MANILA, Philippines – Fans opf Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo who caught the first telecast of their new teleserye, “Got to Believe,” last Aug. 26, quickly realized that they would have some waiting to do before they got to see their faves in thespic action:
Like many local drama series, “GTB” has opted to take the long, slow, “generational” approach in its storytelling, starting off with the romance involving their parents, played by Ian Veneracion and Manilyn Reynes.
Why do many local series favor this approach? Perhaps because it builds up anticipation and excitement, and provides a conflicted “back story” that explains why, when the young leads finally appear, they typically are ticked off by each other before they “realize” that they’ve actually fallen in love!
In any case, the romance between Manilyn and Ian eventually ends, because he “accidentally” or “drunkenly” gets a wealthy woman (Carmina Villaroel) pregnant—with Daniel as the eventual product and consequence.
Terribly heartbroken, Manilyn runs away and ends up in a perya, of all places, where she first attempts to kill herself, but is saved by a clown played by Benjie Paras, whom she eventually weds—and with whom she begets Kathryn’s character.
Thus, in only a couple of telecasts, the new series has already primed viewers for much of what’s to follow—which we surmise will have Daniel and Kathryn fighting and feuding for a diverting spell before their teen romance angle is allowed to kick in!
To date, the new series’ initial plus points include its “playful” storytelling style, and the upbeat and “sweetly loving” portrayals turned in by Ian and Manilyn—which make up in part for the obvious fact that the actors are initially too mature for the roles they’ve been tapped to play.
This imperfect fit comes with the territory as far as local “generational” TV dramas go, because the parent characters are supposed to age when the teen leads appear, so young actors can’t play them.
By last Sept. 4, the teen leads had already made their presence felt, and we were perplexed to see Daniel playing a moody youth with a serious medical condition that has kept him from living a normal life.
Isn’t this the same character profile for Enrique Gil in another ongoing soap, “Muling Buksan ang Puso”? Why should teleserye characterizations be so uncreatively similar?
Another dampener is the overly strident characterization being turned in by Daniel’s overprotective mother, portrayed by Carmina. The series’ other mature players do better, especially Ian, who plays Daniel’s dad. His portrayal is more temperate and judicious.
Its young leads don’t do badly, either, but we really wish that Daniel moves beyond his character’s “moody” template soonest, because it’s so fuzzily, ponderously limiting.
Having said which, we should congratulate the series for making viewers aware of the many negative repercussions of New Year’s eve carousing that involves shooting guns in the air.
Daniel’s brain injury when his character was very young was a direct result of such an accidental shooting, and viewers have been made to realize with persuasive force how terrible the consequences could be. This is just a side effect of the show’s narrative thrust, but it’s an important one, so it deserves to be appreciatively highlighted.