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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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Encantadia 2016: A Threat or an Afterthought

The returning ‘Encantadia’ will have their hands full against ‘Ang Probinsyano’ when it premieres this Monday. (Logo courtesy of GMA Network)

It will be the Sang’gres of ‘Encantadia’ against Cardo (Coco Martin) of ‘Ang Probinsyano’.

A lot has been said about the impressive ratings of ABS-CBN’s ‘Ang Probinsyano’. After all, this TV adaptation of the classic Fernando Poe, Jr. flick has been reaching the 40% mark of late, blowing out its embarrassed competitor (GMA’s ‘Poor Señorita’) in the dust.

But as ‘Encantadia’ gets underway this Monday, ‘Ang Probinsyano”s momentum could be in doubt. And GMA is going all out in this costly venture of theirs.

The 2016 version of ‘Encantadia’ will be headlined by the four Sang’gres, portrayed by Glaiza de Castro (as Pirena), Kylie Padilla (as Amihan), Gabbi Garcia (as Alena), and Sanya Lopez (as Danaya). Other notable cast members include Marian Rivera, Rocco Nacino, Solenn Heussaff, Ruru Madrid, John Arcilla and Dingdong Dantes.

Director Mark Reyes will breathe new life into this iconic fantaserye. Once again, computer-generated imagery (CGI) will be used extensively, but for this version, updated editing software will be used, along with various other technologies.

But the biggest question surrounding ‘Encantadia’ is whether or not GMA will finally embrace the 16:9 widescreen high definition format. Considering GMA’s continued unwillingness to use the new format (even with the use of HD cameras), it is clear that their old-school mentality may hurt ‘Encantadia”s quality and appeal.

Which is why the Encantadia Saga Facebook fan page went as far as writing an open letter to GMA management. They claimed that using the 16:9 format will bring a full viewing experience to an epic program such as ‘Encantadia’, as opposed to 4:3 which cuts some of the details.

Still, the biggest question surrounding ‘Encantadia’ is whether or not it will be able to overcome ‘Ang Probinsyano’. That said, the first week of the new ‘Encantadia’ will be very crucial, as they try to make an impact against an extremely formidable opponent.

Come this Monday, it will be ‘Encantadia’ against the world. Will they come out on top, or become the latest victim of ‘Ang Probinsyano”s dominance?

Find out starting July 18.

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Naku, Boss Ko! Premieres This Monday

GMA is pushing the envelope yet again.

In the lead-up to the network’s ‘Eleksyon 2016’ coverage, they decided to create a politically-charged miniseries that challenges the voter’s critical judgment. Enter ‘Naku, Boss Ko!’, a two-week political romantic comedy that will premiere this Monday.

 

‘Naku, Boss Ko!’ marked the return of the GabRu (Gabbi Garcia and Ruru Madrid) tandem to the small screen, several months after they were first paired in ‘Let the Love Begin’. Gabbi plays Che, a political activist, while Ruru plays Jon G., a reluctant mayoralty candidate for the town of Malaya.

Both Che and Jon fell for each other, but unknown to Che, Jon’s campaign is being managed by a ‘trapo’ (traditional politician). With Che’s hatred for ‘trapos’ on the forefront, their relationship will be put to the test, and it is up to Jon to decide between two things: his relationship with Che, or his political ambitions.

Joining them in ‘Naku, Boss Ko!’ are Leo Martinez (as OMG, Jon’s power-hungry father) and Tessie Tomas (as Miss F, a shrewd and extremely savvy campaign manager and spin doctor). The mini-series will be directed by Marlon Rivera.

‘Naku, Boss Ko!’ is the latest in a string of potential award-winning and critically-acclaimed series produced by the GMA News and Public Affairs team. Despite its good intentions, the biggest concern for the series now is how will they be able to reach out to millions of viewers across the country.

Given the lack of promotional treatment in all GMA teleseryes in recent weeks, it will not be easy for ‘Naku, Boss Ko!’ to become relevant in GMA’s scheme of things, heavy promotional hype notwithstanding. That said, it will be very crucial for GMA to drop its restraints and let ‘Naku, Boss Ko!’ do what they want to do in order to get the message straight.

This should be an interesting two weeks for GMA News and Public Affairs. As they prepare for ‘Eleksyon 2016’, they hope that ‘Naku, Boss Ko!’ will help viewers understand what’s right and what’s wrong in the world of politics.

An eight-episode miniseries, ‘Naku, Boss Ko!’ airs Monday to Thursday, 10:10 p.m., from April 25 to May 5, on GMA Telebabad.

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With Impending Encantadia Requel, GMA Goes for Broke

It’s official: ‘Encantadia’ is returning to GMA.

The announcement was made last night during the evening newscast ’24 Oras’. Throughout the newscast, the upcoming ‘requel’ (portmanteau of reboot and prequel) revealed its main cast members, which are as follows:

  • Glaiza de Castro (as Sang’gre Pirena, originally portrayed by Sunshine Dizon)
  • Kylie Padilla (as Sang’gre Amihan, originally portrayed by Iza Calzado)
  • Gabbi Garcia (as Sang’gre Alena, originally portrayed by Karylle)
  • Sanya Lopez (as Sang’gre Danaya, originally portrayed by Diana Zubiri)
  • Ruru Madrid (as Ybarro/Ybrahim, originally portrayed by Dingdong Dantes)
  • Rocco Nacino (as Aquil, originally portrayed by Alfred Vargas)

They will be joined by Marian Rivera, who will play Dawn Zulueta’s original role as the Inang Reyna.

In addition, the press conference announced the names of the supporting cast members. They are:

  •  John Arcilla (as Hagorn)
  • Rochelle Pangilinan (as Agane)
  • Vaness del Moral (as Gurna)
  • Pancho Magno (as Hitano)
  • Christian Bautista (as Apitong)
  • Carlo Gonzales (as Muros)
  • Kate Valdez (as Mira)
  • Mikee Quintos (as Lira)
  • Klea Pineda (as Muyak)
  • Migo Adecer (as Anthony)
  • Solenn Heussaff (as Cassiopeia)

Mark Reyes will be the director of the new ‘Encantadia’, and he revealed that a few changes will be made on the ‘requel’ without sacrificing the main story of the original series. That said, expect a fresher and more modern ‘Encantadia’ for the new generation.

The original ‘Encantadia’ aired on GMA during the mid-2000s, and spawned two sequels in ‘Etheria: Ang Ikalimang Kaharian ng Encantadia’ and ‘Encantadia: Pag-Ibig Hanggang Wakas’. A planned reboot of ‘Encantadia’ (titled ‘Encantadia: The Second Saga’) was announced in 2010, but was never materialized.

When it first aired, ‘Encantadia’ became one of GMA’s highly-rated series, thanks in large part to the popularity of the fantaserye during that time. But the production of ‘Encantadia’ and its two sequels took its toll on GMA financially, and they have never recovered since.

With the Kapuso network in a crisis of confidence, what chances will they have with the ‘requel’ of ‘Encantadia’? And how will this series be able to thrive amidst a more conservative approach in teleserye production?

Only time will tell.

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FTT Year 2015 in Review: Television’s Best

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2016, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article looks back at the 10 best moments in Philippine television this year.

AlDub Invades Eat Bulaga and the World

The now-popular Kalyeserye segment of ‘Eat Bulaga’ began on July 16, as a then-unknown Maine Mendoza (under the Yaya Dub character) caught the eye of rising Kapuso star Alden Richards. Since then, AlDub grew into a social media phenomenon, and it culminated into a slew of advertisements, magazine covers, a supporting role in ‘My Bebe Love: #KiligPaMore’, and a sold-out ‘Sa Tamang Panahon’ live episode at the Philippine Arena.

While the popularity of AlDub had some negative effects on GMA and its rivals, there is no denying that the duo became the key ingredient that introduced ‘Eat Bulaga’ into a new generation. The 36-year-old variety show is now enjoying its best ratings in years, thanks largely to AlDub.

LizQuen, KathNiel and JaDine Dominate Primetime Ratings

While AlDub dominated noontime, primetime belonged to ABS-CBN’s three hottest love teams.  The year began with LizQuen (Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil) of ‘Forevermore’ continuing their winning run, before handing it over to KathNiel (Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla) of ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’, and JaDine (James Reid and Nadine Lustre) of ‘On the Wings of Love’.

The success of LizQuen, KathNiel and JaDine were crucial in Primetime Bida’s thorough domination of Telebabad in the national ratings. Although GMA responded with BiGuel (Bianca Umali and Miguel Tanfelix) in ‘Once Upon a Kiss’, and GabRu (Gabbi Garcia and Ruru Madrid) of ‘Let the Love Begin’, they were unable to make an impact.

A New Sunday Afternoon Habit

August 9 saw a new rival for the 20-year-old ‘ASAP’, but they did not expect it to be different. In came ‘Sunday PinaSaya’, GMA’s newest variety show that emphasized more on comedy than musical performances.

The presence of ‘Eat Bulaga’ hosts Jose Manalo, Wally Bayola and Alden RicRhards (with Maine Mendoza later added) helped ‘Sunday PinaSaya’ defeat ‘ASAP’ on a consistent basis. In response, ABS-CBN moved ‘Banana Split: Extra Scoop’ to Sunday afternoons as ‘Banana Sundae’, but it still failed to reverse the trend.

Willie Revillame Returns 

Speaking of Sunday afternoons, May 10 saw the return of Willie Revillame to the small screen with ‘Wowowin’. Initially airing every mid-Sunday afternoons, it later moved to an earlier timeslot after ‘Sunday PinaSaya’, where it has since flourished.

Even though Willie faced an arrest warrant over the ‘Willing Willie’ macho dancer kid case, this didn’t stop him from receiving accolades for ‘Wowowin’. The rebirth of the controversial host was capped off with a pair of awards for best game show and host in the PMPC Star Awards.

Wattpad Presents Turns 1

The teleserye dominance of ABS-CBN and GMA did not deter TV5. Following the cancellation of ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ in early November, ‘Wattpad Presents’ became the network’s longest-running active entertainment program, having been on the air for over a year.

Under-appreciated by most television viewers, ‘Wattpad Presents’ was able to make it over a year thanks to an endless supply of new stories and a dedicated fanbase. It is considered a perfect alternative to the long and dragging storylines that a teleserye usually provides.

ABS-CBN Goes Digital and HD

February 11 saw the much-awaited launch of ABS-CBN TVPlus, the first-ever digital terrestrial television service in the country. The so-called ‘mahiwagang black box’ quickly became popular, selling nearly a million units.

Then on October 3, ABS-CBN HD was launched, bringing virtually every program on Channel 2 into crystal clear high definition. And finally, ABS-CBN announced that they will replace Balls HD with ABS-CBN Sports+Action HD starting January 1, ending a six-year run for the network’s first-ever HD channel.

Kapamilya Gold Reloaded

Teleseryes made their return to Kapamilya Gold on January 13, as ‘Flordeliza’ and ‘Nasaan Ka Nang Kailangan Kita’ premiered on the afternoon block. This was followed by four other series: ‘Doble Kara’, ‘All of Me’, ‘Walang Iwanan’ and ‘And I Love You So’.

Since then, the battle between Kapamilya Gold and Afternoon Prime dramas became a tight one, both in ratings and momentum. However, it didn’t stop ‘The Half-Sisters’ from achieving the one-year milestone in June.

NCAA Returns to Channel 23; UAAP Extended

After a fruitless three-year tenure with Sports5, the NCAA returned to ABS-CBN Sports in late June. The renewed partnership featured new innovations, such as social media interaction and high-definition broadcasts.

ABS-CBN Sports also signed a fresh five-year deal with the UAAP, following another successful season. The network now plans to extend its coverage to other UAAP tournaments, in addition to full coverage of men’s basketball and women’s volleyball.

The Big Two-0

November 27 saw ‘Bubble Gang’ celebrate its 20th anniversary with a documentary special. The 20-year-old gag show continues to defy time, maintaining its status as a Friday night habit despite an evolving cast of talents and advancements in technology.

Also reaching its 20th year is ‘Saksi’, the second longest-running active free TV newscast in the country. So is ‘ASAP’, who despite fading ratings with the entry of ‘Sunday PinaSaya’, remains a fixture on Sunday noontime.

Janella, Jana Shine on Lunchtime

Following up the success of ‘Be Careful with My Heart’ was a difficult task, but Janella Salvador and Jana Agoncillo proved that they were able to thrive with this challenge. Janella’s ‘Oh My G’ and Jana’s ‘Ningning’ flourished as one the country’s top-rated programs on weekdays, despite a stiff competitor in ‘The Ryzza Mae Show’.

In response, the TAPE-produced talk show starring Ryzza Mae Dizon was rebooted into a drama series as ‘Princess in the Palace’. However, the reformat did not produce the desired results.

2015 was another year to remember for television viewers. Although ABS-CBN continued to reign this year, GMA and TV5 enjoyed their own share of moments as well, and with digitization now underway, the preparation for a full-digitized television signal in the Philippines is on.

So what is in store for 2016? Find out as From the Tube continues to look at events and changes that shape Philippine media.

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GMA Tries Another Weekday Morning Drama with Dangwa

Seems like GMA hasn’t learned anything from past failures.

After a two-year absence, GMA decided to pursue another local weekday drama series in the morning. They called upon Janine Gutierrez to star as the mysterious ‘Dangwa Girl’, in the series known simply as ‘Dangwa’.

Mystery shrouded the streets of Manila earlier this month when university belt students posted photos and videos of a girl giving out roses to various strangers in social media. The mysterious encounter quickly became viral on social media, and eventually, the then-unknown ‘Dangwa Girl’ was revealed to as Janine Gutierrez.

‘Dangwa’ will feature the story of Rosa, a beautiful flower vendor who would change the lives of men who bought flowers from her. While the story of Rosa will be the focus of the series, a new love story between two individuals will be featured each week, all of which begin with a chance encounter with Rosa herself.

As for Rosa, she will also have a love story of her own. Two men named Baste (Mark Herras) and Lorenzo (Aljur Abrenica) would gain the attention of Rosa’s heart, but as they discovered, she is something else to behold.

The first week of ‘Dangwa’ will also star Barbie Forteza and Ruru Madrid. This will be followed by starring roles from Carla Abellana and Rafael Rosell, Rhian Ramos and Geoff Eigenmann, Bianca Umali and Miguel Tanfelix, and Pauleen Luna and Gerald Napoles.

‘Dangwa’ will be the latest series produced by the GMA Public Affairs group. But as everyone learned, the involvement of GMA Public Affairs in the series is simply a way to bail out an Entertainment department that has not had success in recent years.

There is also a question about the series’ viability in the morning. Considering that the last two GMA morning dramas (‘Cielo de Angelina’, ‘With a Smile’) were ratings failures, a very tough task awaits ‘Dangwa’ in their hopes of reversing a recent trend.

That said, it will be interesting to see if ‘Dangwa’ lives up to the hype. After the success of the viral posts, the series now hopes to turn them into good, if not impressive ratings.

‘Dangwa’ premieres this Monday at 11:00 a.m. on GMA.

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