I know TVB’s poll took place over 2 months ago and the results are pretty much done now, but I sort of got 'reminded' of it when I was doing my 'Weibo Fever #10' post. Actually, I remember laughing (after my anger subsided, that is) when I saw the final nominees from the poll because some of the so-called 'classic on screen couples' that TVB chose (nominated) to be in the poll were definitely NOT 'classics'!! I honestly don't know what criteria TVB used to choose the final nominees (all I know is that they chose 1 couple from the series that aired each year starting in 1967), but I do know that many of the couples they chose to be in the poll definitely would not be most audiences' picks (I'm talking longtime watchers of TVB here) to represent that particular year! And to add salt to the wound (so to speak), not only did they choose some 'undeserving' couples to be in the poll (meaning they don't even come close in terms of 'classic' couple), they also left out some couples that are very OBVIOUSLY classic, memorable pairings (for example, I don't think anyone would disagree with me that Felix Wong's Kwok Jing and Barbara Yung's Wong Yung in "Legend of the Condor Heroes" was an endearing onscreen couple and absolutely falls into the 'classic' category, right??). Well, Felix and Barbara were just one of the many examples (I've listed more of them below, based on my humble opinion) of the obvious SNUBS from the TVB poll. [Maybe in a way, it's sort of better that I waited to write this post because I probably would have been more harsh / critical toward TVB (or whoever it was who chose the nominees) if this post had been written back then.]
Anyway, in terms of the poll itself, I didn't have too much of a problem with the nominees from the 60s and 70s era, since most of those I would have probably picked as well (plus many of those were before my time anyway and I didn't watch most of the 70s series until the late 80s, so the impact is a bit different). I also didn't have too much of an issue with the 'after 2000s' couples either (well, I guess it was more like I didn't really care, since that was around the time when TVB started deteriorating and I didn't really give a crap about many of their artists and series from that time anyway). The ones that I truly had a problem with were the picks from the 80s and 90s era, as that was the era where TVB was at its peak and it was also the era that produced the most truly memorable onscreen couples (there were so many SNUBS and 'WTH picks' from the 80s and 90s era, I was starting to wonder whether the person who put together this poll even watched TVB series period!!)
I know this will sound mean, but the person who put this poll together must have been on drugs or something because it's hard for me to believe that any HK TV series fanatic or long-time TVB follower would actually fail to include most of the below couples on the poll (the first 5 couples especially!!) and instead choose to include such 'forgettable' pairings as Liu Wai Hung and Carina Lau from "Games People Play" or Liu Wai Hung and Esther Kwan from "Mutual Affection" in the 'classics' category!!!
So which 'classic' onscreen couples did TVB leave out in their poll? And which couples did they include that made diehard TVB fans like me scratch my head and exclaim WTH?? Read on for the ‘lowdown’…..
SNUB #1: Felix Wong and Barbara Yung -- Kwok Jing and Wong Yung from "The Legend of the Condor Heroes" trilogy (1983)
Quick question – which TVB fan out there has NOT seen the 80s version of “The Legend of the Condor Heroes” (or at least heard about it)? For those who have seen it, how many people out there would NOT consider Felix and Barbara’s portrayal of KJ and WY as ‘classic’?
Ok, this one really bugs me actually….TVB obviously remembered to nominate Andy Lau and Idy Chan's "Return of the Condor Heroes" pairing, but yet they forgot to include the couple that started the whole Jin Yong hype in the first place (at least for most of us who grew up in the 80s that is): Felix and Barbara's classic pairing from "Legend of the Condor Heroes" (which came before ROTCH, by the way)!!! Just look at the facts -- it has been close to 30 years since the 80s version LOTCH was made, yet to this day, when many audiences think of Kwok Jing and Wong Yung, the names that automatically come to mind are Felix and Barbara's -- not to mention that this pairing is still wildly popular all over Asia (not just in HK) even now! And you know what ticks me off the most about Felix and Barbara being 'left out' of the poll? Well, TVB decided to include Chilam Cheung and Athena Chu's portrayal of Kwok Jing and Wong Yung from the 90s remake (the series pretty much sucked in my opinion) in the poll, yet their pairing (and portrayal of the characters) was NO WHERE NEAR as 'classic' and 'endearing' as Felix and Barbara's (nothing against Chilam and Athena, as I like both of them as artists…I just didn’t like the 90s remake period). Well then, how the hell could TVB fail to nominate Felix and Barbara in their ‘Top 10 Onscreen Couples of All Time’ poll??
Who TVB chose instead: Andy Lau’s Yang Guo and Idy Chan’s Siu Lung Nu from “Return of the Condor Heroes”.
Ok, in a sense, I could understand why TVB wanted to include Andy and Idy in the poll, as they truly were a classic couple (and to this day, the ONLY portrayal of Yang Guo and Siu Lung Nu that most audiences recognize). In fact, I absolutely would have included them as well…BUT….NOT AT THE EXPENSE of Felix and Barbara! I mean, I understand the difficulty in choosing because both LOTCH and ROTCH aired in 1983, but I think this would be one of those instances that warrant an exception – meaning that TVB should have chosen BOTH COUPLES to represent that year, since both were equally important! Come on now – would anyone really have minded if there were 45 couples in the poll instead of 44? It’s not like audiences would have rioted or anything if there were 2 couples representing 1983 instead of the traditional 1, right?
SNUB #2: Michael Miu and Barbara Yung -- Szeto Mun Mo and Ah Yin from "The Fearless Duo" (1984)
In any poll that deals with 80s 'golden couples', how is it possible that at least ONE Michael Miu and Barbara Yung pairing is not included? I mean, they were THE representative onscreen couple of the 80s, as the two of them pretty much collaborated in the most series during that era! Though I personally would have chosen their collaboration in “The Fearless Duo” for the poll (primarily because their love story in that series was the most touching and the one with the best result), but honestly, I would have been happy even if they were nominated for a different series (i.e.: “The New Adventures of Chor Lau Heung”, “The Foundation”, “United We Stand”, etc.). Michael and Barbara were paired together as a couple 4 times in 1984, so that means TVB had at least 4 series to choose from in terms of a nomination, yet they failed to choose even ONE??? What are the odds of that happening?
Who TVB chose instead: Tony Leung’s Cheung Wai Kit and Maggie Cheung’s Tse Wing Chi from “Police Cadet ‘84”
Hmmm….tough one, but I actually would have chosen Michael and Barbara over Tony and Maggie. Why? Well, if we’re talking ‘classic’, back then Michael and Barbara as a couple was way more popular than Tony and Maggie – plus I’ve always been of the opinion that Tony’s character matched better with Margie Tsang’s Yip Hao Yee in “Police Cadet ‘85”. Also, if we look at sheer numbers, Michael and Barbara were paired together 4 times versus Tony and Maggie being paired just once -- according to the TVB traditional formula, if an onscreen pairing is overwhelmingly popular, TVB will usually ‘milk’ the relationship by having them pair up as many times as possible….so to me, the fact that TVB had Michael and Barbara pair up so many times tells me that even they felt that these 2 were popular and compatible as a couple! And just like with 1983, if TVB really wanted to include Tony and Maggie as well, then again, make an exception and include BOTH!
SNUB #3: Deric Wan and Maggie Siu -- Chai Ho Nam & Shek Yi Ming from "The Blood of Good and Evil" (1990)
Sorry for being mean, but who in their right minds would leave Deric and Maggie out of a TVB classic couples poll??? I mean, as a long-time TVB follower, if you were to ask me for a list of TVB's classic 'golden couples' , Deric and Maggie would ABSOLUTELY be near the top of the list! They were one of the most endearing and popular onscreen couples of the late 80s/early 90s (starting with 1989's "Looking Back in Anger" and pairing up twice more in 1990's "The Blood of Good and Evil" as well as 1994's "The Conscience"....and let's not forget 1991's "The Breaking Point" -- even though they weren't a couple in this series, the 2 of them simply collaborating in another series together was a treat in itself). I doubt anyone would disagree if I said that Deric and Maggie were wildly popular as an onscreen couple back then (the early 90s especially). Also, 3 of the 4 series they collaborated in were among the Top 10 higest rated TVB series of their generation (basically counting up to the mid-90s), with their pairing garnering thousands of fans in HK....and yet, they were EXCLUDED from the poll?? WTH??
Who TVB chose instead: Leon Lai’s Yim Zi Wah and Nnadia Chan’s Chou Shun from “Songbird”
Um, TVB actually cheated a little with this one because “Songbird” was released in 1989 and finished airing in 1990 – so technically, it could have been counted under 1989 instead (though they still would have lost out, since Felix and Carina rightfully took the spot for 1989). To be honest though, as much as Leon and Nnadia may have looked good together in “Songbird” (and I did like them as a couple in that series), I really wouldn’t consider them a ‘classic’ couple, especially when compared to Deric and Maggie! And again, if we want to go with the ‘numbers’ method – well, up to that point, Deric and Maggie had already collaborated in 2 series together (as an endearing couple in both) whereas it was the first (and only) collaboration for Leon and Nnadia….so for me, Deric and Maggie win hands down!
SNUB #4: Michael Tao and Kenix Kwok -- Cheung Dai Yong and Jessie Ko from "Detective Investigation Files 1 - 3" (1995, 1996, 1997)
This snub REALLY ticks me off to no end! The DIF trilogy was one of TVB’s biggest HITS of the 90s and since the series aired in 1995/1996 as well as 1997 (I’m talking about the original trilogy only with the original cast), TVB pretty much had 3 chances to nominate Michael and Kenix, yet they were passed up each time!! How stupid is that???
I mean, is there anyone out there who would disagree that Michael and Kenix are a 'classic' onscreen couple, especially given how IMMENSELY popular the DIF trilogy was back in the 90s? In fact, Michael and Kenix were so popular as a couple that there were even audiences back then who thought they were actually a couple in real life (of course, it didn't help that they filmed alot of commercials together back then too). The weird thing is, TVB obviously recognizes the immense popularity of these two as a couple, otherwise the station would not have paired them up again 2 MORE TIMES in series in the after 2000s era when Michael returned to TVB (they were paired together in "Love Bond" and "Shine on You" ). So you mean to tell me that TVB knew enough to pair Michael and Kenix up 5 times, yet couldn't even nominate them ONCE in their classic couples poll? What gives???
Who TVB chose instead: Well, it depends on which year….since DIF would have been eligible in 1995, 1996, and 1997, let’s look at who TVB chose in those 3 years:
1995: Gallen Lo’s Fong Shu Gan and Kathy Chow’s Lau Ah Choi from “Plain Love”
1996: Liu Wai Hung’s Chan Gui Sheung and Esther Kwan’s Liu Yuet Or from “Mutual Affection”
1997: Bobby Au Yeung’s Kwok Oi and Esther Kwan’s Shing Ping from “Taming of the Princess”
If we look at 1995, I’m actually ok with Gallen and Kathy, since I truly liked and enjoyed “Plain Love”, but just like with Leon and Nnadia, I just wouldn’t consider Gallen and Kathy a ‘classic’ couple -- though I’m not opposed to them being in this poll, I would have readily replaced them with Michael and Kenix instead. I’m definitely ok with the 1997 choice, since Bobby and Esther are definitely a ‘classic’ couple and they would have been my choice as well to be in the poll.
The ‘representative’ couple from 1996 however was an absolute JOKE!! I can’t believe that TVB actually chose Liu Wai Hung and Esther Kwan’s pairing in “Mutual Affection” to represent that year – SERIOUSLY??? Who are they trying to fool? I mean, not only did they pass up Michael and Kenix (which was already a ‘sin’ in itself), they also didn’t include a single pairing from “Cold Blood Warm Heart” either (which also aired in 1996)! I would have been ok with even one of the pairings from CBWH bumping out Michael and Kenix, but Liu Wah Hung and Esther??? REALLY?? Um, since when was LWH and Esther a more ‘classic’ couple than Michael and Kenix? Heck, does anyone even REMEMBER the series “Mutual Affection”???? Enough said!!
SNUB #5: Ekin Cheng and Nnadia Chan – Bao Mun Lung and Ah Lit from “Instinct” (1994)
If we’re talking about ‘classic’ onscreen couples, another definite choice for me would be Ekin and Nnadia, as they were one of THE representative couples of the 90s. I guess we could sort of consider them the Michael and Barbara of the 90s in that they collaborated in the most series together (in terms of being paired together), though if you ask me, my favorite pairing of theirs is the one in “Instinct” (I cried so hard when Nnadia’s character died in that series).
Anyway, if TVB really wanted to include Ekin and Nnadia, they could have chosen any of their other collaborations as well (they were paired in 4 or 5 series together throughout the 90s, including a cameo appearance as a couple in one of the 90s sitcoms)….yet once again, the two of them were passed up completely! Arghh!!!
Who TVB chose instead: Julian ‘Chilam’ Cheung’s Kwok Jing and Athena Chu’s Wong Yung from the 90s remake of “The Legend of the Condor Heroes”
Some people may disagree with me here, but I would definitely have chosen Ekin and Nnadia over Chilam and Athena, primarily because I’m one of those who absolutely hated the 90s remake of LOTCH (yes, I actually sat through most of it and regretted it) – plus for me, no one can ever replace Felix and Barbara as KJ and WY (not even Chilam, whom I absolutely adore as an actor). Also, if need be, we could play the ‘numbers’ game here as well (haha…see, told you it’s the TVB formula), since “Instinct” would have been Ekin and Nnadia’s fourth time pairing together (well, technically 5 if you count the sitcom I mentioned earlier).
SNUB #6: Leon Lai and Kathy Chow – Ching Long and Shum Mun Yee from “The Breaking Point” (1991)
This one is actually a personal favorite of mine, only because I was a huge fan of the series back then. I may not be a fan of Leon’s (still not even today), but Kathy WAS one of my favorite actresses – plus I really liked the cast of the series as well as the story, so that definitely helped fuel my obsession with this series. From an onscreen couple perspective, Leon and Kathy definitely did look good together and their chemistry in this series (as well as their previous collaboration in “Cherished Moments”) was very apparent. So yes, I would definitely include these two in my list of ‘onscreen couples’ from the 90s.
Who TVB chose instead: Hacken Lee’s Chuang Kit and Sammi Cheng’s Si Mun from “A Life of His Own”
Ok, this is really a tough one for me because I liked both series quite a lot – also, the Hacken / Sammi pairing in this series was one of my favorites as well, so I wouldn’t necessarily say that they weren’t deserving of a spot on the poll. With that said though, if I really had to choose, I would most likely go with Leon and Kathy, primarily because they collaborated in more series for one, and two, I just liked the series too much.
SNUB #7: Bowie Lam and Flora Chan – Tsang Ka Yuen and Lip Bo Yin from “Untraceable Evidence I & II (1998, 1999)
The Bowie and Flora pairing has always been on my ‘favorite couples’ list from the 90s, as I love the natural chemistry between these two. Both of them were excellent in UE and I took to this pairing so much that I totally looked forward to their pairing in “Healing Hands” as well (which turned out to be a disappointment compared to UE, though part of that was because of the messy storyline). Anyway, their pairing is still a greatly memorable one and I continue to hope that one day, they might collaborate again (though most likely not at TVB).
Who TVB chose instead: Since “Untraceable Evidence” aired in 1998 and 1999, it would be appropriate to look at the nominees for both those years:
1998: Lawrence Ng’s Paul Ching and Ada Choi’s Jackie Tong from “Healing Hands”
1999: Gallen Lo’s Yip Wing Tim and Flora Chan’s Helen Fok from “At the Threshold of an Era”
Given the choices, I would definitely choose Bowie and Flora in UE instead of Gallen and Flora in ATE – ok, I admit that it’s a personal bias of mine because I actually preferred the Gallen and Kenix pairing in ATE rather than the Gallen / Flora one….plus to me, Bowie and Flora are more ‘classic’ in terms of pairing (from a chemistry perspective especially). As for Lawrence and Ada – of course I would keep them in the poll.
In addition to those listed above, here are a few more couples whom I felt should have been in the poll but were excluded (they're certainly on my list of 'classic' couples, that's for sure!
.-- Tony Leung and Kitty Lai from "The New Heavenly Sword and Dragon Sabre" (1986)
.-- Eddie Cheung and Margie Tsang from "The Turbulent Decade" (1985) or the sitcom "Everybody Loves Somebody" (1989)
.-- Michael Miu and Jamie Chik -- ok, I know they probably don't count because the 3 series they were in together as a couple ("The Yang's Saga", "The Two Most Honorable Knights", and "The Dragon Sword") were sort of 'cameo' performances and they weren't the 'main' characters, but still, they deserve to be on the list, especially since they became a couple in real life (yes, this is my personal bias talking...LOL).
Aside from the ‘snubs’ that I mentioned above, there were also a few ‘what the hell were they thinking’ nominees in the poll. I already mentioned one of them above (the Liu Wai Hung / Esther Kwan pairing)….but the pairing that made me really want to strangle the person who put together this poll was the ‘representative’ couple from 1988: Liu Wai Hung and Carina Lau from “Games People Play”.
If you thought the LWH / Esther pairing was a joke, the LWH / Carina pairing was even worse (I actually did watch the series “Games People Play” due to my long-time TVB roots plus I rarely missed a series from back in the 80s, but if you guys never saw the series, don’t worry – you didn’t miss anything). Not only was the pairing of LWH and Carina forgettable, the series itself was forgettable as well. What irks me most is that in 1988, there were SO MANY good series with pairings that could have easily beat out this one -- for example: some of the more popular series from 1988 were: “A Friend in Need”, “The Two Most Honorable Knights”, “My Father’s Son”, “And Yet We Live”, “The Saga of the Lost Kingdom”, etc. – yet TVB chose a pairing from a relatively unknown series? Even now, I’m still scratching my head with this one!
Lastly, as a point of reference, here are screencaps of the entire list of nominees from the poll (one couple representing each year from 1968 to 2011). Note that out of this list, 10 couples were chosen (based on audience votes supposedly) as the ‘Top 10 Onscreen Couples of All Time’ (I’ll do a post on that piece later).
TVB十大熒幕情侶選舉 [TVB Top 10 Onscreen Couples Poll]