First impressions

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AUNOR. Her new drama series should focus on her character.

Two new teleseryes made their debut last Monday, Feb. 11—TV5’s “Never Say Goodbye” and ABS-CBN’s “Apoy sa Dagat.” How did their initial telecasts come off?

The TV5 drama got off to a sketchy start, because it chose to focus its storytelling more on the characters portrayed by newbies, Vin Abrenica and Sophie Albert, instead of the series’ iconic lead, Nora Aunor.

Vin and Sophie did their level best, but being newcomers, their rawness and shallowness showed, making the show’s first telecast less than the dynamic heart-tugger it obviously aspired to be.

Back story: Rich girl Sophie has escaped to Baguio to avoid marrying a young man she doesn’t love, and is protected by poor boy Vin, who’s Nora’s son. He’s obviously smitten by Sophie, but Nora thinks she’s bad news, so there’s initial friction there.

The young leads’ less than inspired portrayals are further compromised by weak storytelling, like Vin and Sophie being elaborately shown escaping from their pursuers twice, thus testing viewers’ patience.

We trust that subsequent telecasts will shift the show’s focus more to Nora’s character, because she’s the main reason why drama buffs would want to watch the show on a regular basis.

It’s good to give newcomers their big break, but if they can’t hold a candle to their much more experienced and gifted senior, why belabor the obvious disparity with scenes that pit the newbies “against” the icon?

We also wish that the new series’ other veteran star, Cesar Montano, would figure more significantly in the action, and that he and Nora can get their avidly anticipated “thespic interaction” going. —First things first!

Stronger start

Over at ABS-CBN, “Apoy sa Dagat” had a stronger start last Monday, despite the distraction provided by the fact that its initial sequence showed a fire in a beachfront slum that was partially digitally originated or enhanced.

Happily, strong performances were turned in by Nikki Gil as a young prostitute and Isay Alvarez as her impoverished and sickly mother.

It was also good to see that Patrick Garcia appears to have gotten over his rather squeaky or “quacky” vocal placement that compromised the development of his career as a young actor years ago. Now that he sounds more like a leading man should, his stellar career should perk up.

The series’ back story involved yet another rich-poor conflict, with Patrick as the wealthy scion who doesn’t want to take over his father’s business, and Nikki as the dirt-poor girl who bears his child.

The character played by Empress also loves Patrick, so she does her best and worst to make sure that their marriage doesn’t last, even if it’s already produced a set of twin girls (who, we figure, will grow up to both be played by Angelica Panganiban).

As of last Wednesday, Patrick had been killed by Empress’ hired assassin, the ship bearing Nikki and her daughters had sunk, Nikki had been separated from one of them, and Empress deceitfully told Patrick’s grieving parents that he had married her!

That last “revelation” was exceedingly hard to take, because there were many witnesses to Nikki’s wedding to Patrick and they could have belied Empress’ bald-faced claim. But, incomprehensively, Patrick’s parents chose to believe her! Grrr . . . Tell a more believable and logical story, please.

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