Friday, August 24, 2012

Follow up Post: Details on 3 Additional CTI Series Announced Recently

Recently (a couple days ago), CTI held a press conference announcing the newest series that the company will start filming soon (a medical drama starring Frankie Lam and John Chiang). This is actually the 6th series that has been officially announced, with more to be announced in the upcoming months/weeks (2 more I know of for sure is Felix Wong's series with his daughter Adrian and also Maggie Cheung's series with Prudence Liew).

I actually posted a little bit about the first 3 series that CTI had announced awhile back ago (you can read about those 3 series here)...but now with more series being announced (and the 'revelation' of more artists who have joined CTI), I figured it would be an appropriate time to post a ‘followup’ detailing the remaining 3 series that have already been announced -- including the official plot summaries and cast lists that were released during the press conferences that were held for each series. I decided to do this post partly for those whom I've been discussing CTI's series with in forums and on my blog (you know who you are...LOL!), but also partly for myself, since there is so much information out there now that it's easy to get confused.

Hope this provides a bit of clarification (and insight) as to what CTI has in store for HK audiences when they finally 'open their doors' sometime next year (depending on when the government decides to issue their license).

Also, due to some discussions I’ve had with various people over the past few months, I felt the need to clarify a few things...

For the record, the reason why I’ve been posting a lot of stuff about CTI on my blog is NOT because I support CTI (because to be honest, I really can't 'support' them right now because 1) they're too new and I don't have enough info / history to go off of yet and so I refuse to blindly support a person / company until I know more, and 2) I still have some reservations about the company and its chairman Ricky Wong) nor is it because I want to see the downfall of TVB....[sure, I criticize TVB alot -- probably to the point of being annoying to some people -- but that's because my family and I have supported TVB for more than 3 decades and it pains me to see how 'far from the tree' they have fallen, so my constant 'constructive' criticism is my last ditch attempt to hopefully pound some sense into the (lame) management over there before they run the station to the ground (some people feel they already have)].

Rather, I post about CTI and its series because 1) they’re pretty much the only one out of the three stations that are actually filming series right now, and 2) as a long-time follower / supporter of the HK television industry in general, I'm disappointed with how much the industry has deteriorated and strongly feel that in order for the industry to 'get back on its feet', (healthy) competition is definitely necessary because, well, competition drives improvement (yes, that's the business person in me talking again...). So essentially, I guess you could say that I support the overall cause of having new free-to-air TV stations in HK because I want to see the industry flourish again. Some people may think that this is wishful thinking on my part (which I'm ok with), but I'm actually looking forward to the day when all the TV stations can co-exist together and produce quality programming for us viewers -- after all, isn't that what a TV station at its core should ultimately be about?

Anyway, here are the details on 3 more series that CTI has announced over the past 2 months -- filming has already started on all 3 series:


The Second Life (第二人生)

Copy Editors: Lee Yee Wah (李綺華) and Suen Ho Ho (孫浩浩)
Main Director: Chan San Hap (陳新俠)

Filming Dates: July 2012
Length: 15 episodes

Cast: Wilfred Lau (劉浩龍), Terence Yin (尹子維), Bondy Chiu (趙學而), Joey Tang (鄧建明), Patrick Lui (雷有暉), Ann Ho (何紫綸), Maria Chen (陳霽平), Samuel Kwok (郭峰), Anita Chan (陳穎妍), Bonnie Wong (黃文慧), Wong Ching (王青), Mannor Chan (陳曼娜), Nick Chong (莊兆麟), Emily Wong (王歌慧), Ricksen Tam (譚晴), Wong Mei Kei (黃美棋), Cherry Pau (鮑康兒), Chan On Ying (陳安瑩), Jim Bing Hei (詹秉熙), Annie Cheung (張雅麗), Joyce Giann Wong (黃瑩), etc

Plot Summary:
After living for several decades, when one has reached middle age, we start to complain about the pressures and failures that we’ve experienced and regret those ‘missed opportunities’ from the past. But for someone who doesn’t have any dreams or aspirations, what is the point of living a life of such uselessness? The series will explore how the main characters, while going through a low period in their lives, will encounter a situation that gives them the opportunity to change history – however, once the history is changed, they discover that their lives did not become better than it was before. This makes them realize that instead of constantly fretting about the past, why not seize the opportunities they have presently and live life to the fullest?

Additional Notes: This is one of those ‘tales of encouragement’ series that will explore various relationships between siblings, family, friends, and lovers.


Police Boundaries (警界線)

Creative Producer: Chu King Kei (朱鏡祺)
Copy Editor: Lau Siu Kuan (劉小群)
Main Director: So Man Chong (蘇萬聰)

Filming Dates: Mid-July (movie) / Mid-October (TV series)
Length: 21 Episodes

Cast:  Liu Kai Chi (廖啟智), Dominic Lam (林嘉華), Leila Tong (唐寧), Lawrence Chou (周俊偉), Joman Chiang (蔣祖曼), Annie Liu (廖安麗), Philip Keung (姜皓文), Crystal Leung (梁寶琪), Lui Hei (呂熙), Deno Cheung (張松枝), Cheng Ka Sheng (鄭家生), Felix Lok (駱應鈞), Lam Lei (林利), Yu Mo Lian (余慕蓮), Luk Chun Kwong (陸駿光), etc.

Plot Summary: 
Haivng a clear separation between black and white, placing heavy emphasis on discipline – both are the most important ‘boundaries’ for a cop. But if those boundaries are broken through and cops collaborate with crooks, the investigative process as well as the probability of cracking the case becomes limitlessly greater. A 12 year undercover agent living on the edge, a hot-tempered cop who once broke out of jail after he was framed for crime, a ‘King of Robbers’ who was once jailed for a crime he didn’t commit and now specializes in robbing crooks, a ‘spinster’ female cop who had never fired a single shot in her life and relies on her wits as well as life experiences to ‘figure out’ criminals, a fugitive from the law who is obsessed with female cops but always puts righteousness ahead of all else, and finally a high-ranking female officer who is also a military weapons expert – together, they will match wits as well as match strength. Out of this will come not only love, hate, and sparks, it will also break all boundaries – joining forces to crack cold cases and locate criminals, it creates an entirely different battlefield. Through blood, tears, life, and death, these most ‘hot-blooded’ of cops and criminals manifest the brilliance of human nature, leaving behind one touching, heart-stopping story after another.

Additional Notes: The series will technically be 20 episodes, as the first episode will be a movie that sets up the scene and the story will continue on in the TV series. Also, CTI’s chairman Ricky Wong specially arranged for all the artists participating in this series to take lessons at a real life firing range using real guns.


Three Sided Face Doctors (三面形醫) [Not official English title]

Copy Editor: Choi Ting Ting
Screenwriters: Sin Siu Ling, Man Kin Fai, Ho Lo Yan
Main Director: Kwan Shu Ming

Filming Dates: September
Length: 20 Episodes

Cast:  Frankie Lam (林文龍), John Chiang (姜大衛), Wilson Tsui (艾威), Kate Yeung (楊淇), Sam Chan (陳宇琛), Leanne Ho (何思諺), Lesley Chiang (姜麗文), Rain Lau (劉玉翠), Benji Chiang (姜文杰), Queenie Chan (陳莉敏), Rachel Lam (林熹瞳), Lee Cheuk Ling (李卓寧), Yetta Tse (謝珊珊), Deno Cheung (張松枝), Carlos Chan (陳家樂), Yan Ng (吳日言), Maria Chen (陳霽平), Philip Keung (姜皓文), Wong Gwan Bun (黃冠斌) , Damon Law (羅貫峰), etc.

Plot Summary:
Humans are naturally born to love beauty. Alot of people put on makeup, do beauty treatments, some even opt for plastic surgery -- but there are probably not many people who are willing to look directly into a mirror and comfortably, naturally, peel away their glamorous 'outer skin' and reveal the rawest, most hidden side of themselves. That's why all along, doctors are only able to heal our physical bodies, but not our hearts. Ultimately, the 'root cause' of alot of illnesses does not stray far from what we call 'humanity' (renxing)!

Utilizing the story of a plastic surgeon joining a franchised medical treatment conglomerate as basis and adding in a 'discussion' of a few recent controversial 'hot topics', the series will attempt to critique the value system of mainstream modern society in the hopes of inspring the general public to reflect on the definition of 'beauty' and how it relates to their own value system. At the same time, it hopes to be the 'voice' for different levels of people in society and thereby resonate with audiences.

Additional Notes about series:   Through the story of doctors and their patients as well as the various inner and outer conflicts that a medical treatment conglomerate experiences, hope to demonstrate the 'real' side of humanity.  This will be the first series in HK television history to present the 'true face' of medical surgeries.  There will be a television version as well as a web version of the series -- the web version will reveal the real life process involved in plastic surgeries.


  1. Thanks for the translations! I'm most looking forward to "Police Boundaries" out of these 3 series. I was wondering how they're going to broadcast some of their series since the vampire one only has 10 episodes, and the 'second life' has 15 episodes. Will they broadcast 5 times a week like TVB? Or twice a week like Korea? Hehe, sorry so many questions right now. I actually think it's good CTI doesn't have their license yet because to start a new station , you do need lots of inventory...

    Can't wait for Felix Wong's series too! The press conference is tomorrow, I believe.

    1. @Jaen: Welcome and thanks for your comment!

      Out of the 6 series announced so far, I'm also most looking forward to Police Boundaries as well, primarily because alot of my favorite actors are in it plus the storyline sounds the movie + TV series format sounds pretty cool (by the way, rumor has it that once Ricky Wong gets his license, he is planning to air Police Boundaries as his very first series....sounds like a good choice to me!). The medical series with Frankie Lam sounds interesting too and based on both cast and storyline, that's the second series I'm looking forward to (out of the 6 that is)...Of course, as soon as Felix Wong's series is announced, that one will probably become the number one series that I'll be looking forward to (yes, I admit that I'm biased toward Felix...LOL!)

      As for the episode count and broadcasting times...that's actually a good question, though we won't know the answer until next year when the series (hopefully) finally air. And yes, CTI will have plenty of inventory, as they've also been filming quite a few non-drama programs as well -- they will definitely be able to 'hit the floor running' once they get their license.

    2. @llwy12 It's not the first time this has happened with movie turned into series! There was a movie called Healing Hearts where the male lead was Tony LeungChiuWai. Then the story continued in ATV's Healing Hearts drama with Kenny Bee as male lead. Towards the end they realize Tony's character went missing due to possibly be killed by a crazy woman. The only misleading part was that Tony's face was in the drama poster as well.

    3. @sport3888: Ah, I vaguely remember reading about that series (was that the one that Michelle Reis was in as well)? Sorry, but not as familiar with the ATV series as I am with the TVB ones....

      I'm actually curious to see how the CTI one will turn out....though the movie/series concept isn't new, it's definitely not common, so at least there will be a 'fresh' sense to it.

      Hmmm, now that I think about it....ever since TVB's Tiger Cubs finished airing, there have been rumors of a possible sequel or movie version....if CTI does go through with the movie/series thing for Police Boundaries, perhaps that will increase the likelihood of TVB doing both a movie and sequel to TC in order to compete with CTI? Just a thought...

  2. As for me, I prefer "The Second Life". Firstly, I'm Bondy's fan. Secondly, I love inspiring themes which give us valuable lessons for life. Wondering whether there is some fantasy in the series?

    1. @DickyVu: Welcome to you too!

      The Second Life definitely sounds inspiring and the 'changing history' concept, though not unique, does make the series more interesting....based on the cast, I can't really say that I'm 'looking forward' to this series, but I would probably still be interested in watching just to see how they play out the story....also, it sounds like there will definitely be a huge music component to this series (which isn't surprising considering the cast consists of so many singers)...

      Not sure if there will be some fantasy element to the series or not....though it's logical that there might be given the 'changing history' theme....

  3. Hi llwy12,

    Thanks for this interesting article. I look forward to seeing some of these new series with veteran TVB artistes, as I'm an old school TVB fan (my fave tvb dramas were all from the 80s and early 90s). Felix Wong is a wonderful actor and he deserves to be better treated. Leila Tong is a natural born actress, I quite like her but TVB is not interesting in promoting her. TVB keeps pushing the same few faces at us, first Charmaine Sheh, then Myolie, Tavia, Kate and Fala. I'm sick of these crop of bland actresses who aren't that beautiful either. Back in the 80s we had Barbara Yung, Angie Chiu, Idy Chan, Sharline Tse, Margie Tsang, Jacqueline Law, Maggie Siu, Sheren Teng, Kitty Lai and the list goes on. The level of talent at TVB just gets worse by the decade. Well, anyway, with more new tv stations cropping up to give TVB some competition, I hope that the talented veteran artistes who have been neglected and pushed aside by TVB will have better opportunities (Hence I wish Maggie Siu also went to CTI instead of languishing at TVB playing unfavourable parts. Used to like her but I can't bare watching her these days - but then, I've stopping watching TVB dramas except for the occasional one on Astro). Anyway, how do people overseas get to watch these CTI dramas?

    Oh, by the way - I know you're a big fan of City Japes, that old TVB sitcom was recently aired again on Astro and brought back some good nostalgia for me. How young do Roger Kwok and Deric look back then! LoL. Do you know the name of the actress who played Roger Kwok's wife in City Japes? She's quite sweet looking, but somehow she always played bit roles as a leading character's ex-girlfriend or wife, but never the lead actress. I wonder why TVB never really promoted her. Just saw a few photos of the recent Miss Hong Kong pageant and I thought I saw this actress seated on the panel of judges. It looks like her but I can't be sure (she put on a lot weight). If so, I guess she might be a former Miss Hong Kong, eh?

    1. @shiroja: You’re welcome! :-)

      I’m also looking forward to these series as well, especially since I’m an old-school TVB fan as well and most of the veteran artists who went to CTI are ones whom I grew up watching, so of course there’s a certain sentimentality there (and yes, most of my favorite TVB series are from the 80s and 90s as well).

      The 80s definitely produced a lot of great actresses and actors – and not just main leads, but supporting ones as well, to the point that pretty much every where you turn, you’ll find a good actor/actress. Unfortunately, that’s not the case anymore (and not just recently, but pretty much for the last 13 years or so)…

      I think CTI does have potential, but the only problem is that they don’t have their license yet, so it’s really hard for them to recruit a lot more ‘big name’ artists, since a lot of those artists might have reservations working for a company that might not be too stable. But at least it does seem like the ‘threat’ of competition is working to some extent because TVB seems to be trying different things to combat the other stations (though whether those ‘tactics’ succeed or not is another story).

      I totally agree with you about Maggie Siu – she used to be one of my favorite actresses as well, but TVB has definitely done a horrible job with her career in the past decade…just like you, I can barely watch her these days either (in fact, I can’t remember the last recent series of hers I watched)…the roles she’s had recently were all horrible!

      Regarding where people overseas get to watch CTI dramas – haha, you’re actually the second person who asked me that question….unfortunately, I don’t know the answer, at least not yet…I don’t think we’ll find out until next year when CTI actually gets their license and their airing schedules are more finalized…

      OMG, finally there’s someone who has watched City Japes!!! I talk about that series a lot but not very many people seem to have watched it (well, not surprising considering it’s from 1986/87 and also it’s a very LONG sitcom). But I absolutely love that series – it was the very first TVB sitcom that I watched back in the 80s and since then, I’ve re-watched it so many times already that I can practically recite the dialogue by now (LOL!!).

      The name of the actress who played Roger’s wife is Joan Tong (唐麗球)…she was the 2nd runner up (3rd place) from the 1984 Miss HK pageant – she is also actor Ben Ng’s (吳毅將) wife in real life. I actually feel that she was one of the prettier Miss HKs from that generation, but yea, for some reason, TVB never really promoted her….she was in very few series and most of the time only has small roles. If I remember correctly, I believe her ‘biggest’ role was in City Japes (though notice that they also wrote her out of that series later on…) – I think the reason why they wrote her character out was because she left TVB and started a movie career instead, then later went to ATV. I think she’s pretty much retired now (since she’s a mother and needs to take care of her daughter), but I keep hearing rumors about her possibly making a comeback…don’t know if it’s true or not – I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

      And yes, Joan was part of the panel of judges for this year’s Miss HK pageant. She was one of 15 former Miss HKs who returned to be on the judges panel for the Miss Photogenic award. She definitely put on a lot of weight – my mom was like: omg, is that really her? She looked so different…lol!

    2. Hi again, :-)

      I thoroughly agree with you that back in the 80s and 90s, there was an abundance of talent at TVB, not only from the leading actors, but across the board, from the supporting cast to the writing crew (I miss the old writers like Wai Kar Fai who produced so many golden TVB dramas back in the day)...

      Also agree with you that while it remains to be seen how successful CTI and the other new stations will be, the 'threat of competition' for TVB can only be a good thing for viewers. TVB has been very complacent for too many years and the station's arrogance in failing to treat their own artistes/scriptwriters/producers with respect and greed in general has brought about its obvious decline since the last 10-15 years. This is the station that only cares to churn out a certain number of episodic programming per year, like a factory, never mind that the plots are lame/overused/recycled and the lead actors cannot act properly yet!

      However, one thing I have to give TVB though is that it has a very effective and well-oiled 'star making' system ie. whoever TVB promotes will eventually get popular, whether they are deserving of this popularity or not. It's not that these bunch of people are more talented than other artistes, but they get so many more chances to shine and lead TVB dramas each year, it's hard to escape their dramas because TVB is relentless in promoting their own 'biological sons & daughters'. If at all you yearn to watch a cantonese drama (as for myself, I've opted to watch Korean and Japanese dramas in recent years, and some taiwanese serials), you don't have much of a choice. TVB is banking on that. We are forced see a certain actress in every drama until we are brainwashed into liking them (eg. Charmaine Sheh, she was a horrible actress when she started off acting at TVB yet they gave her lead roles right away, and her face reminds me of a camel, lol - yes, Charmaine has improved in her acting skills now, after acting in dozens of dramas and being given so many chances anyone would improve....) CTI has signed up a lot of artistes but they may not be able to pay attention to a select few and promote them the way TVB can with its publicity machine. Unless there's a bonafide hit drama, I doubt there'll be breakout new artistes at CTI.

      So yeah, I can understand the hesitance of bigger stars signing up with an unproven company like CTI, as it is a gamble for them. Look at the artistes at ATV, they are no less talented than the stable of artistes at TVB and ATV used to produce some quality drama but that station just didn't have enough viewership to compete with TVB. For some reason, ATV artistes do not have the 'shine', glow, star quality or whatever you want to call it that TVB artistes do. Only when Esther Kwan and Nick Cheung crossed over to TVB did they really start to get popular.

  4. And speaking of Maggie Siu, yeah, she has sadly declined a lot. Among all her fellow 'fa dan' peers from the 80s, Maggie's career is the most exasperating one. Others like Margie, Kitty, Kathy Chow and Amy Kwok have either retired, taken it easy with a few cameo roles or opted to act in China/elsewhere, but Maggie still sticks to TVB dramas although they treat her so poorly. I don't get why Maggie accepts such degrading roles at TVB and allows the younger generation to upstage her. At least when TVB invites Kathy Chow, Esther Kwan or Flora Chan back to TVB , they are given leading roles in a TVB drama made with them in mind. Maggie Siu gets no such respect. You're right, in the past decade she has played either ditzy, lovesick fools who get used, or psychotic women. I wonder why she even bothers to act nowadays. It can't be for the love of acting because her roles are rubbish and her acting seems to have regressed. At least her fried Sheren Tang has the self-respect to be choosier with her roles, and TVB is forced to recognise Sheren's talent because Sheren's dramas are so well-received by viewers. I noticed Sheren's career trajectory and Maggie's have gone the opposite of each other since the 80s (ie. whenever one is popular, the other one's career is in the doldrums. lol). Oh, another veteran actress I like very much besides Maggie and Sheren is Louisa So. But she too has not been well-promoted by TVB.

    Oh, thank you for giving me info on this actress - Joan Tong - that we saw at the HK pageant! :-) I was trying to find out more about her, but it's hard to do as there's not much info in English about these obscure TVB artistes. Her husband Ben Ng sounds familiar....did he act in that recent sitcom with Teresa Mo (I adore Momo, she's such a great comic actress, hehe)as the guy who has a crush on her? The one with a big mole on the side of his face? Or am I thinking of a completely different person? LoL..

    Yeah, Joan was in very few TVB dramas. I guess she was just one of those Miss HKs that TVB used as just a pretty face, since there were so much competition and depth of talent in TVB's roster of artistes back in the 80s. I also remember seeing Joan in an old cop drama as Eddie Cheung's pityful girlfriend who was shot and went into a coma, just when he was about to marry her. Amy Kwok was also in that drama, if I'm not mistaken. Can't remember what the drama was called but it was recently aired on Astro.

    Haha, City Japes is also one of my fave sitcoms ( I remember Deric's younger brother's name was 'Sai Mai wah' and his girlfriend in City Japese Ho Mei Ting also became his real life girlfriend for a while, right? That's the rumor I but I don't have it on tape. Wow, you can recite all the lines?! How many times have you watched this sitcom? :-D Do you also remember this other sitcom with Anita Yuen as a police woman and Chor Yuen as her dad? I think Francis Ng played her boyfriend in it, I think it was called "Karaoke" or was that another sitcom? ah, lol....that one was fun to watch.

    1. Oops, I made another typo - I meant to say Anita Lee Yuen Wah, not Anita Yuen, who was in "Karaoke". I thought she and Francis Ng Chun Yu made a cute couple there. :-)

    2. @Shiroja: part 1...
      All great points regarding Maggie! It’s totally obvious TVB doesn’t treat her the same as the other fadans from the 80s…true, she may not care, but still, for people like us who watched her series growing up, it's upsetting to see how she's relegated to playing such lame roles.....very sad because I really liked her and she used to be such a great actress!

      Oh and I like Louisa So as well (another great actress but hugely underrated) – TVB only started to ‘sort of’ recognize her after she won that cooking contest a few years ago…goes to show how lame they are cuz I already started to notice her back in the 90s, especially after her awesome performance in A Kindred Spirit…sure, her character Ah Kam was annoying at times, but she actually grew on me after awhile (due in part to Louisa’s awesome performance) – I actually cried buckets when her character died (also partly because I also liked the guy who played her husband – veteran actor Ram Tseung)…

      You’re welcome! Yup, there’s not much info on Joan, especially in English (I always suggest searching in Chinese cuz you’ll find a lot more info). No, I think you have the wrong person --Ben Ng is no longer active in the HK television industry....he moved his career to Mainland China years ago. He's actually from ATV and joined TVB sometime in the mid 90s. He actually didn't film very many series for TVB --the one most people will probably remember is that ICAC series Wars of Bribery from 1996...the one starring Aaron Kwok and Athena Chu (Ben was paired with Esther Kwan in that series).

      I know exactly which Eddie Cheung cop drama you're talking about (in fact, I was actually going to mention it in my previous comment, but wasn't sure if you'd seen it or not) -- you're talking about the series Siblings of Vice and Virtue from 1986....that's the one with Eddie Cheung, Kenneth Tsang, Lee Kwok Lun, Barbara Chan Man Yee, May Ho, didn't have Amy Kwok though (wrong era -- Amy is from the 90s Miss HK pageants...LOL). I guess you could say Joan was only a guest star in that's been awhile since I've watched that series, but I remember it was a pretty good series -- the cast was awesome (many of my favorites in there -- especially Kenneth Tsang, since for once he didn't have to play a "baddie"...haha). you're making me want to go rewatch that series again....haha.

    3. @shiroja: part2...
      Yup...absolutely loved City Japes (obviously huh?). Sai Mai Wah was such a classic character -- that was the first time I knew of Spencer Leung (the actor who played him) and he's actually not that bad of an actor, just not too lucky in the acting field....the other major role that people probably remember him for was as Felix Wong's younger brother in Looking Back in Anger (Felix and Spencer are still friends because of that series -- they still refer to each other as 'brother' whenever they chat on Weibo...hehehe).

      Also, the Deric Wan / May Ho relationship wasn't a rumor -- they really did date in real life...the reason I know is because there's a program that Lydia Shum hosted back in 1987 (which I have on tape) where she interviewed a bunch of real life celebrity couples at that time -- Deric and May were one of the couples interviewed (some of the others interviewed on that program included Felix Wong and his wife Annie Leung, Ray Lui and his then girlfriend /"wife" Kathy Chow, Michael Miu and Jamie Chik, etc.) If I remember correctly, Deric and May didn't date for that long (a few years I think) --not surprised that they broke up at that time because their personalities are quite different from each other....

      I actually lost count of the number of times I watched City Japes already (if I had to guess, I would probably say 5 to 6 times....). That was actually one of the first TVB series that I watched (because we had the entire series on video tape -- it's so long, it's like 40 something tapes...LOL) and to this day, it's still my all time favorite sitcom. The cast was awesome, the stories were funny, and the guest stars were absolutely fun to watch (that's actually one of the things I loved about the sitcoms from the 80s and 90s -- they had so many guest stars on there -- many of them 'big names' too -- that it was just fun to sit there and wonder who would should up next and how they would work him/her into the story). And yes, I still remember some of the lines from that series even now, even though the last time I re-watched the series was back in the 90s.

      The Francis Ng/Anita Lee sitcom was called "Family Squad" (1992)...that was another great sitcom that I enjoyed as well...loved the cast for that series (for the most part) and the guest stars were also quite interesting (the Eric Tsang episodes were kind of cheesy, but still pretty funny). Of course, I liked the Francis / Anita pairing cuz they just matched so well together personality-wise (in real life too -- they were dating during that time and I honestly thought they would get married because they were such a compatible couple). Some people feel that the sitcom sort of went a bit 'downhill' after Francis and Anita left the series (which is why they gave Bobby Au Yeung a bigger role and also added Dickson Lee and Louise Lee later on) -- I was actually ok with it because I love Bobby and Dickson is a great actor, so it didn't make a huge difference (plus Francis and Anita returned for the finale so that made up for things too...LOL).

      Unfortunately, Family Squad was pretty much the last of the truly funny sitcoms with an 'all-star' cast -- pretty much all the sitcoms that came after that one were boring to watch for the most part and were not as funny or meaningful as the previous ones.

    4. @shiroja: Part 3 (sorry, I responded kind of backwards....I guess I was too excited about discussing City Japes and so responded to that part first...haha)...

      Ah, I miss Wai Kar Fai too -- such a brilliant scriptwriter /producer!! Though with his talent, it was probably kind of obvious that he wouldn't stay at TVB for long, since at that time, the film industry was really the 'place to go' for anyone who wanted to make a name for themselves. Just like how directors Johnnie To and Wong Jing (both of whom worked for TVB in the 80s) eventually got 'upgraded' to the film industry, it was inevitable that Wai Kar Fai would too.

      You're absolutely correct about TVB being a 'well-oiled' star-making machine -- that's pretty much its biggest asset and one of the main reasons why so many artists signed with them in the past. In the HK television industry, there's a saying that goes around constantly: "If you want to became popular really fast, work for TVB". It's actually very true...and like you say, it's not that the artists who work for them are more talented, it's just that they get more exposure because TVB is pretty much the only choice that most HK households have when it comes to watching TV (it's either they watch TVB or don't watch TV at all). Oh and of course, TVB's 24/7 promotional tactics are well-known in the industry and are actually very effective....

      Yup, it's pretty much a given that CTI is not going to have any 'breakout' stars and to be honest, its series might not even get high ratings -- but I do believe that their series will have a certain following...pretty much the crowd (myself included) that values high quality acting (especially since the majority of the artists that CTI has signed are the 'talent-path' artists who are known for their acting skills). I don't think that people who prefer the younger, more popular siu sangs and fa dans will appreciate the series that CTI has to offer....

      Yes, it's sad what happened with ATV. To be honest, I actually prefer ATV artists more than TVB ones because most of the more 'skilled' actors / actresses came from there (alot of my favorites current and past favorites from TVB actually worked for ATV before jumping ship to TVB). In terms of TVB dominating over ATV -- well, I sort of feel it was partly because of luck and timing, but the main reason was because ATV's management sucked big time and made alot of wrong decisions that ended up running the station into the ground (TVB is actually going down the same path now). And they also did not have as much 'market share' in terms of having a place in audience's hearts as much as TVB did....that's why it's not surprising that so many artists who jump ship from ATV to TVB are able to achieve the fame and popularity that they were never able to get at ATV (and that goes for the behind-the-scenes people as well as the artists, since alot of TVB's current and past producers/writers were from ATV as well). The only "exception" I can remember (in terms of artists who weren't that popular at TVB but 'made it big' when they went to ATV) was Amy Chan Sau Man -- she went from being a second line fa dan at TVB to being first line fadan at ATV and most of her series were actually quite popular -- plus she's pretty much the only one who jumped ship from TVB to ATV and didn't return to TVB, most likely because she was more successful at ATV and would have just gotten mediocre roles at TVB (most of the artists who had done the same thing -- jumped ship to ATV -- ended up returning to TVB later on)

  5. thank you for another article LL, your blog is probably the only blog w/ details about CTI upcoming series. i really appreciate it. you know what LL, i actually want CTI new series to succeed not b/c i want tvb to sink or anything, but i just want for once tvb wake up and start doing something about their management and improve the quality of their series. they can always hired young and talented behind the camera people, i don't believe that HK is running out of talented director or writer. but then again, i don't want cti to take over tvb "empire", cuz who know cti might become another tvb once they become too success. i want it to work like how it is here in the State, w/ NBC CBS ABC Fox all compete for the ratings, we audience would totally benefit from that. so like it or hate it, for now, cti better do a good jobs on their new series lol.but....sigh...i'm not sure about Danson Tang, this guy is a total disaster not to mention way too feminine for my taste too lol, of all the good looking and talented young actor out their, ricky wong had to pick this guy, gosh, what was he thinking...sigh....then come noel leung in a modern series, don't get me wrong, i loves her back in the days, but the reason why she mostly in ancient series back then was b/c she couldn't shine in modern series. noel didn't fit modern series at all, not to mention in ancient series, she could only play one type of character, she always played the nice and traditional kind of girl, not something like wong yung in legend of condor heroes.
    anyway, we'll have to wait and see, hopefully ricky wong won't disappoint all of us, cuz we need him to "wake up" tvb lol.

  6. LL, btw, is there a way that u can post a bigger size of those group pix cuz i can only recognize those actors by faces rather than by names lol. thanks a bunch LL.