First Impression Review: TV5's Fun and Refreshing LolaBasyang.com and ParangNormal Activity

TYPE OF REVIEW : FIRST IMPRESSION REVIEW
No spoilers.

TV5 continues its noble effort to draw in new viewers with its two family friendly series LolaBasyang.com and ParangNormal Activity.

Produced by The IdeaFirst Company for TV5, the two series manage to be good fun while being able to raise the bar for locally produced series.

LolaBasyang.com refreshes the classic stories of the Filipino version of Mother Goose originally written by Severino Reyes with a contemporary style and presentation. Instead of reading from a storybook, Lola Basyang presents her stories to her grandchildren (two of which live abroad) through video conferencing.

This hip, techie version of Lola Basyang, perfectly portrayed by Boots Anson-Roa who in turn serves as narrator, frames the modern adaptations of the classic fantasy stories. Incorporating present-day technology, language and sensibilities, the series does well to appeal to what has become a much more sophisticated young audience.

The fun and engaging episodes that have aired far have been well-written twists on familiar stories.

The same can be said for its Saturday night partner ParangNormal Activity.

This series follows a group of unpopular, nerdy friends with an interest in the paranormal. As Charlie, a pretty new girl joins their Paranormal Club, they begin looking into and solving strange cases involving ghosts and other supernatural beings. They will soon learn that Charlie (played by Ella Cruz) is actually a ghost herself.

Philippine TV is devoid of the traditional “procedural” common around the world. ParangNormal Activity fills that void with its cases of the week which in turn are seamlessly intertwined with some good scares, fun comedy and classic teen romance.

The writing so far has been smart and tight. And one of its strongest accomplishments is having the four teens (played very well by Cruz, Ryle Paolo Santaigo, Andre Garcia and Shaun Salvador) actually speaking the way contemporary Filipino teens speak. That is, not teleserye stiff or overly pabebe or patweetums typical of teen oriented shows. The dialogue especially has had a good flow and is refreshingly natural. Another way to appeal to today’s Filipino audience.

Visually, both series step it up with a great cinematic quality that would surely look even more stunning if broadcast in full HD. That visual quality is something you don’t regularly see on Philippine TV, especially when Philippine networks, for some reason, fall all over themselves trying to dilute its obviously HD-filmed programs.

LolaBasyang.com and ParangNormal Activity are both fun and refreshing additions to what has become a very bland and uncreative Philippine TV environment. And TV5 has been one network that has taken these kinds of fresh and unique chances all in an effort to attract new viewers. As has been the case for TV5, these two are great series that deserve more eyeballs. They’re both creative and visual successes and more than deserve to be commercial successes as well.

3 thoughts on “First Impression Review: TV5's Fun and Refreshing LolaBasyang.com and ParangNormal Activity

  1. The one gripe that I have with these shows (and this includes all networks) is that they are somewhat stuck in the “ohh, we need to teach our young viewers good morals and right conduct” type of stories. That’s good and fine if their audience are kids, but it is obvious from the stars they cast and the characters they portray that they want to go after the teens, yet they still treat these teens as grade schoolers.

    One really bad example of this is ABS CBN’s Nathaniel, which is overly preachy and treats its audience as preschool children that need to be spoonfed by the main character continuously mouthing off the “moral lesson”. Contrast that with the recently-concluded Oh My G! (of the same network) which, while still wi8thin the GMRC storyline, actually treats its audience as being intelligent and independent thinkers. OMG simply lets its story deliver its message, instead of trying to constantly tell them “Hey, you need to listen to the moral lesson.”

    Also, I want to see shows like this and Wansapanataym actually go beyond the GMRCstories and actually try tackling themes touch upon by such “kiddie” shows as Wizard and Gaim.

    • Actually with these two, I don’t really remember any moral lessons of the week. or if there were any, they went over my head. lol But I know what you mean.

      I didn’t watch it, but what was that show where Nash Aguas got some girl (was it Ella Cruz?) pregnant? I assume that was passed off as a family show, but I doubt it tackled teen pregnancy in a meaningful way.

      I’ve only watched a little of Nathaniel, but it immediately came across as a rip off of May Bukas Pa, which itself devolved into that GMRC category.

      • Bagito (that Nash Aguas-Ella Cruz series) was actually decent, though it did get bogged down by the usual telesrye cliches. The wattpad version written by the headwriter of the series seems to have been a lot better. Though I got to give props for it not devolving into teenybopper fare. Nash and Ella remained the proper main characters as they should be.

        On Nathaniel, yeah that’s also what I thought of it. It’s really a shameful followup on that timeslot, since Dream Dad was a good step away from the tired May Bukas Pa clones they aired on it for the past three years. And that really made me disappointed that they did not instead air Oh My G on that slot (apparently due to Janella Salvador’s supposed “lack of star power” which i find a stupid reasoning), considering that series had a more powerful story than Nathaniel.

        Going back to these, I am really disappointed that these series are not really taking the fantasy elements to another level. Again, I wish to see them tackle larger themes than just teenagers finding gosts or fairies granting wishes.

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