‘Pangako Sa Yo’ pilot review: Justifying the remake and a call for consistency
It isn’t difficult to see why bringing back Pangako Sa Yo would be a strategic move for a studio. Its original run 15 years ago was a big hit not only in the country but also abroad; the remake features perhaps one of the most bankable love teams today. It is the perfect mix. The older demographic of the audience will follow the show for nostalgia; while the younger ones will watch it for their love of the Kathniel tandem. Without question, the studio gets to entertain a huge block of the TV-watching audience while ensuring success on the commercial aspect of the business.

But these aren’t enough reasons for a remake. While the marketability of the content and the cast is undeniable, a redux will have to be justified. It has to offer something fresh, something new, something deeper. Otherwise, we’ll just end up watching the same show with different faces in it. Entertainment aside, we’ll just end up wasting our time.

Clever start

Luckily, the show is aware of this potential predicament. The pilot episode of the remake opens with a narration from Amor Powers (played by Jodi Sta. Maria). Right off the bat, she declares that she knows that we, the audience, know her. We know her name and we know who she has become, but she claims that there is more to her story that what we’ve been told before. This is a clever start to justifying itself; promising something more to offer than its original version.

And this promise delivers throughout the entire pilot episode. The show patiently develops the audience’s endearment for Amor de Jesus with all her doe-eyed barrio lass disposition of hopeful optimism. The pilot marinates the audience’s affinity for the character to generate a more flavorful impact and depth on her revenge-driven journey to becoming Amor Powers. At this point, Jodi Sta. Maria pushes all the right buttons to make this part of the narrative effective, and it is interesting to follow how she will play the character’s journey. She is cute, charming, and loveable.

Angelica Panganiban almost instantly makes a mark as Claudia with the telling of her history. Her origin, however, seems to be a bit too distant from the Claudia that we’ve come to know. Nevertheless, it raises interest to Claudia’s journey from where she is now to the domineering and manipulative socio-economic elite Claudia that we saw in the original run.

Technically impressive

The pilot episode, as expected, is technically impressive. The costumes of Claudia and Amor, for example, effectively embody the dispositions of the character; it speaks volumes on the drive and psyche of Claudia and Amor. The cinematography is astounding, something that we rarely see on television. Having said that, one can only hope that this will be carried out all throughout the show’s run.

Another encouraging aspect of the pilot is the way it sets up the class struggle that drives the conflict of the story. This is an interesting opportunity that, if played right, can deepen the socio-economic and political layer of the show. A dimension that can effectively reflect the way social, economic, and political macrostructures govern and, to a certain extent, dictate the choices that individuals get to make. After all, the promises of the characters to the self, family, and lovers are marred by these governing realities within the show.

Rich in promise

In the end, Pangako Sa ‘Yo, judging from its pilot episode, is rich in promise. It provides a new layer in its narrative and exposes something that we didn’t see before. But a promise is nothing if it will not be consistent. As such, balancing the elements of the show’s narrative from the characters, to their affairs, and the social realities that govern these is necessary. After all, while love stories sometimes get happy endings, it is never a myopic journey. There are economic, social, and political variables that govern these. And if these are all effectively showcased in the show during its run, then we can say that the remake is justified.