drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

A Tough Act to Follow for Contessa

From ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ to ‘Contessa’.

Following the successful year-long run of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, GMA will now look to fill in the big shoes that the former left. They decided to replace ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ with a series that reminded viewers of another successful teleserye from a rival network.

From the moment ‘Contessa”s teaser was aired, netizens immediately compared the series to ABS-CBN’s ‘Wildflower’ due to their similar storylines of revenge. But ‘Contessa’ lead star Glaiza de Castro had a different take, saying that her upcoming show focuses more on a woman’s constant quest for justice.

In ‘Contessa’, Glaiza is initially known as Bea, a woman who is accused and imprisoned for a crime she never committed. Determined to seek revenge and reclaim those who were taken away from her, she assumes a new identity, that of Contessa.

Throughout the series, ‘Contessa’ will feature some important characters who will be crucial to the story of Bea/Contessa. Marco (Mark Herras) is a writer and Bea’s long-time boyfriend whose gruesome murder will be central to the evolution of Bea into Contessa.

Marco’s brother Gabriel (Geoff Eigenmann) is a successful OFW who returns to the country following his murder. Meanwhile, Bea’s best friend Jong (Jak Roberto) is a secret admirer of hers who hopes to love him back.

The Imperial family, led by the matriarch Charito (Chanda Romero) and her children Vito (Gabby Eigenmann) and Daniella (Lauren Young), will serve as a major obstacle to Bea/Contessa’s plans for justice. In typical villainous fashion, the Imperials are considered manipulative, influential, sophisticated and powerful individuals who will do whatever is necessary to destroy the protagonist.

Completing the rest of the cast are Tetchie Agbayani, Leandro Baldemor, Dominic Roco, Bernadette Allyson, Melissa Mendez, Tanya Gomez, Karel Marquez, Phytos Ramirez, Denise Barbacena and Will Ashley. ‘Contessa’ will be directed by Albert Langitan.

Replacing a top-rating series in ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ will be a daunting one for ‘Contessa’. In order for viewers to commit to this new series in the long term, some interesting bits and pieces are needed to make ‘Contessa’ worth watching, a task that is difficult to fill considering it will go head-to-head with ‘It’s Showtime”s ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ segment.

With all things considered, GMA should only hope for the best with ‘Contessa’. It may never be able to replicate the ratings of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, but if it all goes well, who knows what will happen next.

‘Contessa’ airs weekdays after ‘Eat Bulaga’ on GMA Afternoon Prime.

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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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