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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action, drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

GMA Takes Another Shot at Ang Probinsyano with Sherlock Jr.

Seven have arrived, and seven have failed.

For nearly three years, GMA found no answers on how to solve ‘Ang Probinsyano’. Whether it is a remake of a telenovela (‘MariMar’), a pair of light-hearted dramas (‘Poor Señorita’, ‘Little Nanay’) or a series of fantasy and action programs (‘Encantadia’, ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’, Alyas Robin Hood’, ‘Super Ma’am’), all of them were helpless to stop Cardo (Coco Martin) and his gang from total domination.

Now here comes an eighth entry in GMA’s plan to overcome ‘Ang Probinsyano’. ‘Sherlock Jr.’, the newest primetime series of the network, is a vastly different animal compared to the previous seven series, thanks in part to a pair of rising young stars in Gabbi Garcia and Ruru Madrid.

In ‘Sherlock Jr.’, Ruru is Jack, a clever investigative reporter who does not back down from solving mysteries. Gabbi, on the other hand, is Lily, a jolly and bubbly veterinarian assistant who loves to join anything to make her famous.

Playing a special role in the series is Janine Gutierrez as Irene, Jack’s girlfriend and lifestyle reporter. A golden retriever named Serena will also join in as Irene’s companion and later on Jack’s partner.

‘Sherlock Jr.”s story will revolve around Jack and Irene’s relationship, which then took a new turn once Lily got involved. From then on, the series will take a look at how Lily became friends with Irene one night and then fell in love with Jack in the midst of the investigation surrounding them.

Also part of the ‘Sherlock Jr.’ cast are Ai-Ai delas Alas, Tonton Gutierrez, Andre Paras, Roi Vinzon, Sharmaine Arnaiz, Rochelle Barrameda, Matt Evans, Kate Valdez, Alyana Asistio, and Sofia Pablo. It will be directed by Rechie del Carmen.

Despite a younger lead cast in Janine Gutierrez and the GabRu love team, ‘Sherlock Jr.’ still has a long shot to overcome ‘Ang Probinsyano’. That said, it will take an epic miracle to at least come close to ‘Ang Probinsyano”s near-40% ratings, which as proven by the previous seven opponents it has had, is a daunting task indeed.

There is also a minor controversy surrounding the series’ title that was reminiscent of the ‘Alyas Robin Hood’-‘Arrow’ issue. But regardless of these odds and distractions, GMA should hope that ‘Sherlock Jr.’ will make its viewers happy and help advance the careers of Gabbi, Ruru and Janine.

‘Sherlock Jr.’ airs weeknights after ’24 Oras’ on GMA Telebabad.

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action, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Super Ma’am’s Last Stand

Another of ‘Ang Probinsyano”s rivals has fallen.

GMA announced that ‘Super Ma’am’ will air its final episode this Friday. The series, which starred Marian Rivera as a teacher-turned-superhero that is determined to protect the world from the evil Tamawo clan, will have a total of 95 episodes to its resume.

‘Super Ma’am’ first premiered on September 18, 2017 as a replacement to ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’. However, the former did not directly replace the latter as GMA made a seemingly bold move to their Telebabad lineup.

Instead of taking on KathNiel and their vampire-themed series ‘La Luna Sangre’, Marian Rivera wound up facing Coco Martin and his long-running ‘Ang Probinsyano’. The change came at the expense of her husband Dingdong Dantes, whose ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ wound up in the second slot in order to accommodate ‘Super Ma’am’.

Unfortunately for GMA, the immediate shakeup did not result in a change of fortune for either Marian or Dingdong. Much like ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ before it, ‘Super Ma’am’ could not keep up with ‘Ang Probinsyano’ as the series fell 20% behind its rival in the ratings.

When it was all said and done, ‘Super Ma’am’ joined ‘MariMar’, ‘Little Nanay’, ‘Poor Señorita’, ‘Encantadia’, ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ and ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ in the list of ‘Ang Probinsyano”s victims. Such is a cruel fate for Coco Martin’s rivals.

Let’s face it, Marian Rivera’s time in the limelight has long been passed. Having been in a headlining role for so many GMA teleseryes, viewers must have become worn out by her constant presence.

And it also didn’t help that GMA remains reluctant in elevating more of its younger and underutilized talents to leading star status. That said, as long as overused veterans like Marian Rivera are in the way, GMA can never overcome its primetime struggles.

This Friday will be ‘Super Ma’am”s last chance to make an impression. The series may have fell victim to ‘Ang Probinsyano’, but at the end of the day, GMA should hold its head up high for continuing to compete against a long-running opponent.

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action, drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

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

Ang Probinsyano, One Year Later

The ‘One-Year Teleserye Club’ has inducted another member.

Last night marked the first anniversary of ‘Ang Probinsyano’, the cop-themed action drama starring Coco Martin and was a TV adaptation of the Fernando Poe Jr. classic. The series, which first premiered on September 28, 2015, has aired a total of 253 episodes as of yesterday (two dates were preempted due to Holy Week, and one due to Halalan 2016 coverage).

‘Ang Probinsyano’ became the first Primetime Bida series in over six years to reach the one-year mark. The last such series to make the grade was ‘May Bukas Pa’, which reached the mark in its final week.

With ‘Ang Probinsyano’ joining the first anniversary club, ABS-CBN now has two ongoing teleseryes that have reached the one-year plateau. Nearly a month earlier, ‘Doble Kara’ also turned a year old, and like ‘Ang Probinsyano’, is a top-rater in its timeslot.

Speaking of top-raters, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ has been a ratings leader from the start. Its premiere garnered a 41.6% national rating (according to Kantar), and has consistently hit or come close to this mark ever since.

Along the way, four rivals fell. First came the 2015 version of ‘MariMar’, then came the move of ‘Little Nanay’ to GMA Telebabad’s leadoff spot, followed by ‘Poor Señorita’, and now the new version of ‘Encantadia’.

Much of ‘Ang Probinsyano’s success comes from its police-oriented storyline. In an era where the fight against drugs, corruption and other crimes are common in primetime newscasts, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ takes cue from such news, and in the process, gives viewers a lesson in fighting crime.

While ‘Ang Probinsyano’ was a runaway success, it also weathered numerous casting changes during its first year. The most notable of these changes include the departures of Bela Padilla and Maja Salvador, and the entry of Yassi Pressman.

Overall, the first year of ‘Ang Probinsyano’ became memorable in more ways than one. Even PNP chief Ronald Dela Rosa was impressed with the show, saying that it helps restore the Filipino’s trust in the Philippine National Police.

As tribute to its first anniversary, a thanksgiving concert will take place on October 8. Now that it concludes its first year, one can only hope that ‘Ang Probinsyano’ will continue to provide some memorable moments as it enters its second year.

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Poor Señorita to Challenge Ang Probinsyano Starting Tonight

Regine Velasquez-Alcasid, meet Coco Martin.

After easily disposing both ‘MariMar’ and ‘Little Nanay’, ‘FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano’ now awaits a new opponent. This time, young stars will not be the focus of this new GMA teleserye, but rather, a still-relevant 40-year-old Asia’s Songbird

Yes, Regine Velasquez-Alcasid remains a visible figure after nearly three decades in the industry. Although she earned her stripes as a singer, she also had major success as an actress, and starting tonight, the latter aspect of her talents will be shown on the upcoming series ‘Poor Señorita’.

In ‘Poor Señorita’, Regine plays Rita, a successful yet obsessive-compulsive owner of a perfume company. After suddenly losing her wealth, she stumbled upon five children who would try to help her get back on her feet, and in the process, show her the true meaning of love and happiness.

Joining Regine on ‘Poor Señorita’ are Mikael Daez, Sheena Halili, Kevin Santos, Valeen Montenegro, Jaya, Ervic Vijandre, Jillian Ward, Miggs Cuaderno, Zymic Jaranilla, Caprice Cayetano, Ralph Noriega, Snooky Serna, Ayra Mariano and Elyson de Dios. For Ayra and Elyson, it will be their first project after winning ‘StarStruck’ season 6.

Playing special roles on ‘Poor Señorita’ are Ricky Davao and Dingdong Dantes. Dominic Zapata will be the series’ director.

‘Poor Señorita’ is the latest in a series of attempts by GMA Telebabad to make their dramas lighter and more family-friendly. Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked out, and the fact that ABS-CBN (with the help of Dreamscape and Star Creatives) succeeded with dramas that appeal to the everyday Filipino made it more difficult for GMA to thrive.

That said, a daunting challenge awaits ‘Poor Señorita’ on its very first week. With ‘FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano’ on a roll, the former needs to prove that they can also keep up and make lighter series just as appealing to viewers.

‘Poor Señorita’ airs starting tonight after ’24 Oras’ on GMA Telebabad.

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