Gem had everything to make it potentially the best TVB production ever filmed:
- Budget- Gem was a grand production with a budget of about $12 million, making it one of the most expensive TV series' filmed in TV history.
- Location- With it's extreme budget, it was able to film on location in Paris, London, Tibet, and etc.
- Cast- Gem has what is probably the best cast ensemble in TVB history. It is dominated by well known veterans like Gigi Lai, Ada Choi, Maggie Siu, Bowie Lam, Moses Chan, Wong He, Louise Lee and more.
With these factors, Gem went on everyone's watch list. Yes, they were iffy about the whooping 80 (later 82) episode count, but that didn't stop them.
The Expected Success
In 2007, the 60-episode grand production "The Drive of Life" expected great success. When Drive started airing however, the result was less than TVB was hoping for. Ratings were just average, and ended with only the 7th spot in 2007's Top Ten Ratings. In the end though, Drive was still a moderate success with favorable reviews and many fans. In October 2008, Gem was released. TVB thought it would be a sure-fire success, and that ratings would go over the roof. (Note: TV ratings were already low during this time due to the financial crisis) Gem was supposed to be memorable, a classic, something we would remember for years to come. So, what happened?
A Look Back @ the First Week
In the premiere week of Gem, ratings were not bad at all. The average was 30 pts, equal to about 2 million viewers. The highest rating even reached 37 pts. With Gem just starting to air, people tuned in to catch a glimpse of what it was like, and maybe even stick around to watch the rest.
Everything Comes Crashing Down
Apparently when people caught a glimpse of what Gem was like, they were not pleased, nor interested. This resulted in the ratings coming crashing down, going from 30, to 28, to 27, to 25, to its all time low, 23pts. Part of the reason was that it was aired during a time where people were too busy running after their cash to care about what was on TV. However, just because they were, didn't mean the wouldn't watch TV if something that interested them was on. (2009's E.U. and later Rosy Business proved that.) That brings us to the main reason: No one, or at least not many, were just not interested in watching Gem. Viewers complained the plot was draggy and that the writing was poor. Too many scenes dealt with business, and this bored them. At one point, TVB considered cutting the series down to 70-75 episodes. In extreme cases, it has been known that TVB take dramas off the air before they finish showing the complete series. They were about to give it a go, but its sponsor's would not allow them to do so. Without Gem on the air, the sponsor's products would not be able to be promoted. As a result, Gem finished airing.
Say Goodbye to Gigi Lai
Following the wrap up filming of Gem, Gigi announced she was retiring, making it her last series before retirement. The now 37-year old and yet still beautiful and youthful looking actress retired after getting married to live a quiet, relaxing, enjoyable life. It was sad to see that her last series was taken negatively, and described as a 'failure.' Her role as "Constance," was unable to show her great acting skills one last time. Not only that, the character seemed like the equivalent of Moonlight Resonance's Yue So Chau. Gigi Lai joins the circle of talented TVB 'fa dans' (translates to female actresses) that have left TVB. These fa dans include Kenix Kwok, Jessica Hsuan, and Flora Chan. However, these three have either returned, or returned to TVB recently. Who knows, maybe this isn't the last we've seen of "Lai Chi."
My Pity on Gem
I think that TVB should not think too highly of grand productions or any productions before they air, because then the anticipation just builds up too much, until the point where the series is not good enough to live up to its initial expectations. A series itself can be decent, but when a decent production is first either promoted constantly or has too much anticipation built up before it, you can find yourself disappointed. Gem may become another At the Threshold of an Era. It may become a success a couple years from now, though I do find it unlikely. However, who knows what the future has in store?