In a world where supernaturals are believed to exist, two equally powerful races live – the Lobos and the Vampires. They have been in battle with each other since the start of time because of their differences in ideologies and truths.
Lyka, the leader of the Lobos, have kept their world at peace until the vampires who have come from other parts of the world disturbed and hunted them for their domination. Magnus, on the other hand, is the leader of the vampires. He is in search of the ‘itinakda’. In a prophecy dawned into Magnus, two ‘itinakdas’ of the two races will be in battle with each other. This battle will decide whose race will live on. ‘Bago lumipas ang isang daang taon, tatakpan ng anino ang buwan at sa gabing iyon, ang isang batang may dugo ng bampira ang ipapanganak na may takdang pagkakakilanlan. Siya ang magiging pinakamakapangyarihang bampira sa lahat. Pero, kaakibat ng kanyang pagkakapanganak, isa ring makapangyarihang lobo ang iluluwal na naitakdang maging mortal niyang kaaway na dala-dala ang proteksyon at pagmamahal ng isang ina. Sa huli, ang kagat ng wagas na pag-ibig ang magbabago ng lahat. Sa muling pagtatago ng buwan, iisang dugo nalang ang magwawagi.’
Lia and Mateo, the ‘itinakdas’ found their way to each other. But unaware of their fate, they fell in love.
Even though the concept of vampires is not really of Filipino decent, ABS-CBN has adopted to the Filipino culture through inserting Filipino values in the show. Lyka, the mother of Lia, lead the Lobos in their war with the vampires and even sacrificed herself for her only daughter. Also, if we will look deeper into Lyka’s character, we will see where her anger towards the Vampires comes from. Vampires, for her, are not only their mortal enemy but also the reason why she lost her family. Noah, her husband, and her sons were killed from an attack by the Vampires. All was left with her is her only daughter, Lia. It is also the same with the character of Magnus, the leader of the Vampire race. His family was believed to be murdered by the Lobos because of their fury towards Magnus and his race. This is the root of his vengeance with the Lobos. Although they were not Vampires, they were not safe from the battle between these two powerful races.
If we dig a little deeper into it, the whole story revolves around the rift between two races: the Lobos and the Vampires. They are in war with each other because of a prophecy that one day, through their ‘itinakda’, only one race will remain and dominate in the world. This clearly shows the line between two opposing sides. There are the Lobos and the Vampires; the white and the black; the good and the evil. It
shows how the world only has two sides of the coin and one tries to dominate over the other. The Lobos believe that their race should lead the world because they are not only protecting their race but also they are protecting the lives of humans. They believe they are the good one and that they stand together with the mortals. Vampires, on the other hand, believe their race should dominate because all else is weak unlike them. In their eyes, humans are only food for their hungry souls. It is a natural thing for them to kill because this is their way of survival. This action is not seen by them as a bad thing because it is a natural thing. Through the division between these two races, we will see how one race views the truth and not only the truth but their truth. The truth for the Lobos is different from the truth for the Vampires. Lobos believe they are the most powerful and protector of all races whereas the Vampires believe they must dominate. Two opposing ideologies battle in here. Two opposing sides are in fight for their truth as a race.
But there is a resistance in this structure and it is depicted in the story of Roman, Mateo’s father. Even if it really is hard for him to fight the urge of drinking human blood, he defied it and instead, he started a revolutionary life by building a community of vampires that only drinks animal blood. He has been a friend of Magnus and is often telling him that his ways are stupid but still he believes that one day, the vampires will be able to coexist with the lobos and humans. They will befriend each other and even unite in protecting the human race. This is his way of giving Mateo a normal life who is a half human and half vampire. This shows how the program sees the good in evil. It shows that not all good are pure and not all evil are all evil. There is always a spot wherein the gray could exist. This part of the plot instills hope in their viewers that one day everything in life will be fair and equal if only we have the courage to change the system.
Imortal really has deviated from the traditional teleseryes. It is a combination of fantasy and drama creating a story in a more entertaining form. Programs such as this cater our needs of escaping the reality. We all want to have supernatural powers and we all want to belong to the race that is dominant over everyone else. Programs such as this create a hyperreality. Through entering the Imortal Universe, we will be able to have a different reality – where in the end, there is a unity between two opposing sides and that despite the battle that exists for a thousand years, equality will grant its possibility. Programs such as Imortal give us this hope without giving us the ‘real’ picture.
But in reality, what is the ‘real’ picture? I would like to use the Lobos and the Vampires as a metaphor for this. Lobos and Vampires are two equally powerful classes. In our world, there exist these two classes: the Lobos as the Private corporations and the Vampires as the Government. The Lobos appear to be helping the human race in their fight for equality when in fact their race is one of the reasons why there is an inequality in the society. They want to rule over the humans as much as the privates want to rule their ideologies for the masses. They want this not because it is the way to maintain the structure, to maintain their power in themselves. Same is through with the Vampires. The Vampire race is the representation of the government. They extract blood from the humans. In the real world, the government extracts money (tax) from the pockets of the ordinary masses to maintain the economy and to keep them in power. Tax is the lifeblood of the economy and figuratively, the government drinks blood from them.
ABS-CBN is a private, profit-driven company. They produce shows, produce meanings and ideals for their viewers to consume. Consumerism is the essence of capitalism. The company, in its capitalistic sense, belongs to the Lobos. It is not denied that they are at the top of the hierarchy of classes and to be able to maintain this structure in the society, they must appear as if they are ‘feeding’ people the right values and ideals. They must appear that they’re on the side of the mortals, or in real life, the masses. But in truth, like the Lobos, they are only trying to save their class by propagating their bourgeois ideologies for their capitalistic goals.
As a proof of their being capitalists, I would like to pinpoint the emergence of Imortal from a television serye to online. A website called Imortal Universe was built. In here, Imortal lives on. Webisodes, short clips that are a continuation and hidden chapters of the series, are uploaded in the site. Posters and video clips made by Imortal fans are also in here. ABS-CBN also tried in maintaining the popularity of the series by building a RPG-based online game called Pangil. In support of this, a chat room wherein every member of the site could belong to, is trying to recreate Imortal fandom online. Transmedia in its very sense is shown here. They do not only want to proliferate their ideals in the television but also in the internet where people could be of access 24/7.
Another form of integration from this teleserye is the production of merchandise. Rico Blanco who played the role of Lucas, the main antagonist, created the Official Soundtrack of the show. Star Records then produced and distributed an album from this. 14 DVDs containing all the episodes of the series were also sold in different record stores nationwide. Shirts, mugs, notebooks and the like were also marketed.
In the end whose truth is depicted in here – the Lobos or the Vampires? But the most important question is whose truth is not portrayed and why?
‘Imortal’. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
TFC Entertainment. “Imortal – Full Pilot Episode”. Youtube. 10 June 2012.