Just over about a year of watching TVB, my taste and standards have already become very high. It takes a lot to impress me. I don't think that's why I didn't enjoy a majority of the series in 2009 though. 2009 has been one of the weakest years for TVB in a while. There were an overboard of lighthearted series and when our two dramas finally arrived (Beyond and the Realm of Conscience and Born Rich), both were unable to capture our interest. 2010 has come in the blink of an eye, and it's time to look back on the previous year...
*Note: I did not watch The Greatness of the Hero, nor do I have any thoughts or comments on it.
"This Proves the Ancient Comedy is Dead, Please No More"
A Winter Melon Tale: Cheesy and ridiculous fantasy. I was already turned off by the poster and theme video. Watching the first episode confirmed that the series is indeed silly and uninteresting. It's a shame the versatile Louisa So and Sunny Chan wasted their talent on this.
A Bride for a Ride: Aw, more talented artistes gone to waste! Poor Louisa So just keeps popping up in these silly series, huh? Bride is easily the hardest series to finish of the year. The comedy is exaggerated and the series as a whole is a big turn off. What are my favs Sammul and Nancy doing here?
Man in Charge: This series is both a comedy and a drama, but hey, I had to put it somewhere. The cast is not at all appealing except for Leila. I passed this series in the end as I still had a huge bias against Kate during the airing of the series. Since I became bored skimming through the through a few of the episodes, I didn't bother to pick it up again.
Enough With the Sequels to Series That Shouldn't Have a Sequel
Burning Flame 3: With Burning Flame II being released so long ago, it is a question to me as why they even bothered to film another sequel. The main characters are poorly written and not likable. It is hilarious how such a small supporting character like Stephen Wong's Ko Ho Nam was more developed and dynamic. The plot focuses too much on relationships and feels like the only thing the series talks about. Plus, it doesn't help when your main protagonist is so stubborn and annoying.
Just Love II: I didn't watch the original, but I enjoyed the sequel. Considering Just Love was never a huge success, I'm not sure why a sequel was filmed. Although it was at many times sweet and enjoyable, especially for Jessica and Sunny, the plot was predictable and repetitive. First off TVB, you can't have a series focus on a bunch of blood tests. The best part of watching the series to me was easily to watch Selena and Patrick. Oh, and don't forget Jessica and Sunny's adorable baby Bee! Without taking into consideration of why there's a sequel, this is a lighthearted series you should be able to watch simply to relax and enjoy.
D.I.E. Again: It's understandable that D.I.E. filmed a sequel since it was such a ratings success. I don't mind either, as I enjoyed it a lot though the humor was often exaggerated. Honestly, the only reason it is under this category is because it's a sequel that failed to live up to the success of the original. In other words, it's a hugely forgotten series, not managing to make it into the top 5 of any awards at 2009's anniversary awards. I still liked the series for it's great new additions to the cast.
Disappointing and Draggy
The Threshold of a Persona: Though I was initially interested at the refreshing theme of immigration, that feeling quickly disappeared with it's draggy pace and lack of focus in plot. While I loved watching Natalie, Ruco, and Patrick for their performances and/or characters they are still out shined in terms of position by the lead Roger. And if you've read my review on the series, you already know how I feel about that. If the whole series was anything like the last three episodes, I would've enjoyed it a lot more.
The Gem of Life: Upon finding out that this planned 'blockbuster' was at a whooping length of 80 episodes, I passed. The cast may be eye catching, but I look for a good script. The turtle pace and excess of boring and unnecessary scenes was enough for me to say 'no thank you.' Hopefully, TVB has learned a lesson the next time they try to surpass their episode record.
Beyond the Realm of Conscience: Beautiful in terms of costumes but bland in terms of plot. The plot was nothing special and mediocre. Characterization is poor. Since finishing this series I have come to the conclusion I will stay away from palace dramas, at least for another five years. All the fighting, arguing, and backstabbing feels too immature. I might've liked the latter part of the series if my expectations weren't so high. Ok, maybe not.
Born Rich: At first, it had the perfect mix of drama and comedy. The acting was top notch and (almost) all the characters were unique and special in their own way. The series does get to the point that it is boring and highly irritating. Born Rich's excessive episode length of 41 episodes, mostly full of annoying and undeveloped characters and plots is something that should be missed.
Don't Judge A Book By It's Cover--This Isn't That Bad!
In the Chamber of Bliss: Although I initially wanted to skip the series for the unappealing cast (with the exception of Damien) and my disinterest for period dramas, I passed in the end because of lack of time to watch it. Though a majority felt the same way and that the series would be boring, reception for the series was pretty good. Bloggers were pleasantly surprised and grew fond of the series. I might try to go back to watch this series when I have time.
A Chip Off the Old Block: I had not a care for this series at all during the filming and promoting of it. When seeing that it would replace Beyond, I wasn't very excited. It looked cheesy and so did the time period. This series came as a pleasant surprise to me. It's refreshing (especially the time period) and is a great thing to watch after such a dramatic series. Chip is funny and cute.
A Great Way to Care: Psychology is something TVB has never touched upon (or at least not in a long time) so this series felt very fresh. Like Chip, I was turned off by the two leads Alex and Kate. Their characters turned out to be likable and improvements were seen in Kate's acting. While I find it rather unusual that it eventually turned into a police series, I liked how they tied together psychology and cases. It pointed out nicely how psychological illnesses can be the cause of a committed crime.
Enjoyable to Watch, But Forgettable and Nothing Special
Pages of Treasure: A cute and warm family comedy. Wayne and Sonija made a surprisingly sweet and adorable couple with wonderful chemistry. Eric, Shirley, and Vivien's love triangle was rather irritating to watch though. Unfortunately, there is nothing special to the plot, making it forgettable. I'd like to add though that it had the most random ending conflict ever.
Sweetness in the Salt: The first half is refreshing and had cute pieces of humor thrown in, mostly because of Kwok Fung who played the hilarious dad of Ting Hin. The highlight of is hands down Raymond Wong, who gave a breakthrough performance. In the last few episodes though, it all goes downhill...
The King of Snooker: Despite my picky taste when it comes to entertainment, I actually enjoyed watching the series. To me, it was fun and refreshing. The snooker theme was definitely new. Adam and Niki had great chemistry as father and daughter. As usual, Joyce shines in her supporting role with a flawless performance and lovely wardrobe. It's forgettable, but was still something I enjoyed.
The Stew of Life: 30 episodes was way too long, and the length made it draggy and boring. Fala and Timmy made a cute couple and they had unique relationship development up until the last few episodes when they annoyed me to no end. If there was something I loved watching this series for though it'd be for Jack, that adorable dog.
Rosy Business: With the strongest script for a TVB series in years and a top notch cast, Rosy is the best series 2009 had to offer. The roles of the Fourth Mistress and Chai Kau were complex and interesting. Sheren and Wayne gave perfect performances. Susan Tse and Ngo Ka Nin are also notable cast members.
E.U.: The best (and in a way, the only) action series of the year! With different camera angles and lighting, E.U. had the feel of a movie. Revolving around the Chinese mafia, it is something the Hong Kong TV industry hasn't touched upon. Ron also gave a great performance, proving to us his huge improvements.
You're Hired: I will always remember Dayo's Mak Tai Song, haha. You're Hired's not only the best comedy series of the year, it's the best comedy in a long time. Everything about it just felt so refreshing: the business cases, witty dialogue, and sweet pairing of Charmaine and Dayo. It is a series I can and will want to rewatch again and again.