The competition is tighter than ever when it comes to content, how can our own teleseryes thrive?
Everything is going digital now, it’s a matter of time until cinemas would be just a part of our history. It’s the same for the future of television. According to Blake Morgan, a customer experience expert, “We’re well on our way to the future of TV. With changes in viewer preferences and new technology, especially driven by the growth of streaming services, TV will soon be nearly unrecognizable from what it was just a few decades ago.”
Not only that, since there are many streaming sites popping up from left and right, more content with great production, unique or out-of-the-box concepts come out. It’s common knowledge what trends in social media these days: either Korean dramas or Western-made series. Recently, some foreign TV series were given Filipino remakes: Doctor Foster and The World of The Married from Korea, which were also a huge hits there. Of course, we’ve done other remakes in the past as well. In fact, we always do remakes. One can only dream that someday, our dramas would become huge hits and will be remade in various counties.
As a fan of many popular TV shows in streaming sites like Netflix, I understand the hype completely. I love the variety of genres and how they make the effort to be inclusive. Going back to our teleseryes, perhaps that’s what we’re missing: variety and inclusivity.
In order for our very own Filipino dramas to survive and thrive through the test of time, it has to evolve big time. Here’s a wishlist of things that I want to see in our Filipino TV series in future:
Deconstructed drama and character tropes
Probably the reason why our dramas lack variety is because of our outdated drama tropes. Many would argue that these drama tropes are what the masses want, but what if we just don’t trust them enough? I think casual viewers are more accepting now, even my parents who are 50 years old complain how old our dramas are.
Here are some of the most used devices and formulaic plots that plague Filipino teleseryes:
- Rich guy and poor girl
- The wedding at the end
- Amnesia plot
- The protagonist never dies
- Former besties turned rivals
- The underdog protagonist
And the list goes on. Although, in recent years, there were many attempts to change these. There are stronger female characters now, like Angel Locsin’s The General’s Daughter. But we still often see women being pitted against each other on TV. I think it’s time to have a drama where two girls are besties for life and will never fight because of a guy—can we have that?
Also, anti-hero protagonists are becoming a trend these days like Vincenzo. I think it’s because these characters are relatable in many ways. We’re not as pure as what we’re used to seeing in our primetime bidas. Anti-heroes are here to show that sometimes, you have to fight evil with evil or else you’re going to be swallowed up. Life is sometimes a survival of the fittest.
In Filipino dramas, the leads always have “noble jobs,” such as soldiers, police, doctors, teachers, lawyers, etc. Even if there’s nothing wrong in telling stories about people who have these jobs, I want to see other professions on TV like a writer maybe?
Aside from that, we could have mafias, ITs, scientists, and many more! I believe that all stories matter and all kinds of people have important stories to tell. These rarely seen jobs on TV could open genres we haven’t explored yet. There will more variety if we include or represent more people in all walks of life, not only those who live in the extremes.
Philippine literature adaptations
Recently, Filipino comic book Trese was adapted as an animated limited series in Netflix. This gives hope to oir rich literary tradition.
Maybe, other Filipino novels will also have their own adaptation someday. I mean, have you heard of any movies or TV series inspired by a Nick Joaquin work? Why has no one has done that yet? We will never run out of unique and quality stories to produce if only we look into our own library of Filipiniana works. I’m sure there is more to come from us.
Although, in reality, it’s not that easy. We haven’t talked about budget constraints in TV production, but let’s save that for another day. Even if other countries obviously thrive in this area, it doesn’t mean we’re that far behind. I believe we’re getting there, in fact we also have our own streaming sites like iFlix, iWant, Vivamax, and more to come. These streaming platforms are known to be producing a more “millennial” content, as they call it.
I’m no expert in these things. I’m but a huge fan of TV series and films. I hope that someday, I will binge watch our original works, not because of the guilt of being “not patriotic” enough, but because it’s really that good. Well, one can only hope.