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.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

TVB 42nd Anniversary Award Picks

The nominees are finally out! Yikes, you know it's been a disappointing year for TVB when you go down the nominee list constantly saying 'ick' in your mind. Also, this list is rather inaccurrate. There are many people that should be considered leads, but were nominated in the supporting cateogry. Meanwhile, many people that should be considered supporting were nominated in lead. Plus, TVB didn't make the best decision to change it to top 15 instead of top 10.

Best Actor

My Pick(s) : Wayne Lai, Dayo Wong
My Vote : Wayne Lai
Who Deserves to Win : Wayne Lai
Who Will Win : Wayne Lai

It angers me that Bosco was able to be nominated for Best Actor for Burning Flame 3 while Aimee Chan was nominated for Best Supporting Actress when both were of equal standing in the series. I also wish that Joe had been nominated for Born Rich instead of When Easterly Showers Fall on the Sunny West. While I've never been a fan of Joe, I much prefer him as the charming and hardworking "Topman" in Born Rich than the annoying guy in Easterly. I absolutely loved Dayo in You're Hired and every series he's in. Since he's not contracted to TVB though, he doesn't have any chance of winning despite most likely getting into the top 5. Wayne still has my vote and deserves it the most for his superb performance in Chai Kau in Rosy Business.

Best Actress

My Pick(s) : Sheren Tang
My Vote : Sheren Tang
Who Deserves to Win : Sheren

Who Will Win : Sheren, Tavia

It's obvious that The Gem of Life has been long forgotten and it's a surprise that all 3 leading ladies are nominated for it. Ada delivered a great performance and deserves the nomination but it's pretty clear that she won't win. Sheren is an exquisette and versatile actress who deserved this award four years ago for her performance in War and Beauty. She portrayed her character perfectly. Now that she has Catherine Tsang on her side (who is ironically the one who supported Gigi for Best Actress instead of Sheren in 2004) Sheren has a high chance of winning. On the other hand, Tavia also has a high chance of winning as well as a lot of support from TVB. After all, one of the main reasons the Anniversary Awards was dealyed was so TVB could be crowned TV Queen right?

Best Supporting Actor

My Pick(s) : Derek Kwok
My Vote : Derek
Who Deserves to Win : Derek
Who Will Win : Michael Tse

Hands down, Michael will win. Laughing Gor was way over hyped, but I still loved Michael's performance. Fans of Laughing Gor are going to kill me for saying this, but I believe having the chance to star in a movie was already a great and rare enough opportunity for Michael. I really hope Derek will win this award because he was awesome as Ching Yee in D.I.E. Again and an extradorinary actor in general. He's still so underrated and hasn't ever had the chance to be a main lead. It's rather hilarious Joel is here because while I'm not against him he not only didn't have an insignificent character he had probably less than 20 minutes screen time in all of E.U. Is Ron being demoted to supporting actor, just when he's starting to improve? Sheeh, TVB. Talk about being unfair and stupid when giving artistes chances. Pierre Ngo also did an excellent job in Rosy Business but he has a better chance winning Most Improved. Raymond Wong's role in Sweetness in the Salt was clearly a main lead, just behind Steven, and yet he's nominated for Best Supporting Actor? Not to mention he has one of the smallest spots on the series' poster. While it would've been a smart decision as he would have a higher chance of winning, it's not a very smart decision since he's against Michael, Derek, and Pierre.

Best Supporting Actress

My Pick(s) : Susan Tse, Selena Li
My Vote : Susan Tse
Who Deserves to Win : Susan
Who Will Win : Susan

One of the things about awards is there is usually more than one deserving winner but in the end, there can only be one 'best.' There are also best performances by the younger artistes and best performances by veterans. Sometimes I wish that each category could be split into two sub categories exactly for that reason. Susan's performance in Rosy Business was amazing and so convincing. Selena lost out on being nominated for Most Improved Actress, otherwise she would've been a sure win. While I think she is building up to becoming Best Supporting material, I decided to give my vote to Susan. I would've prefered Nancy to be nominated for D.I.E. Again instead and for Joyce to have been nominated for The King of Snooker. It's surprising to see all the wifes from Rosy Business nominated. Huh, it was pretty clear The Stew of Life was Fala's first lead role and yet she was nominated in the Best Supporting category? That doesn't seem fair. Same with Christine.

My Favorite Male Character

My Pick(s) : Dayo
My Vote : Dayo Wong
Who Deserves to Win : Dayo
Who Will Win : Michael, Wayne

100% supporting Dayo's Mak Tai Song! Unfortunately, he has low chances of winning for the same reason as why he won't win Best Actor stated above. I'm thinking Michael will win though...I mean in the case he does not win Best Supporting (and lose to Derek hopefully?) then TVB won't let him go home empty handed. Poor Dayo. Moses should be nominated for his character in Beyond the Realm of Conscience as opposed to The Gem of Life where everyone hated him.

My Favorite Female Character

My Pick(s) : Charmaine for Lam Miu Miu
My Vote : Charmaine for Lam Miu Miu
Who Deserves to Win : Charmaine for Lam Miu Miu
Who Will Win : Charmaine for Lau Sam Ho or Tavia

Charmaine has made history once again for the Anniversary Awards! I really hope that she will take home the award for Lam Miu Miu. I found Miu Miu so much more lovable, adorable, and real in You're Hired. Meanwhile, Lau Sam Ho is too 'good' and unrealistic. If Tavia doesn't win Best Actress, this award will most likely be given to her. Anita's Yat-Sum/Rene is also one of my favorites.

Most Improved Actor

My Pick(s) : Raymond Wong
My Vote : Raymond Wong
Who Deserves to Win : Pierre Ngo, Raymond
Who Will Win : Pierre

While Pierre is indeed an excellent and underrated actor, I just loved Raymond in Sweetness in the Salt. If Johnson were to win this award, I would've prefered him to win it last year for his role BT/Ben in Catch Me Now. I haven't watched Off Pedder, so I can't speak for the last two nominees. It's a shame Patrick Tang, Chan Chin Pang, and Him Law weren't nominated. TVB also thinks that this year's artistes haven't improved and yet they left out the true most improved...

Most Improved Actress

My Pick(s) : Sharon Chan, Selena Li
My Vote : Sharon Chan
Who Deserves to Win : Selena Li, Sharon Chan
Who Will Win : Aimee Chan

The most disappointing cateogry. Selena isn't even nominated! Queenie is still too stiff and unnatural. While I love Koni, it's ridiculous and unfair she was nominated for only once series where she appeared for only 3 episodes. Why is a ke le fe like Catherine nominated? It's too soon for Queenie, Koni, Catherine, and Aimee to win this award. Sharon is the strongest contender, and if Selena can't win it, Sharon deserves it. While I don't like Sharon as much as Selena, I still really like her and think she's becoming a great actress.

Best Series

My Pick(s) : Rosy Business, You're Hired, Beyond, Born Rich
My Vote : Born Rich
Who Deserves to Win : All the above
Who Will Win : Beyond the Realm of Conscience

It's been a weak year full of mediocre series, but the highlights of the year are truly highlights. It's a tough category, but in the end I chose Born Rich because of it's great cast, engaging plot, and mix of drama and comedy. You're Hired is still one of my all time favorites and I would wish it could get an honorable mention or something but that obviously won't happen. Nevertheless, Beyond has the highest chance of winning.

Best Host

My Pick(s) : Ronald Cheng, Edmound Leung, and Alex Fong for Beautiful Cooking
My Vote : Ronald, Edmound, Alex
Who Deserves to Win : Ronald, Edmound, Alex
Who Will Win : Eric Tsang, Chin Ka Lok, Wong Cho Lam, and Louis Yuen for Super Trio Supreme

If it weren't for the hilarious and lovable collaboration of Ronald, Edmound, and Alex, Beautiful Cooking wouldn't be half as good. The three are great and funny together. The award will most likely go to the guys of Super Trio.

Best Variety Show

My Pick(s) : Beautiful Cooking
My Vote : Beautiful Cooking
Who Deserves to Win : Beautiful Cooking
Who Will Win : Super Trio Supreme

Whether I enjoy watching Beautiful Cooking or Super Trio more varies from episode to episode. While I have to admit I tend to enjoy Super Trio more as it's games are more varied and change a lot, I think it's time for Beautiful Cooking to win since I believe Super Trio has already won this award many times. Most Popular Artiste

My Pick(s) : Selena Li
My Vote : Selena Li
Who Deserves to Win : Selena Li
Who Will Win : Tavia Yeung

My favorite TVB blog to visit has got to be Selena's. You probably know that Selena has decided to continue her studies and has been returning to Canada to go to university. She's updated her blog letting us know how she's doing in university as well as her life. You can tell that Selena is a very sweet, cute, innocent, and youthful girl from how she writes. Not to mention, she has just posted an adorable picture of her dressing as a pirate for Halloween. :)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Burning Flame III Review

TVB continues their disappointing series streak with Burning Flame III. I haven't watched the original or the first sequel, but I know that Burning Flame is a very beloved series. With that said, I have to say that the third does not even meet the 'average' mark. Unlike the first two, evenly balancing out love/relationships with the dangers of being a firefighter, BF3 focuses too much on all the bad stuff TVB has to offer: love triangles + rushed and undeveloped relationships. What did that leave the viewer feeling? Frustrated. Let's try to continue this review with a more positive and critical attitude than a negative and bashing one...This review will also attempt to use a different format than the usual one...

The series started strong, or at least the first episode did. The first episode opens with Encore (Bosco Wong) and his friend (played by Oscar Leung) getting stuck in the middle of a huge storm which turns into a flood in Encore's car. The two are about to drown, but Chung Yau Shing (Wong He) comes to their rescue. The first ten minutes or so will leave you at the edge of your seat. It's this scene that makes you feel how heroic and brave Ah Shing is.

A common complaint for the first half of the series was the flashbacks. These flashbacks lasted for almost 10 episodes, and took up nearly half or whole episodes. Personally, I found flashbacks for this particular series necessarily. They can complete the task of setting up the Ah Shing/Ah Ying/Rex love triangle and explaining to us how it all began. The flashbacks were too excessive though, and at the time I couldn't wait for them to be over. When they were finally over, and we were finally at the present, I felt that the series only became worse. Perhaps the flashbacks were the strongest point of the series, but we just didn't realize that until we traveled back to the present to see our two leading men fighting for the one they love.

We are first introduced to Wong He's 'Ah Shing' as an 'ox.' He works hard and puts his best effort into everything he does. Brother Ox never gave up. Consequently, he is a very stubborn man. While it's great to never give up, we know that there are certain things that you should just give up on. Ah Shing unfortunately was not aware of that, and applied his stubborn and determined personality to his failing love relationship. Even when Ah Ying confronted him saying that she was no longer in love with him and broke up with him, he couldn't let her go. Of course, there are always people who 'can't let go' initially, leaving them heartbroken. Ah Shing's broken heart and inability to let go was taken to an extreme level, making him nor anyone else around him happy. Ah Shing just didn't know when it was time to give up and move on. His stubbornness is aggravating to watch. I am actually happy that he spent 10 episodes in a coma, as I personally wouldn't have been able to stand 32 full episodes of his stubbornness.

Perhaps Wong He is such an excellent actor that he convinced us with his portrayal of the stubborn and annoying man. 'Chung Yau Shing' was a waste of Wong He's talent.

Kevin Cheng and Myolie Wu are both versatile actors, as seen with their breakthrough performances in Last One Standing and Survivor's Law. In recent years though, the two have become type casted into one type of role. Those who have not watched their breakthrough performances, or simply don't remember them, no longer think that Kevin or Myolie can act.

Kevin is constantly playing the cool 'Mr. Nice Guy' and it's obviously not a challenge for him. While he is enjoyable to watch, I tend to question myself numerous times on whether or not he can really act. His performance in Last One Standing was excellent though, and Burning Flame 3's 'Rex' manages to still be likable. The scenes were he was clumsily trying to control his wheelchair were hilarious too.

The role of 'Ah Ying' was supposedly a more 'mature' role for Myolie. It turns out that if anything, Myolie was only given a more mature outer look (her hairstyle) and was paired up with older guys. Ko Wai Ying is another 'weak' role for Myolie to play. I'm tired of Myolie playing these characters and I wish TVB would give her another interesting character like the beloved Ling Ling in Survivor's Law. Myolie still manages to give off a sweet and innocent aura which makes you like her though. Her emotional scenes were also very well done. I still do not doubt that Myolie has what it takes to be one of our next fa dans.

The love triangle between Wong He, Kevin, and Myolie is one you wish you didn't have to watch. Myolie and Wong He had no chemistry whatsoever, but she looked ok with Kevin. The two managed to pull off a sweet chemistry, but it was obvious that their script was a mess.

Then comes Bosco and Aimee, our young couple. That is, if you could even consider them a couple. Although the two were occasionally cute, their relationship was ridiculous. Encore and Easy were too immature and irresponsible towards their attitude, thinking, and decision making. They still acted like kids, and yet they had to raise one. I felt sorry for their baby.

Encore, although he sometimes brought badly needed comic relief, was for the most part irritating. He sometimes got on my nerves. However, I enjoyed his friendship with his mentor Brother Ox in the beginning of the series. Their interactions were sweet, entertaining, and funny. Wong He and Bosco collaborate greatly. Come to think of it, their friendship is one of the best parts about this series.

I was never a fan of Bosco, and my opinion still remains unchanged. I don't find him good looking or charming. I can't deny he is one of the better younger actors though. Encore isn't one of his best characters. I don't believe that winning the Best Actor award is anywhere in his future. How Bosco was even nominated for Best Actor this year still blows my mind. Personally, Ron deserves Bosco's nomination much more for his performance in E.U.

I've been keeping an open mind to MHK 2006 winner Aimee Chan. The outcome is not that bad. Aimee acts surprisingly good for a newcomer. She delivered a decent performance and managed to not look too bad against the rest of the cast. Obviously she has to improve her accent and fluency in Cantonese though, but I believe she will eventually. On the other hand, I believe it is still too early for her to win Most Improved Actress.

No one would've thought that the most annoying character at the start of the series would wind up becoming their most liked character, never mind me. Stephen Wong's Ko Ho-Nam is hands down the most well written character in the whole series. Unlike the rest of the characters, he is dynamic. He goes through change and maturity at a reasonable pace to the point he is an ambitious, responsible, hardworking, and sweet gentleman. What a contrast to the lazy bum who didn't have any idea what to do with his life! Ko Ho-Nam is my favorite character in his series and one of my favorite characters of this year. As for Stephen's performance, I can say that he has greatly improved. However, his performances seem to be on a roller coaster ride. In specific series he is rather wooden, then in others he does a decent job.
Stephen and Elaine make a sweet and refreshing couple. The two look nice together and they share a sweet chemistry. Unfortunately, their relationship is the most undeveloped. The so called 'love triangle' between Elaine, Stephen, and Chan Chin Pang never came full circle. The problem with Chan Chin Pang's character is resolved rather quickly and he appears merely in a couple episodes. It was also a shame that the audience was only able to infer that the two got together at the end instead of showing us. I also wasn't very fond of Elaine's character Ah Man and found her somewhat annoying and pretty whiny. At times I thought Ah Nam even deserved someone better.

Leanne Li's Kristy is the most unnecessary character in TVB history. While a daring attitude is good, Kristy's techniques of courting Rex were way too obvious. It annoyed me how she seemed to just be throwing herself at him. Leanne also still fails to deliver a solid performance. If anything, I don't mind her playing simply a character's friend or sister.

While I don't think June Ho had a very hard character to play, she was sweet and likable as the kindhearted nurse. She and Wong He make a much more compatible couple than him and Myolie. It was great that Wong He was able to find someone else he could love. I wish June would've appeared earlier on in the series though.

Highlights of Burning Flame
  • Without a doubt, the best scenes of this too long series was the fire rescue scenes. They were intense and very well done. Those scenes made my heart beat rapidly and left me holding my breath. I was aware no one was going to die, but the intensity still left me anxious.
  • The scenes between Wong He and Bosco. It was hilarious seeing Bosco constantly going to bother his 'mentor' and 'lifesaver.'
  • Ah Nam's gradual change. His character is the most interesting to watch. It is quite a surprise that the most well written character is a supporting one with barely any screen time.
  • The scenes with the other firefighters like Sam Chan, Matthew Ko, and Eddie Li. Their interactions and discussions were hilarious. They were very enjoyable to watch and generally brought a smile to your face.

The Bad
  • The series is too draggy, and it would've been much better if cut down to 20-25 episodes.
  • There was not enough focus on the life of the firefighters, but instead way too much focus on the love relationships.
  • Wong He's stubborn character.
  • Leanne Li's unnecessary appearance.
Recommended? No. Really, I wonder why they decided to make another Burning Flame sequel anyway, especially so long after the second one. It fails to be a memorable series, never mind a great installment to such a beloved production. There are many great and strong aspects of the series, but the bad out dos the good.

Rating: 2 stars

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Survivor's Law Review

A drama revolving around the lives of four lawyers, this is one of the highlights of 2003. Not to mention, it scored Raymond Lam the "Most Improved Actor" at the TVB Anniversary Awards that year. It was during 2001-2003 time period that the actors and actresses that dominate TVB today, first appeared. While they usually played supporting, recurring, or short cameos, the main cast of "Survivor's Law" consisted of all younger generation/newcomer actor/actresses: Raymond Lam, Myolie Wu, Sammul Chan, and Bernice Liu. This has become to be known as an irreplaceable cast, all performing greatly or decently. For relatively newcomers at the time, they all did outstanding.

Characters and Performances

Raymond Lam - Ben
Most likely your favorite character, without a doubt my favorite, he's hilarious and brings most of the comic relief. He is positive, helpful, and never gives up on his friends. When it comes to being a lawyer, he is the only one that enters the court completely clear minded and doesn't let his personal life get in the way of his cases. However, he is smart enough to only defend cases he believes in, and would never defend someone he doesn't believe did the right thing. He can be quite pitiful because everyone tends to put the blame him for things he didn't do.
After watching Raymond portray Ben, it is no wonder he won "Most Improved." He outshines everyone else, and brought his character to life. You will without a doubt enjoy watching him. For everyone that doubted he could act, or at least act out a character that's not a rich man's son, you've been proven wrong. When the day comes where TVB completely crashes and burns because of all the terrible new actors/actresses, he'll join the small circle of people who will save TVB. Raymond is so lovable and sweet as Lok Bun/Ben.

Myolie Wu - Ling Ling

Ling Ling is smart, clever, and strong. Although she is very capable when it comes to defending in court, she can let her personal problems get in the way of doing her best. At times, she can be very emotional, which affects her performance in court. Growing up with her parents always taking care and doing everything for her, she later moves in with Jessica and her aunt Angela to become more independent.

For a young actress under 30, she is a very versatile actress. She did very well in her role, and nailed all the crying and emotional scenes. Not once did she over exaggerate. Her chemistry with Raymond was very sweet. Along with Raymond, she joins the small circle of younger generation actors/actresses that can act. However, TVB needs to stop giving her the same roles. Since Survivor's Law, Myolie has constantly been given weak characters. Ling Ling is Myolie's best character and performance to date, and I have complete confidence in her that she will become one of TVB's top fa dans.

Sammul Chan - Vincent

He is first seen as extremely intelligent and a gentleman, but he later turns from bad to good. After making a mistake that makes his relationship with Ling Ling turn sour, he puts the blame on Ben and devotes himself to giving him a hard time. This eventually makes him blinded by revenge. At this point, he is selfish, power hungry, and not afraid to use others to get what he wants. Although the most capable of the four, he starts defending for criminals simply to get back at Ben, despite the disgust of his colleagues. In the end, karma hits him hard, and he realizes all his mistakes, but not before making the ultimate one. Although he is the least like able, somehow I found him to be the most intriguing to watch, from his transformation from good to bad, back to good.

I don't like the character Vincent, but I love Sammul, and believe he's very versatile and talented. He's convincing as the selfish, power hungry guy and portrayed his transformation from good to bad, to good again very well. You will hate Vincent, but like Sammul for doing so well in a role that was not easy to play. This being an older performance by Sammul though, you will notice that at the time he did not put all his emotion and heart into acting like he does today. He also was not very good at communicating with his eyes yet.

Bernice Liu - Jessica
Geeky, slow, but sweet and optimistic. She appears quite dumb, and is the least capable lawyer of the four. Her intentions are good, and she always sticks up for people. Sometimes, she seems to live in a fantasy world, thinking everything and everyone is good. She also can have ridiculous ideas of love. From beginning to end, she is in love with Vincent, and even after making so many mistakes she still supports him. Despite being slow and dumb, she is great at tai kwon do, which is how she protects herself and her friends.

Just two years into her career at the time, Bernice was not yet experienced. She was still wooden and unnatural. Still, she was able to pull off the geeky look. However, her crying and emotional scenes were done poorly, but her character didn't call for her to do those often. That's why, in the end I didn't mind that too much. If anything, I found myself more annoyed with how dumb Jessica could be at times than Bernice herself.

Extended Cast Performances

Ying Kwan - Homer

Recently, he has been getting many roles as either evil villains in ancient series, or unfair bosses in modern series. In fact, every drama I had ever seen him in before "Survivor's Law," he had played one of those two roles. I finally see him in a good role, and really, he is very funny. His reactions and schemes to get Angela off his back were hilarious. Got stinky feet, Homer?

Juno Mak - Ah Leng

In his only appearance onscreen, Juno as the 'office boy' was the perfect touch to complete Survivor's Law. From his reddish/orangeish hair, to being the only one in the office wearing jeans, to always putting his feet up on the table, Juno always managed to get a couple of laughs and chuckles out of us. His crush on Jessica was also cute.

Helen Tam - Money Je

With her short hairdo, pointy glasses, unusual voice, and quick wit, Money is as special as her name suggests she is. I really have to hand it to the people who play these 'weird' characters. Yes, they're not 'pretty' but they're refreshing and funny. Helen was hilarious and unique.
The Quadrangle
TVB quits its usual annoying 'love triangles' by making it a 'quadrangle.' The outcome, not so bad. It gives the series a certain twist. In fact, if you didn't have any background information (ex. you didn't read any summaries or synopsis), then you probably wouldn't know who were the couples. Everyone in the beginning had scenes with each other and they all got along very well, becoming great friends. As usual though, the four do not just stay 'friends.' They all start to develop feelings for the other, and the 'quadrangle' emerges. Raymond Lam and Myolie had a lot of chemistry, but I didn't get any interest watching Sammul and Bernice. It quickly become annoying that Bernice was so in love with Sammul, and I find it hard to believe that Sammul would just suddenly 'like' Bernice in the final few minutes of the series.
The Cases
The cases, although very short, were done finely, and so were the court scenes. Raymond, Myolie, and Sammul were very convincing as lawyers. I exclude Bernice from having a good lawyer presence only because it was her character that did poorly in court, and I think that Bernice would've been able to be an average lawyer. I think Sammul made the most convincing lawyer because he had excellent speaking skills, being able to talk slowly, loudly, and put emphasis. It was too bad "Vincent" abused his talent as a lawyer. The court scenes were handled professionally, unlike in the sequel. In court, you have to be serious and not let your emotions get in the way of your actions. In "Survivor's Law 2," they tried to deliver humor in the court scenes, which probably wasn't the best way they could go.
The Humor
Perhaps the original Survivor's Law is more beloved partly because of it's humor. It's a return to the good old times where simple but witty dialogue was still used. It was the little things that counted in this series, because you were able to chuckle every now and then. There are bits and pieces that are very funny. Meanwhile, although the sequel was also funny at times, it was the rather exaggerated or tried too hard to be funny.
The Perfect Ending
Instead of a tragedy, TVB decides to deliver us with a happy ending, making it "Survivor's Law" a satisfying watch all the way, instead of having it sadly ruined in the last few minutes. The ending was a little cheesy, yet very cute. After Raymond/Myolie and Vincent/Jessica finally get together, they ride around on their heelys together. The last shot has the four of them jumping up into the air, and the end credits roll. One of the cutest endings ever.
Now if you're like me, and have just recently watched "Survivor's Law," you'll recognize some old 'fads' being promoted in the series. In other words, look at their Heelys! I remember Heelys being so widely popular with kids during this time, but pretty soon they faded, and I haven't seen them since. Heelys became popular around this time, so it's obvious that they helped sponsored TVB for this series. Now, I doubt Heelys were sold in adult sizes, but having the four young adults riding around on them was definitely cute. And if they didn't lend TVB a few extra large pairs of Heelys, how would they ever be promoted?
Last Comments
Great acting by the people who were at the time newcomers, and now today's biggest stars. The series was very enjoyable, because it is one of the few series that combined drama, comedy, and romance well. Although a lawyer series, it without a doubt delivered in the comedy apartment as well, without trying so hard to be. With the comical Ben, you couldn't help but laugh at the silly things he sometimes did, or the silly things that happened to the characters outside of court. Definitely recommended, it is one of my favorite series.
Rating: 4 3/4 stars

Drama Focus: The Drama Community!

Lately, the newest friend I've made in the TVB blogging community is qingling. You may know her from various old blogs such as qingling, the girl who reviews! After an exchange of emails, I learned that she has launched a new site: Drama Focus: The Drama Community.

Now, what's the purpose of this site? For everyone to write reviews of the dramas they watch! If you do not have your own blog or site, then you can submit reviews to the site's admin qingling and she'll let you know when she publishes it onto the site. In other words, you can be a guest reviewer. Of course, if you wish to submit reviews from your own site/blog, no problem! Just give qinglingl permission, and she'll publish it and link you back to give you proper credit. :)

Top 5 Reasons to Contribute to Drama Focus: The Drama Community

  • You don't need to have your own site or blog

  • It is a site dedicated to all types of Asian dramas: HK, SG, TW, KR, JP, and more

  • If you submit a review from your own site or blog, you may attract more readers to it. :)

  • It's a convenient, one stop place for all reviews

  • The admin is a very friendly, sweet, and nice person. :D

I hope you guys decide to submit your own reviews! To help my new friend qingling make her wish of making her site the one stop place for reviews, I will be submitting some of my own reviews. Make sure to look out for Iris from TVB Interaction on Drama Focus!

Visit Drama Focus -->

***UPDATE 11/6/09***

I'm so happy to hear that some of you guys are interested in submitting reviews to Drama Focus! I know you're also a bit confused about the submission process so let me clear it up:

You send your review in an email to the admin. You can email her at She will then proofread and notify you if she decides to put the review up. Hope that clears up anymore confusion and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's reviews there!