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Telefantasya or Fantaserye is a genre of Philippine television show with fantasy-based themes like birdmen or superheroes. A recent boom in the genre began with ABS-CBN’s series Marina, about mermaids, to which rival station GMA Network responsed with a fantasy spoof named Marinara.


Usage and The First called Fantaserye and Telefantasya

The term fantaserye is often used to refer to ABS-CBN's fantasy series. The first official fantaserye was Marina, a series about a girl cursed by a wicked woman to become a mermaid. Telefantasya often refers to the creations of GMA Network. The first telefantasia was Mulawin, a series about a humaniod bird living in a forest and falling in love with a girl who was revealed later in the series as also being a mulawin and they both fight the evil mulawin Ravena. ABS-CBN also tried to reinvent the named of their fantasy TV series like Krystala that they named superserye and Panday as sineserye. However, both are still regarded by many as fantaseryes.


Fantaserye or Telefantasya is a genre in Philippine television which mixes soap opera, fantasy, myth, magic and enchantment. The episodes are usually 30-minutes long, and has a daily slot in the evening prime time row. The term came into use after ABS-CBN launched Marina, a story about a mermaid.


The Fantaserye genre of television has been around even before the word was conceived. Probably the first Filipino Fantaserye could be regarded as "Okey Ka Fairy Ko!1" produced by TAPE, Inc. in 1987 and broadcast originally on IBC Channel 13, moved to ABS-CBN until TAPE Inc. transferred its programs to GMA after its contract expired with ABS-CBN.

"Okey ka, Fairy Ko!" is a story about Taga-Lupa ("Earthling" in English) Vic Sotto who married Engkantada (a fairy) Alice Dixson. They had children who were half-earthlings and half-fairies. The fairy, a princess in her world, had a stern mother (Charito Solis) who visited the neighborhood everyday, criticizing their lifeztyle on earth (sometimes battling with evil from the dark world).

Fantaserye's origins were more rooted towards situational comedy than soap opera (today's fantaseryes and telefantsayas are lined up in evening prime time along with other soap operas), and "Okey ka, Fairy Ko!" is proof of that. The series had a run of about seven years and was aired on one day of the week for about 60 minutes per episode. Other notable series with similar nature are Wansapanataym of ABS CBN and Beh Bote Nga of GMA Network.

Telefatasyas or Fantaseryes need not only depict magical worlds in space, underwater, or somewhere else. They may also depict future settings. Pintados, launched by GMA, could also fall under the same genre. Pintados was about a band of painted warriors (Pintados) with the power to control the elements on a mission to save the world. Nowadays, several titles fall under this genre. However, the most famous fantaseryes or telefantasyas are the ones shown weeknights during Primetime Television. Once a week fantaseryes are also included under the same genre but do not receive as much viewership as the ones shown every weeknight.

Fantaseryes weren't given as much as attention earlier and thus they were usually shown on a once a week basis with each episode running for one to one hour and a half. In 2003 ABS-CBN introduced a new genre of teleserye which mixes soap opera, fantasy, myth, magic and enchantment on a nightly basis. This genre was calledFantaserye on a nightly basis during primetime. The first tele-fantaserye that was shown on primetime TV was officially Darating ang Umaga. However, it was commercially a failure. Fantasy themed TV series have been around for while already in the Philippines prior to the launch of the series Darating ang Umaga although they weren't popular on television. in 2004, ABS-CBN took another risk by showing yet another fantaserye called Marina. Unlike its predecessor, Marina undoubtfully set a benchmark for fantaseryes on television when it garnered consistent high ratings during its entire run. The ratings and audience share of the said fantaserye were even higher than the usual more established teleseryes during primetime. Because of this, the television series Marina was officially the one that popularised the genre fantaserye. Today fantaseryes are the most viewed TV program in the Philippines. Recent surveys by media research firms AC Nielsen and AGB state that fantaseryes have the highest ratings in the evening prime time block.


Telefantasyas and Fantaseryes today can be arguably described as the most awaited part of the evening prime time blocks of GMA and ABS-CBN. Recent surveys by media research firms AC Nielsen and AGB state that these telefatasyas have the highest ratings in the evening prime time block.

Criticisms Against the New Wave of Fantaseryes

Values Formation

A TV-magazine show's episode on November 5, 2005 pointed out that Fantaseryes have a negative effect on the young children because they cannot clearly mark the borderline between reality and fantasy.

Also in this line, the themes of the telefantasyas often feature battles between two factions: good and evil. Although the good and evil parts of the battle are clearly marked, people, especially the children emphasize more on the fights rather than the victory of good over evil. The children imitate the fights scenes and thus inculcate them in their lives. Conservatives have always critiqued the showing of violence on television as detrimental to the children's values.

Social Constructionism

The theory of Social Constructionism is often used as defense by the critics not just of Fantaseryes, but of the television as a postmodern invention. This theory, by Peter Berger and Thomas Luckman in the 1960s suggests that reality is constructed by the society in general, and individually, by the people who interpret and perceive reality.

In this case, television forms a reality in the minds of the people, specifically, as an "ideal" world on where to live in. The people perceive it and then in turn form the notion that "this is how life should be." This happens, when, in fact, it should not be, because the television is not the reality but life is the ultimate reality.

List of fantasy series in the Philippines

ABS-CBN's Fantaseryes






Considered Fantaseryes TV

GMA Network's Telefantasyas





Considered Telefantasya

See also

Original Source

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