action, drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

Bagani: ABS-CBN’s Most Controversial Series Yet

The hype surrounding ‘Bagani’ has been on a high for the past few months.

On the good side, this upcoming ABS-CBN drama series will be led by Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil, one of the Philippines’ most popular love teams today. On the bad side, however, ‘Bagani’ has been beset by controversy from the start.

When the trailer for ‘Bagani’ first popped out, netizens immediately compared it to ‘Encantadia’ due to its similar themes and landscape. The discussion even spread to the writers of the two shows, namely Suzette Doctolero and Mark Duane Angos.

‘Bagani’ also drew flak for its questionable casting choices. While the series was inspired from pre-colonial Philippines, some of the cast were not pure-blooded Filipinos, particularly the LizQuen tandem and co-star Matteo Guidicelli.

Writer Mark Duane Angos defended ‘Bagani”s casting decisions and setting in a series of tweets.

Notwithstanding the controversy surrounding ‘Bagani’, fans can’t help but be excited over the return of LizQuen to the small screen. This time, however, the duo will be engaged in plenty of action as fight scenes will become the norm in ‘Bagani’.

That doesn’t mean any moment of ‘kilig’ will be nonexistent. There will still be occasional cheesy scenes that make viewers gush, just not much due to the serious physicality involved.

So far, the confirmed lead cast of ‘Bagani’ include Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil, Sofia Andres, Makisig Morales and Matteo Guidicelli. An extended cast is yet to be revealed.

Star Creatives will handle the production duties for ‘Bagani’. It will be directed by Richard Arellano and Lester Pimentel.

With the impending debut of ‘Bagani’, ABS-CBN has entered the world of epicseryes (for which the likes of ‘Encantadia’ were derived). But unlike GMA whose production of ‘Encantadia’ drained much of their finances, ABS-CBN should pose no concern for ‘Bagani’ as far as money as concerned, and if the series rates well, it will not be a big problem.

Still, it remains to be seen if the various controversies will affect ‘Bagani’ in any way. LizQuen may give this series a boost, but it may also cost them some disgruntled viewers in the process.

‘Bagani’ airs weeknights after ‘Ang Probinsyano’ on ABS-CBN Primetime Bida. In the meantime, here is the full trailer for the series.

action, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Erich X 3: The Blood Sisters on ABS-CBN Starting Monday

If two-in-one is not enough, why not three-in-one.

This is exactly what ABS-CBN will look to do starting this Monday when Erich Gonzales portrays three different characters in ‘The Blood Sisters’. But for older viewers, an actor playing a trio of characters is nothing new.

During the late 1990s, another Kapamilya drama pulled the same stunt when ‘Saan Ka Man Naroroon’ saw Claudine Barretto play three characters of differing personas. Considering the difficulty of this maneuver, the three-in-one storyline was rarely replicated, until now.

In ‘The Blood Sisters’, Erich is the one in three-in-one. First, she is Erika, a bar dancer and a doting mother whose profession keeps her son alive amid his battle with a chronic illness.

A gruesome murder at the bar leads to a chase that nearly costs Erika’s life. Along the way, however, she finds out that she has two twin sisters: Carrie and Agatha, both of whom will be crucial in realizing the truth about their upbringing.

The triplets were raised by a surrogate mother and were separated after an agreement their parents made fell through. Once they reunite, they will look to find the truth amid the dangers in their lives.

Also part of ‘The Blood Sisters’ are Enchong Dee, Ejay Falcon, AJ Muhlach, Cherry Pie Picache, Dina Bonnievie, Jestoni Alarcon, Ruby Ruiz, and Pamu Pamorada. It will be directed by Jojo Saguin and is under the production of Dreamscape Entertainment.

For Erich Gonzales, the 5:45 slot is nothing new to her, having previously starred in ‘Katorse’ and ‘Tanging Yaman’. But ‘The Blood Sisters’ is drastically different from all the previous dramas she participated in, as it will mark the entry of a more sexier and sultrier Erich.

Considering how ‘Wildflower’ raised expectations for the said timeslot, the bar is definitely much higher for ‘The Blood Sisters’ to scale. Still, it remains to be seen if a new-look Erich Gonzales will deliver the same if not better-than-impressive ratings for her new drama as she did a few years ago.

The floor is now hers to take. Good luck.

‘The Blood Sisters’ airs weeknights before ‘TV Patrol’ on ABS-CBN Primetime Bida.

drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Wildflower’s Wildest Finale

‘Wildflower’ is coming to an end.

Friday night will mark the finale of this top-rating ABS-CBN series. In a run that spanned 257 episodes, ‘Wildflower’ became a big hit in more ways than one.

Premiering on February 13, 2017, ‘Wildflower’ became the first ABS-CBN drama to air in the 5:50 p.m. slot since ‘We Will Survive’. From episode one, the series ran roughshod over the competition, constantly earning ratings in the 20s while occasionally hitting the 30s.

As ‘Wildflower’ continued to reign over its timeslot, the confrontations between Ivy Aguas/Lily Cruz (Maja Salvador) and Emilia Ardiente (Aiko Melendez) also became viral on social media. Various news topics were lampooned using screenshots of Ivy/Lily and Emilia either strangling, shouting or slapping each other in the face.

Throughout its run ‘Wildflower’ saw its fair share of cast members arrive and depart. While the core cast features Maja Salvador, Aiko Melendez, Joseph Marco, Tirso Cruz III, Sunshine Cruz, Christian Vasquez and RK Bagatsing, the series also received a few contributions from the likes of Roxanne Barcelo, Dawn Chang and Zsa Zsa Padilla.

Despite its lengthy run and constant ratings success, it was too unfortunate that ‘Wildflower’ will not be able to join the ‘one-year club’ that featured fellow ABS-CBN dramas ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘Doble Kara’. Friday’s ending will put them two episodes short of the anniversary mark.

Even viewers of the series found it hard to accept that ABS-CBN will pull the plug on ‘Wildflower’ after such a long run. In fact, ‘Wildflower”s ‘The End is Near’ teaser last January was trending on social media, with many clamoring for an extension which was never materialized.

Still, ‘Wildflower”s accomplishments were hard to deny. The series’ presence made the early evening slot of Primetime Bida relevant again, and Maja Salvador’s portrayal of Ivy/Lily only enhanced her craft as an actress.

Veterans such as Sunshine Cruz, Tirso Cruz III and Aiko Melendez were also given a second wind in their careers thanks to their portrayals of Camia, Julio and Emilia respectively. Even a cameo appearance by Zsa Zsa Padilla as Red Dragon was good enough to convince viewers that she is still a dependable actress.

Overall, ‘Wildflower’ is such a good series that reliving all 257 episodes on iWant TV would be more than enticing. Indeed, this series typified the ‘wild’ in every sense of the word, one that is unpredictable, moody and crazy to look at.

This Friday should be a wild finale for ‘Wildflower’. Enjoy the show.

drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin to End Friday

The Kimerald reunion tour will come to an end this week.

On Friday, January 26, ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ will air its 195th and final episode. The series, which starred Kim Chiu, Gerald Anderson, Jake Cuenca and Coleen Garcia, was first aired on May 1, 2017.

In many ways, the series was not a disappointment ratings-wise. But for the more knowledgeable viewers, the serious tone of ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ may have turned them off a bit considering that ABS-CBN reluctantly placed the series to the late morning timeslot.

When ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ was first announced during one of ABS-CBN’s trade fairs, many thought the series would be assigned to Primetime Bida. After all, Kim Chiu and Gerald Anderson were highly accomplished primetime stars with many top-rating series to their credit.

However, ABS-CBN decided to take ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ to the late-morning slot that is normally assigned to more light-hearted or inspirational series (see ‘Be Careful with My Heart’ and ‘Ningning’). At this point they didn’t have a choice since Kapamilya Gold and Primetime Bida were fully loaded and they fear that postponing the series’ premiere could affect its ratings.

Nevertheless, ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ became a hit in the ratings game, mainly due to inferior competition put up by GMA Network blocktimer TAPE Inc. During the first half of its run, ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ was pitted against the coming-of-age drama ‘TROPS’, and after that they faced the talk show ‘The Lolas’ Beautiful Show’.

Overall, even with all the obstacles thrown against it, ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ still managed to enjoy a great run. It was a series that is as compelling as it comes, with the premise of three triathletes entangled in a love triangle while competing in a run of their lives.

As ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ nears its conclusion, one can only hope that these last few episodes will be as explosive as it can get. A very interesting ending awaits, so good luck with that.

action, drama, entertainment, game show, Philippines, television

FTT Year 2017 in Review: The Hot or Not Stories That Define the Year in Media (Part I)

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2018, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article looks back at some of the Hot or Not moments that define the Philippine media this year.

Here is Part I of the four-part series. These stories are arranged in no particular order.

HOT: La Luna Sangre

The tandem of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla returned to ABS-CBN Primetime Bida in June to star in ‘La Luna Sangre’, which also starred Angel Locsin (initially in a special participatory role as Lia before returning full-time as Jacintha) and another comebacking star in Richard Gutierrez. The series became an immediate hit scoring well over 30% in the nationwide ratings.

The success of ‘La Luna Sangre’ also revitalized the third slot of Primetime Bida following the lukewarm reception of predecessors ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’, ‘A Love to Last’ and ‘My Dear Heart’. But while KathNiel did not lose their magic upon returning to the small screen, the same cannot be said for another popular love team.

NOT: AlDub and More

Good news: AlDub did not need to face KathNiel as ‘Destined to Be Yours’ ended weeks before ‘La Luna Sangre’ premiered. Bad news: 63 episodes is more than enough to justify the lack of success of ‘Destined to Be Yours’, the first primetime series to star Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza together.

Things only got worse for the duo from that point on. In late November, Maine revealed on social media that she and Alden are only friends in real life and that she ‘deserves all the hate in the world’ for being a ‘coward’ and a ‘selfish little brat’.

Perhaps the pressure and the expectations are starting to take its toll on Maine. Much like her harrowing portrayal of a depressed workaholic in the ‘Eat Bulaga’ made-for-TV film ‘Love Is…’, somebody should help her overcome these stresses.

HOT: Ika-6 na Utos and Afternoon Prime

‘Ika-6 na Utos’ premiered late last year to lukewarm reviews. But thanks to some campy moments that elicit plenty of laughter from its viewers, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ became unexpectedly popular, so much so that GMA decided to add Saturday episodes starting in April to capitalize on its success.

The series also boosted the fortunes of Afternoon Prime which had been left for dead earlier in the year. By August, succeeding dramas ‘Impostora’ and ‘Haplos’ were winning over their ABS-CBN counterparts thanks in large part to ‘Ika-6 na Utos’.

NOT: The Entire Kapamilya Gold Post-Doble Kara

Led by back-to-back ‘kabitseryes’ in ‘Pusong Ligaw’ and ‘The Better Half’, Kapamilya Gold lost ground to Afternoon Prime that by the late third quarter of 2017, it was the latter that stood tall. Not even ‘The Greatest Love”s critically-acclaimed run saved the block from its sudden fall from grace.

The end of ‘Doble Kara”s year-long run in February foreshadowed a decline in Kapamilya Gold’s performance. Soon after, Afternoon Prime closed the gap and overtook Kapamilya Gold in the ratings for the rest of the year, much to the dismay of Kapamilya viewers everywhere.

HOT: Wildflower

Also in February, ‘Wildflower’ premiered on Primetime Bida’s pre-newscast slot. It didn’t take long for the series to make an impact as it constantly registered ratings of over 20 to 25%, putting it among the top five programs in the country.

The success of ‘Wildflower’ also spawned numerous memes on social media, some of which depict the various confrontations between Ivy/Lily (Maja Salvador) and Emilia (Aiko Melendez). With that kind of impact, ‘Wildflower’ truly turned viewers’ heads upside down whenever these two go at it.

NOT: Kapamilya Game Shows

The slogan ‘In the Service of the Filipino’ does not apply to ABS-CBN game shows. That said, ‘Minute to Win It’, ‘Family Feud’ and ‘Bet on Your Baby’ continued to alienate audiences by utilizing celebrities more often than ordinary people throughout their runs this year.

Luckily all three shows’ seasons came to an end this year: ‘Minute to Win It’ in February, ‘Family Feud’ in May and ‘Bet on Your Baby’ in September. Perhaps ABS-CBN should stop producing game shows and defer these to ‘It’s Showtime’ since they do not even have a clue how to utilize the power of the viewing public.

Part II of this four-part series is coming up tomorrow. Stay tuned.

drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Getting Serious: ABS-CBN Goes No More Mr. Nice Guy with The Good Son

It will be a new-look and more serious Primetime Bida starting next week.

Gone were the ‘kilig-seryes’ that permeated the fifth slot of ABS-CBN’s ever-popular evening block. With all due respect to JaDine (‘On the Wings of Love’, ‘Till I Met You’) and TonDeng (Ian Veneracion and Bea Alonzo of ‘A Love to Last’), this formula is starting to wear thin.

Instead, ABS-CBN goes back to a more serious approach that made ‘The Legal Wife’ and ‘Two Wives’ runaway successes. The newest drama, ‘The Good Son’, despite its designation as a family drama, leans more on the mature and dark side.

While rival GMA continues to lean too much on aging and at times overexposed veterans for their primetime dramas, ABS-CBN cashes in on their deep roster of young talent for ‘The Good Son’. The series will be led by Jerome Ponce, Nash Aguas, Joshua Garcia and McCoy de Leon, and joining them are fellow rising stars Loisa Andallo, Elisse Joson and Alexa Ilacad.

In ‘The Good Son’, Jerome (as Enzo), Nash (as Calvin), Joshua (as Joseph) and McCoy (as Obet) are four siblings who live a simple and happy life without their father Victor (Albert Martinez), a man whose identity remains a secret. But Victor’s mysterious death led to a series of events that saw the four siblings accused of murder, and the ensuing battle to prove who is innocent from the crime is on.

‘The Good Son’ will also include Mylene Dizon, Eula Valdez, John Estrada, Ronnie Lazaro, Jeric Raval, Alex Medina, and Kathleen Hermoso. The series will be directed by Manny Palo and Andoy Ranay.

Considering ABS-CBN’s reputation for turning rising stars into superstars, the pressure is now on ‘The Good Son”s up-and-coming actors to continue this budding trend. However, it remains to be seen if the series’ untested group of young talent will thrive in the high-stakes block that is primetime.

It will also be interesting to see how the viewers react to a change of formula from a light drama to a more serious one. That said, ‘The Good Son’ should be a series that may either make or break Primetime Bida’s unpredictable fifth slot.

‘The Good Son’ airs weeknights after ‘La Luna Sangre’ on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida.