As one of ABS-CBN’s top primetime soap opera (then tele-serye) stars, Judy Ann Santos has gone on to portray quite the number of character types over the preceding years. She has, much like Vilma Santos, grown up with her roles, from her breakout lead part as an awkward but kind-hearted girl in “Mara Clara,” to a police agent and even a super-heroine. After being scarce from Kapamilya programming for a while, Juday is ready to return to TV, and in a role she arguably has not tackled to a large degree before. How does Judy Ann as a bad guy come across to you all?
That is exactly what Kapamilya audiences will get according to ABS-CBN News, when the network soon premieres its latest urban fantasy-themed tele-serye “Starla,” courtesy of longtime content provider Dreamscape Entertainment. It is the lead comeback vehicle of Judy Ann Santos, who for a time was part of “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano” at the most recent. It will also build up on Juday’s “Probinsyano” character as a villain to the heroes, although even in her new antagonistic role it is she who gets top billing in “Starla.” That is a hint that Judy Ann’s big bad role is not a monstrous character but has more hidden depths.
It can in fact be seen in the first trailer for “Starla” that was debuted by ABS-CBN just this Wednesday, September 18. It details the travails of a small Barrio, Maulap, which has been struck by endless bad luck in the form of farm pests, livestock plagues and more economic woes, paving the way for a massive buyout of the land by ruthless businesswoman Teresa (Judy Ann). Her efforts are vainly resisted by outspoken town elder Mang Greggy (Joel Torre), and eventually a streak of unbelievably good fortune reverses the dire situation of Barrio Maulap.
Why is Teresa hell-bent on a hostile takeover of Maulap? It turns out she was a resident there as a child, until his father was sent to prison and her mother fell ill, while their neighbors became cold and unsympathetic to her family crisis. Teresa sees her plan as the ultimate vengeance on a place that meant only suffering to her, until the barrio sees a turnaround in its fortunes. Apparently a young boy named Buboy (Enzo Pelojero) has befriended a wishing star (Jana Agoncillo as Starla) that fell from the sky, and makes wishes to help the townsfolk with their problems. Teresa then learns that Buboy is a friend of Greggy, her estranged father.
“Starla” looks to be shaping up as a successor to “May Bukas Pa” and “100 Days to Heaven” in terms of spiritual inspiration and the gradual transformation of vile antagonists into relatable sympathetic atoners, proving that not all bad guys are irredeemably evil. The new tele-serye also stars Raymart Santiago, Meryl Soriano, and Joem Bascon. It will premiere this October, quite possibly replacing “The General’s Daughter” with Angel Locsin, which will end after three weeks.
Image: ABS-CBN Entertainment YouTube (screenshot)