drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Before Ang Probinsyano: A Look Back at Nathaniel

It had been over three years since a teleserye not named ‘Ang Probinsyano’ aired after ‘TV Patrol’.

So many dramas have aired on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida during that span, including a combined seven teleseryes that starred the Big Three love teams in KathNiel, LizQuen and JaDine. But at the end of the day, there was still one constant, and that was the Coco Martin-starred action series ‘Ang Probinsyano’.

After all, the series will turn three on the final week of September and will be closing in on 800 episodes by October. But lost amid the hoopla and the longevity of ‘Ang Probinsyano’ was its long-forgotten predecessor ‘Nathaniel’, the last series to air on ABS-CBN’s 7:50 p.m. slot before Coco Martin and his entourage took over.

‘Nathaniel’ starred Marco Masa in the title role, and his parents were played by Gerald Anderson and Shaina Magdayao. The supporting cast of ‘Nathaniel’ also included Isabelle Daza in her debut project with ABS-CBN.

The series ran from April 20 to September 25, 2015 and aired a total of 115 episodes. Not only that, ‘Nathaniel’ dominated the ratings game as it won past ‘Pari Ko’y’ and the 2015 remake of ‘MariMar’ in its timeslot.

So where are the series’ stars now? ‘Nathaniel”s lead protagonist Marco Masa has not had a major project since then but he did host ‘Team Yey’ for a short time and recently appeared on the second season of ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids’.

Shaina Magdayao is currently part of the Kapamilya afternoon series ‘Asintado’. And as for Gerald Anderson, he was recently seen on ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ with former on-screen partner Kim Chiu and is now playing semi-pro basketball with the MPBL’s Marikina Shoemakers.

With ‘Ang Probinsyano’ reaching high episode levels not seen since the original ‘Mara Clara’ in the 1990s, it is easy to forget that it succeeded one of ABS-CBN’s most popular family-oriented dramas. That said, revisiting a gem like ‘Nathaniel’ will help viewers look back at a time when child stars used to rock Primetime Bida’s leadoff slot.

All episodes of ‘Nathaniel’ are currently available on iWant TV.

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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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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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entertainment, news, Philippines, television

Snubbed: 24 Oras Does Not Mention Coco Martin in Chika Minute Report on MMFF

It is obvious that GMA wants no part of Coco Martin.

The ‘Ang Probinsyano’ star will have an official entry into the upcoming Metro Manila Film Festival starring alongside Vic Sotto and Maine Mendoza. But in Wednesday’s news report from ’24 Oras’, Coco was not mentioned at all during the clip.

Also during that night, ‘TV Patrol’ aired a similar report about Coco’s upcoming film. Unlike GMA, however, ABS-CBN showed some respect to its rival by including the names of Vic Sotto and Maine Mendoza in the clip.

Talk about getting humiliated. After all, when ‘The Cure’ ends later tonight, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ will have conquered past nine different GMA teleseryes in a span of nearly three years.

But this is not about a rivalry between two of the Philippines’ top networks. It is about a collaboration between Kapuso (or Dabarkads in the case of Vic and Maine) and Kapamilya stars in a future MMFF entry.

Unfortunately for GMA, they failed to keep the peace or the friendly rivalry in order (at least for this clip). Their blatant disrespect for Coco Martin made it clear that the network is desperate to conquer its older and more accomplished rival at all costs.

Any mere mention of Coco’s name on GMA News reports would mean that Kapuso viewers may switch to Channel 2 just to see Cardo in action. That said, GMA is simply avoiding this predicament for the purpose of improving its ratings (which unfortunately hasn’t been in their favor for a long time now).

But what if Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes suddenly collaborates with, let’s say, Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla in a future MMFF film? Would GMA also be willing not to mention KathNiel in a news report?

Or what if some of its young talent like Barbie Forteza and Jak Roberto join forces with the likes of Enrique Gil and Liza Soberano? Would GMA likewise not give LizQuen the proper treatment?

Perhaps GMA should change that notion and give its regards to a perennial adversary. There is nothing wrong with mentioning actors from another network as long as it is done with proper respect.

The same goes with ABS-CBN, although at least they did a good job in referencing Vic and Maine. Setting aside that hatred is worth a try.

In the end, GMA only made a long-standing feud worse by disregarding an actor of Coco Martin’s stature. ‘Ang Probinsyano’ may have dominated against its Kapuso rivals, but the lack of respect that GMA showed is so uncalled for.

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action, drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

Bagani: ABS-CBN’s Most Controversial Series Yet

The hype surrounding ‘Bagani’ has been on a high for the past few months.

On the good side, this upcoming ABS-CBN drama series will be led by Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil, one of the Philippines’ most popular love teams today. On the bad side, however, ‘Bagani’ has been beset by controversy from the start.

When the trailer for ‘Bagani’ first popped out, netizens immediately compared it to ‘Encantadia’ due to its similar themes and landscape. The discussion even spread to the writers of the two shows, namely Suzette Doctolero and Mark Duane Angos.

‘Bagani’ also drew flak for its questionable casting choices. While the series was inspired from pre-colonial Philippines, some of the cast were not pure-blooded Filipinos, particularly the LizQuen tandem and co-star Matteo Guidicelli.

Writer Mark Duane Angos defended ‘Bagani”s casting decisions and setting in a series of tweets.

Notwithstanding the controversy surrounding ‘Bagani’, fans can’t help but be excited over the return of LizQuen to the small screen. This time, however, the duo will be engaged in plenty of action as fight scenes will become the norm in ‘Bagani’.

That doesn’t mean any moment of ‘kilig’ will be nonexistent. There will still be occasional cheesy scenes that make viewers gush, just not much due to the serious physicality involved.

So far, the confirmed lead cast of ‘Bagani’ include Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil, Sofia Andres, Makisig Morales and Matteo Guidicelli. An extended cast is yet to be revealed.

Star Creatives will handle the production duties for ‘Bagani’. It will be directed by Richard Arellano and Lester Pimentel.

With the impending debut of ‘Bagani’, ABS-CBN has entered the world of epicseryes (for which the likes of ‘Encantadia’ were derived). But unlike GMA whose production of ‘Encantadia’ drained much of their finances, ABS-CBN should pose no concern for ‘Bagani’ as far as money as concerned, and if the series rates well, it will not be a big problem.

Still, it remains to be seen if the various controversies will affect ‘Bagani’ in any way. LizQuen may give this series a boost, but it may also cost them some disgruntled viewers in the process.

‘Bagani’ airs weeknights after ‘Ang Probinsyano’ on ABS-CBN Primetime Bida. In the meantime, here is the full trailer for the series.

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