drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

New Challenger for A Love to Last: My Korean Jagiya

‘A Love to Last’ has a new opponent.

Through 158 episodes (as of August 18, 2017), the ABS-CBN primetime series has overcome all challenges thrown at them. Initially pitted against ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ season 1 (10 episodes from January 9-20), ‘A Love to Last’ has since made mincemeat of fellow romantic comedy series ‘Meant to Be’ (108 episodes from January 23-June 23) and ‘I Heart Davao’ (40 episodes from June 27-August 18).

Now they look to claim another victim starting next week. However, their next opponent is no ordinary romantic comedy.

In the past several years, both GMA and ABS-CBN imported several successful Korean dramas to fill in programming hours. Now GMA takes over Korean cultures and landscapes in the form of ‘My Korean Jagiya’.

Leading the way for ‘My Korean Jagiya’ will be Heart Evangelista. Her character Gia is a Korean grade school tutor and a dedicated K-drama fan girl who was nonetheless teased that she is next in her family to become an old maid.

Gia’s dream is to meet her long-time crush and once-famous Korean superstar Kim Jun-ho, portrayed by top Korean star Alexander Lee. At first, Gia searched for Kim in Korea while on a scholarship training, but wound up returning to Manila to find Kim drunk and beaten by gangsters in a bar, beginning a seemingly fruitful friendship.

‘My Korean Jagiya’ will also star Janice de Belen, Ricky Davao, Iya Villania, Edgar Allan Guzman, Valeen Montenegro, Frances Makil Ignacio, Myke Solomon, Jinri Park, Divine Aucina, and Khane dela Cruz. Korean stars David Kim, Michelle Oh, and Jerry Lee will play special roles in the series as well.

Parts of ‘My Korean Jagiya’ were shot in South Korea, and featured several key spots that were made famous by several iconic Koreanovelas such as ‘Jewel in the Palace’, ‘My Name is Kim Sam Soon’, My Love from the Star’ and ‘Winter Sonata’. The Seoul Film Commission and Seoul Metropolitan Government assisted the series’ producers in the production process.

While ‘My Korean Jagiya’ is a uniquely wonderful series for both Filipinos and Koreans to enjoy, their biggest hurdle to success comes in the form of ‘A Love to Last’. Despite being perceived as ‘boring’ in the minds of critics, ‘A Love to Last’ continues to beat all comers, and this is something that should concern ‘My Korean Jagiya’ a lot.

One can only hope that ‘My Korean Jagiya’ will not be the short-lived drama that befell more recent romcoms ‘My Love from the Star’ and ‘I Heart Davao’. If the series can somehow go beyond 80 episodes, then that should be good enough for their morale.

Directed by Mark Reyes, ‘My Korean Jagiya’ airs weekdays after ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ on GMA Telebabad.

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action, drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

Thoughts on the Timeslot Change of Mulawin vs. Ravena and Alyas Robin Hood

It was a timeslot change that was unexpected and unfortunate.

Last Friday night, GMA announced a pair of scheduling changes that shook the primetime landscape. First, the returning series ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will now occupy the timeslot succeeding ’24 Oras’, and second, ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ will now air on the timeslot that was previously used by ‘My Love from the Star’.

The timeslot change meant that the long-running ABS-CBN action series ‘Ang Probinsyano’ will now have its sixth different opponent. As it nears its third year on the air, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ has shown no signs of slowing down, earning ratings between 35-40% every night.

‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’, which premiered on May 22, seemed to be a worthy opponent for ‘Ang Probinsyano’ when it first aired. However, the series was a disaster from the start, and through 60 episodes, ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena averaged only 17-18% ratings-wise.

Meanwhile, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ showed some promise during its first season. Despite facing uncharacteristically weak Kapamilya competition in ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’, ‘A Love to Last’ and ‘My Dear Heart’, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ still came away with consistent ratings of around 20-25%, showcasing its potential.

If ‘Alyas Robin Hood”s first season performance was of any indication, then GMA seemed to have made the right call. They think that the series will have a much-better chance against Coco Martin, and with some viewers no longer pleased with the endlessly long run of ‘Ang Probinsyano’, it could give GMA the opportunity to woo such viewers to watch Dingdong Dantes’ show.

Still, even if ‘Ang Probinsyano’ appears to be in a creative nadir, they are still a force to be reckoned with. That said, if the second season of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ fails to duplicate if not surpass its first season performance, it could mean big trouble for the Kapuso network.

As for ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena, the demotion could still become either a boon or a bust. While the series will no longer have the pressure of facing ‘Ang Probinsyano’, they still have to worry about KathNiel’s ‘La Luna Sangre’, whose ratings of 35% or better is just as impressive as the former.

Not only that, the series will have to contend with former ‘Mulawin’ star Richard Gutierrez. If in the past Richard made ‘Mulawin’ a popular series during the mid-2000s, now it will be up to him to take down its sequel.

Whether or not ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena and ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will thrive in their new surroundings remain to be seen. For now, let’s wish both shows good luck, otherwise expect another switcharoo coming up.

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action, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

The Return of Alyas Robin Hood

This is not a rerun.

On Monday, August 14, GMA announced the return of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ to the small screen. The second season (or Book 2 in teleserye lingo) will bring back almost the same cast with the addition of new actors to spice up the series.

Continuing the same series after a lengthy hiatus is nothing new to Philippine television. In 2007, ABS-CBN’s ‘Maging Sino Ka Man’ received a second season after a break of six months; take note that this does not include sequels of a particular series such as the ‘Encantadia’ trilogy or the ‘Lobo’ franchise.

The new season of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will once again be headlined by Dingdong Dantes as Pepe, the former vigilante-turned-lawyer. New challenges await the protagonist, such as the kidnapping of his mother, the revelation of some of his secrets, and a powerful evil force that threatens the city.

Andrea Torres will reprise the role of Venus, Pepe’s ally and love interest. But instead of bringing back Megan Young’s character Sarri for season 2, GMA brought in Solenn Heussaff to portray Pepe’s other love interest, Iris.

Also returning for season 2 will be Ms. Jaclyn Jose, who will once again breathe life to Pepe’s mother Judy. Rounding out the mix of returning and new cast members are Ruru Madrid, Edu Manzano, Gary Estrada, Paolo Contis, Jay Manalo, Rey ‘PJ’ Abellana, Gio Alvarez, KC Montero, Lindsay de Vera, Dave Bornea, Rob Moya, Antonette Garcia and Luri Nalus.

The first season of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ ran from September 19, 2016 to February 24, 2017. The series, while a decent performer with 115 episodes in total, could not get past ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’, ‘A Love to Last’ and ‘My Dear Heart’ in the ratings.

On its second season, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will go up against the KathNiel-led series ‘La Luna Sangre’. Considering that the latter is raking in at least 35% in the national ratings of late, ‘Alyas Robin Hood”s task became even more difficult now that they face the popular tandem of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla (not to mention former GMA star Richard Gutierrez).

Still, for loyal followers of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ who stuck through the difficult times, the return of the series is like a breath of fresh air. With GMA keeping the faith, one can only hope that the second season of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will last just as long as the first.

Directed by Dominic Zapata, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ airs weeknights after ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ on GMA Telebabad.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

My Dear Heart’s ‘Last Heartbeats’

This is indeed the ‘Last Heartbeat’.

The impending conclusion of ‘My Dear Heart’ saw ABS-CBN promote its final episodes as the ‘Last __ Heartbeats’. And if this is indeed the last heartbeat for Heart Ramos and company, what a way to go.

‘My Dear Heart’ made its way to Primetime Bida’s lineup on January 23, 2017. Although the series is considered a family drama in the mold of other classic series such as ‘May Bukas Pa’, ‘100 Days to Heaven’ and ‘Honesto’, the popularity of ‘Ang Probinsyano’ in the early primetime slot forced ABS-CBN to bump ‘My Dear Heart’ to a later time.

Nevertheless, ‘My Dear Heart’ proved to be a ratings success in its own right. The series averaged 28% in the Kantar ratings, with some episodes peaking at 30% or better.

While ‘My Dear Heart’ began its run against the Dingdong Dantes-starred ‘Alyas Robin Hood’, it was against the AlDub-starred ‘Destined to Be Yours’ that defined its tenure. Facing the seemingly formidable love team of Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza, ‘My Dear Heart’ dominated the former with relative ease, shocking the entire AlDub Nation in the process.

The final few weeks of ‘My Dear Heart’ saw the series compete against the Filipino adaptation of ‘My Love from the Star’. But like Alden and Maine, the duo of Gil Cuerva and Jennylyn Mercado could not overcome Heart’s determination to survive.

Overall, ‘My Dear Heart’ will have logged a total of 103 episodes by the time it ends this Friday. The episode count was very impressive considering the series worked behind ‘Ang Probinsyano’ in the pecking order.

Come this week, all eyes are on child star Heart Ramos, whose role as a coma-stricken daughter and angelic spirit captivated viewers throughout the country and around the world. The final episodes of the series will also see how the characters of Bela Padilla, Zanjoe Marudo, Coney Reyes, Ria Atayde and Eric Quizon react to Heart’s life-or-death struggle.

The ‘Last Heartbeat’ for ‘My Dear Heart’ is on. As for Heart Ramos, her budding career as a child star has just begun.

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action, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

The Final Week of Alyas Robin Hood

‘Alyas Robin Hood’ is coming to a close.

Friday, February 24, will be the show’s final episode, and for those who stuck with ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ throughout its run, they will have plenty of stories to tell for this hooded hero. However, it was not all smooth sailing for this GMA action-drama series.

Just weeks before its premiere, many doubted ‘Alyas Robin Hood’, particularly its similarities to another Robin Hood-inspired character ‘Arrow’. Though creative head Suzette Doctolero tried her best to differentiate the two, it was clear from the beginning that the criticisms surrounding ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ would linger on during its run.

‘Alyas Robin Hood’ premiered on September 19, and was pitted against another newcomer in ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’. Though the latter’s subpar ratings did alarm ABS-CBN for a while, the former failed to take advantage, at best closing to within 1% of ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’.

The series also failed to get past ‘A Love to Last’ (during its brief two-week run at the second slot) and ‘My Dear Heart’ despite getting decent ratings of 20% or better. Overall, even with a total of 115 episodes and strong hype over the controversy, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ still fell short of expectations.

The fact is, the superhero genre that GMA advocated in ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ no longer works in today’s primetime scene. Many prefer the more realistic and inspiring plots that ABS-CBN produces in series such as ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘My Dear Heart’ rather than the fantasy leanings of ‘Encantadia’ and ‘Alyas Robin Hood’.

It also puts into question GMA’s casting choices. Let’s face it, Dingdong Dantes is in a starring role for way too long and should’ve given way to younger talent, but as it turns out, GMA wanted him because there is no other capable actor who can portray the lead role in ‘Alyas Robin Hood’.

And while Megan Young and Andrea Torres are worthy supporting actors in this series due to their youth, giving them a younger male lead would’ve helped ‘Alyas Robin Hood’. In the end, GMA made a grave mistake by putting over an actor with over a decade of service as a leading man, thus continuing a path of overusing veterans.

Come this Friday, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will be in a fight of his life. But whether or not it will make a lasting impression at the end remains to be seen.

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comedy, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

A Love to Last and Meant to Be: Primetime’s Opening Salvos This 2017

Two new teleseryes get their baptism of fire in the second week of 2017.

On ABS-CBN, Bea Alonzo and Ian Veneracion star in the upcoming series ‘A Love to Last’. A family drama, ‘A Love to Last’ tells the story of Andeng (Bea) and Anton (Ian), two individuals whose fates intertwined thanks to the crumbling relationships with their significant others.

Andeng, a breadwinner and a successful events organizer, was about to get married when she caught her fiancé cheating with another woman. Anton, on the other hand, was a company president and CEO, married to Grace (Iza Calzado) and had three children, only to see her leave and file for annulment.

Both eventually found love with each other in the most unexpected of ways. However, Andeng must first deal with Anton’s marital problems in hopes of gaining his acceptance.

‘A Love to Last’ also stars Enchong Dee, Julia Barretto, Ronnie Alonte, JK Labajo and Hannah Vito. It is directed by Jerry Lopez Sineneng and Richard Arellano.

Fresh from the successful-but-not-quite-impressive run of ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’, ABS-CBN is pinning its hopes on ‘A Love to Last’ to reverse a downward trend of sub-30% ratings in recent months. But as Bea and Ian were already industry veterans with nothing left to prove, it remains to be seen if viewers can still accept them as a force in primetime.

Over on GMA, a much lighter story will take place in the upcoming series ‘Meant to Be’, starring Barbie Forteza, Ken Chan, Jak Roberto, Addy Raj and Ivan Dorschner. It will be Barbie’s first primetime series since the not-so successful team-up with Andre Paras in ‘That’s My Amboy’ last year.

Joining them in this complicated love story are the ‘Triplets’ of ‘That’s Entertainment’ in Sheryl Cruz, Tina Paner and Manilyn Reynes, along with Keempee de Leon, Sef Cadayona, Mika dela Cruz, Stephanie Sol, Zymic Jaranilla and Ms. Gloria Romero. It will be directed by LA Madridejos.

In ‘Meant to Be’, Billie (Barbie) is an independent millenial whose life would soon revolve among the four men who will try to woo her heart; namely Fil-Brit Ethan (Ivan), Fil-Indian Jai (Addy), pure-blooded Filipino Macoy (Jak), and Fil-Chinese Yuan (Ken). But choosing the only guy that will fill her heart is not the only problem for Billie.

Billie will also deal with the crumbling relationship of her parents Wilton (Keempee) and Amelia (Manilyn), and the unemployment of her brother Bats (Sef). In addition, a sub-plot about Billie’s friendship with Mariko (Mika), and the once-formidable bond between Amelia, Suzy (Tina) and Beatriz (Sheryl) as a girl group will also be explored.

‘Meant to Be”s premiere will come at a not-so opportune time, as the JaDine-starred ‘Till I Met You’ reaches its final two weeks. With only a few episodes to prove themselves, it will be a huge challenge for this rom-com to make a first impression to Kapuso viewers.

Either way, both ‘A Love to Last’ and ‘Meant to Be’ are worth the wait for those who anticipate it. Good luck to both shows.

‘A Love to Last’ airs weeknights after ‘Ang Probinsyano’ on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida, while ‘Meant to Be’ airs weeknights after ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ on GMA Telebabad.

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