JUST A THOUGHT: “The future ain’t what it used to be” – Yogi Berra
TELESERYES RETURNING: Slowly but surely, a few Filipino teleseryes are making a comeback on our screens following an extended lockdown caused by Covid-19 that started in March.
Their absence led viewers to discover whole new worlds of soap operas, courtesy of South Korean K-dramas.
Not that it’s something new. Filipino audiences have been watching K-drama and K-pop for more than a decade and have, in fact, familiarized themselves with the names of their stars and superstars, singers and drama actors. They have done so despite the difficulty in pronouncing, remembering their names.
Today, our forum, third and final in a series, on the ability of K-drama to entertain Filipino audiences under a state of lockdown, continues.
MORE PRACTICAL: Ricky Davao, actor-director, acknowledges that there has been a surge, indeed, in the number of people watching K-dramas and films.
He notes that the Korean wave isn’t new at all. It is popular not only in the Philippines but also in other Asian and non-Asian countries.
Ricky states, “I have so many friends addicted to K-dramas, as in fanatics. They know most of the titles, stories and actors.’’
In the time of pandemic and lockdown, he says it’s really easier for networks to show K-dramas instead of locally produced series programs.
COMPLEX FILMING: While many industry people are raring to work already, there are also those who are not comfortable to go out just yet. They feel they’re not ready to work because of health issues.
Filming under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) can be so complex and so difficult. There cannot be more than 50 people on set, and all of them have to be tested prior.
With only a skeletal production staff, directors and producers face the gargantuan task of creating content, says Ricky.
On top of these, the creative department has to deal with so many other hurdles.
Not allowed are crowd scenes, big scenes, scenes showing intimacy. These prohibitions affect the storytelling process, complicated as it were.
Networks, thus, are compelled to resort to K-dramas, of which there are hundreds, if not thousands, of finished products.
They just have to dub them in Filipino, ready for airing.
Ricky is upbeat that when the health situation clears and we have adjusted to the new normal, homegrown teleseryes will be back in full swing with greater zest and excitement.
“Our audiences may have missed them, too, after a long period of absence. I believe that Filipinos still prefer to watch and support sariling atin.’’
STILL AROUND: Like Ricky Davao, Joel Lamangan remains positive that if the fans of K-drama multiplied because of the lockdown, it is no secret that local fans of our own teleseryes are still very much around.
They’re just waiting for the right time for their favorite stars to be back on their own Pinoy dramas that have been rating so well before the lockdown, he says.
“The fans will still be around. Filipino teleseryes will lord it over K-dramas,’’ says the veteran director and activist.
AUDIENCE FEEDBACK: Here are some of the comments I received on Facebook on why Filipinos love K-drama.
A friend from California wrote: It’s not just their looks but how better crafted the stories are, more realistic, more credible.
In Pinoy teleseryes, daily circumstances are hilariously unbelievable. A scene will show someone rushing to get to another place to save another character – and it happens in so short a time. How can that be when we all know how bad traffic is everywhere? There should be an ounce of truth or reality.
Pinoy teleseryes are slower than snails. Don’t watch for a week and you’ll find out nothing much had happened.
K-dramas are always moving, sometimes in directions you never thought they would go. They are not as predictable as P-teleseryes.
Our scripts are so poorly written, characters are shallow and don’t evolve.
Another reader, Dane B. Bulanadi, says she admires K-dramas’ unique storylines, characters, acting, aesthetics, cinematography, production design, theme songs.
Characters barely have to kiss to make us feel the romance. Personally, bits and pieces of “cultural” references they show are quite enjoyable also. They probably have bigger budgets to produce the level of aesthetics, but even with bare minimum, the story, characters and acting would still nail it for the audience.
“They are also not fixed on love teams because the kilig factor lies in the execution of the story and not on the branding of the actors. Anyone can be paired with someone and with the right, strong material for a story, they can make us kilig pa rin regardless.’’