Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Watchdog's Tale

English Title: A Watchdog’s Tale
Chinese Title: ????
Cantonese Title: Lo Yau Kau Kau
Broadcast Period: December 28, 2009 – January 22, 2009
Genre: Modern Drama
Length: 20 episodes
Producer: Leung Choi Yuen
Scriptwriter: Choi Ting Ting & Leung Man Wah
Cast: Steven Ma, Linda Chung, Kent Cheng, Maggie Siu, Raymond Wong, Natalie Tong


A rich woman TSEUNG TIN NGOR (Maggie Siu)’s beloved dog CANDY has got behaviour problems since NGOR is being kidnapped. After released, NGOR takes CANDY for various medical treatments but none of them is helpful to cure its illness. Desperate NGOR finally finds LAI TSUN SING (Kent Cheng), a retired police canine officer, who has just opened a kennel in the walled village. NGOR asks SING to give CANDY training but it creates discord between both of them. When CANDY’s condition is getting better and better, NGOR is pleased and shows deference toward SING. NGOR feels obscured of the kidnapping and she misconceives that the landlord of the kennel, CHOW YUNG KUNG (Steven Ma), is one of the kidnappers. SING gets his trained dog BINGO carrying out an investigation. They finally prove that KUNG is innocent. KUNG appreciates Sing’s efforts and he starts joining the course for learning how to be a dog lover. LAI SIN YUE (Linda Chung), SING’s veterinarian daughter, is aware of her feeling towards him since then.

Comments: In terms of script, theme, and plot, I don't have much confidence for this series. However, I'm looking forward to the refreshing roles for our two leads, Steven and Linda. What I'm most interested in seeing is Steven's 'perverted' role, which is a complete opposite of the good, righteous guys he's played in the past. Though a good actor, Steven is such a sweet gentleman in real life I can't wait to see his performance. Linda's role will be a tomboy and I can't help but think that she looks adorable. I've yet to warm up to her acting, but maybe that will change. I definitely don't mind watching the cute Natalie, quickly improving Raymond, and long legged Koni either.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Beyond the Realm of Conscience Review

As the series all TVB fans anticipated for over a year, Beyond is at most mediocre. On the outside, it is definitely a "grand production." It offered beautiful and well done costumes, and the technical production team spared no effort making the series as visually pleasing to the eye as possible. Look beyond (oh look now we're making title puns) the pretty mask though and you find a plot slightly short of "just ok."

Characterization & Performances

Charmaine Sheh - "Lau Sam Ho"

Your typical "too good to be true" character. Instead of hating Sam Ho for her unrealistic good will though, I blame the script writers. To me, Sam Ho's goodness was to make up for the lack of development in her character. Most likely, the script writers were to lazy to spend extra time on Sam Ho as they had a million other characters to create. Since after all, this series is packed with tons of characters and artistes. I didn't hate the character, but I didn't like her either. I never felt any sympathy for her at any point. Although I enjoyed the stronger, more outspoken, Lau Sam Ho who took action that was exhibited in the last few episodes, the sudden change in character felt like it came out of nowhere.

This goody two shoes role reminds me that Charmaine has never portrayed a villain, and I do hope I won't be able to say that for much longer. After watching her as the adorable but rough Lam Miu Miu in You're Hired, I've grown to love Charmaine. Though her performance is solid, it is nothing special.

Tavia Yeung - "Yiu Kam Ling"

The complete opposite of inital good sister Lau Sam Ho, Yiu Kam Ling believes the only way to get what you want in life is by scheming and cheating. Originally a maid in the Imperial Bureau, she often ran into situations where she didn't get the best end of the deal. This left her feeling that justice in the palace was never brought and that the world was cruel and unfair. She did all she could until she finally became a lady. From there, she tries to eliminate all her competition, one by one. In the early stages of the series, I pitied and felt for Kam Ling. Whenever she ran into trouble, I supported her. That's because, I know how it feels to be aggravated by injustice. Kam Ling was irritated by the cheating and scheming in the palace and how those who did so were the ones that won. In short, that's how I feel with the people at my school too, but not as serious. Both me and Kam Ling are 'aggravated' by the world around us. The difference between us? I don't kill and I didn't become mentally unstable.

I thought that there were only two possible endings for a villain like Kam Ling: She'd either turn good or die. I am annoyed and amused with myself to never have thought that she'd might just turn mental. Haha.

The most notable reason for my initial anticipation for the series was to watch Tavia's first portrayal of a villain. My expectations and hopes were way too high, making me at first disappointed. After getting over the ridiculous amount of expectations I had though, I saw the excellent performance Tavia delivered. Although her inexperience compared to veterans like Susan Tse and Lee Kwok Lun are clearly shown, she is still one of the most hardworking and hardworking artistes I know, making her one of the TVB artistes I respect and love most.

Moses Chan - "Li Chen"

He and his mother were discriminated against since birth. In an attempt to leave the palace, a young Li Chen fakes becoming mentally retarded after an accident. 20 years later, he returns and becomes Emperor. Although he had two concubines, Yiu Kam Ling and Man Po Yin, Li Chen has been in love with Lau Sam Ho since childhood.

Li Chen is a respectable character who did lots of admirable things. He has many positive characteristics and at the same time has his insecurities. In terms of character, Li Chen is technically supposed to be my favorite. Unfortunately, with Moses' rather boring performance, I couldn't bring myself to say so. Though I think Moses' comedy is exaggerated, he is a better comedic actor than drama actor.

Kevin Cheng - "Ko Hin Yeung"

A palace chess teacher who actually loves to practice martial arts. He is a calm and confident person. He is not afraid to take action. At many times, he takes risks that aren't worth it. If anything, Ko Hin Yeung is the most boring character of the year in my book. As a second male lead, Hin Yeung was there just to give Charmaine a love interest and Moses a 'sidekick'/body guard. I found myself annoyed at Hin Yeung a couple times in the middle of the series because I felt he was too brave. He risked his life to save people several times. Although I understand and respect his want to keep his loved ones safe, I don't believe that he should just jump in and take action, not taking into consideration that he could do nothing but kill himself.

Every Kevin series I've watched after Last One Standing, I have to remind myself that he can indeed act and he is (somewhat) versatile. After all, it's pretty hard to think so with all the 'Mr. Nice Guy' roles TVB gives him. If there is a TVB actor whom I never want to see in another ancient series, it's Kevin. He looks stiff and uncomfortable in his costumes and it's obvious he doesn't have the 'ancient' aura. Kevin fits modern series much better.

Susanna Kwan - "Yuen Chiu Wan"

As a woman who's worked in the Imperial Bureau for who knows how long, Yuen Chiu Wan is as a pure and innocent figure you could get in a place like the palace. Although believed to be a villain when the series first started, it became evident that Chiu Wan was indeed a person with a big heart. While I wouldn't say she was my favorite character, she was definitely the character I pitied most.

I'm used to Susanna playing loud and outspoken characters, so watching her portray the rather quiet Yuen Chiu Wan was a different experience. While she's a versatile actress who I've become very fond of, I much prefer her loud and outspoken characters. Nevertheless, Susanna delivered a good performance.

Michelle Yim - "Chung Suet Ha"

Rather stubborn and calculating, Suet Ha can be very spiteful. It is ironic how she and Chui Wan could've ever been 'sisters' in the first place with their ridiculous arguments. With Chui Wan's kind but cautious and scared nature, I don't doubt for one second that it's mostly Suet Ha's fault their so called 'sisterhood' fell apart numerous times. Although I pitied her for her loss of her love, Po Kat Cheung, my sympathy only lasted for so long because she started acting like a child.

It seems as though it's been a while since Michelle has portrayed a likable character. Disregarding the character, Michelle gave a solid performance as always. Also, Michelle has taken great care of herself all these years as she still looks youthful and pretty in her ancient costume.

Other Notable Performances

Susan Tse - "Empress Kwok"

Excellent and flawless performance by Susan Tse! What she can do with her eyes is amazing, and her evil glares have the ability the send chills down my spine! She is definitely deserving of the recognition she's been getting for her acting. Although she was only around for a couple episodes, her character and performance is probably what left the deepest impact on me.The line that Empress Kwok gives to Empress Cheng (Mary Hon) is one I'll never forget: "Mui Mui, I'd like to borrow something, your head." What a haunting and misleading phrase!

Lee Kwok Lun - "Ma Yuen Chi"

It's actually a shame Lee Kwok Lun didn't win Best Supporting Actor at this year's anniversary awards. After all, he's never going to get such a golden opportunity again. Lee Kwok Lun's ability to portray a villain so realistically is astounding. At this point, I would be convinced if Lee Kwok Lun IS indeed General Ma.

Selena Li "Man Bo Yin"

For an actress who didn't even understand a majority of the script during the beginning of filming, I'm impressed by Selena's portrayal of the initially spoiled and rather b*tchy girl turned sweet and innocent one. This being Selena's first time portraying such an initially catty character, I loved her performance. As for the later turned sweet Bo Yin, that was nothing new for Selena. Although disappointed she didn't even manage to get into the top 5 for Best Supporting Actress, it became awfully clear to me her performance was nothing compared to her veteran costars. However, it was great to see Selena back and the actress looks very pretty and angelic in ancient costumes. By the end, Man Bo Yin was one of the characters I pitied most.

Cheung Kwok Keung - "Man Kim Fung"

I'm now convinced of Cheung Kwok Keung's versatility after seeing him portray the villain in You're Hired and the righteous General Man in Beyond. The actor really knows how to communicate with his eyes as well. In the last 3 episodes where he is paralyzed and can not speak nor move, he still delivers a great performance by 'speaking with his eyes.' While I'm sad that General Man could not be cured of his paralyzation in the end, I respect TVB's decision to not have him cured. After all, such a thing couldn't happen in real life. General Man is probably my favorite character.

Ram Chiang - "Bo Kat Cheung"

Ram never fails to bring a smile to my face with his comedic characters. His performance is not the overall best, but he definitely shined and brought comic relief. I was aggaravated by his sudden death, and missed his presence onscreen. Bo Kat Cheung is another one of my favs, because he was incredibly sweet, especially in the way he pursued Suet Ha.

Lawerence Ng & Little Sam Ho + Little Yiu Kam Ling

All three are absolutely adorable! Lawerence is just so cute and charming and I always enjoy watching him onscreen. It is ironic how the child actress who played little Sam Ho probably outperformed a few of the artistes in the series despite her age and inexperience. She is so adorable! Little Sam Ho and little Yiu Kam Ling sure know how to shed real tears. The scene of the two crying at the well was one that made me shed tears myself. Finally, that was the only time throughout the whole series in which I cried. I'm pleased with Mui Siu Ching's decision to have the actress who played little Sam Ho come back to play Sam Ho's child.

Characterization for this series was very poor. I'm disappointed that even though this is a grand production, TVB didn't put any extra effort into developing the characters. I noticed that usually a grand production will feature at least one dynamic, and multi layered character. For example, Chai Kau from Rosy Business, Ko Cheung Sing from The Gem of Life, and Chung Siu Sa from Moonlight Resonance. Each character was flat and nothing special. It wasn't surprising that practically every character in this series was evil or at least 'semi-evil.' It doesn't help though that our three main protagonists, Lau Sam Ho, Li Chen, and Ko Hin Yeung are the most boring characters.

Favorite characters: Man Kim Fung, Man Bo Yin, and Bo Kat Cheung

Chemistry & Love Relationships

Lau Sam Ho (Charmaine Sheh) and Ko Hin Yeung (Kevin Cheng)

It blows my mind that TVB would pair these two up again, after all the gossip the two have recieved. It was painfully obvious during filming the two tried their best to keep their distance, as no chemistry was present. Lau Sam Ho and Ko Hin Yeung's love line felt like another poor attempt to recreate the tragic palace romance.

Chung Suet Ha (Michelle Yim) and Bo Kat Cheung (Ram Chiang)

These two made the sweetest couple ever, and I couldn't help but smile in any of the scenes the two shared. Kat Cheung's attempts at pursuing Suet Ha were so sweet. The fact that he is uneducated and wrote a love poem for Suet Ha by drawings was very creative, romantic, and adorable. It saddens me that just as the two are finally together, Kat Cheung's character has to be 'sacrificed' just to make the plot of Yiu Kam Ling turning evil go forward.

Yuen Chui Wan (Susanna Kwan) and Man Kim Fung (Cheung Kwok Keung)

Chui Wan and Kim Fung's love story was what I call a better attempt at a tragic palace romance. Perhaps since Susanna and Cheung Kwok Keung are more experienced, I actually felt the chemistry between the two. Their love story is the plot I felt most interested in and I have to admit that a big push factor for me to finish this series was to watch the two. Though I don't necessarily like the unrealistically happy endings TVB pushes out, I'm satisified that Chui Wan and Kim Fung could finally be reunited and together after undergoing so many misunderstandings and obstacles. They are my favorite couple in the series and this is the first time I've ever felt for a 'middle aged' couple.


Unless I were to watch War and Beauty, I think I'll stay away from palace series from now on. All the arguing, backstabbing, lying, and cheating feels so immature and is aggravating to watch. Plus, I easily become irritated when justice is not served and the 'good guy' is left to suffer while the evil gets away with the glory. Suffering was definitely one of the themes in the series. One way or another, all the characters suffered.

In terms of plot though, things were sloppy. I expected a complex and intriguing drama. I really don't know why, especially since this is TVB we're talking about. Even though I've just finished this series yesterday, already, the plot feels all murky in my mind. The deepest impression the plot had on me was all the ridiculous arguing. As for positive impressions though, I loved watching Yuen Chui Wan and Man Kim Fung.

I've never watched 'Jewel in the Palace', which is the series Beyond is based off of. However, with all the critical praise it's gotten, some who go as far as to saying it's Asia's best drama, Beyond definitely doesn't live up as an 'adaptation.'

Many scenes were boring and unnecessary. The series felt draggy at many times. It amuses me how I can't call this a time killer, because it seems to make the time go by even slower. Perhaps the pacing of the series is the problem. While the series started off strong with a solid and promising pilot episode, it quickly goes downhill. Beyond starts to pick up again after episode 15 with the entrance of Selena's character. The scenes Tavia and Selena shared when Man Bo Yin first appears are easily the best scenes of the entire series. Although it picks ups and gradually gets better, it still can not live up to everyone's massive expectations. Perhaps it's because of my interest in Man Kim Fung and Yuen Chui Wan, but the last 3 episodes or so managed to keep me interested. I actually felt intrigued and wanted to keep watching.

The Death Factor

Though it is expected that there are many deaths in a grand production, the number of deaths in this series astounds me. In fact, there are so many deaths that you can't even count them all with your fingers and toes. Although some are necessary, many felt unneeded. A majority of the characters in general felt unnecessary. Perhaps the death factor was just a way of pointing out that a life in the palace was delicate. You make one mistake, boom, you're gone. No matter what you do, you were always just a step away from death.

The Ending Scene

I'm guessing this is Producer Mui's idea of 'ending with a cliffhanger to let the audience assume.' When the end credits rolled, I felt confused. My mind was thinking 'wait, that's it? What just happened?' Do Lau Sam Ho and Ko Hin Yeung end up together? Is Ko Hin Yeung suffering from amnesia? Did he recall who Sam Ho was if he did? Honestly, I don't care. However, it was a sloppy script move on Producer Mui's side. Plus, my slowly increasingly optimistic view of the series came to a terribly sudden pitfall upon watching the last scene. All the slightly positive thoughts I started to have about the last few episodes of the series were destroyed.

The Good

  • Pilot episode. Krystal Tin looked beautiful in her ancient costume and hair. And this was the episode that made me actually shed tears.
  • Lawrence and Little Sam Ho's scenes
  • Tavia and Selena's early arguements. Meow, catfight!
  • Susan's appearance as the Empress. And her last scene/"faceoff" with Lee Kwok Lun. That scene is easily the best in the series with their impressive acting skills. Susan and Lee Kwok Lun are hands down the best actors/actresses in the series. Left me sitting at the edge of my seat.
  • Bo Kat Cheung and Chung Suet Ha's short lived relationship
  • Yuen Chui Wan and Man Kim Fung's love story

The Bad

  • Lau Sam Ho and Ko Hin Yeung's 'tragic love story' Sorry, not interested. Zero chemistry, and forwarded through most of their scenes.
  • Any scenes Moses and Kevin shared. Um, they're honestly the two most boring performances in the series. So why would I enjoy both boring people sharing the screen?
  • All the ridiculous arguement scenes!
  • Chung Suet Ha's childish behavior towards Chui Wan
  • The whooping number of deaths
  • The dragginess. I guess 33 episodes was too long.

Overrall Thoughts

Beyond is not the worst series ever. I'm not going as far as to say that. However, it's not a 'good series.' It has a few merits when it comes to captivating performances (mainly from Susan and Lee Kwok Lun). I look for plot though, and that was what this series was lacking. To be nicer though, I believe I would've enjoyed the latter parts of the series if I hadn't had so much anticipation beforehand. If I were to watch this series with no expectations, maybe my opinion would be slightly better. Eh, maybe not, but who knows? Honestly, Beyond the Realm of Conscience? Disappointment.

Rating: 3 stars

Monday, December 14, 2009

Which Grand Production? Beyond or Born Rich? Poll Results

2009's two grand productions Beyond the Realm of Conscience and Born Rich have finally finished airing. I've put up a poll asking readers which series they've enjoyed more the whole time they were both airing. It's time I put up the results...

What series are you enjoying more?

Beyond the Realm of Conscience --> 55% (16 Votes) ***WINNER***

Born Rich --> 45% (13 Votes)

My Opinion

Honestly, both grand productions disappointed me. I can't pick which one I liked more. Born Rich started off great, but it got to the point where it was draggy, boring, and cliched. Beyond started off slow, and gradually got better. Unfortunately, it still did not live up to my high expectations. In the end, both are mediocre series. I can almost guarantee I will enjoy The Beauty of the Game more.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

TVB 2010 Sales Presentation Clips

This year's sales presentation fair much better than last year. Of course, there are the great ones, the decent ones, and the 'oh this looks like crap' ones. Will 2010 be a better year for TVB? With many promising series (and ridiculous, trashy ones in between), I'm looking forward to what TVB has to offer in the next year! Just looking at these sales clips, it seems that 2010 will be a better year for TVB...

Most Anticipating!

Righteous Sea of Heroric Love

With a flawless cast and a new time period, this sequel has the potential to be even better than the first. It seems to offer all the good stuff: suspense, drama, and romance. I'm interested in Sheren and Wayne's love story and the different roles they're getting this time around. Adding Raymond Wong and Fala to the reunited cast seems like a great decision to me as well. This is the series I will be waiting most anxiously for next year!


Boosting the comeback of Felix Wong, and just the right mix of veterans and newcomers, this is another promising series. The dark feel and camera angles look awesome. Dying to watch another intriguing case solving series full of action, this appears to be the perfect thing to satisfy that. Filming wraps up soon, so I hope to see it in mid 2010. Also, we've always had those 'family' grand productions. This is the first cop series I've heard that is a grand production, so I am definitely looking forward to how it'll turn out...

Mysteries of Love

I've never seen the couple FungYi, and I'm waiting patiently to see Raymond and Tavia reunite onscreen. I already think they look very compatible and sweet. I'm looking forward to seeing Kenneth and Bernice as well. Kenneth's playboy role is something totally new for him. Although not the best actress, I greatly welcome back the bubbly and beautiful Bernice. I also think the physics theme will be interesting. Overall, I can't wait!

Looking Forward

Twilight Investigation
Linda looks adorable! The reference to Raymond Lam was hilarious! Though it looks extremely cheesy, I'll watch for the cases. I wonder how Linda and Wong He's chemistry will work out? Anyway, I'm glad to see that I'll have Raymond Wong and Johnson Lee as supporting characters. They are always enjoyable to watch, especially Johnson.

The Legend of Pu Song Ling
I never thought that this would be a tragic series! From the sales clip, the series looks beautiful. Steven's theme sounds great too, so I'll be waiting to hear the full song. However, I'm a little hesitant about it as it's still a mythical series. And we know that these series aren't always very well done, don't we?

We'll See

Quarantined 7-Day Love

I'm surprised that response for this proposed series has been so good. Honestly, the comedy is a bit over the top and lame to me. I have to admit though that using H1N1 as a plot is clever and refreshing on TVB's part. I'll be watching this series to see how it turns out. If the comedy is funny but a bit toned down, I think I'll enjoy it. The cast is near perfection, and I'm hoping it remains the same. Since a majority of them are A-listers, that's unlikely. We can always hope.

Five Flavors of Life

Although I'm thrilled to see Esther Kwan's comeback, I'm not so sure about the series. It doesn't look too promising, though I am surprised at the dramatic tone of the sales clip despite the fact it's a comedy. Even if the series disappoints, I'll watch for the cute and hilarious Esther and my forever favorite supporting actor, Derek.

Growing Through Life
A shorter version of The Drive of Life? The family problems theme is nothing new and way over used. I'm tired of ridiculous arguments. Although I'm biased against Bosco, I'm hoping his villain role will make my opinion of him neutral. The two reasons for me to watch this though would be for Damien and Raymond. Hm, it seems as though the male cast for this is relatively strong. The female cast? Pff, crap.

Here Comes the Princess

I'm still standing by my opinion that Beyond the Realm of Conscience was disappointing and didn't deserve the record breaking ratings. I can't believe they're doing two sequels, an ancient comedy and a modern one! If I had to pick which I'd prefer more though, it'd be the modern one. The ancient comedy has long become dead and from the looks of it, Here Comes the Princess is just going to join the 'exaggerated comedy' category. However, I'll still give it a try with the strong female cast.

I Think I'll Pass

Wu Jie Monk

Another bad attempt to make TVB more 'westernized' with the violence, blood, and sex scene? Both leads (Bosco and Kate) do not tempt me to watch this whatsoever. The ancient series only gets worse and worse these days as well. In short, this has huge chances of being the rare series I pass. On a side note, I find it ironic how this series is about a monk and yet this sales clip is full of violence and blood. Perhaps, I'll give it a try for Sunny Chan.

Female Fist
It's interesting that a kung fu champion gets a chance to lead a TVB series. The girl's so great at kung fu, but what about acting? The cast for this looks pretty bad. John Chiang's a good actor, but his roles are becoming more and more boring. Right now, I'm thinking I'll skip this. Hey, maybe I'll watch it for the kung fu. Since the female lead's a kung fu champion, we actually get to see real kung fu!

Are You Kidding Me?

Forensic Heroes III

Oh, TVB, I'll definitely skip this series if it turns out Kevin will be the new lead. And Mandy and Leanne as the female cast? No thank you. The reason Forensic Heroes is so loved is because of the original team of Bobby, Yoyo, and Frankie. If you're seriously going to replace them with only Kevin and not even Charmaine, I'm skipping you for sure. Not to mention I'll find a way to complain to you directly.

Sorry that this post is so overdue, I don't seem to have much time to blog these days as I'd like. To make this post different from everyone else's, here's a little bonus:

TVB Interaction's 2009 Sales Presentation Awards

Most Well Done Sales Clip: Righteous Sea of Heroric Love
Most Badly Done Sales Clip: Forensic Heroes III (Come on TVB, all you did was put a bunch of scenes from the first two together!)
Sales Clip You're Most Likely to Say 'Ick' to: Wu Jie Monk
Most Overrated Sales Clip: Quarantined 7-Day Love
Cheesiest But Still Cute Sales Clip: Twilight Investigation

Thursday, December 10, 2009

TVB Interaction Presents Speak4Myself! :)

Playing around with the idea of posting on a personal blog once again, I've finally made that wish come true! I've created Speak4Myself, which will become my blog where I post about all things non-TVB. Yep, non TVB! Although I love posting on this TVB blog, there are more things I'd like to blog about. I will update Speak4Myself with various things: journal entries, poems, spotlights on music, movies, TV, rants, life, and other random stuff. Please come take a look! This is your chance to get to know me better! Get to know the personal and non TVB side of Iris. Hope to see you there! :)


Sunday, December 6, 2009

TVB 42nd Anniversary Awards: Winners & Comments

tvb.com Most Popular Artiste

Winner: Wayne Lai

It was so unexpected that Wayne would win! I don't think he was ever in the top 10 on tvb.com either. I think we all figured that with Raymond and Yoyo out of the competition, Tavia would win for sure. It was definitely a surprise that Wayne won the award, but it's definitely deserved. Who else has gained so much popularity since last year? :)

Most Improved Actress

Winner: Aimee Chan

Top 5: Aimee Chan, Sharon Chan, Queenie Chiu, Catherine Chau, and Koni Lui

I was afraid it was going to happpen, and it happened. Aimee was probably the only undeserving winner of the night. This year has confirmed that Sharon has joined the circle of artises (along with Selena Li, Bernice Liu, Natalie Tong, etc) who will never win this award. While she's good for a newcomer, I think she's simply that: a newcomer. Being a newcomer, you can't say she 'improved' as she's still so new. I pity Sharon, who has improved so much more and has so much more experience. The night would've been perfect if Sharon won.

Most Improved Actor

Winner: Pierre Ngo Ka Nin

Top 5: Ngo Ka Nin, Raymond Wong, Johnson Lee, Raymond Chiu, and Jim Tang

So there is justice in this world! After working hard for TVB in kelefe and supporting roles for almost 10 years, Ngo Ka Nin finally gets the recognition he deserves. His performance in Rosy Business was truly awesome! He's always been a great actor (and singer) so I'm looking forward to seeing more of him in the future.

My Favorite Female Character

Winner: Tavia Yeung

Top 5: Tavia Yeung, Charmaine Sheh (for both Lam Miu Miu and Lau Sam Ho), Teresa Mo, and Sheren Tang

Although I would've prefered for Charmaine's Lam Miu Miu to win, watching Tavia accept the award was so sweet. While this award seems to be crap to the artistes who win it (Think Charmaine in 2006 and Raymond in 2008), Tavia was so sincere and thankful. She literally broke into tears and asked Charmaine to come up and gave her a hug. It was also very cute when Felix presented the award. He took Tavia's hand and led her to the stage telling her she won instead of presenting it. It's reactions like Tavia's that make me smile. :D

My Favorite Male Character

Winner: Wayne Lai

Top 5: Wayne Lai, Dayo Wong, Michael Tse, Kevin Cheng, Moses Chan

If it was anyone who was going to win this award, I thought it was going to be Michael Tse's Laughing Gor. He and Chau Kau are the most hyped up characters this year, and honestly, I don't know what the hype's about. If I were to pick one of the two though, I'd choose Chau Kau simply because he was more well written and complex. However, I'm a Mak Tai Song fan. It's obvious that he wouldn't win though, but I'm happy he made it into the top 5. Of course, overlooking the prejudice TVB has against artistes who aren't contracted to them, Wayne will always be one of my fav veterans and I have no problem with him winning this award.

Best Supporting Actress

Winner: Susan Tse

Top 5: Susan Tse, Linda Chung, Fala Chen, Susanna Kwan, and Michelle Yim

With two fantastic villain roles in Rosy Business and Beyond, Susan's portrayals are flawless. The best female performance in the disappointing Beyond was hands down Susan's short appearance as the empress. She has the amazing way of communicating her eyes, making chills go down our spine. The expressions she gives are haunting. Being the weakest category this year (other than Most Improved Actress), I can't think of anyone else who I'd like to win this award.

Best Supporting Actor

Winner: Michael Tse

Top 5: Michael Tse, Ngo Wah, Lee Kwok Lun, Ngo Ka Nin, and Kenneth Ma

Again, I will never understand the hype of Laughing Gor. I have to hand it to Michael though because he gave an awesome performance. He's always been a good actor, and if it has to be an overhyped character that gets him noticed, then so be it! But now I'm thinking...when will it be Derek's time to shine?

Best Actress

Winner: Sheren Tang

Top 5: Sheren Tang, Ada Choi, Teresa Mo, Tavia Yeung, and Charmaine Sheh

I couldn't be anymore happier that this award finally falls into the exquisete Sheren's hands! It may be 5 years late, but after much waiting Sheren at last gets the title 'TV Queen.' She was so sweet during her acceptance speech! You could tell that she was so happy and nervous at the same time as her acceptance speech was the longest of all. She couldn't stop talking and even went on to say that it'd be perfect if Wayne won Beset Actor. Congratulations Sheren, we all love you!

Best Actor

Winner: Wayne Lai

Top 5: Wayne Lai, Dayo Wong, Steven Ma, Moses Chan, and Bosco Wong

You know that Wayne was definitely going to get this award, not just because other than the non-contracted Dayo the top 5 nominees stink, but because of his perfect performance. I believe that he is the only person who could've portrayed the stubborn and complex Chai Kau as well as he did. Congratulations, Wayne, you've made Sheren's Best Actress win complete! :D

Best Series

Winner: Rosy Business!

Top 5: Rosy Business, E.U., Burning Flame 3, You're Hired, and Beyond the Realm of Conscience

The most pleasant surprise of the evening! With me being my critical self, I did not enjoy Beyond as much as I hoped and was disappointed for the most part. I wasn't pleased to hear that the finale of the series recieved almost record breaking ratings of 50 points, which made us all believe that it'd take home this award. Well, I was wrong and I've never been more happy to! Rosy Business has the best script for a series in years as well as a great cast. It deserves this award every bit.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Winner: Lee Tim Sing

First we thought it'd be Lee Heung Kam. After Chan Hung Lit's death we thought it'd be him. Surprise, surprise, it turns out to be Lee Tim Sing! Another surprise but also pleasant. Lee Tim Sing is now my favorite producer and I never would've thought this award would be handed to him! Now I feel rather dumb because it was the perfect timing. With Rosy Business being such a hit, of course this award should be given to him! We're happy for you Lee Tim Sing!

Random Top 5 Nominees?

Before ending this post I'd like to add that this year's top 5 nominees are so random.

Best Actor: Steven and Bosco? Steven's a great actor but his performance in Sweetness in the Salt wasn't any more special than his usual productions. Plus, TVB's wish to release the series from the warehouse to create more success only ended in failure/mediocre ratings. And Bosco?! He wasn't even supposed to be in this category!

Best Supporting Actor: I'm pleased to see that Kenneth made it into the top 5! I'm even more proud of the adorable 'big kid' that he is the only one from Born Rich to make it into the top 5. Where did Ngo Wah come from? He was so just someone to fill up the space! Why isn't Derek even in the top 5???

Best Supporting Actress: What a shame Nancy and/or Selena didn't make it into the top 5! Where did Fala come from? I don't think it's fair she was nominated for this category in the first place, as she was clearly lead.

On the other hand, I'd like to thank TVB to recognize our 'black horse' candidates Dayo Wong, Linda Chung, and Teresa Mo. :)

Congratulations to this year's winners!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Behind the Making of the Nominee List Satire (Best Actor & Actress)

TVB Interaction takes a behind the scenes look at what was going through the executive's minds when putting together this year's nominee list...

First off, ever wondered why TVB increased it to 15 nominees per category this year instead of the usual 10?

Executive #1: So the year is coming to an end again, eh?
Executive #2: Yep, time to round up 10 nominees for each category again.
Executive #1: Wait, I have a brilliant idea! How about we increase it to 15 nominees this year?
Executive #2: 15? That's practically everyone! There won't be any special value in a nomination anymore!
Executive #1: To them, there still is. They'll never know! We can make more artistes feel proud of themselves!
Executive #2: Oh! That's brilliant! 15 nominations it is!

Putting together Best Actor...

Executive #2: Pick the ones from the grand productions first!
Executive #1: Ok, Wayne Lai, Moses Chan, Ray Lui, Gallen Lo, and Bowie Lam.
Executive #2: Bowie was in a series this year? *scratches head*
Executive #1: Yeah, remember our latest failure The Gem of Life?
Executive #2: Oh...that! Where did we go wrong with that? A-list stars, a big budget, and multiple filming locations! What more could they ask for?
Executive #1: I know! I mean it's a little long and forgettable but still!
Executive #2: Do we really have to nominate Moses? He even bored ME in Beyond the Realm of Conscience.
Executive #1:
Same here, but he's the male lead of this year's cash cow remember?
Executive #2: Fine...Ray's character in Born Rich is annoying though.
Executive #1: Nothing I can do about that.
Executive #2: Fine! Can I nominate at least one myself?
Executive #1: Whatever. Who?
Executive #2: Dayo!
Executive #1: He's not even contracted to us! Why should we award HIM?
Executive #2: And he's not going to win because of that, so just give him the darn nomination!
Executive #1: Ok, ok, calm down! How about Burning Flame 3?
Executive #2: Gosh, what was Amy Wong thinking with that sequel?
Executive #1: Who knows, but might as well nominate Wong He and Kevin. Aiy, Kevin with his 'cool, Mr. Nice Guy' roles.
Executive #2: What about Bosco?!
Executive #1: Bosco? He was supporting!
Executive #2: I know, but we can't have one of our top "siu sangs" in the supporting category! How embarrassing! And we can't afford to piss another artiste off and lose them! Look what happened to Sammul!
Executive #1: Good point! Phew, you just saved us a long scolding from our boss!
Executive #2: Thank goodness! Ok, let's go through the rest of the male leads...Michael Miu, Steven Ma, Roger Kwok, and Damien Lau.
Executive #1: We need 2 more!
Executive #2: *takes out list of 2009 TVB series* The only other series I can find is that silly "comedy" A Bride for a Ride and the one with the ridiculously long name!
Executive #1: Ew, those two series? Joe Ma and Chin Ka Lok didn't exactly give great performances!
Executive #2: Whatever, it doesn't matter! The fans can complain all they want, they can't hurt us! However, our boss can, and if we don't please him he'll scold us to no end! Do YOU want to answer to the big guy himself, Stephen Chan?
Executive #1: Stephen Chan? *shudders* No!
Executive #2: Ok, we're done with one category! Wow, Wayne doesn't have much competition this year...

On to Best Actress...

Executive #1: Want to go ahead and nominate the 3 sisters from Gem?
Executive #2: Er...sure. Actually, Ada actually gave a great performance.
Executive #1: Yeah, she did!
Executive #2: You know, TVB is really unreasonable, biased, and prejudiced sometimes.
Executive #1: *stares at him like he's crazy* Shhh! Don't let TVB hear you say that!
Executive #2: Ok fine.
Executive #1: Go through all the grand production leads again?
Executive #2: Sure, Sheren Tang, Charmaine Sheh, Tavia Yeung, Anita Yuen, Jaime Chik, and Kenix Kwok.
Executive #1: What's up with psycho and mentally unstable characters these days anyway? Kenix's Angie is nuts.
Executive #2: I know! Charmaine's Lau Sam Ho is nothing but a goody goody too.
Executive #1: I heard Catherine Tsang is supporting Sheren for the award this year.
Executive #2: No way! If it weren't for that stubborn woman Sheren wouldn't have lost to Gigi in 2004 for War and Beauty! Are you sure?
Executive #1: Pretty sure!
*A janitor passes by* : Psst! I don't think you guys should be gossiping about stuff like that! I gave a simple comment saying that Gigi is no match for Sheren when it comes to acting and here I am! My position used to be higher than you guys!
Executive #2: *shocked* Let's get back to work, quick! Stop gossiping!
Executive #1: Let's nominate Kathy as a 'welcome back' gift, even though her role wasn't anything too special.
Executive #2: With you on that one. Ok, as always Liza Wang, Myolie Wu, and Sonija Kwok.
Executive #1: Mhm. Also, Lee Sze Kei.
Executive #2: Is this woman versatile? I'm not sure. These picture perfect mommy roles are growing old.
Executive #1: Oh, stop jabbering and give me one last nominee!
Executive #2: I can't believe I'm saying this, but it looks like we have to resort to nominating a sitcom.
Executive #1: What? No! You mean Teresa Mo?!
Executive #2: Yep...
Executive #1: Ok, sure, why not.

What do you guys think of this satire of the nominee list? It was fun poking fun at all the filler and random nominees! If you like it, I'll continue it. :)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Predicted Top 5 Medalists

I was surprised to hear that all the nominees of this year's TVB Anniversary Awards will be awarded with a medal. I'm also pleased too though, because the pride and prestige of a nominee is now at nothing since practically everyone was nominated. This way, the true 'best' and 'top' get to be properly awarded. Since I promised at least 4 posts revolving around the anniversary awards, this is probably a good topic to blog about right? Especially because I have no idea how predicting the top 5 slipped my mind in my last award-related post. :P

Most Improved Actress

Predicted Top 3: Sharon Chan, Aimee Chan, Koni Lui

So if there are only 5 nominations for Most Improved Actor & Actress, does this mean all nominees will go home with a medal? I hope not, especially since there are so many that don't deserve to be nominated in the first place for this award. I'm thinking (but mostly hoping) that it'll be the top 3.

This is the most disappointing category this year! Queenie doesn't even deserve to be nominated because she is as stiff and wooden as ever. While I loved Koni in Catch Me Now, if it was a year Koni shouldn't be nominated for this award it's this year. She was simply a guest appearance for 3 episodes in You're Hired. There were no seen improvements present either. While Aimee is ok for a newcomer, it's too early for her to win. It is clear that she has the highest chances though as TVB loves to play favoritism. With any hope Sharon will win this award because she has truly improved tons. Although her character in Pages of Treasures is impossible to like, I loved her performance. Not to mention, she is adorable in Born Rich. Why Selena wasn't nominated this year though still blows my mind.

Most Improved Actor

Predicted Top 3: Ngo Ka Nin, Raymond Wong, Johnson Lee
Unlike the former set of nominees, all 5 of these men deserved the nomination. Perhaps it's just a matter of which series it's for (in Johnson's case) and their 'status' (Raymond Chiu is usually a kelefe with the exception of his supporting role in Off Pedder). Ngo Ka Nin has the highest chances of winning with his superb performance as the villain in Rosy Business. Raymond gave a great breakthrough performance in Sweetness in the Salt as well but being in the industry for over 10 years, he has surpassed the 'improved' category. In a few years time, he should be able to snatch the Best Supporting Actor award. The only reason I'm including Johnson is because the two men in Off Pedder, although lucky enough to be nominated, I believe are not lucky enough to win. However, I would've much prefered Johnson to win last year for his role in Catch Me Now. Just Love II and The Stew of Life were forgettable and typical productions.

Most Favorite TV Female Character

Predicted Top 5: Hong Nga Sze from The Gem of Life (Ada Choi), Hong Bo Kei from Rosy Business (Sheren Tang), Lam Miu Miu from You're Hired (Charmaine Sheh), Lau Sam Ho from Beyond the Realm of Conscience (Charmaine), and Yiu Kam Ling from Beyond (Tavia Yeung)

Charmaine once again makes TVB Anniversary Award history by being the first person to be nominated twice in one category! Nevertheless, I much prefer the adorable Miu Miu to the goody goody Lau Sam Ho. Sam Ho is extremely undeveloped with her only characteristic being her 3 principles. These pure, good characters are unrealistic which makes you not like them much. While Hong Bo Kei is a very well written character, Lam Miu Miu remains my favorite character this year. Although The Gem of Life was a failure in terms of ratings and reception, Ada was still praised for her role and character. Chances of her getting into the top 5 are quite high, but Yiu Kam Ling has the highest chances of actually winning. This award will most likely go to Tavia if she loses out on Best Actress.

Most Favorite TV Male Character

Predicted Top 5: Ko Cheung Sing from The Gem Of Life (Bowie Lam), Laughing Gor from E.U. (Michael Tse), Chai Kau from Rosy Business (Wayne Lai), Mak Tai Song from You're Hired (Dayo Wong), and Cheuk Yat Ming from Born Rich (Gallen Lo)

I've been told Bowie's character was compelx with multiple layers. Any character written well like that is worth being nominated, and getting into the top 5. Of course, we arrive at the ever so popular Laughing Gor. With the HK audience mourning over his death and even creating a Facebook group for him, Most Favorite TV Male Character has Michael's name written all over it. Chai Kau was also a complex and well written character, but his popularity fell slightly short of Laughing Gor. Mak Tai Song is my favorite character though, as he was intelligent, witty, and sensitive. The fact that he was the only character to make me laugh this year without using overexaggerated humor is also a big plus. Lastly, we arrive at Born Rich 's villain Cheuk Yat Ming. He's winning everyone's like, except mine although I loved the character in the beginning. Well, let's just rename this award to The Laughing Gor award.

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Top 5: Linda Chung for The Gem of Life, Susan Tse for Rosy Business, Susanna Kwan, Michelle Yim, and Selena Li for Beyond the Realm of Conscience

Linda is this year's 'black horse' candidate for her breakthrough performance in the ever so boring and draggy Gem. Although I have not watched a full episode, from what I've seen, I can agree with the praise she's been getting. Susan Tse is an amazing actress who can portray evil with simply her eyes and glare. Susanna Kwan and Michelle Yim are simply added in because I can't think of anyone else. Honestly, this category for the most part is rather disappointing this year. As great as Selena is in Beyond and as much as I love her, Susan is too outstanding of an actress to have gone without recognition for this long.

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Top 5: Michael Tse for E.U., Ron Ng for Rosy Business, Ngo Ka Nin for Rosy Business, Derek Kwok for D.I.E. Again, and Lee Kwok Lun for Beyond

Once again, another award with Laughing Gor written all over it. Michael's performance in E.U. was indeed realistic and great, but I feel that Derek is an even better actor. He can make all of these facial expressions that range from sad to hilarious. Derek has yet to get any recognition despite serving TVB loyally for so long. Ngo Ka Nin is another strong candidate, but he has higher chances winning Most Improved. Lee Kwok Lun is the only male in Beyond other than Ram who shines with his evil portrayal. The only reason I've included Ron is my gut feeling, otherwise I'd much prefer Raymond Wong to make it to the top 5. Kenneth's adorable and sweet portrayal in Born Rich has won me over, but the actor has been nominated for this award countless times with no positive result.

Best Actress

Predicted Top 5: Ada Choi for The Gem of Life, Sheren Tang for Rosy Business, Charmaine Sheh for Beyond, Tavia Yeung for Beyond, and Anita Yuen for Born Rich

The future looks bright as Sheren has the highest chances of winning this year! The award has been stolen from Sheren's hands for too long and it makes me very happy that it seems she will win. While I love Tavia, it is too early for her to win Best Actress. Doing so will hurt her more than anything as she will be met with criticism despite being such a versatile young actress. One year, she will win this award, 100% deserving it and 100% me supporting her. Charmaine's performance (and character) in Beyond is nothing special, but TVB is all about the most popular series right? Anita Yuen also gives a strong performance in Born Rich with her easily lovable character.

Best Actor

Predicted Top 5: Bowie Lam for The Gem of Life, Wayne Lai for Rosy Business, Dayo Wong for You're Hired, Moses Chan for Beyond, and Gallen Lo for Born Rich

Other than the fact that he delivered an amazing performance, Wayne will most likely win because well...there's no one else who should be or can be given this award. Bowie, Dayo, and Gallen are all deserving nominees. With The Gem of Life being already long forgotten and Dayo and Gallen not contracted, the three have no chances of winning. Moses is only included because of the undeserved success of Beyond. While winning Best Actor just a year after wining Best Supporting seems a little quick, Wayne definitely deserves this award.

Best Series

Predicted Top 5: E.U., Rosy Business, You're Hired, Beyond the Realm of Conscience, and Born Rich

E.U. was the first series that gained our attention in the dull year of 2009 with it's movie like camera angles, action, and the popular Laughing Gor. Rosy Business boosts the great leads Sheren and Wayne as well as one of the best scripts in a long time. You're Hired stars the comedy king Dayo himself, making it one of the best comedies for as long as we can remember. Then, we have Beyond and Born Rich. Simply because they are grand productions they will make it to the top. Beyond will obviously take home this award, despite the script being just mediocre. Born Rich started off very strong, but it has declined and started to drag. What I regret? Voting for Born Rich when I should've voted for Rosy.

The Stew of Life Review

TVB tends to try to repeat the success of a series. La Femme Desperado was a hit when released back in 2006. Excited at their unexpected success, TVB tried to milk their "cash cow" with 2007's The Family Link, which featured a similar cast. It failed to do so though and people called it "boring" and "a waste of time." While I'm not sure, Stew feels like another bad attempt to create another La Femme Desperado because of the presence of an elderly couple, middleaged couple, and young couple...

Characterization & Performances

Louise/Lee Sze Kei - "Ng Lo Tai"

Mrs. Ng, dubbed "Mrs. Ng Lo/Ng Lo Tai" and "Supermom" is the picture perfect mother. Sweet, caring, and overprotective, Ng Lo Tai was just as unrealistically good as she was as Hor Ma. While the two similar roles make me further doubt the veteran actress' versatility, I much prefered Ng Lo Tai over Hor Ma for her more warm, sweet, and friendly personality.

Cheung King Fai - "Ng Man Tak"

Extremely stubborn and long winded, this dad can be very hard and annoying to deal with. However, he is caring and generous through the example of when he sacrificed his job so that none of his employess would be fired. Always comedic through the way he delivers his lines, Cheung King Fai gave a great performance. I loved his interactions with the family dog Jack! Not to mention, I love Jack, who is the cutest and most lovable/smart dog ever!

Fala Chen - "Ng Choi Nei/Charlie"

While outspoken and headstrong, Charlie is not independent in the case that she can't take care of herself. In the end, she will usually go to her parents for help with her problems. Initially, I liked Charlie as I thought she was a bit like me. Independent in terms of school, dealing with work, acting on my own and yet sometimes dependent on parents when it comes to things like cooking and cleaning. Eventually though, in the last 10 episodes or so, the character got on my nerves for how unreasonable she was in how she wanted Ryan to treat her and her actions. As Fala's first main role, she deserved to have leaded a better series. Like usual though, she gave a good performance. Although I found the wig she wore at first hideous, I grew to accept it and by the end I felt that the hairstyle suited 'Charlie' and her personality more than if Fala had worn it long.

Christine Ng - "Lo Siu Mei/May"

Materalistic and accustomed to a high class lifestyle, May is rather selfish and self centered. Scared by the thought of being a spinster, she wishes to hurry and remarry. Due to her materalistic personality though, she wishes to find someone handsome, young, and rich. The girl also resembles the Disney character Pinocchio for her constant lying. Like Charlie, I initially enjoyed watching May because as well as looking great, Christine gave a very enjoyable performance. Also like Charlie though, I grew to be very annoyed with her with how she just cared about what was 'skin deep' and seemed to be playing around with Yau Kai.

Timmy Hung - "Lau Tak Yan/Ryan"

Sweet, caring, and has a passion for photography, "Ryan" is probably the best character Timmy has managed to land. While his character Ah Chun in The Building Blocks of Life was hands down the most likable character, he barely had any screen time, making "Ryan" Timmy's best role in terms of character and screen time. Not that bad of an actor himself, Timmy should appear in series more. Appearing at an average of one series every two years or so and constantly going on game shows like Super Trio and Beautiful Cooking instead makes me wonder though... is the true reason Timmy doesn't appear in series much is that he rather not have a stable job and play around or is it the usual case with TVB 'underpromoting' him?
Evergreen Mak - "Yau Kai"

Thoughtful and kindhearted, he is a very commited man. He falls in love with May almost instantly, and does everything he can to win her heart. Although I was at first touched at how commited and forgiving he was of all the things May did, I had to keep myself from calling him stupid when he was still willing to forget when May was clearly starting to cheat on him. Like always, Evergreen is a strong supporting actor.

Other Notable Characters/Performances

Yvonne Ho - "Yau Yee"
It amuses me that they are getting young women to portray a character that's much older. First Queenie played the older sister of Michael Tse in You're Hired and now Yvonne has to play the older sister of Evergreen. Yvonne's acting can still be unnatural but there are improvements in her acting. I found her cute at many times and I grew fond of her character and how she was so overprotective of her little brother.
Johnson Lee - "Lee Sing Kei/Bill"
TVB definitely shows they don't cherish Johnson as their artiste by giving them such a small character that was sure to annoy you in the beginning. Bill is a lot similar to Burning Flame 3's Chung Yau Shing. He refused to let go of Charlie and became extremely stubborn. The similarities continue when he realizes his stubbonness and even gets together with a nurse, just like Ah Shing did. Of course Johnson delivers his performance well as the charming and amusing boyfriend of Charlie in the first few episodes.
Stephen Huynh - "Daniel"
It's obviously staged by TVB to allow the characters Stephen plays to know how to speak French to cover his influency in Cantonese. I'm starting to grow to like Stephen more though because while I loved Pierre in D.I.E. Again, his performance as a gay man was hilarious!

The Chemistry/Love Relationships
Louise Lee/Cheung King Fai
While watching the two was awkward at first as Cheung King Fai is old enough to be Louise's father, I grew to like them as the elderly couple of the series. Their bickering over the smallest and most trivial things are very amusing. Since the two never have real fights, they are a very sweet couple.
Christine Ng/Evergreen Mak
As our middleaged couple, May and Yau Kai were too uncompatiable and how they handled their relationship was too ridiculous. The addition of Ken Wong was unneeded. Although amusing at times, their relationship was the most draggy and boring of the three.
Fala Chen/Timmy Hung
You would've thought that this pairing would be random with no chemistry, but it turns out that they do. I loved the inital developement of their relationship as it was new and refreshing. The whole plot with Fala thinking Timmy was gay was hilarious! Unfortunately, how sweet and refreshing their storyline is crumbles down with Charlie abruptedly moving in with him. The two were too immature and irresposible, but the fault mainly lies with Charlie. She was unreasonable and wanted Ryan to be like what she wanted and so forth. Their constant fighting and misunderstandings bothered me to no end. Luckily, they manage to become the sweet couple again after they matured in the last episode. My favorite part of this love plot though would have to be the stage where Fala and Timmy were getting together as it was them at their sweetest and cutest.

The Length

Having The Stew of Life be at an excessive length of 30 episodes was the biggest mistake. The series shouldn't have been longer than 20 episodes. There were countless draggy and boring scenes. There were many unneccessary scenes. It would've been easy to cut down Stew to maybe 25 or 20 episodes. While having an action or police series at a length of 30 episodes is typical and understandable, a lighthearted comedy/drama should never be this long.
The Pop Culture References
Talk about cheap advertising! I noticed several references to TVB while watching. Two of the most notable included a rich man named 'Raymond Lam'--and the real Raymond has nothing to do with it. Did TVB use Raymond's big name to advertise the series and pull in big ratings? The second notable reference is while Evergreen is sitting in a car in one scene, he is listening to Elanne Kong's subtheme song from E.U.
The Good
  • Fala and Timmy's chemistry in the early stage of their relationship
  • Cheung King Fai and Jack's arguement scenes
  • Jack, such an adorable dog and so smart too!
  • Lousie and Cheung King Fai's bickering (although it does get excessive in the later parts of the series)
  • Yvonne's improvements and Lawerence Ng's short appearance as her son
The Bad
  • The length and dragginess
  • Christine and Evergreen's storyline with Ken Wong
  • The mess of Fala and Timmy's relationship in the last few episodes
  • This series probably has the most boring and uneventual pilot episode ever
Overrall Thoughts
The Stew of Life is obviously another of 2009's lighthearted and forgettable series. Even as I'm writing this review, I've forgotten many of the details of this series. It was enjoyable at many points and a time killer. Unfortunately, the long length of it made it boring and draggy. During the last 10 episodes, I felt the urge to forward on many occassions. For a majority of the series, the only thing I was interested in watching this for Fala and Timmy. Since their relationship turned sour and annoying though, it started to became a chore to finish it. Stew can not be classified as a good series, but it's definitely not 2009's worst. I'm sure A Bride for a Ride is proud for having a stable grip on that label.
Rating: 2 3/4 stars

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Banner #4 : Missing Raymond and Sammul

To accommodate a new layout, I decided to make a new banner as well. Problem is, the banner size for this specific layout is relatively smaller. As a result, my banner takes up even less space than usual and the words on my banner are barely visible. In other words, I'm not very satisfied with how Blogger decided to display it.

What's my opinion to the actual banner I just made? Well I'm happy that for once I managed to create a banner featuring male artistes for once instead of the usual female. It's a nice change isn't it? Of course I decided to feature two of my favorite artistes, both who I miss seeing terribly. (You guys have probably noticed I've been suffering from the disease of missing Sammul. :P) Also, I played around with effects on this some more. Is it too much or is it good? There are some effects on it I really like but some I'd prefer to lighten a bit.

I could've done much better but I'll cut myself some slack. Obviously, my calling is in writing and not graphics. I tend to change my banner around once a month anyway, otherwise I get tired of it. :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

New Feature : Comeback

In the new generation of TVB where a majority of artistes don't act very well or carry the same unique charisma, we're overjoyed when we see our old stars from "back in the day." In the last few years, may of our beloved veterans have returned to the small screen. A problem that arises though is what they choose to be their comeback series. The main factors to a great and memorable comeback include:

  • Good script/plot
  • Interesting role
  • Room to showcase talent and acting abilities
  • The potential popularity/grandness of the series

One should be more picky when selecting their comeback series. If they consider one factor and leave out the other, it could result in disappointment. TVB Interaction takes you on a ride of the most recent comebacks, great, bad, and mediocre...

2005 - Michael Miu - The Academy

Being one of the more stronger comebacks, Michael certainly didn't disappoint with his portrayal of "Li Sir." It's unknown if he considered the factors listed above, but he certainly obeyed them whether it was intentional or not.

The Script -
While The Academy wasn't flawless or a breakthrough series, it was still enjoyable with an above average plot. The theme of PTS (Police Training School) was refreshing as we got to see what you went through before becoming a policemen, something that hasn't been touched upon for a long time. The series initially started off a little slow and repetitive, but it later turns into a sweet and addicting one. The Academy also by far has one of the best character growth.

The Role -
Hands down, "Li Sir" is the best thing about The Academy. He is the heart of the series, and without him I wouldn't have enjoyed the series nearly as much. The character was much more complex with better writing than the average TVB character. Li Sir was dynamic instead of the usual static. From the outside, he appeared 'cool', strict, and unreasonable. As the series progressed we learned that he is a very caring, passionate, helpful person with so many other positive traits. It was for these reasons, Li Sir is truly considered a 'hero' in my book and is what makes him one of my all time favorite characters.

The Performance -
Michael couldn't have portrayed "Li Sir" even better. I absolutely loved his performance. He portrayed the complexity and depth of Li Sir perfectly. You are absolutely convinced he is the ridiculously unreasonable and strict officer in the beginning but slowly realize how an amazing person he is. It's a shame Michael lost 2005's Best Actor award to Roger Kwok's Ah Wong, despite being able to get into the top 5.

Michael Miu's comeback in The Academy is as good as it's going to get these days. While the series hasn't become one of TVB's all time most popular series, it scored great ratings back when it released in 2005. It was also the start of the popular trilogy along with sequels On the First Beat and E.U. The popularity of the series still lives on, as a third sequel/fourth installment is said to be in the works.

2008 - Idy Chan - Catch Me Now

A beloved actress of the 80's , Idy was absent from the small screen for fifteen years before appearing in 2008's Catch Me Now as the leading lady. While she picked a series with a good script, it unfortunately ended there. As a result, Idy's comeback is classified as rather disappointing.

The Script - Catch Me Now was a modern version of the popular old tale Robin Hood. The series was engaging and interesting. The plot for the most part was excellent, addictive, and refreshing. Overall, the series was a success, pulling in high ratings and good buzz.

The Role - The naive and innocent housewife Yung Yung failed to win our hearts. As she was not well written like Jack Ko or BT, her character wasn't able to interest us too much. For the most part, Yung Yung was pretty boring.

The Performance - Perhaps how much time Idy had taken off from acting affected her performance. She was stiff and not very natural. Many of her scenes were later dubbed over due to production complications, making it look even more unnatural. Idy's performance could've been much better.

Idy's disappointing comeback was not only at the fault of her role but also in her performance, as mentioned above. However, considering she had taken a break from acting for so long, I'd cut her some slack. When you don't do something for a long time, you'll be quite rusty when suddenly picking it up again. As for Idy, I'm sure she'll warm up and become the great actress she is again if she decided to continue acting, which at this point seems unlikely.

2008 - Margie Tsang - D.I.E.

Margie was popular in the mid to late 80's and was loved for her beauty. She married in the late 90's and had a child, but later divorced. Just last year, she made a comeback to TVB with D.I.E. and later When a Dog Loves a Cat. Her comeback to series was short lived, but she is currently hosting a talk show called Club Venus with Dodo and Liza.

The Script - Although cheesy and rather silly, D.I.E. was cute and enjoyable. It was obviously unrealistic but often funny. The plot though was predictable, preferably the cases. While fun to watch, it proved to be unmemorable when the sequel came around and hardly anyone could recall anything from the original. D.I.E. was still a success though and it had the highest ratings in 2008 before Moonlight Resonance came along.

The Role - Playing the older sister of Roger and the love interest of Derek, 'Chi Ching' was a very likable character. She had good sibling chemistry with Roger and made the sweetest couple with Derek. Her character was not too special nor memorable, but the audience was still able to warm up to her and enjoy her presence.

The Performance - Margie gave a solid performance and was cute despite being in her 40's. She proved to age nicely as she still looks very pretty. The character didn't allow much room for Margie to show off her acting though. 'Yue Chi Ching' was not a challenge for Margie.

While not as much of a disappointing comeback as Idy's, Margie's comeback wasn't too memorable or special. Although cute and likable, role wasn't anything unique and can be easily forgotten. However, it's always nice to see our stars from 'back in the day.'

And so here we wrap up the first batch of comebacks. So far, we've got a great one, disappointing one, and a likable but forgettable one. What do you think of Michael, Idy, and Margie's comebacks? Who would you like to make a comeback? Comment telling me what you think of this post and your thoughts/opinions!

[New Series] : The Beauty of the Game

English Title: The Beauty of the Game
Chinese Title: 美丽高解像
Cantonese Title: Mei Lai Go Gai Zheung
Broadcast Period: December 14, 2009 – January 8, 2010
Genre: Modern Drama
Length: 20 episodes
Producer: Tsui Yu On
Scriptwriter: Lau Chi Wah
Cast: Kate Tsui, Sharon Chan, Christine Ng, Kingdom Yuen, Wong Cho Lam, Lai Lok Yi, Stephen Huynh, Raymond Cho, Mimi Lo, Ben Wong


Setting out on their quest for fame and fortune, three female TV stars of different backgrounds are resolved to achieve their dreams at any price. But after so many ups and downs in their acting careers, they finally come to discover the secret of true beauty.

Driven by sheer vanity, KO CHING MAN (Kate Tsui) takes part in a beauty pageant despite the strong opposition of her mother, a long-retired actress named CHEUNG LAI HUNG (Kingdom Yuen), and leaps to stardom soon after winning the championship. Rising actress TONG HO YEE (Sharon Chan) feels threatened by MAN and decides to join another TV station to look for a breakthrough, which is not supported by her production assistant friend DEACON CHONG (Lai Lok Yi). Leading actress KEUNG CHIN FUNG (Christine Ng) used to be a bitter rival of HUNG. Realizing that MAN’s acting career is taking off at top speed, FUNG means to approach her as a mentor, through which she hopes to drag the girl into her moral downfall bit by bit. Desperate for everlasting beauty, FUNG injects herself with illegal substances in an attempt to slow the aging process. But things do not really go as planned and her face starts to change in shape. Her advertising deal with a cosmetics company is subsequently canceled and MAN has soon replaced her as the new product endorser. Even the Award of Best Actress, which she has won for years, is slipping out of her hands. To vent her anger, FUNG seeks to extract revenge on MAN, finally plunging her into a world of pain and trouble.

The Beauty of the Game is finally coming near, and the synopsis sounds great! Everybody who reads my blog should know that I've been anticipating this series for a long time. I'm looking forward to how TVB will portray the entertainment world, as I'm sure it'll be juicy and interesting. Perhaps they'll even make fun of themselves? It's also the first time we'll get to see Sharon as a villain, who's also a drug addict. Lai Lok Yi is getting the chance to be the male lead for the first time, and it'll be great to see him again and see how he handles the role. I don't think he's a bad actor, he just gets bad roles, as seen in Moonlight Resonance. With the talented Kingdom Yuen and Christine Ng and hilarious Wong Cho Lam, this series should generate some laughs. While the fact that Kate is leading makes me somewhat iffy about it, I can't wait to watch it. :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

In Their Face #4

I can't believe I've put off writing another In Their Face installment for so long! Over 2 months! Here's the return of a TVB Interaction fan favorite...

Fala Chen

Initially in her career, Fala received many third party and 'bad girl' roles which made people dislike her. However, Fala has never given up and has been a very hardworking person. A girl with ambition, she has jumped from supporting to main in the last year. Even through the time where people strongly disapproved of her, she gave her all and worked hard. She reached a breakthrough in her career in 2008 playing the mute Ah Hing in Moonlight Resonance. She's also straightforward in the case she's reasonable in her actions and thinking. She can give off many different 'feels' in her roles including sexy, innocent, sweet, or headstrong. Fala also proves there's more to her than acting though when she said she loves children and announced she would definitely retire from the industry after becoming a mother.

Nancy Wu

Not only is she one of best TVB actresses of the younger bunch, she also strikes you as the friendly and sweet type. Innocent and honest, you don't expect her to be giving up her dignity and wholesomeness by posing in a too revealing matter. Being in the industry since 2003 and yet not noticed by TVB till 2008, Nancy has still kept an optimistic and good attitude. This gives you the feeling that she actually loves acting, treats it as an art, and puts her heart into her performances. Not only that, she is a talented dancer. Without a doubt, Nancy has an immense amount of talent with both her feet firmly on the ground.

Charmaine Sheh

While she used to be criticized and disliked for her chicken voice and bad acting, Charmaine has been able to overcome the two factors, turning her into a television queen. How far she's come has to do with her personality. She's tough and hardworking, which is what pushes her forward. She is not one to cry easily nor easily get emotional. She is strong and knows how to take care of herself. Charmaine is also intelligent and reasonable. Instead of constantly looking into the future, she focuses on the present and what she can do now. As a result, she has complete control of her life and will not allow it to be run by anyone else.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Guide to : Be a Successful HK Singer Even If You Don't Have Talent

Becoming a HK singer has never been easier with TVB Interaction's guide! Don't worry, real talent is not actually needed! Chances are, if you have talent, you'll just be one of those underrated singers struggling to get signed! Just look at Patrick Tang! He has a great voice, can compose music, and has a passion for music and yet he's stuck with no music contract. Instead, the guy signed with TVB again, a company that gives him a bunch of bad roles to play which makes the audience hate him! And who ever heard of a singer not signed with a record company? TVB Interaction presents you with a step by step guide of what to do to get signed...

Warning : This is not to be read by hypersensitive fans. It is for entertainment purposes and for if you want to have a laugh or chuckle. What I say here does not reflect my real opinion of the mentioned artiste.

#1 Become a TVB Artiste
It's ok if you don't know how to act, a majority of TVB artistes can't act these days anyway. What's another artiste in a circle of people who can't act? There are two ways to score a contract with TVB:

  • Take part in a pageant, preferably Miss Hong Kong or Miss Chinese International. If you're not exceptionally attractive, don't panic. Pageant winners these days aren't actually pretty either. Wait, you're not a female? Well, I guess entering Mr. Hong Kong is good too. You should probably go spend a couple of hours in the gym first though or else you're not going to get a second look.
  • Make use of any connection you have. Is your father the executive producer in TVB, like Toby Leung's father? Tell everybody that! Even a cousin's friend's father's sister-in-law's husband can work!

And whatever you do, do NOT join TVB's acting class. Do you want to wait ten years to get noticed like Tavia Yeung? I didn't think so.

#2 Appear in a Couple Series

Congratulations! You've made it to the second step. Told you it's easy! By now, TVB has probably been handing you main and supporting roles. Good for you! For the next year or so, make do with the precious roles you get.

#3 Sing the Theme or Sub theme Song of a Series

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last TVB decade, you know that a majority of theme/sub theme songs are now sung by the artistes in that series. It's then where you are practically required to do so at least once. You're an aspiring singer, and now you get the chance to show off your stuff! Don't worry, our clever production team can make you sound better or overpower your voice by computer effects. Have you heard Kate Tsui's music? I have, but I haven't heard her real singing voice!

#4 Be (Or at Least Pretend to Be) a Good Role Model

Remember : Celebrities are just like us! At least, that's what they claim. With that piece of information, be a good role model. There are many little girls and boys out there who want to be just like you! And if you are a drug user, gambler, womanizer, cheater, or etc, hide that. You do not need that to be reported by the tabloids. Along with hiding that, pretend you're a good role model. Put on a fake smile and walk outside with caution. Steer clear of getting gum on your shoe or anything embarrassing like that. The camera's watching!

#5 Take Part in Functions/Performances

When an artiste's popularity starts to increase they start appearing at functions or performances. This is a great chance to get publicity and exposure. If you're self conscience about your singing, try to grab the chance to perform somewhere where you can lip sync. Then again, I wouldn't worry too much about that. There are always those fans who support their idols no matter how badly they perform.

At this point, you've already done everything you can possibly do to get signed. It was a short guide wasn't it? Well, that proves how easy it is for an untalented person to become a singer in the HK music industry these days.