Television: Aso ni San Roque

"Aso ni San Roque"

Monsters. Creatures of the night.

Aswang.

Ever since I was a little boy, I’ve been fascinated by the things that go bump in the night. I’m a self-confessed coward, I’m afraid of the dark… but I love monsters. Because monsters? Monsters you can fight.

In Aso ni San Roque, we get monsters. Lots of them. And the only person who can stop them is a blind little girl raised on hope. A little girl and the people who love her, and the ones who learn to love her.

The story is pretty standard fare for a Filipino program, and the only thing that sets it apart is the supposedly new take on the Philippines’ well-known monster mythology. But so far, while you can see the attempts of it through dialogue and actions–one thing is definitely holding the show back from its promise: the show’s special effects.

GMA has done horror numerous times before. The effects were never spectacular, but they worked. With Aso ni San Roque though, the effects border on cartoonish. And that takes away from the brevity of scenes. Which is a shame.

Aso ni San Roque boasts of a cast that are known to be great actors. Even the titular dog is known for being good at being dramatic, from her turn as Bwakaw in the film of the same name. But with the less-than-stellar effects, instead of being wowed by the actors, or the story, all you get is frustrated.

Encantadia, a show that aired six years ago, had better effects than Aso ni San Roque. Marian Rivera’s version of Darna employed a few similar monsters–and that had better effects too.

So what went wrong with this show?

And speaking of what went wrong–I have to wonder why MTRCB, our local entertainment governing body, has deemed it necessary to rate the program SPG for strict parental guidance needed.

There is nothing in the show that can harm children. Unless they gave it an SPG rating because of the monsters and their victims. Which would be a stupid reason.

I grew up with monster stories, and those came from my parents and the guardians we were left in care of. There’s a reason why monsters are a part of our culture. It’s because this is how our parents instilled fear and values in us.

Most of us grew up fine. We grew up good people. And the stories told us were much scarier, much harsher than the ones shown in this show.

So what’s with the SPG?

And I know I’m supposed to be talking about Aso ni San Roque, but I have to ask: is MTRCB babying television viewers too much?

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