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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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Tadhana: Another GMA Public Affairs’ Intervention to Entertainment

Another drama anthology will hit GMA screens this Saturday afternoon.

This time, the focus of this up-and-coming series will be on the lives of OFWs whose trials and tribulations abroad are well-documented. Their struggles to fit in another country and bring a better life to both country and family will be told every week on ‘Tadhana’, presented by Marian Rivera.

As is customary to all drama anthologies, celebrity guests will portray a particular subject(s) week after week. For the premiere of ‘Tadhana’, Kris Bernal will portray Elvie, a former Saudi Arabia-based OFW who was constantly abused by her employer, played by Ms. Cherie Gil.

Unsurprisingly, GMA Public Affairs will be responsible for the production of ‘Tadhana’. Considering their recent dabbing into non-news programming, this bit of news should once again add insult to injury to Lilybeth Rasonable and GMA’s Entertainment group.

So what challenge awaits ‘Tadhana’? For starters, this drama should pose another obstacle to ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ and ‘SOCO’ when it comes to performance.

Not only that, GMA also hopes to see a carry-over in ratings from ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ to ‘Tadhana’. With the former enjoying impressive ratings since its extension to Saturdays, the network now banks on the latter to maintain the momentum, something that ‘Karelasyon’ was not able to do.

However, expect a lot of alienation from more traditional viewers who view ‘Tadhana’ as another cowardly attempt by GMA Entertainment to get bailed out by the news division. It’s a shame, since Rasonable and company have done nothing right to salvage whatever pride they have left.

If this is indeed a production of GMA Public Affairs, ‘Tadhana’ should have been a docu-drama instead, with one of GMA News’ reporters presenting the show plus reenactments from various no-name actors and interviews from the subject involved. That said, their decision to use Marian Rivera and bring to life a story by using Kapuso actors leave a bitter taste in one’s mouth.

For now, the verdict is on ‘Tadhana’ to defy all prognosticators. Come this Saturday, this show should experience a baptism of fire.

‘Tadhana’ airs every Saturday after ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ on GMA.

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comedy, drama, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television

The Greatest Love’s Last Week, Plus D’Originals’ Premiere Week

For one week only, it will be ‘The Greatest Love’ versus ‘D’Originals’.

This week will mark the last for ‘The Greatest Love’, the top-rating afternoon drama that starred Sylvia Sanchez as a mother suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. The series first premiered on ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold block on September 5, 2016, and will finish its 163-episode run this Friday afternoon.

‘The Greatest Love’, which also starred Dimples Romana, Andi Eigenmann, Matt Evans, Arron Villaflor, Ellen Adarna and Nonie Buencamino among others, was also a constant trending topic on social media. Its inspiring and tear-jerking storyline gripped the nation and the world, giving them greater awareness to the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

On the other side of the spectrum, GMA’s Public Affairs team will once again try to salvage whatever shortcomings the Entertainment team has had of late. Their latest project is a sexy comedy drama series, ‘D’Originals’, which will premiere today.

‘D’Originals’ (click its synopsis here) will be the network’s replacement to the short-lived ‘Pinulot Ka Lang sa Lupa’, whose brief 53-episode run concluded last Holy Wednesday. ‘D’Originals’ will also be LJ Reyes’ second project in a row on the afternoon slot after starring as Angeli in ‘Pinulot Ka Lang sa Lupa’.

Also part of ‘D’Originals’ cast are Ms. Jaclyn Jose, Kim Domingo, Katrina Halili, Jestoni Alarcon, Mark Herras, Meg Imperial, Archie Alemania, Lovely Abella, Mikoy Morales, Arny Ross, Elyson De Dios, and Chlaui Malayao. The director of the series is Adolf Alix Jr.

If ‘The Greatest Love”s impressive ratings are of any indication, then ‘D’Originals’ is in for a rude awakening. Recent GMAPA-produced entertainment shows (see ‘Dangwa’, ‘To the Top’, ‘#Like’) have failed to make a desirable impact, thus putting tremendous pressure on ‘D’Originals’ to defy all expectations.

With the dominance of ABS-CBN in the afternoon slot (save for the surprisingly popular ‘Ika-6 na Utos’), this is one battle that ‘D’Originals’ must win. Saving the reputation of both GMA Entertainment and GMA Public Affairs is a must for the series, otherwise the blame game should continue for both departments.

It’s either win or give up for ‘D’Originals’ and GMA Public Affairs. Good luck.

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entertainment, live events, Philippines, television

A Look Back at the First and Only GMA Artist Center Ball

Remember the first and only time GMA held the Artist Center Ball?

On November 8, 2011, the GMA Artist Center staged its own ball at the Shangri-La Hotel in Makati. A majority of Artist Center talents attended the event, each of whom showed up in their most elaborate attire.

The GMA Artist Center Ball was presented in response to the growing glamor of ABS-CBN’s Star Magic Ball. At the time it was held, the Star Magic Ball had been staged five times since its inception in 2007.

The theme of the 2011 event was about the launching of the short-lived Profiles magazine. It was supposed to be GMA’s answer to the annual Star Magic catalogue magazine, but it only had one catalogue before it was shut down that same year.

Unfortunately, the 2011 Artist Center Ball marked the last such event for the network. Lack of funds, declining television ratings and programming concerns were too much for GMA to handle, and they have not produced a ball since.

On the contrary, ABS-CBN’s Star Magic Ball continues to put on a show for all of its talents. In fact, the tenth edition of the ball will take place tomorrow night, which should only add insult to injury for GMA’s Artist Center and even to Entertainment department head Lilybeth Rasonable.

Five years after the last Artist Center Ball, there are still questions of what might have been. Regardless of the unfortunate circumstances, Kapuso faithful can only hope for the best, as GMA tries to make sense of their ongoing dilemmas.

For those who may have forgotten the last GMA Artist Center Ball, Pep.ph has some interesting photo galleries to show for. Click the following links and look back at a time when Kapuso stars used to show up in their glamorous dresses and suits for this occasion.

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action, drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television, United States

Alyas Robin Hood a PR Disaster or Blessing in Disguise for GMA

An upcoming GMA fantaserye is in the headlines for both the right and wrong reasons.

When a trailer for ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ was released earlier this week, it quickly became a trending topic on social media and on various international news outlets. But instead of praises from netizens, a lot of criticisms were thrown into the mix, most of which were claims of being a ripoff of the American action series ‘Arrow’.

In fact, ‘Arrow’ lead actor Stephen Amell even shared the said teaser, which featured a ‘shocked’ emoji. Poor Dingdong Dantes.

Amid the criticisms surrounding ‘Alyas Robin Hood’, the show’s consultant Suzette Doctolero has this to say regarding its comparisons to ‘Arrow’.

LionhearTV then clarified that the poster was fan-made and not an official photo of GMA Network. In fact, some of the images used on the fan art were past photos of GMA artists and not publicity photos for ‘Alyas Robin Hood’.

Doctolero further explained that Robin Hood is an inspiration to many similar literary works, adding that every super hero in general was derived from master plots. She then pointed out that no one holds a copyright to Robin Hood (see post below).

Finally, GMA Entertainment vice president for drama Redgie Magno issued her own statement on the matter.

“Ang Alyas Robin Hood ay malayo sa plot ng Arrow. Ito ay kuwento ng isang lower-middle class lawyer na mapagbibintangan ng isang krimeng hindi niya ginawa. Sa kanyang paghahanap sa katotohanan, may mga matutulungan din siyang nangangailangan.”

“Robin Hood has had different reincarnations or versions in different countries. In Russia, there’s the short novel on Alexander Pushkin whose Robin Hood character went by the name Black Eagle. In Brazil, there’s the real life Limpaio, a true-life Robin Hood whose life is now a biography. In Japan, a Kabuki adaptation of Robin Hood was successfully mounted with the character of Nezumikozo as the name of the legendary hero. This is to name only a few. What we are now seeing here is a modern version of Robin Hood, an adaptation of a universal figure made inspirational and relevant to the Filipino audience.”

The teaser for ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ only ran for 15 seconds. In essence, the teaser was a mere hint of what is to come.

Let’s face it, it is unfair to compare ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ to ‘Arrow’ considering that the storyline of the series is yet to be revealed. Thus, the negative reaction to the former is not justified.

However, it is clear that Philippine television has a lot of flaws. The teleseryes, in particular, continue to use recycled storylines, and most intelligent viewers would be better off watching weekly American series instead.

It remains to be seen if ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will be an epic disaster or an unexpected winner. Right now, though, viewers will have to wait for its premiere and see for themselves.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

GMA Tries Another Weekday Morning Drama with Dangwa

Seems like GMA hasn’t learned anything from past failures.

After a two-year absence, GMA decided to pursue another local weekday drama series in the morning. They called upon Janine Gutierrez to star as the mysterious ‘Dangwa Girl’, in the series known simply as ‘Dangwa’.

Mystery shrouded the streets of Manila earlier this month when university belt students posted photos and videos of a girl giving out roses to various strangers in social media. The mysterious encounter quickly became viral on social media, and eventually, the then-unknown ‘Dangwa Girl’ was revealed to as Janine Gutierrez.

‘Dangwa’ will feature the story of Rosa, a beautiful flower vendor who would change the lives of men who bought flowers from her. While the story of Rosa will be the focus of the series, a new love story between two individuals will be featured each week, all of which begin with a chance encounter with Rosa herself.

As for Rosa, she will also have a love story of her own. Two men named Baste (Mark Herras) and Lorenzo (Aljur Abrenica) would gain the attention of Rosa’s heart, but as they discovered, she is something else to behold.

The first week of ‘Dangwa’ will also star Barbie Forteza and Ruru Madrid. This will be followed by starring roles from Carla Abellana and Rafael Rosell, Rhian Ramos and Geoff Eigenmann, Bianca Umali and Miguel Tanfelix, and Pauleen Luna and Gerald Napoles.

‘Dangwa’ will be the latest series produced by the GMA Public Affairs group. But as everyone learned, the involvement of GMA Public Affairs in the series is simply a way to bail out an Entertainment department that has not had success in recent years.

There is also a question about the series’ viability in the morning. Considering that the last two GMA morning dramas (‘Cielo de Angelina’, ‘With a Smile’) were ratings failures, a very tough task awaits ‘Dangwa’ in their hopes of reversing a recent trend.

That said, it will be interesting to see if ‘Dangwa’ lives up to the hype. After the success of the viral posts, the series now hopes to turn them into good, if not impressive ratings.

‘Dangwa’ premieres this Monday at 11:00 a.m. on GMA.

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