action, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Asintado’s Final Week

It all comes down to this.

‘Asintado”s final episode is slated to air this Friday. But in many ways, this series turned out to be unpredictable.

First aired on January 15, 2018, ‘Asintado’ was placed in the leadoff slot of ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold. It was to be the comeback series of Julia Montes nearly a year after starring in the long-running afternoon series ‘Doble Kara’.

But unlike ‘Doble Kara’, ‘Asintado’ performed on a relatively quiet scale. Debuting with a 17.7% rating, the series hovered between 14-17% for much of its run.

Despite that, ‘Asintado”s ratings were more than enough to dispatch its rival GMA dramas ‘Impostora’ and ‘The Stepdaughters’. And considering that it now airs at 3:50 p.m. on a regular basis due to the longer-than-usual running time of ‘It’s Showtime’, ‘Asintado”s performance was still impressive at best.

Overall, ‘Asintado’ will have a total of 187 episodes by Friday’s finale. As far as ABS-CBN standards go, this is already a long run.

If there is anything to pick up about ‘Asintado’, it is on how some of the cast members adapt to a role they were not used to. Julia Montes, long known for her dramatic skills regardless of being a villain or a protagonist, became more of an action star in this series as her character Ana sought vengeance on the loved ones she lost.

Shaina Magdayao, as Samantha, embraced the bad girl role particularly well, that is until it was revealed that Samantha and Ana were actually long-lost sisters. Paulo Avelino, as Gael, was no slouch either in working the good and bad side of his character.

In the last few weeks of ‘Asintado’, the focus shifted to Nonie Buencamino’s character Salvador, whom Ana blamed for the murder of her wife (and Salvador’s son) Gael as well as his wife Miranda (Lorna Tolentino). While Nonie”s credits as a villain were few and far between, his portrayal of Salvador may have been his best yet as a heel.

That said, the last week of ‘Asintado’ should be a good one. Whether or not Ana gains her much-needed justice remains to be seen, so stay tuned to find out the ending to this story of revenge and vindication.

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action, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Bouncing Back: Julia Montes Returns in Asintado

ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold badly needs a boost.

For months, the block has struggled against a resurgent GMA Afternoon Prime. It was clear that Kapamilya Gold has gone stale with a repetitive ‘kabitserye’ formula, and as a result, viewers tuned away in favor of series that had campy scenes (‘Ika-6 na Utos’), one actress playing two contrasting personalities (‘Impostora’), and allusions to the supernatural (‘Haplos’).

This Monday, Kapamilya Gold will try to return to relevance with a familiar face and a new attitude. Enter ‘Asintado’, the newest afternoon series starring daytime drama’s undisputed queen in Julia Montes.

In ‘Asintado’, Julia is Ana, a member of a rescue team who looks to make her adoptive family proud. After saving Gael (Paulo Avelino) from a mining accident, she became his personal nurse and eventually fell in love with each other.

But just as their relationship blooms, Gael’s ex-girlfriend Samantha (Shaina Magdayao) returns to try to win back his heart, even if it means killing Ana. Fortunately, Ana was saved by Xander (Aljur Abrenica), only to find out later on that Gael and Samantha are about to get married.

Just as Ana is plotting her revenge, she finds out that Samantha was her long-lost sister. Samantha, as it turned out, was lost in the fire that killed their parents.

The search for love and justice in ‘Asintado’ will also involve a veteran supporting cast consisting of Lorna Tolentino, Cherry Pie Picache, Lito Pimentel, Agot Isidro, and Nonie Buencamino. The series will be directed by Onat Diaz and Lino Cayetano.

If Julia’s previous series ‘Doble Kara’ helped Kapamilya Gold reclaim the ratings lead from Afternoon Prime, then ABS-CBN should look for ‘Asintado’ to do the same. Still, the series will be up against a formidable foe in ‘Impostora’, and battling a tested star in Kris Bernal will not be a walk in the park.

But considering Julia Montes’ star power, facing such an obstacle is no big deal. That said, it will be up to her to lead Kapamilya Gold back to where it wants to be.

‘Asintado’ airs weekdays after ‘It’s Showtime’ on ABS-CBN.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

The Promise of Forever Enters Its Final Week

Long-awaited, short-lived.

Turns out ‘The Promise of Forever’ wore out its welcome as soon as it began. The ABS-CBN drama series had been in the production pipeline for months prior to its premiere, but once it got underway, the series underachieved and only managed a measly 55 episodes once it wraps up this Friday.

First aired on September 11, ‘The Promise of Forever’ marked the Kapamilya debut of former TV5 discovery Ritz Azul, who was paired alongside Paulo Avelino. This series was supposed to be a breath of fresh air for viewers who were fed up with the network’s overreliance on ‘kabitseryes’.

Instead, ‘The Promise of Forever’ failed to make the grade. More often than not, it was rival GMA afternoon drama ‘Haplos’ that came out on top, and the former’s seemingly high expectations went up in smoke.

Not since ‘Walang Iwanan’ has an ABS-CBN afternoon series run for such a short period of time. Despite the fact that it took months for ABS-CBN to convince that ‘The Promise of Forever’ is ready to air, they only managed to produce 55 episodes during that span, an underwhelming total by Kapamilya standards.

The struggles of ‘The Promise of Forever’ gave even further indication that Kapamilya Gold is on a decline. It was clear that viewers are frustrated over the direction of Kapamilya Gold, and the performance of said block in recent months is something that ABS-CBN must urgently address.

It also didn’t help that Ritz Azul appear overwhelmed by the limelight. The series’ long wait, not to mention her first acting experience in a full-on drama series in years, made Ritz look rusty and unprepared at times.

Overall, while ‘The Promise of Forever’ was not bad, its performance leaves a lot to be desired. That said, with such a long wait and low episode turnout, ABS-CBN should realize that ‘cautious optimism’ does not work on Philippine television these days, especially when it comes to short-lived dramas such as ‘The Promise of Forever’.

This week will be the last chance for ‘The Promise of Forever’ to impress. As ABS-CBN ponders its next move, one must wonder what might have been had the network air ‘The Promise of Forever’ much earlier and not suffer the low ratings that it did today.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Can The Promise of Forever Help Reverse Kapamilya Gold’s Slide?

ABS-CBN may be the country’s most-watched network last month, but weekday afternoons are a different story.

Over the last few weeks, GMA’s Afternoon Prime became the most-watched block from 2:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. While ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ remains the most-watched program during weekday afternoons, its follow-up dramas ‘Impostora’ and ‘Haplos’ were not far behind in dispatching the opposition.

The recent change of fortune in the weekday afternoon slots should cause plenty of concern within the ABS-CBN camp. Both ‘Pusong Ligaw’ and the soon-to-conclude ‘The Better Half’ were derisively labeled ‘kabitseryes’, and viewers became fed up with the direction ABS-CBN is taking.

Looking to address concerns that Kapamilya Gold is becoming increasingly stale, ABS-CBN decided to change things up with a new teleserye that is drastically different from the recent norm. Enter ‘The Promise of Forever’, starring Paulo Avelino and the network’s new addition Ritz Azul.

‘The Promise of Forever’ tells the story of Nicolas (Paulo), an immortal man who saves Sophia (Ritz) from a burning house and years later fall in love with each other. However, inside Nicolas lies a curse that prevents him from entering into a relationship while at the same time preventing him from feeling the pain of loss.

Moreover, Sophia’s lover Philip (Ejay Falcon) and Nicolas’ descendant Marlon (Tonton Gutierrez) were out to ruin their lives. With that in mind, it will be up to Nicolas to overcome the curse while preserving his relationship with Sophia.

‘The Promise of Forever’ will also star Cherry Pie Picache, Amy Austria, Benjie Paras, Susan Africa, Ynna Asistio, and Nico Antonio. It will be directed by Darnel Villaflor and Hannah Espia.

The lead-up to the premiere of ‘The Promise of Forever’ is a cautionary tale of biding one’s time. A trade trailer for the series was released in November of last year, but it took nearly ten months before ABS-CBN realized that the time is finally right.

However, with Kapamilya Gold mired in a slump, is ‘The Promise of Forever’ worth the long wait? One can only hope that this series will turn things around for the suddenly beleaguered block and in turn restore the faith of viewers that had betrayed the network of late.

‘The Promise of Forever’ airs weekday afternoons on ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold. Timeslot to be determined.

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ABS-CBN Welcomes an Abrenica

Turns out there will be an Abrenica on ABS-CBN after all.

However, the Abrenica referred here is not Aljur. Instead, younger brother Vin Abrenica, a fellow reality talent search show winner (via TV5’s ‘Artista Academy’), jumped ship to ABS-CBN.

Just recently, a contract signing took place that signaled Vin Abrenica’s entry into the Kapamilya network. Though he already appeared in the legal drama anthology ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ last October, his first actual project with ABS-CBN will be on ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’, where he will be paired with Jessy Mendiola in a future episode.

Prior to ABS-CBN, Vin Abrenica was a TV5 talent for three years. After winning ‘Artista Academy’, Vin appeared in several TV5 shows, but his future with the network became in doubt as soon as VIVA’s Vic del Rosario took over TV5’s entertainment department.

The entry of Vin Abrenica to ABS-CBN caught many by surprise. Back when older brother Aljur was in a contract mess with GMA two years ago, there was a lot of talk of him joining ABS-CBN to further hone his talents.

After all, it was ABS-CBN who had a reputation of turning struggling former Kapuso talents into certified stars. Names like Cristine Reyes, Paulo Avelino, Angel Locsin, Jake Cuenca and Iza Calzado came to ABS-CBN after years of service to GMA, and with the help of talent guru Johnny Manahan, their stars are now shining brighter than ever.

However, Aljur Abrenica and GMA decided to patch their differences, and today Aljur remains as visible as ever on the Kapuso network. Currently he appears in ‘Once Again’, where he is paired alongside Janine Gutierrez.

Imagine if Aljur decided to go to ABS-CBN instead of reconciling with GMA. His waning star would have been rekindled under the watchful eyes of Johnny Manahan.

As it stands, however, he is back with GMA, but unfortunately for him, it was not a sweet reunion so far. Since premiering in mid-May, ‘Once Again’ has been struggling to keep up with ‘Dolce Amore’, who were led by Enrique Gil and Liza Soberano.

Hopefully the story will be different for younger brother Vin. Now that he’s on ABS-CBN, Vin is poised to ascend much further than his brother, but it remains to be seen if he is indeed a good fit.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Same Time, Same Day Ending for Bridges of Love, The Rich Man’s Daughter

Both ‘Bridges of Love’ and ‘The Rich Man’s Daughter’ are down to their final two episodes.

In a rare moment in Philippine television, two rival programs will air their respective series finales at the same time and on the same day. ABS-CBN’s ‘Bridges of Love’ and GMA’s ‘The Rich Man’s Daughter’ will have their final episodes aired tomorrow night at 9:15 p.m.

‘Bridges of Love’ were led by Maja Salvador, Paulo Avelino and Jericho Rosales. A story that features two brothers fighting for the love of a seductive female dancer, the series premiered on March 16 on the Primetime Bida block, and ran for 103 episodes.

On the other hand, ‘The Rich Man’s Daughter’ were led by Rhian Ramos, Glaiza de Castro and Luis Alandy. A story that features a rich and influential Chinese-Filipino woman who was romantically linked to a lesbian, the series premiered on May 11 on the Telebabad block, and aired for 65 episodes.

While ‘The Rich Man’s Daughter’ featured a similar storyline as ‘My Husband’s Lover’ (this time with females portrayed as lovers), it failed to equal, let alone surpass, the success of the latter. In fact, it was a mismatch from the start, with ‘Bridges of Love’ doubling its ratings total over ‘The Rich Man’s Daughter’ with each episode.

The contrast of fortunes for both series continued into social media, as ‘Bridges of Love’ remained a hot topic among netizens compared to ‘The Rich Man’s Daughter’. The fact that the latter went largely unnoticed on Twitter despite featuring a novel storyline involving lesbianism only caused a great deal of concern and worry within the GMA camp.

It will be interesting to see which series finale will have the last laugh. Will it be the love triangle between Maja, Paulo and Echo, or the love triangle between Rhian, Glaiza and Luis?

One thing’s for sure: a frantic finish awaits both ‘Bridges of Love’ and ‘The Rich Man’s Daughter’.

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