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, fantasy, Philippines, television

Why GMA’s Teleserye Countdown Timer is Overrated?

GMA is going to great lengths in hopes of winning back its audience.

The past two weekends saw the network post a countdown timer for their soon-to-air series ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ and ‘My Love from the Star’ (see example from ‘Dear Uge’ below). This timer was flashed during most GMA programs (exceptions are variety shows, other blocktimed programs and select GMA News shows).

The reason is unclear, but it is presumed that GMA is using the timer to promote and add some hype to their upcoming series. To be honest, though, the utilization of a countdown timer for nothing but promotion of a program is very overrated.

For starters, GMA has long been an advocate of the countdown timer, having been used to advertise not only dramas but also variety shows and other network-produced programming. However, not even the addition of a timer is enough to jack up ratings of a particular show.

‘Encantadia’, for example, had a countdown timer in the days leading up to its premiere last year. Unfortunately, despite the good reviews and the positive reception from viewers, the fantaserye failed to keep up with the juggernaut that is ‘Ang Probinsyano’.

GMA also made a countdown timer for AlDub’s ‘Destined to Be Yours’. Even though it was hyped well, the series regularly fell short to ‘My Dear Heart’ mainly because Maine Mendoza’s acting is still raw by viewers’ standards.

Contrast that to ABS-CBN’s own approach to promote a teleserye. Rather than utilizing a countdown timer like GMA does, they take advantage of the hype through social media, on-demand streaming and a strong regional and global presence.

So where does GMA stand at this point? Considering that they still have a long way to go before closing in on ABS-CBN’s national (and global) superiority, they should focus more on strengthening their regional and international reach, a deficiency that they continue to endure for many years now.

The power of social media is also a necessity for GMA to aggressively promote their programs. However, they must engage more in order to make an impact.

There are plenty of options to promote a drama. But a countdown timer for GMA teleseryes and other programs? That is unnecessary and distracting.

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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.

Another chapter soon. #FPJAP

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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, fantasy, Philippines, television

Encantadia’s Last Stand (For Now)

The retelling of ‘Encantadia’ is down to its last few episodes, sort of.

For the past 10 months, ‘Encantadia’ gave ‘Ang Probinsyano’ all they could handle. For every gunshot and fist that Cardo (Coco Martin) throws to all criminal masterminds, the Sang’gres respond with mystical powers that could not only repel the forces of evil, but also help revive their allies who have previously died.

The epic story of ‘Encantadia’ will have a total of 218 episodes when it was all said and done. With so many episodes (not to mention recurring characters) made, it should have been a feel-good tale for Kapuso fans around the world.

Instead, ‘Encantadia’ simply could not keep up with the more compelling series that is ‘Ang Probinsyano’. As of May 12, the former’s average rating is 24% per episode, which is not enough to overcome the near-40% marks that ‘Ang Probinsyano’ tallies.

Having spent a lot of money using elaborate production sets and nearly half of GMA’s roster of artists, the below average performance of ‘Encantadia’ should cause a lot of concern for GMA management. After all, the broadcast of the series brought in some high expectations considering the original series’ immense popularity.

Unfortunately, big-budgeted fantaseryes no longer work in this day and age. The focus of Philippine television is on the here, now and future (e.g. digital and high-definition broadcasts), and for whatever reason, GMA simply mortgaged that future in favor of quick fixes that do not go their way.

 

That said, ‘Encantadia”s long run will not be remembered for its mystical tales or its memorable characters. It will only be remembered for three things: ambitious, expensive and underwhelming.

Looking ahead, GMA will have another fantaserye (Mulawin vs. Ravena) that will once again question their financial capabilities. It a shame, but regardless of critical opinion, GMA will continue to risk them all in hopes of finally getting the victory, even if it means draining the last remaining reserves in their back pocket.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Can AlDub Rule Primetime with Destined to Be Yours?

Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza’s biggest test lies ahead.

After spending over a year captivating viewers with their spontaneous ‘kilig’ and acting skills on ‘Eat Bulaga”s Kalyeserye, the popular love team now moves over to primetime for a new challenge. As a reward to their enduring success, GMA and APT Entertainment gave Alden and Maine a new project in hopes of conquering a new audience.

Enter ‘Destined to Be Yours’, the upcoming drama series which will air later tonight on GMA Telebabad. It will be Alden’s first lead primetime series since the ill-fated mini-drama ‘Ilustrado’, while it will be the first for the still-relative newcomer Maine.

In ‘Destined to Be Yours’, Benjie (Alden) is an up-and-coming architect who spearheads a construction project in the mountainous area of Pelangi. As fate would have it, he meets Sinag (Maine), a radio jock in the province, and the two soon fell in love with each other.

However, their philosophical differences would soon get in the way of their relationship. That said, it will be up to them to sort their issues and find true love within their hearts.

‘Destined to Be Yours’ will also star Janice de Belen, Boots Anson Roa, Lotlot de Leon, Gardo Versoza, Tommy Abuel, ina Feleo, Ronnie Henares, Sheena Halili, Dominic Roco, Juancho Trivino, RJ Padilla, and Koreen Medina. It will be directed by Irene Villamor.

While Alden and Maine have established themselves as a love team to be reckoned with, conquering primetime will not be easy for the two. The dominance of ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida, in particular, has taken its toll on GMA Telebabad, and for the network, giving AlDub a teleserye of their own could be the block’s last chance at survival.

It will also be interesting to see if AlDub on primetime can win over netizens on social media. Considering how highly successful ABS-CBN is in drawing millions of tweets for their shows, GMA will definitely have their hands full trying to make an impact online with AlDub’s newest series.

As AlDub takes over GMA Telebabad, it remains to be seen if their overwhelming success on noontime will translate over to primetime. With high expectations mounting, GMA can only hope that Alden and Maine will deliver and reverse course for the seemingly moribund Telebabad block.

‘Destined to Be Yours’ airs weeknights after ‘Encantadia’ on GMA Telebabad.

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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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