I. The "Alyas Robin Hood" trailer starring Dingdong Dantes that drew flak from rational and critical Filipinos online.
When does paying homage ends and ripping off begins? That is the question I encountered when seeing reviews of Netflix Stranger Things on the various entertainment review channels on Youtube. For now, we cannot say if that will be the case with GMA Network's "Alyas Robin Hood," but by the gods, the teaser trailer is intentionally made to look like it is an unapologetic and a blatant ripoff of a popular American superhero show, CW's Arrow. Maybe that was the intention all along, the "shock factor". That on the age where everyone seems to have access to popular US shows whether it be officially or unconventional means (thru torrent), it seems blasphemous to rip off elements of a popular franchise. This was the case with Ang Panday (woah! also promoted under GMA Network) that ripped off Clash of Titans. Who on their right state of mind would do such marketing in a social media filled with critical Filipinos? Well, the "Alyas Robin Hood" got people talking about an upcoming GMA Network show, unfortunately not in a good way.
II. Is the Philippine Television Network running out of ideas? What's up with the lack of creativity?
"Is there anything original nowadays?" is one of the question some people might get into discussions with. With so many formulaic and cliche themes that dominated Philippine television and cinema, the answer seems to be both a YES and a NO. While one may think of GMA Network's horrendous Sailormoon rip-off, "Super Twins" starring Jennely Mercado and Nadine Samonte, and that poor excuse of a tokusatsu series loosely based on the space Sheriff Shaider Japanese series that even Toei wouldn't consider as part of canon as a bad examples; one may also argue that GMA Network has also brought us memorable series like "Kung Mawawala Ka" and "My Husband's Lover."
So does GMA Network lacks creativity? Well, if we are to base solely on the "Alyas Robin Hood" trailer, it seems to be a bit fat Yes. We can attribute it is to the reason that it is the latest "trend" internationally. Major television networks seems to follow such trend. Remember ABS-CBN when it started doing the kabitseryes or infidelity focus television and film series? It is just like the Filipino superhero comic book (and original superhero concept) explosion back in the early 2000 with Darna, Captain Barbell, Lastikman, Flash Bomba, Komiks Present, Pedro Penduko, Panday, Kristala, Kamandag, Gagambino, Mulawin, and Super Inggo.
Superhero films and television series are a big hit internationally as of the making of this blog. With the popularity of shows like Arrow, The Flash, Gotham, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Agents of Shield, and superhero films from Marvel and DC, it can't be helped if a network to find its new best series to capitalize on seems to simply mindlessly "take inspiration" (rips off) from one of them. In this case "Alyas Robin Hood" starring Dingdong Dantes from Arrow, like how "Captain Barbell" starring Richard Gutierez unapologetically ripped off Smallville.
III. Insulting the Filipino Television Viewers and Filipinos in General
Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. GMA Network have already did this sort of thing back in Captain Barbell. The network or people behind it are either too full of themselves or doesn't seem to mind ripping off Smallville. Given the fact that Smallville was currently airing in Studio 23 primetime block at that time. I don't know if GMA Network just think that the majority of Filipino mass who mostly could have issues with availing proper education making them not appreciate and comprehend American shows, unavailability to receive Studio 23 signals on their television, or GMA are too full of themselves that they think that other stations does not exist and the Filipino televiewers are solely watching GMA Network oblivious to other stations.
CW Arrow Season 4 Trailer
This then seems to indicate that they are insulting the Filipino Television Viewers. Why? Because while they are already teasing this "Alyas Robin Hood" television series, TV5 has already picked up on Arrow. What is either better or worse is that TV5 dubbed Arrow in Filipino along with other foreign shows. This seem to imply that Filipinos might have trouble understanding English content. So we already have Arrow available and accessible in Filipino. Filipino Televiewers can obviously make a comparison of the show and does not need to look far. Tagalized Arrow is on TV5; one channel away from GMA Network. So why still go with such dubious promotion of their new show. The answer? They are probably capitalizing on the negative reception online. Bad publicity is still publicity... something they might have picked up from President Duterte.
They insult the Filipinos online who are so outspoken for their support of everything the Philippine television is NOT! To somehow blatantly rip off the "somewhat fresh" US series themes (* Only used "somewhat fresh" as US shows tend to also fall on the formulaic themes like procedural crime shows, reality shows, etc.) There are many superhero themed resources that GMA can draw inspiration locally from, so why not do that? Well, one argument there is television networks probably doesn't want to pay the rights to use these "new" comics characters and would simply stick with the classics like Mars Ravelo ones. Instead here they are making a superhero type of story that blatantly rips off Arrow themes paying no money at all. A blatant rip off of Arrow's a (green) hood and the hero uniform which copies everything down to a teeth. Sure Arrow or Green Arrow is not the first iconic character to use a bow and arrow as his main weapon as the Filipino series seems to imply that it draws inspiration from Robin Hood (thus the Alyas Robin Hood); but at least they should have mixed things up a bit. Sadly, they went the controversial route. Well it made people talking, right? Who knows they might surprise us with a sudden shift in overall tone, if ever they listen to criticism, you know like what they did to Captain Barbell.
The insulting part is that GMA Network is capable of providing decent and even thought-provoking content if they only have better creative team, screenwriters, or maybe tapped on the actual creative people in the Philippine comics industry. Have they exhausted everything with "Encantadia," My Husband's Lover," "The Rich Man's Daughter," and "Kung Mawawala Ka?"
IV. Conflict Resolution, Suggestion, and Recommendation
People might say, all you do is criticize but does not offer anything to make things better. So I will now, do what the production and creative team should have done marketing this new series. One approach would be to take down the trailer and put up a new one which doesn't make it a complete copycat of the popular CW series. Make necessary revisions to the overall outfit of the new GMA Network superhero and actually hire some people who would research on Robin Hood. They seem to take inspiration from there, it was not "Alyas Green Arrow."
The other approach is to bask in the bad publicity and at the same time addressing the series' criticism. Have showbiz news interviews that states that it pays homage to Arrow and that it is a truly unique concept which might truly be the case. They wouldn't ripped off the story of Arrow down to the teeth, right? To show new trailers showing that it is not a rip off proving naysayers that they are wrong; that their initial trailer that paid of homage was misinterpreted and the ripping off ends with the teaser; that new trailers would not continue with the ripping off and the actual content is unique on its own. Relevant to Filipino society and catering to the local superhero hype for Filipino kids and television viewers.
Not long ago, TV5 also made a very forgettable Arrow ripoff or parody series that seemingly went under everyone's radar, simply titled as "Robin Dude." Well at least that show labeled itself as a parody series. So is GMA doing the exact same thing? Will they be ripping off Robin dud only with a much popular actor as its lead?
Filipino comic artist extraordinaire Gerry Alanguilan made this point when he reacted to the teaser of Alyas Robin Hood.
Source: Alyas Robin Hood Teaser Trailer Page
How about you guys? What do you think of The Alyas Robin Hood teaser trailer? Share your thoughts and opinion in the comments section below.