With more than 40 episodes so far, Mars Ravelo’s Darna has been having quite a good run. Filipinos were delighted with the fresh plot, a beautiful new heroine in Jane de Leon, a fierce villain in Janella Salvador’s Valentina, and even respectable CGI work. But it seems as if the 2022 TV series is rapidly losing its fantasy and magic, according to Filipino viewers.
Is it “too woke”?
Matagal ko nang sinukuan ang Darna. Y’all wanna know why? They made the show so woke, it sucked out all the entertainment & fun out of it. Nawalan ng balance kaya nawala ang saya. Puwede namang woke but still fun & not preachy. May oras pa kayo Darna team, ayusin niyo na ‘yan.
— supernegatrona AKA pink 5🍥 (@supernegatrona) October 10, 2022
One reason why Darna viewers aren’t happy about the show anymore is that it appears to be “too woke.”
There have been subplots where the series touched on politics and the justice system in the Philippines, what with Regina Vanguardia (Salvador) being a pro bono lawyer. Many also agreed with the tweet and said they wished the series showed more fight scenes and displays of power. It is, after all, a fictional fantasy teleserye.
“Okay lang namang maging socially relevant ang show but it needs to stop being preachy and start letting people to think for themselves. Sayang kasi maganda sana yung concept kaso they butchered the writting of the show,” read another comment.
Lack of fantasy elements
Darna’s storyline so far pic.twitter.com/Gb8wbKzRrJ
— Sam (@sumnsapphic) October 10, 2022
Some fans are also disappointed with how the show seems to be missing out on the fantastical elements that made Darna iconic in the first place. “Nasan na yung mga taong alupihan na naghahasik ng lagim?” one netizen asked.
“Gusto ko lang naman ng Babaeng Linta na villain,” said another. In the OG comics, Darna fought with many of her nemeses such as Babaeng Linta, Babaeng Tuod, Babaeng Impakta, and many more. Past Darna adaptations made sure to include a number of villains even if their costumes were, uhm, laughable. In the 2009 adaptation, we saw Elektra, Serpina (Babaeng Anakonda), Kobra, and even the vampire Vladimir.
“Check the past films at komiks for reference ng kalaban ni Darna. At mag-invest sila ng bongga sa costume ng kalaban,” another netizen said.
A love triangle trope?
Netizens mostly expressed disappointment over what looks to be a brewing love triangle between Narda (de Leon), Brian Robles (Joshua Garcia), and Regina. Fans of the show are not even convinced anymore about the initial romance between Narda and Brian since it seemed as if Narda needed him to be strong. Where was the heroine’s independence?
“Since it seems like they’re pushing thru with that fighting-over-a-boring-man storyline that should have died in like 2010, OA bang sabihin na my heart mourns for Darna 2022? Ang sayang mo,” commented one netizen.
“What a waste of the Darna cast they’re all so perfect for their roles… but the romantic subplot of pushing capable women into toxic men, unneccessary scenes that serves nothing but copaganda AND the way it barely established any women empowerment in 36+ episodes??? Di ko na alam,” lamented another.
Where is women empowerment?
a successful and very dedicated lawyer seeking comfort in the arms of a sexist police officer 😭 darna is getting worse omg
— briana (@endisolar) October 5, 2022
Netizens are now demanding for showrunners write Narda as the strong, independent woman that she is. She needs to stop “being weak” when Brian is around, as one Twitter user pointed out. Fans of the show also want the same for Regina’s character.
“A successful and very dedicated lawyer seeking comfort in the arms of a sexist police officer. Darna is getting worse omg,” read one comment talking about Regina and Brian.
Is Darlentina queerbaiting?
Another aspect of the show folks loved is the budding friendship between Narda and Regina contrasting the rivalry of their alter egos Darna and Valentina. The pairing, dubbed “Darlentina,” even developed its own fandom on social media. Many want Darlentina to end up together, saying it’s a better pairing than Brian with any of the girls. Queer fan arts of Darlentina are also in abundance.
confirmed darna spoilers kinausap ko si direk #darlentina #artph pic.twitter.com/iqRE4WZL6t
— sukuna ako (@aIifaye) September 12, 2022
Sleepover daw #darlentina pic.twitter.com/59TklhBuUL
— kuki ☆ Oct comms (4/4) (@KukkiScr) September 23, 2022
To add fuel to the fans’ desires, even Salvador and De Leon themselves appear to flirt on social media:
Be careful what you wish for, Darna 😉 https://t.co/JIIF79ICMn
— Janella Salvador (@superjanella) September 1, 2022
But after a few weeks of these cute interactions in the drama, fans have grown tired. Some even labeled the whole thing as queerbaiting — or implying queer relationships to hook the audience. Darna viewers also compared it with the American superhero series Supergirl, which got flak for apparently attempting to queerbait its audience.
darna (2022) writers taking down notes from supergirl’s queerbaiting patterns to attract the right audiences pic.twitter.com/lfZKYO8flK
— marina crammers 🎃 (@LESBIAN1SM) September 3, 2022
Viewers just want Darna to be revolutionary
Viewers: Darna is a show about superhero!
— yanah | fanartist for #DarLentina ❤️🔥 (@yanah_alt) October 10, 2022
And now more and more viewers are worried that the series is heading in the direction that many other Pinoy drama series have gone. Should we expect to see slapping scenes? Regina pushing Narda into the mud and calling her adopted? Or maybe we should all buckle up for the best local show plot twist of them all — the rivals are siblings. Shocker.
So far, thousands of viewers still have high hopes for Darna. If it gets back on track — away from the Pinoy tropes we’ve so desperately tried to leave behind throughout the years — it might not be too late to win back the public’s good graces.
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