China, drama, entertainment, Philippines, Taiwan, television

Will the New Meteor Garden Be as Successful as the Original?

A familiar series with a new twist.

On Monday, August 20, ABS-CBN will bring the Chinese remake of ‘Meteor Garden’ to Filipino audiences. But the question is: can it equal if not surpass the success of the original?

The new version of ‘Meteor Garden’ will star Darren Cheng, Dylan Wang, Connor Leong, and Caesar Wu as F4. Darren, Dylan, Connor and Caesar will play Hua Ze Lei (originally by Vic Zhou), Dao Ming Si (originally by Jerry Yan), Mei Zuo (originally by Vanness Wu), and Xi Men (originally by Ken Chu) respectively.

Shan Cai, a character popularized by Barbie Shu in the original ‘Meteor Garden’, will now be played by Shen Yue. According to series producer Angie Chai, the cast were selected based on their personalities that were similar to the original F4.

‘Meteor Garden’ began airing in China last month, and so far the series has performed well in its home country. ‘Meteor Garden’ currently ranks in the top 10 of the most-watched Chinese television programs.

The original ‘Meteor Garden’ was first aired in the Philippines back in 2003 and became a smashing success. It helped turn F4 (or JVKV for copyright purposes) into superstars and at the height of the show’s popularity, the group even held a concert in Manila in front of their adoring fans.

ABS-CBN has since re-aired the original series multiple times, most recently in 2014. But while ABS-CBN will forever be the network associated with ‘Meteor Garden’ in the Philippines, archrival GMA Network also aired the said Asianovela in 2007, albeit in a different dub and with mixed success.

Looking ahead, one must wonder how can this new version of ‘Meteor Garden’ be able to permeate the Filipino viewing public the same way the original did. Considering the lofty heights that came with the 2003 version of ‘Meteor Garden’, it will not be easy for the new series to make an impact with both loyal and new viewers.

Not only that, a few alterations to the original story could affect its performance. That said, ABS-CBN should keep expectations low and hope that somewhere down the road viewers will appreciate this new take on ‘Meteor Garden’ with gusto.

‘Meteor Garden’ airs weeknights before ‘TV Patrol’ on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida.

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drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

LizQuen Letdown: Disappointing Bagani to End Run Friday

Fantasy remains one of ABS-CBN’s weakest points.

After all, the network is not used to creating big-budgeted fantasy dramas on a daily basis. Unlike rival GMA, they usually produce their teleseryes conservatively, letting the story become the emphasis and not on special effects or gaudy costumes.

But in the case of ‘Bagani’, they decided to be big spenders for once. Unfortunately, not even the power of Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil can turn this costly series into a humongous draw.

Even before ‘Bagani’ premiered on March 5, 2018, the series became shrouded with controversy. Not only did it drew unfair comparisons to ‘Encantadia’, it also drew flak for its casting choices (Liza and co-star Matteo Guidicelli were part-Filipino) and its alleged misuse of the term ‘Bagani’.

Despite that, ‘Bagani’ came out strong from the start, earning ratings in the 30s during its first few months. By July, however, the series struggled to get to 30%, mainly because viewers grew tired of the plodding storyline and the fact that ‘Kambal Karibal’ became a strong threat.

Nevertheless, ‘Bagani’ continued to win its timeslot in spite of these difficulties. Still, the series’ unsatisfactory finish has left LizQuen fans with a bitter taste in their mouths; after all, they expected a lot more from this love team after the runaway success of ‘Forevermore’ and ‘Dolce Amore’.

Overall, ‘Bagani’ will wrap up with a total of 118 episodes to its credit. The reason why ABS-CBN decided to end the series now than to extend it further is for Liza Soberano can devote her energies to her first project (film or television) without Enrique Gil, which is ‘Darna’.

In the end, ‘Bagani’ became a total disappointment regardless of its performance. The story became a slow-developing one and the characters simply did not have enough progression to convince viewers.

It was one series that LizQuen fans would like to forget. No disrespect for them but for a big-time draw that is LizQuen, it was a letdown.

They can only hope that ‘Bagani’ will finish on a graceful note come this Friday. After that, move on and let bygones be bygones.

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comedy, drama, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television

The Last Week of Since I Found You

Glad that’s over.

In many ways, ‘Since I Found You”s final week is a merciful end to a series that has never found its footing from day one. And while this romantic comedy series outplayed its competition, it failed to impress viewers left and right.

‘Since I Found You’ first set foot on April 16, 2018 replacing the tearjerking family drama ‘The Good Son’. The series marked the first television project for the ‘Kita Kita’ tandem of Empoy Marquez and Alessandra de Rossi, and they were joined by Piolo Pascual, Arci Muñoz and JC de Vera.

While ‘Since I Found You’ came out firing by averaging in the 20s its first two weeks, it failed to sustain its magical start the rest of the way. Since then, ‘Since I Found You’ hovered between 16 and 19%, and ABS-CBN management wondered if a romantic comedy on primetime is indeed a curse.

But despite its unimpressive ratings, ‘Since I Found You”s opponent failed to take advantage of its lukewarm audience reception. Neither ‘The One That Got Away’ nor ‘Inday Will Always Love You’ provided the necessary impact that should have given ‘Since I Found You’ a scare, even though the latter came within 1% in one of its episodes.

Notwithstanding the lack of recognition by the audience, ‘Since I Found You’ was still good enough to produce 85 episodes, which is close to the norm of a typical teleserye. Still, it was clear that viewers yawned over a primetime romantic comedy that felt out of place.

With all due respect to Dreamscape, the producer of ‘Since I Found You’, this is one of the weakest efforts that this entertainment division has ever made. For all its success and appeal (see ‘Asintado’, ‘Ang Probinsyano’), not all of their creations are destined to give audiences something worth watching.

In the end, ‘Since I Found You’ is a waste of time for ABS-CBN. Romantic comedies have no place on Primetime Bida and this series is one of a few mistakes that ABS-CBN ever made.

One can only hope that ‘Since I Found You’ will end with a lasting impression. But for a series that is boring from the start, expect a silent treatment from the audience.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Onanay: A New GMA Series with a ‘Little’ Twist

‘Bagani’ now has a ‘little’ problem, literally.

The ongoing ABS-CBN teleserye will face a new challenger starting Monday, but this is not an ordinary drama series. Instead, GMA’s ‘Onanay’ will be led by an actress who may be physically short as an adult but is big in potential.

The actress in question is Jo Berry, who suffers from dwarfism which causes her to remain short in height as an adult. In ‘Onanay’, Jo is Onay, a mother of two born with Achondroplasia which is a bone growth disorder that impeded her growth.

Her two daughters Maila (Mikee Quintos) and Natalie (Kate Valdez) has contrasting personalities. While Maila is cheerful, obedient and respectful of her mother, Natalie is spoiled, arrogant and ashamed of her mother’s condition.

The series will also feature a special appearance from Ms. Nora Aunor, who will portray Onay’s mother Nelia. In addition, Ms. Cherie Gil will play Helena, Onay’s mother-in-law and a wealthy owner of a fashion magazine, who is determined to give Onay and Nelia’s life a living hell.

‘Onanay”s other cast members include Gardo Versoza, Wendell Ramos, Rochelle Pangilinan, Vaness del Moral, Enrico Cuenca, and Adrian Alandy. The series will be directed by Gina Alajar.

Talk about starting small and dreaming big. For someone as little as Jo Berry, getting into show business takes a little luck and determination, but GMA did not find her short stature as a detriment to conquering the entertainment world.

However, ‘Onanay’ should have a lot to worry about moving forward. While it has the potential to become a critically inspiring drama, it will only depend on how viewers will be able to relate to this series.

And considering that ‘Bagani’ is still dominant in its timeslot, ‘Onanay’ may have a hard time keeping up with the duo of Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil. Regardless, not all are LizQuen fans, and ‘Onanay’ can only hope that they can turn these doubters into believers.

It will be interesting to see how a midget can rise to the occasion and become a bonafide star. This is what ‘Onanay’ will look forward to as they get underway.

‘Onanay’ airs weeknights after ‘Victor Magtanggol’ on GMA Telebabad.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, suspense, television

Kambal Karibal Bows Out This Friday

After 178 episodes, ‘Kambal Karibal’ will be history.

The GMA Telebabad series will officially come to a conclusion Friday night. And while it enjoyed a long and stellar run, its ratings performance was anything but impressive.

‘Kambal Karibal’ was led by Bianca Umali as Criselda, Pauline Mendoza as Crisanta (Criselda’s dead twin sister), and Miguel Tanfelix as Diego. Kyline Alcantara, as Cheska, played a key role as a villain who made Crisanta’s life a living hell and was eventually possessed by the spirits of both Crisanta and Criselda.

The series had a wider following than everyone thought. Many, in particular, praised the acting chops displayed by breakout stars Pauline Mendoza and Kyline Alcantara, and as ‘Kambal Karibal’ progressed, so did the praise for the two young talents.

Yet despite the fact that ‘Kambal Karibal’ was by far the strongest and most compelling GMA primetime series in recent memory, the series failed to win in the ratings when it mattered most. And it didn’t help that the series went up against two of ABS-CBN’s most popular love teams today.

From November 27, 2017 to March 2, 2018 (70 episodes in all), ‘Kambal Karibal’ went head-to-head with ‘La Luna Sangre’ which starred Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla (a.k.a. KathNiel). Then from March 5 until this Friday (108 episodes in all), the series took on ‘Bagani’ led by Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil (a.k.a. LizQuen).

In all, ‘Kambal Karibal’ averaged better than 17% in the national ratings. Meanwhile, both ‘La Luna Sangre’ and ‘Bagani’ scored in the 29-30% range.

Notwithstanding its unimpressive ratings, GMA insisted that ‘Kambal Karibal’ performed well contrary to other’s expectations. Throughout the course of its run, ‘Kambal Karibal’ received multiple extensions in hopes of proving a point but it doesn’t change the fact that it had no chance of leaping past either KathNiel or LizQuen.

But regardless of how it played out, ‘Kambal Karibal’ will still be remembered for launching Kyline Alcantara and Pauline Mendoza into stardom. And for good reason, since GMA badly needed young stars to beef up their roster of talents amid criticism of their over-reliance towards veteran stars.

Come this Friday, viewers will have one last chance to see ‘Kambal Karibal’ work out its magic. Whatever happens, this series will bow out on a graceful note.

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action, drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

Victor Magtanggol to Defend Against FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano

Meet the tenth challenger to ‘Ang Probinsyano’.

GMA’s never-ending quest to conquer Cardo Dalisay (Coco Martin) leads them to Alden Richards and ‘Victor Magtanggol’, another of the network’s ‘original’ creations. But can this series be able to do something that nine previous opponent couldn’t do: beat ‘Ang Probinsyano’?

More on this article from Timow’s Turf.

Timow's Turf

THE ALDUB NATION will troop back on GMA primetime after a year but this time, only male half of the duo (Alden Richards) will challenge as Victor Magtanggol, the 10th adversary against FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano.

Directed by Dominic Zapata and originally titled as Mitho, the drama action-fantasy series is inspired by Norse Mythology, specifically on Thor (portrayed by Conan Stevens).

Premise

As the Ragnarök draws near, Thor will order his son, Magni to hide his Mjölnir (hammer) until there’s someone right to inherit it. Magni will go to the world of mortals to wait for the new taker of Mjölnir where he will meet Victor Magtanggol, an OFW based in Canada who is looking for his lost mother, Vivienne (Coney Reyes).

Victor eventually must learn how to use the Mjölnir to protect the world and his loved ones from Móði (Pancho Magno), another son of Thor, who…

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