Sunday, October 30, 2016

Avisala Sang’gres of Encantadia, Telefantasya

For quite a while, the trend in the Philippine TV revolve around dramas and love teams. It’s very few that we see different flavors and stories that will tickle our imaginations.  Well, with the requel (retelling sequel) of Encantadia the wait is indeed over. It's one of the most successful shows and Filipino Fantasy series a decade ago.
Francis Libiran designed the mesmerizing gowns of four Sang'gres  


Encantadia 2016 is considered as a requel or reteling sequel of its 2005 version.  If we remember that show, which top billed by Sunshine Dizon, Diana Zuburi, Karylle, and Iza Calzado; it brought a mind-blowing production. It led us to a fantasy world where places of Hathoria, Adamya, Sapiro, and Lireo existed. Each kingdom had appealing characters and feels thanks to creative geniuses of behind the show like directors Mike Reyes and scriptwriter Suzette Doctolero. Doctolero is also the creator of other top rated Kapuso shows such as My Husband’s Lover, Indio, The Rich Man’s Daughter, and Amaya.
Kylie Padilla as Amihan , the protector of Jewel of Air

Bring back the telefantasya!

More than ten years ago, fantasy series were the in thing in the primetime and called either “Telefantasya” or “Fantaserye” depending on which network. ABS-CBN called Marina [starring Claudine Barretto] and Krystala [of Judy Ann Santos] as Fantaserye and GMA categorized Mulawin [Angel Locsin and Richard Gutierrez] and Darna [Angel Locsin] as telefantasya.  These came before Encantadia, but this series and its prequel Etheria and sequel Encantadia: Pag-ibig Hanggang Wakas proved there’s more to explore. In fact, its story, designs, and creatures which perhaps were not even existed in Pinoy comics and books before.

If it came out powerful at that time, this 2016 it's also a game-changer with modern touch, and different elements.  By the way, the language used in Encantadia is "Enchant" and the royal gowns of Sang’gre [means royal blood] are designs of well-known Filipino Fashion Designer Francis Libiran.  
Glaiza de Castro as Pirena

New Challenges, New Face

The four lucky ladies to reprise roles of four Sang’gres are  Kylie Padilla as Amihan, keeper of the Jewel of Air; Gabbi Garcia as Alena, keeper of the Jewel of Water; Sanya Lopez as Danaya, keeper of the Jewel of Earth; and Glaiza de Castro as Pirena, keeper of the Jewel of Fire. They all went through auditions, look tests, and rigorous training to nail their respective characters.


Notice that except Gabbi Garcia [whom paired with Ruru Madrid in some projects and here], the other three don’t have perennial love teams.  What exciting about it?  There’s strong possibility that the series don’t only tackle cliché love problems, but also diverse issues such as leadership, importance of family, repentance, humility, and passion.  Ruru is the modern Ybarro, which originally played by Dingdong Dantes.

Glaiza is considered veteran among the four with her years in showbiz and number of projects. If in her most recent past projects she’s usually played supporting or villainous roles, the 28-year old versatile actress already top billed shows such as Grazilda and Kaputol ng Isang Awit. Same with Kylie, who experienced starring roles through The Good Daughter and Adarna. Another edge of Kylie is her innate sporty trait and being a longtime Muay Thai practitioner. Indeed, Robin Padilla’s daughter is suit to play a warrior princess. 
Gabby Lopez as Alena

Meantime, playing Danaya reintroduced Diana’s career in different market since she’s popular doing adult films. Today's Danaya Sanya is maybe the biggest star in the making because of this character. The 19-year old stunner is the freshest face compare to her co-stars and so far known in her stints in Walang Tulugan with the Master Showman and The Half-Sisters.


Encantadia also features Kapuso Primetime King and Queen Dingdong Dantes [Raquim] and Marian Rivera [Ynang Reyna Minea], John Arcilla [Hagorn], Rocco Nacino [Aquil], Mikee Quintos [Lira], Kate Valdez [Mira], Migo Adacer [Anthony], Pancho Magno [Hitano], and Solenn Heussaff [Cassiopeia].  
Sanya Lopez as Danaya


Photos by: GMA Network

Thursday, October 20, 2016

5 Memorable defunct Pinoy TV Shows

Taong 2008 nang halong may conscious effort at biglang nawala ang gana ko ng panonood ng TV. Hindi kasama rito yung panonood ko ng pelikula sa TV at hindi rin big sabihin ay ni tumingin ay di ko ginawa.  Ito iyong tipong religiously kong sinusubaybayan hanggang sa matapos.  So, in memory of my old self before October 2008 ay ito ang 5 defunct Pinoy TV Shows na meaningful and memorable for me:

Batibot.  Ang kabataan ko ay binigyang saya at kulay ng panonood ko ng anime. Subalit, kung may ilang children's televesion series na nahalo ay isa na roon ang Batibot na iyon. Sa paniwala ko ay malaking bagay ang nagawa ng programang ito dahil marami sa mga una kong natutunan na moral lesson, kwento, at salita ay mula rito. Dito ko nalaman ang Alamat ng Pinya, kung paano nakakarating sa mga gripo ang tubig, ang pagiging pala-kaibigan at pagiging organisado. Sing
“ Pagsama-samahin ang magkapareho,
ang magkakatulad ay ating igrupo.
Kay sayang libangan, kay daling gawin
Ang magkapareho, pagsamahin natin” 
(Nai-type ko ito base sa memorya ko ha!)


G-Mik. Ang totoo n’yan ay halos pinapanood ko lahat ng youth-oriented shows na magustuhan ko. Walang pinipiling network, huwag lang magkakatapat ng oras. Napanood ko ang TGIS, Gimik, K2BU, Click, Joyride, Growing Up, 5 and Up, SCQ Reload: OK Ako!, Tabing-Ilog, Let’s Go, at marami pang iba.   Ang pinaka-favorite ko rin na American Show ay youth-oriented show – Dawson’s Creek starring James Van Der Beek, Michelle Williams, Joshua Jackson, and Katie Holmes.   So balik tayo sa G-Mik at bakit hindi pa Tabing Ilog? Dati gustong-gusto ko si Camille Prats kasi nakakaarte s’ya at magaling sumayaw. Nagustuhan ko rin iyong love triangle niya with Stefano Mori and Miko Samson.  Pero sa relevance at pagka-meaty ng stories, siguro mas okay ang Tabing-Ilog at Click.  Kilig-kiligan lang talaga hehehe.



Keep on Dancing.  Kaya ko nagugustuhan ang gaya ni Camille Prats ay dahil mahilig din talaga ako magsayaw. Dahil mahilig naman ang nanay ko sa ballroom dancing ay napapanood ako ng Eezy Dancing noon na ang  host ay sina Dayanara Tores at Charlene Gonzales ( hmmm  may common denominators). Tapos lumipat si Charlene sa ABS-CBN, s'ya na ang lead host ng Keep on Dancing kung saan co-host naman sina Franco Laurel, Troy Montero, at Marc Nelson. Mas nasasakyan ko ang Keep On Dancing kasi mas alive iyong set up ng stage saka iyong dance moves. Although iisa din ata ang main dancers ng Eezy at KOD – ang VIP ni Maribeth Bechara.  Sa ibang banda, gusto ko rin ang StarDance (Hosted by Vanessa del Bianco at Marvin Agustin), at U Can Dance hosted by Derek Ramsay at Iya Villania. Pero ang alam kong nauna sa celebrity dance challenge ay Shall We Dance ni Congressman Lucy Torres.


Tatak Pilipino.  Noong bata ako ang pacifier ko ay TV. Iiwan lang ako sa harap ng TV tahimik na  mundo. At sa dami ng pinapanood ko ay pasok ang Tatak Pilipino hosted by Jim Paredes ( ng Apo Hiking Society) at Gel Santos-Relos. Sa mura kong edad noon ay walang nakaimpluwensya sa akin na panoorin ito basta nagustuhan ko lang, (I feel proud ngayon ah).   Habang naglalaro yung mga ate at kuya ko sa labas ng kung anu-ano ay nanood ako ng isang cultural magazine show habang nasa kuna ako hehe. Pero maganda itong show na ito wala pa akong nakita katulad na nakakaenganyong panoorin kahit ng mga bata.


Okay Ka Fairy Ko – Marami ng nagawang sitcom si Bossing Vic Sotto pero ito pa rin gusto ko. Siguro dahil nakalakhan ko na lang din at ito ang isa unang taste ko ng fantaserye.

Kung mapapansin halos mula sa Kapamilya Network shows yung mga nabanggit ko. Maka-Dos kasi pamilya ko lalo na noon pero nanood pa rin naman kami ng mga palabas sa Siete pero ang mga natatandaan ko ay puro news at foreign shows.  Kung pag-uusapan natin anime at Asian Dramas marami akong mababangit. Isa pa’y running “na” o “pa” ang mga gusto kong shows sa channel 7 gaya ng Encantadia, Ang Pinaka, Powerhouse, Bubble Gang, at iba pa. 




Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Best Taiwanese Actress Ariel Lin



The phenomenon of Meteor Garden made ways to introduce Taiwanese stars and dramas in the Philippines. However it’s Ariel Lin who keeps me watching series from Taiwan up to now.  IMHO, her acting prowess transcends and she's  one of the, if not, the Best Taiwanese Actress.  




Although aired more than three years ago, it’s only recently that I had an opportunity to watch Prince Lan Ling starring William Feng or Feng Shao Feng (in the titular role), Ariel, and Daniel Chan (Emperor Yuwen Yong). It’s a C-Drama pala, but had multi-racial lead stars. Daniel is a Hong Kong singer-actor and William is a Chinese drama artist. George Hu (Prince of An De) is like Ariel, a Taiwanese star.  I will write separate post for my review for this show, but I want to inform you that Ariel gave touching performance here. I almost cried (which is very rare) in the scenes when Yang Xue Wu (Ariel) felt neglected by her beloved husband and had to pick between her grandmother and  Prince Lan Ling Wang.
                                   
It’s almost the same feeling, I had when I watched They Kiss Again episode 11.  The feeling that you could relate to her suffering although you’re totally different from the character she's portraying. I also admit that when I watch other foreign series I often find it hard to understand impacts or messages of shows because of the barriers (culture, expression, etc.) However, with Ariel effective portrayals those barriers gone.  I will rewrite one by one my old reviews, but to inform you I already saw It Started With A Kiss , Love or Bread,  Love Contract ( with Mike He), Fairy from Wonderland (with Hu Ge) and Tokyo Juliet (Wu Chun).

It Started With a Kiss, the first sequel of They Kiss Again, catapulted Ariel to stardom. For me, this series is also one of the best TV shows based on manga in terms of directorial interpretation, script, and acting.  ITWK also established Ariel’s tandem with Joe Cheng. Until now, their fans clamor for their new collaborations after their last one - Love or Bread. Although to be honest, I don’t like that drama. I will elaborate why, soon, on my post about that show.

On the other hand, I don’t see In Time With You yetI am excited to watch this drama because this is the reason why Ariel got her second Golden Bell Best Actress Award.  Furthermore, I already saw her other projects with Bolin Chen (her leading man in this series) – Love Sick and Go Lala Go! 2.  The latter film also made a way to pair her again with Vic Zhou (of F4).  "Again" because Ariel Lin already worked with Vic in his Make a Wish music video (2002).

                                     

Trivia you might not know that I know:

  •          If only there were no problems happened on Skip Beat project, Ariel was supposedly top billed it with Jerry Yan (yes of F4). They were the original choices, but soon Jerry left the project. And after another production delay Ariel also followed him.  In replace of Skip Beat, she accepted In Time With You which became a top rated and award-winning show. If she didn't drop out Skip Beat (aka Extravagant Challenge), perhaps she would work again with Super Junior members Si Won and Donghae.


  •          If not for a TV show, at least Ariel worked with them  through her Firefly music video


  •       I am not totally sure, but there was a time that Ariel allegedly made a statement that she wanted to have a break or stop acting. This came after she rumoredly had a serious health concern, heart break, and toxic schedule.  Thank God she overcomes her personal struggles and continue to work. She’s indeed a precious jewel of Taiwan’s Entertainment Industry


  •      I also read somewhere (here? if you want to dig more) that she had an issue with Mike He and they supposedly to collaborate again after Love Contract (possibly Devil Beside You, but some forums suggest it’s Why Why Love). As we all know. the last two shows emerged fine thanks to He’s hit love team with Rainie Yang.  Rainie Yang and Ariel are good friends in real life, while Mike and Ariel’s perennial love team Joe Cheng are buddies. This issue remain just rumors, because Ariel's camp never clarified nor say something about. Sorry, but it’s my wish that Ariel and Mike will have another project someday.  They have good rapport in Love Contract, it’s just that show had too tragic to bear story.



  •          Besides her acting stints, I admire how Ariel value her education. I like the idea that she had out of the box college course (Korean Major) and received Master of Arts (MA) in Acting from University of London.  



Anyhow, I am happy for Ariel’s love life and may her wishes come true , baby? More shows and movies! 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Review: Wedding starring Jang Nara, Ryu Si-Wwon

In 2007, ABS-CBN aired Wedding starring Ryu Si Won and Jang Nara (JN). JN has become my favorite Korean actress because of her strong quirky roles and amusing romantic-comedy dramas such as Successful Story of a Bright Girl, and My Love Patzzi.  What’s the difference of the Wedding? It’s a straight drama and about married life,which is far from the other two  Korean Drama. Is it because of Ryu Si Won’s influence?

 (Note: I discovered and watched first the Wedding before C-drama MyBratty Princess).

Review:

One of the first factors I like about Wedding were not about the story.  I like the light and happy beat of it's OBB “Its Alright," which also sung by JN. The cinematography was also fantastic especially the outdoor locations and the fashionable outfits of Lee Se-na (JN) and her clique Oh Soo-Ji (Kong Hyun-Joo) and Cha Eun-Hee (Kim Min-Joo).


Cast / Acting.  

Maybe it’s my first time to see Jang Nara in a serious drama that’s why  I’m confused whether she gave justice to her role or not. However, there were many instances that she finely portrayed her childish character Lee Se-na in thought-provoking scenes.  I like her JN's acting when Lee Se-na decided to divorce, and charm her husband Han Seung-Woo (Ryu Si-won).

On the other hand, Jang Nara effectively reinvented her look in the series. She’s no more the boyish type, but a pure, girly, and hopeless romantic lady.  I like the colors of her outfits that were usually modern and youthful. Those complemented her mission to offer something new to the audience.  Furthermore, her total make-over package fitted perfectly to passive and career-man Han Seung-woo of Ryu Si Won.  Although I think he’s been typecast or doing the same acting style, Ryu Si Won portrayed well his character.  You’ll respect Han Seung-woo's ability and ethics, though you’ll also feel that he’s ignorant or insensitive.  Based on their physical looks, Ryu Si Won looks like an ahjussi for JN initially. However, as you continue watching the show, the look or whatever differences vanish because he’s a good actor.  


 Sometimes I understand Myung Se-bin's Shin Yoon-soo, but  most of the time, I ignored her  and it felt like that I am bad for judging her. It’s because she’s a modest woman, but confused and weak in her love life. Who doesn’t feel weak and lost when in love, right? On top of this, she also raised to control her feelings for Han Seung-woo. Then, when there were opportunities for them, they’re not in-sync. Cruel love!  Of course if you’re Team Lee Se-na, Shin Yoon-soo's struggles were immaterial and annoying.  As for Lee Hyun-woo playing Seo Jin-hee, this is another typecast role for him. It’s because he’s again the ideal man, but only ends up as a part of the love triangle or square (watch Rootop Room Cat, Dal-ja's Spring, and Oh My Lady).

By the way, I like the supporting cast/ characters particularly Lee Se-na’s BFFs  (Oh Soo-Ji  played by Kong Hyun-Joo) and Cha Eun-Hee of Kim Min-Joo) and. parents  (Lee Jung-Il played by Kang Seok-Woo and   Sung Hye-Rim of  Na Young-Hee). 

Story/ Direction:  

  • ·         Because I couldn’t stand a lady (Jang Nara) courting a guy (except: my favorite Ariel Lin’s Yuan Xiang Qin in It Started With A Kiss) persistently, I skipped episode 4 and 5. Plus the fact, they looked boring.
  •   I don’t like most of the dialogues especially the lead characters were always unnecessarily and repetitively apologetic. You always hear lines such as “this is all my fault” or “I’m sorry.” 
  • ·         As whole, Wedding’s story is ideal to watch for those planning, getting, and wishing to get married. The show would make you realize that in marriage, it’s not only about love or being with someone. It also recognizing your partner’s past, present, and future.  
Note: Originally written on May 1, 2009

Friday, October 7, 2016

Review: Mischievous Princess of Jang Nara, Alec Su

Prior to Wedding, I believed Jang Nara’s turf was only romantic comedy dramas because of  Successful Story of a Bright Girl and my favorite My Love Patzzi.  Here in Chinese series Mischievous Princess (or My Bratty Princess), she offered flavorful comedy acting, perhaps because this was also an epic drama and she teamed up with Alec Su and Lu Xing.  

To be honest, I am not fan of epic dramas and I watched this series because of Jang Nara. I also know Alec Su only in Love at the Aegean Sea (with Chae Rim) so beside these two the rests of the cast were unfamiliar for me.


Review

Acting and characters

Compare to her portrayal in the Bright Girl and My Love Patzz,  Mischievous Princess (MP) wasn't so amusing for me.  As Little Lobster or Situ Jing, who dressed up and pretended as man to act as ala- Robinhood to her legion, she's entertaining but not outstanding. I giggled when Emperor Zhu Yun (Su) found out that she’s a woman. However, those only few factors that made this character different.  Thus if you're a fan of playful Jang Nara, then MP is a must-see series for you. If not then watch her other shows.

To clarify, I am not saying that this 33-episode (in China it's 36) epic series is unimpressive. It’s long and yet entertaining to watch as it's a light epic drama. As Emperor Zhu Yun, Su was a regal, wise, and handsome. Though there were times that he acted like nonsense and unrealistic, his character was the ideal king.  I have few favorite Emperor's scenes like when he felt closer with Little Lobster. Though, as mentioned, my favorite one was when he discovered that Senior General Situ Qing Yun’s second child was a girl.

As members of royal family; Gu Yong Fei (Empress Dowager), Alec SuBao Lei (Princess An Ning), and Kou Zhen Hai (King of Yunnan); played well their characters.  The only annoying part of Empress Dowager’s character was she favored whatever her niece Wen Mei Er (Chen Xiu Li )’s bratty sentiments. I mean one is enough, but following orders from someone when you’re the authority is questionable mindset.  Aside from this issue, Gu Yong Fei and Chen Xiu Li had effective villainous acting.  


Script and direction 

In terms of drama, feel-good vibes, romance, and twists - MP is amusing. It taught few meaningful lessons that worth to remember. An example of those is Emperor Zhu Yun’s realization about his stoic lifestyle. It would remind us that living in a castle is not all fun. Commoners may have happier dispositions because of their simple problems and fewer restrictions.

However, if you really want to enjoy MP set your expectations lower than usual. It have some loopholes that may distract you.  Few of those are Catherine Hung’s character, the mysterious teacher of Little Lobster. She always had plans and empty promises. The problem here is not only about her messy story line, but also the execution of her scenes. She always mentioned about her comrades, maybe about 300, but you wouldn’t see those ninjas and allies in the entire show.  It’s only her, her right hand, and friends of Little Lobster.  On the other hand, it’s not only her who had few followers, even the Emperor also. When he attacked Yunnan’s Kingdom he only had about 10 soldiers in his line.

Meantinme, the love affair of Jia Nan(Lin Jiang Guo) and Wen Qiang (Gao Lu) also had a great exposure in MP. It had impact because Jia Nan is Jing Er older brother, while Wen Qiang is one of the daughters of  power-tripper Prime Minister Wen Zhang (Wang Gang). In a way, it’s a creative way to make the three lead work together at the background.  On the other side, if you want to concentrate on romance and drama action among the three leads, then Jia Nan and Wen Qiang’s ill-fated love story is burdensome for you.


Aired in 2005, Mischievous Princess was one of the projects of Jang Nara in penetrating China.   That time, Lu Xing was only 31 years old, while Alec Su was 36. Surprisingly, the former looked older than  Su but they’re both handsome in the show.  As for Nara, I don’t know if she will do similar show like this in the future so it’s amusing to see MP.

Note: I originally wrote this review on April 27, 2009