drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Long Overdue: JoshLia Stars in Ngayon at Kailanman

Call it an ‘I wish they should have done this a long time ago’ moment.

The love team of Joshua Garcia and Julia Barretto have been in the headlines for as long as fans can remember. But while they made some noise in films like ‘Unexpectedly Yours’, ‘Vince and Kath and James’ and ‘Love You to the Stars and Back’, their chemistry has yet to be tested on television.

To their credit, Joshua and Julia already starred in a few teleseryes individually (most recently Julia was included in ‘A Love to Last’ while Joshua last appeared in ‘The Good Son’). However, the incoming teleserye ‘Ngayon at Kailanman’ will mark the first series in which the two are on the same script.

Via ABS-CBN PR:

“Ngayon at Kailanman” is an ode to classic Filipino teleseryes about star-crossed lovers, who must fight the odds to be together. It stars Joshua as Inno, an heir of the powerful Cortes clan, and Julia as Eva, a streetwise girl who grew up in the slums.

Though they are from different worlds, destiny will bring them together but also tear them apart. While their love will be tested by the Cortes family and the mystery surrounding the identity of Eva, it is up to them to decide what they are willing to risk for their love.

‘Ngayon at Kailanman’ will also mark the return of legendary actress Rosemarie Gil on the small screen as the matriarch to the Cortes clan. Completing the entire cast are Rio Locsin, Iza Calzado, Christian Vasquez, Alice Dixon, Ina Raymundo, Dominic Ocha, TJ Trinidad, Jameson Blake and Joao Constancia.

For all their success in film, Joshua and Julia will have their hands full connecting with the ever-demanding world of primetime television. After all, ‘Ngayon at Kailanman”s predecessor ‘Bagani’ failed to make an impact in spite of its impressive ratings, which only puts great pressure on JoshLia to succeed.

That said, the expectations to excel will be of huge importance to ‘Ngayon at Kailanman’. The series should be more than satisfied in reaching 30% ratings or better during its run, but if it goes below that on a regular basis, then it will be trouble for ABS-CBN.

Directed by Mae Cruz-Alviar and Elfren Vibar, ‘Ngayon at Kailanman’ airs after ‘Ang Probinsyano’ on ABS-CBN Primetime Bida.

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China, drama, entertainment, Philippines, Taiwan, television

Will the New Meteor Garden Be as Successful as the Original?

A familiar series with a new twist.

On Monday, August 20, ABS-CBN will bring the Chinese remake of ‘Meteor Garden’ to Filipino audiences. But the question is: can it equal if not surpass the success of the original?

The new version of ‘Meteor Garden’ will star Darren Cheng, Dylan Wang, Connor Leong, and Caesar Wu as F4. Darren, Dylan, Connor and Caesar will play Hua Ze Lei (originally by Vic Zhou), Dao Ming Si (originally by Jerry Yan), Mei Zuo (originally by Vanness Wu), and Xi Men (originally by Ken Chu) respectively.

Shan Cai, a character popularized by Barbie Shu in the original ‘Meteor Garden’, will now be played by Shen Yue. According to series producer Angie Chai, the cast were selected based on their personalities that were similar to the original F4.

‘Meteor Garden’ began airing in China last month, and so far the series has performed well in its home country. ‘Meteor Garden’ currently ranks in the top 10 of the most-watched Chinese television programs.

The original ‘Meteor Garden’ was first aired in the Philippines back in 2003 and became a smashing success. It helped turn F4 (or JVKV for copyright purposes) into superstars and at the height of the show’s popularity, the group even held a concert in Manila in front of their adoring fans.

ABS-CBN has since re-aired the original series multiple times, most recently in 2014. But while ABS-CBN will forever be the network associated with ‘Meteor Garden’ in the Philippines, archrival GMA Network also aired the said Asianovela in 2007, albeit in a different dub and with mixed success.

Looking ahead, one must wonder how can this new version of ‘Meteor Garden’ be able to permeate the Filipino viewing public the same way the original did. Considering the lofty heights that came with the 2003 version of ‘Meteor Garden’, it will not be easy for the new series to make an impact with both loyal and new viewers.

Not only that, a few alterations to the original story could affect its performance. That said, ABS-CBN should keep expectations low and hope that somewhere down the road viewers will appreciate this new take on ‘Meteor Garden’ with gusto.

‘Meteor Garden’ airs weeknights before ‘TV Patrol’ on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida.

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entertainment, Philippines, reality show, television

Thoughts on Star Hunt: The Grand Audition Show

A filler show to end all filler shows.

With the 2018 remake of ‘Meteor Garden’ set to air right before ‘TV Patrol’ starting this Monday (more on that later this week), ABS-CBN decided to fill the void with a transitional show on the timeslot normally occupied by its Asianovelas. And this is no ordinary show.

Back in April, ABS-CBN announced a worldwide audition tour called ‘Star Hunt: The Kapamilya Grand Auditions’. The tour began in Manila on the weekend of April 20, after which the network hosted further auditions in both the Philippines and abroad.

Their purpose is to find aspirants that will become part of various ABS-CBN talent and reality shows. Examples include ‘The Voice of the Philippines’, ‘I Can See Your Voice’, ‘Pilipinas Got Talent’, ‘Pinoy Big Brother’, ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’, ‘Dance Kids’, ‘Little Big Shots’, ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ and the soon-to-be-launched ‘World of Dance Philippines’.

Beginning Monday, ABS-CBN will air highlights from these auditions as part of ‘Star Hunt: The Grand Audition Show’. Hosted by former ‘Pinoy Big Brother’ alums Kim Chiu, Robi Domingo, Alex Gonzaga and Melai Cantiveros, the program will take a look at some of the aspirants and their backstories.

This is perhaps a mere short-term solution for ABS-CBN. After all, there are high hopes surrounding the remake of ‘Meteor Garden’ that airing the Asianovela on its normal afternoon timeslot may hinder its viewership due to the ‘TV Patrol’ regional newscasts in the provinces.

Not wanting to risk a loss of viewers, ABS-CBN decided to place ‘Meteor Garden’ on the leadoff slot of Primetime Bida. This leads to ‘Star Hunt: The Grand Audition Show’ taking over the regular Asianovela timeslot of Kapamilya Gold.

Honestly, it makes perfect sense for ABS-CBN to produce a filler show on a timeslot where not all areas will receive it. With regional versions of ‘TV Patrol’ being plugged into this timeslot, ABS-CBN realized that a filler show like ‘Star Hunt’ will be much better than, let’s say a teleserye, because ratings are of no concern to the program and it only serves as a stopgap.

With that, good luck to ABS-CBN for this temporary endeavor. Regardless of how it performed, the most important part is that it served its purpose.

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drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

LizQuen Letdown: Disappointing Bagani to End Run Friday

Fantasy remains one of ABS-CBN’s weakest points.

After all, the network is not used to creating big-budgeted fantasy dramas on a daily basis. Unlike rival GMA, they usually produce their teleseryes conservatively, letting the story become the emphasis and not on special effects or gaudy costumes.

But in the case of ‘Bagani’, they decided to be big spenders for once. Unfortunately, not even the power of Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil can turn this costly series into a humongous draw.

Even before ‘Bagani’ premiered on March 5, 2018, the series became shrouded with controversy. Not only did it drew unfair comparisons to ‘Encantadia’, it also drew flak for its casting choices (Liza and co-star Matteo Guidicelli were part-Filipino) and its alleged misuse of the term ‘Bagani’.

Despite that, ‘Bagani’ came out strong from the start, earning ratings in the 30s during its first few months. By July, however, the series struggled to get to 30%, mainly because viewers grew tired of the plodding storyline and the fact that ‘Kambal Karibal’ became a strong threat.

Nevertheless, ‘Bagani’ continued to win its timeslot in spite of these difficulties. Still, the series’ unsatisfactory finish has left LizQuen fans with a bitter taste in their mouths; after all, they expected a lot more from this love team after the runaway success of ‘Forevermore’ and ‘Dolce Amore’.

Overall, ‘Bagani’ will wrap up with a total of 118 episodes to its credit. The reason why ABS-CBN decided to end the series now than to extend it further is for Liza Soberano can devote her energies to her first project (film or television) without Enrique Gil, which is ‘Darna’.

In the end, ‘Bagani’ became a total disappointment regardless of its performance. The story became a slow-developing one and the characters simply did not have enough progression to convince viewers.

It was one series that LizQuen fans would like to forget. No disrespect for them but for a big-time draw that is LizQuen, it was a letdown.

They can only hope that ‘Bagani’ will finish on a graceful note come this Friday. After that, move on and let bygones be bygones.

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action, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

The Blood Sisters to Conclude Friday

Erich Gonzales’ ‘three-in-one’ had a mixed run.

The good news for her is that ‘The Blood Sisters’ still reigned on its timeslot. But unlike its predecessor ‘Wildflower’, it failed to win big and make a noticeable impact.

First aired on February 12, 2018, ‘The Blood Sisters’ tells the story of triplets Erika, Carrie and Agatha (all portrayed by Erich). The series had a strong debut, hitting the 25% mark on its first episode.

‘The Blood Sisters’ would go on to hit the 20% mark on several other occasions during its run. Overall, however, the series never caught on with the viewers the way Ivy Aguas/Lily Cruz (Maja Salvador) did on ‘Wildflower’.

It also didn’t help that ‘The Blood Sisters’ wound up airing twenty minutes later than usual because of ‘It’s Showtime”s incessant streak of going overtime. Whenever Vice Ganda and company go beyond its limit, the worst-case scenario that ‘The Blood Sisters’ had was a 6:10 p.m. start which is way past its normal start time of 5:45-5:50 p.m.

That of course threw some viewers off and ‘The Blood Sisters’ ratings were affected by it. While the series still got the better of competing program ‘Wowowin’, the small gap between the two suggests that ‘The Blood Sisters’ was indeed beatable.

Still, the series managed to air 132 episodes when it is all said and done. Not bad for a series that had plenty of expectations yet could not get the job done.

If there was one consolation for ‘The Blood Sisters’, it is that Erich Gonzales continued her maturation as an artist. Having to portray three different characters is no easy task, but Erich was able to effectively pull it off with Erika, Agatha and Carrie.

Still, those shortcomings ‘The Blood Sisters’ had outweighed the positives. Had ABS-CBN put a leash on Vice Ganda’s excessive bantering, ‘The Blood Sisters’ would have raked in more viewers.

Either way, ‘The Blood Sisters’ was still a good series to watch even with all the concerns put into them. May this series enjoy a graceful exit this Friday.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Back to the Serious Stuff: Halik Premieres Monday

It is back to the more serious and daring stuff on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida this Monday.

After not getting the much-needed results with the light-hearted romantic series ‘Since I Found You’, ABS-CBN will use the fourth slot for an intense and more tantalizing drama. But can ‘Halik’ recapture the magic of prior daring teleseryes?

‘Halik’ stars Jericho Rosales and Yen Santos as Lino and Jacky respectively. Once childhood lovers, they were separated when Jacky’s parents disapprove of Lino who is a son of one of their workers, only to renew acquaintances years later.

At this point, however, Lino is married to Jade (Yam Concepcion), an ambitious and headstrong woman, while Jacky lives together with Ace (Sam Milby), a rich man whose sweetness hides a secret. Neither Jade nor Ace are committed and trusty spouses, so it will be up to Lino and Jacky to rekindle their love that was once lost.

‘Halik’ also stars Amy Austria, Alan Paule, Precious Lara Quigaman, Romnick Sarmenta, Cris Villanueva, Almira Muhlach, Christian Bables, Hero Angeles, Chai Fonacier, JC Alcantara, Jane De Leon, and Gab Lagman. The series will be directed by Cathy Camarillo and Carlo Po Artillaga, and is under the Ruel S. Bayani (RSB) drama unit.

Traditionally speaking, the fourth slot of Primetime Bida has long been the domain of mature and daring dramas. This is the slot where ‘The Legal Wife’ became a huge hit, and more recently, this is where ‘The Good Son’ thrived and kept viewers’ senses awake with each captivating scene.

But as ‘Halik’ enters the fray, it remains to be seen if they will be able to follow the footsteps of its more serious predecessors. The series may have the star power bar none, but a rarely-used commodity like Yen Santos could set viewers back a bit.

That said, it will take some time for ‘Halik’ to make its presence felt. Realistically, the opening few weeks of this series should hover within the 17-19% range as far as ratings go, but if they are lucky enough, they might as well surpass the 20% mark.

‘Halik’ airs weeknights after ‘Bagani’ on ABS-CBN Primetime Bida.

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