action, drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

Encantadia 2016: A Threat or an Afterthought

The returning ‘Encantadia’ will have their hands full against ‘Ang Probinsyano’ when it premieres this Monday. (Logo courtesy of GMA Network)

It will be the Sang’gres of ‘Encantadia’ against Cardo (Coco Martin) of ‘Ang Probinsyano’.

A lot has been said about the impressive ratings of ABS-CBN’s ‘Ang Probinsyano’. After all, this TV adaptation of the classic Fernando Poe, Jr. flick has been reaching the 40% mark of late, blowing out its embarrassed competitor (GMA’s ‘Poor Señorita’) in the dust.

But as ‘Encantadia’ gets underway this Monday, ‘Ang Probinsyano”s momentum could be in doubt. And GMA is going all out in this costly venture of theirs.

The 2016 version of ‘Encantadia’ will be headlined by the four Sang’gres, portrayed by Glaiza de Castro (as Pirena), Kylie Padilla (as Amihan), Gabbi Garcia (as Alena), and Sanya Lopez (as Danaya). Other notable cast members include Marian Rivera, Rocco Nacino, Solenn Heussaff, Ruru Madrid, John Arcilla and Dingdong Dantes.

Director Mark Reyes will breathe new life into this iconic fantaserye. Once again, computer-generated imagery (CGI) will be used extensively, but for this version, updated editing software will be used, along with various other technologies.

But the biggest question surrounding ‘Encantadia’ is whether or not GMA will finally embrace the 16:9 widescreen high definition format. Considering GMA’s continued unwillingness to use the new format (even with the use of HD cameras), it is clear that their old-school mentality may hurt ‘Encantadia”s quality and appeal.

Which is why the Encantadia Saga Facebook fan page went as far as writing an open letter to GMA management. They claimed that using the 16:9 format will bring a full viewing experience to an epic program such as ‘Encantadia’, as opposed to 4:3 which cuts some of the details.

Still, the biggest question surrounding ‘Encantadia’ is whether or not it will be able to overcome ‘Ang Probinsyano’. That said, the first week of the new ‘Encantadia’ will be very crucial, as they try to make an impact against an extremely formidable opponent.

Come this Monday, it will be ‘Encantadia’ against the world. Will they come out on top, or become the latest victim of ‘Ang Probinsyano”s dominance?

Find out starting July 18.

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comedy, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television

A History of Vic Sotto Sitcoms (Part 2)

Vic Sotto’s eighth solo sitcom, ‘Hay, Bahay!’, will mark his second collaboration with Ai-ai delas Alas. (Photo credit: GMA Network/Hay, Bahay! Official Facebook)

It has been nearly 30 years since Vic Sotto left the shadows of TVJ and became a star himself.

On Sunday, June 19, his newest sitcom ‘Hay, Bahay’ will officially premiere on GMA. This will mark Vic Sotto’s eighth sitcom as a solo artist, and ninth overall.

While he was better known as 1/3 of the fabled trio TVJ alongside Tito Sotto and Joey de Leon, and the host of ‘Eat Bulaga’, it was his individual comedic brilliance on television and film that cemented his legacy. Without further ado, let’s look back at his solo sitcoms over the years (in chronological order), concluding with the final four on the list.

5. My Darling Aswang (2010-11)

Aired on: TV5

Notable co-stars: Daiana Menezes, Tetchie Agbayani, Ces Quesada, Sugar Mercado, Jose Manalo, Wally Bayola, Ritchie d’Horsie, Miguel Faustmann, Kakai Bautista, Rhea Nakpil

Based on the movie ‘Ang Darling Kong Aswang’, ‘My Darling Aswang’ was the first Vic Sotto-starred sitcom in 15 years to not air on GMA. Instead, it aired on TV5, where Vic also happened to be the host of the game show ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’.

6. The Jose and Wally Show Starring Vic Sotto (2011-12)

Aired on: TV5

Notable co-stars: Jose Manalo, Wally Bayola, Jimmy Santos, Mcoy Fundales, Erika Padilla, Dianne Medina, Buboy Garovillo, Miriam Quiambao, Niña Jose

While Jose and Wally were the headliners of this variety show within a sitcom, Vic was also added to the mix as its ‘director’. Like ‘My Darling Aswang’, ‘The Jose and Wally Show’ was aired concurrently with Vic’s other show on TV5, ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’.

7. Vampire ang Daddy Ko (2013-16)

Aired on: GMA

Notable co-stars: Oyo Boy Sotto, Pilita Corrales, Jackie Lou Blanco, Anjo Yllana, Jimmy Santos, Ryzza Mae Dizon, Bea Binene, Derrick Monasterio, Glaiza de Castro, Jin-ri Park, Allan K, Jinky Oda

‘Vampire ang Daddy Ko’ was the third Vic Sotto-starred sitcom to feature a mystical theme. It was also his first project alongside son Oyo Boy, and the first comedic role for young child star Ryzza Mae Dizon.

8. Hay, Bahay! (2016-present)

Aired on: GMA

Notable co-stars: Oyo Boy Sotto, Kristine Hermosa, Ai-ai delas Alas, Jose Manalo, Wally Bayola, Ruby Rodriguez

The premise of ‘Hay, Bahay’ is similar to ‘1 For 3’, in which the characters share the same house owned by a landlord. The sitcom marks the television comeback of Kristine Hermosa, and it will be her first show outside of ABS-CBN.

Indeed, Vic Sotto has come a long way since he was introduced as the iconic Enteng Kabisote in ‘Okay Ka, Fairy Ko’. After nearly 30 years as the ‘Bossing’ of Philippine sitcoms, he is still going strong.

For Part 1 of A History of Vic Sotto sitcoms, click here.

Note: ‘Hay, Bahay!’ will air every Sunday after ’24 Oras Weekend’ on GMA. All of his sitcoms are property of M-Zet Productions.

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drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

With Impending Encantadia Requel, GMA Goes for Broke

It’s official: ‘Encantadia’ is returning to GMA.

The announcement was made last night during the evening newscast ’24 Oras’. Throughout the newscast, the upcoming ‘requel’ (portmanteau of reboot and prequel) revealed its main cast members, which are as follows:

  • Glaiza de Castro (as Sang’gre Pirena, originally portrayed by Sunshine Dizon)
  • Kylie Padilla (as Sang’gre Amihan, originally portrayed by Iza Calzado)
  • Gabbi Garcia (as Sang’gre Alena, originally portrayed by Karylle)
  • Sanya Lopez (as Sang’gre Danaya, originally portrayed by Diana Zubiri)
  • Ruru Madrid (as Ybarro/Ybrahim, originally portrayed by Dingdong Dantes)
  • Rocco Nacino (as Aquil, originally portrayed by Alfred Vargas)

They will be joined by Marian Rivera, who will play Dawn Zulueta’s original role as the Inang Reyna.

In addition, the press conference announced the names of the supporting cast members. They are:

  •  John Arcilla (as Hagorn)
  • Rochelle Pangilinan (as Agane)
  • Vaness del Moral (as Gurna)
  • Pancho Magno (as Hitano)
  • Christian Bautista (as Apitong)
  • Carlo Gonzales (as Muros)
  • Kate Valdez (as Mira)
  • Mikee Quintos (as Lira)
  • Klea Pineda (as Muyak)
  • Migo Adecer (as Anthony)
  • Solenn Heussaff (as Cassiopeia)

Mark Reyes will be the director of the new ‘Encantadia’, and he revealed that a few changes will be made on the ‘requel’ without sacrificing the main story of the original series. That said, expect a fresher and more modern ‘Encantadia’ for the new generation.

The original ‘Encantadia’ aired on GMA during the mid-2000s, and spawned two sequels in ‘Etheria: Ang Ikalimang Kaharian ng Encantadia’ and ‘Encantadia: Pag-Ibig Hanggang Wakas’. A planned reboot of ‘Encantadia’ (titled ‘Encantadia: The Second Saga’) was announced in 2010, but was never materialized.

When it first aired, ‘Encantadia’ became one of GMA’s highly-rated series, thanks in large part to the popularity of the fantaserye during that time. But the production of ‘Encantadia’ and its two sequels took its toll on GMA financially, and they have never recovered since.

With the Kapuso network in a crisis of confidence, what chances will they have with the ‘requel’ of ‘Encantadia’? And how will this series be able to thrive amidst a more conservative approach in teleserye production?

Only time will tell.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Same Time, Same Day Ending for Bridges of Love, The Rich Man’s Daughter

Both ‘Bridges of Love’ and ‘The Rich Man’s Daughter’ are down to their final two episodes.

In a rare moment in Philippine television, two rival programs will air their respective series finales at the same time and on the same day. ABS-CBN’s ‘Bridges of Love’ and GMA’s ‘The Rich Man’s Daughter’ will have their final episodes aired tomorrow night at 9:15 p.m.

‘Bridges of Love’ were led by Maja Salvador, Paulo Avelino and Jericho Rosales. A story that features two brothers fighting for the love of a seductive female dancer, the series premiered on March 16 on the Primetime Bida block, and ran for 103 episodes.

On the other hand, ‘The Rich Man’s Daughter’ were led by Rhian Ramos, Glaiza de Castro and Luis Alandy. A story that features a rich and influential Chinese-Filipino woman who was romantically linked to a lesbian, the series premiered on May 11 on the Telebabad block, and aired for 65 episodes.

While ‘The Rich Man’s Daughter’ featured a similar storyline as ‘My Husband’s Lover’ (this time with females portrayed as lovers), it failed to equal, let alone surpass, the success of the latter. In fact, it was a mismatch from the start, with ‘Bridges of Love’ doubling its ratings total over ‘The Rich Man’s Daughter’ with each episode.

The contrast of fortunes for both series continued into social media, as ‘Bridges of Love’ remained a hot topic among netizens compared to ‘The Rich Man’s Daughter’. The fact that the latter went largely unnoticed on Twitter despite featuring a novel storyline involving lesbianism only caused a great deal of concern and worry within the GMA camp.

It will be interesting to see which series finale will have the last laugh. Will it be the love triangle between Maja, Paulo and Echo, or the love triangle between Rhian, Glaiza and Luis?

One thing’s for sure: a frantic finish awaits both ‘Bridges of Love’ and ‘The Rich Man’s Daughter’.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

High Expectations Await ‘The Rich Man’s Daughter’ Sans Marian

There is considerable pressure for Rhian Ramos as ‘The Rich Man’s Daughter”s premiere nears.

After all, she was chosen to replace the teleserye’s original lead star Marian Rivera, who had to back out from the series due to her impending pregnancy. That said, a talent as big as Marian’s looms so large that high expectations were quickly bestowed on Rhian’s shoulders upon getting the nod as her replacement.

In the upcoming series, Rhian will play the role of Jade Tanchingco, an heiress of a wealthy Chinese-Filipino family. With the help of her father, she sought for a suitor, even going as far as giving the bachelor P5 million if he is successful in wooing her.

But as it turned out, Jade would reveal herself as a lesbian, throwing her family into a series of revelations that will challenge her personal truths. It’s up to her to choose what’s important: family or her lesbian lovers.

Joining Rhian on ‘The Rich Man’s Daughter’ will be Glaiza de Castro, Al Tantay, Luis Alandy, Katrina Halili, Mike Tan, Chynna Ortaleza, Sheena Halili, Ms. Gloria Romero, Pauleen Luna, Paolo Contis, TJ Trinidad, Charee Pineda, Stephanie Sol, Glydel Mercado and Tony Mabesa. Dominic Zapata, famous for another same-sex drama in ‘My Husband’s Lover’, will direct the upcoming series.

The success of ‘The Rich Man’s Daughter’ will depend on how Rhian will be able to portray the lesbian lover role effectively, and on how viewers will respond to her performance. It will also be a huge test to see how the series fares well against its upcoming rival, ABS-CBN’s ‘Bridges of Love’.

Nevertheless, GMA is confident that Rhian will be an able replacement for Marian on ‘The Rich Man’s Daughter’. Now GMA must hope that their faith in Rhian in the series will pay off.

‘The Rich Man’s Daughter’ premieres this Monday after ‘Let the Love Begin’ on GMA Telebabad.

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drama, entertainment, news, Philippines, public affairs, television

News TV Continues Fall From Grace with Amaya Rerun

‘Amaya’ returned to the airwaves, this time on GMA News TV last Monday. (Photo credit: GMA Network)

It doesn’t get any worse for GMA News TV.

After defying the logic of a news channel with classic movies and reruns from their previous incarnation QTV, News TV took it one step further by re-airing an old teleserye from their parent channel. And it was led by no less than the network’s so-called ‘Queen of Primetime’.

‘Amaya’, the 2011 ‘epicserye’, started re-airing on Channel 11 last Monday. The said series, which took place in 16th century Visayas, starred Marian Rivera, with supporting roles from Rochelle Pangilinan, Glaiza de Castro, Sid Lucero, Mikael Daez, Aljur Abrenica, Diana Zubiri, Gardo Versoza, Raymond Bagatsing, Lani Mercado, Gina Alajar and Ayen Munji-Laurel.

The series originally aired on GMA from May 30, 2011 to January 13, 2012. ‘Amaya”s run coincided with the gradual decline in the network’s performance during the current decade, as ABS-CBN’s counterparts began to dominate the ratings.

Nevertheless, ‘Amaya’ received citations from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines and the Department of Education for its culturally significant story.

But that is not the real story behind News TV’s decision to re-air ‘Amaya’. Having exhausted all of their programming material to air, and having lacked the drive and the resources to produce more news programs, News TV resorted to another desperate manuever: re-airing older teleseryes from the parent Channel 7.

News TV is no stranger to airing historical and socially-significant dramas. After all, they aired GMA News-produced mini-series such as ‘Titser’, ‘Katipunan’ and ‘Bayan Ko’ to critical success, and they even re-aired the equally costly but less popular drama ‘Ilustrado’ at one point.

But ‘Amaya’ is a different animal. After all, it was a ‘true’ teleserye that GMA produced, and not a mere mini-series like the aforementioned ‘Ilustrado’.

And while ‘Amaya’ shares a similar historical significance as the other dramas, the fact that it had over 150 episodes to boot makes it an exhausting series to watch and remember. That said, re-airing ‘Amaya’ is a waste of time and space for GMA News TV.

So what’s next for the suddenly teleserye-friendly News TV? Will they re-air a Koreanovela remake like ‘Endless Love’, a fantaserye like ‘Encantadia’, or a more mature drama like ‘My Husband’s Lover’? We’ll never know, but one thing’s for sure: the worst is yet to come for GMA’s troubled little sister.

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