Win some, lose someBy Nestor U. Torre
Philippine Daily Inquirer
New teleseryes started telecasting this month, each with its unique combination of plus and minus points, which alternately attract viewers or distract them from completely involving themselves in the shows’ unfolding story lines.
On “Biritera,” the specific hook is the show’s evocation of the world of child singers, with its promise of young stardom and the attendant backstage dramas and pressures of show business.
The series’ plus points include the showcase it provides its exceedingly young singer-actors, its heavy musical content and flavor, and the fact that its new child star isn’t a tisay type, but is quite nicely kayumanggi in complexion, perhaps intentionally referencing how the young Nora Aunor got her start on “Tawag ng Tanghalan.”
On the debit side, the series’ dramatic intramurals are quite predictable to date, and it extols the birit or belting, high-register style of singing, which has been a bane in the popular music world in these parts. It’s gratifying to note, however, that the young lead doesn’t birit as shrilly and irritatingly as the other bleating kids around her.
Also reassuring is the script’s occasional inclusion of dialogue that disparages birit for birit’s sake, as some adult characters point out that much more is needed for a child singer to make it in the biz than a shrieking voice that can be heard in outer space.
Now, if only the young people who are watching the show pay attention and learn from this advice, that would be a welcome development, indeed.
On “E-Boy,” the fine teen actor, Martin del Rosario, has been replaced by the older Ariel Rivera as the story’s focus shifts to the next generation of characters, so we rue the fact that Martin’s stint on the show has been relatively brief.
For his part, Ariel doesn’t create as big a thespic impact as Martin in the role they’ve been sharing, but he manages to hold his own. Ariel had a moving scene in a recent telecast of the series that served notice that he’s no slouch in the acting department, either.
Of late, however, the show’s focus on technological robotic wizardry has tended to upstage its “living” actors. Its resident automaton has been infused with the thoughts and feelings of Ariel’s comatose son—and inveigling sci-fi conceit that opens the storytelling up to a number of uniquely attractive and thought-provoking possibilities.
On the other hand, the standard and predictable aspects of the series’ storytelling sometimes bring it back to earth with a dull thud. A lot is made of the deadly rivalry between Ariel’s character and his envious brother, who has caused death and injury to Ariel’s loved ones – oh, no, not again.
And the fact that the show’s villainy is mostly perpetrated by only one super-antagonist and nemesis, a congressman played by Chinggoy Alonzo, requires him to assume monstrous proportions in his actuations. This exaggerated adumbration of evil was a major irritant in “Ikaw Ay Pag-ibig” and made Mark Gil come off badly, so we hope against hope that the same downbeat denouncement doesn’t befall Chinggoy, despite his best efforts to make his character believable.
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