drama, entertainment, Philippines, suspense, television

The Cure: Ang Probinsyano’s Next Prey?

“No one can beat ‘Ang Probinsyano’!”, Kapamilya fans said.

Nearly three years and over 500 episodes since it began, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ continues to be the king of primetime teleseryes. On most nights, the ABS-CBN action series scored at least 40% in the ratings, and has made mincemeat of eight different GMA teleseryes that tried to topple it.

Now comes a ninth different GMA series that will take on Cardo Dalisay (Coco Martin) every Monday to Friday starting tonight. And in typical GMA fashion, it will be led by two Kapuso veterans in Jennylyn Mercado and Tom Rodriguez.

The story of ‘The Cure’ involves an experimental drug that kills cancer cells, but the side effect of it is that a highly dangerous and contagious virus called Monkey Virus Disease (MVD) will mutate and cause seizures and violent outbreaks to infected people. The disease quickly spreads throughout the country and will only continue to do so unless a cure can be found.

Married couple Charity (Jennylyn), a former registered nurse, and Gregory (Tom), a clinical research associate in a pharmaceutical company, are living a happy life with their daughter Hope (Leanne Bautista), until Greg’s mother Agnes (Irma Adlawan) is diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.  Agnes is given an experimental drug, but her health got worse as she is infected with MVD.

That drug, in turn, was discovered by Dr. Evangeline Lazaro (Jaclyn Jose), who works in the same company as Greg. With MVD continuing to wreak havoc across the country, it is up to Charity and Greg to find the necessary cure and prevent the inevitable.

‘The Cure’ also stars Mark Herras, LJ Reyes, Jay Manalo, Ronnie Henares, Glenda Garcia, Diva Montelaba and Arra San Agustin, with a special participation from Ken Chan. It will be directed by Mark Reyes.

It can be recalled that ‘The Cure’ was originally announced as one of GMA’s upcoming projects for 2013, and it was supposed to be led by Alden Richards and Louise delos Reyes. However, the project was shelved and it took five years before GMA decided to revisit the series.

Looking ahead, ‘The Cure’ is either going to be an intriguing series or a recipe for disaster. Having to face ‘Ang Probinsyano’ will entail a lot of hard work for ‘The Cure’, considering its predecessor ‘Sherlock Jr.’ failed miserably.

That said, GMA should go all-out in making ‘The Cure’ a worthier opponent for ‘Ang Probinsyano’. If this series goes around 25% in the ratings then it should boost its confidence, but if it goes below that then the ‘Curse of Cardo Dalisay’ is all too real for the network.

‘The Cure’ airs weeknights after ’24 Oras’ on GMA Telebabad.

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action, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Another One Falls: Sherlock Jr. to End Friday Night

Make that eight.

The long-running ABS-CBN action series ‘Ang Probinsyano’ claims its latest victim as ‘Sherlock Jr.’ will air its final episode this Friday. And unlike the previous seven GMA series that took on ‘Ang Probinsyano’, this latest encounter became a mismatch right from the start.

First aired on January 29, 2018, ‘Sherlock Jr.’ was originally headlined by Gabbi Garcia and Ruru Madrid, with a special participation from Janine Gutierrez. Unfortunately, the series failed to match the standards of its predecessors due to questionable storytelling and poor viewership.

‘Sherlock Jr.’ averaged a paltry 17% in the Kantar ratings, which is nearly 30% less than ‘Ang Probinsyano”s typical numbers. While previous opponents were able to air for a longer period of time in spite of their inferior ratings, ‘Sherlock Jr.”s poorer-than-expected performance forced GMA to cut the series short.

It also didn’t help that Janine Gutierrez (as Irene) and Gabbi Garcia (as Lily) were killed off during the series’ run. The departure of Gabbi, in particular, came amid rumors of her transfer to ABS-CBN (which was later refuted).

When it was all said and done, ‘Sherlock Jr.’ will only have a total of 63 episodes. That number alone is the fewest for a series that took on ‘Ang Probinsyano’ on a regular basis (not counting ‘Poor Señorita’, ‘Little Nanay’, ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ and ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ season 2 which faced other teleseryes besides ‘Ang Probinsyano’).

Suffice to say, ‘Sherlock Jr.’ was considered a tremendous failure for GMA. Facing ‘Ang Probinsyano’ proved to be an exercise in futility, especially with the former’s endless supply of star power compared to ‘Sherlock Jr.’

Its mediocre run was also an indication of GMA’s continued indifference towards its younger stars, especially when it comes to the shocking death of Gabbi Garcia’s character. To cut short a series due to poor ratings and to kill off a young lead star midway through is a clear way of saying how desperate GMA is in winning.

On Friday, ‘Sherlock Jr.’ will bid farewell. But for a series that ran so short, don’t expect a blooper reel or a congratulatory message to its viewers towards the end because GMA is not in a mood for ‘thank yous’.

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action, drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

GMA Takes Another Shot at Ang Probinsyano with Sherlock Jr.

Seven have arrived, and seven have failed.

For nearly three years, GMA found no answers on how to solve ‘Ang Probinsyano’. Whether it is a remake of a telenovela (‘MariMar’), a pair of light-hearted dramas (‘Poor Señorita’, ‘Little Nanay’) or a series of fantasy and action programs (‘Encantadia’, ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’, Alyas Robin Hood’, ‘Super Ma’am’), all of them were helpless to stop Cardo (Coco Martin) and his gang from total domination.

Now here comes an eighth entry in GMA’s plan to overcome ‘Ang Probinsyano’. ‘Sherlock Jr.’, the newest primetime series of the network, is a vastly different animal compared to the previous seven series, thanks in part to a pair of rising young stars in Gabbi Garcia and Ruru Madrid.

In ‘Sherlock Jr.’, Ruru is Jack, a clever investigative reporter who does not back down from solving mysteries. Gabbi, on the other hand, is Lily, a jolly and bubbly veterinarian assistant who loves to join anything to make her famous.

Playing a special role in the series is Janine Gutierrez as Irene, Jack’s girlfriend and lifestyle reporter. A golden retriever named Serena will also join in as Irene’s companion and later on Jack’s partner.

‘Sherlock Jr.”s story will revolve around Jack and Irene’s relationship, which then took a new turn once Lily got involved. From then on, the series will take a look at how Lily became friends with Irene one night and then fell in love with Jack in the midst of the investigation surrounding them.

Also part of the ‘Sherlock Jr.’ cast are Ai-Ai delas Alas, Tonton Gutierrez, Andre Paras, Roi Vinzon, Sharmaine Arnaiz, Rochelle Barrameda, Matt Evans, Kate Valdez, Alyana Asistio, and Sofia Pablo. It will be directed by Rechie del Carmen.

Despite a younger lead cast in Janine Gutierrez and the GabRu love team, ‘Sherlock Jr.’ still has a long shot to overcome ‘Ang Probinsyano’. That said, it will take an epic miracle to at least come close to ‘Ang Probinsyano”s near-40% ratings, which as proven by the previous seven opponents it has had, is a daunting task indeed.

There is also a minor controversy surrounding the series’ title that was reminiscent of the ‘Alyas Robin Hood’-‘Arrow’ issue. But regardless of these odds and distractions, GMA should hope that ‘Sherlock Jr.’ will make its viewers happy and help advance the careers of Gabbi, Ruru and Janine.

‘Sherlock Jr.’ airs weeknights after ’24 Oras’ on GMA Telebabad.

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action, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Super Ma’am’s Last Stand

Another of ‘Ang Probinsyano”s rivals has fallen.

GMA announced that ‘Super Ma’am’ will air its final episode this Friday. The series, which starred Marian Rivera as a teacher-turned-superhero that is determined to protect the world from the evil Tamawo clan, will have a total of 95 episodes to its resume.

‘Super Ma’am’ first premiered on September 18, 2017 as a replacement to ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’. However, the former did not directly replace the latter as GMA made a seemingly bold move to their Telebabad lineup.

Instead of taking on KathNiel and their vampire-themed series ‘La Luna Sangre’, Marian Rivera wound up facing Coco Martin and his long-running ‘Ang Probinsyano’. The change came at the expense of her husband Dingdong Dantes, whose ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ wound up in the second slot in order to accommodate ‘Super Ma’am’.

Unfortunately for GMA, the immediate shakeup did not result in a change of fortune for either Marian or Dingdong. Much like ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ before it, ‘Super Ma’am’ could not keep up with ‘Ang Probinsyano’ as the series fell 20% behind its rival in the ratings.

When it was all said and done, ‘Super Ma’am’ joined ‘MariMar’, ‘Little Nanay’, ‘Poor Señorita’, ‘Encantadia’, ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ and ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ in the list of ‘Ang Probinsyano”s victims. Such is a cruel fate for Coco Martin’s rivals.

Let’s face it, Marian Rivera’s time in the limelight has long been passed. Having been in a headlining role for so many GMA teleseryes, viewers must have become worn out by her constant presence.

And it also didn’t help that GMA remains reluctant in elevating more of its younger and underutilized talents to leading star status. That said, as long as overused veterans like Marian Rivera are in the way, GMA can never overcome its primetime struggles.

This Friday will be ‘Super Ma’am”s last chance to make an impression. The series may have fell victim to ‘Ang Probinsyano’, but at the end of the day, GMA should hold its head up high for continuing to compete against a long-running opponent.

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action, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

The Final Week (Again) of Alyas Robin Hood

‘Alyas Robin Hood’ is coming to a close, again.

Friday, November 24, will be the show’s season (or possibly series) finale depending on how GMA will look at it. But while the first season of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ proved to be a worthy competitor against rival ABS-CBN dramas, the second season looked anything but competitive.

Season 2 (or Book 2 in teleserye lingo) of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ began on August 14, six months after the first season ended. Initially, GMA wanted the series to go up against the long-running ABS-CBN action series ‘Ang Probinsyano’, and from the looks at it, Cardo (Coco Martin) vs. Pepe (Dingdong Dantes) would have been a worthy matchup.

Instead, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ thoroughly dominated ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ from the get-go, with a 20% or better disparity in the ratings. After only a month, GMA ended the rivalry by demoting ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ to its original position of second in GMA Telebabad’s lineup.

But not even the move back to its original timeslot rejuvenated ‘Alyas Robin Hood’. Against the KathNiel-led ‘La Luna Sangre’, ‘Alyas Robin Hood”s frustrations only grew as the series posted a score of 15% or less, a far cry from the 20% or more it earned during its first season.

After racking up 115 episodes for season 1, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ season 2 only managed to produce a total of 75 episodes. In short, an encore performance did not pay dividends for Dingdong Dantes and his team.

So what went wrong for ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ season 2? Perhaps the most obvious reason why it failed is because it had to contend against ABS-CBN’s big-name stars like Coco Martin, Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla.

No offense to Jericho Rosales and Arci Muñoz (‘Magpahanggang Wakas’), Ian Veneracion and Bea Alonzo (‘A Love to Last’), and Heart Ramos (‘My Dear Heart’), but as far as ABS-CBN is concerned, Coco Martin and KathNiel are among their most bankable celebrities today. And GMA knows it, but despite these overwhelming odds, they were still convinced that a new season of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ would somehow slow their momentum.

Too bad it didn’t happen, and now that season 2 will air its last episode this Friday, they should somehow enjoy a graceful exit for their efforts. Nice try, though.

Whether or not they will have a season 3 (or book 3) of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will depend on GMA’s embattled braintrust. But after a failed continuation to the story of Pepe (Dingdong), it might be time for ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ to be put to pasture.

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action, drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

Alyas Robin Hood Back to Original Timeslot as Super Ma’am Premieres Tonight

The truth really hurts.

Frustration within GMA’s Telebabad block reaches a new high as they once again made a timeslot change at the top of the order. The reason: they still cannot beat the Philippines’ top two programs in ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘La Luna Sangre’.

It can be recalled that on August 14, GMA brought back ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ for its second season. Hoping to give ‘Ang Probinsyano’ a run for its money, GMA decided to place ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ opposite the long-running ABS-CBN action series while ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ was placed at the second slot against ‘La Luna Sangre’.

After only a month, it was clear to GMA that Pepe (Dingdong Dantes) was no match for Cardo (Coco Martin). And it was not even close as ‘Ang Probinsyano’ climbed 20% higher in the ratings than that of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’.

As a result, GMA decided to once again shake things up. Beginning tonight, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will return to its original timeslot (as intended to by this writer), where they will finally butt heads with Malia (Kathryn Bernardo) and Tristan (Daniel Padilla) of ‘La Luna Sangre’.

In the meantime, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ will receive a new opponent. After dispatching ‘MariMar’, ‘Little Nanay’, ‘Poor Señorita’, ‘Encantadia’, ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ and ‘Alyas Robin Hood’, Cardo will now have to deal with Minerva (Marian Rivera) of the upcoming GMA fantasy action series ‘Super Ma’am’.

‘Super Ma’am’ features the story of Minerva, a teacher with a soft spot for students. But an encounter with the Tamawo, a clan of mythical creatures who abduct children for the sake of gaining energy, changed Minerva’s life as she became the superhero known as Super Ma’am, one who is determined to protect the world from the Tamawo.

The cast of ‘Super Ma’am’ also includes the following:

  • Helen Gamboa
  • Matthias Rhoads
  • Joyce Ching
  • Kristoffer Martin
  • Kevin Santos
  • Isabelle de Leon
  • Andrew Gan
  • Jackie Lou Blanco
  • Jillian Ward
  • Enrico Cuenca
  • Ash Ortega
  • Marika Sasaki
  • Vincent Magbanua
  • Meg Imperial
  • Ashley Rivera
  • Jerald Napoles
  • Shyr Valdez
  • Al Tantay
  • Julius Miguel
  • Kim Domingo
  • Carmina Villarroel
  • Dina Bonnevie
  • Aiai delas Alas

The series will be under the direction of LA Madridejos.

Despite possessing the power couple of Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes, both ‘Super Ma’am’ and ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will have their hands full in trying to defeat ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘La Luna Sangre’. That said, the imposing shadow of both Coco Martin and KathNiel will be on GMA’s minds this week as they look to overcome Primetime Bida’s top two shows.

The task will once again not be easy for GMA Telebabad. Oh well, best of luck in hurdling over these foes anew.

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