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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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Before Ang Probinsyano: A Look Back at Nathaniel

It had been over three years since a teleserye not named ‘Ang Probinsyano’ aired after ‘TV Patrol’.

So many dramas have aired on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida during that span, including a combined seven teleseryes that starred the Big Three love teams in KathNiel, LizQuen and JaDine. But at the end of the day, there was still one constant, and that was the Coco Martin-starred action series ‘Ang Probinsyano’.

After all, the series will turn three on the final week of September and will be closing in on 800 episodes by October. But lost amid the hoopla and the longevity of ‘Ang Probinsyano’ was its long-forgotten predecessor ‘Nathaniel’, the last series to air on ABS-CBN’s 7:50 p.m. slot before Coco Martin and his entourage took over.

‘Nathaniel’ starred Marco Masa in the title role, and his parents were played by Gerald Anderson and Shaina Magdayao. The supporting cast of ‘Nathaniel’ also included Isabelle Daza in her debut project with ABS-CBN.

The series ran from April 20 to September 25, 2015 and aired a total of 115 episodes. Not only that, ‘Nathaniel’ dominated the ratings game as it won past ‘Pari Ko’y’ and the 2015 remake of ‘MariMar’ in its timeslot.

So where are the series’ stars now? ‘Nathaniel”s lead protagonist Marco Masa has not had a major project since then but he did host ‘Team Yey’ for a short time and recently appeared on the second season of ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids’.

Shaina Magdayao is currently part of the Kapamilya afternoon series ‘Asintado’. And as for Gerald Anderson, he was recently seen on ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ with former on-screen partner Kim Chiu and is now playing semi-pro basketball with the MPBL’s Marikina Shoemakers.

With ‘Ang Probinsyano’ reaching high episode levels not seen since the original ‘Mara Clara’ in the 1990s, it is easy to forget that it succeeded one of ABS-CBN’s most popular family-oriented dramas. That said, revisiting a gem like ‘Nathaniel’ will help viewers look back at a time when child stars used to rock Primetime Bida’s leadoff slot.

All episodes of ‘Nathaniel’ are currently available on iWant TV.

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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 Better Half Nears Its All-or-Nothing Finale

Call it the ‘All-or-Nothing’ finale.

On Friday, September 8, ABS-CBN’s long-running afternoon drama ‘The Better Half’ will air its final episode. The series, starring Shaina Magdayao, Carlo Aquino, JC de Vera and Denise Laurel, has been on the air since February 13, and even though it was a great series, there were some bumps on the road they had to endure.

When it first premiered, ‘The Better Half’ was following in the footsteps of ‘Doble Kara’, an ABS-CBN afternoon drama series that lasted over a year. However, ABS-CBN tempered expectations for the former, realizing that it’s not going to be easy following a series that was overwhelmingly long and successful.

Four different opponents from GMA’s Afternoon Prime faced ‘The Better Half’. Between February 13 and April 21, ‘The Better Half’ was slotted in Kapamilya Gold’s leadoff position and fared particularly well against ‘Hahamakin ang Lahat’ and ‘Legally Blind’.

But from April 24 onwards, ABS-CBN moved ‘The Better Half’ to the second slot in order to accommodate ‘Pusong Ligaw’. Despite the change of timeslot, ‘The Better Half’ maintained its dominance, dispatching the rather short-lived GMA afternoon series ‘D’Originals’ in the process.

‘Haplos’ then became the fourth and final opponent of ‘The Better Half’, and at first, the latter’s winning ways continued. However, a late August slump drastically changed ‘The Better Half”s fortunes, prompting ABS-CBN to finally pull the plug.

While ‘The Better Half’ was mostly dominant in a run that spanned 147 episodes, the recent decline it endured made it clear that it has seen better days. ABS-CBN would have been wise to end ‘The Better Half’ while still on a roll, but alas, they allowed the series to stay too long and fall from its wheels.

Regardless of how it finished, the Kapamilya network should be proud of what ‘The Better Half’ was able to do. The series may have enhanced the reputations of established lead actors Shaina Magdayao, JC de Vera and Denise Laurel, but for Carlo Aquino, the return to the star-studded limelight was worth the price of admission.

Come this Friday, a shocking finish awaits viewers of ‘The Better Half’. But it remains to be seen if it will end with either a bang or a whimper.

 

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

The Better Half’s Next Challenger: Haplos

Hot or cold is the description of ‘The Better Half’s ratings of late.

The ongoing ABS-CBN afternoon drama consistently won the battle against the soon-to-be short-lived series ‘D’Originals’ since moving to the late afternoon slot. Despite that, the show’s ratings have fluctuated between 11% and 15%.

Still, a win is a win, and ABS-CBN is somewhat pleased with the way ‘The Better Half’ has performed. Come this Monday, however, a new challenger awaits.

Enter ‘Haplos’, GMA’s latest offering on the Afternoon Prime block. This upcoming series will be headlined by Sanya Lopez, Rocco Nacino, Thea Tolentino and Pancho Magno.

In ‘Haplos’, Sanya is Angela, a physical therapy undergraduate with a quiet and peaceful upbringing. She is in love with Gerald (Rocco), but unknown to her, she has a special gift that, when she is touched, can heal illnesses and emotional wounds.

Angela also caught the attention of Benedict (Pancho), a fitness instructor whose goal is to become a successful businessman with a trophy wife. But the biggest rival in her life turned out to be her half-sister Lucille (Thea), whose gift of darkness is used in an attempt to jeopardize Angela’s career and personal life.

‘Haplos’ also stars Patricia Javier, Emilio Garcia, Francine Prieto, Diva Montealba and Ms. Celia Rodriguez. The series will be directed by Gil Tejada Jr.

If the unpredictable ratings of ‘The Better Half’ is any indication, then GMA hopes that ‘Haplos’ will perform much better than ‘D’Originals’ did. However, a mere 11-12% or less in the ratings will not satisfy both the network and its viewers.

It will be interesting to see how the up-and-coming quartet of Sanya Lopez, Rocco Nacino, Thea Tolentino and Pancho Magno will perform in a leading role. Going up against ‘The Better Half”s veteran quartet of Shaina Magdayao, Carlo Aquino, Denise Laurel and JC de Vera will be a challenge, but if ‘Haplos’ provides a serious challenge, then it should bode well for them.

‘Haplos’ airs weekdays after ‘Impostora’ on GMA Afternoon Prime.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Legally Blind Concludes This Friday

So long, ‘Legally Blind’.

The finale of this tension-filled GMA Afternoon Prime drama will air tomorrow afternoon, 83 episodes after the story of blind lawyer Grace (Janine Gutierrez) began. But while its episode total is more than enough by typical teleserye standards, ‘Legally Blind’ proved to be anything but a success.

When ‘Legally Blind’ first premiered, it had to face stiff competition against ABS-CBN’s ‘The Better Half’, an equally dramatic series starring Shaina Magdayao, Carlo Aquino, JC de Vera and Denise Laurel. While the former earned some victories against the latter, on average, ‘The Better Half’ scored 15%, 2-3% better than ‘Legally Blind’.

On April 24, 2017, ABS-CBN premiered another kabitserye in ‘Pusong Ligaw’, which stars Beauty Gonzalez, Bianca King, Joem Bascon and Raymond Bagatsing. But instead of replacing ‘The Greatest Love’ in its vacated timeslot, the network decided to place ‘Pusong Ligaw’ opposite ‘Legally Blind’.

As it turned out, ‘Pusong Ligaw’ became even more dominant than ‘The Better Half’ was in its original timeslot. A new opponent spelled doom for ‘Legally Blind’, as ‘Pusong Ligaw”s 18% average ratings were 4-5% better than the former.

It also didn’t help that viewers who watch the surprisingly successful lead-in drama ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ failed to turn out in droves to support ‘Legally Blind’ on a majority of occasions. Such is the cruel fate for GMA’s teleseryes.

Still, for Janine Gutierrez, ‘Legally Blind’ turned out to be a much better outing for her than the short-lived series ‘Once Again’. Notwithstanding its shortcomings in the ratings, its 83-episode run was nothing to be ashamed of.

The finale of ‘Legally Blind’ should be a very gripping one. Now that Grace (Janine) has regained her sight, will justice finally prevail, or will she end up behind bars?

Viewers can only hope that this impending finale will make a lasting impression. This is ‘Legally Blind”s last chance to stand out, and they look to go out with a bang.

UPDATE: For some unknown reason, GMA extended ‘Legally Blind’ for another two weeks. Thus its finale will now be aired on Friday, June 30.

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