The first week of GMA-7's My Beloved set such a high standard that the only negative one can say about the primetime series is that it is faced with a hard challenge of keeping up with this standard in the coming episodes.
My Beloved tells the story of a young woman named Sharina (Marian Rivera) who meets the man of her dreams, Arlan, (Dingdong Dantes) after nearly dying from a fatal vehicular accident. Sharina kisses Arlan, who is in fact a "sundo" or one who takes the souls of the dead to their final resting place. Because of the kiss, Arlan is sentenced to be a mortal man, and is transported to the body of a notorious thief named Benjie.
My Beloved, which is directed by Dominic Zapata, also stars Jennica Garcia, Katrina Halili, Mikael Daez, Paolo Contis, Alden Richards, Chanda Romero, and Saab Magalona.
My Beloved opened on Monday, February 13, and it opened with a bang. The widely-hyped accident set-up along Roxas Boulevard last January 30—an elaborate set-up with a bus hanging from an overpass, with a number of cars underneath—was the first scene in the series. Lasting only less than 30 seconds, it was instrumental in showing that with My Beloved, GMA-7 did not skimp on funds for the pilot episode.
Several scenes in the first week also showed that My Beloved is an expensive production, from pulling a real ATM machine out of the wall, to rolling a bus downhill. GMA-7 could have saved money from these scenes by faking them, but it is a good thing that they allotted the necessary funding to lend credibility to the scenes.
It is also impressive that these accidents contained as much as blood as possible, leading to more credibility. One of the recurring criticism to Amaya, Marian Rivera's previous primetime series, is the lack of blood—perhaps to target a G-rating from the MTRCB. For a series featuring tribe war and sword-fighting, the lack of blood in the scenes was too jarring.
The only negative My Beloved will soon face is the after-premiere phase in Philippine TV shows, when funds have dried up, and special effects and production design will be made less than spectacular. Hopefully, GMA-7 transcends that trend for My Beloved, and just continues to spend for the best entertainment possible.
What will not change though is the good performance of its actors. Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes still give sparks whenever they are onscreen together. My Beloved is their fifth team-up, after Marimar, Dyesebel, Ang Babaeng Hinugot sa Aking Tadyang, and Endless Love, and their loveteam never gets old.
The most notable performance comes from Jennica Garcia who is perfect as Marian Rivera's sister. Jennica gives a good acting performance—nailing hysterical anguish and disbelief—in the death scene of her husband, played by Carl Guevara.
Other actors give notable performances, like Carl, Alden Richards, Chanda Romero, Rio Locsin, Gwen Zamora, and John Arcilla.
Let's see if GMA-7 can sustain the high level of production values it gave My Beloved for its pilot week.