There is a new crime-busting hero on television that is bringing light and joy to Filipino households. He is Alex Walker, a former U.S. secret agent who is helping local cops catch the bad guys in the crime drama series “Almost Paradise.”
Produced by Hollywood’s Electric Entertainment with ABS-CBN, “Almost Paradise” is the first American TV series shot entirely in the Philippines.
It airs every Sunday at 8:45 pm on Kapamilya Channel and A2Z with streaming on iWantTFC and Kapamilya Online Live on Facebook and YouTube.
Find out why it is a must-watch for Pinoys and how it proves that Filipino talent, both in front and behind the cameras, is indeed competitive and at par with the best in the world.
1) It’s the first Hollywood venture of ABS-CBN.
From left: Actor Christian Kane, ABS-CBN head of broadcast Cory V. Vidanes, director Francis de la Torre, ABS-CBN Chairman Mark L. Lopez, Dean Devlin, ABS-CBN president and CEO Carlo L. Katigbak, Steve Lee, and ABS-CBN head of international scripted formats and co-production division Ruel S. Bayani.
In an effort to make Filipino content recognized worldwide, ABS-CBN has been successful in bringing its programs to foreign countries for the enjoyment of international audiences.
“Almost Paradise” is another step towards this direction as the series is ABS-CBN’s first foray into Hollywood television production.
The company served as the line production team for the U.S. crime drama that aired first in the United States via the cable company, WGN America.
According to Ruel Bayani, ABS-CBN Head of International Division, the company continues to make its vision for Filipinos a reality despite may challenges.
“Kahit tayo ay nasa gitna ng pagsubok, krisis, lalo nating patuloy na hahanapan ng paraan para ipagmalaki ang Filipino talent sa global stage.”
2) It was shot entirely in the Philippines.
Luckily, “Almost Paradise” began its production before the pandemic and got to feature the gorgeous seascape and cityscape of Mactan, Cebu.
The Visayan city became the perfect backdrop for the show, which is top billed by Hollywood actor Christian Kane. He plays former U.S. Drug Enforcement agent Alex Walker who was betrayed by his partner and was forced to retire. He decided to live the chill island life in the Philippines and run a resort gift shop but the arrival of dangerous criminals in the city draws him back to his old life.
According to him, the Philippines was used as a leading actor in the series.
“I think that’s what gives so much depth to the show, so much beauty, and so much spiritualness. It’s the heart of the people that really made this show work,” Christian said.
3) Several episodes were helmed by Filipino directors.
Although the lead star is American, “Almost Paradise” has a special Filipino touch thanks to four directors who provided vision and guidance to some episodes. They are Dan Villegas (“English Only Please,” “Exes Baggage”), Francis Dela Torre (“Blood Ransom”), Hannah Espia (“Transit”), and Irene Villamor (“Meet Me In St. Gallen,” “Sid & Aya: Not A Love Story”). The series also has an all-Filipino staff and crew, and were assisted by Cebu locals.
Director Dan Villegas shared that he said yes to the project because it gave him the platform to work on an international project.
“To get the opportunity to show off one’s ability to an international stage is always a welcome opportunity. The workflow is different from what I’m used to, but it was a learning experience for me,” he said.
4) The series showcases the talent of Filipino actors.
Familiar faces of local actors abound in “Almost Paradise,” which provided them an opportunity to gain global experience and recognition.
The all-star Filipino cast is led by Nonie Buencamino, who plays police chief Ike Ocampo, Art Acuña, who plays Detective Ernesto Alamares, and Samantha Richelle, who plays Detective Kai Mendoza.
Award-winning actors are also part of the ensemble like Ces Quesada, Angeli Bayani, Raymond Bagatsing, Ryan Eigenmann, Zaijian Jaranilla, Elijah Canlas, AC Bonifacio, Sophia Reola, Nikki Valdez, Lotlot de Leon, Ketchup Eusebio, Isay Alvarez, Will Devaughn, Boom Labrusca, Noel Trinidad, Richard Yap, Ricci Chan, and Zsa Zsa Padilla.
“Ang Kapamilya audience magiging napaka-proud na nakikita ‘yung mga fellow Pinoys nila in a project this big international series,” lead Filipino star Art Acuña said.
5) Electric Entertainment’s CEO Dean Devlin is a Filipino-American.
A key to making “Almost Paradise” a reality is the CEO of Electric Entertainment Dean Devlin, who is a proud Filipino-American.
“When we made the decision to go in the Philippines to shoot, we realized we were going to need to tap into the best talent. We needed the best of the best. And ABS represents that,” the producer of international box office hits like “Independence Day,” “Godzilla,” and “The Patriot” said.
“I think the most surprising part that was fun was how moved I was to be around people who look like me. To watch people of my heritage knocking it out of the park week after week day after day,” Dean shared in an interview for the making of “Almost Paradise.”
6) The stories give a sneak peek at Filipino culture.
“May mga eksena na nagpapakita kung papaano mabuhay ang Pilipino,” said veteran actor Nonie Buencamino about “Almost Paradise.”
True enough, in one episode, Alex Walker experienced Filipino hospitality when the community surprised him with a feast after helping solve an important case. In episode three, he also got to try balut and reef eel (nilarang bakasi)!
“The writers really made sure that we put all the elements in there. You get to see the characters eat traditional Filipino food, a boodle fight,” lead actress Samantha Richelle revealed.
Dean added, “My hope is that the Filipino culture is embraced in a way that Filipinos will feel proud of the show.”
Don’t miss the great mix of action, comedy, and drama on “Almost Paradise” every Sunday, 8:45 pm on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, A2Z, and iWantTFC. Previous episodes of English and Filipino dubbed versions are available on-demand on iWantTFC while viewers can also re-watch the latest episode for free for seven days after its first streaming on Kapamilya Online Live on YouTube.