by Nickie Wang
In Hollywood, there’s always a movie buzz when a television series becomes successful, but in the Philippines, it’s almost the other way around. In the past years, we have seen a decrease in creative and original initiatives on local television since the trend is to adapt classic movies into television soap or series. Is there really a need of that?
Many of the recent television adaptations of classic films have performed well, but none of them became as memorable as the original version. Why is that? The remake almost always leads to disappointment, if not disaster. All major TV stations are guilty of this mediocrity—simply retelling a story, tweaking it to fit as a weekly or a daily program, and hiring in demand talents to entice the viewers.
Television shows Blusang Itim and Bagets, Just Got Lucky are just two of the movies made into a television program. The first premiered last Monday on GMA-7 and the latter already had its pilot episode last Sunday on TV5.
Return of the mystical blouse
Blusang Itim is another series added in the growing lineup of fantasy dramas on the Kapuso network. It stars Kylie Padilla playing the character that Snooky Serna originated in a film of the same title in 1986. The story follows the struggle of Jessa (Kylie), a young girl with a disfigured face who dreams of making it in the fashion industry as a designer.
All her life, Jessa desires to be accepted by people in spite of her physical appearance. She also yearns to be with a man who would take her as she is, not minding her superficial flaws. All these seemed impossible until her act of kindness leads her to the magical “blusang itim.” The blusa does not only make her face beautiful, but also changes her life, in ways she could not have imagined before.
Kapatid revives Bagets
Over on TV5, the newest show that makes its executives all thrilled is the serialized version of another ‘80s movie, Bagets. The iconic youth-oriented comedy flick originally starred Aga Muhlach, William Martinez, JC Bonnin, Raymond Lauchengco, and Herbert Bautista. It’s a common knowledge that Bagets became these actors’ ticket to more projects, thus to their stardom. It also became a blueprint to other youth-oriented series aired on television.
XLR8 members AJ Muhlach (Aga’s half brother) and Aki Torio, and showbiz newbies Josh Padilla (son of Gino Padilla), Rico de la Paz (from Star Factor) and Yohan Laurence (discovered in recent auditions) are the young teenage boys that will give life to the roles previously played by above mentioned actors.
In its pilot episode, the boys who are all third year students, enrolled for a performing arts workshop in their school. The fictitious academy located somewhere in Manila, is home to affluent students and some of the not-so-rich-ones who are admitted through scholarship.
The conflict begins when Ace’s (AJ) mountain bike parked in front of the school building is intentionally hit by a car driven by Jules (Josh). The incident leads to a physical altercation. The principal (Joy Viado) orders the students to come to school with their parents the next day. And in the unexpected turn of events, Ace’s mother (Bernadette Alison) and Jules’ father (Jao Mapa) are flabbergasted that their sons are attending to the same school. Apparently, the parents know each other and they seem to have an awful past, which the pilot has not yet reveal.
The new Bagets no longer uses the song “Growing Up” that was performed by Gary Valenciano, instead it uses JoBoxer’s 1984 hit, “Just Got Lucky.”
At first glance, the weekly program seems to be a rip-off of the popular US series Glee only that the characters are dancing and not singing (yet). It’s also puzzling why the episode writer used the term summer school when in fact, it is not widely-used in the country, plus the fact that no particular school in Manila offers a summer class for performing arts (or probably, we are just not in the loop).
Two of the interesting scenes in the pilot episode are the drifting challenge and the flash mob that involved all the students dancing inside the campus. First, it gives us an idea how affluent kids challenge themselves nowadays, very interesting. Also, the program sees high school juniors driving their own cars on their way to school, another interesting detail that we hardly see in real life.
A flash mob in a Manila campus? That’s a very odd scene. Though the show is all about dancing and performing, a flash mob only regularly happens in the US and in some parts of Europe (the one staged at the Mall of Asia was a publicity for a fast-food).
The writer and the director of the series seem to be portraying teenage Filipinos in a different way. We are not particularly sure if the series is backed up by research or if it actually mirrors reality. Anyway, before we forget it’s actually a television series, and everything is possible on TV these days (even casting actors that don’t know how to act).