drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

The Stepdaughters, One Last Time

‘Asintado”s chief rival will call it a day.

On Friday, GMA’s ‘The Stepdaughters’ will air its final episode. This series, starring Megan Young and Katrina Halili as rivals-turned-stepsisters, enjoyed a long run but was essentially overshadowed by the success of its archrival ‘Asintado’.

‘The Stepdaughters’ first aired on February 12, 2018. The premise of the series was of two women who became rivals via the makeup business: one who is already established in the industry and the other with aspirations of entering said business.

Later on, Mayumi (Megan) and Isabelle (Katrina) became stepsisters when Mayumi’s mother married Isabelle’s father. Mayumi also fell in love with Francis (Mikael Daez), even as Isabelle tried to win his trust.

While ‘The Stepdaughters’ managed to air 178 episodes by the end of its run, the series’ overall performance suggests that it should have been winning on a consistent basis. Instead, ‘The Stepdaughters’ ran into a brick wall in Julia Montes, whose afternoon series ‘Asintado’ won by an average of 4% in the ratings.

But ‘Asintado’ is not the only show that gave ‘The Stepdaughters’ a lot of trouble. In most afternoons, ‘The Stepdaughters’ was aired against ‘It’s Showtime’ and likewise could not keep up with Vice Ganda and company.

‘The Stepdaughters” final two weeks saw the show go up against a new ‘kabitserye’ in ‘Kadenang Ginto’. So far, ‘Kadenang Ginto’ proved to be just as strong an adversary for ‘The Stepdaughters’, as seen by its 4.8% ratings advantage in its pilot episode last week.

Regardless of its shortcomings, ‘The Stepdaughters’ proved that it can keep up with the best that ABS-CBN has to offer. Notwithstanding the lack of victories in the ratings, GMA should be more than pleased with the way ‘The Stepdaughters’ battled until the end.

This week will see the conclusion of one of GMA’s most underrated series. One can only hope that ‘The Stepdaughters’ will exit with a bang and leave a lasting impression to its audience.

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action, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Asintado’s Final Week

It all comes down to this.

‘Asintado”s final episode is slated to air this Friday. But in many ways, this series turned out to be unpredictable.

First aired on January 15, 2018, ‘Asintado’ was placed in the leadoff slot of ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold. It was to be the comeback series of Julia Montes nearly a year after starring in the long-running afternoon series ‘Doble Kara’.

But unlike ‘Doble Kara’, ‘Asintado’ performed on a relatively quiet scale. Debuting with a 17.7% rating, the series hovered between 14-17% for much of its run.

Despite that, ‘Asintado”s ratings were more than enough to dispatch its rival GMA dramas ‘Impostora’ and ‘The Stepdaughters’. And considering that it now airs at 3:50 p.m. on a regular basis due to the longer-than-usual running time of ‘It’s Showtime’, ‘Asintado”s performance was still impressive at best.

Overall, ‘Asintado’ will have a total of 187 episodes by Friday’s finale. As far as ABS-CBN standards go, this is already a long run.

If there is anything to pick up about ‘Asintado’, it is on how some of the cast members adapt to a role they were not used to. Julia Montes, long known for her dramatic skills regardless of being a villain or a protagonist, became more of an action star in this series as her character Ana sought vengeance on the loved ones she lost.

Shaina Magdayao, as Samantha, embraced the bad girl role particularly well, that is until it was revealed that Samantha and Ana were actually long-lost sisters. Paulo Avelino, as Gael, was no slouch either in working the good and bad side of his character.

In the last few weeks of ‘Asintado’, the focus shifted to Nonie Buencamino’s character Salvador, whom Ana blamed for the murder of her wife (and Salvador’s son) Gael as well as his wife Miranda (Lorna Tolentino). While Nonie”s credits as a villain were few and far between, his portrayal of Salvador may have been his best yet as a heel.

That said, the last week of ‘Asintado’ should be a good one. Whether or not Ana gains her much-needed justice remains to be seen, so stay tuned to find out the ending to this story of revenge and vindication.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Asintado’s Newest Challenger: The Stepdaughters

A new opponent awaits ‘Asintado’.

After taking out ‘Impostora’, the ABS-CBN afternoon drama will face a different challenger starting today. Looking to match wits with Julia Montes will be Katrina Halili and real-life couple Megan Young and Mikael Daez, who will lead GMA’s newest drama series ‘The Stepdaughters’.

The story of ‘The Stepdaughters’ revolve around two women who were both beautiful and intelligent but have contrasting personalities. Mayumi (Megan) is a chemistry graduate with dreams of setting up her own makeup line, while Isabelle (Katrina) already manages one, yet as an only child she grew self-centered and spoiled.

Francis (Mikael), a head product engineer, becomes Mayumi’s love interest, even though Isabelle pleads to love her back. The growing dislike between Mayumi and Isabelle grows even more apparent when Mayumi’s mother Luisa (Glydel Mercado) and Isabelle’s father Hernan (Gary Estrada) get married, making them stepsisters.

‘The Stepdaughters’ also star Allan Paule, Angelu de Leon, Sef Cadayona and Samantha Lopez, with the special participation of Dion Ignacio. It will be directed by Paul Sta. Ana.

As ‘The Stepdaughters’ makes its debut, they will have their hands full in trying to solve ‘Asintado. Since premiering last month, the Julia Montes-led drama revitalized ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold block, and if not for ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ they would have taken the mantle of afternoon’s top drama series.

But if ‘The Stepdaughters’ want to defeat ‘Asintado’, they will have to convince viewers that veterans such as Megan Young and Katrina Halili are still worth watching. After all, GMA’s overdependence on older stars has become a problem this decade and it cost them a majority of their audience.

It will be interesting to see how ‘The Stepdaughters’ can help rekindle Afternoon Prime’s flickering fortunes. After a strong finish in the second half of 2017, the block finds itself in the doldrums once again and it will be up to ‘The Stepdaughters’ to put them back to relevance.

‘The Stepdaughters’ air weekdays after ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ on GMA Afternoon Prime.

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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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Bouncing Back: Julia Montes Returns in Asintado

ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold badly needs a boost.

For months, the block has struggled against a resurgent GMA Afternoon Prime. It was clear that Kapamilya Gold has gone stale with a repetitive ‘kabitserye’ formula, and as a result, viewers tuned away in favor of series that had campy scenes (‘Ika-6 na Utos’), one actress playing two contrasting personalities (‘Impostora’), and allusions to the supernatural (‘Haplos’).

This Monday, Kapamilya Gold will try to return to relevance with a familiar face and a new attitude. Enter ‘Asintado’, the newest afternoon series starring daytime drama’s undisputed queen in Julia Montes.

In ‘Asintado’, Julia is Ana, a member of a rescue team who looks to make her adoptive family proud. After saving Gael (Paulo Avelino) from a mining accident, she became his personal nurse and eventually fell in love with each other.

But just as their relationship blooms, Gael’s ex-girlfriend Samantha (Shaina Magdayao) returns to try to win back his heart, even if it means killing Ana. Fortunately, Ana was saved by Xander (Aljur Abrenica), only to find out later on that Gael and Samantha are about to get married.

Just as Ana is plotting her revenge, she finds out that Samantha was her long-lost sister. Samantha, as it turned out, was lost in the fire that killed their parents.

The search for love and justice in ‘Asintado’ will also involve a veteran supporting cast consisting of Lorna Tolentino, Cherry Pie Picache, Lito Pimentel, Agot Isidro, and Nonie Buencamino. The series will be directed by Onat Diaz and Lino Cayetano.

If Julia’s previous series ‘Doble Kara’ helped Kapamilya Gold reclaim the ratings lead from Afternoon Prime, then ABS-CBN should look for ‘Asintado’ to do the same. Still, the series will be up against a formidable foe in ‘Impostora’, and battling a tested star in Kris Bernal will not be a walk in the park.

But considering Julia Montes’ star power, facing such an obstacle is no big deal. That said, it will be up to her to lead Kapamilya Gold back to where it wants to be.

‘Asintado’ airs weekdays after ‘It’s Showtime’ on ABS-CBN.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Long-Running Doble Kara Enters Final Week

After 382 episodes, ‘Doble Kara’ is finally bowing out.

The ABS-CBN afternoon drama series will officially conclude its stellar run as daytime’s top drama this coming Friday. And for fans of Julia Montes, ‘Doble Kara’ will forever be remembered as the series that catapulted her to the top of the afternoon circuit.

‘Doble Kara’ first came on the air on August 24, 2015. At first, the series was originally planned to replace ‘Flordeliza’, but at the last second, ABS-CBN hastily premiered ‘Doble Kara’ amid the dominance of another long-running drama, GMA’s ‘The Half-Sisters’.

One week later, ‘Doble Kara’ was placed opposite ‘The Half-Sisters’, and following a slow start, the former gradually displaced the latter as the Philippines’ top afternoon drama. Along the way, rivals such as ‘Wish I May’, ‘Hanggang Makita Kang Muli’, ‘Sinungaling Mong Puso’ and ‘Hahamakin ang Lahat’ came along, but none were able to topple ‘Doble Kara’.

It was during the run of ‘Doble Kara’ that ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold block eventually overtook GMA’s Afternoon Prime as the most-watched daytime drama block in the country. The overwhelming success of ‘Doble Kara’ was later felt on succeeding dramas such as ‘All of Me’, ‘Tubig at Langis’ and ‘The Greatest Love’ .

But perhaps the most important legacy of ‘Doble Kara’ is the growth of Julia Montes as an actress. Portraying twin characters Sara and Kara, Julia’s dual role proved to be the most challenging of her career, but through it all, she managed to pull it off effectively.

To sum it all up, Julia owed her success with ‘Doble Kara’ to the many viewers that have stuck with her for the past year. In a statement during the show’s final press conference, she said,

Every day, you warmly welcome me into your homes. I am beyond thankful for the memories and the people I met throughout this journey. Thank you because you made me feel that I am not alone, that I am part of one family.

Come this Friday, ‘Doble Kara’ will have its curtain call. And when it’s all said and done, this series should earn its well-deserved round of applause.

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