drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

1995 Flashback: T.G.I.S. and the Advent of Teen-Oriented Series

Some of the first batch members of ‘T.G.I.S.’ as they appear in 1995. (Photo credit: GMA Network)

1995 was a memorable year in Philippine television. As part of a year-long special, From the Tube will look back at a year full of historical debuts, unforgettable moments, and celebrated feats in the history of television in the country.

Yesterday would have been the 20th anniversary of ‘T.G.I.S.’

Premiering on July 8, 1995, ‘T.G.I.S.’ became a Filipino pioneer in the teen-oriented drama genre. While there were a few other dramas that featured teenagers as lead stars (e.g. Julie Vega’s ‘Anna Liza’ and Janice de Belen’s ‘Flordeluna’), ‘T.G.I.S.’ became the first to feature a cast dominated by teenage actors.

Before ‘T.G.I.S.’, some of the country’s rising young stars had made their mark through shows such as GMA’s ‘That’s Entertainment’ and ABS-CBN’s ‘Ang TV’. The two shows provided a venue for the youngsters to showcase their talents, but it was not enough.

Eventually, VIVA Television and GMA developed a plan that would give a new batch of young stars an avenue to expose their acting skills. Thus, ‘T.G.I.S.’ was launched.

‘T.G.I.S.’ became an immediate hit soon after it premiered. The success of ‘T.G.I.S.’ led to a feature film that was released in 1997, as well as a spinoff series ‘Growing Up’ that aired from 1997-99.

The first batch of ‘T.G.I.S.’ were led by Bobby Andrews and Angelu de Leon, a.k.a. Wacks and Peachy, respectively. Other members of the first batch include Michael Flores, Red Sternberg, Raven Villanueva, Rica Peralejo, Onemig Bondoc, Jake Roxas, Bernadette Allyson and Maybelyn dela Cruz.

The first batch anchored ‘T.G.I.S.’ for two years, before giving way to a new cast of young stars. The second batch, which lasted another two years, was led by Dingdong Dantes and Antoinette Taus, alongside Polo Ravales, Kim delos Santos, Sunshine Dizon, Chubi del Rosario, Anne Curtis, Chantal Umali and Dino Guevarra.

Unknown to some, future newscasters Mitzi Borromeo and Menchu Macapagal were also part of the ‘T.G.I.S.’ cast. Meanwhile, Ciara Sotto was part of both batches of ‘T.G.I.S.’, later joining ‘Growing Up’ upon her character’s graduation from high school.

‘T.G.I.S.’ paved the way for similar teen-oriented dramas that became a staple of weekend afternoon programming. Examples include ‘Gimik’ (later ‘G-Mik’), ‘Click’, ‘Tabing Ilog’ and ‘Berks’.

In late 2012, another spinoff of ‘T.G.I.S.’ was launched, called ‘Teen Gen’. Bobby Andrews and Angelu de Leon reprised their roles as Wacks and Peachy, alongside GMA’s new batch of young stars, but it only managed to air for over six months without success.

While ‘T.G.I.S.’ no longer airs today, it will still be remembered for changing the way teenage actors were exposed and promoted. They were a game-changer, and another reason why 1995 became a memorable year in Philippine television.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

‘Ipaglaban Mo”s Return a Throwback to 90s Weekend TV Habits

This Saturday, ABS-CBN’s legal drama series ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ returns after a 16-year absence. And for older viewers, the comeback of ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ harkens back to the days when weekend drama anthologies filled the airwaves in the 1990s.

Back then, numerous drama anthologies were aired after noontime shows such as ‘Eat Bulaga’, ‘Sa Linggo Napo Sila’, ‘GMA Supershow’, ‘Salu-Salo Together’ and others. These anthologies feature only one story per episode, which means that viewers would be able to watch an entire story develop for over an hour. Examples of weekend drama anthologies include ‘Lovingly Yours, Helen’, ‘Coney Reyes on Camera’, and ‘GMA Telesine Specials’, and ‘Ipaglaban Mo’, all of which lasted deep into the latter part of the decade.

By the late 90s, anthologies gradually fell out of favor, and were replaced by weekend afternoon drama series. These featured a continuous storyline that takes place in each succeeding episode, typical of today’s teleseryes. ‘Anna Karenina’, produced by both GMA and VIVA Television, aired for nearly six years, and set the stage for other weekend drama series to follow. Another example was ABS-CBN’s ‘Tabing Ilog’, which aired for four years.

The next decade witnessed the decline of the weekend drama series in the Philippines. ‘Startalk”s move to Saturday afternoons in 1998 helped them earn high ratings in their new timeslot. On the other hand, ABS-CBN struggled with dramas such as ‘Sa Sandaling Kailangan Mo Ako’, and in 2003 they decided to create their own showbiz programs, beginning with ‘S2: Showbiz Sabado’. Teen-oriented series then took over Sunday afternoons, and in 2013, GMA and ABS-CBN experimented with horror-themed programs.

This year, ABS-CBN brought back a program that was once a staple every weekend. ‘Ipaglaban Mo’, hosted by Atty. Jose Sison, aired for nine years on the Kapamilya network, and its success led to two Star Cinema-produced films. Like the original, the new ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ will feature a particular court case that is dramatized on TV. This time around, Atty. Sison will be joined by his son, Jopet Sison, while the country’s top directors will be assigned to different episodes.

The new ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ airs this Saturday after ‘It’s Showtime’ on ABS-CBN. The show should not only attract a new generation of viewers, but also increase awareness towards a wide variety of legal cases in the country.

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