What if you meet someone who changes your life forever? This is a story about two boys who first met online as strangers who didn't seem to like each other very much but were again brought together by circumstances that would change their lives forever. When Mico organizes an online quiz night with his group of friends, he is surprised when the school's popular basketball player, Xavier, joins in and insults them. Little does Mico know that this won't be the last time he'll be seeing Xavier. (Source: Black Sheep Youtube Channel) Edit Translation
Cast & Credits
Hello Stranger (2020): A Top-Tier Pinoy BL SeriesAt least 35 Filipino (Pinoy) boys’ love (BL) series have been announced for 2020. Three Pinoy BL series are “completed” (“Sakristan,” “Truly Very Your,” and “Hello Stranger”) while ten other series are currently “airing” (“Gameboys,” “In Between,” “Kumusta Bro?,” “Even After,” “Hook Up,” “Amore,” “My Day,” "Unexpected," “Safe Haven,” and “Oh My Sexual”). I watch and review all these series. Not all of these series are good but fortunately we have the likes of “Hello Stranger” which can be considered a top-tier Pinoy BL series. It’s not the best (“Gameboys” is still better) and it’s not perfect but it’s an excellent Pinoy BL series especially if you want to be entertained and feel romantic excitement.
“Hello Stranger” had a simple plot/storyline about self-discovery, friendship, and finding love in a time of quarantine and lockdown. Friendship among the Young Padawans was highlighted which is probably what I liked most about this series. Interestingly, this series didn’t delve deeper into the characters’ relationship with their families which is usually a staple for a Pinoy series. While the overused enemies to lovers trope was employed, the context of the new normal brought something new to this series. But don't expect this series to confront larger societal issues related to identity politics and the pandemic though because this isn’t that type of Pinoy BL series (you can watch “Gameboys” instead for that). Even then, reference to the Stonewall riots (1969) is highly appreciated.
While there were a few corny and long lines here and there, the screenplay for the entire series was generally relatable. Featuring, interpreting, and dramatizing Benilda S. Santos' poem "Sa Kasintahang Nilimot Na" (For the Already Forgotten Lover) was also a nice touch.
Everyone in the cast, from the lead to the support cast can act, not particularly outstanding, but they're all good actors. Some of them, most noticeably Tony (undoubtedly the most popular Filipino actor to venture into Pinoy BL series), were underwhelming at times but Tony did have moments to shine especially in the finale. JC had the most improvement in acting throughout this series owing to the fact that Mico had the best character development. XavMi chemistry was ok in the end. All the male actors -- Tony, JC, Patrick, and Migs, are distractingly handsome and sexy. I super love Junjun! I would have wanted more for the female characters on this series especially Crystal but we take what we can get. At least their characterizations weren’t toxic. And Miss Tina Moran was definitely the mood!
Compared with other Pinoy BL series, “Hello Stranger” had the biggest budget and this showed in terms of the quality of production. Production design and camera work were generally very good. I had some issues with the pace and editing of the first few episodes but they eventually improved. The soundtrack "Kahit na Anong Sabihin ng Iba" (Regardless What Other People Say) performed by Seth Fedelin was also good. I also liked all the scenes wherein Tony sang. XavMi confessing each other's feelings by finishing each other's lines in a song and singing together during the finale was cheesy but was really romantic and sweet.
In summary, I would definitely recommend rewatching “Hello Stranger.” If you’re looking for a Pinoy BL series with a simple plot/storyline executed very well with good performance and production, “Hello Stranger” is the perfect series for you. And watch out for “Hello Stranger The Movie”! Maybe in the movie, we’ll get more than the very tamed pinky swear and hugs we got from the finale -- fingers crossed!
The story is one that’s we are all familiar with. Boy meets boy, they seem to dislike each other. They are then forced to work on something together. Then they fall in love. What is unexpected is how realistic it feels. That akwardness of working with someone you just met and who you also slightly dislike is evident in the first episode, but that disappears by the second episode, indicating that they’ve spent time together and are now more comfortable. Mico seems to learn what it is like to step outside his comfort zone and his four point life plan. Xavier seems to learn what it’s like to be Mico and that not everyone is who you make them out to be. The emotions are raw and real and you feel as though you are living their story because it is just so relatable. Through each other, they’re learning about a whole new world, full of love and laughter.
So people are saying that the acting in the first episode was a bit akward, I think that may be due to the situation. Imagine working with someone you dislike. I would think that’s the reason for the akwardness. The acting really took a turn for the best in episode 2 though. This is one of the first Pinoy series I’ve watched and this is on par with any and all other series’. The chemistry though! Xav and Mico’s chemistry is through the roof. Overall the acting is very consistent.
This is the second series after Gameboys to follow the internet and quarantine love theme, and the production has been handled extremely well. Phillipines has recently started to create more BL content and I believe that this series is definitely the benchmark for future Pinoy series’.
So if you read the translation for the OST’s lyrics, you would know how well it goes with the series. One line of lyrics literally translated to English mean
“ No matter what anyone says, I know our love is true.”
That, according to me genuinely encapsulates what this series is about.
I can’t believe Xavier asked for Mico to be his partner! That just made this series more perfect :). God, that ending was everything I could have possibly asked for. I’m going to keep this short: You won’t be disappointed by this ending.
This honestly is one of those series’ that is unabashedly life’s greatest pleasures and a genuine joy to experience. Whether you like sweet, sickly romance or aching hearts, this series has something for you. Hope everyone gives this a try because it is so worth it. Thank You!