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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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

I Heart Davao to End Friday

Talk about a regular occurrence.

After the Koreanovela remake series ‘My Love from the Star’ ended its 55-episode run Friday night, it is the turn of ‘I Heart Davao’ to take the cancellation ax. This time, its run is not even close, with 40 episodes in total.

‘I Heart Davao’, the latest entertainment project of GMA Public Affairs, premiered on June 26 as a replacement to ‘Meant to Be’. The series starred Carla Abellana, Tom Rodriguez and Benjamin Alves, with Catherine Rem playing a special role as the heart donor to Carla’s character.

80% of ‘I Heart Davao”s scenes were shot in Davao, while the characters learned the Davaoeño dialect to further infuse the region’s culture into the series. Throughout the course of its run, viewers learned to appreciate the distinct and friendly appeal Davao has to offer, from its scenery to the people involved.

Despite ‘I Heart Davao”s unique approach, its performance was not enough to overcome rival ABS-CBN series ‘A Love to Last’. That, coupled with the involvement of GMA Public Affairs, made it clear that the series is destined to run for only a short period of time.

While ‘I Heart Davao’ was still a great series as far as promoting one’s culture is concerned, they do not deserve a short 40-episode run. Had GMA Public Affairs not meddled with its production, then this series would have lasted much longer.

Nevertheless, for viewers who stuck with ‘I Heart Davao’ despite the overwhelming odds, it was a great experience to see the beautiful landscape of Davao. As unfortunate as it was to end so soon, the captivating and tear-jerking scenes of ‘I Heart Davao’ will forever be embedded into the viewers’ hearts.

This Friday will be the conclusion of an inspiring yet brief love affair with Davao and its culture. For ‘I Heart Davao’, all they need is a lasting impression so that viewers will remember all the good things that this show can offer.

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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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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

No More Extension: My Love from the Star Ends Friday

This week will be the last hurrah for ‘My Love from the Star’.

On Friday, August 11, GMA will give viewers one final glimpse into the love story of Steffi and Matteo. Since its premiere on May 29, the unlikely pairing of Jennylyn Mercado and Gil Cuerva breathed new life into the characters originally portrayed by Korean stars Jun Ji-hyun and Kim Soo-hyun, and people who watched the original series looked in awe at the performance of the duo.

Notwithstanding the story and the actors involved, it is very surprising to see ‘My Love from the Star’ run for only a short period of time. Clocking at only 55 episodes, this series joined a dubious list of Filipino teleseryes that did not last at least 80 episodes (this included its predecessor ‘Destined to Be Yours’ which ran for only 63 episodes).

But unlike AlDub’s ill-fated debut series, the brief run of ‘My Love from the Star’ has nothing to do with the ratings (the series regularly fell victim to ‘My Dear Heart’ and ‘La Luna Sangre’ throughout its tenure). In fact, GMA planned it to run for only a short period of time in order to remain faithful to the original Korean series.

It was a shame that ‘My Love from the Star’ had to air for only a few months. The brief tenure of the show did not allow enough time for veteran Jennylyn Mercado and newcomer Gil Cuerva to develop their much-needed chemistry.

Still, as far as GMA is concerned, the pairing between Jennylyn and Gil is only temporary. Unless GMA plans to give the duo another series to work with in the future, all signs point for this on-screen duo to move on and focus on other opportunities.

In short, Jennylyn Mercado and Gil Cuerva together is like a one-off project. But if GMA is satisfied with their performance, perhaps another, longer series could be in the offing for the two.

The final five episodes of ‘My Love from the Star’ should be a great one. This will be the final opportunity to see how Steffi (Jennylyn) and Matteo (Gil) forge their love for each other.

P.S.: The final week of ‘My Love from the Star’ will be dedicated to former cast member Spanky Manikan, who unexpectedly left the show due to health reasons (it was later revealed that the actor is suffering from Stage 4 lung cancer).

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Next Challenge for A Love to Last: I Heart Davao

It’s another rom-com vs. rom-com starting this Monday.

On GMA, the picturesque setting of Davao will be the focus of this soon-to-air primetime series. Enter ‘I Heart Davao’, the network’s newest offering on the Telebabad block.

In this up-and-coming series, Carla Abellana will play the role of Hope, a heart transplant recipient who goes to Davao in hopes of saving her family’s chocolate business. There, she meets Ponce (Tom Rodriguez), the proud yet pragmatic son of a chocolate haciendero who happens to be the former boyfriend of Hope’s donor.

Unfortunately for the two, their cultural differences and personalities become a challenge as they try to help each other out. It only gets more complicated when Hope’s childhood friend and businessman Paul (Benjamin Alves) arrives on the scene to rekindle their relationship.

According to GMA, 80% of ‘I Heart Davao”s scenes were shot in Davao in an effort to highlight the province’s amazing scenery. The network also made good use of the Davaoeño dialect by incorporating speaking lines in the said tongue.

‘I Heart Davao’ will also star Betong Sumaya, Maey Bautista, Ricardo Cepeda, Glenda Garcia, Racquel Villavicencio, Joel Saracho, Geraldine Villamil, Natileigh Sitoy, Kevin Sagra, Philip Lazaro, and Catherine Rem, with special participation by the Davao theater group Cine Madayaw. The series is directed by Marlon N. Rivera.

While ‘I Heart Davao’ should be a must-watch, they will face a very serious challenge from the start. ABS-CBN’s ‘A Love to Last’ is coming off a highly-rated wedding episode between Anton (Ian Veneracion) and Andeng (Bea Alonzo), and with latter still raking in episode victories on a consistent basis, the former’s winning aspirations will not be an easy one.

Add to that is the fact that it will be GMA Public Affairs who will shoulder the series’ burden. Considering the division’s many non-news programs that primarily focused on winning awards than ratings, it will not be a surprise to see ‘I Heart Davao’ follow the same path.

In any event, good luck to GMA in making ‘I Heart Davao’ a success. There is no doubt about its potential, but will it be more than enough?

‘I Heart Davao’ airs weeknights after ‘My Love from the Star’ on GMA Telebabad.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

My Dear Heart’s ‘Last Heartbeats’

This is indeed the ‘Last Heartbeat’.

The impending conclusion of ‘My Dear Heart’ saw ABS-CBN promote its final episodes as the ‘Last __ Heartbeats’. And if this is indeed the last heartbeat for Heart Ramos and company, what a way to go.

‘My Dear Heart’ made its way to Primetime Bida’s lineup on January 23, 2017. Although the series is considered a family drama in the mold of other classic series such as ‘May Bukas Pa’, ‘100 Days to Heaven’ and ‘Honesto’, the popularity of ‘Ang Probinsyano’ in the early primetime slot forced ABS-CBN to bump ‘My Dear Heart’ to a later time.

Nevertheless, ‘My Dear Heart’ proved to be a ratings success in its own right. The series averaged 28% in the Kantar ratings, with some episodes peaking at 30% or better.

While ‘My Dear Heart’ began its run against the Dingdong Dantes-starred ‘Alyas Robin Hood’, it was against the AlDub-starred ‘Destined to Be Yours’ that defined its tenure. Facing the seemingly formidable love team of Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza, ‘My Dear Heart’ dominated the former with relative ease, shocking the entire AlDub Nation in the process.

The final few weeks of ‘My Dear Heart’ saw the series compete against the Filipino adaptation of ‘My Love from the Star’. But like Alden and Maine, the duo of Gil Cuerva and Jennylyn Mercado could not overcome Heart’s determination to survive.

Overall, ‘My Dear Heart’ will have logged a total of 103 episodes by the time it ends this Friday. The episode count was very impressive considering the series worked behind ‘Ang Probinsyano’ in the pecking order.

Come this week, all eyes are on child star Heart Ramos, whose role as a coma-stricken daughter and angelic spirit captivated viewers throughout the country and around the world. The final episodes of the series will also see how the characters of Bela Padilla, Zanjoe Marudo, Coney Reyes, Ria Atayde and Eric Quizon react to Heart’s life-or-death struggle.

The ‘Last Heartbeat’ for ‘My Dear Heart’ is on. As for Heart Ramos, her budding career as a child star has just begun.

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