drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Desperate Times: Ika-5 Utos Represents GMA’s Last Hope for Six-a-Week Relevance

Let’s state the obvious to begin with.

On Monday, September 10, GMA will introduce a new drama called ‘Ika-5 Utos’. And the series will air from Monday to, not Friday, but Saturday afternoons after ‘Eat Bulaga’.

‘Ika-5 Utos” main plot centers around three families whose bonds will be destroyed by a series of incidents. The series, in particular, will take a look at the issue of hazing in college fraternities.

The cast of ‘Ika-5 Utos’ includes Jean Garcia, Gelli de Belen, Valerie Concepcion, Jake Vargas, Kiko Estrada, Inah de Belen, Tonton Gutierrez, Antonio Aquitania, Jeric Gonzales, Migo Adecer and Klea Pineda. The series, like its sister program ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, will be directed by Laurice Guillen.

So another teleserye that will air six times a week? It seems like GMA is obsessed with this new habit.

And since they do not have any further ideas to fill in on a Saturday afternoon (they do not even bother producing a program to match ABS-CBN’s ‘Pareng Partners’), they are stuck with using a teleserye as a desperate ploy to boost ratings. But as seen in the ill-fated tale that is ‘Contessa’, it was a flawed strategy to begin with.

The approach initially worked on ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ due to ‘insistent public demand’ (its finale earned around 20% despite airing on a Saturday). But when ‘Contessa’ took over viewers were soon fed up by GMA’s over-saturation tactics, and instead opted to watch either Vice Ganda running his mouth on national television or Netflix shows online.

As a result, ‘Contessa’ underachieved and GMA’s strategy backfired. With that in mind, ‘Ika-5 Utos’ is now stuck in the crossroads that will either appease its audience to watch the series or force GMA to finally admit the problems in its approach.

It will be interesting to see how this latest maneuver plays out. Can ‘Ika-5 Utos’ deliver on a six-a-week basis, or will GMA ever regret making this risky move?

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action, drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

Mulawin vs. Ravena Premiere Means New Characters for Ang Probinsyano

The threat is indeed real.

With the premiere of GMA fantaserye ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ later tonight, long-running ABS-CBN action series ‘Ang Probinsyano’ introduced a new slate of supporting actors that will add more color to an already endless story. They are:

  • John Arcilla
  • Angel Aquino
  • Ejay Falcon
  • Jhong Hilario
  • Lito Lapid
  • Mark Lapid
  • Sid Lucero
  • Long Mejia
  • Pokwang
  • Mitch Valdes

These actors will join the main cast that features Coco Martin, Ms. Susan Roces, Yassi Pressman and Awra Briguela, among others. Ironically, John Arcilla was last seen in the just-concluded GMA fantaserye (and ‘Ang Probinsyano”s archrival) ‘Encantadia’, where he was cast as Hagorn.

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The addition of new actors indicate that another fresh storyline for ‘Ang Probinsyano’ is about to take shape. After all, a new rival in ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ will come into play and the best way for the former to maintain viewer interest is to introduce new characters and plots to keep up with its latest adversary.

Speaking of ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’, the sequel to the popular early 2000s fantaserye ‘Mulawin’ is 12 years in the making. The original series (led by Richard Gutierrez and Angel Locsin) became a huge hit when it first aired, and with the creation of the sequel, the bar is raised even higher.

‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ will feature stars such as:

  • Dennis Trillo (as Gabriel)
  • Heart Evangelista (as Alwina)
  • Carla Abellana  (as Aviona)
  • Tom Rodriguez (as Rodrigo)
  • Lovi Poe (as Magindara)
  • Regine Velasquez (as Sandawa)
  • Bianca Umali (as Lawiswis)
  • Derrick Monasterio (as Almiro)
  • Bea Binene (as Anya)
  • Miguel Tanfelix (as Pagaspas)
  • Ariel Rivera (as Panabon)
  • Chynna Ortaleza (as Reyna Rashana)
  • David Licauco (as Malik)
  • Dion Ignacio (as Siklab)
  • Valerie Concepcion (as Tuka)
  • Roi Vinzon (as Daragit)
  • JC Tiuseco (as Tangos)
  • Winwyn Marquez (as Ribery)
  • TJ Trinidad (as Greco)
  • Angelu de Leon (as Lourdes)
  • Bobby Andrews (as Dionisio)
  • Charee Pineda (as Savanna)
  • Joko Diaz (as Antonio)
  • Martin del Rosario (as Aramis)
  • Kiko Estrada (as Rafael)
  • Nova Villa (as Lola Elo)

Directors Dominic Zapata and Don Michael Perez will once again breathe life into ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’, just as they did with the original ‘Mulawin’.

Heading into tonight, the challenge for ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ is a daunting one. ‘Ang Probinsyano’ has been a ratings juggernaut for nearly two years now and not even the efforts of its predecessor ‘Encantadia’ was enough to topple the former.

That said, the best chance for ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ might come from viewers who are becoming disenchanted with ‘Ang Probinsyano”s endlessly dragging storyline. With the latter’s new characters coming into play, this may be an opportunity for some to switch channels and watch something different and pleasing.

Still, with too many loyal viewers siding with ‘Ang Probinsyano’, the task will not be an easy one. So, good luck to GMA in their efforts to sway the momentum away from Coco Martin and company.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Because of You Premieres Monday, To Face On the Wings of Love

‘On the Wings of Love’ will have a third rival in a span of 17 days.

Its original rival, ‘My Faithful Husband’, ended with a whimper last November 13. Its next opponent, ‘Beautiful Strangers’, is also expected to bow out quietly tomorrow night.

After failing to beat ‘On the Wings of Love’ with a pair of heavy dramas, GMA decided to make things a little lighter. But instead of pitting up-and-coming stars against one another, they opted for a tried and tested formula: putting veterans on the spotlight anew.

‘Because of You’ is the network’s latest attempt in trying to curb the JaDine phenomenon. The series will be led by Carla Abellana and Gabby Concepcion, with Rafael Rosell acting as the third wheel.

The story will revolve around the three actors, in which Andrea (Carla) will try to deny her true feelings towards her ex-boyfriend Oliver (Rafael). Eventually she found Jaime (Gabby), whom she fell in love in an unlikely setting.

‘Because of You’ will also include the likes of Valerie Concepcion, Celia Rodriguez, Iya Villania, Joyce Ching, Enzo Pineda, Kuh Ledesma, Vaness Del Moral and Bettina Carlos in supporting roles. Mark Reyes will be at the helm of this light-hearted series.

For Carla, it will be her first series without her usual on-screen and off-screen partner Tom Rodriguez, who is currently paired with Megan Young on the second remake of ‘MariMar’. It is also Gabby’s first project with the Kapuso network, after making a comeback several years ago with ABS-CBN.

Still, the odds are not in favor of the Kapuso series heading into Monday’s premiere. ‘On the Wings of Love’ continued to exceed expectations, and the duo of James Reid and Nadine Lustre are fast becoming bankable stars, something GMA couldn’t manage with their younger talent.

That said, ‘Because of You’ will have its work cut out for them. For Carla and Gabby, they hope to remain relevant even in the midst of an ongoing youth movement that is giving GMA a lot of problems.

‘Because of You’ premieres this Monday after ‘Little Nanay’ on GMA Telebabad.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, suspense, television

Elemento: GMA’s Second Miniseries for October

As Halloween approaches, GMA launches another miniseries befitting the special occasion.

‘Elemento’, the horror fantasy series produced by GMA News and Public Affairs, will air starting October 10. The miniseries will feature more humanized versions of iconic creatures from various Filipino legends and myths.

Every Friday during the month of October, viewers of ‘Elemento’ will be treated to a different approach in storytelling. Throughout the series, classic Filipino Halloween icons will be converted from fearful creatures to more protagonistic beings, giving ‘Elemento’ a different spin on the legends that people used to read.

Four different stories will be featured on ‘Elemento’. The first story, ‘Si Esperanza, Ang Rebeldeng Manananggal’, features a vampire who rescues abused children. Glaiza de Castro will play the titular role, while Maria Isabel Lopez will play Esperanza’s mother and Valerie Concepcion will play Lucila, Esperanza’s evil sister. Carl Acosta and Nourish Icon Lapuz will play the role of children saved by Esperanza.

The second story, ‘Ang Masayahing Kapre na si Itim’, features a kapre who protects a forest from flooding. Bodjie Pascua will play the role of Itim, while supporting roles will be played by Ping Medina, Irma Adlawan, Lou Veloso, and child actors Joshen  Bernardo, Kyle Ocampo, Milkah Nacion and Micko Laurente.

The third story, ‘Pandora, Ang Diwata ng Wawa’, features a river fairy who exacts revenge on men who try to pollute the Wawa River. Solenn Heussaff will play the titular character, while Carlos Agassi will play her love interest. Liane Valentino and John Paul Mesde will play supporting roles.

The final story, ‘Apoy ni Bambolito’, tells the story of a black dwarf who gave an Aeta child named Anya the power of fire. Mike ‘Pekto’ Nacua will play the titular character, while Rochelle Pangilinan will play the mother of Anya, played by Marjorie Orteo.

Like ‘Seasons of Love’, ‘Elemento’ will go up against ABS-CBN’s ‘Pure Love’. And since the mini-series will only run for four Fridays this October, it will be a very daunting task for ‘Elemento’ to win its timeslot in such a short period of time.

That said, expectations will be very high for this series, especially when its premise is to tell a more good-natured side to fearsome creatures that are well-known to people. With that, good luck to the writers of ‘Elemento’ in making each story a good one.

‘Elemento’ airs starting October 10, and every Friday of October thereafter, before ’24 Oras’.

 

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