When El Cuerpo Del Deseo (Second Chance) debuted on NTV, it was destined for greatness, the adverts that led to its premiere – storyline of a man that had resurrected in a cuter body and was now finding out things about the widow he left behind!
When it eventually premiered, Uganda was blown away, in fact at that time, NTV had redefined the audience of Telenovas, they had men, women and children from all walks of life watching the show, even pastors and priests were slotting things from the show into their sermons.
And to sign everything off, it was the same show that created the famous comedy ‘a.k.a’ Salvador for Patrick Idringi.
In fact a source at NTV reveals that it’s still one of the most successful dramas they have broadcast, which probably informed the station to give the show a second shot, just that this time it would have a Ugandan feel! Allegedly.
The station last debuted a reboot of the famous show said to have been in the works for close to two years.
With crowd pleasing socialites and celebrities like Anita ‘Fabiola’ Kyalimpa, Stella ‘Ella’ Nantumbwe, Roger Mugisha and Fagil Mande among others, the show didn’t receive an easy landing as expected.
The station held a special screening for the first episode at Serena Hotel’s Katonga Hall before premiering the show the next day.
As you could imagine, the people that tuned in to watch the show were enourmous, thanks to the station’s PR machine, but even before the first episode could come to an end, the roaring on social media had become so loud.
Issues raised by the public are clear – they don’t like Fabiola as Fabiola and now she portrays an originally beloved Angela Byekwaso……. yes, Donoso became Byekwaso…such things!, they think Ella (Isabella) is proud and they think Douglas Sebamala (Simon) is stupid among others.
Judging from the first few episode responses, Ugandans are indirectly not impressed with the idea of a remake of a show they still believe is their favorite; for instance, they blamed Sebamala’s Simon, for being stupid and Mande’s Donoso for being a tired hug, yet this is how the characters were written from the original.
According to a film maker that watched the premiere episode, he isn’t ready to watch Fabiola step into Angela’s shoes because in his view, she’s a disgraced socialite; “I guess it would have been better if they created new characters for them,” he says adding that biggest problem is that now people are watching them in comparison with their real life characters as well as the original shows’.
On one of the platforms, actor and director Phillip Luswata noted that since many have already watched Second Chance, the show is not here to thrive on suspense as the story unfolds; “Iam sure the show was singled out for its novelty value – the novelties of watching Ugandans perform a story well known.”
he says that what keeps an audience glued in this case is the rendition or interpretation of characters by the locals; “What then happens when the novelty wears out?”
But Second Chance is not as bad as people are expressing, in fact, it was a fair job done, the only problem is that the show is competing with its former self, the audience has since watched a better ‘Second Chance’ that they are not willing to settle for less.
Making matters worse, the producers literally copy and pasted the original thing, with it taking characters and storylines that are only dreams in a Ugandan setting, for instance, some wondered if there are rich Ugandans with butlers or a maid whose two sons are living in her boss’ house.
Mande is prolific, though it seems the director is fighting to make him Pedro Donoso than let him interpret the role the way he deems fit – but this also happens with many of the other characters.
Some actors on the show are really good while others need a lot of episodes to start acting; Fabiola’s continuous lack of emotion is exceptional, Ella, she indeed fits the Isabella persona, only problem is that she fails to embrace the pride of womanhood this role comes with, she instead does what she’s good at, being a beauty queen, there are times she talks like she’s actually helping us deliver the lines!
Of course the show will get better with time but sadly, in the entertainment industry, especially TV, people simply move on, they don’t offer second chances.
This is a revised version of the same article that was published in The Observer