New show makes a superhero of a teacher

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MARIAN RIVERA plays a teacher who is also a vanquisher of evil in Super Ma’am.

JUST IN time for September – Teachers’ Month – GMA Network has unveiled its newest prime time offering starring Marian Rivera-Dantes in a role where she has to play both a teacher and a vanquisher of evil.

Titled simply Super Ma’am, the 13-week fantasy drama will see Ms. Rivera-Dantes playing Minerva Henerala, an odd but soft-hearted high school teacher. A close encounter with a tamawo, a mythical shape-shifting creature, turns her into a tamawo slayer as these creatures are bent to take back their control of the human world.

Joining Ms. Rivera-Dantes is veteran actress Helen Gamboa who plays her grandmother, Lolita, and who guides Minerva in her journey.

Performing alongside Ms. Rivera-Dantes is the network’s newest leading man, Matthias Rhoads, as Trevor James, an American archaeologist and writer, as well as Jerald Napoles as Esteban, the school janitor who has feelings for Minerva.

Other cast members include Al Tantay as Minerva’s alcoholic father, Jackie Lou Blanco as the main villainess and a powerful tamawo disguised as the school’s rich benefactor, and Kim Domingo as Avenir, Minerva’s lost sister turned rival in love as she also falls for Trevor.

“This is my first time to handle this big of a project,” said Lord Alvin Madridejos, the show’s director, at the sidelines of the launch on Sept. 11 at La Reve events place in Quezon City.

Mr. Madridejos has just finished helming the limited-run series Meant To Be which starred Barbie Forteza alongside Ken Chan, Jak Roberto, Ivan Dorschner, and Addy Raj. Meant To Be fended in late June.

“I’ve been working on this on and off for a few months now,” he said, and unlike his other superhero project – Tsuperhero – in 2016, Super Ma’am is meant to show both the struggles of being a superhero and the struggles of being a teacher.

It was also meant to be a tribute to teachers.

Tsuperhero was more on the comedic side and the attack was more for the masses. This one is more of a tribute project for the teachers because for the longest time, we wanted a project many people will relate to so when we were thinking about it. We’ve done a lot of projects about families and then we thought of who are the ones who can be considered a person’s second family and those are the teachers,” he said before adding, “This is a story about a teacher who is a superhero because that’s how teachers are for their students.”

But lest people think this is a super-serious drama with a lot of action scenes, Mr. Madridejos said there are comedic instances in order to “provide a contrast between the superhero self and the human self.

“Then after a while, you will see the superhero self affecting the teacher self and vice versa,” he said.

And unlike other superheroes, Super Ma’am is almost ordinary as she does not have the power to fly nor teleport so she has to figure out how to get from one place to another – even if it means taking an Uber.

She also does not kill her adversaries as the tamawo when defeated turn into seeds which can be planted and re-grown into good tamawo.

“Because teachers are supposed to be caring,” he explained.

Aside from Minerva’s humanity, Mr. Madridejos noted that they’ve also taken care in their portrayal of the tamawo, a mythological creature from the Visayas region which is said to be very beautiful and have fangs and claws of gold.

“We are pretty careful about this because you don’t know when you’ll breach a culture and offend someone,” he said, adding that they did their research about the legends of the creature.

Super Ma’am airs on weekdays during GMA’s evening prime time Telebabad slot. – Zsarlene B. Chua