drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Wildflower’s Wildest Finale

‘Wildflower’ is coming to an end.

Friday night will mark the finale of this top-rating ABS-CBN series. In a run that spanned 257 episodes, ‘Wildflower’ became a big hit in more ways than one.

Premiering on February 13, 2017, ‘Wildflower’ became the first ABS-CBN drama to air in the 5:50 p.m. slot since ‘We Will Survive’. From episode one, the series ran roughshod over the competition, constantly earning ratings in the 20s while occasionally hitting the 30s.

As ‘Wildflower’ continued to reign over its timeslot, the confrontations between Ivy Aguas/Lily Cruz (Maja Salvador) and Emilia Ardiente (Aiko Melendez) also became viral on social media. Various news topics were lampooned using screenshots of Ivy/Lily and Emilia either strangling, shouting or slapping each other in the face.

Throughout its run ‘Wildflower’ saw its fair share of cast members arrive and depart. While the core cast features Maja Salvador, Aiko Melendez, Joseph Marco, Tirso Cruz III, Sunshine Cruz, Christian Vasquez and RK Bagatsing, the series also received a few contributions from the likes of Roxanne Barcelo, Dawn Chang and Zsa Zsa Padilla.

Despite its lengthy run and constant ratings success, it was too unfortunate that ‘Wildflower’ will not be able to join the ‘one-year club’ that featured fellow ABS-CBN dramas ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘Doble Kara’. Friday’s ending will put them two episodes short of the anniversary mark.

Even viewers of the series found it hard to accept that ABS-CBN will pull the plug on ‘Wildflower’ after such a long run. In fact, ‘Wildflower”s ‘The End is Near’ teaser last January was trending on social media, with many clamoring for an extension which was never materialized.

Still, ‘Wildflower”s accomplishments were hard to deny. The series’ presence made the early evening slot of Primetime Bida relevant again, and Maja Salvador’s portrayal of Ivy/Lily only enhanced her craft as an actress.

Veterans such as Sunshine Cruz, Tirso Cruz III and Aiko Melendez were also given a second wind in their careers thanks to their portrayals of Camia, Julio and Emilia respectively. Even a cameo appearance by Zsa Zsa Padilla as Red Dragon was good enough to convince viewers that she is still a dependable actress.

Overall, ‘Wildflower’ is such a good series that reliving all 257 episodes on iWant TV would be more than enticing. Indeed, this series typified the ‘wild’ in every sense of the word, one that is unpredictable, moody and crazy to look at.

This Friday should be a wild finale for ‘Wildflower’. Enjoy the show.

drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin to End Friday

The Kimerald reunion tour will come to an end this week.

On Friday, January 26, ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ will air its 195th and final episode. The series, which starred Kim Chiu, Gerald Anderson, Jake Cuenca and Coleen Garcia, was first aired on May 1, 2017.

In many ways, the series was not a disappointment ratings-wise. But for the more knowledgeable viewers, the serious tone of ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ may have turned them off a bit considering that ABS-CBN reluctantly placed the series to the late morning timeslot.

When ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ was first announced during one of ABS-CBN’s trade fairs, many thought the series would be assigned to Primetime Bida. After all, Kim Chiu and Gerald Anderson were highly accomplished primetime stars with many top-rating series to their credit.

However, ABS-CBN decided to take ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ to the late-morning slot that is normally assigned to more light-hearted or inspirational series (see ‘Be Careful with My Heart’ and ‘Ningning’). At this point they didn’t have a choice since Kapamilya Gold and Primetime Bida were fully loaded and they fear that postponing the series’ premiere could affect its ratings.

Nevertheless, ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ became a hit in the ratings game, mainly due to inferior competition put up by GMA Network blocktimer TAPE Inc. During the first half of its run, ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ was pitted against the coming-of-age drama ‘TROPS’, and after that they faced the talk show ‘The Lolas’ Beautiful Show’.

Overall, even with all the obstacles thrown against it, ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ still managed to enjoy a great run. It was a series that is as compelling as it comes, with the premise of three triathletes entangled in a love triangle while competing in a run of their lives.

As ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ nears its conclusion, one can only hope that these last few episodes will be as explosive as it can get. A very interesting ending awaits, so good luck with that.

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.

drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Getting Serious: ABS-CBN Goes No More Mr. Nice Guy with The Good Son

It will be a new-look and more serious Primetime Bida starting next week.

Gone were the ‘kilig-seryes’ that permeated the fifth slot of ABS-CBN’s ever-popular evening block. With all due respect to JaDine (‘On the Wings of Love’, ‘Till I Met You’) and TonDeng (Ian Veneracion and Bea Alonzo of ‘A Love to Last’), this formula is starting to wear thin.

Instead, ABS-CBN goes back to a more serious approach that made ‘The Legal Wife’ and ‘Two Wives’ runaway successes. The newest drama, ‘The Good Son’, despite its designation as a family drama, leans more on the mature and dark side.

While rival GMA continues to lean too much on aging and at times overexposed veterans for their primetime dramas, ABS-CBN cashes in on their deep roster of young talent for ‘The Good Son’. The series will be led by Jerome Ponce, Nash Aguas, Joshua Garcia and McCoy de Leon, and joining them are fellow rising stars Loisa Andallo, Elisse Joson and Alexa Ilacad.

In ‘The Good Son’, Jerome (as Enzo), Nash (as Calvin), Joshua (as Joseph) and McCoy (as Obet) are four siblings who live a simple and happy life without their father Victor (Albert Martinez), a man whose identity remains a secret. But Victor’s mysterious death led to a series of events that saw the four siblings accused of murder, and the ensuing battle to prove who is innocent from the crime is on.

‘The Good Son’ will also include Mylene Dizon, Eula Valdez, John Estrada, Ronnie Lazaro, Jeric Raval, Alex Medina, and Kathleen Hermoso. The series will be directed by Manny Palo and Andoy Ranay.

Considering ABS-CBN’s reputation for turning rising stars into superstars, the pressure is now on ‘The Good Son”s up-and-coming actors to continue this budding trend. However, it remains to be seen if the series’ untested group of young talent will thrive in the high-stakes block that is primetime.

It will also be interesting to see how the viewers react to a change of formula from a light drama to a more serious one. That said, ‘The Good Son’ should be a series that may either make or break Primetime Bida’s unpredictable fifth slot.

‘The Good Son’ airs weeknights after ‘La Luna Sangre’ on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida.

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

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.