8 Reasons Why Victor Magtanggol
Is Eliciting Epic Eyerolls
By Kel Fabie
So Alden Richards, after dodging a bullet on the short-lived Sherlock Jr., ends up finally biting that said bullet by not only starring in this latest series by GMA-7, but even singing along with Ex-Batallion, in a one-two punch to any credibility and goodwill he had with his turns in Alaala and Karelasyon.
The thing is, this isn’t the first time GMA 7’s fantaseryes have received derisive hot takes. From Alyas Robinhood to Sherlock Jr to even the relatively better The Cure, GMA 7 seems to keep repeating several mistakes in hyping up their new series. Not to say that ABS-CBN gets off scot-free on the same offenses, but let’s table *that* discussion for a different day, because this isn’t about the network wars at all, mmkay? Here are 8 reasons why contrary to GMA’s expectations, their announcements of their new shows tend to be met with countless people rolling their eyes.
8. Everything feels so… derivative.
Look at these promotional materials. Just look.
Let’s be honest for a moment here: does anyone here genuinely not see where these shows got their ideas from? It’s almost like GMA 7 is trying to develop its own superhero universe after losing the Mars Ravelo license a few years back, but instead of coming up with their own superheroes, they go for the least common denominators.
7. The showrunners take the criticism so personally – yet do nothing about it.
When confronted with the obvious, the showrunners for these programs just get on their personal soapboxes, invoking ideas like the “master plot,” then insisting that this somehow magically absolves them of being hacks.
It insults the intelligence of the general audience and does nothing to endear the show to people who might actually be on the fence despite the poor initial impressions they get from the promotional materials. Attacking your potential audience instead of giving them good reasons to watch your programming might simply not be the wisest way to go about it.
6. They keep ripping off the wrong things.
The average comic book fan would tell you that Victor Magtanggol incorporates elements of Kyle Rayner Green Lantern and Marvel’s interpretation of Thor, with a slightly more historic nod to the Norse version in his hammer. And yet, nobody can tell you about the story, if it’s going to be any good, if it’s going to be anything beyond a show banking on the obvious draw of Alden Richards.
Compare that to how well the promotional material in The Cure came across: while yes, we saw elements of The Walking Dead and Resident Evil (have you seen that logo?!?) in the hype leading to the show, The Cure still delivered on a premise that gave it relative success over Sherlock Jr.: the fact that they committed to the premise and ran with it in a contemporary Philippine setting, which Sherlock Jr. ironically refused to do. It’s actually not that hard to take just the premise and then come up with something relatively groundbreaking, gorilla attacks notwithstanding.
Given how well they pulled it off, the only thing more undead than the zombies in The Cure at this point would be Ang Probinsyano.
5. They literally could have named him something else. Anything else.
Public domain notwithstanding, your Thor ripoff has “Tor” in his name. You couldn’t be more shameless about this if you were a rap group campaigning for someone who insists he wasn’t running for senator (oh, wait). It wasn’t bad enough that every single imagery they used to hype the show was evocative of Marvel’s version of Thor: even his name had to do that, too, as if we were too dumb to get the hint.
Do you know what that says about your product? That it’s not good enough to stand on its own. That it needs to reference a billion-dollar blockbuster franchise so that people could make the easy connection, instead of making the audience connect with the character through a compelling vignette.
4. We actually beat them to the joke – except they weren’t joking.
When Alyas Robin Hood came out, we poked fun at the idea of TV shows they could rip off next, and even came up with this:
Remember, we made this post in 2016, nearly two years before we ever saw this:
But wait, there’s more! In the same 8List, what was our first suggestion?
Is that Alden Richards playing a lightning-based superhero? Why, yes it is!
3. Wait, what? Another electricity-based superhero?!?
So instead of ripping off another DC superhero in The Flash, they went with Marvel’s Thor this time, but decided that the lightning thing wasn’t such a bad idea after all, as if Ai Ai’s Volta, Wansapanataym’s Kuryente Kid, Batang X’s KidLat, Armando Goyena’s Kapitan Kidlat, and Derek Ramsay’s Kidlat didn’t already exist in Filipino superhero history.
You could have gone with a brand new superhero with a name that doesn’t harken to lightning and thunder, but noooooo. On a scale of 1 to Tito Sotto, that is a level of unoriginality that you practically need to strive for.
2. That godawful theme song.
“Handa ‘kong ibigay lahat ng bagay sa iyo…” Ex-Battalion is so hellbent on proving they’re not just a one-hit wonder, they’re willing to collaborate with anyone who can sing better than them. And yes, Alden is pretty much the second best part of this song, next to all the Autotune sparing us from the pain of hearing Ex-B try “singing” anything live. Maybe they should’ve stuck to their strongest suit instead: Philosophy.
1. It’s just the latest in a line of half-baked ideas.
To earn the goodwill and benefit of the doubt for us to not eyeroll on instinct at Victor Magtanggol, you have to pretend that Sherlock Jr., Sirkus, Alyas Robin Hood, and chunks of The Cure never even happened in the last couple of years. And while ABS-CBN’s Bagani practically embraced its inaccuracies to the point of self-parody, the fact that GMA still treats its “properties” with any level of seriousness instead of just rolling with it with tongue firmly in cheek simply means we are in store for yet another self-important yet ultimately irrelevant attempt at entertainment.
The fact that GMA seems to only listen to the fans who think they can do no wrong (Y’know, the same fans who insisted Sherlock Jr. was “great,” only to see the show canceled after three months?) also means that their echo chamber will never force them to improve. Victor is just another symptom of the malaise that ails the network in this drought of creativity they are going through.
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