Sunday, March 6, 2011

"7 Days in Life" Review

The end and beginning of the year is always the worst time for TVB because it is during this time that all the mediocre series are aired.  After months of being suffocated with bad series, TVB exhales its first breath of fresh air with "7 Days", a series about many different people getting quarantined into Wonderful Hotel for seven days after an outbreak of H1N1 (aka "Swine Flu") is reported there.

"7 Days" showed promise and potential since the series was first unveiled at the sales presentation last year.  Despite major cast and script changes, its potential did not go to waste.  Its storyline was new, different, and taken from a true event.  The humor is completely unlike TVB.  When you laugh, you laugh out loud.  If you're looking for a comedy, "7 Days" is right for you, although there are dramatic twists.

Perhaps one of the most anticipated things about the originally proposed series was its star-studded cast, which would've consisted of Bobby Au-Yeung, Yoyo Mung, Bowie Lam, Krystal Tin, Sammul Chan, Myolie Wu, and others.  Unfortunately, it was later announced there would be a new cast.  Fortunately, the new cast did a superb job although they did not boost the biggest names.  The supporting characters shined in their fun and lovable roles characters, eventually proving to be more entertaining than our two leads.

Patrick Tang and Mimi Lo, whose roles originally belonged to Sammul and Myolie, delivered the biggest surprise of all.  Appearance wise, the two initially seemed incompatible.  Patrick is older than Mimi, but still has a kid-like look while Mimi looks more mature.  From Mimi constantly referring to Patrick as "Fei Chai" to the two of them looking after the kidnapped kid (played by Coleman Tam), their interactions were hilarious and adorable.  I would've loved to see Sammul and Myolie pair up again (and still do), but Patrick and Mimi brought something fresh to the screen.  They are unexpectedly my first favorite couple of the year.

Lately, Bosco Wong seems to have been demoted to second lead roles.  This is best for him, because he is still not able to carry a series by himself.  While I doubt Bosco's versatility in portraying something besides a cop, he looks the part.  Other than that, Bosco needs to work on getting into his characters.

Joyce Cheng may not have been blessed with beauty or exceptional talent, but she works hard.  Her hard work pays off because she has improved since her "Off Pedder" days.  Joyce gave a decent performance and actually became quite endearing and fun to watch.  I hope she gets more diverse roles in the future (this is her second time playing a blundering reporter, and she's only been in two series!).  She and Bosco were cute as brother and sister like friends, so I'm glad it never developed into anything more than that.

Yuen Wah was comedic when it was called for.  Other than that, his character added an extra layer of mystery that kept things interesting.

Many of the minor characters contributed to the fun atmosphere of "7 Days".  Oceanne Zhu was cute and shows potential.  It was nice to see Koni Lui in a different role, although "Karen" was quite silly and naive.  Eric Li was hilarious as the mean manager who yelled at all his employees but constantly kissed up to his rich guests.

Unfortunately, the biggest drag of "7 Days" were the relationship between our two leads, played by Steven Ma and Sonija Kwok.  The premise of a couple who are both thiefs sounded fun, but TVB decided to go in a different direction and make their relationship as rocky as possible.  Mistake?  Yes.  "Calvin" and "Christy" were attempts to create complex characters that ended up backfiring.  In the end, they were a chore to watch.  It was an even bigger chore because they were our main characters.  I don't necessarily dislike Calvin and Christy, complicated love stories are not TVB's thing.

Steven Ma gives his all in portraying his first semi-villain/villain role.  He brought the coolness needed for the character and even brought out Calvin's arrogance.  While some scenes seem forced, I think it had more to do with my positive impression of Steven's real life character and his countless righteous roles from the past than his unconvincing performance.  An even bigger factor was Calvin's complex characterization, which ended up turning into inconsistent characterization.  The transition from an arrogant thief to a man dying from illness who just wanted to be with the one he loved was sudden and abrupt.

Christy was betrayed in love and decided to become a thief with Calvin to toughen up herself.  Unfortunately, she ends up falling in love with him resulting in some unfortunate events, misunderstandings, and more heartbreak.  Sonija is likable to watch, but I fail to see her as a good actress.  The way she speaks her lines still feels unnatural.  While she wore too much make up here, Sonija Kwok looked beautiful with her long curls and feminine wardrobe.

Like all TVB series these days, "7 Days" quality was not always consistent.  It hit a snag around the middle (focus on Steven and Sonija's drama), it quickly overcame it and became more addictive than ever.  Comedy, drama, romance, and even some mystery, "7 Days" has something to offer for everyone.  It is a joy to watch and by the end, you'll feel like the series flew by.

"7 Days in Life" is the best TVB series that's released since TVB's anniversary.  While it has some cliches we've come to expect from TVB, it is refreshing and the most original thing they've come up with since "You're Hired".  I definitely recommend it!

Rating: 4 stars