Words by: Carinna Reyes
With controversial fantaseryes like Bagani and Victor Magtanggol, one can’t help but wonder if we’ve really run out of stories that can give us a better representation of our folklore and something that isn’t a mimicry of other international series already known. Why not take a look at our very own written literature? To give you hope for the future of our local series, here are seven well-received Filipino fantasy novels that we think would make a good teleserye:
Let’s start the list with everyone’s favorite hypothetical cause of apocalypse: zombies. The story follows Grace Tecson, a reporter who is in the middle of uncovering the truth behind the death of several farmers working for a famed hacienda (sounds familiar?) when the zombie outbreak began.
Unlike the recent zombie-series, The Cure, this graphic novel tackles the violent and sometimes unjust narrative of our history through the eyes of a journalist, whose main purpose is to uncover the truth while fighting the undead to survive.
6. Kapitan Sino
In our local tv shows, the villain is usually characterized as someone with a bratty personality or the one who calls the men with guns and smiles menacingly once he puts down the phone. But what if the villain isn’t completely evil, but more of a chaotic neutral? What if the villain sincerely believed his actions are justified, as they serve the greater good?
Kapitan Sino is focused on the story of a hero with electrokinesis and healing abilities, but it’s the multiple villains he encounters that makes this book memorable and worthy of a TV series.
ALSO READ: The Book-It List: Filipino Author Edition!
5. Filipino Heroes League
S.H.I.E.L.D. has a quinjet, Justice League has the Justice League Teleporters, and Filipino Heroes League has… a defective jeep and a pedicab? That seems about right when you’re working under our government.
FHL is a graphic novel that puts a comedic spin on superheroes as part of the working class and fighting against the constant social issues of the country. Characters such as corrupt officials, Overseas Filipino Heroes, and a Pepe Smith lookalike protagonist makes this graphic novel something I would definitely look forward to watching every night.
4. Wounded Little Gods
We’ve always thought of our engkantos and diwatas as fearsome and omnipotent, but what if they weren’t? Wounded Little Gods offers a narrative that’s rarely been used before–the chance to depict our mythological gods as human, flawed, and weak. Which makes them all the more interesting and relatable.
The story is focused on the journey of Regina, a working girl in Makati who travels back to her hometown Heridos, the village where gods and spirits used to live with humans, to save her friend who mysteriously disappears a few days prior.
3. Mythology Class
What makes Mythology Class so great is its strong grounding on our reality, that makes its magical aspect more believable and its college-style of humor more laughable. Set in UP Diliman, the story revolves around a group of university students who are invited to attend a mythology class (hence the title) which happens to be a training ground to capture and retrieve lost mythological creatures.
If done right, the image of a hundred-foot Lam-Ang, the Time-Navigating room, and Lusyo, the tamed tikbalang, among others, would be a visual feast on local TV if given the chance to be adapted to a TV series.
But what if the local mythological creatures we cherish didn’t share the same sentiment? Set in a dystopian future, Naermyth is a novel that considers the possibility of hostile aswangs, dwendes, and other local creatures set on eliminating humanity and reclaim the world as theirs.
Think of it as the Filipino adaptation of The Walking Dead, but instead of zombies, the characters fight insatiable, intelligent creatures, who can most probably outrun and outsmart a normal person, like Maria Labo. Doesn’t that make it ten times gorier and more suspenseful?
And of course, we’re finishing this list off with our most notable homegirl in the graphic novel world, Alexandra Trese. Her story is centered on her struggles as she maintains the balance between the human and supernatural world by solving crime done by an engkanto on a human, and vice versa.
With her uncanny aura, unbeatable wits, and remarkable fighting skills, she’s simply a character just dying to be personified in real time tv. Not to mention the fact that she’s a badass female detective without being objectified in any of the comics makes her a great inspiration for the younger audience to look up to.
Moreover, the minor characters are also well-developed and have interesting backgrounds on their own, which makes this novel an even better candidate for a series as there is a lot of players that can be used to progress the story and possibly explore it even further than in the comics. (Make me swoon over the Kambal ten times harder please!)
So the bigger question is, why hasn’t Trese been turned to a series yet?
What other local literature do you think would make a great TV series in the future? More importantly, which Pinay actress do you think would make a great Alexandra Trese on TV? Let us know in the comments below!