drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Before Ang Probinsyano: A Look Back at Nathaniel

It had been over three years since a teleserye not named ‘Ang Probinsyano’ aired after ‘TV Patrol’.

So many dramas have aired on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida during that span, including a combined seven teleseryes that starred the Big Three love teams in KathNiel, LizQuen and JaDine. But at the end of the day, there was still one constant, and that was the Coco Martin-starred action series ‘Ang Probinsyano’.

After all, the series will turn three on the final week of September and will be closing in on 800 episodes by October. But lost amid the hoopla and the longevity of ‘Ang Probinsyano’ was its long-forgotten predecessor ‘Nathaniel’, the last series to air on ABS-CBN’s 7:50 p.m. slot before Coco Martin and his entourage took over.

‘Nathaniel’ starred Marco Masa in the title role, and his parents were played by Gerald Anderson and Shaina Magdayao. The supporting cast of ‘Nathaniel’ also included Isabelle Daza in her debut project with ABS-CBN.

The series ran from April 20 to September 25, 2015 and aired a total of 115 episodes. Not only that, ‘Nathaniel’ dominated the ratings game as it won past ‘Pari Ko’y’ and the 2015 remake of ‘MariMar’ in its timeslot.

So where are the series’ stars now? ‘Nathaniel”s lead protagonist Marco Masa has not had a major project since then but he did host ‘Team Yey’ for a short time and recently appeared on the second season of ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids’.

Shaina Magdayao is currently part of the Kapamilya afternoon series ‘Asintado’. And as for Gerald Anderson, he was recently seen on ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ with former on-screen partner Kim Chiu and is now playing semi-pro basketball with the MPBL’s Marikina Shoemakers.

With ‘Ang Probinsyano’ reaching high episode levels not seen since the original ‘Mara Clara’ in the 1990s, it is easy to forget that it succeeded one of ABS-CBN’s most popular family-oriented dramas. That said, revisiting a gem like ‘Nathaniel’ will help viewers look back at a time when child stars used to rock Primetime Bida’s leadoff slot.

All episodes of ‘Nathaniel’ are currently available on iWant TV.

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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, 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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comedy, drama, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television

The Last Week of Since I Found You

Glad that’s over.

In many ways, ‘Since I Found You”s final week is a merciful end to a series that has never found its footing from day one. And while this romantic comedy series outplayed its competition, it failed to impress viewers left and right.

‘Since I Found You’ first set foot on April 16, 2018 replacing the tearjerking family drama ‘The Good Son’. The series marked the first television project for the ‘Kita Kita’ tandem of Empoy Marquez and Alessandra de Rossi, and they were joined by Piolo Pascual, Arci Muñoz and JC de Vera.

While ‘Since I Found You’ came out firing by averaging in the 20s its first two weeks, it failed to sustain its magical start the rest of the way. Since then, ‘Since I Found You’ hovered between 16 and 19%, and ABS-CBN management wondered if a romantic comedy on primetime is indeed a curse.

But despite its unimpressive ratings, ‘Since I Found You”s opponent failed to take advantage of its lukewarm audience reception. Neither ‘The One That Got Away’ nor ‘Inday Will Always Love You’ provided the necessary impact that should have given ‘Since I Found You’ a scare, even though the latter came within 1% in one of its episodes.

Notwithstanding the lack of recognition by the audience, ‘Since I Found You’ was still good enough to produce 85 episodes, which is close to the norm of a typical teleserye. Still, it was clear that viewers yawned over a primetime romantic comedy that felt out of place.

With all due respect to Dreamscape, the producer of ‘Since I Found You’, this is one of the weakest efforts that this entertainment division has ever made. For all its success and appeal (see ‘Asintado’, ‘Ang Probinsyano’), not all of their creations are destined to give audiences something worth watching.

In the end, ‘Since I Found You’ is a waste of time for ABS-CBN. Romantic comedies have no place on Primetime Bida and this series is one of a few mistakes that ABS-CBN ever made.

One can only hope that ‘Since I Found You’ will end with a lasting impression. But for a series that is boring from the start, expect a silent treatment from the audience.

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