Every year, the average Philippine drama continue to be the TV industry’s bread and butter that rakes in the millions that keep TV networks afloat. 2012 is no different.
Some titles played safe this year while others took unexpected risks in terms of storytelling, most of them geared on character-driven stories instead of plot-driven ones. Regardless, soap watchers will always tune in on the TV to watch their stories on a daily and nightly basis.
As in past years, serial dramas dominate TV with ABS-CBN and GMA churning out soap after soap after soap year-in and year out. TV5 on the other hand stuck with its one-hour soap block they introduced two years ago but took the risk of opening their primetime line-up last July with a drama at 6:30PM, Enchanted Garden.
Baby switching, missing heirs, falling in love with your rapist, kidnappings, DNA tests, murder, incest, a truly “endless” love beyond life, death and societal conventions; and domineering mistresses and mothers shaped the year with shows like One True Love, Broken Vow, Pahiram ng Sandali, Walang Hanggan, Pintada, Hindi Ka na Mag-iisa, The Good Daughter, Kung Ako’y Iiwan Mo, Legacy and Princess and I.
Remakes and book adaptations have also made a resurgence this year with the entries of Sana ay Ikaw na Nga, Temptation of Wife, Coffee Prince, Lumayo Ka Man sa Akin, Hiyas and Paraiso while unconventional and light dramas also made their mark such as Lorenzo’s Time and Be Careful with My Heart.
Daytime TV also became a bit exciting this year when ABS experimented putting a drama on morning TV, first it was Mundo Man ay Magunaw (which was a result of last-minute scheduling brought by the cancellation of a certain show) and made the move permanent with the much lighter show that forever broke conventions, Be Careful with My Heart.
In light of this, GMA decided to have a morning soap opera of its own, Cielo de Angelina and was initially pitted against Be Careful. That proved to be a losing effort.
TV5 tried their hand in doing daytime soaps, Felina: Prinsesa ng mga Pusa and Isang Dakot na Luha. Unfortunately, since the end of their respective runs, the netlet have yet to continue putting soaps on its daytime schedule.
Risk is also Net25‘s middle name when they entered the soap scene this year with their own teleserye, 5 Girls and a Dad. Airing on primetime, the fledgeling network aims to provide a lighter alternative to the heavy dramas offered by ABS and GMA.
Barrio lass-themed teleseryes continue to be a presence as well. With the exit of last year’s Maria la dela Barrio and Reputasyon, the void was filled with Magdalena: Anghel sa Putikan. A TV adaptation from a comic book serial, “Kukulayan Ko ang Langit“, Magdalena is daytime’s answer to primetime’s Eva Fonda.
Meanwhile, girls born with seemingly magical/animalistic features and characteristics became the face of the average 6pm drama: Alice Bungisngis (manggagaway/witch), Aryana (mermaid), and Mariposa (paroa; in Paroa: Ang Kuwento ni Mariposa).
Guy-themed shows have also made a grand return to television, thanks to last year’s Angelito, which paved the way for rival brothers to fight it out in Dahil sa Pag-ibig and Valiente. Unfortunately, we have yet to see a “guy-serye” where the leading man doesn’t go crazy over a girl. I was hoping that there’d be a male-driven show that could help empower Filipino men on a positive way.
ABS-CBN’s Kahit Puso’y Masugatan takes the cake on probably having the opportunity on exploring complicated human relationships which, at the same time, allows viewers to still relate to the characters featured in the show. With the show airing late at night, at 10pm to be exact, it’s as much of a hidden gem as it is an under-appreciated darkhorse among all the primetime soaps currently on the air.
So thus far, Philippine soaps have somehow pushed the envelope in covering topics about teen pregnancy, relationships, prostitution and infidelity. However, the industry has a long way to go to become a force to truly reckon with when it comes to top-notch production values and powerful storytelling.
It would have been an interesting year also if GMA went on to make the now-aborted Haram TV project, which would have tackled issues about relationships along sectarian lines (in this case, a relationship between a Christian man and a Muslim woman). It would have been nice for the networks to represent different sectors of Philippine society, not just the tried and tested/conventional poor girl/boy and the rich kid and his/her overbearing parents.
With 2013 just around the corner, we can’t wait what the average Pinoy soap has in store for us.
*Side note: I’m starting to miss the days when soaps go straight to the closing credits after a huge cliff-hanger at the end of each episode instead of airing them alongside previews for the next episode. Kinda ruins the feeling of surprise a bit. At sana rin naman, longer than 3-minutes per segment ang duration ng isang episode, lalo na sa mga daytime soaps. Nakakabitin lang kasi.