action, comedy, drama, entertainment, fantasy, movies, Philippines, suspense, television

Blurring the Lines: Is CineMo Finally Ready to Accept Drama and Romance Films?

The movie ‘Ikaw na Sana’ was aired on CineMo as part of the CineKomedya block, but was classified as a romantic drama film. (Photo courtesy of Video48 and Viva Films)

Talk about a tone shift.

CineMo, an ABS-CBN digital TV channel, has been on the airwaves for the past seven years. However, its content has stayed basically the same, airing comedy, action, suspense, sexy and fantasy films from the get-go.

But in the past few weeks, movies from the romance and drama genres began to air on CineMo as well. Such films were aired on the channel’s CineKomedya block, but for whatever reason they do not feel like comedy films at all.

Take for instance the recent airing of the film ‘Ikaw na Sana’. The movie was an adaptation of the television series that aired on GMA some 20 years ago, and it starred Bobby Andrews and Angelu de Leon alongside Gladys Reyes and Jake Roxas.

Unfortunately for CineMo, ‘Ikaw na Sana’ was labeled as a romantic drama film. And considering the film did not have any funny jokes or comedic bits, it was not appropriate for it to air on the CineKomedya block.

There were also other films that aired on CineKomedya that do not appear to be humorous at all. Some of these films foreshadowed the modern romantic comedy drama series that air on ABS-CBN these days, but for the most part tears were shed more than laughs.

With that in mind, is it the perfect time for CineMo to accept romance and drama films to the fold? Considering that they have been repeatedly airing most of the same films over and over again, perhaps it is the right time to do so.

CineMo could launch new drama and romance blocks titled CineDrama and CineRomansya on timeslots normally reserved to action and comedy flicks. That way, films from the romance and drama genres can be aired without any confusion and concern from the viewer.

Not only that, CineMo will have a deeper reservoir thanks to these films. That said, having romance and drama films on the channel does help in attracting the young and feminine audience more, even though the channel is more catered to working-class males.

The ball is now on CineMo’s court to score. One can only hope that the channel will dig deep and go beyond their comfort zone with these tearjerkers.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Asintado’s Newest Challenger: The Stepdaughters

A new opponent awaits ‘Asintado’.

After taking out ‘Impostora’, the ABS-CBN afternoon drama will face a different challenger starting today. Looking to match wits with Julia Montes will be Katrina Halili and real-life couple Megan Young and Mikael Daez, who will lead GMA’s newest drama series ‘The Stepdaughters’.

The story of ‘The Stepdaughters’ revolve around two women who were both beautiful and intelligent but have contrasting personalities. Mayumi (Megan) is a chemistry graduate with dreams of setting up her own makeup line, while Isabelle (Katrina) already manages one, yet as an only child she grew self-centered and spoiled.

Francis (Mikael), a head product engineer, becomes Mayumi’s love interest, even though Isabelle pleads to love her back. The growing dislike between Mayumi and Isabelle grows even more apparent when Mayumi’s mother Luisa (Glydel Mercado) and Isabelle’s father Hernan (Gary Estrada) get married, making them stepsisters.

‘The Stepdaughters’ also star Allan Paule, Angelu de Leon, Sef Cadayona and Samantha Lopez, with the special participation of Dion Ignacio. It will be directed by Paul Sta. Ana.

As ‘The Stepdaughters’ makes its debut, they will have their hands full in trying to solve ‘Asintado. Since premiering last month, the Julia Montes-led drama revitalized ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold block, and if not for ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ they would have taken the mantle of afternoon’s top drama series.

But if ‘The Stepdaughters’ want to defeat ‘Asintado’, they will have to convince viewers that veterans such as Megan Young and Katrina Halili are still worth watching. After all, GMA’s overdependence on older stars has become a problem this decade and it cost them a majority of their audience.

It will be interesting to see how ‘The Stepdaughters’ can help rekindle Afternoon Prime’s flickering fortunes. After a strong finish in the second half of 2017, the block finds itself in the doldrums once again and it will be up to ‘The Stepdaughters’ to put them back to relevance.

‘The Stepdaughters’ air weekdays after ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ on GMA Afternoon Prime.

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drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

Thoughts on Sirkus

GMA’s new weekly fantaserye ‘Sirkus’ premiered last January 21 and has had a mixed performance since. (Logo courtesy of GMA Network)

A fantaserye on a Sunday night?

This is exactly what GMA delivered when it premiered ‘Sirkus’ last January 21. But in contrast to the network’s other fantaseryes, ‘Sirkus’ is a production of the GMA Public Affairs group (notorious for bringing non-news programs to the network) and it only airs once a week.

The premise of ‘Sirkus’ is that of two fraternal twins Mia (Mikee Quintos) and Miko (Mikoy Morales) finding themselves in the company of a traveling circus in order to escape from the clutches of an evil villainess. Throughout their quest, the motive behind the villainess’ obsession to catch them will be revealed and their true identities will also be discovered.

Also part of the cast of ‘Sirkus’ are Andre Paras, Chariz Solomon, Sef Cadayona, Klea Pineda, Gardo Versoza, Ms. Cherie Gil, Divine Tetay, Gerald Acao, Zoren Legaspi and Angelu de Leon. The director is Zig Dulay.

When the series was first introduced to the public in late December, many thought that ‘Sirkus’ would replace ‘Daig Kayo ng Lola Ko’ as the opponent of the long-running fantasy anthology ‘Wansapanatym’. However, GMA had other plans in mind.

Not only did the network keep ‘Daig Kayo ng Lola Ko’, it also made significant changes to the late afternoon-early evening Sunday timeslots. As a result, ‘Sirkus’, which replaced the travel series ‘Road Trip’, was assigned to the 6:30 p.m. timeslot and ’24 Oras Weekend’ was bumped to an earlier time.

Through two episodes, ‘Sirkus’ has had mixed results in the ratings. Its debut episode barely defeated ‘Goin’ Bulilit’ by 0.4%, but the following week saw ‘Sirkus’ slump by 4% to its opponent.

Given the often volatile financial situation of GMA, it was a better idea for them to just produce a weekly fantaserye instead of one that airs on weeknights. But to be produced by GMA Public Affairs instead of GMA Entertainment is once again a desperate act altogether.

Whatever the case, one can only hope that ‘Sirkus’ will be the start of many elaborate once-a-week projects that GMA embarks. Such series is for the better of the network at this point because they need all the money in the world to focus on technological improvements that will make them more viable in the age of digitization.

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action, drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

Mulawin vs. Ravena Premiere Means New Characters for Ang Probinsyano

The threat is indeed real.

With the premiere of GMA fantaserye ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ later tonight, long-running ABS-CBN action series ‘Ang Probinsyano’ introduced a new slate of supporting actors that will add more color to an already endless story. They are:

  • John Arcilla
  • Angel Aquino
  • Ejay Falcon
  • Jhong Hilario
  • Lito Lapid
  • Mark Lapid
  • Sid Lucero
  • Long Mejia
  • Pokwang
  • Mitch Valdes

These actors will join the main cast that features Coco Martin, Ms. Susan Roces, Yassi Pressman and Awra Briguela, among others. Ironically, John Arcilla was last seen in the just-concluded GMA fantaserye (and ‘Ang Probinsyano”s archrival) ‘Encantadia’, where he was cast as Hagorn.

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The addition of new actors indicate that another fresh storyline for ‘Ang Probinsyano’ is about to take shape. After all, a new rival in ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ will come into play and the best way for the former to maintain viewer interest is to introduce new characters and plots to keep up with its latest adversary.

Speaking of ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’, the sequel to the popular early 2000s fantaserye ‘Mulawin’ is 12 years in the making. The original series (led by Richard Gutierrez and Angel Locsin) became a huge hit when it first aired, and with the creation of the sequel, the bar is raised even higher.

‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ will feature stars such as:

  • Dennis Trillo (as Gabriel)
  • Heart Evangelista (as Alwina)
  • Carla Abellana  (as Aviona)
  • Tom Rodriguez (as Rodrigo)
  • Lovi Poe (as Magindara)
  • Regine Velasquez (as Sandawa)
  • Bianca Umali (as Lawiswis)
  • Derrick Monasterio (as Almiro)
  • Bea Binene (as Anya)
  • Miguel Tanfelix (as Pagaspas)
  • Ariel Rivera (as Panabon)
  • Chynna Ortaleza (as Reyna Rashana)
  • David Licauco (as Malik)
  • Dion Ignacio (as Siklab)
  • Valerie Concepcion (as Tuka)
  • Roi Vinzon (as Daragit)
  • JC Tiuseco (as Tangos)
  • Winwyn Marquez (as Ribery)
  • TJ Trinidad (as Greco)
  • Angelu de Leon (as Lourdes)
  • Bobby Andrews (as Dionisio)
  • Charee Pineda (as Savanna)
  • Joko Diaz (as Antonio)
  • Martin del Rosario (as Aramis)
  • Kiko Estrada (as Rafael)
  • Nova Villa (as Lola Elo)

Directors Dominic Zapata and Don Michael Perez will once again breathe life into ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’, just as they did with the original ‘Mulawin’.

Heading into tonight, the challenge for ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ is a daunting one. ‘Ang Probinsyano’ has been a ratings juggernaut for nearly two years now and not even the efforts of its predecessor ‘Encantadia’ was enough to topple the former.

That said, the best chance for ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ might come from viewers who are becoming disenchanted with ‘Ang Probinsyano”s endlessly dragging storyline. With the latter’s new characters coming into play, this may be an opportunity for some to switch channels and watch something different and pleasing.

Still, with too many loyal viewers siding with ‘Ang Probinsyano’, the task will not be an easy one. So, good luck to GMA in their efforts to sway the momentum away from Coco Martin and company.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

1995 Flashback: T.G.I.S. and the Advent of Teen-Oriented Series

Some of the first batch members of ‘T.G.I.S.’ as they appear in 1995. (Photo credit: GMA Network)

1995 was a memorable year in Philippine television. As part of a year-long special, From the Tube will look back at a year full of historical debuts, unforgettable moments, and celebrated feats in the history of television in the country.

Yesterday would have been the 20th anniversary of ‘T.G.I.S.’

Premiering on July 8, 1995, ‘T.G.I.S.’ became a Filipino pioneer in the teen-oriented drama genre. While there were a few other dramas that featured teenagers as lead stars (e.g. Julie Vega’s ‘Anna Liza’ and Janice de Belen’s ‘Flordeluna’), ‘T.G.I.S.’ became the first to feature a cast dominated by teenage actors.

Before ‘T.G.I.S.’, some of the country’s rising young stars had made their mark through shows such as GMA’s ‘That’s Entertainment’ and ABS-CBN’s ‘Ang TV’. The two shows provided a venue for the youngsters to showcase their talents, but it was not enough.

Eventually, VIVA Television and GMA developed a plan that would give a new batch of young stars an avenue to expose their acting skills. Thus, ‘T.G.I.S.’ was launched.

‘T.G.I.S.’ became an immediate hit soon after it premiered. The success of ‘T.G.I.S.’ led to a feature film that was released in 1997, as well as a spinoff series ‘Growing Up’ that aired from 1997-99.

The first batch of ‘T.G.I.S.’ were led by Bobby Andrews and Angelu de Leon, a.k.a. Wacks and Peachy, respectively. Other members of the first batch include Michael Flores, Red Sternberg, Raven Villanueva, Rica Peralejo, Onemig Bondoc, Jake Roxas, Bernadette Allyson and Maybelyn dela Cruz.

The first batch anchored ‘T.G.I.S.’ for two years, before giving way to a new cast of young stars. The second batch, which lasted another two years, was led by Dingdong Dantes and Antoinette Taus, alongside Polo Ravales, Kim delos Santos, Sunshine Dizon, Chubi del Rosario, Anne Curtis, Chantal Umali and Dino Guevarra.

Unknown to some, future newscasters Mitzi Borromeo and Menchu Macapagal were also part of the ‘T.G.I.S.’ cast. Meanwhile, Ciara Sotto was part of both batches of ‘T.G.I.S.’, later joining ‘Growing Up’ upon her character’s graduation from high school.

‘T.G.I.S.’ paved the way for similar teen-oriented dramas that became a staple of weekend afternoon programming. Examples include ‘Gimik’ (later ‘G-Mik’), ‘Click’, ‘Tabing Ilog’ and ‘Berks’.

In late 2012, another spinoff of ‘T.G.I.S.’ was launched, called ‘Teen Gen’. Bobby Andrews and Angelu de Leon reprised their roles as Wacks and Peachy, alongside GMA’s new batch of young stars, but it only managed to air for over six months without success.

While ‘T.G.I.S.’ no longer airs today, it will still be remembered for changing the way teenage actors were exposed and promoted. They were a game-changer, and another reason why 1995 became a memorable year in Philippine television.

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