drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

A Tough Act to Follow for Contessa

From ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ to ‘Contessa’.

Following the successful year-long run of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, GMA will now look to fill in the big shoes that the former left. They decided to replace ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ with a series that reminded viewers of another successful teleserye from a rival network.

From the moment ‘Contessa”s teaser was aired, netizens immediately compared the series to ABS-CBN’s ‘Wildflower’ due to their similar storylines of revenge. But ‘Contessa’ lead star Glaiza de Castro had a different take, saying that her upcoming show focuses more on a woman’s constant quest for justice.

In ‘Contessa’, Glaiza is initially known as Bea, a woman who is accused and imprisoned for a crime she never committed. Determined to seek revenge and reclaim those who were taken away from her, she assumes a new identity, that of Contessa.

Throughout the series, ‘Contessa’ will feature some important characters who will be crucial to the story of Bea/Contessa. Marco (Mark Herras) is a writer and Bea’s long-time boyfriend whose gruesome murder will be central to the evolution of Bea into Contessa.

Marco’s brother Gabriel (Geoff Eigenmann) is a successful OFW who returns to the country following his murder. Meanwhile, Bea’s best friend Jong (Jak Roberto) is a secret admirer of hers who hopes to love him back.

The Imperial family, led by the matriarch Charito (Chanda Romero) and her children Vito (Gabby Eigenmann) and Daniella (Lauren Young), will serve as a major obstacle to Bea/Contessa’s plans for justice. In typical villainous fashion, the Imperials are considered manipulative, influential, sophisticated and powerful individuals who will do whatever is necessary to destroy the protagonist.

Completing the rest of the cast are Tetchie Agbayani, Leandro Baldemor, Dominic Roco, Bernadette Allyson, Melissa Mendez, Tanya Gomez, Karel Marquez, Phytos Ramirez, Denise Barbacena and Will Ashley. ‘Contessa’ will be directed by Albert Langitan.

Replacing a top-rating series in ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ will be a daunting one for ‘Contessa’. In order for viewers to commit to this new series in the long term, some interesting bits and pieces are needed to make ‘Contessa’ worth watching, a task that is difficult to fill considering it will go head-to-head with ‘It’s Showtime”s ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ segment.

With all things considered, GMA should only hope for the best with ‘Contessa’. It may never be able to replicate the ratings of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, but if it all goes well, who knows what will happen next.

‘Contessa’ airs weekdays after ‘Eat Bulaga’ on GMA Afternoon Prime.

drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

A New Opponent for The Better Half One Week Into Its Run

After only five episodes, ‘The Better Half’ finds itself with new competition.

The now-ongoing ABS-CBN afternoon drama series premiered last Monday against the GMA Afternoon Prime series ‘Hahamakin ang Lahat’. As it turned out, however, ‘The Better Half’ did not have enough time to warm up, as GMA announced that ‘Hahamakin ang Lahat’ would end during that week.

Nevertheless, ‘The Better Half’ premiered strongly with a 16.8% national rating, which is 3.1% higher than ‘Hahamakin ang Lahat”s 76th episode. While figures for the remainder of the week remain unavailable at the moment, it is safe to say that ‘The Better Half’ got the best of the departing ‘Hahamakin ang Lahat’.

Next up for Shaina Magdayao, Carlo Aquino, Denise Laurel and JC de Vera will be the upcoming GMA afternoon drama series ‘Legally Blind’. The series will mark the return of Janine Gutierrez to the small screen, several months after starring in the ill-fated primetime series ‘Once Again’ with Aljur Abrenica.

In ‘Legally Blind’, Grace (Janine) is an aspiring lawyer who lost her sight after she was raped by an unknown culprit. After successfully earning her stripes as a lawyer, she met Edward (Mikael Daez), a rich businessman who not only helps her in the search for justice, but also falls in love with her.

Along the way, Grace’s plans will be put to the test by people who doubt and despise her. Whether it’s her envious younger sister Charie (Lauren Young) or her ex-boyfriend Joel (Rodjun Cruz), Grace’s hopes for attaining justice will not be easy.

The series will also star Lauren Young, Marc Abaya, Rodjun Cruz, Chanda Romero, Therese Malvar, Lucho Ayala, Ashley Rivera and Camille Torres. It will be directed by Ricky Davao.

For the rest of the first quarter and deep into the second, ‘The Better Half’ and ‘Legally Blind’ will go up against each other. But for the latter, beating the former will not be easy given its potential track record after just five episodes.

That said, GMA’s brass can only hope that Janine Gutierrez will redeem herself after a so-so performance in her last series. For ‘Legally Blind’, it is all about finding the right formula for Janine to thrive on.

‘Legally Blind airs weekdays after ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ on GMA Afternoon Prime.

drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

In 100 Words: Hahamakin ang Lahat to End This Friday

‘Doble Kara”s final opponent will bid farewell this Friday.

GMA announced that ‘Hahamakin ang Lahat’ will air its final episode on February 17. The announcement came just days after ABS-CBN’s ‘Doble Kara’ concluded its 382-episode run.

‘Hahamakin ang Lahat’ premiered on October 31, 2016 and will have a total of 80 episodes once it ends. Unfortunately for the show, it had a hard time breaking past the ever-popular ‘Doble Kara’, despite featuring a stellar cast that features Joyce Ching, Kristoffer Martin, Eula Valdes, Snooky Serna, Thea Tolentino and Ariel Rivera.

‘Hahamakin ang Lahat’ will be replaced by ‘Legally Blind’, which will star Janine Gutierrez, Mikael Daez and Lauren Young.

drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

‘Ang Dalawang Mrs. Real’ Ends Tomorrow

GMA’s controversial teleserye ‘Ang Dalawang Mrs. Real’ will end on September 19. (Photo credit: GMA Network)

The book will officially close on ‘Ang Dalawang Mrs. Real’.

The controversial drama series, starring Dingdong Dantes, Lovi Poe and Maricel Soriano, will air its final episode tomorrow night. ‘Ang Dalawang Mrs. Real’ will finish its run with a total of 80 episodes in 16 weeks.

Replacing the equally controversial but low-rated ‘Rhodora X’ on June 2, ‘Ang Dalawang Mrs. Real’ had a slow start to its four-month run. The series premiered just as ABS-CBN’s blockbuster series ‘The Legal Wife’ was about to finish.

The ratings for ‘Ang Dalawang Mrs. Real’ had a 20% or better ratings disadvantage against ‘The Legal Wife’, causing a whole lot of concern on the GMA camp.

Things would turn around for the series, however. After ‘The Legal Wife’ was replaced by ‘Sana Bukas Pa ang Kahapon’, ‘Ang Dalawang Mrs. Real’ slowly gained ground, and on July 28, the show made some headlines.

The said date’s episode saw Millet (Soriano) slap Anthony (Dantes) 23 times. Even before the episode was aired, however, behind-the-scenes snippets of the confrontation began to circulate on social media, creating a huge buzz that culminated with the highly-publicized airing of the said scene.

That episode proved to be the high point of ‘Ang Dalawang Mrs. Real”s run, as it not only trended on Twitter, but also gave ‘Sana Bukas Pa ang Kahapon’ a scare in the ratings. And while they fell short in Kantar’s count, they managed to earn a victory in AGB Nielsen.

But despite giving ‘Sana Bukas Pa ang Kahapon’ a good fight, ‘Ang Dalawang Mrs. Real’ lacked advertising support to remain viable, airing only 10 ads or better compared to over 30 for their rivals. Still, the series continued to defy all odds up until the series finale.

Overall, ‘Ang Dalawang Mrs. Real’ enjoyed a good run. While it will never earn a place among GMA’s most successful teleseryes, the series’ tense moments and the aforementioned slapping spree of Millet on Anthony will always be etched in teleserye lore, not to mention the bigamy storyline that is novel to the small screen.

‘Ang Dalawang Mrs. Real’ will be replaced by ‘Hiram na Alaala’, starring Dennis Trillo, Kris Bernal, Lauren Young and Rocco Nacino. The upcoming teleserye will air starting September 22.

entertainment, Philippines, television

Finally, a Beautiful Ending for Mundo Mo’y Akin

Last week I wrote about GMA’s ‘Mundo Mo’y Akin’ and the way it teased its eventual ending. They promoted teasers of the teleserye as having ‘The Beautiful Ending’ as early as July, owing to the facial transformation of the lead character Marilyn, played by Louise Delos Reyes. However, later storylines such Marilyn’s breakup with Gerald (Alden Richards) proved that the ending came too premature.

Then last Wednesday GMA announced that the series finale of ‘Mundo Mo’y Akin’ was slated for tomorrow, September 6, ending speculations regarding the date of ‘The Beautiful Ending’ which had teased viewers for weeks. In the prelude to tomorrow’s finale, the GMA press statement wrote:

As the program wraps up this Friday, will Marilyn (Louise) and Jerome (Alden) find a second chance at love? Or is happiness too far to reach for these lovers? Will true love prevail?”

After suffering a dramatic reversal of fortune, will Donya Charito (Jacklyn Jose) finally change and seek the path of forgiveness and reconciliation with Perlita (Sunshine Dizon)? Will Darlene (Lauren Young) remain evil till the very end?”

These questions will be answered once the finale airs tomorrow, at around 8:45 p.m. after ‘Anna Karenina’.

Meanwhile, promotional trailers for the upcoming GMA teleserye ‘Akin Pa Rin ang Bukas’ are being aired, and is slated to replace ‘Mundo Mo’y Akin’ in its timeslot on September 9. The new teleserye will reunite the tandem of Lovi Poe and Rocco Nacino, whose previous team-up was in the afternoon teleserye ‘Yesterday’s Bride‘. The series will be about an illegitimate daughter’s determination to become a rightful member of her own family, in the process exacting revenge for those who doubted her.  The new teleserye will oppose ABS-CBN’s ‘Got to Believe’ in its timeslot, which as of the moment led its competitor in the latest Kantar ratings.



Still No Beautiful Endings for Mundo Mo’y Akin

‘The Beautiful Ending’ gone wrong: ‘Mundo Mo’y Akin’ continues to air for a few more weeks despite teasing viewers that the story is about to conclude.

Over the past month, GMA promotes its teasers for ‘Mundo Mo’y Akin’ as a ‘Beautiful Ending’, implying that the teleserye is in its final few weeks. Despite that, the program continues to air extensively and add more intriguing twists and turns to a story that never seems to end after all.

Before I go to the criticism of GMA’s promotion, here’s how I looked at the teleserye. ‘Mundo Mo’y Akin’ appears to be a sequel of a prior teleserye called ‘Bakekang‘; Sunshine Dizon played the ugly duckling in the latter, and then played the role of a mother in the former. The similarities between the two teleseryes was clear from the start: the ugly character as the protagonist getting beat up by the more beautiful antagonist, until a life-changing surgical procedure changed the protagonist’s outlook.

Young actress Louise Delos Reyes played the main protagonist Marilyn on the show, and Lauren Young played the main antagonist Darlene. Dizon played Marilyn’s mother Perlita, while Angelika dela Cruz played Darlene’s mother Giselle. Alden Richards played Gerald, the love interest of both Marilyn and Darlene. Supporting roles were provided by Jacklyn Jose, Jolina Magdangal and Gabby Eigenmann.

During the month of July, GMA began promoting ‘Mundo Mo’y Akin’ as having ‘The Beautiful Ending’. The teasers and subsequent episodes witnessed the physical and emotional transformation of Marilyn into a beautiful and strong individual, one that never backed down from any challenge. The way I saw it, GMA was promoting the teleserye as if it was on its final weeks. However, subsequent plot twists in later episodes, such as Marilyn’s breakup with Gerald, proved that ‘The Beautiful Ending’ isn’t about to end soon.

I think GMA’s promotion of ‘Mundo Mo’y Akin’ was pure alienation. Why call it a ‘beautiful ending’ when in fact the stories only continue to go back and forth? The ‘beautiful ending’ I looked at was when the main character received life-changing surgery, then gained a measure of revenge on the antagonist, before finally falling in love with the man she was cared for. However, the addition of a breakup angle, followed by the antagonist’s revenge, ensured that the teleserye continues on. 

It was a mistake that GMA management will never forget. If her transformation was a ‘beautiful ending’, why did they add more twists and turns to the story? ‘Mundo Mo’y Akin’ deserves a better and simpler ending than this, not one with additional storylines that only frustrates the viewers. This only underscores the fact that GMA’s teleseryes, other than ‘My Husband’s Lover’, are falling way behind from ABS-CBN’s own, viewership-wise and production-wise.