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Drama Preview: IMORTAL

This may not strum an interest chord among some, but let me juz share the teaser for IMORTAL. It’s a Filipino teleserye that gears toward the romantic-supernatural genre starring Angel Locsin and John Lloyd Cruz. Not that I’m a fan or something near that line, but it’s refreshing to deviate from the usual every once in a while, right?

Synopsis: From Wikipedia.

Three hundred years ago, a group of powerful beings arrived in our shores. Known as vampires, drinkers of human blood, their menace quickly spread throughout the land. But unknown to them, a powerful clan also lived in the islands, a group of beings who can transform themselves into powerful wolves – the Taong Lobos. The Taong Lobos were the humans’ protectors and they immediately formed an army to destroy the vampires. The blood drinkers were no match to the Taong Lobos. One by one, they fell. Those who survived were driven into hiding. What followed was peace among the humans and taong lobos, and the memory of the vampires started to fade. But the vampires are only lying in wait – organizing and fortifying their numbers until they are ready. They are holding a secret – a prophecy that foretells of an epic battle between them and the Taong Lobos that will finally decide the one blood that shall rule all. The battle shall be led by a powerful vampire and a powerful taong lobo who are each others nemesis and downfall. The vampires believe they have found their prophesied savior and now they are preparing to come out and start the war. The Taong Lobos have grown complacent, and they know nothing about the prophecy. With the stage set for an epic battle, two individuals, Mateo and Lia, find themselves drawn to each other, unsuspecting that as they grow closer together, they are awakening the powers that are lying dormant in both of them – the same powers that will inevitably tear them apart.

You can check this blog or the official website.

Preview: Magkaribal

The most anticipated Fdrama for the second quarter, MAGKARIBAL (roughly translated as The Rivals), finally, sets its airing date this June 28.

I really have high hopes for this drama and I, too share the hypes and anticipation. Dubbed as the first ever fashion series in the country,  the drama is truly one of a kind and revolutionary in its genre. I’m crossing my fingers that it wouldn’t lose its charms along way though.

Seriously, a fushion of high fashion and  intense drama? It’s gotta be interesting, right? I rarely watch Filipino (Tagalog) dramas (coz Fdramas tend to be unnecessary long and too emotionally draining), but somehow I  feel that this drama is really promising.

Watching the teasers, I can sense that the drama has enough angst to keep the viewers comin’  and, not to mention, a very, very intriguing plot. And not to forget, the a stellar casts!  Hopefully, Magkaribal would do justice to the recent buzz.

Here are two of the many teasers. After 2 excruciating days of mind-boggling unraveling  sessions, I finally finished decoding the whole two teasers and is able to offer an English translation.

Gelai: I wear the dream to be a famous fashion designer.

Victoria: I was born to design. I’m not the best…I’m THE one.

Gelai: I will not only be your match. I’ll be greater.

Victoria: You want war? I’ll give you war. Just tell me where and when, I’ll be there… wearing my red stiletto.

Gelai: I am Gelai.

Victoria: I am Victoria.

I wear the dream to be known and be accepted.

I wear the  strength to fight and be recognized.

I wear the right to be chosen and uphold.

I wear the courage to save the one I love.

I wear the heart that will never give up and fight.

I wear the love that can give and let go.

What makes a Filipino Drama

I’m planning on doing a write-up/ recap on Down with Love episode 12, but my internet connection is waaayyyy tooo slooooow. Video downloading is waaayyy tooo chooopy. I’ll probably take me waaayyy tooo long to recap a single scene.

So here I am, thinking of something to write about. And out-of-the-blue, wooosh! I’m thinking Filipino dramas.

For the purpose of clarity and simplicity,first, we define the term “Filipino drama”:

Filipino dramas/ soap operas come in different names, depending upon the length, time it is aired, genre, and  even the origin of the piece.For example, drama series that centers on fantasy and magic are often called fantaserye. On the other hand, dramas that originates from movies are fondly named sinenovelas. However, this post is all about the teleseryes, which is the more popular form and genre.

Just to give you a simple background, MOST of the Filipino  teleseryes, are heavy melodramas. Running time varies from 3 mos. to 3 YEARS! Teleseryes are being aired Mondays-Fridays with approx. 30 minutes per episode, usually, between 8-11pm (prime time). However, because  of the increasing popularity of Korean and Taiwanese dramas in the Philippines, modern teleseryes are often cut short to 3-6 mos.

Moving on to the core of this post, let’s talk about the main ingredients that definitely makes up a typical teleserye.

(1) Extreme Characterization. Female leads in a typical teleserye are often characterized as the “perfect damsel who is always in distress”. They have the perfect face, has the perfect attitude and most importantly, they are the perfect push-over. They are impossibly kind, and ridiculously selfless. They carry the heaviest loads, thus, they do a lot of crying. Simply said, leading ladies are  humanized angels roaming around the earth.

Male leads, on the other hand, are most often portrayed as the ultimate gentlemen. Though they are not as perfect as their female counterparts,  they still do what they do best: save the “perfect damsel who is always in distress”. Thus, even though they have minor flaws, like being too arrogant, too torn etc., they are still well-loved.

Just as the female leads are amazingly faultless, and the male leads almost overly perfect, the villains are impossibly wicked. Villains in teleseryes are the ultimate crooks. They embody all forms of evilness: greed, uncontrollable jealousy and violence. They are purely evil, thus, they have no chance to change.  That is why, villains often end up being killed, imprisoned or insane. Each villain, has her/ his trademark evil laugh (mwahahaha!).

(2) Catfights! A typical teleserye would not be complete without the most anticipated catfights. Remember I said that the female leads play as the perfect push-over? Well, they don’t remain like that forever.  Somehow, before the teleserye ends, the female lead will miraculously change from the “poor little damsel who is always in distress” to a bold and daring supah woman. When that time comes, she’ll be able to participate in the catfight. Female brawls are always intense. The scene may involve a couple of slapping marathons, or they may get a little violent and wrestle to death. But most of the time, they just exchange spiteful words.

One of the best catfights ever is the confrontation between Catherine and Scarlett in Iisa Pa Lamang:

Scarlett: “Walang hiya ka!” (Shameless!)

Catherine: “Mas walang hiya ka! (You’re twice as shameless!)

Scarlett: “Home wrecker!”
Catherine: “adulteress!”

Scarlett: “Social climber!”
Catherine: “Slut!”

Scarlett: “Black widow!”
Catherine: “Desperate Housewife from hell!!”

(3) Power lines. Most teleseryes are remembered because of the power lines. These are dialogues that stir the viewer’s sentiments, making them emotionally attached and hooked. Power lines are simple and short but emotionally precise and are  delivered with conviction and integrity.

Some power lines are:

Lavinia: You’re nothing but a second-rate, trying hard, copy cat! (Bituing Walang Ningning)

Scarlett: You’re just a gold digger in red! (Iisa pa lamang)

JB Berenguer: I…never said…that I love you! (Maging sino ka man)

Celine: Yes! I’m a slut but I’m the best slut in town! (Maging sino ka man)

Corazon Berenguer: I have had enough weak men in my life and I don’t want another one for a son! (Maging sino ka man)

(4) Gold, Guns and Goons. Ever present in typical Filipino dramas are gold (millions of money), guns (yeah, the real guns!) and the goons (hired thugs). These are the perfect gears used by villains to attain their goals. Without these, there can never be a teleserye. Why?

Here’s how it works: The gold (money) serves as the evil villain’s ultimate goal, the very reason why he is evil. He then uses guns to inflict terror and thereby, get the gold. And of course, guns wouldn’t be useful without the people pulling the trigger, so the villain needs an army of equally evil minions and thus, there is a need to hire thugs.

Applying the rules of logic: Without  money, guns, and goons, there’s no villain. When there are no villains, there are no leads. When there are no leads, we don’t have a story.

(5) Crying Time. As I’ve said before, teleseryes are heavy melodramas. And when I say heavy, I really mean heavy! It seems that these dramas exist just to make a running faucet out of our tear ducts. The leads cry when they are happy, they cry when they are sad, they even cry when they are angry! So, expect that there are a lot of crying times.

My views and opinion:

Putting it into a more specific and concrete illustration, watching a teleserye is like swimming against a raging current. The more you  swim forward, the more exhausted you get. It’s a long and tiring journey, you may think of quitting along the way. But somehow, when you push yourself through, you’ll definitely arrive on top and you’ll find the journey worth the while!

I lack the in-depth knowledge to give an impressive opinion on Filipino dramas. I don’t even watch a lot. But this much I can say, teleseryes are rapidly evolving. Humour is already incorporated (unlike before), the plots are gearing towards the trendy and unconventional storylines, conflicts are becoming simpler and light.

Hope to see a feel-good Filipino drama soon… 🙂


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