All About TIMY – 07 – Ang Pagdadala Ni Ali Nicolas

Nenz and Euge discuss how Iris turning into an unlikable character and Ali fumbling in his first attempts in dating.

 

Intro/Outro by Lee Rosevere

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All About TIMY – 07 – Ang Pagdadala Ni Ali Nicolas

It’s Unfair To Compare Local TV To American Television

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Since last year, I’ve written about the few bright spots in our gloomy local TV. I’ve given praise to the first half of Kalye Serye and On The Wings Of Love. I’ve even defended its dubbing habit. Does this make me seem like a local TV apologist? I don’t consider myself as that. I want to enjoy and evaluate local TV based on its own merits. To judge it on what it is and not what it isn’t. Comparing local TV to American television is unfair, especially when you consider the systems running in each are entirely different. It’s like comparing your 13 year old brother barely grasping Algebra to your neighbor’s 26 year old marketing professional son. Or, comparing a lvl 5 Nidoran♂ to a lvl 65 Charizard.

The Golden Age of American Television

If you’re closely monitoring American television, you may have heard that US TV is at its 2nd Golden Age. Production and consumption of American television is at its best and highest right now.People are even saying we’re at the peak right now, since 2014. How do the Americans know that they’re at their peak? If you clicked on the link, FX Network CEO John Landgraf presented that there are 419 original scripted shows set to be released this year alone, spread across broadcasting, cable and streaming video-on-demand services. Confused with what that means? Let’s breakdown all that mumbo-jumbo:

  • FOUR HUNDRED NINETEEN original scripted shows. Interpret that as: 419 NEW comedy and drama shows. That number excludes reality shows, game shows, talent shows, and talk shows.
  • TV tiers: Broadcasting would be your free-access TV (think of our ABS-CBN and GMA). Cable are paid channels such as HBO, FX and ESPN. In the Philippines that would be our CinemaOne, AXN or NBATV. Streaming video-on-demand (SVOD) are oour Netflix, HOOQ, iFlix. SVODs exclude web series uploaded on free-streaming services such as YouTube and Vimeo.

That’s a lot of TV to go around! But just like Rome, this Golden Age of American TV didn’t happen overnight. It took three or four decades for US TV to find its groove back after its first Golden Age. One of my favorite TV critics, Andy Greenwald, explains it wonderfully in an interview how circumstances in Hollywood fueled the early creation of TV’s Golden Age. The success of SVODs and the introduction of binge-watching further expanded the sandbox TV could play in, allowing for it to exponentially learn and grow. Sure for every The Wire, Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, you had three or four crappy shows. But that was the only way for American television to gain success. They needed to invest, innovate and take risks.

Moreover, for cable and SVOD services, audience rating wasn’t the top metric to measure a show’s success. Quality came first. Current classics like Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones were given breathing room to flourish. These risks eventually paid off as these two shows’ audiences grew season after season.

Philippine Television, the Upside Down

The current landscape of local TV isn’t conducive to innovation. First off, local TV is basically shared by three major broadcasting networks: ABS-CBN, GMA and TV5. Between the three, only 36 original scripted series are to be aired this year. Second, instead of producing more shows to fill in their time slots, local networks have the habit of buying and dubbing foreign shows.  I’ve already mentioned the merits of having these dubbed foreign shows in a separate post, but I can still argue that these shows take airtime from what could have been other locally-produced shows. Thirdly, TV shows are merely vehicles to showcase and sell network artists. It’s more important to write in scenes that build the main talent or love team rather than build the story.  Lastly, the production and airing schedule in the local scene is much much different. A typical primetime local TV show would run for three months every weekday. Take On The Wings Of Love as an example. It had 145 episodes in its seven-month run. That’s seven seasons (read: years) of US TV squeezed into seven months. This matters because the pace and pressure the production and creative staff experience on a daily basis isn’t at all conducive for creativity.

It might seem that I inevitably compared both industries but you can get a sense how they’re miles apart. It’s not as simple as telling local TV networks to just “git gud” to reach the level of American television. As it stands, the local TV landscape lacks the necessary ingredients (investment, risk-taking and creative freedom) to deliver our version of the Golden Age. Moreover, asking for TV like how Americans do it is basically requesting the local networks to restructure how they do their business.

  • “Produce more shows? You’re expecting us to spend more?”
  • “Make shows weekly and seasonal? How will I maximize the utility of our talents? We need to revise ALL the contracts of our talents.”
  • “Create a prestige drama show about a Chem teacher selling Shabu? How will that put Daniel Padilla or Dingdong Dantes over?”

And what would be a compelling reason for them to change their ways when the two giants ABS-CBN and GMA have posted growth over the last year? Things will stay the same unless some new innovation forces itself in industry.

Disruption

So are we forever sentenced to have mediocre content on our local broadcast channels?

Last June, it was announced that the local indie movie hit On The Job will get a sequel mini-series to be released exclusively on HOOQ late this year. During the same month, telco giant, Globe, announced that they will try their hand at producing original content with the launch of Globe Studios. These two announcements give me hope as both HOOQ and Globe Studios are new entrants in producing original content. Both are upstarts that want to create a big splash in the entertainment industry. I’m betting on these two in delivering original scripted content that can eventually influence the TV networks.

It has happened before and could happen again. Netflix was just a video-on-demand streaming service for movies and TV series until they finally decided to make their own content. They were lucky enough to sign great on-screen and off-screen talent making their two original series, House Of Cards and Orange Is The New Black, such critical and audience hits. Thus changing how broadcasting and cable networks do their business.

While we wait for new developments in the landscape, it wouldn’t hurt if we continue to be critical of what we are being currently offered. Call out GMA’s inconsistency in offering an awfully produced and performed Alyas Robinhood when they can, at the same time, produce a quality show in Encantadia. Call out ABS-CBN for their newest re-skinned and re-casted sexy drama in Magpahanggang Wakas. It’s the nth time we’ve seen a sexy poverty-stricken female lead get married to a wealthy man (and a misuse of Arci Munoz if I may add). These are reasonable critiques that these networks can resolve.

I consider myself as a local TV optimist. I still believe that local TV can be better. It may take time, but we’ll eventually get our own Golden Age.

It’s Unfair To Compare Local TV To American Television

In Defense Of Dubbed Foreign Shows

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Rick Grimes parks the truck at a makeshift camp in the middle of the forest outside Atlanta. He comes out of the truck; three buttons of his uniform unbuttoned from the heat and exhaustion escaping the walkers from the city. His heart hasn’t stopped racing. He has yet to find any hint of his wife and son. If he’s ever going to see them again, this place would be it.

Then he hears a voice. A child shouting…

“ITAY!”

He looks up and he sees his family, Carl and Lori.

“Carl!” he shouts in return as he run towards them, devoid of his southern drawl.

“Akala ko napano na kayo.”

And then I thought, “Dem, kulang na lang yung ‘Wag Ka Nang Umiiyak’ ni Gary Valenciano.”

That is an actual scene from The Walking Dead currently airing on TV5. These last few months, TV5 has made a strong push introducing dubbed US TV shows like Supernatural, and Arrow and possibly, The Flash and Scandal to free local TV. It’s a tried and tested formula from the early 90s that has been generally received positively.

However, this may not ring true with the new wave of dubbed shows as some Filipinos on the internet are rolling their eyes with disapproval. Common complaints on these dubbed shows involve watering down a show’s authenticity (i.e. “may mga bagay na hindi matatranslate into Filipino!”), quality (i.e. “ang panget ng boses ni Rick!”) , and perceived prestige (i.e. “dubbed in Filipino? Jologs amputa”). Although some of these arguments are valid (perceived prestige as a reason is just yuck), I believe that dubbed shows are a necessary step in enriching and educating the Filipino viewer.

Before we were all so proud of consuming Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, and The Walking Dead, back in the 90s and 2000s, we all tuned in to local TV networks. Cable TV wasn’t as accessible to the common Filipino as it is today. But surprisingly, primetime line-ups of networks were far more diverse compared to now. After the 6pm news, you can choose to whether watch Japanese anime, or Latin American or Filipino telenovelas. Then after primetime (around 9 – 9:30pm), networks served weekly Filipino comedy shows. A few years afterwards, when the F4 fever hit our country, Chinovelas (and eventually Koreanovelas) invaded late afternoons and late nights. As with everything with our childhood, these early shows built the founding definitions of  what we believe is entertainment.

These shows presented to us the potentials and limits of what TV can be. Japanese anime showed us that animated shows can mean more than the slapstick humor we can find in American cartoons like Tom & Jerry or Looney Tunes. Latin American telenovelas laid down the groundwork for the tropes and storytelling devices networks use in our local teleseryes (e.g. rich guy-poor girl, amnesia).  Chinovelas and Koreanovelas taught us that TV shows can run 26 episodes or less and still feel complete and engrossing.

And if that wasn’t enough, these shows also became our gateway to other forms of entertainment. The surge of Asian pop music (Japanese, Chinese or Korean) had their roots in early asianovelas.

Nothing rings truer than what Nelson Mandela once said, “if you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” These TV shows had so much impact on us because they were dubbed in Filipino. It made things easier to understand than just using subtitles. Subtitles would have been a two-step process: reading and then comprehending—that’s brainwork. On the other hand, understanding dubbing is pretty straightforward. Sure, there are things lost in translating (a criticism of dubbed anime) but at least dubbing makes it easier for the common Filipino to understand what they’re watching. Communication is much more personal when it is in your native tongue. Kapag Filipino, mas tagos.

So what is it with this new wave of foreign shows that deserve disdain from the same people that grew up watching dubbed foreign shows? Is it because these shows are in English, a language that is believed to be understood and spoken by most Filipinos? Real talk: it’s lofty to assume that all Filipinos would be able to comprehend English. More so, when colloquial English is used in TV shows rather than textbook English. Distinctive American language expressions such accents (like Rick’s southern drawl), idioms, figures of speech and slang aren’t part of the English lessons taught in public schools.

And really why should we even care? We’re not even the intended audience of these dubbed shows? Dubbed Walking Dead is for those who don’t have the capacity or means to stream or download The Walking Dead. It’s for those without access to the same-time airing of Walking Dead on the Fox cable channel. Dubbed Walking Dead is for the broad majority of Filipinos–the masa. Is it such a problem for us that US shows are “masa-fied”? Why wouldn’t we want more people enjoy the same entertainment that we enjoy?

Instead of judging this initiative by local TV networks (ABS-CBN a few months ago released a dubbed version of Jane The Virgin) I encourage everyone to support it. These western dubbed shows are helping a new generation of Filipinos broaden and enrich their definition of entertainment; much like how the Voltes Vs, the Maria La Del Barrios and Endless Loves of our childhood opened our eyes more than a decade ago. If you know someone who honestly loves watching these shows, it’s better to engage with them rather than ridicule them. Help them deepen their understanding of Dubbed Walking Dead, Dubbed Arrow or Dubbed Supernatural. In the end, when more Filipinos have a broader and deeper understanding of entertainment, the more we become critical of our local TV shows—the more pressure for local networks to create quality entertainment.

In Defense Of Dubbed Foreign Shows

ALL ABOUT TIMY – 01 – Trailer and First Episode Reactions

Welcome to the first episode of the TILL I MET YOU PODCAST by POP PHILTRE!

Nenz, Rein and Euge discuss the trailers, the first episode, JC Santos and the other cast members of TIMY

Intro/Outro Music by Lee Rosevere

 

ALL ABOUT TIMY – 01 – Trailer and First Episode Reactions

Across The Narrow Sea Podcast ep 04 – Oathbreaker

Juan and Euge discuss the themes in Oathbreaker (4:13), details to shout out and call out (16:00), the season moving forward (37:00), viewer reactions (56:21) and the Stark kids building the best D&D party

Join in the discussion by commenting on this post or emailing us at popphiltre@gmail.com

 

Across The Narrow Sea Podcast ep 04 – Oathbreaker

Across The Narrow Sea Podcast 02 – The Red Woman

Here’s episode 02 of Across The Narrow Sea served early!

Euge and Juan discuss the storylines of GoT s06e01: Brienne and Sansa, the Super Dario Brothers, Mereen street art, Dorne’s curveball and the implications of Melisandre’s reveal.

If you have any questions, comments and topics you want us to discuss, leave us a comment or send as an email at popphiltre@gmail.com!

Across The Narrow Sea Podcast 02 – The Red Woman

Why Terrace House Should Be Your Next Binge Priority

Terrace House Cover

I knew nothing about Terrace House  before I fell into the show’s rabbit hole. One afternoon, I was just playing around with a newly bought Chromecast when I got the idea to watch it. I’ve noticed it a few times on my Netflix as a suggestion since I watched another Japanese show, Atelier. I decided to give it a shot given that I’m fond of reality TV and its Netflix description read vaguely like a reality show.

I’m not sure if it was because of my low expectations but I enjyed its first episode. A bit slow but it built momentum and by episode 3 I was hooked. That day ended with me breezing through half of the available 18 episodes. Overall, what made Terrace House such a satisfying viewing experience for me was how it added or offered entirely different perspective to the overly saturated reality TV genre.

Before I go explaining how it was, I’d better set up the show’s premise first.

The Premise:

  • Six twenty-somethings (3 single guys and 3 single girls) are asked to live in a beautiful three-story house in Tokyo for 18 weeks.
  • Unlike Big Brother where housemates are put in house arrest and media blackout, the housemates still go about their daily schedule, they just have to go home to the titular Terrace House instead
  • Housemates can stay at the house for the entire length of the TV show or can opt out whenever they want. A new housemate of the same gender will replace the housemate a day after. This cycle continues until the end of the 18 weeks.
  • As far as I know, no one really wins a cash prize or a new house. Fame’s only the reward I guess
  • The show airs in Japan while they’re still taping the show. Which meant that the housemates can also watch the edited show and get the reaction of viewers if they want to.
  • Instead of having a narrator for each episode, a celebrity panel discuss and process the events that happened in the episode.

 

Reasons to like Terrace House 

For Reality TV fans: It looks and feels different from the regular reality TV show

  • Because  it’s not a competition, people don’t collude or scheme to boot people out of the house. It’s a show that genuinely wants its participants to build relationships. The idea of a no-conflict reality TV show may be absurd but it was surely refreshing to see people just try to be decent human beings on TV.
    • In addition, unlike PBB that sells each housemates’ past struggle, the showrunners of Terrace House would rather focus on the present. They’d rather build the narrative from the current developments in the house instead of digging up something from a housemate’s past and use it as stimulus for needed drama.
  • Aside from the stipulations above, one thing you’ll also notice differently with Terrace House is how polished and orderly it is presented. It’s such a far cry from how other forced cohabitation reality shows such as The Real World and Pinoy Big Brother are presented. There’s a warm and intimate aesthetic in how it’s shot and edited that made it feel so polished to the point that I’ve had doubts on how much of the show was produced! Check out this clip for further proof:
  • The addition of the celebrity panel mixed up the tone as they brought more life to a show that didn’t have much high energy moments. It’s far different from how PBB introduces analysis in their episodes (often introducing a family member or their resident psychologist).

 

 

For the foodies: So much food! So much restaurants!

  • One thing that was unexpected from watching Terrace House was how dining was such a big part of the show. Since the housemates still follow their personal schedules, meal times are usually the only time they interact with one another. So a big chunk of each episode have the housemates eating in or eating out in numerous restaurants around Tokyo. Moreover, the big events in the show often happen in the company of either beer, grilled beef or omu-rice (gehd am I craving for omu-rice). The show’s also open in naming the places they eat at so you can eventually make a checklist of restaurants you might want to dine in when you visit Tokyo.

 

For the Japanese culture enthusiast: A slice of the japanese life

  • What really made me enjoy binge-watching Terrace House was how it gave me a peek into daily living in Japan. I’ve been fascinated with Japan since I was a kid, thanks to Yu Yu Hakusho, Evangelion and Oh! Tokyo!. How such a technologically advance country still value tradition and venerate its past. Since animes or j-dramas aren’t the best barometers of japanese culture being works of fiction, Terrace House‘s probably the closest to the real thing. Dating norms and gender roles are entirely different from what I expected. Having a chance to explore other cultures always brings me great joy. More so that it’s Japanese.

Terrace House is available for streaming at Netflix. So far only Season 01 part 01 is available for streaming. Here’s to hoping season 01 part 02 and season 02 also get distributed outside of Japan!

Why Terrace House Should Be Your Next Binge Priority