(June 26, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit
“Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD,” the 22-episode TV spin-off of
Marvel Studios’ movies, gives fans of the blockbuster superhero films their
action-suspense fix, if slowly. The show focuses on a small team under the
agency SHIELD (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics
Division), a group of human operatives shining separately from the big, showy
sci-fi-fantasy flicks. The show is cocreated by Joss Whedon (“Avengers,” “Buffy
the Vampire Slayer”).
Like many Whedon endeavors, there is an almost-consistent
balance between mostly flippant dialogue and intelligent storytelling, although
there have been a few misses, episodes that dragged due to various factors.
Still, the season-long arcs merge quite fantastically near the end, rewarding
those viewers who stayed despite some less-than-stellar chapters.
Lead character Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) heads the
616 SHIELD team, tasked with investigating and analyzing superhuman or
extraordinary occurrences. Forming his trusty team are the reliable field agent
Ward (Brett Dalton), combatant extraordinaire May (Ming-Na Wen), brilliant
science geeks Fitz and Simmons (Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge),
and plucky “hacktivist” Skye (Chloe Bennet).
The show expands Marvel’s live-action universe by centering
on Coulson, who was slain by Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in “Avengers.” The mystery
of his resurrection is very gradually explained, a puzzle that is answered
fully by the season’s end.
It utilizes its movie connections wisely by bringing in
previously seen characters, played by guests Samuel L. Jackson (SHIELD head
honcho Nick Fury), Cobie Smulders (Agent Maria Hill) and Jamie Alexander (the
warrior-woman Sif, from “Thor”). But it also is able to create new, interesting
main characters of its own, and decent iterations of existing comic book
Events in the “Captain America” sequel, “The Winter
Soldier,” have direct and lasting impact on the story lines: The revelation
that SHIELD has been infiltrated thoroughly by terrorist Hydra agents gives the
series a good jolt, granting viewers the twists they have patiently been
The big-budgeted show, while swimming in fancy effects and
nicely choreographed punch-a-thons, relies heavily, and benefits greatly, from
its dynamic characters, whose loyalties and fortitude are tested by the ordeals
in the last few episodes of Season One. In typical Whedon fashion, there’s
treachery and trauma, girl power, and heart-wrenching and fanboy moments
galore. (De Caestecker and Henstridge, particularly, are really good actors,
especially in the season-ender.)
While “SHIELD” started rather unspectacularly but passably,
it has gradually become what its creators intended it to be—its own intriguing
individual saga that still connects to, and cleverly enhances, Marvel’s tight
(“Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” airs Wednesdays, on Fox.)
Unearthed this ancient issue of Us magazine (Feb. 1996).
Revealing Natalie Merchant interview. "I definitely notice people for
their physical beauty, but that's pretty transparent. If someone isn't behaving
beautifully, they don't appear beautiful to me anymore."
Powerbooks ATC warehouse sale. Comic book compilations, P250
What If Gwen Stacy had lived? She and Peter get married, but
the ceremony is suddenly crashed by J. Jonah Jameson, who now knows Spidey's
identity. (Green Goblin sent him proof.) Good issue, but that cover caption is
nuts: "Whatever you do, Spider-Man... don't save her!"
Remastered original trilogy. VHS! Sadly, the player broke in the late '00s. Oh, well.
"Hulk don't understand. Hulk wanted to watch 'Fault in
Our Stars.' Hulk getting angry!"
"Tell me about it, comrade. Eight cinemas for a 'Transformers' movie is
With "Resurrection" actors Kurtwood Smith and Omar
Epps last month, Raffles Makati. Thanks for the pic, Louise! Ooh, trivia:
Kurtwood played Red Forman, dad to Eric in "That '70s Show," while
Omar played Dr. Eric Foreman in "House." (Btw, the title was inspired by a coworker's joke.)
China Crisis cofounder and vocalist Gary Daly expressed
appreciation for returning to Manila
for a fourth time during his spiel at the English pop-new wave group’s show at
Solaire’s Grand Ballroom Friday night.
“[It’s] our pleasure to be here,” Daly said, before singing
his fourth song.
Way before the English group’s set, front acts Kudos Loves
80s and Mark Mabasa and Friends opened at roughly
Kudos Loves 80s, a young band with Union Jacks painted on
half their faces, led with a medley of new wave favorites from the era and the
early 1990s. “Enjoy the Silence,” “Catch Me, I’m Falling,” “Pretty in
Pink,” “I Go Crazy,” “Tenderness” and “Just Like Heaven” were given a moodier,
heavier take, heralding a throwback to simpler, more melodic musical epochs.
At , Mark
Mabasa and Friends, a quartet of young pop-R ‘n’ B crooners, went onstage. The
switch in genres was jarring to those expecting a purely new wave-y night. The
group did a couple of retro numbers: “Baby, Come to Me,” “Dance With My Father
Again,” and songs from the soundtracks of “Dreamgirls,” “The Bodyguard,” “Rent”
and “Footloose,” among others.
Mabasa is clearly talented and charming, and his group mates
awe-inspiring singers, so a sizeable part of the audience was won over, unmindful
of the sudden detour.
Photo by Aldrin Ignacio
China Crisis emerged at 10, opening with the lively “A
Higher High,” followed by numbers where Daly and guitarist-cofounder Lundon
shared vocal duties.
Backed by a younger band, they sounded a bit different, a
tad more adventurous than some of their recordings, but less-wrangled and
During Daly’s spiel of gratitude, a female fan yelled,
“Black Man Ray,” requesting one of the group’s biggest hits, to which Lundon
China Crisis, named for “the mystique and mystery of the
East,” as the core members previously told the Inquirer, offered evolving
styles in its heyday, and even after. The reggae-influenced “Strength of
Character” had a lively bounce, an interesting deviation from their more
guitar- and keyboard-driven ditties.
Immediately after, they played “Black Man Ray,” a poignant
ballad that sent diehards singing along: “Yes, yes, I could be wrong/why, why
should I pretend/God only knows in the end.”
It was followed by “Tragedy and Mystery,” “Working With Fire
and Steel” and “Best Kept Secret”—distinctly playful nostalgia inducers. Daly
dances with a suave, Bryan Ferry-like demeanor, holding a mic with his right
hand while his left rested on his hip. (Young ones were probably reminded of
Hugh Grant’s parody-dancing in “Music and Lyrics.”)
Daly and Lundon, heftier now in their early 50s, parted ways
with their slimmer selves a long time ago, but the energy and charisma
remained. “Christian” was still solid and lilting; “King in a Catholic Style
(Wake Up)” still characterized subversiveness and verve. “Stranger by Nature”
was light and pretty sultry. It was surprising that it was about Daly’s
firstborn daughter, now 27. Prior to that revelation, he sang it to a young
back-up singer like he was serenading her.
After the anthemic “African and White,” one of their
earliest hits, came the much-awaited “Wishful Thinking,” which prompted those
with recording devices to whip them out and save the moment. Midway, Lundon encouraged
the audience to sing along, and many did. Sadly, that was the last song; they
didn’t even get to do an encore (not even the 1994 song “Thank You”). Talk
about wishful thinking.
Nonetheless, it was a good, hour-long set worth the
patience-testing wait, and a sturdy enough show that made unperturbed China
Crisis fans happy and heady.
Season 7 of the fantasy-drama series “True Blood” opens with
a melee, a bloody purge executed by savage vampires passing through the Louisiana
town of Bon Temps. It’s somewhat
symbolic of the chaos that has characterized the past seasons, but the
fast-paced action sequence seems, intriguingly, like a necessary move intended
to bring back some semblance of much-missed order.
It starts with a mainstay’s unexpected death, rallying the
core characters in no time and giving them renewed purpose, at least for now.
And while it truly has gotten difficult to care for them—the messy story lines
and inconsistently written personalities saw to that a few seasons back—its
longtime viewers may find their curiosity piqued for this final, euthanizing
Fairy heroine Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) is now paired
with the werewolf Alcide (Joe Manganiello), after a string of truly horrid
monster boyfriends. It’s been a long time coming, as the partnership makes
sense, and the actors have chemistry. But this back-to-basics last hurrah may
not augur a happy ending for the two, as hints are being dropped that she and
vampire ex Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) might reconnect, in some way.
“True Blood” started out strong as adult fantasy fare,
giving a different spin on vampire mythology: The existence of such nocturnal
beings is known to the public, and the mass-produced drink “Tru Blood” is
introduced as an alternative to actual human blood. Peaceful coexistence,
however, is another matter altogether, hence the conflicts. Malevolent
vampires, ignorant or predatory humans, other antagonistic creatures—they’ve
threatened Sookie and company season after season.
And while the conflicts have been many, in time, it became
hard to stay invested in the fates of the characters. The situations have
gotten silly, not to mention repetitive. When it was establishing its unique
vampire hierarchies and political structures, it offered creepy but fun
scenarios. Even when the show expanded on the other beings—the shifters, the
werewolves, and to some extent, the fairies—much was shown of this distinctly
bizarre universe. But alas, the potential was not fully realized.
At times, it dwelled too much on the main character’s
topsy-turvy world, Sookie’s discovery of her nonhuman identity, as well as her
obligatory hooking-up with the man of the season. The previous relationship was
iffy; the focus on her kinky imbroglio with the fairy-vampire Warlow (Rob
Kazinsky) dragged a bit, their scenes mostly titillating (aptly so), but
ultimately, empty and disconnecting. The shape-changing Sam (Sam Trammell) had
a similarly rushed and questionable relationship last season.
So, are things looking up? If the first two episodes of
Season 7 are any indication, the show can improve. So far, the villains are
nondescript characters, but things are made a tad lively by the collection of
loopy, crazy regulars. There are interesting developments in the individual
arcs of young vampire Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll), jaded immortal Pam (the
incredible Kristin Bauer van Straten, who always gets the best lines) and
relapsing addict Lettie Mae (Adina Porter).
It’s the last chance to make up for the last few seasons’
largely unaffecting and inconsequential story lines. With only 10 episodes this
season, this could be the only opportunity for “True Blood” to redeem itself
and leave an indelible mark.
(The final season of “True Blood” premieres on June 23 on
HBO Go, and June 29, on HBO.)
(June 16, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit
"Angling guru” Jeremy Wade hosts the Discovery Channel show
“River Monsters,” where he puts his vast knowledge of fishing techniques to
good use. Fishing has become a challenge because, he said, the crew is given a
very limited time for filming.
“If we don’t catch a fish, we don’t have a program,” said
the biologist-host in a phone interview.
According to Wade, the most important thing to remember
about angling is to think before throwing the bait in the water.
He explained: “I stop and think; I imagine that I am a fish
and I am trying to work out where I would be in the water and that relates to
the underwater geography. This is very important for the show because we have
about two and a half weeks to do all the filming. For the actual fishing, I may
have only three or four days.”
“River Monsters” tackles freshwater mysteries, and focuses
on Wade’s tracking of underwater culprits. Captured fish are returned to the
bodies of water whence they came, after identification and cataloguing.
For the sixth season, Wade and his crew visited a different
ecosystem to investigate deaths that may be caused by dangerous species of
fish. Wade recounted: “We were in a very remote part of the Amazon. It was in Brazil,
close to the Peru
border. The problem with this kind of place is that, if anything goes wrong, we
can’t just take somebody to the hospital, we have to deal with that situation
ourselves. We don’t take a paramedic; we have training… but [it’s better to
just] avoid getting in trouble.”
The six-episode “River Monsters” makes for entertaining
viewing, he said, because it required him and the show’s creators to explore
“The list of large, dangerous freshwater fish is quite
short. And because we thought we were getting short on material, it made us
think a bit deeper. For example, we normally investigate just one victim. But
for this coming season, there was a passenger boat on the Amazon that sunk, and
nobody knew [how] exactly. More than 200 people disappeared. And we looked into
Filming was often demanding, due to the unpredictable
behavior and activities of Wade’s targets: “[With] freshwater life, you are
working in the dark. This makes ‘River Monsters’ so challenging. I have to
predict where a certain fish is going to be at a certain time in order to bring
it out and show it to the cameras.”
Wade said operating in tough environments can be difficult
especially for the Season 6 episodes, but stressed that the job is ultimately
“We set out to reach a wide audience. We didn’t want it just
to be people who go fishing, which would probably just be a small segment. The
surprising thing is we are watched by a lot of children, including some very
young [ones]. So, to get people interested and enthusiastic about the outside
world, that is very electrifying. I gave up teaching because it was too hard.
But now, I’m reaching a very wide audience!”
(“River Monsters” premieres July 8, on Discovery Channel.)
“The most important thing as an illusionist is to always
keep the magic real,” said Japan-based magician Cyril, in a phone interview on
his latest AXN series, “Cyril: Rio Magic.”
“[I have never forgotten] how magic made me feel the first
time… that’s the feeling I have to always remember to pass on to others,”
elaborated the street magician, who was born and raised in Los Angeles.
Cyril became interested in the craft at a young age, and was
trained during his teen years at Hollywood’s
which counts professional and established illusionists among its roster.
His previous mini-series, “Cyril’s Family Vacation,” brought
him to Hawaii, where he
masqueraded as various “family members” who performed magic for unwary
“Rio Magic” (Sundays, ) will be “a bit different,” disguise-wise.
“In this season, the disguise inspiration was not [that]
pre-planned,” he revealed. “I went to Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil and the producers
had prepared a closetful of different types of wardrobe that were very
local-based. We kinda played dress-up and figured out what the next characters
would be… the intention was to blend in and go local.”
It was harder than usual because of the language barrier (he
did not know Portuguese), but he nevertheless enjoyed mingling with cooperative
“I had a lot of fun coming up with different characters… I
played a coconut vendor; I dressed up as a hippie character, one of my
favorites—he has no care in the world,” he recounted.
is known for delicious coffee. I wanted to play a barista—the character I
created was basically my interpretation of [one]. When in Brazil,
you gotta have soccer, so I created a crazy soccer fan character, too. And
there was a fruit market, so I challenged myself to play a vendor!”
Cyril, 40, is currently planning his first international
tour, which will begin near the end of 2014. He expressed interest in bringing
his “magic storytelling” to the Philippines,
which he visited in 2012, when he promoted “Family Vacation.”
According to the fan-favorite magician, he was influenced by
many performers. “But I would have to say that the biggest name in magic [when
I was growing up] was David Copperfield. He has always been one of my heroes
and he’s really evolved through nearly three decades of magic. It’s inspiring
to see someone like him keep the magic strong and real,” he said.
“Magic has evolved. When I was growing up, it was a very
rare art form. You had to go to a special venue, in Las
Vegas, or you’d have to be lucky enough to have a
magic show travel through your city. But nowadays, magic has become more
recognized. You don’t actually have to go to a theater to see it. The magicians
are now coming to the audience, in everyday situations.”
(June 9, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit
Oberyn Martell is a new “Game of Thrones” character but in just a few episodes, the Prince of Dorne, played by Pedro Pascal, has figured prominently in the HBO series. The bisexual warrior-prince has volunteered to fight for the life of Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), wrongfully accused by his kin, the ruling Lannisters, of a crime he did not commit.
“Oberyn has positioned himself as Tyrion’s champion for the trial by combat and will finally face a man he’s been wanting to confront since the death of Oberyn’s sister,” Pascal said in a recent teleconference, sans the thick Chilean accent he uses for the character. “Fans of the (George RR Martin) books who are fans of the show have never been dissatisfied with any of the major events and, I can assure you, they are not going to be dissatisfied with this one, either.”
The eighth episode, which aired last night, featured the momentous confrontation between Oberyn, also known as The Red Viper, and the brutal executioner monikered The Mountain (Hafthor Julius Bjornsson).
Bjornsson, Pascal said, is a towering, 6’9” strongman who weighs 420 lbs. “Physically, it was very intimidating,” said Pascal, who stands 5’11”. “But he’s a very kind person and we get along beautifully.”
Born Jose Pedro Balmaceda Pascal, the Chilean-American actor previously played roles in “Homeland,” “Nikita,” “CSI,” “The Good Wife,” “Touched By an Angel” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” He was also in the 2011 fantasy-drama film “The Adjustment Bureau.”
He went through difficult times as a young, struggling actor, Pascal, now 39, said. “I studied Theater in New YorkUniversity. When I graduated, I started auditioning right away. I had these cliché experiences, waiting tables, getting fired from different restaurants, making ends meet. My earlier work was in New York theater. I managed to make a home for myself there; it’s probably the best training ground.”
Pascal disclosed that he read for the “Game of Thrones” part in Los Angeles. “I was a fan of the show before I got the audition, and I was in the middle of watching the third season. In the script that I read, a lot was revealed…initially, I was actually upset. My first concern was that the fourth season was spoiled for me, and I might not even get the part. It didn’t turn out that way, much to my incredible surprise!”
He is thankful that his audition video was singled out by showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss. “Next thing I knew, they were flying me to Belfast to meet them, and there they told me that I got the part,” he enthused. “To say that I was happy is an understatement—I was over the moon!”
A fan of Dinklage’s for many years, Pascal described working with his costar as “an incredible honor.” He also thinks Tyrion should be king, ultimately. “He is the smartest person in every room he is in. Alongside that, contrary to the previous rulers, he has empathy and experience.”
As for Oberyn, Pascal said the Chilean accent was partly influenced by his father, and that the actor immediately admired Oberyn’s fuss-free personality. “I think he’s brilliant, because of how liberated and free-spirited he is,” Pascal said. “This character refuses to limit himself with regards to experience. To him, that is true logic; he’s not trying to prove any point. He wants to see and do as much as he can. It’s sort of fantasy living for many of us. I’m behind him all the way.”
Pascal said he was easily accepted into the show by cast mates. “I had never met such a large family of wonderful people. I got along really well with everybody…it’s [a welcoming atmosphere],” he said.
The adulation has begun; Oberyn has become a fan favorite among viewers of all orientations, and the actor has started getting interesting reactions to his portrayal. “I’m in New York right now, rehearsing a play…I get around by walking or taking the train. Every now and then, I get a very friendly smile and a thumbs up from a stranger. Or somebody who’s kindly serving me coffee says, ‘Are you the Prince of Dorne?’ When I haven’t had my coffee yet, I have a moment of confusion: ‘No, I’m Pedro.’ And then I realize what I’m being asked [so] I say, ‘Yes.’ All of the instances have been very sweet and flattering!”
(“Game of Thrones” airs Sundays, on HBO/HBO HD and Mondays, on HBO Signature.)
The Inquirer Entertainment staff was treated by our editor, Ma'am Emmie last month to Club Mwah. 'Twas her birthday, and we had a great time just watching the elaborately designed and choreographed show.
“We think it’s going to be an enormous show here; from a
production point of view, it’s a program that we’re very proud of,” said
Christine Fellowes, Asia Pacific managing director of Universal Networks
International, of E! Channel’s new reality show, “It Takes Gutz to be a
At 71 Gramercy in MakatiCity, an hour before the show’s
launch recently, Fellowes told the Inquirer that E! was growing
“increasingly stronger” in Southeast Asia, hence the
tapping of local content and talents.
When the Gutierrez family pitched the project to E!, she
said, “We all felt the show would work really well for the channel’s values.
They have great ambition and they’re very connected as a family. For us, it was
an obvious fit.”
Fellowes noted: “E! is one of the most successful
international cable channels in the Philippines
because Filipinos love celebrities. They like the glamour, the fun and the
aspirational side of Hollywood.
We’ve had great success with ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians,’ and that
[spawned] a number of spin-offs.”
Inspired by the Kardashians’ long-running reality series,
“Gutz” likewise depicts “normal” situations that “humanize” celebrities,
Fellowes explained. The Gutierrezes easily adjusted, she said, because of their
individual show-biz experiences.
“I’ve met with the family as a group,” she recounted. “They
all bring different things to the conversation. They’re accomplished
businesspeople. They have a very long history with show business, and a very
good eye for what will work on TV.”
Universal is slated to approve similar shows, Fellowes
added. “There are [other] big personalities coming out of the Philippines
and from across Asia, who have interests beyond their
borders. We will definitely be doing more productions with local partners. We
do E! News Asia, which covers celebrities and events
around the region; we produce E! specials. Last year, we did one on Anne
Curtis, which was fantastic for us. That was just as successful elsewhere in Asia.
We have another special coming up later in the year from the Philippines.
We’ll continue to do that type of production.”
Fellowes declined to comment on specifics of the budget, but
emphasized that there was no scrimping involved. The Gutierrez family was
followed by cameras while on a cruise around the region. “It’s a very
high-production-value program. It’s up to the standards of our international
and Hollywood programming. We felt that the cruise was an interesting idea…
Putting them in a situation where they’re together on a boat could create some
really interesting and dramatic adventures.”
Agreeing to appear on such a show also required the family
members to be “more open” than they had been in the past. “You’re definitely
going to see some things in the show that nobody knows,” she said. Indeed, for
starters, actors Richard Gutierrez and Sarah Lahbati revealed in the initial
episode on June 1 that they had become parents to a baby boy, Zion.
The six-episode show will have a second season, it was
recently confirmed by Gutierrez. The christening will be shown in one of the
Another Universal channel, Diva, is again focusing on Asia,
Fellowes said. “[We have a] continued investment in local production for Diva.
‘Supermodel Me’ was very successful. There will be a new season in November,
with contestants from all around the region.”
Fellowes related that Universal has done a lot of research
on women in Asia, and continues to gear specific shows
based on relevant findings. “Filipino women like comedy and American programming
more than [their counterparts in] any other part of Asia.
Women here put a great [premium on] creativity. The research showed us that
they have strong friendships and family ties. Such themes as overcoming
adversity, looking after the family— Filipino women relate to them very
(“It Takes Gutz to be a Gutierrez” airs Sundays, on E!)
Cartoon Network’s Curtis Lelash, vice president of comedy
animation, explained that the shows airing on the popular cable channel were
doing just that.
“Great comedy is universal and I think we’ve really tapped
into something with our shows over the past five years,” Lelash said in a
recent e-mail interview.
The California-based executive visited Southeast
Asia recently to look for original content that can be introduced
to other markets.
“Part of the success is that our shows have become more
positive and optimistic,” he said. “It seems that kids are responding to that.
And, you know, we think they’re funny, too!”
Cartoon Network’s most successful comedy series right now were “Adventure
Time,” “Regular Show,” “The Amazing World of Gumball” and “Steven Universe.”
But what type of humor is universal and well-received in Asia?
“No matter where you are in the world, physical comedy
always works,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of smartly written jokes go right over
kids’ heads, but if someone trips and falls down, it’s pretty much always
hilarious. It’s part of the reason that ‘Tom and Jerry’ has endured for 70
Lelash said Cartoon Network made their shows known,
apart from multimedia platforms, via occasional mall events. In the Philippines,
specifically, these activities attracted fans and casual participants alike and
made them aware of new shows.
“Locally, we’re looking to build on our…ratings success in
We’re the undisputed No. 1 kids’ channel. Already this year, Cartoon Network
Toonfest in Manila attracted
thousands of fans and their families and the…new comedies ‘Uncle Grandpa’ and
‘Steven Universe’ proved successful. ‘Adventure Time’ continues to be a fan-favorite
across the board, as demonstrated by its popular consumer products and toy
line, as well as ‘Adventure Time: Live On Stage,’ which is currently touring
Ayala Malls nationwide.”
Humor had changed over the years, Lelash offered, but
certain comedy cartoons could survive—and had survived—changing tastes and
“Comedy can be seen as commentary on the world, so they
always evolve along with society. Maybe that’s too deep, but sometimes really
fantastical things are popular, sometimes it’s more grounded. Whereas I think
‘Looney Tunes’ and ‘Tom and Jerry’ have survived a long time on really great
execution…When physical comedy works, it really works and lasts. And that’s our
goal, to make great comedies that resonate and hopefully have a long lifespan
in the memories of kids and older cartoon-lovers.”
Cartoon Network Studios in the United
States, Lelash revealed, was looking to
launch many new shows and deliver as many new episodes as it could. The channel
would be introducing the Australian-made series “Exchange Student Zero,” as
well as other stand-out projects from Southeast Asia, to
In the meantime, Cartoon Network continues to bring classic
and fresh American shows to Asia: “We aim to make the
smartest, funniest and most appealing shows possible…And we’re overjoyed that
kids are responding to our latest productions! From ‘The Powerpuff Girls,’
‘Dexter’s Laboratory’ and ‘Johnny Bravo’ to ‘Adventure Time,’ ‘Regular Show’
and ‘Uncle Grandpa,’ Cartoon Network aspires to create beloved characters that
“BBC World News felt it
was important to focus on the Philippines
six months after Supertyphoon ‘Yolanda,’” revealed writer-TV host Rajan Datar
via a recent e-mail interview. “The typhoon, and the effect of those dealing
with its consequences were huge breaking news stories for the channel and we
felt it was important to share [the recovery story] with the world,” Datar told
The “Philippines Direct” season currently airs on the
24-hour BBC World News channel. A series of
documentaries and programs started airing last Monday and continues until May
Datar’s “The Travel Show” (tomorrow, , )
visits earthquake- and typhoon-devastated areas and will focus on the victims
who survived and coped after the calamities.
Other programs in the lineup include “Working Lives: Cebu”
(tomorrow, ; May 25, , ), presented by Rico Hizon and focusing on a diverse set of
disaster-affected people and their livelihoods; and “Talking Business:
Philippines Direct” (tonight, 10.30; tomorrow, ), hosted by Linda Yueh and set at the World Economic Forum in Manila.
Excerpts from the interview:
How would you explain BBC’s
decision to focus on the Philippines?
The reaction to the Bohol earthquake
and Supertyphoon Yolanda is of interest around the world, has had a great
impact on the country’s tourism, and reveals something about the Filipino
character. Also, the Philippines’
economic growth and how that is filtering down to everyday society are of huge
What is “disaster tourism” and how is it gauged in the Philippines’
Disaster tourism can be defined as focusing on an
unfortunate event and, through tourism, helping with the recovery process. In
the case of the Philippines,
as with the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and for countries
like Sri Lanka,
the bond with regular tourists is so strong, that many people from abroad want
to help. When we filmed in Bohol, we saw that the
churches affected by the earthquake relied greatly on money from tourism to
survive and rebuild.
How is the Philippines
distinct in Asia, from “The Travel Show’s” perspective?
The clearest differences are the Spanish and American
influences and largely Catholic faith. Also, while Thailand,
Indonesia and Malaysia
sell themselves as more “exotic,” Filipinos are more grounded about who they
are and display an incredible resilience in the face of adversity.
In “The Travel Show,” we visit Manila,
Bohol and Panglao. In Manila,
we challenge the idea that the capital is not an attractive city to visit. We
meet a dancing cop (and dance with him in the middle of a busy four-way
junction!). We ride in a “pimped-out” jeepney, visit Intramuros, and look at
the more interesting contemporary music scenes in the capital.
On the islands, we look at ongoing recovery and restoration
efforts, go up to the Chocolate Hills, take a river cruise, get really close to
a tarsier that sat just behind me in a tree for a full 20 minutes while we
What makes the country’s entertainment scene different in
Island mentality makes a country’s psyche a bit more
extroverted, anarchic, carefree and fun-loving. But also, I noticed a special
obsession with entertaining others and being entertained. Everyone seems to
have music in their blood and so many can turn their hand to dancing, singing
What is the most important thing about creating travelogues?
The most interesting thing is that I get to dig below what
guide books and newspaper articles tell you about a certain destination—as a
result, we are able to find out what people in the country are actually talking
about, and we get to explain different cultural idiosyncracies. These days, it
is important not to underestimate the experience and knowledge of our viewers.
(For related multimedia content, visit BBC.com/Philippinesdirect.)