Thursday, May 24, 2012

"Sergeant Tabloid" Review

In a nutshell, "Sergeant Tabloid" is a decent and entertaining drama, but lacks one specific theme.  There are bits of sisterhood, rushed romance, cops running around, and even the journey of a surprisingly heroic character.  Yet, it doesn't seem to have a point or purpose besides offering some decent entertainment.

The Premiere

First off, "Sergeant Tabloid" wins the award for cheesiest first episode ever.  Niki and Vincent's relationship felt lame and even cringe worthy, making it seem like an idol drama.  While the rest of the series was by no means excellent, the premiere episode was not an accurate representation of the series itself.

Characters and Performances

Niki Chow has that X-Factor that makes her liked by audiences, but her acting leaves much to be desired.  I can't deny she has something very endearing about her, but her performance did not offer anything new. 
Going into this series, I was prepared to dislike Michael Tse once again.  Ever since the success of Laughing Gor, he seems to have trouble not injecting a little of the character's "chokness" into his performances.  However, Michael's "A1" turned out to be the highlight as well as the anchor of the drama.  The character is fleshed out with strengths as well as weaknesses.  He is a slimy yet smart and ambitious reporter, but has so much humanity in him.  His journalistic integrity and conscience was tested with the tragic suicide of a tormented teen he indirectly caused.  He learned to confront and forgive everything that happened in the past.  As a result, he was a very dynamic character.

The first half of the series saw a Michael Tse that still couldn't shake off the chokness, but he successfully sheds it after.  The whole plot with him and his family, as well as the grief he went through after the teen's suicide, could've easily been cliched and cringeworthy. However, Michael portrayed the character very well.  A1 went through many stages of emotions, and Michael nailed them all.  He unexpectedly became my favorite character, and was what kept my interest.  This is hands down my favorite performance of his in years.  I hope that he will continue to deliver, and show that he is more than just Laughing Gor.

Press coverage and hype of Mandy Wong's character, nicknamed "Madam Kill", led me to believe that she was going to be a tough and ruthless madam with no emotion at all.  Szeto Kiu was simply a lonely girl who didn't know how to communicate with people or express her emotions properly.  Mandy continues to prove her potential by being a convincing tomboyish inspector despite her young age.   

Matthew Ko was lucky enough to get a second chance at being second lead, and the opportunity wasn't wasted.  This is Matthew's best performance to date.  Although he still has a lot more improvements he could make, he was quite natural here.  He is lovable, cute, and funny as the playful and sweet "Wong Tze", or "Prince".  I enjoyed his scenes with Mandy.  Perhaps it's because the character is more like his real personality, but Matthew appeared very comfortable onscreen unlike in the past, where he was awkward and wooden.    I'm looking forward to seeing more of him.  With his improving acting and refreshing honest and straightforward personality, I might finally have another actor to name for promising rising siu sangs.

Oceanne Zhu  continues to prove to me how much potential she has.  She was adorable and sweet as "Lam Oi-Oi", and her Cantonese has improved vastly in a short amount of time.  William Chak also did decently, and his initially lazy character sparked a few laughs. Becky Lee is usually likable, but proved to be very irritating here with her foolish and annoying character.

The Plot

The problem with "Sergeant Tabloid" is its lack of direction and true purpose.  There is no concrete plot or theme.  A little of everything is thrown in, which would be great if there was one main story.  The series was more focused on the characters, which served as a problem as Michael's "A1" was the only character that came close to being compelling.  Other than that, everyone and everything felt flat.  As a result, I finished the series feeling unsatisfied.

The ending was poorly written, and heavily contributed to my feeling of dissatisfaction towards the series.  The sudden appearance of Elaine Yiu was very random and unnecessary.  Niki and Michael's and Matthew and Mandy's relationships were arguably the main focus of the series, yet were sloppily resolved.  Everything was all a rush.


"Sergeant Tabloid" is nothing spectacular, and yet another example of lack of direction in a TVB series.  It is still enjoyable at several points, but forgettable.  Michael Tse gives a notable performance of a surprisingly decently written character, and anchors what is otherwise a mediocre drama.

Rating: 3 stars


Comments: Sorry if this review was not as well written and seemed a little all over the place.  I put off starting and writing this review for the longest time because I was busy, and by the time I started, I had already forgotten many of the series' details.