First Impression Review: The Hilarious and Heartwarming Absurdity of Welcome to Waikiki

No spoilers. But not really a First Impression as I’ve already watched 11 episodes. =D

For various reasons, it’s been a while since I’ve been excited and engrossed in a Korean drama. Not the least of which being there hasn’t been a series that’s truly caught my attention enough to warrant following the series all the way through as it airs. That may be one reason why I love KBS Drama Specials so much because while they’re excellent stories, they don’t require a long commitment.

But that all changed with JTBC’s Welcome to Waikiki (으라차차 와이키키). Continue reading

First Impression Review: Maine Mendoza Carries Slow First Week of Destined to be Yours


Minor first week spoilers/discussion. Click here for the Hindsight Review.

That it took so long is a discussion all its own. But finally, the Alden Richards-Maine Mendoza loveteam, aka AlDub, made their teleserye debut this week headlining the romantic comedy Destined to be Yours.

AlDub took the Philippines and the world by storm. Their unexpected and rapid rise in popularity and social media’s role in it will be the subject of future Media Studies courses in the country. But for now, most are concentrated on them finally making the jump from noontime and Eat Bulaga to primetime.

Pop culture and entertainment in the Philippines is driven by loveteams. Whether it’s soap operas, movies, TV commercials or even reality shows, Filipinos are drawn in by the idea of love and romance. So the next logical step for AlDub was for them to headline their own daily soap opera. For their many fans, it provides the opportunity to see them regularly in considerably more romantic situations than they may have opportunity for on a noontime variety show. For their managements and especially the network, it’s a chance to finally cash in on their record success with a primetime slot.

However now that the time has finally arrived, AlDub’s primetime debut has mostly been flat and uninspired. Continue reading

First Impression Review: Nadine Lustre a Highlight on ABS-CBN's Promising On The Wings of Love

Some spoilers and premise discussion.

A charming Nadine Lustre highlights ABS-CBN’s newest primetime drama On The Wings of Love.

The series debut of the popular Nadine Lustre-James Reid loveteam (better known as JaDine) mostly hits the right notes in its first two episodes. Continue reading

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

No spoilers.

TV5 continues its noble effort to draw in new viewers with its two family friendly series 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. Continue reading

First Impression Review: TV5 Carefully Mixes Some Filipino Flavor Into Faithful Baker King Adaptation

Very, very minor spoilers. Read my review introduction here. For my final, spoilerific Hindsight Review, click here.

After the first two weeks, TV5’s Baker King is off to a very good start. The series, so far, is a faithful adaptation of the blockbuster Korean original with a careful, just right helping of Filipino flavor mixed in.

I’m coming into Baker King having watched and absolutely Continue reading

Pre-First Impression Review: My Wait for TV5's Baker King

Right up front, TV5’s Baker King is off to a very good start. The series, so far, is a faithful adaptation of the blockbuster Korean original with a careful, just right helping of Filipino flavor mixed in. (Full First Impression Review here.)

But let’s rewind a little bit first.

It was 2010 when Baker King, Kim Tak Gu aired on KBS in Korea to huge numbers, earning a “national drama” title, raking in awards and propelling the careers of its lead actors Yoon Shi Yoon and Joo Won. It captivated audiences around the world, myself included. In fact, I wondered if Continue reading

First Impression Review: Nickelodeon's Make It Pop Has Potential

No spoilers.

When it was first reported that Nick Cannon was developing a K-pop-inspired show for Nickelodeon, K-pop fans were incensed. They cringed at the idea and were not looking forward to seeing their precious K-pop somehow be misrepresented, trivialized or blasphemed to American audiences. (As if K-pop doesn’t do a good job of that on its own.)

And again, this was before a single frame had been filmed.

The faux outrage only grew when the first clips appeared as the actual premiere date drew close.

This is pretty much another example of people needing to learn to actually wait to see something before judging it. But after actually seeing it, I can say that K-pop fans have nothing to be worried about. (They didn’t have anything to be worried about in the first place anyway.) Continue reading

Review: If Lucky Enough, Ascension Has Potential to Be Syfy's Next Big Series

No spoilers. Good Ol’ Review of miniseries and First Impression Review should Ascension get ordered to series.

It’s been almost six years since Battlestar Galactica ended its run on Sci Fi. And in those six years, the Sci Fi channel itself has gone through big changes, as has the rest of television, especially genre television.

There would be times in the last six years when I felt a longing for another Battlestar Galactica to pop up somewhere on TV. Another epic, high concept series to sink my teeth (and my mind) into. Maybe even another space opera. While there have been some possibilities (including the aborted Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome prequel), none have really caught my attention. Continue reading

First Impression Review: GMA's Stunning Ilustrado

No spoilers. Click here for my Hindsight Review.

There are high expectations for anyone who attempts to bring a subject like Jose Rizal to the big or small screen. Being regarded as one of the greatest national heroes of the Philippines (if not the national hero), a dramatization of his life carries a big weight on its shoulders.

There is an inherent gravitas with a subject like Jose Rizal as well as the time period of the Philippine Revolution. If the pieces do not fall into place, then any such attempt to bring his life and one of the most important times in the country’s history to television or film will end up being a complete failure.

Thankfully, GMA’s Ilustrado manages to meet those high expectations and then some. Continue reading

First Impression Review: TV5's Fresh, Toe-Tapping Trenderas

Basic first episode details.

After the excellent Beki Boxer and the unique thriller Jasmine, TV5 presents another fresh television offering with the musical series Trenderas.

Starring Isabella de Leon, Katrina Velarde and Lara Maigue, Trenderas tells the story of three young, talented singers and best friends in their quest to become the Philippines’ next singing stars. The title, a portmanteau of the words “Trending” and “Tinderas” explains their humble beginnings as palangke vendors who apparently hit it big when a performance of theirs goes viral.

But that’s to be revealed later. The pilot episode introduces us to our eclectic mix of main and supporting characters through the blending of musical performances and flashbacks during the auditions of the fictional Pinoy Pop Icon reality-singing competition where the three friends (now rivals) are vying for one spot on the live shows. Continue reading