action, drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

Bagani: ABS-CBN’s Most Controversial Series Yet

The hype surrounding ‘Bagani’ has been on a high for the past few months.

On the good side, this upcoming ABS-CBN drama series will be led by Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil, one of the Philippines’ most popular love teams today. On the bad side, however, ‘Bagani’ has been beset by controversy from the start.

When the trailer for ‘Bagani’ first popped out, netizens immediately compared it to ‘Encantadia’ due to its similar themes and landscape. The discussion even spread to the writers of the two shows, namely Suzette Doctolero and Mark Duane Angos.

‘Bagani’ also drew flak for its questionable casting choices. While the series was inspired from pre-colonial Philippines, some of the cast were not pure-blooded Filipinos, particularly the LizQuen tandem and co-star Matteo Guidicelli.

Writer Mark Duane Angos defended ‘Bagani”s casting decisions and setting in a series of tweets.

Notwithstanding the controversy surrounding ‘Bagani’, fans can’t help but be excited over the return of LizQuen to the small screen. This time, however, the duo will be engaged in plenty of action as fight scenes will become the norm in ‘Bagani’.

That doesn’t mean any moment of ‘kilig’ will be nonexistent. There will still be occasional cheesy scenes that make viewers gush, just not much due to the serious physicality involved.

So far, the confirmed lead cast of ‘Bagani’ include Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil, Sofia Andres, Makisig Morales and Matteo Guidicelli. An extended cast is yet to be revealed.

Star Creatives will handle the production duties for ‘Bagani’. It will be directed by Richard Arellano and Lester Pimentel.

With the impending debut of ‘Bagani’, ABS-CBN has entered the world of epicseryes (for which the likes of ‘Encantadia’ were derived). But unlike GMA whose production of ‘Encantadia’ drained much of their finances, ABS-CBN should pose no concern for ‘Bagani’ as far as money as concerned, and if the series rates well, it will not be a big problem.

Still, it remains to be seen if the various controversies will affect ‘Bagani’ in any way. LizQuen may give this series a boost, but it may also cost them some disgruntled viewers in the process.

‘Bagani’ airs weeknights after ‘Ang Probinsyano’ on ABS-CBN Primetime Bida. In the meantime, here is the full trailer for the series.

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action, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

The Final Week of Alyas Robin Hood

‘Alyas Robin Hood’ is coming to a close.

Friday, February 24, will be the show’s final episode, and for those who stuck with ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ throughout its run, they will have plenty of stories to tell for this hooded hero. However, it was not all smooth sailing for this GMA action-drama series.

Just weeks before its premiere, many doubted ‘Alyas Robin Hood’, particularly its similarities to another Robin Hood-inspired character ‘Arrow’. Though creative head Suzette Doctolero tried her best to differentiate the two, it was clear from the beginning that the criticisms surrounding ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ would linger on during its run.

‘Alyas Robin Hood’ premiered on September 19, and was pitted against another newcomer in ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’. Though the latter’s subpar ratings did alarm ABS-CBN for a while, the former failed to take advantage, at best closing to within 1% of ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’.

The series also failed to get past ‘A Love to Last’ (during its brief two-week run at the second slot) and ‘My Dear Heart’ despite getting decent ratings of 20% or better. Overall, even with a total of 115 episodes and strong hype over the controversy, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ still fell short of expectations.

The fact is, the superhero genre that GMA advocated in ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ no longer works in today’s primetime scene. Many prefer the more realistic and inspiring plots that ABS-CBN produces in series such as ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘My Dear Heart’ rather than the fantasy leanings of ‘Encantadia’ and ‘Alyas Robin Hood’.

It also puts into question GMA’s casting choices. Let’s face it, Dingdong Dantes is in a starring role for way too long and should’ve given way to younger talent, but as it turns out, GMA wanted him because there is no other capable actor who can portray the lead role in ‘Alyas Robin Hood’.

And while Megan Young and Andrea Torres are worthy supporting actors in this series due to their youth, giving them a younger male lead would’ve helped ‘Alyas Robin Hood’. In the end, GMA made a grave mistake by putting over an actor with over a decade of service as a leading man, thus continuing a path of overusing veterans.

Come this Friday, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will be in a fight of his life. But whether or not it will make a lasting impression at the end remains to be seen.

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FTT Year 2016 in Review: The 20 Stories That Define the Year in Media (Part IV)

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2017, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article looks back at the 20 moments that define the Philippine media this year.

If you missed out on Part I, Part II and Part III of this series, click on the highlighted link for more information.

Here is Part IV of the four-part series. These stories are arranged in no particular order.

The Death of German Moreno

On January 8, the whole Filipino entertainment industry was stunned with the passing of German Moreno. The veteran host, actor and entertainer was best known for his distinguished work with up-and-coming stars on ‘That’s Entertainment’, as well as a near two-decade run hosting the Saturday late night show ‘Walang Tulugan with the Master Showman’.

The death of Kuya Germs also ended an era for late-night variety shows on Philippine television, as ‘Walang Tulugan’ signed off for good on February 13. Despite that, the legacy of Kuya Germs lives on with the Eastwood City Walk of Fame, which inducted new members late this year.

Other notable showbiz personalities who died this year include directors Wenn Deramas and Francis Pasion, actors Lilia Cuntapay, Joy Viado and Dick Israel, and singer Blakdyak.

Encantadia Returns

On July 18, GMA brought back the popular fantaserye ‘Encantadia’, featuring a rehashed storyline of the original 2005 series. The new iteration stars Glaiza de Castro, Gabbi Garcia, Sanya Lopez and Kylie Padilla, who play the roles of Pirena, Alena, Danaya and Amihan respectively.

Unfortunately, despite the hefty expenses that GMA spent for this version of ‘Encantadia’, the series failed to make an impact. In the national Kantar ratings, ‘Encantadia’ regularly fell by double digits to ‘Ang Probinsyano’, and the high expectations that came with it dissipated.

‘Encantadia’ is not the only primetime problem that GMA faced this year, however, as this next entry shows.

The Alyas Robin Hood-Arrow Controversy

When posters and teasers for ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ were first released, many felt the series was a ripoff of ‘Arrow’, with lead star Stephen Amell even going as far as sharing the clip with a ‘flushed-face’ emoji. However, creative consultant Suzette Doctolero made it clear that ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ and ‘Arrow’ were both based on the Robin Hood folklore.

Despite the controversial issues, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ was given the go-signal by GMA to air starting September 19. While the series came out flying in its first few weeks, rival series ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’ soon pulled away, with some disgruntled viewers choosing to watch either the Tagalized ‘Arrow’ on TV5, or the English dub on Jack TV.

‘Alyas Robin Hood’ did have a highly publicized scene with the bikini showdown involving Sarri (Megan Young) and Venus (Andrea Torres), which should soften the blow of its controversial start.

The 25th Anniversary of Maalaala Mo Kaya

The first episode of ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ was aired on May 15, 1991. Twenty-five years later, the program continues to touch the lives of others thanks to a letter read by Charo Santos-Concio, and scenes that can make people shed tears with each episode.

This year, as part of its silver anniversary celebration, ABS-CBN launched a commemorative website for ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’, a nationwide and worldwide tour, and an initiative for people to send in their life stories via a letter or a short-form video. As for the show’s ratings this year, it continues to thwart the challenges of its long-running rival, GMA’s ‘Magpakailanman’.

One can only hope that ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ will continue to air beyond this year, as its legacy and enduring success stands the test of time.

Ang Probinsyano and Doble Kara Celebrate Their First Anniversary

But perhaps the biggest headline of 2016 belongs to both Coco Martin and Julia Montes. Their respective shows, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘Doble Kara’, reached the one-year milestone within a month of each other.

Both ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘Doble Kara’ continue to lead the way in their respective timeslots. The former is currently the most-watched primetime show in the country, while the latter is the most-watched post-noontime show.

How much longer will they stay on the air remains to be seen, but as they proceed into 2017, expect ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘Doble Kara’ to remain a dominant force in the primetime and afternoon slots respectively.

Honorable Mentions

  1. ‘The World Tonight’ celebrates its 50th year.
  2. Power Duo wins ‘Pilipinas Got Talent’ season 5.
  3. Joshua Oliveros wins ‘The Voice Kids’ season 3.
  4. ‘Naku Boss Ko’ mini-series and PiliPinas Debates leading up to the 2016 Philippine Presidential Elections.
  5. ANC and DZMM’s respective 20th and 30th anniversaries.

It was indeed an eventful 2016 in the world of Philippine media. Expect bigger things to come this 2017 as From the Tube continues to document the latest events in television and radio in the Philippines.

Until then, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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Alyas Robin Hood to Premiere Monday Despite Continuous Criticisms

There will be an ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ after all.

The upcoming GMA fantasy action series will see the light of day starting this Monday. This despite the many criticisms that the show faced, particularly its similarities to the American series ‘Arrow’.

But for ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ lead star Dingdong Dantes, he remains confident with the new project despite the negative reviews of it. He, like Suzette Doctolero and Redgie Magno before him, also defended ‘Alyas Robin Hood’, claiming that it is based on the legend of Robin Hood.

The story of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ involves the character of Pepe (Dingdong) who was arrested for the alleged murder of his father Jose (Christopher de Leon). After surviving a violent prison break, he assumes the Alyas Robin Hood persona in order to find the real culprit while at the same time redeeming himself.

‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will also star Andrea Torres and Megan Young as Pepe’s confidant and love interest, respectively. As mentioned earlier, Christopher de Leon will have a special role as Pepe’s father.

The rest of the supporting cast includes Ms. Cherie Gil, Sid Lucero, Ms. Jaclyn Jose, Paolo Contis, Gary Estrada, Dennis Padilla, John Feir, Tanya Gomez, Gio Alvarez, Lindsay de Vera, Dave Bornea, Caprice Cayetano, Rey ‘PJ’ Abellana and Ces Quesada. The series will be directed by Dominic Zapata.

With so many criticisms surrounding ‘Alyas Robin Hood’, they might have a hard time attracting viewers early on. Although their opponent, the JaDine-starred ‘Till I Met You’, is struggling of late, the negative publicity that affected ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ could give the latter an opportunity to regain some of their viewers.

Still, it will be interesting to see what kind of story ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will turn out to be. For the viewers who have tuned in to ‘Arrow’ and criticized ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ the first time around, it’s best for them to watch the latter and see for themselves.

‘Alyas Robin Hood’ airs weeknights after ‘Encantadia’ on GMA Telebabad.

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Alyas Robin Hood a PR Disaster or Blessing in Disguise for GMA

An upcoming GMA fantaserye is in the headlines for both the right and wrong reasons.

When a trailer for ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ was released earlier this week, it quickly became a trending topic on social media and on various international news outlets. But instead of praises from netizens, a lot of criticisms were thrown into the mix, most of which were claims of being a ripoff of the American action series ‘Arrow’.

In fact, ‘Arrow’ lead actor Stephen Amell even shared the said teaser, which featured a ‘shocked’ emoji. Poor Dingdong Dantes.

Amid the criticisms surrounding ‘Alyas Robin Hood’, the show’s consultant Suzette Doctolero has this to say regarding its comparisons to ‘Arrow’.

LionhearTV then clarified that the poster was fan-made and not an official photo of GMA Network. In fact, some of the images used on the fan art were past photos of GMA artists and not publicity photos for ‘Alyas Robin Hood’.

Doctolero further explained that Robin Hood is an inspiration to many similar literary works, adding that every super hero in general was derived from master plots. She then pointed out that no one holds a copyright to Robin Hood (see post below).

Finally, GMA Entertainment vice president for drama Redgie Magno issued her own statement on the matter.

“Ang Alyas Robin Hood ay malayo sa plot ng Arrow. Ito ay kuwento ng isang lower-middle class lawyer na mapagbibintangan ng isang krimeng hindi niya ginawa. Sa kanyang paghahanap sa katotohanan, may mga matutulungan din siyang nangangailangan.”

“Robin Hood has had different reincarnations or versions in different countries. In Russia, there’s the short novel on Alexander Pushkin whose Robin Hood character went by the name Black Eagle. In Brazil, there’s the real life Limpaio, a true-life Robin Hood whose life is now a biography. In Japan, a Kabuki adaptation of Robin Hood was successfully mounted with the character of Nezumikozo as the name of the legendary hero. This is to name only a few. What we are now seeing here is a modern version of Robin Hood, an adaptation of a universal figure made inspirational and relevant to the Filipino audience.”

The teaser for ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ only ran for 15 seconds. In essence, the teaser was a mere hint of what is to come.

Let’s face it, it is unfair to compare ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ to ‘Arrow’ considering that the storyline of the series is yet to be revealed. Thus, the negative reaction to the former is not justified.

However, it is clear that Philippine television has a lot of flaws. The teleseryes, in particular, continue to use recycled storylines, and most intelligent viewers would be better off watching weekly American series instead.

It remains to be seen if ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will be an epic disaster or an unexpected winner. Right now, though, viewers will have to wait for its premiere and see for themselves.

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