Viewers praised the performance of Iza Calzado following the pilot episode of ABS-CBN’s “Darna.”
The much-anticipated superhero series “Mars Ravelo’s Darna: The TV Series” or “Darna” finally premiered on the ABS-CBN Entertainment’s online channels, TV5, A2Z and streaming site iWantTFC on Monday night, August 15.
Iza portrayed Leonor Custodio, the first keeper of the white stone that transforms her into the first “Darna,” in the story.
Leonor is also Narda’s mother and mentor. She is set to pass down the white stone to her daughter to be the next warrior.
In the first episode, Narda, who is played by Jane de Leon, is still being trained to be the prime female warrior.
Iza still held the stone, thus appeared as the first Darna.
The TV show’s premiere gained buzz among viewers.
The hashtag #Darna trended on Twitter Philippines on Monday evening until Tuesday morning. It currently has 41,300 tweets under its belt.
Iza’s performance as the first Darna seemed to gather the most attention online.
Viewers shared still images and video clips of the actress as they expressed how amazed they were by her portrayal of the iconic Pinoy superheroine.
— Claire 🌸🎀 (@claireyu) August 15, 2022
— stan bgyo (@mikkingIy) August 15, 2022
One user even juxtaposed an image of Iza’s character “Amihan” in GMA-7’s “Encantadia” with her still photo as Darna.
— Nicol 🌸 (@nikowl) August 15, 2022
A fan account also praised Iza’s “attack” stance in one of the fight scenes.
“Exactly how a real superhero should make her attack stance. Grabe ka, Miss Iza Calzado. Nag-iisa talaga. #Darna,” one user said.
— KPEx Official 💫 (@OfficialKpex) August 15, 2022
In a previous video interview, Iza shared that this was not her first time that she was tapped to play Darna.
She recalled that she was first approached for the project 18 years ago.
Iza also bared the surgeries that she went through just to audition for the role that did not push through.
“So I did two surgeries to, kind of, fix the body and it wasn’t enough. Because I had lost a hundred pounds—so loose skin and everything—I had a tummy tuck and thigh lift. It was one after the other,” the actress was quoted by a report as saying.
Iza had to eventually let go of the project.
Her colleague Angel Locsin got to the titular role in a series of the superhero’s namesake at GMA-7 at that time.
More positive feedback
Some viewers, meanwhile, praised the show’s overall production.
— I am nobody.💗 (@sentillasdarwin) August 15, 2022
— Olly Artsy | stan bgyo (@OllyArtsy) August 15, 2022
Others lauded the overall performance of the cast members.
“Bitin! Sobrang action-packed naman forda pilot episode! Aaarrrgh. Galing ni Miss Iza. Da best! At ang lufet ni Jane De Leon sa action. More!” one user said with clap emojis.
Some also cheered and congratulated Jane’s acting skills as a young heroine-in-training.
“Pinatunayan mo Jane yung mga negative haka haka ng mga tao about you is like a tsismis only. You deserve the role. You gave justice to NARDA role. Congratulations Jane, your efforts paid off!” one user said.
“Darna” was directed by two acclaimed directors—Chito Roño and Avel Sunpongco.
Other cast members of the new primetime drama include Zaijan Jaranilla as Ricardo Custodio or Ding, Narda’s brother, Joshua Garcia as Narda’s love interest named Brian and Rio Locsin as Roberta Ferrer-Custodio or Narda’s grandmother.
Janella Salvador plays the antagonist character lawyer-vlogger Regina or Valentina.
Viewers can still watch the episode again in four parts via ABS-CBN Entertainment’s social media channels.