is to introduce new characters and plots to keep up with its latest adversary.

Speaking of ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’, the sequel to the popular early 2000s fantaserye ‘Mulawin’ is 12 years in the making. The original series (led by Richard Gutierrez and Angel Locsin) became a huge hit when it first aired, and with the creation of the sequel, the bar is raised even higher.

‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ will feature stars such as:

  • Dennis Trillo (as Gabriel)
  • Heart Evangelista (as Alwina)
  • Carla Abellana  (as Aviona)
  • Tom Rodriguez (as Rodrigo)
  • Lovi Poe (as Magindara)
  • Regine Velasquez (as Sandawa)
  • Bianca Umali (as Lawiswis)
  • Derrick Monasterio (as Almiro)
  • Bea Binene (as Anya)
  • Miguel Tanfelix (as Pagaspas)
  • Ariel Rivera (as Panabon)
  • Chynna Ortaleza (as Reyna Rashana)
  • David Licauco (as Malik)
  • Dion Ignacio (as Siklab)
  • Valerie Concepcion (as Tuka)
  • Roi Vinzon (as Daragit)
  • JC Tiuseco (as Tangos)
  • Winwyn Marquez (as Ribery)
  • TJ Trinidad (as Greco)
  • Angelu de Leon (as Lourdes)
  • Bobby Andrews (as Dionisio)
  • Charee Pineda (as Savanna)
  • Joko Diaz (as Antonio)
  • Martin del Rosario (as Aramis)
  • Kiko Estrada (as Rafael)
  • Nova Villa (as Lola Elo)

Directors Dominic Zapata and Don Michael Perez will once again breathe life into ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’, just as they did with the original ‘Mulawin’.

Heading into tonight, the challenge for ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ is a daunting one. ‘Ang Probinsyano’ has been a ratings juggernaut for nearly two years now and not even the efforts of its predecessor ‘Encantadia’ was enough to topple the former.

That said, the best chance for ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ might come from viewers who are becoming disenchanted with ‘Ang Probinsyano”s endlessly dragging storyline. With the latter’s new characters coming into play, this may be an opportunity for some to switch channels and watch something different and pleasing.

Still, with too many loyal viewers siding with ‘Ang Probinsyano’, the task will not be an easy one. So, good luck to GMA in their efforts to sway the momentum away from Coco Martin and company.

Ika-6 na Utos Extends to Saturday Afternoons

GMA gets even more desperate.

Due to so-called ‘insistent public demand’, the network announced that the teleserye ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ will now air on Saturday afternoons as well. In doing so, GMA made some history by becoming the first TV network to air a new episode of a weekday teleserye on a weekend.

The upcoming Saturday episodes of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ will replace the short-lived and poorly-rated crime and investigation series ‘Case Solved’, which only lasted six episodes from February 18 to March 25. But can this risky move work?

According to the national Kantar Media ratings, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ trails ‘It’s Showtime’ by around 3-4% since its premiere on December 5, 2016. While the former’s ratings were on the upswing of late (they even defeated ‘It’s Showtime’ by 0.3% on March 2), they still failed to topple the latter since the popular ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ segment airs at the same time.

As ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ goes deep into Saturday afternoon, they face an even tougher test. The legal drama ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ made mincemeat of ‘Case Solved’ during the past month, and with the latter raking in around 20% ratings in recent episodes, chances are ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ is in for a reality check.

To make matters worse for ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, the viewers’ demands for a sixth episode every weekend could prove too much to ask for. Let’s face it, the need for variety on television is obvious here, and GMA’s desperate move to extend ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ to Saturday afternoons could easily tire out even the most demanding of viewers.

That said, GMA’s daring move to extend ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ to Saturdays may come back to haunt them. After all, everybody wants a break from watching teleseryes each and every weekend, but for GMA, all roads lead to disaster simply because of a needless opportunity to boost ratings.

Sorry GMA, but this is not going to work, regardless of what the viewers say.

Revisiting the Super Sentai Craze in the Philippines

Before the ‘Power Rangers’ existed, there was the Super Sentai series in Japan.

This week marked the premiere of Haim Saban’s ‘Power Rangers’ movie, and while critical opinion was mixed, the film to date has been a financial success so far. However, the Power Rangers franchise in general is not an original concept.

The Power Rangers were actually adopted from the Japanese Super Sentai series that is now in production for over 40 years. In fact, stock footage of every Super Sentai series were used in combination with originally produced American footage to create the Power Rangers that it is today.

The premise of the Super Sentai (and of the Power Rangers in particular) is simple. A group of normal individuals-turned-superheroes dressed in color-coded battle suits fight the forces of evil, using mecha that, when joined together, form one giant robot in order to combat a more towering monster.

The Philippines caught its first glimpse of the Super Sentai when ‘J.A.K.Q Dengekitai’ (known here as ‘The Lucky Aces’) was aired on RPN-9 back in 1978. However, it was its predecessor ‘Gorenger’ (known here as ‘Star Rangers’) which popularized the Super Sentai in the country.

The mid-1980s saw the entry of both ‘Bioman’ and ‘Maskman’ to the country. Now regarded as classics in the Super Sentai genre, ‘Bioman’ and ‘Maskman’ were regularly aired here for much of the 1980s and deep into the 1990s, and its popularity rivaled that of late 1970s robot anime ‘Voltes V’ and ‘Daimos’.

The 1990s marked the beginning of the end for Super Sentai in the Philippines. Although ‘Goggle V’, ‘Turboranger’, ‘Fiveman’ and ‘Jetman’ were introduced during this period, they were eclipsed in popularity thanks in large part to the ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’, which premiered on ABS-CBN around 1995.

From then on, the Power Rangers franchise was aired in both English and Filipino dubs on the following channels: ABS-CBN Channel 2, Studio 23, Yey!, Hero and Cartoon Network. And while the Super Sentai soldiered on in its native Japan, Filipino networks have no interest in importing such series due to the changing tastes of viewers.

So while people flock to the cinemas to watch the ‘Power Rangers’ movie, let’s not forget that it is the Super Sentai which started it all. The series may be past its prime here, but its influence remains prevalent today.

In 100 Words: TV5’s ‘Choose Courage’ Station ID

TV5 under Chot Reyes is all about ‘courage’.

The network’s latest station ID was unveiled two weeks ago, and it featured the network’s newest offerings summarized in a one-minute film. The message of the station ID was simple: people should always overcome challenges and find the strength to escape fear.

As far as the station ID goes, the message may be prophetic, but what is the point when there are still some weaknesses to address. Remember the talk about TV shopping and News5 show reruns, not to mention all the problems that AksyonTV faces?

That said, unless Chot Reyes addresses these glaring issues, the ‘Choose Courage’ slogan that TV5 projects this year will not apply today. Until then, TV5 must take the long road in order to prove that they are indeed ‘courageous’.