drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

New Challenger for A Love to Last: My Korean Jagiya

‘A Love to Last’ has a new opponent.

Through 158 episodes (as of August 18, 2017), the ABS-CBN primetime series has overcome all challenges thrown at them. Initially pitted against ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ season 1 (10 episodes from January 9-20), ‘A Love to Last’ has since made mincemeat of fellow romantic comedy series ‘Meant to Be’ (108 episodes from January 23-June 23) and ‘I Heart Davao’ (40 episodes from June 27-August 18).

Now they look to claim another victim starting next week. However, their next opponent is no ordinary romantic comedy.

In the past several years, both GMA and ABS-CBN imported several successful Korean dramas to fill in programming hours. Now GMA takes over Korean cultures and landscapes in the form of ‘My Korean Jagiya’.

Leading the way for ‘My Korean Jagiya’ will be Heart Evangelista. Her character Gia is a Korean grade school tutor and a dedicated K-drama fan girl who was nonetheless teased that she is next in her family to become an old maid.

Gia’s dream is to meet her long-time crush and once-famous Korean superstar Kim Jun-ho, portrayed by top Korean star Alexander Lee. At first, Gia searched for Kim in Korea while on a scholarship training, but wound up returning to Manila to find Kim drunk and beaten by gangsters in a bar, beginning a seemingly fruitful friendship.

‘My Korean Jagiya’ will also star Janice de Belen, Ricky Davao, Iya Villania, Edgar Allan Guzman, Valeen Montenegro, Frances Makil Ignacio, Myke Solomon, Jinri Park, Divine Aucina, and Khane dela Cruz. Korean stars David Kim, Michelle Oh, and Jerry Lee will play special roles in the series as well.

Parts of ‘My Korean Jagiya’ were shot in South Korea, and featured several key spots that were made famous by several iconic Koreanovelas such as ‘Jewel in the Palace’, ‘My Name is Kim Sam Soon’, My Love from the Star’ and ‘Winter Sonata’. The Seoul Film Commission and Seoul Metropolitan Government assisted the series’ producers in the production process.

While ‘My Korean Jagiya’ is a uniquely wonderful series for both Filipinos and Koreans to enjoy, their biggest hurdle to success comes in the form of ‘A Love to Last’. Despite being perceived as ‘boring’ in the minds of critics, ‘A Love to Last’ continues to beat all comers, and this is something that should concern ‘My Korean Jagiya’ a lot.

One can only hope that ‘My Korean Jagiya’ will not be the short-lived drama that befell more recent romcoms ‘My Love from the Star’ and ‘I Heart Davao’. If the series can somehow go beyond 80 episodes, then that should be good enough for their morale.

Directed by Mark Reyes, ‘My Korean Jagiya’ airs weekdays after ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ on GMA Telebabad.

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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.

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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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drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

Why GMA’s Teleserye Countdown Timer is Overrated?

GMA is going to great lengths in hopes of winning back its audience.

The past two weekends saw the network post a countdown timer for their soon-to-air series ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ and ‘My Love from the Star’ (see example from ‘Dear Uge’ below). This timer was flashed during most GMA programs (exceptions are variety shows, other blocktimed programs and select GMA News shows).

The reason is unclear, but it is presumed that GMA is using the timer to promote and add some hype to their upcoming series. To be honest, though, the utilization of a countdown timer for nothing but promotion of a program is very overrated.

For starters, GMA has long been an advocate of the countdown timer, having been used to advertise not only dramas but also variety shows and other network-produced programming. However, not even the addition of a timer is enough to jack up ratings of a particular show.

‘Encantadia’, for example, had a countdown timer in the days leading up to its premiere last year. Unfortunately, despite the good reviews and the positive reception from viewers, the fantaserye failed to keep up with the juggernaut that is ‘Ang Probinsyano’.

GMA also made a countdown timer for AlDub’s ‘Destined to Be Yours’. Even though it was hyped well, the series regularly fell short to ‘My Dear Heart’ mainly because Maine Mendoza’s acting is still raw by viewers’ standards.

Contrast that to ABS-CBN’s own approach to promote a teleserye. Rather than utilizing a countdown timer like GMA does, they take advantage of the hype through social media, on-demand streaming and a strong regional and global presence.

So where does GMA stand at this point? Considering that they still have a long way to go before closing in on ABS-CBN’s national (and global) superiority, they should focus more on strengthening their regional and international reach, a deficiency that they continue to endure for many years now.

The power of social media is also a necessity for GMA to aggressively promote their programs. However, they must engage more in order to make an impact.

There are plenty of options to promote a drama. But a countdown timer for GMA teleseryes and other programs? That is unnecessary and distracting.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

An Untimely Entrance for My Love from the Star

Heart has a new opponent, albeit for a short time.

Beginning Monday, GMA will premiere the Philippine remake of the hit Korean drama ‘My Love from the Star’. The adaptation will be led by Jennylyn Mercado, who will portray Jun Ji-hyun’s role as Steffi, and Gil Cuerva, who takes on Kim Soo-hyun’s role as Matteo.

The original version of ‘My Love from the Star’ first made waves in the Philippines back in 2014, as it became a top-rating Koreanovela on GMA’s late afternoon slot. GMA then re-aired the Koreanovela during early 2015, but failed to rekindle its past success.

Despite that, GMA decided to push through with the Filipino adaptation of ‘My Love from the Star’. While Jennylyn Mercado was confirmed to play Steffi, the role of Matteo remained a mystery for several months until little-known Gil Cuerva got the nod.

Completing the cast of ‘My Love from the Star’ are Gabby Eigenmann, Christian Bautista, Glydel Mercado, Renz Fernandez, Jackie Rice, Migo Adecer, Melissa Mendez, Spanky Manikan, Nar Cabico, Analyn Barro, Valentin, Moi Marcampo and Pauline Mendoza. Director Joyce Bernal will be at the helm of the series, plus Rhian Ramos will have a special role as Steffi’s rival.

The premiere of ‘My Love from the Star’ comes at a not-so fortunate time. ABS-CBN recently announced that ‘My Dear Heart’ is nearing its conclusion, with the finale of the series to take place around June.

This means that Jennylyn, Gil and company will not have enough time to prove themselves against ‘My Dear Heart”s quintet of Heart Ramos, Bela Padilla, Zanjoe Marudo, Coney Reyes and Ria Atayde. However, with ‘La Luna Sangre’ expected to replace ‘My Dear Heart’ once it ends, ‘My Love from the Star’ should have a big headstart against KathNiel this early.

It remains to be seen if the Filipino remake of ‘My Love from the Star’ can either equal or exceed the success of the original Korean series. With plenty of expectations from both Koreanovela and Kapuso fans, the series can only hope that they will deliver even if the odds are against them.

‘My Love from the Star’ airs weeknights after ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ on GMA Telebabad.

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comedy, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television, variety show

Full House No More: Full House Tonight Airs Finale Saturday

‘Full House Tonight’ airs its finale this Saturday night. (Logo courtesy of GMA Network)

GMA’s own attempt to recreate ‘Saturday Night Live’ for Filipinos is officially out.

The last episode of ‘Full House Tonight’ will take place this Saturday night, owing to host Regine Velasquez’s inclusion to the cast of ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’. However, Regine’s addition to the said fantaserye is not the main reason why ‘Full House Tonight’ will come to an end.

First airing on February 18, 2017, ‘Full House Tonight’ was a comedy-musical variety show that focuses on comedic performances from a select group of professional comedians. In essence, this program was viewed as a primetime version of ‘Sunday PinaSaya’, and it drew comparisons to the long-running American variety show ‘Saturday Night Live’.

Unfortunately, ‘Full House Tonight’ failed to deliver during its soon-to-be 14-episode run. The show was placed against powerhouse ABS-CBN reality shows ‘Pinoy Big Brother: Lucky 7’ and ‘I Can Do That’, and the expectations to stand out against both shows were too much to bear.

Not only that, most of the comedians in ‘Full House Tonight’ were hardly household names at all. That, along with Regine’s co-hosts/performers being relegated to the background, contributed to its demise.

It’s a shame that ‘Full House Tonight’ will go down swinging after this Saturday. Let’s face it, Regine hosting a comedy show is an insult to her reputation, considering her lack of comedic background unlike her husband Ogie Alcasid.

Perhaps GMA would have spiced the show up with guest celebrity hosts rather than Regine pulling all the strings. Had they done that, not to mention further training for the comedians and stars involved (if any), ‘Full House Tonight’ would have lasted longer than the 14 episodes it will accumulate at the end.

Alas, ‘Full House Tonight’ will go down as one of the most forgettable programs in GMA lore. If there is any consolation, it was that they put a lot of effort to produce a show like this, even if it goes in vain.

Come this Saturday, a final round of applause will be needed to send off ‘Full House Tonight’. So long, and good riddance.

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