drama, entertainment, Philippines, suspense, television

The Last Stand of La Luna Sangre

The most physically demanding series in the careers of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla will come to an end this week.

After 185 episodes, ‘La Luna Sangre’ officially closes its curtain Friday night. The third series in the ‘Lobo’ trilogy, ‘La Luna Sangre’ saw Kathryn and Daniel (as Malia and Tristan respectively) grow up from being mere mortals to full-fledged vampires while enduring some of the toughest challenges that proved their worth.

But KathNiel was not the only main attraction. The series also marked a comeback of sorts for Richard Gutierrez, who as the villainous Sandrino, tried to convince Malia to join the dark side.

The original duo of ‘Imortal’ in Angel Locsin and John Lloyd Cruz likewise made a cameo earlier on as Lia and Mateo respectively, though Angel returned midway through the series as Jacintha. The duo’s presence helped connect the story of ‘La Luna Sangre’ to its predecessor.

Throughout its lengthy run, ‘La Luna Sangre’ provided an avenue for new talent to shine. The series would mark the acting debut of another rising love team in MayWard (Maymay Entrata and Edward Barber), as well as former ‘Pinoy Boyband Superstar’ participant Tony Labrusca.

Not to be outdone are industry veterans who were also part of ‘La Luna Sangre’, namely Randy Santiago, Gelli de Belen, Maricar Reyes and Albert Martinez. Overall, an estimate of over 50 actors, whether in a supporting or cameo role, were included in ‘La Luna Sangre’.

As far as its performance is concerned, ‘La Luna Sangre’ far and away made a huge impression. The series constantly earned ratings in the 30s while it dispatched its GMA rivals in ‘My Love from the Star’, ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ season 2 and ‘Kambal Karibal’.

That said, the high ratings and the long run of ‘La Luna Sangre’ are further proof of KathNiel’s wide commercial appeal. But more than just KathNiel’s brilliance is the fact that both Angel Locsin and Richard Gutierrez rekindled some huge memories of past GMA projects, albeit not as a love team of years past.

It will be an interesting final five episodes for this thrilling ABS-CBN primetime series. Best of luck to ‘La Luna Sangre’ on making its last stand.

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action, drama, entertainment, game show, Philippines, television

FTT Year 2017 in Review: The Hot or Not Stories That Define the Year in Media (Part I)

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2018, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article looks back at some of the Hot or Not moments that define the Philippine media this year.

Here is Part I of the four-part series. These stories are arranged in no particular order.

HOT: La Luna Sangre

The tandem of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla returned to ABS-CBN Primetime Bida in June to star in ‘La Luna Sangre’, which also starred Angel Locsin (initially in a special participatory role as Lia before returning full-time as Jacintha) and another comebacking star in Richard Gutierrez. The series became an immediate hit scoring well over 30% in the nationwide ratings.

The success of ‘La Luna Sangre’ also revitalized the third slot of Primetime Bida following the lukewarm reception of predecessors ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’, ‘A Love to Last’ and ‘My Dear Heart’. But while KathNiel did not lose their magic upon returning to the small screen, the same cannot be said for another popular love team.

NOT: AlDub and More

Good news: AlDub did not need to face KathNiel as ‘Destined to Be Yours’ ended weeks before ‘La Luna Sangre’ premiered. Bad news: 63 episodes is more than enough to justify the lack of success of ‘Destined to Be Yours’, the first primetime series to star Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza together.

Things only got worse for the duo from that point on. In late November, Maine revealed on social media that she and Alden are only friends in real life and that she ‘deserves all the hate in the world’ for being a ‘coward’ and a ‘selfish little brat’.

Perhaps the pressure and the expectations are starting to take its toll on Maine. Much like her harrowing portrayal of a depressed workaholic in the ‘Eat Bulaga’ made-for-TV film ‘Love Is…’, somebody should help her overcome these stresses.

HOT: Ika-6 na Utos and Afternoon Prime

‘Ika-6 na Utos’ premiered late last year to lukewarm reviews. But thanks to some campy moments that elicit plenty of laughter from its viewers, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ became unexpectedly popular, so much so that GMA decided to add Saturday episodes starting in April to capitalize on its success.

The series also boosted the fortunes of Afternoon Prime which had been left for dead earlier in the year. By August, succeeding dramas ‘Impostora’ and ‘Haplos’ were winning over their ABS-CBN counterparts thanks in large part to ‘Ika-6 na Utos’.

NOT: The Entire Kapamilya Gold Post-Doble Kara

Led by back-to-back ‘kabitseryes’ in ‘Pusong Ligaw’ and ‘The Better Half’, Kapamilya Gold lost ground to Afternoon Prime that by the late third quarter of 2017, it was the latter that stood tall. Not even ‘The Greatest Love”s critically-acclaimed run saved the block from its sudden fall from grace.

The end of ‘Doble Kara”s year-long run in February foreshadowed a decline in Kapamilya Gold’s performance. Soon after, Afternoon Prime closed the gap and overtook Kapamilya Gold in the ratings for the rest of the year, much to the dismay of Kapamilya viewers everywhere.

HOT: Wildflower

Also in February, ‘Wildflower’ premiered on Primetime Bida’s pre-newscast slot. It didn’t take long for the series to make an impact as it constantly registered ratings of over 20 to 25%, putting it among the top five programs in the country.

The success of ‘Wildflower’ also spawned numerous memes on social media, some of which depict the various confrontations between Ivy/Lily (Maja Salvador) and Emilia (Aiko Melendez). With that kind of impact, ‘Wildflower’ truly turned viewers’ heads upside down whenever these two go at it.

NOT: Kapamilya Game Shows

The slogan ‘In the Service of the Filipino’ does not apply to ABS-CBN game shows. That said, ‘Minute to Win It’, ‘Family Feud’ and ‘Bet on Your Baby’ continued to alienate audiences by utilizing celebrities more often than ordinary people throughout their runs this year.

Luckily all three shows’ seasons came to an end this year: ‘Minute to Win It’ in February, ‘Family Feud’ in May and ‘Bet on Your Baby’ in September. Perhaps ABS-CBN should stop producing game shows and defer these to ‘It’s Showtime’ since they do not even have a clue how to utilize the power of the viewing public.

Part II of this four-part series is coming up tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, suspense, television

Kambal Karibal Starts Tonight, Seeks to Topple La Luna Sangre

KathNiel, meet BiGuel.

It seems like nothing can stop ABS-CBN’s ‘La Luna Sangre’. After all, since it premiered last June it became the second most-watched teleserye in the Philippines behind only ‘Ang Probinsyano’.

Three times GMA has tried to curb the dominance of ‘La Luna Sangre’, and three times they miserably failed. After striking out with ‘My Love from the Star’, ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ and ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ season 2, they decided to go fire with fire by going with a supernatural theme and a love team.

Their response is a teleserye titled ‘Kambal Karibal’, starring Bianca Umali and Miguel Tanfelix. In the series, twin sisters Crisanta and Criselda (Bianca) battle for the love of both her family and Diego (Miguel), with the already dead Criselda consumed by Crisanta’s increasing affection for Diego and her mother.

The story begins with the death of Criselda from a rare disease, leaving her spirit behind that only appears to Crisanta. But after Crisanta gains the favor of Diego and her mother, Criselda decides to inhabit another person’s body in an attempt to stop Crisanta from getting the love that she deserves.

‘Kambal Karibal’ also stars Jean Garcia, Marvin Agustin, Alfred Vargas, Carmina Villarroel, Gloria Romero, Christopher De Leon, Jeric Gonzales, Pauline Mendoza, Rafa Siguion Reyna, Sheree, Racquel Montessa, and Kyline Alcantara. Katrina Halili and Gardo Versoza will also play special roles in the series.

If ‘La Luna Sangre”s ratings of over 30% and a disparity of over 15% are any indication, then ‘Kambal Karibal’ is in for a rude awakening. The powerhouse cast of ‘La Luna Sangre’, led by Kathryn Bernardo, Daniel Padilla and Kapuso castoffs Angel Locsin and Richard Gutierrez, continues to wreak havoc, and it will be very difficult for BiGuel to overcome KathNiel.

Nevertheless, the battle between ‘La Luna Sangre’ and ‘Kambal Karibal’ should be an interesting one. Not only will this be a competition between love teams, it will also be a fight between vengeful vampires and possessed spirits.

Directed by Don Michael Perez, ‘Kambal Karibal’ airs weeknights after ‘Super Ma’am’ on GMA Telebabad.

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The Final Week (Again) of Alyas Robin Hood

‘Alyas Robin Hood’ is coming to a close, again.

Friday, November 24, will be the show’s season (or possibly series) finale depending on how GMA will look at it. But while the first season of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ proved to be a worthy competitor against rival ABS-CBN dramas, the second season looked anything but competitive.

Season 2 (or Book 2 in teleserye lingo) of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ began on August 14, six months after the first season ended. Initially, GMA wanted the series to go up against the long-running ABS-CBN action series ‘Ang Probinsyano’, and from the looks at it, Cardo (Coco Martin) vs. Pepe (Dingdong Dantes) would have been a worthy matchup.

Instead, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ thoroughly dominated ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ from the get-go, with a 20% or better disparity in the ratings. After only a month, GMA ended the rivalry by demoting ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ to its original position of second in GMA Telebabad’s lineup.

But not even the move back to its original timeslot rejuvenated ‘Alyas Robin Hood’. Against the KathNiel-led ‘La Luna Sangre’, ‘Alyas Robin Hood”s frustrations only grew as the series posted a score of 15% or less, a far cry from the 20% or more it earned during its first season.

After racking up 115 episodes for season 1, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ season 2 only managed to produce a total of 75 episodes. In short, an encore performance did not pay dividends for Dingdong Dantes and his team.

So what went wrong for ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ season 2? Perhaps the most obvious reason why it failed is because it had to contend against ABS-CBN’s big-name stars like Coco Martin, Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla.

No offense to Jericho Rosales and Arci Muñoz (‘Magpahanggang Wakas’), Ian Veneracion and Bea Alonzo (‘A Love to Last’), and Heart Ramos (‘My Dear Heart’), but as far as ABS-CBN is concerned, Coco Martin and KathNiel are among their most bankable celebrities today. And GMA knows it, but despite these overwhelming odds, they were still convinced that a new season of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ would somehow slow their momentum.

Too bad it didn’t happen, and now that season 2 will air its last episode this Friday, they should somehow enjoy a graceful exit for their efforts. Nice try, though.

Whether or not they will have a season 3 (or book 3) of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will depend on GMA’s embattled braintrust. But after a failed continuation to the story of Pepe (Dingdong), it might be time for ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ to be put to pasture.

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Alyas Robin Hood Back to Original Timeslot as Super Ma’am Premieres Tonight

The truth really hurts.

Frustration within GMA’s Telebabad block reaches a new high as they once again made a timeslot change at the top of the order. The reason: they still cannot beat the Philippines’ top two programs in ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘La Luna Sangre’.

It can be recalled that on August 14, GMA brought back ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ for its second season. Hoping to give ‘Ang Probinsyano’ a run for its money, GMA decided to place ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ opposite the long-running ABS-CBN action series while ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ was placed at the second slot against ‘La Luna Sangre’.

After only a month, it was clear to GMA that Pepe (Dingdong Dantes) was no match for Cardo (Coco Martin). And it was not even close as ‘Ang Probinsyano’ climbed 20% higher in the ratings than that of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’.

As a result, GMA decided to once again shake things up. Beginning tonight, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will return to its original timeslot (as intended to by this writer), where they will finally butt heads with Malia (Kathryn Bernardo) and Tristan (Daniel Padilla) of ‘La Luna Sangre’.

In the meantime, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ will receive a new opponent. After dispatching ‘MariMar’, ‘Little Nanay’, ‘Poor Señorita’, ‘Encantadia’, ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ and ‘Alyas Robin Hood’, Cardo will now have to deal with Minerva (Marian Rivera) of the upcoming GMA fantasy action series ‘Super Ma’am’.

‘Super Ma’am’ features the story of Minerva, a teacher with a soft spot for students. But an encounter with the Tamawo, a clan of mythical creatures who abduct children for the sake of gaining energy, changed Minerva’s life as she became the superhero known as Super Ma’am, one who is determined to protect the world from the Tamawo.

The cast of ‘Super Ma’am’ also includes the following:

  • Helen Gamboa
  • Matthias Rhoads
  • Joyce Ching
  • Kristoffer Martin
  • Kevin Santos
  • Isabelle de Leon
  • Andrew Gan
  • Jackie Lou Blanco
  • Jillian Ward
  • Enrico Cuenca
  • Ash Ortega
  • Marika Sasaki
  • Vincent Magbanua
  • Meg Imperial
  • Ashley Rivera
  • Jerald Napoles
  • Shyr Valdez
  • Al Tantay
  • Julius Miguel
  • Kim Domingo
  • Carmina Villarroel
  • Dina Bonnevie
  • Aiai delas Alas

The series will be under the direction of LA Madridejos.

Despite possessing the power couple of Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes, both ‘Super Ma’am’ and ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will have their hands full in trying to defeat ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘La Luna Sangre’. That said, the imposing shadow of both Coco Martin and KathNiel will be on GMA’s minds this week as they look to overcome Primetime Bida’s top two shows.

The task will once again not be easy for GMA Telebabad. Oh well, best of luck in hurdling over these foes anew.

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action, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

The Return of Alyas Robin Hood

This is not a rerun.

On Monday, August 14, GMA announced the return of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ to the small screen. The second season (or Book 2 in teleserye lingo) will bring back almost the same cast with the addition of new actors to spice up the series.

Continuing the same series after a lengthy hiatus is nothing new to Philippine television. In 2007, ABS-CBN’s ‘Maging Sino Ka Man’ received a second season after a break of six months; take note that this does not include sequels of a particular series such as the ‘Encantadia’ trilogy or the ‘Lobo’ franchise.

The new season of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will once again be headlined by Dingdong Dantes as Pepe, the former vigilante-turned-lawyer. New challenges await the protagonist, such as the kidnapping of his mother, the revelation of some of his secrets, and a powerful evil force that threatens the city.

Andrea Torres will reprise the role of Venus, Pepe’s ally and love interest. But instead of bringing back Megan Young’s character Sarri for season 2, GMA brought in Solenn Heussaff to portray Pepe’s other love interest, Iris.

Also returning for season 2 will be Ms. Jaclyn Jose, who will once again breathe life to Pepe’s mother Judy. Rounding out the mix of returning and new cast members are Ruru Madrid, Edu Manzano, Gary Estrada, Paolo Contis, Jay Manalo, Rey ‘PJ’ Abellana, Gio Alvarez, KC Montero, Lindsay de Vera, Dave Bornea, Rob Moya, Antonette Garcia and Luri Nalus.

The first season of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ ran from September 19, 2016 to February 24, 2017. The series, while a decent performer with 115 episodes in total, could not get past ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’, ‘A Love to Last’ and ‘My Dear Heart’ in the ratings.

On its second season, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will go up against the KathNiel-led series ‘La Luna Sangre’. Considering that the latter is raking in at least 35% in the national ratings of late, ‘Alyas Robin Hood”s task became even more difficult now that they face the popular tandem of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla (not to mention former GMA star Richard Gutierrez).

Still, for loyal followers of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ who stuck through the difficult times, the return of the series is like a breath of fresh air. With GMA keeping the faith, one can only hope that the second season of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will last just as long as the first.

Directed by Dominic Zapata, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ airs weeknights after ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ on GMA Telebabad.

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