Review: TV5’s Valiente – An Old-Fashioned Classic

The Philippines’ TV5 has been on a roll since finally ramping up its efforts to be a legitimate threat to the decade-long duopoly on Philippine television. Aside from successes in variety and reality with Wil Time Big Time and the addictive Face to Face, TV5 has also built a solid news organization. But it has also produced some excellent, original dramas. Though still ratings challenged, it says nothing of the quality of it series like Babaeng Hampaslupa, Glamorosa, The Sisters and Sa Ngalan Ng Ina.

Now, TV5 has another to add to its list with a remake of an epic 90s teleserye, Valiente. Perhaps harkening back to its roots, this 2012 version of Valiente feels like a traditional Filipino soap opera. The story of childhood best friends from different sides of the tracks may be typical, but it is a classic. Following rich heir Theo Braganza (Arvic Rivero/Oyo Sotto) and poorer Gardo Valiente (Ross Fernando/JC de Vera) from childhood friendship, almost like brothers, to their eventual adulthood rivalry is old-fashioned.

In that, it successfully captures the essence of the successful dramas of that era when shows would run for years; revenge, familial rivalries, huge haciendas, destined couples, sadistic villains. Valiente has the makings of one of those grand, old-fashioned epic family dramas.

Having a strong cast certainly helps its cause. While we haven’t yet seen JC de Vera, Oyo Sotto, Nadine Samonte and Nina Jose, we’ve been treated to some great performances from four talented young actors in Arvic Rivero, Ross Fernando, Czarina Suzara, and Lianne Valentin.

Turning in believable performances of brotherhood, friendship, young love and loyalty, these four promising young talents have helped make the first week and a half of the series exciting to watch and have set a great foundation for their grown up counterparts. Plus with the ample experience from vets Gina Alajar, Michael de Mesa and Mark Gil, they lend a pedigree to the series right from the start.

The only negative so far has been Jaclyn Jose and her incredible overacting. She has been the weak link of the cast and of the series. Her over the top acting isn’t in the fun, guilty pleasure way of say Cherie Gil or Alessandra de Rossi on GMA’s Legacy (where it fits right in). It’s just ridiculous and cringe-worthy and completely stands out from the rest of the cast, and not in a good way. It’s almost as if she’s joking, that she’s intentionally hamming it up for no reason. It’d be laughable if it wasn’t so annoying. It isn’t even her character. She isn’t playing a moustache twirling cartoon villain, she’s just simply a cartoon. She’s the Jewel Mische (Maria La Del Barrio) of Valiente.

You compare her to Gina Alajar’s strong, yet understated acting; injecting a fire in her character, but also warmth and levity without the clichés typical of Filipino drama. It’s like night and day and the one glaring misstep.

But more importantly, here’s hoping Valiente will be a great showcase for JC de Vera, Nadine Samonte and Oyo Sotto, plus a chance for Nina Jose to finally show her dramatic chops.

Valiente is off to a strong, engaging start. And while TV5 still has a lot of ground to make up when it comes to audience share, Valiente is definitely worth taking a chance on.

Here is the trailer:

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