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.

action, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

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.

drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

A Love to Last, For the Last Time

The curtains finally fall on the Andeng-Anton saga.

On Friday, September 22, ‘A Love to Last’ will air its final episode. The ABS-CBN primetime drama series has been on the air since January 9, and for the most part, it was a ratings success.

Initially, ‘A Love to Last’ replaced ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’ on Primetime Bida’s fourth slot. While the series defeated GMA’s ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ in its first two weeks, ABS-CBN quickly realized that ‘A Love to Last’ was not a good fit for the fourth slot.

On January 23, ‘A Love to Last’ was moved to the fifth slot replacing the JaDine-starred ‘Till I Met You’, and would stay that way for the remainder of its run. Despite criticisms that the show was a ‘snoozefest’ (one commenter even labeled it as an ‘antok-serye’), ‘A Love to Last’ was able to thrive in its new timeslot.

Along the way, ‘A Love to Last’ surged past ‘Meant to Be’ (which premiered on the same day as ‘A Love to Last’), ‘I Heart Davao’ and ‘My Korean Jagiya’ in the ratings game. The series was also popular on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Overall, ‘A Love to Last’ will have a total of 183 episodes when it was all said and done. That total alone is quite impressive considering that the series was assigned to the fifth slot where viewership is less than those of the first four slots.

For viewers who have tuned in to ‘A Love to Last’ from the beginning, the love story between Anton (Ian Veneracion) and Andeng (Bea Alonzo) was a thrill to watch. The duo showed remarkable chemistry despite the fact that it was the first time that they were paired together.

It also helped that Iza Calzado, as Andeng’s rival Grace, showed some poise and character in her first foray as a villain. Her portrayal of Grace proved that Iza is just as effective playing the bad girl as she was playing the good girl.

Finally, the supporting cast of ‘A Love to Last’ should be commended for adding plenty of flavor to the series. Throughout its run, Julia Barretto, JK Labajo, Ronnie Alonte and Enchong Dee have had their moments to shine, and the success of ‘A Love to Last’ only added to their growing reputations as stars on the rise.

Come this Friday, the love story of Anton and Andeng is about to end. But for the viewers of ‘A Love to Last’, the series’ memories will last a lifetime.

action, drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

Thoughts on the Timeslot Change of Mulawin vs. Ravena and Alyas Robin Hood

It was a timeslot change that was unexpected and unfortunate.

Last Friday night, GMA announced a pair of scheduling changes that shook the primetime landscape. First, the returning series ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will now occupy the timeslot succeeding ’24 Oras’, and second, ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ will now air on the timeslot that was previously used by ‘My Love from the Star’.

The timeslot change meant that the long-running ABS-CBN action series ‘Ang Probinsyano’ will now have its sixth different opponent. As it nears its third year on the air, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ has shown no signs of slowing down, earning ratings between 35-40% every night.

‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’, which premiered on May 22, seemed to be a worthy opponent for ‘Ang Probinsyano’ when it first aired. However, the series was a disaster from the start, and through 60 episodes, ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena averaged only 17-18% ratings-wise.

Meanwhile, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ showed some promise during its first season. Despite facing uncharacteristically weak Kapamilya competition in ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’, ‘A Love to Last’ and ‘My Dear Heart’, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ still came away with consistent ratings of around 20-25%, showcasing its potential.

If ‘Alyas Robin Hood”s first season performance was of any indication, then GMA seemed to have made the right call. They think that the series will have a much-better chance against Coco Martin, and with some viewers no longer pleased with the endlessly long run of ‘Ang Probinsyano’, it could give GMA the opportunity to woo such viewers to watch Dingdong Dantes’ show.

Still, even if ‘Ang Probinsyano’ appears to be in a creative nadir, they are still a force to be reckoned with. That said, if the second season of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ fails to duplicate if not surpass its first season performance, it could mean big trouble for the Kapuso network.

As for ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena, the demotion could still become either a boon or a bust. While the series will no longer have the pressure of facing ‘Ang Probinsyano’, they still have to worry about KathNiel’s ‘La Luna Sangre’, whose ratings of 35% or better is just as impressive as the former.

Not only that, the series will have to contend with former ‘Mulawin’ star Richard Gutierrez. If in the past Richard made ‘Mulawin’ a popular series during the mid-2000s, now it will be up to him to take down its sequel.

Whether or not ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena and ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will thrive in their new surroundings remain to be seen. For now, let’s wish both shows good luck, otherwise expect another switcharoo coming up.

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.

action, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

The Final Week of Alyas Robin Hood

‘Alyas Robin Hood’ is coming to a close.

Friday, February 24, will be the show’s final episode, and for those who stuck with ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ throughout its run, they will have plenty of stories to tell for this hooded hero. However, it was not all smooth sailing for this GMA action-drama series.

Just weeks before its premiere, many doubted ‘Alyas Robin Hood’, particularly its similarities to another Robin Hood-inspired character ‘Arrow’. Though creative head Suzette Doctolero tried her best to differentiate the two, it was clear from the beginning that the criticisms surrounding ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ would linger on during its run.

‘Alyas Robin Hood’ premiered on September 19, and was pitted against another newcomer in ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’. Though the latter’s subpar ratings did alarm ABS-CBN for a while, the former failed to take advantage, at best closing to within 1% of ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’.

The series also failed to get past ‘A Love to Last’ (during its brief two-week run at the second slot) and ‘My Dear Heart’ despite getting decent ratings of 20% or better. Overall, even with a total of 115 episodes and strong hype over the controversy, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ still fell short of expectations.

The fact is, the superhero genre that GMA advocated in ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ no longer works in today’s primetime scene. Many prefer the more realistic and inspiring plots that ABS-CBN produces in series such as ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘My Dear Heart’ rather than the fantasy leanings of ‘Encantadia’ and ‘Alyas Robin Hood’.

It also puts into question GMA’s casting choices. Let’s face it, Dingdong Dantes is in a starring role for way too long and should’ve given way to younger talent, but as it turns out, GMA wanted him because there is no other capable actor who can portray the lead role in ‘Alyas Robin Hood’.

And while Megan Young and Andrea Torres are worthy supporting actors in this series due to their youth, giving them a younger male lead would’ve helped ‘Alyas Robin Hood’. In the end, GMA made a grave mistake by putting over an actor with over a decade of service as a leading man, thus continuing a path of overusing veterans.

Come this Friday, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will be in a fight of his life. But whether or not it will make a lasting impression at the end remains to be seen.