Thursday, December 25, 2014

New banner and layout! Featuring Priscilla Wong and Tony Hung

Merry Christmas and happy holidays, everyone! I've unintentionally kept the same banner and layout for almost, not one, but two years and thought I would change it up before the new year. I wanted to do something fun, and Priscilla and Tony quickly came to mind. I love the silly and close friendship these two have and how they play off each other so well, especially after watching them host the "Pilgrimage of Wealth" series. As much as I love watching travel shows to see the sights, I ended up being more drawn to watching for their bickering and funny interactions. Their platonic but awesome friendship never fails to make me smile and laugh out loud, which is why I chose pictures where they're being silly and well, themselves. The orange and coral color scheme is something I haven't done before that I think matches the banner and the people in it well.

P.S. Edwin, don't be jealous. They're just friends. ;)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

TVB 48th Anniversary Awards: Results + Comments

TVB may still have a long way to go in terms of its working conditions, but this year turned out to be yet another fair year for the anniversary awards, if not the most fair in a while.

Best Theme Song: "The More Difficult It Is to Love" by Jinny Ng, "Line Walker" 

No surprises here, though I would have preferred Fred Cheng's theme for "Overachievers" to win. I do like the song and it is one of the most memorable of the year, but wish it wasn't so overused in "Line Walker," having been played throughout all of the major couples' scenes.

Most Improved Actor and Actress: Louis Cheung and Priscilla Wong

We all knew Louis was going home with something - it was just a question of whether he would nab the Most Improved Actor award or Best Supporting. Despite having just recently signed with TVB, I still think he is overqualified and of best supporting-caliber, but the competition in that category was just too stiff. I'm still very happy for Louis and know he will be bringing home that Best Supporting Actor award soon. He was definitely a stand out and favorite by colleagues and viewers alike this year, and you can tell just by the amount of cheering and applause when his name was called during the presenting of the nominations.

Some people argue that Priscilla's win was the one thing that kept it from being a perfectly fair awards year. I beg to differ. Priscilla really did not have much competition, especially with two nominees being newcomers and only Samantha Ko as a close contender. Priscilla won in spite of being supposedly frozen by TVB, and I think that shows the company is willing to put aside their differences. I know a lot of people disagree, but I personally really like Priscilla and hope to continue seeing her improve and prove those who criticize her wrong.

Best Supporting Actor and Actress: Ram Chiang for "Come On, Cousin" and Josie Ho for "Tomorrow is Another Day"

While Louis was my personal choice for Best Supporting Actor, no doubt Ram deserved this award. In fact, it ended up being the win the audience and I was most happy about. The moment he won was the most touching of the awards show, with everyone getting up for a standing ovation, and Wong Cho Lam literally jumping out of his seat and hugging him out of happiness. Ram has long been one of my favorite veteran actors and I couldn't be more pleased with how things turned out. 

Perhaps the most relieving moment though was Benz not announcing Sharon's name for Best Supporting Actress. Josie's win was the most surprising as there was not much speculation about her being a top contender, but I'm very happy TVB decided to award the one who received the most critical acclaim though "Tomorrow is Another Day" did not receive large media attention. It was also nice seeing Josie accept the award in person, as many non-signed artists do not attend at all.

My Favorite Male and Female Characters: Benz Hui and Charmaine Sheh for "Line Walker"

Unsurprisingly and deservingly, Benz won Favorite Male Character. Sure Raymond Lam is always a contender in this category, but no doubt Foon Hei Gor was the most popular and beloved character of the year, whose presence was dearly missed after drawing his last breath in "Line Walker." Come on, who else did you think would win? It worked out perfectly too, because though on merit of performance and material alone Benz gave the most Best Supporting-worthy portrayal, the ultimate results allowed talents Benz, Ram, and Louis to all receive recognition.

Charmaine won Favorite Female Character with an overwhelming majority, and my only response is: Duh. Poor thing thought she lost the race for Best Actress when receiving this award, when it turned out everyone just really loved her this year.

Best Actor and Actress: Roger Kwok for "Black Heart White Soul" and Charmaine Sheh for "Line Walker"

Strangely enough, the categories with the least competition this year were the highest honors of TV King and Queen. Roger and Charmaine (the former who had an overwhelming majority of TVB executive votes, while the latter who literally captured them all) won with no controversy and surprise. 

Sure there was no worthy competition this year, but I don't think that undermines Roger's win one bit. He may have won Best Actor twice back in 2003 and 2005, but this is his first win for a dramatic performance, which I think is Roger at his best. TVB should be grateful to have such a versatile actor who is so loyal to the company. His acceptance speech was sweet and touching, and I'm sure his kids are proud.

I'm of course also happy for Charmaine, but not overly excited since there really was no other contender that could come close to touching her. Her portrayal of Nail isn't necessarily new, but it's certainly Charmaine at her best. 

Best Drama: "Line Walker"

And another "duh" moment here. Definitely the most entertaining series of the year, though it noticeably wavered towards the end. "Line Walker" possessed a strong cast ensemble that was boosted by, though not an amazing script, a pretty good one that did not rely on casting to keep the series afloat.

Final Thoughts

What can I say? Either I'm overjoyed, or I'm content with the winners. It's nice to see TVB not pulling fast balls at us anymore (except of the pleasant kind). With much love, congratulations to all the winners!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Niki and Iris' TVB 48th Anniversary Awards Fashion Critique

Hey guys! Go on over to AE Experience to check out Niki and my critique of the fashion at this year's anniversary awards. Here is the direct link:

Thursday, November 27, 2014

TVB 48th Anniversary Awards: My Predictions and Picks

Busy as I may be, the annual anniversary awards predictions post is a tradition that I love, so here's to the sixth consecutive year I'm doing this! Due to lack of strong competition and laziness though, I have only predicted the top 5 for Best Actor and Actress. So here we go...

Best Actor

Predicted Top 5: Wong Cho Lam for "Gilded Chopsticks," Roger Kwok for "Black Heart White Soul," Michael Miu for "Line Walker," Raymond Lam for "Line Walker," and Wayne Lai for "Overachievers"
Predicted Winner: Roger Kwok for "Black Heart White Soul" 
Most Deserving: Roger
Personal Choice: Roger

There is absolutely no question that Roger gave the best leading performance of the year as villain Ko Chit-Hang, and if anyone else wins (Raymond...), I'm going to throw a huge tantrum. While he has been awarded for his over-the-top comedic performances, it is in drama where Roger is a powerhouse actor. No other TVB actor could have portrayed the chilling, manipulative character like Roger did. Simple as that.

Best Actress

Predicted Top 5: Tavia Yeung for "Storm in a Cocoon," Kristal Tin for "Black Heart White Soul," Charmaine Sheh for "Line Walker," Linda Chung for "All That is Bitter is Sweet," and Kate Tsui for "Tomorrow is Another Day"
Predicted Winner: Charmaine Sheh for "Line Walker"
Most Deserving: Charmaine 
Personal Choice: Charmaine 

There's a reason why Charmaine has been the only one to receive awards buzz for Best Actress...she's the only one that stood out. Everyone else was average or disappointing. This wasn't exactly new territory for Charmaine (in fact, strong and feisty characters are her specialty), but it was the most memorable in a year of weak lead female performances. However, Ivana gave a surprisingly refreshing and hilarious performance as the tomboyish "bad girl" in "Come On Cousin," a polar opposite from her sweet and shy character in "Inbound Troubles," and that is worth a mention.

Snubs: Carman Lee and Rachel Lee for "Never Dance Alone"
The anniversary awards totally snubbed the worthy performances from "Never Dance Alone," instead only nominating Eliza Sam and Lawrence Cheng. Considering how easy it is to get a nomination, it's plain offensive that Carman did not get one. 

My Favorite Male Character

Predicted Winner: Raymond Lam for "Line Walker"
Most Deserving: Benz Hui for "Line Walker"
Personal Choice: Benz and Louis Cheung for "Black Heart White Soul"

As a conniving triad boss, it would have been easy to hate Foon Hei Gor. Yet Benz injects so much likability and humanity into the character that most likely, you hoped he would somehow get a happy ending. While not the main character of "Line Walker," Foon Hei was no doubt a central one who became the heart of the series. Although the series itself is overall good, there is just something missing following the character's death in the last third. The same goes for "Marco" in "Black Heart White Soul." Despite being a semi-villain who committed his share of white collar crime, Marco was the charismatic and romantic guy you couldn't help but love and cheer on thanks to Louis' portrayal. I wouldn't be completely surprised if Benz does end up getting this award, but I'm not expecting it either and Raymond still appears to be the likely winner. 

My Favorite Female Character

Predicted Winner: Charmaine Sheh for "Line Walker"
Most Deserving: Charmaine Sheh for "Line Walker"
Personal Choice: Priscilla Wong for "Swipe Tap Love"

Sassy but tough and ridiculously clever, there's little doubt that Charmaine will be taking home this award as well. However, I personally hold a soft spot for "Yu Chor Gin" in "Swipe Tap Love." Although the character was rather dreary in the first half of the series, she is one that is easy to relate to and a girl next door type. After all, chances are you look more like Chor Gin at home with minimal make up, a hair clip, glasses, and sweats, than any other female character that goes to bed with a fully made up face. Plus, she's a total sweetheart with kids, her dog, and her family and friends.

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Winner: Louis Cheung for "Black Heart White Soul" 
Most Deserving: Benz Hui for "Line Walker"
Personal Choice: Louis Cheung for "Black Heart White Soul"

If we were to judge solely on acting, Benz would win this award. However, since he already won last year and received a veteran award the year before, I'm betting on Louis. Thanks to true talent, charisma, and the luck of good timing, the odds are in Louis' favor. Both men are deserving for the reasons I stated in my comments for My Favorite Male Character. Power and Edwin also delivered lively performances in "Overachievers."

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Winner: Elena Kong for "Line Walker"
Most Deserving: N/A
Personal Choice: N/A

Sassy and sarcastic seems like the best tone for me to use to comment on this category. While Best Supporting Actor is always filled with some very solid, even if not award-worthy performances every year, this category is just getting progressively worse. I have no choices for this category, nor is anyone deserving. I couldn't even pick one deserving nominee, never mind five. Maybe TVB will say "Hey, everyone kinda sucked this year so let's just give it to Elena again." At this point, I don't care as long as Sharon doesn't win for giving the only weak main cast performance in "Line Walker," because I'll have to figure out how to file a complaint with TVB if she does. Please Sharon, don't win, because I really don't have that kind of time. You also know TVB is pulling at straws when they nominate newbie Grace Chan, and Becky Lee for a very minor role.  

Most Improved Actor

Predicted Winner: Sammy Shum
Most Deserving: Sammy 
Personal Choice: Sammy 

As opposed to Most Improved Actress, there are some very strong contenders in this category (except for Jason). Tony has shown to be a promising newcomer this year, but that after all means he is still new, therefore you can't say that he has "improved." Maybe next year Tony. Matt has steadily become a much better actor, but there is not much buzz revolving him. The competition is between Louis and Sammy. Despite having only recently signed with TVB, I believe Louis is already at Best Supporting caliber, and hope he will take that award home while Sammy receives Most Improved. While I did not watch "All That is Bitter is Sweet," Sammy has indeed noticeably improved in "Line Walker" and was also very charismatic and likable.

Most Improved Actress

Predicted Winner: Priscilla Wong
Most Deserving: Priscilla 
Personal Choice: Priscilla 

I bet the people who complained about Priscilla are shutting up now with the new batch of newbies. Since the other nominees are either freshly signed with TVB or have not actually improved (Well, now we know Samantha doesn't do well with evil...), I'm hoping TVB puts aside their alleged "freezing" of Priscilla and gives this award to her. While I understand how some people are annoyed she jumped straight into leading roles, that isn't reason to dislike her automatically (Did you expect her to say "No, I want to start as a kelefe" instead?). Priscilla has actually shown great potential, and reminds me of Vincent: Both just possess that approachable and relatable aura.

Best Series

Predicted Winner: "Line Walker"
Most Deserving: "Black Heart White Soul"
Personal Choice: "Black Heart White Soul"

"Line Walker" holds the advantage, but I personally believe that "Black Heart White Soul" is still the better series overall. The former became less enjoyable following the death of Foon Hei (as well as losing much of its humor). The writing also became more unrealistic as the plot twists collected, and the throwing in of Kobe's cancer story line felt unnecessary and out of place, particularly since his screen time had already waned following his real-life injury during filming. "Black Heart White Soul," although not without its fair share of flaws (coughGilliancough), is more consistent as well as more refreshing for TVB with its thrilling and suspenseful elements. While "Line Walker" feels like an above average cop drama, a typical TVB genre, "Black Heart" is a great thriller drama that has you on the edge of your seat.

Best Theme Song

Predicted Winner: "Love is Not Easy" by Jinny Ng ("Line Walker")
Most Deserving: N/A
Personal Choice: "Leave a Message" by Jinny Ng ("Swipe Tap Love") and "Tears of Departure" by Louis Cheung ("Gilded Chopsticks")

As a new category, I'm not really sure what to expect here. Perhaps if Raymond had sung the subtheme for "Line Walker," it'd be a lot more obvious. I'm guessing Jinny's subtheme for the series is likely to win, but I personally much preferred the singer's touching and melancholic theme song for "Swipe." I also loved Louis' subtheme for "Gilded Chopsticks" with his soothing vocals and ancient Chinese feel.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

TVB 46th Anniversary Awards: Results + Comments

Yet another anniversary season has been concluded! And to be honest? Some of this year's winners were extremely surprising, but in the best way possible. In fact, though TVB has done a good job of being generally fair the last few years, they really got it right this time around. Sure, this was mostly a desperate attempt to show the audience these awards aren't rigged, but hey, I don't mind. With that, here are my comments about this year's awards results…

Most Improved Actor

Winner: Vincent Wong

To be honest, this is the win I'm most happy about. Vincent emerged as a front runner at the very last minute, but was up until then probably the nominee with the least noise. Unlike the others, he had no true advantage, whether it was biased support of an executive or a top-rated series. He relied on his acting merit and work ethic alone through his wide variety of roles this year. Although I initially could not stand Vincent (remember his debut in "War of In-Laws 2"?), I have seen potential and likability in him since "Gun Metal Grey", though I couldn't say he was an outstanding actor. In the last year, I've seen him prove me wrong. He has genuinely improved more than any other actor this year, portraying both comedic, lovable characters, despicable villains, and characters that fall in between.

Additionally, he's probably the young actor who has made the most sacrifices for his job. I can not understand why TVB allows the one siu sang who is both a husband and father of a young child to do so many dangerous and painful scenes. In his series, he has been slapped silly, dangled off a bridge, had his characters die violent deaths, and more. The most touching part though is when he thanked Yoyo and apologized for all the pain he must have caused his family whenever he "takes his character home" (all battered up and sore).

There have been a few artists who I sincerely love and have supported for a long time. I have loved Ruco and Edwin since their return to TVB and predicted and cheered for them to be recognized and promoted to lead, and they have. I am hoping the same will come true for Vincent as well. Alright, end of tangent.

Most Improved Actress

Winner: Eliza Sam

Surprise? No. I was neither excited by Eliza's win, nor upset over it. Though Eliza was an impressive newcomer, she did not actually improve much this year. She is extremely likable in comedic and lighthearted roles, but I have trouble seeing her as more than the bubbly and charismatic happy go lucky girl, as shown in her stiff performance in "Sniper Standoff."

Best Supporting Actor

Winner: Benz Hui for "Bounty Lady"

Wow! Now this was a surprise. Honestly, I was disappointed that Edwin did not win this award after receiving a whooping four nominations (a rather desperate attempt to give Edwin something it seems). However, how can I not be happy for Benz? He has long been a phenomenal and reliable supporting actor who never fails to generate laughs and smiles, and his performance in "Bounty Lady" is no different.

On a side note, I highly disliked how all the nominees were announced instead of revealing the top 5, or even the top 2 like last year. With a nomination already not meaning much, I always liked seeing who the top contenders were. Reiterating all 15 just made it unnecessarily long, but it was nice to see so many people attending.

Best Supporting Actress

Winner: Elena Kong for "Triumph in the Skies 2"

Hearing her name called was such a touching moment as almost everyone in the room gave her a standing ovation (and not to mention funny, as she was announced as the actress who got to kiss Kenneth). It's clear that it is widely recognized how talented and hardworking Elena is! She has been a top contender for this award for several years, starting with "Angela Auntie" in "Beauty Knows No Pain." Her winning portrayal as "Heather" in "Triumph in the Skies 2" was a much more calm and low key performance that was not one of her most notable, but it was the top rated series that finally allowed her to take it home. However, it would have been more justified for her to win for "Bounty Lady."

My Favorite Male Character

Winner: Chilam Cheung as "Jayden Koo" for "Triumph in the Skies 2"

Was he my favorite male character of the year? By no means. "Captain Cool" actually greatly irritated me in the latter half of the series, suddenly going from a notorious playboy to a lovesick puppy dog without any justification. Yet, this would have only made complete sense if Chilam won, as he is the only one who received widespread attention outside of Hong Kong, a hard feat. However, I sincerely hope Chilam was kidding in his acceptance speech. My humor can be pretty dry and sarcastic as well sometimes, but even if this was just Chilam showing his sense of humor, it was nevertheless the wrong time and place for it. With the "My Favorite Character" awards this year being completely determined by online voting, the award is more than a consolation for Best Actor/Actress, but actually quite meaningful, and Chilam failed to show gratefulness to his fans.

My Favorite Female Character

Winner: Kristal Tin as "You Man Ying" for "Brother's Keeper"

Linda was probably assuming she would (finally) win this. However, with TVB struggling to bring themselves to show how fair and not rigged this is, of course "Yiu Man Ying" took the cake instead. She was easily the most loved character of the year and the under dog character that audiences couldn't help but root for.

Best Actor 

Winner: Dayo Wong for "Bounty Lady"

Surprising? Yes! But oh, what a great surprise it is. I was in complete and total shock when Dayo's name was announced. While I did not enjoy Dayo's performance in "Bounty Lady" as much as in one of my favorite series "You're Hired", he nevertheless deserved the award. He is a very unique comedic actor in that his performances not only provide humor, but philosophy and soul. He may make the audience laugh with his clever and witty lines, but also does well in giving more depth to his characters and nailing his more serious and dramatic scenes. Former "War of the Genders" co-star Dodo Cheng calling Dayo on her personal phone to tell him the news and his impromptu speech and quips like "How many Best Actor winners are there?" was the cherry on top of a priceless moment.

Best Actress

Winner: Kristal Tin for "Brother's Keeper"

Kristal and Edwin were originally predicted by the press to be nominated in the supporting categories for their performances in "Brother's Keeper" in order to boost their chances of winning, though they were second leads. I was initially nervous when she was revealed to be nominated in the leading category (as she should have). However, my gut feeling that said TVB would decide against giving it to Linda and instead give it to Kristal turned out to be true. There was no one more deserving than her. What a touching and genuine moment. Congratulations Kristal on your double win! You are unanimously the "Best Actress" of the year, having been selected by professional judges, the public, and your own colleagues.

Best Drama

Winner: "Triumph in the Skies 2"

My reaction to this was the same as for Eliza's win. Though I had hoped "Brother's Keeper" or a black horse such as "Inbound Troubles" would win, it was no doubt going to go to "Triumph in the Skies 2" one way or another. I am slightly surprised that "Triumph" won even with the professional panel of judges, but I guess there's no defeating this top rated hit.

Additional Comments: Overall, I was probably most happy with this year's results. While some were more deserving than others, there is no winner that does not make sense or feels rigged. I was either over the moon or accepting of all the winners. I really like the new system TVB used to determine Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Drama, which consisted of 50% a panel of professional judges and 50% fan voting, and hope they will continue to use it in the future. Once again, congratulations to the winners!