drama, entertainment, Philippines, suspense, television

The Cure: Ang Probinsyano’s Next Prey?

“No one can beat ‘Ang Probinsyano’!”, Kapamilya fans said.

Nearly three years and over 500 episodes since it began, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ continues to be the king of primetime teleseryes. On most nights, the ABS-CBN action series scored at least 40% in the ratings, and has made mincemeat of eight different GMA teleseryes that tried to topple it.

Now comes a ninth different GMA series that will take on Cardo Dalisay (Coco Martin) every Monday to Friday starting tonight. And in typical GMA fashion, it will be led by two Kapuso veterans in Jennylyn Mercado and Tom Rodriguez.

The story of ‘The Cure’ involves an experimental drug that kills cancer cells, but the side effect of it is that a highly dangerous and contagious virus called Monkey Virus Disease (MVD) will mutate and cause seizures and violent outbreaks to infected people. The disease quickly spreads throughout the country and will only continue to do so unless a cure can be found.

Married couple Charity (Jennylyn), a former registered nurse, and Gregory (Tom), a clinical research associate in a pharmaceutical company, are living a happy life with their daughter Hope (Leanne Bautista), until Greg’s mother Agnes (Irma Adlawan) is diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.  Agnes is given an experimental drug, but her health got worse as she is infected with MVD.

That drug, in turn, was discovered by Dr. Evangeline Lazaro (Jaclyn Jose), who works in the same company as Greg. With MVD continuing to wreak havoc across the country, it is up to Charity and Greg to find the necessary cure and prevent the inevitable.

‘The Cure’ also stars Mark Herras, LJ Reyes, Jay Manalo, Ronnie Henares, Glenda Garcia, Diva Montelaba and Arra San Agustin, with a special participation from Ken Chan. It will be directed by Mark Reyes.

It can be recalled that ‘The Cure’ was originally announced as one of GMA’s upcoming projects for 2013, and it was supposed to be led by Alden Richards and Louise delos Reyes. However, the project was shelved and it took five years before GMA decided to revisit the series.

Looking ahead, ‘The Cure’ is either going to be an intriguing series or a recipe for disaster. Having to face ‘Ang Probinsyano’ will entail a lot of hard work for ‘The Cure’, considering its predecessor ‘Sherlock Jr.’ failed miserably.

That said, GMA should go all-out in making ‘The Cure’ a worthier opponent for ‘Ang Probinsyano’. If this series goes around 25% in the ratings then it should boost its confidence, but if it goes below that then the ‘Curse of Cardo Dalisay’ is all too real for the network.

‘The Cure’ airs weeknights after ’24 Oras’ on GMA Telebabad.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

New Impostora to End Tomorrow

The new version of ‘Impostora’ will officially bow out.

Tomorrow afternoon will mark the 160th and final episode of this GMA afternoon drama. And much like the villainous Rosette and the good-but-ugly Nimfa (both played by Kris Bernal), ‘Impostora’ had two different faces: one that was dominant and the other inferior.

First premiered on July 3, 2017, ‘Impostora’ was based on the 2007 version of the same title starring Sunshine Dizon and Iza Calzado, which in turn adopted the story from the 1994 film ‘Sa Isang Sulok ng mga Pangarap’. Pitted against ‘Pusong Ligaw’ for a majority of its run, the new ‘Impostora’ had a slow start but by August the series began to win over the viewers and beat its closest competitor.

For a while, it seemed that nothing can stop ‘Impostora’. However, the series began to lose anew as 2017 turned to 2018, thanks largely to a late push by the concluding ‘Pusong Ligaw’.

It only got worse for ‘Impostora’ once Julia Montes entered the fray. Her series ‘Asintado’ made an immediate impact from the get-go and while ‘Impostora’ relived some past glory in some of its episodes, a younger Julia Montes was simply too much for Kris Bernal to handle.

Regardless of the late swoon, the 160-episode run of ‘Impostora’ remains an impressive feat by GMA’s standards. To air so many episodes speaks volumes of its immense impact in the weekday afternoon landscape, particularly with ABS-CBN’s struggles in the afternoon slots that gave ‘Impostora’ an opportunity to strike.

But even if Kris Bernal made a good account of herself by playing a bad girl on ‘Impostora’, she won’t be able to escape the ‘good girl’ persona that she always prides with. Much like ‘Rhodora X’ with Jennylyn Mercado, it is highly unlikely to see Kris play a villain in future drama series.

Perhaps GMA could change that stereotype in order to elevate younger and up-and-coming stars to the fold. Still, it will be up to Kris to make a decision that could either help or hurt the network.

As ‘Impostora’ nears its finale, one must wonder which fate will await Rosette and Nimfa. The last episode should be a must-watch, so good luck.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

No More Extension: My Love from the Star Ends Friday

This week will be the last hurrah for ‘My Love from the Star’.

On Friday, August 11, GMA will give viewers one final glimpse into the love story of Steffi and Matteo. Since its premiere on May 29, the unlikely pairing of Jennylyn Mercado and Gil Cuerva breathed new life into the characters originally portrayed by Korean stars Jun Ji-hyun and Kim Soo-hyun, and people who watched the original series looked in awe at the performance of the duo.

Notwithstanding the story and the actors involved, it is very surprising to see ‘My Love from the Star’ run for only a short period of time. Clocking at only 55 episodes, this series joined a dubious list of Filipino teleseryes that did not last at least 80 episodes (this included its predecessor ‘Destined to Be Yours’ which ran for only 63 episodes).

But unlike AlDub’s ill-fated debut series, the brief run of ‘My Love from the Star’ has nothing to do with the ratings (the series regularly fell victim to ‘My Dear Heart’ and ‘La Luna Sangre’ throughout its tenure). In fact, GMA planned it to run for only a short period of time in order to remain faithful to the original Korean series.

It was a shame that ‘My Love from the Star’ had to air for only a few months. The brief tenure of the show did not allow enough time for veteran Jennylyn Mercado and newcomer Gil Cuerva to develop their much-needed chemistry.

Still, as far as GMA is concerned, the pairing between Jennylyn and Gil is only temporary. Unless GMA plans to give the duo another series to work with in the future, all signs point for this on-screen duo to move on and focus on other opportunities.

In short, Jennylyn Mercado and Gil Cuerva together is like a one-off project. But if GMA is satisfied with their performance, perhaps another, longer series could be in the offing for the two.

The final five episodes of ‘My Love from the Star’ should be a great one. This will be the final opportunity to see how Steffi (Jennylyn) and Matteo (Gil) forge their love for each other.

P.S.: The final week of ‘My Love from the Star’ will be dedicated to former cast member Spanky Manikan, who unexpectedly left the show due to health reasons (it was later revealed that the actor is suffering from Stage 4 lung cancer).

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

My Dear Heart’s ‘Last Heartbeats’

This is indeed the ‘Last Heartbeat’.

The impending conclusion of ‘My Dear Heart’ saw ABS-CBN promote its final episodes as the ‘Last __ Heartbeats’. And if this is indeed the last heartbeat for Heart Ramos and company, what a way to go.

‘My Dear Heart’ made its way to Primetime Bida’s lineup on January 23, 2017. Although the series is considered a family drama in the mold of other classic series such as ‘May Bukas Pa’, ‘100 Days to Heaven’ and ‘Honesto’, the popularity of ‘Ang Probinsyano’ in the early primetime slot forced ABS-CBN to bump ‘My Dear Heart’ to a later time.

Nevertheless, ‘My Dear Heart’ proved to be a ratings success in its own right. The series averaged 28% in the Kantar ratings, with some episodes peaking at 30% or better.

While ‘My Dear Heart’ began its run against the Dingdong Dantes-starred ‘Alyas Robin Hood’, it was against the AlDub-starred ‘Destined to Be Yours’ that defined its tenure. Facing the seemingly formidable love team of Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza, ‘My Dear Heart’ dominated the former with relative ease, shocking the entire AlDub Nation in the process.

The final few weeks of ‘My Dear Heart’ saw the series compete against the Filipino adaptation of ‘My Love from the Star’. But like Alden and Maine, the duo of Gil Cuerva and Jennylyn Mercado could not overcome Heart’s determination to survive.

Overall, ‘My Dear Heart’ will have logged a total of 103 episodes by the time it ends this Friday. The episode count was very impressive considering the series worked behind ‘Ang Probinsyano’ in the pecking order.

Come this week, all eyes are on child star Heart Ramos, whose role as a coma-stricken daughter and angelic spirit captivated viewers throughout the country and around the world. The final episodes of the series will also see how the characters of Bela Padilla, Zanjoe Marudo, Coney Reyes, Ria Atayde and Eric Quizon react to Heart’s life-or-death struggle.

The ‘Last Heartbeat’ for ‘My Dear Heart’ is on. As for Heart Ramos, her budding career as a child star has just begun.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

An Untimely Entrance for My Love from the Star

Heart has a new opponent, albeit for a short time.

Beginning Monday, GMA will premiere the Philippine remake of the hit Korean drama ‘My Love from the Star’. The adaptation will be led by Jennylyn Mercado, who will portray Jun Ji-hyun’s role as Steffi, and Gil Cuerva, who takes on Kim Soo-hyun’s role as Matteo.

The original version of ‘My Love from the Star’ first made waves in the Philippines back in 2014, as it became a top-rating Koreanovela on GMA’s late afternoon slot. GMA then re-aired the Koreanovela during early 2015, but failed to rekindle its past success.

Despite that, GMA decided to push through with the Filipino adaptation of ‘My Love from the Star’. While Jennylyn Mercado was confirmed to play Steffi, the role of Matteo remained a mystery for several months until little-known Gil Cuerva got the nod.

Completing the cast of ‘My Love from the Star’ are Gabby Eigenmann, Christian Bautista, Glydel Mercado, Renz Fernandez, Jackie Rice, Migo Adecer, Melissa Mendez, Spanky Manikan, Nar Cabico, Analyn Barro, Valentin, Moi Marcampo and Pauline Mendoza. Director Joyce Bernal will be at the helm of the series, plus Rhian Ramos will have a special role as Steffi’s rival.

The premiere of ‘My Love from the Star’ comes at a not-so fortunate time. ABS-CBN recently announced that ‘My Dear Heart’ is nearing its conclusion, with the finale of the series to take place around June.

This means that Jennylyn, Gil and company will not have enough time to prove themselves against ‘My Dear Heart”s quintet of Heart Ramos, Bela Padilla, Zanjoe Marudo, Coney Reyes and Ria Atayde. However, with ‘La Luna Sangre’ expected to replace ‘My Dear Heart’ once it ends, ‘My Love from the Star’ should have a big headstart against KathNiel this early.

It remains to be seen if the Filipino remake of ‘My Love from the Star’ can either equal or exceed the success of the original Korean series. With plenty of expectations from both Koreanovela and Kapuso fans, the series can only hope that they will deliver even if the odds are against them.

‘My Love from the Star’ airs weeknights after ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ on GMA Telebabad.

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action, drama, entertainment, Philippines, suspense, talent show, television

GMA’s Unstable Sabado Star Power Continues

Saturdays have been a source of frustration for GMA.

Once again, the Kapuso network decided to make a change in their Sabado Star Power afternoon lineup. Gone was ‘Laff, Camera, Action’, and in came ‘#Like’, the newest reality talent show hosted by Tom Rodriguez and internet sensation Balang.

‘#Like’ is a talent show featuring online sensations battling against each other in a barangay setting. To the surprise of no one, it is just another concept produced by the GMA Public Affairs team, whose penchant for producing non-news shows becomes more infectious and more criticized than ever.

The premiere of ‘#Like’ took place last September 3, but instead of replacing ‘Laff, Camera, Action’ on its 4:30 timeslot, GMA decided to air the said show after ‘Eat Bulaga’. As a result, this is the how the schedule looks like:

  • 2:30 p.m. – #Like
  • 3:00 p.m. – Karelasyon
  • 4:00 p.m. – Wish Ko Lang
  • 5:00 p.m. – Imbestigador

However, the change did little to improve the ratings. All four of GMA’s post-‘Eat Bulaga’ afternoon programs were on the losing end, with ‘Wish Ko Lang’ the least impressive at 9.4%.

Let’s face it, would’ve been better for ‘#Like’ to go up against ‘Mga Kwento ni Marc Logan’ instead of the last half-hour of ‘It’s Showtime’? Probably, given that Marc Logan’s show also features internet sensations and GMA would’ve loved to see that matchup.

Still, GMA had no regrets in making the change once again. However, they would have been better off if ‘Wish Ko Lang’ and ‘Imbestigador’ were to be cancelled, since they are no longer the same programs as they once were.

Meanwhile, another new program premiered last Saturday on the said network. The new show, ‘Superstar Duets’, replaced ‘Lip-Sync Battle Philippines’, whose run finally ended after seven months.

Based on the format alone, ‘Superstar Duets’ appears to be the second coming of ‘Celebrity Duets’, except that the celebrities in the show were paired alongside impersonators of foreign singers. The show is currently hosted by Jennylyn Mercado, with Allan K, Aicelle Santos and Christian Bautista serving as judges.

The premiere of ‘Superstar Duets’ didn’t quite impress many, as it earned a 13.2% rating. On the other hand, ‘Pinoy Big Brother Lucky Season 7’ fared much better with a 16.4% rating.

This is going to be a tough battle as far as ‘Superstar Duets’ were concerned. Though it has the potential to run just as long as ‘Lip-Sync Battle Philippines’ did, the possibility of winning remains tricky at best.

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