Friday, October 19, 2012

My ‘TVB Rant’ # 23: Recap of My Thoughts on 2012’s TVB Series

I know this post might be a little ‘early’ considering there are still 2 TVB series for 2012 that have yet to air [the 2 anniversary series Silver Spoons Sterling Shackles (名媛望族) and The Confidant (大太監) ] but I wanted to do this post anyway, especially since all the other series have already aired (for the most part) so I feel it’s appropriate to share my thoughts on those – plus I’m only interested in watching 1 of the 2 anniversary series anyway and there’s no point holding back this post because of that one series.

Before I go into my commentary on this year’s series, there are a few ‘disclaimers’ that I have to make (yes, I’m anal about this kind of stuff, so my apologies if this seems too long-winded):

** When I refer to ‘2012 series’ in this post, I am using TVB’s Anniversary Awards as the ‘basis’ for the timing – so that means the series aired right after last year’s Anniversary Awards (which took place at the beginning of December last year) are considered 2012 series, even if they technically aired in 2011 (which is why I included both Bottled Passion and When Heaven Burns in this post) .

** Those who’ve been following my ‘rants’ for awhile probably know that my definition of ‘watching’ a series is different from most people’s and the ‘criteria’ I apply for whether I like a series or not is most likely different from mainstream audiences. This has especially been the case in the past decade or so when the quality of TVB’s series started to decline year after year and so I couldn’t bring myself to continue watching their series as ‘religiously’ as I used to (hey, my time is precious nowadays so I’m not going to waste it).

Out of all the series that aired this year, I’ve only actually ‘watched’ 4 to 5 of them in their entirety -- meaning that I watched the entire series from the beginning to end without skipping a single episode or a single scene. All the rest of the series I either only watched partially (which could range from a few episodes only to as much as 2/3rds of the series) or didn’t even bother watching period.

** As with all of my TVB rants, the below is strictly my personal opinion and doesn’t represent majority opinion. Therefore, those reading this post are welcome to disagree with me, as I respect different opinions and don’t mind hearing what others have to say (that is, as long as you don’t bash me for having an opposing opinion). It most likely won’t change my opinion, but it does give me some good ‘food for thought’.

** The below is only a summary of thoughts that come to mind about each of the series and is NOT considered a review of any of the series whatsoever (actually, this ‘recap’ is my LAZY way of sharing my thoughts without having to write a lengthy review…LOL). However, if I did happen to write a review for any of the series mentioned, I included the link to it as well in case anyone was interested in reading it.

** Note that I didn’t comment on every single series aired – only the ones that I felt like saying something about. However, I did list the rest of the series that aired this year at the bottom of this post just as a point of reference.

**Lastly, there is NO particular reasoning behind the way I listed the series – I pretty much just went with what came to mind as I was writing up this post.

Ok, so with all that out of the way, here’s a recap of my thoughts on some of this year’s series:

1) Bottled Passion (我的如意狼君)
Now that majority of 2012’s series have aired, I can safely say that BP was definitely my favorite series of the year! True, the ending absolutely sucked and I wish producer Lee Tim Sing (as well as the scriptwriters) would have done a better ending because of how negatively the ending detracted from the series – but overall (with exception of the ending), the series was quite well-written and pretty much the entire cast put in excellent performances (if it weren’t for the ending, I would have voted this series as the ‘Best Series of the Year’ in terms of awards and such…LOL). Also, this is the first series in probably the last 5 years or so that was truly an emotional roller coaster for me when watching it – I cried a lot during most of Raymond Wong and Niki Chow’s scenes (especially near the middle and end of the series) as well as some of the other heartwarming scenes in the series, but at the same time, I also couldn’t help smiling at some of the ‘light-hearted’ moments interspersed throughout the series (most of the Raymond Cho / Claire Yiu scenes as well as the Raymond Wong / Eric Li scenes).

I’m actually not going to comment too much on the series in this post, since I already wrote a lengthy review about it back in January after the series finished airing. But I will say that I’m currently re-watching BP again and enjoying every minute of it (it’s been less than a year since the series debuted and this is already the 3rd time that I’ve re-watched the series…goes to show how much I liked the series…LOL). Too bad that this series (and its cast) won’t get much recognition at the Anniversary Awards, since most audiences seem to have forgotten about this series already due to it airing so early (and in a ‘cannon fodder’ timeslot I must add)…such a pity!

Link to Series Review: Bottled Passion
Link to Themesong Lyrics translation: ‘Dawn Blossoms Picked at Dusk’

2) The Hippocratic Crush (On Call 36小時)
Out of all the series that have aired this year so far (not counting the 2 anniversary series), I feel that this series truly deserves to be called ‘Best Series of the Year’ because it was the most well put together in so many aspects -- from the near flawless script (a lot of the dialogue in this series was very beautifully written), to the logical plot and flow of storyline (the flow actually made sense and I found very little to criticize), to the good performances from majority of the cast (with a few exceptions of course)….combined with a great ending, this series had all the elements necessary to make it ‘best series’ in my opinion! It’s rare to have a series (especially nowadays) that blends all the elements so well (usually the cast is great but the script sucks or vice versa or both), plus have an ending that is very well done and ties up most of the loose ends without using the traditional cheesy TVB formula (i.e.: tragic ending, group BBQ, wedding scene, etc.) – in my opinion, the ending to THC was the best ending of the year!

Again, I won’t comment too much about this series here because I already said most of what I wanted to say in the review I wrote several months ago. In all likelihood, I will probably be re-watching this series again very soon (especially if the upcoming new series being aired don’t pique my interest). Oh, and just for the record – I am NOT looking forward to the sequel…in fact, I probably won’t even watch the sequel out of ‘protest’ because I was so adamantly opposed to TVB doing a sequel in the first place (I list out the reasons why in my review).

Link to Series Review: The Hippocratic Crush
Link to Themesong Lyrics translation: ‘Serial Drama’

3) Witness Insecurity (護花危情)
Despite a lot of the bad reviews for this series and the fact that the script was hugely flawed and the ending sucked as well, I actually did like this series overall – especially the first half of the series (I do state in detail in my review the reasons why I liked this series, so again, not going to say much here).

Currently this series is still in the number one spot on the ratings chart for this year (whether the series deserves it or not is another story) and if it can maintain its spot, it’s probably a good sign that the series or its cast will be a force to be reckoned with at the Anniversary Awards in December (though to be honest, I highly doubt that WI will stay in its position given that Highs and Lows is still airing and the 2 anniversary series will very likely be ratings winners – all 3 have the potential to knock WI out of the number one spot). Either way, I personally don’t really care, since ratings are not a factor that I consider anyway when I watch series (though of course it’s a driving force in the entertainment industry and for TVB when they determine who to give awards to). To me, whether the series is enjoyable to watch is more important…

Link to Series Review: Witness Insecurity
Link to Themesong Lyrics translation: ‘The Most Blissful Thing’

4) Tiger Cubs (飛虎)
This was another series this year that I liked enough to watch from beginning to end – and pretty much the only one where I will look forward to watching a sequel WITH THE ORIGINAL CAST if they decide to make one (if you haven’t figured it out already, I’m generally very much opposed to making sequels to series – especially TVB series – so the fact that I’m advocating a sequel to this series shows that it makes sense to do one).

It has actually been a long time since TVB has taken a production this seriously – from the costumes to the script to the action sequences, etc. – it was obvious that a lot of effort had been put into research and prep work. I also liked the fact that they (the production team / scriptwriters) stayed true (for the most part) to the concept of what the SDU truly does (tactical operation team that doesn’t get involved in the investigation of cases) rather than try to change things to suit their needs (like other series sometimes do).

Oh and I’m definitely glad that for this particular series, TVB chose to forego the whole romantic storyline thing and instead put most of the focus on the actual profession itself (SDU team) – the way that they kept the romantic storylines at a minimum (they touch on it, but don’t develop in detail) and focus more on the SDU missions and the police investigations made the series more fast-paced and meaningful (I actually learned a thing or two from watching this series…LOL!).

Too bad this series was aired on the weekends though because that timeslot really killed the ratings overall…true, it ‘broke records’ in terms of ratings for that particular timeslot, but the overall ratings sucked – the series didn’t even make it into Top 10, which means it likely won’t get much recognition at awards time (not that I care much about the awards anyway….but it annoys me to see good performances possibly not get recognized…)

5) When Heaven Burns (天與地)
I will admit that I barely watched a third of this series because, well, frankly speaking, the series that producer Jonathan Chik + scriptwriter Chow Yuk Ming have come up with in recent years just don’t appeal to me (I can’t even remember the last Jonathan Chik / Chow Yuk Ming series that I watched entirely from beginning to end – last one might have been back in the 90s some time….). But the ending was pretty good though and the MV concept was quite well-done (though I actually had to read commentary afterwards in order to truly understand the ending…haha…).

Of course I didn’t write a review on this series (since I barely even watched it), but I did put together some overall thoughts about the little I did watch back when I translated and posted the sub-theme song lyrics on my blog (link to that post here). That post pretty much sums up my thoughts on this series.

6) Gloves Come Off (拳王)
Given the sports-oriented theme, I definitely would NOT have chosen to watch this series on my own accord (sorry, but I generally find sports-oriented series / movies very boring, probably because I’m not into sports myself). The main cast also didn’t appeal much to me either, but since I like most of the supporting cast (i.e. Raymond Wong, Power Chan, Nancy Wu, Eric Li, Lau Kong, etc.), plus the series came on TV, I ended up watching it. In all honesty, the first half of the series was pretty good – in fact, the first few episodes especially were very well done. Unfortunately though, in typical TVB fashion, the series pretty much ‘fell apart’ in the second half – that’s the part when they started focusing on relationship issues between the main characters and so the series started to get extremely draggy…plus it didn’t help that the main story (about the whole boxing thing) started to go nowhere and didn’t really come back into play again until near the end of the series. Also, some of the characters were very poorly written and lacked development, which was annoying and definitely detracted from my overall viewing experience with this series – basically the only character who I feel was appropriately developed and stood out to me was Nancy Wu’s deaf girl character….everyone else I pretty much found were either underdeveloped or their characters ended up being annoying. Needless to say, I ended up skipping a lot of the series – to the point that I didn’t even bother tuning in to the finale episode (though I still found out about how the series ended later on).

7) Daddy Good Deeds (當旺爸爸)
This was actually one of the more watchable series from this year -- for a light-hearted comedy, this series definitely does deliver the goods. One of the things I enjoyed most was the witty dialogue, which was delivered with the right amount of comedic timing by the cast – the unique thing about the script was the rhyming dialogue that was interspersed throughout the series, which I felt was quite clever, especially since the way they worked that dialogue in, it sounded very natural and effortless (at certain points, I didn’t even realize the dialogue rhymed until someone pointed it out to me).

The other thing I liked about the series were the pop culture references, many of which were unique to HK culture. This is where I need to give props to the scriptwriters for being brave enough to go down this route because it’s definitely risky, since having too many HK pop culture references and ‘inside jokes’ that most likely only Cantonese-speakers would understand / appreciate limits the potential for this series to break out into other markets. But I guess as long as the HK audiences are able to relate and appreciate the series, that’s what matters most, since the ratings are based on HK audiences. Oh, and I have to mention the ‘guest star’ thing that they did in this series – though it wasn’t unique (TVB has done it before in other series), it was definitely fun to see who would pop up next and under what circumstances. I had read somewhere that some audiences felt the ‘guest star’ thing was merely a ‘gimmick’ to get people to continue chasing the series (curiosity factor) -- yes, that’s probably true but my thought on this is that as long as they incorporated the guest stars in a way that made sense (and didn’t just put them in randomly for the heck of it), then gimmick or no gimmick, I’m fine with it.

One last note….originally, I decided to watch this series primarily because of Steven Ma (since this was his last series with TVB) and Ha Yu (just because I grew up watching his series…haha) – of course, both of them didn’t disappoint in terms of their performances and I definitely enjoyed watching them….but in terms of ‘breakthrough’ performance in this series, Edwin Siu was definitely the one – he absolutely deserves some praise for his portrayal of ‘Ah Yap’, as he was truly pretty funny and his ‘obsession’ with finding his long-lost sweetheart was quite cute (plus his ‘chemistry’ with Steven and the rest of the cast was quite good). Overall, I’d say that this was an enjoyable series!

8) The Greatness of a Hero (盛世仁傑)
Even though I liked this series a lot (to the point of having re-watched it a few times already), I’m not going to comment much on it in this post because I actually don’t consider this a 2012 series. The series was actually produced 3-4 years ago and had already aired overseas (outside of HK) way back in 2009. I have no clue why TVB decided to warehouse this series in the first place or why they decided to all of a sudden air this series in their ‘golden’ timeslot so many years later (especially since some of the artists in the main cast no longer work for TVB). To me, it’s kind of stupid to air a series overseas and even release it on DVD, then ‘premiere’ it in HK years later as though it were a ‘brand new’ series -- given today’s technology, most HK audiences probably already saw the series on the internet back when it aired overseas anyway, so what’s the point of airing it as a ‘new series’ in HK? Kind of awkward if you ask me….seemed more like a space-filler series than anything else….

9) King Maker (造王者)
I’m generally not into ‘political thriller’ type series, but I decided to watch this one primarily because of the strong cast (when I say ‘strong’, I’m referring to the ‘acting’ piece, since the main cast consisted of established character actors who are known for their acting skills). Plus this was supposed to be a ‘follow up’ series to The Greatness of a Hero because of the collaboration between Kent Cheng and Wayne Lai – since both actors are among my favorites, I was definitely looking forward to watching the 2 of them match wits again!

To be honest, I can’t really say that I ‘enjoyed’ watching this series because some parts were a bit too slow and draggy, but overall I was able to ‘appreciate’ the series for the great acting performances from most of the cast (save for a few). Kent was excellent in his portrayal of ‘Tung Chiu’ and even though some audiences felt his acting was ‘exaggerated’, I actually beg to differ – his character was very complicated from a mental / emotional standpoint and in my opinion, the way Kent chose to portray the character was perfect…I actually don’t feel that anyone else would have been able to bring forth the ‘frustration and anguish’ component of his character as well as he did. Wayne was good too in his role, but I sort of felt he didn’t stand out much because the character of ‘Yu Jing’ seemed too much like the ‘usual fare’ for him – his character definitely wasn’t as complicated and interesting as Kent’s. As for the rest of the cast – let’s just say that overall, I was fine with most of the performances pretty much except for Natalie Tong….sorry, but I just can’t stand her in ancient series because she’s not a good fit for them – the way she says her lines and her body language, etc. are just way too ‘modern’ and it makes her performance unconvincing (just like she did back during Life and Times of a Sentinel, I felt that she was ‘reciting’ her lines rather than actually ‘performing’ her lines – maybe that’s why I felt there was little emotion to her performance…).

In comparisons to its supposed ‘sister’ series TGOAH, I have to say that King Maker is on a completely different level altogether – the plot and storyline for KM was way more complicated and the dialogue was more arduous. Both series are worth watching though!

10) Divas in Distress (巴不得媽媽…)
Ok, I will be honest and say that I initially had absolutely no intention of watching this series whatsoever, since I can’t stand Liza Wang (never liked her, both as an actress and as a person) and I knew she would be playing another one of those irritating bxxch characters again in this series, which meant that I would be forwarding through majority of her scenes so I wouldn’t get a headache from listening to her yell and scream at people (LOL). I also wasn’t too fond of most of the cast either (um, sorry, but Chin Ka Lok and newbie actress Eliza Sam being cast as the leads in the series really turned me off)…. so even less motivation to watch.

I actually decided to watch this series primarily because of producer Poon Ka Tak (he also produced THC as well as a lot of my favorite series from the 90s, such as DIF and UE) and even though I was disappointed with the series overall (the script was all over the place and a few of the characters were underdeveloped….plus there were other things as well), there were some good things that came out of the series – for example, the overwhelming support and recognition that veteran actor Koo Ming Wah got for his portrayal of ‘So Kei’! He was absolutely the highlight of this series and if it weren’t for him, I definitely would not have even bothered sitting through the series at all (I did forward through majority of the episodes though, so I guess I technically didn’t sit through the ‘entire’ series per se…LOL). I also did end up liking some of the other supporting cast’s performances too though (i.e. Lee Sing Cheong, Mimi Chu, King Sir, etc.)

Interestingly enough, the series got high ratings and surprisingly, even made it into Top 3 on the ratings chart! Though on the one hand, the high ratings is a ‘good’ thing for supporters of Koo Ming Wah (like myself) in that it raises the chances for him to get the Best Supporting Actor award at the Anniversary awards ceremony (he’s pretty much the most deserving one to snatch that award so far this year), but on the other hand, that also means the other less outstanding (and less deserving) performances in the series also have a bigger chance at getting an award (not going to name names but I’m sure most people know which ‘performances’ I’m talking about). Ah well – I’m probably not going to like the results of this year’s anniversary awards anyway, so it doesn’t really matter, I guess….

11) Highs and Lows (雷霆掃毒)
I wasn’t planning on watching this series either since I don’t like majority of the cast, but due to Michael Miu and Ben Wong, plus a potentially interesting storyline, I decided to give the series a shot. Quite honestly, the series did start off pretty strong with the action-packed scenes and the interesting first case, but the plot really started to drag around the 5th or 6th episodes and unfortunately, it continued to drag throughout the rest of the 2nd week of airing. Also, the ‘wishy-washy’ nature of the plot – especially the whole thing about trying to figure out who is the ‘black cop’ and who isn’t -- really started to frustrate me…in addition, quite a few elements of the plot don’t make any sense and the slow pace of some of the cases made the middle part of the series difficult to sit through. I also feel that the storyline surrounding Michael is very poorly developed – it started off strong in the first few episodes with him going undercover and such, but lately, it seems the focus is more on his relationship struggles with Elaine Ng (another actress I can’t stand). Oh and maybe it’s just me, but the plot and characters in this series reminds me too much of Lives of Omission….I’m starting to wonder if TVB’s scriptwriters got lazy again and lifted ideas from LOO, then repackaged it into a different series thinking that we audiences won’t notice? In any case, I already dropped the series….though I’ll probably still tune in for the finale just to see what happens (and to see whether the ‘spoilers’ that just came out about the ending are true or not….)

12) The Last Steep Ascent (天梯)
You would think that based on producer Lee Tim Sing’s good name alone (plus seeing how much I loved his previous series Bottled Passion and TLSA is supposed to be similar in terms of the love story theme and the pre-modern genre), that would be enough motivating factor for me to give this series a try? Under normal circumstances, that probably would have been the case, especially since there are quite a few of Tim Gor’s past series that I liked – but with this series…well, um, NO. Why? Two main reasons:

.—The story: TLSA is supposed to be ‘loosely based’ on the real life story of a husband who built a 6000 step ‘ladder of love’ for his wife. I’ve read the original [real-life] story (several times in fact) and it truly is a very touching love story – it brings tears to my eyes every time I read it. Unfortunately though, the series itself pretty much has NOTHING to do with the original story except for like the first and last episodes – everything else in the story is pretty much made up. In fact, producer Lee Tim Sing himself said that he had to add other elements to the story (such as the family inheritance battle and love triangle storylines) because the original ‘love ladder’ story itself is not enough material for a 20+ episode series (he said that if he were to stick only to the original story, it would only be enough for 5 episodes or less). Call me hard-headed if you want, but I’m just one of those people who can’t stand adaptations (whether TV series or movies) that stray too far from their original works (unless I haven’t read the original story or book yet – in which case I’m less likely to care). Plus, as much as I like Lee Tim Sing, he unfortunately has a track record for taking huge liberties when it comes to producing series based on original stories / books (most of the series that I like of his are non-adaptations) – based on everything I’ve read, this series is no exception in terms of the ‘huge liberties’ part…so in order not to frustrate myself, I chose to pass on this series after only watching the first 2-3 episodes.

.—The cast: The other reason why I’m not interested in watching this series is because I don’t like majority of the main cast. Maggie Cheung is a good actress, but she’s just not my ‘cup of tea’ in terms of actresses that I like to watch onscreen (don’t ask me why, but she’s just never appealed to me for some reason) – I don’t dislike her, so I have no problems watching a series with her in it, but I definitely wouldn’t ‘purposefully’ watch a series just because of her. As for Moses Chan….well, to be honest, I’m sort of sick of him now and can’t bear to watch him onscreen anymore – he’s had way too many OTT roles over the past few years, to the point that nowadays when he tries to go back to those serious, dramatic-type roles, it’s just not convincing anymore (plus I find his performances bland and boring nowadays anyway so even more reason not to watch). Kenny Wong is a decent actor, but unfortunately, he’s extremely boring to watch (not sure if it’s him or the characters he’s given to play), so knowing that he is the second male lead in this series diminished my desire to watch. And lastly, there’s Aimee Chan, who is considered the second female lead in this series – no offense to her fans, but I really can’t stand Aimee’s acting….yes, part of it is the poor Cantonese (which is one of my pet peeves and annoys the hell out of me), but also something about her acting just comes across very unnatural and ‘fake’ to me (I heard that her acting had actually improved in this series, but um, sorry, still not interested). Outside of the main cast, I heard that the supporting cast performances have been quite good though….

** Spoiler Alert***

Even though I haven’t been watching TLSA, I’m still planning on tuning in for the finale episode, primarily because that’s one of the few episodes that actually talks about the original ‘love ladder’ story (curiosity factor for me) – plus I just found out that there will be a special guest star in the last episode: Raymond Wong will be making a cameo appearance as one of Maggie’s grown sons – I read that he will be in at least half of the last episode (I’ve been re-watching Bottled Passion again lately, so obviously I’m in the ‘Raymond’ mood right now…LOL).

13) Ghetto Justice 2 (怒火街頭2)
I started watching this series only because my mom was watching it and I was curious to see if it would live up to the ‘hype’ of the first installment (which I actually didn’t finish watching either). Given the fact that I’m NOT a Kevin Cheng or Myolie Wu fan (in fact, I can’t stand either of them in terms of acting), I’m actually not surprised that I dropped this series barely a third of the way into it (though I did continue watching some of the Raymond Cho scenes throughout the rest of the series because I just love the guy too much…haha!)

The biggest turnoff with this series for me was the fact that TVB cast so many ‘non-Cantonese’ speakers in this series and gave a few of them pretty heavy roles. As mentioned earlier, this is one of my biggest pet peeves because, well, when I watch a series, I want to be able to understand what the characters are saying without having to resort to subtitles (having to read subtitles distracts from the viewing experience and is extremely annoying!). I know people will probably think I’m anal for harping on this point, but I don’t care – to me, the language thing is a ‘basic requirement’: if you’re going to film a Cantonese series, then learn to speak decent Cantonese – otherwise, don’t take on a ‘lead’ role and ‘torture’ us audiences with having to listen to your broken Cantonese in every episode! (I’m actually more ticked off at TVB on this one than at the artists, since the casting decisions lie with TVB). For some of the episodes, I felt like I should have just put the sound on mute and read the subtitles instead (yes, it was THAT bad) – needless to say, I’m glad I dropped this series as quickly as I did!

14) L’Escargot (缺宅男女)
Obviously, I watched this series because of Michael Miu and even though his performance was good (Sonjia Kwok’s performance wasn’t bad either), the overall plot / storyline wasn’t anything to shout about. I mean, it was interesting in the beginning to see how Michael’s huge family handled living together in such a small, cramped space and the various challenges they faced because of it, but halfway through the series, that premise started getting ‘old’. Plus I felt the plot was all over the place, so not surprisingly, I lost interest in the series fairly quickly.

With that said though, there were definitely a few standout performances in the series , mostly from Oscar Leung and Mandy Wong (though to be honest, I sort of got annoyed with Mandy’s character after awhile). But the thing that REALLY ruined this series for me was the stupid love triangle storyline thing between Ron Ng, Linda Chung, and Michael Tse! Linda’s character was just downright annoying and throughout the series, I just felt like slapping her silly (I ended up forwarding through a lot of her scenes in the second half); no comment on Ron’s performance because I never pay attention to him anyway in any of the series he’s in (for some odd reason, I always find his performances bland and boring); and Michael Tse – well, let’s just say that I was still in my ‘boycott Laughing Gor’ mood back when I watched this series, so I didn’t pay much attention to him either (plus his character in the series was a jerk anyway).

Overall, I guess you could say that I didn’t like this series much so it was probably wise that I forwarded through majority of the series and only watched a few episodes here and there….would have been a time-waster for me to sit through majority of it!

15) No Good Either Way (衝呀!瘦薪兵團)
I barely watched half of this series, so I’m probably not the best person to be commenting on it. But I will say that the first thought that comes to mind about this series is that I felt like I was watching a sitcom rather than an actual series (perhaps because several of the cast members -- for example, Stephen Au, Florence Kwok, Celine Ma, etc -- are ‘sitcom regulars’?). Plus there were quite a few people from the sitcom Be Home For Dinner in this series as well, so I guess it’s not too surprising that I would get the ‘sitcom feel’ from it.

Overall, I felt that the series was decent and I actually did like the pairing of Ruco Chan and Kristal Tin – but I also sort of felt this series was a waste of their talent because the characters they portrayed really weren’t that interesting. I mean, I’m happy that both of them got lead roles, but still….I definitely prefer to see them collaborate in a more interesting series if possible…


To round out the list, here are the rest of the series (not including sitcoms) that aired this year (in no particular order)….I don’t have anything particular to say about these series because I barely watched them – I basically included them in this post merely as a point of reference :

Wish & Switch (換樂無窮)
Let it Be Love (4 in Love)
Queens of Diamonds and of Hearts (東西宮略)
House of Harmony and Vengeance (耀舞長安)
Three Kingdoms RPG (回到三國)
Master of Play (心戰)


That pretty much does it for my ‘recap’ of this year’s series….I may end up doing a follow up post after I watch The Confidant, but not sure yet at this point….depends on whether I end up liking the series or not….


  1. Wah, you've done your yr end recap so early but it is ok as the Xmas decorations are already up:)FYI, I'll be away on holidays for a mth so don't miss me too much, haha.....Due to my reliance on cable tv, I'll miss more than half of the 2 anniversary series:( I'll only get to watch the endings.

    Thanks for the annual review:) I pretty much agree mostly with you except I fancy Tiger Cubs much less than you & I like 3 Kingdoms more than you. Probably because I don't like to watch movies so I don't like Tiger's style. As for 3 Kingdoms, this drama has the worst ending of the year but it is refreshing & I've a soft spot for KM & used to fangirl RL b4 he joined that rotten EGG coy, lol.

    Although BP is an old-fashion story & loosely based on a Korean drama, I was captivated by it & stayed up every night to watch it concurrently with HK. Whereas I practically slept thru TLSA. i guess it is bcos I feel so much more for RW & NC's love story than MC & MC. I feel that Moses has been sleep walking fr beginning to ending. I stayed up last night to watch the ending just for RW:) I cannot miss Tung Boon Sin's resurrection from the death:P I am thinking Uncle Lee gave him this cameo role to compensate me for BP's bad ending:) Sorry, I never shed a tear for Moses, not even at the very end. I strongly believe I might like this drama better if someone else is in the role.

    The Hippocratic Crush is the best drama in 2012 for me. I rate this slightly higher than BP bcos this drama has a better ending & is more relevant to life. I've always like KM & HC makes me like him a lot more, lol. I feel this is the best written medical drama fr TVB, so much better than that overated Healing Hands.

    I feel Witness Insecurity, Gloves, L’Escargot & No Good Either Way are just average dramas. Started out promising but went downhill thereafter so I lost interest in them b4 the ending. I continued watching them for Bosco, Raymond, Michael & Ruco. When Heaven Burns is draggy & boring but with nice songs & the 'what if' ending. GJ2 is a waste of my time so I won't waste anymore time in writing more:P Except 3Ks, those dramas that you barely watch are not worth mentioning.

    Daddy Good Deeds & Divas are two watchable dramas to enjoy & laugh with your family during dinner time:) I like King Maker more than Greatness of a Hero as I feel it has better & more focus storyline or maybe bcos I've forgotten abt Greatness. I like the ending for King Maker being so fitting to the story. Will reserve my judgement on H&L till I watch the ending but I'll repeat this. I think the drama title start high & end low might best describe it:)

  2. @BOGAEfan: LOL…yup, a bit early but that’s because I don’t really care much for the 2 anniversary series anyway and the only one I’m really planning on watching is The Confidant…so I figured might as well just do this post now….

    What, you’re going on holiday for a month? And you didn’t ask my permission? Hey, that’s not allowed! Hahaha…JUST KIDDING! Anyway, enjoy your time off….I’ll definitely miss talking to you though!

    Glad to hear that I wasn’t too far off in terms of my assessment of this year’s series…I know that sometimes my tastes can be quite different from that of most audiences, so it’s good to see that someone agrees with me at least…haha!

    That’s interesting about Tiger Cubs – maybe because I’m used to watching movies, I actually enjoyed the ‘movie-like’ feel to the series, plus the relatively fast pace…definitely quite enjoyable. As for 3 Kingdoms, I actually only watched the first and last episodes, so I didn’t even bother commenting on the series – I heard that the series got mixed reviews and since I’m not too fond of the main cast (except for Kenneth and a few of the supporting cast), plus the computer graphics were horrible, right? I’m glad I passed on this series because it would have definitely been a waste of my time.

  3. @BOGAEfan: Totally agree with you on BP – I ‘chased’ that drama like crazy and was pretty much ‘obsessed’ with it at the time it aired (meaning that I read everything that I could get my hands on about the series and the artists…and I started following some of the cast’s weibos that I didn’t follow before, etc.). I definitely agree about the emotional factor too – I cried so much throughout BP, but was not moved at all in the little that I watched of TLSA (which was probably like 4 episodes altogether, if that). As I said in my post, I watched the finale primarily because of Raymond Wong (haha…that was the best part for me…I just kept counting down the minutes waiting for him to come on….and of course, he was AWESOME in the small part that he had…LOL!). Interestingly enough, the kid who played Maggie’s oldest son (whom Raymond Wong played in older age) was the same kid from BP (his name is Buzz Chung, I believe) – so, see, you actually CAN say that they ‘resurrected’ Tung Boon Seen!!! Oh and the little sister was played by none other than the girl who played Ngau Nai Tong (Niki Chow’s character) in BP!!! So yea, us obsessive BP fans can think of it as Lee Ho and Ngau Nai Tong reuniting again…hahaha!

    If I ever were to watch TLSA (which I highly doubt will ever happen), pretty much the only person I would want to watch it for (other than those cute little kids) is Helena Law (who played Maggie Cheung’s mother-in-law). She is a truly truly great senior veteran actress whom I also grew up watching and I know that I will definitely enjoy her performance no matter what. But again, like I said earlier, there’s nothing else worth watching with this series and since I’m tired of forwarding through practically every single series nowadays, might as well just skip it!

    Not sure if it was clear from my post, but I actually did rate THC higher than BP in terms of ‘quality’ and such, though in terms of personal favorites, BP is still number one for me. And yes, absolutely agree that this series was way way better than Healing Hands (which I sort of made obvious already in my review, so not going to elaborate too much here).

    Thanks for your comments on the other series….pretty much agree with you on all of it except for the Greatness of a Hero / King Maker piece…the storyline for KM was definitely better and so was the acting, but since I watched Greatness first (and have watched it several more times since it was first released 4 years ago), I still have a certain soft spot for it.

    Lastly, regarding HAL – yes, I agree that the series will very likely turn out similar to its title. Btw, did you read the spoilers that just came out about the ending (not sure if you’re the type who likes to read spoilers or not)? Well, in case you don’t like to know about spoilers, I’m not going to reveal any of it here – but from what I read on-line, there’s already quite a ‘backlash’ towards the ending for HAL (well, the ending that was ‘revealed’ by the tabloids that is…whether that will truly be the ending remains to be seen…). I personally don’t really care, but reading the spoilers made me curious to watch the ending now to see if all that stuff actually happens…

  4. I find Tiger Cubs too short for meaningful character developements. Maybe the sequel will be better. I need time to get warm up:P Yah, 3 Kingdoms is a low budget drama. The ships look like match boxes, lol. If TVB has spent more $ on it, it could have been a lot better. Actually KM overacted the funny parts but his acting is quite good towards the end but not sad enough to cry bcos the love story is so random. Should have ended on a funny note with some characters fr 3 Kingdoms transporting to HK:) Or just end it in ancient time.

    TLSA is not exciting. In fact I find it very boring. Thus, my advice to you is don't bother watching. The best part is the ending with RW, haha...Yah, I notice the 2 kids but she is her sis, not gf:( Should have asked Nicky to guest star as RW's wife or gf or put a clip of BP:)

    KM really nail the character in THC but I've a feeling TVB will give the award to RL ala a long service award for being TVB top cash cow, lol. I pity MM in Highs & Lows. I wonder if the spoiler is accurate as I always think he is a good cop who is going undercover to get more info on the mastermind behind the drug sydicate. At least, the pairs I don't like won't end up together. Support Ella although she is wasted on such a bland character:P

    I look fwd to Silver Spoons Sterling Shackles more bcos of KM & Damian & story of that turbulent era. The Confidant looks boring bcos of its political tone as well as the Manchu dynasty. Pls, I don't want to see another drama based on it because I know their history too well, heehee...Will discuss further with you in Dec.

    1. TLSA ending - LOL...yea, I know the 2 kids were siblings in the series, but just seeing the two of them in there and then RW showing up again gave me warm feelings all over again (haha). Yes, they definitely should have had Niki do a cameo, since it's obvious RW's character got married - I would have been overjoyed to the point of ecstatic of that had happened! LOL!

      I felt that KM nailed the character in THC too (which is probably obvious from my review)....but I highly doubt he will get TV King (due to TVB politics) be honest, I'm fine with Kenneth getting it this year, since his performances have been good, plus out of the so-called Top 10 contenders at this point (I use the word 'so-called' because it's not the official top 10, but rather the tabloids' version of top 10), he's the only one whom I feel truly deserves it (aside from Wayne, since I have yet to watch The Confidant so will reserve judgment until then)... but of course, if it were up to me, I feel that Kent Cheng (for King Maker) and Raymond Wong (for Bottled Passion) deserve it most, but since there's no way that either one will even get nominated, let alone win, I pretty much gave up on 'caring' about that particular category anymore...

      Yup, I also feel sorry for MM in HAL - it's obvious that once again, TVB is 'using' him to push up their own favorites (RL in this case)...I pretty much lost interest in the series after MM's storyline started going nowhere....

      With regard to the anniversary series - I'm actually the opposite....even though I'm already sick of the whole imperial palace theme thing, I still want to watch The Confidant more because of the cast (since I like practically the entire cast except for Aimee Chan and Natalie Tong)...I'm not too concerned with the storyline because I already know that it's based on history, so I'm not expecting any breakthroughs where 'creativity' is concerned - I'm just looking forward to seeing some excellent acting, which I know the cast (with exception of the two I mentioned) will be able to deliver. It's sort of the same feeling I had prior to watching King Maker - the storyline may not be very attractive, but the acting made up for it.

      Also, the primary reason why I'm not looking forward to (or even planning on watching) SSSS is because I'm not fond of the cast and also I'm not interested in the storyline - the family drama and infighting thing is starting to get boring....if I liked the cast, I would be able to tolerate it, but seeing that the only people I would want to watch are Damian, Kenneth, Ben, Vincent, Mary Hon, and Elena Kong, it's probably better that I pass (plus, as much as I love Damian Lau, I haven't really been able to stomach most of the series he's been in over the past 10 years or so because the series themselves have been boring or the cast didn't appeal to me....if I remember correctly, I believe the last series that I saw of his completely from beginning to end was Catch Me Now....besides, I'm really not interested in watching Damian getting all lovey-dovey with 5 women....the whole premise of the series just sounds too 'gimmicky' to me, especially after watching the trailers....LOL)

  5. I have yet to watch Bottled Passion but for sure I know it's good cause my parents were pretty much glued to the tv when it was airing! Although they based it on the Korean drama the same can be said for The Hippocratic Crush which is based on Greys Anatomy.

    I just wasn't interested in the storyline of THC and the way they portray doctors as such goodie two shoes when many doctors in real life are just doing it for the money. Some medical worker even cause death of patients and gets away with it.

    1. @sport3888: "Glue to the TV".....haha...that sounds like how I was too when BP first aired! And even after I already watched the series once, I still found myself glued to the TV set (or my computer) every time I re-watch the series....LOL! I'm pretty sure you'll like the series when you get around to watching it. :0)

      To be honest, practically every TVB series nowadays have some elements that were 'lifted' from other series - I'm so used to it already that I pretty much don't take that factor into consideration anymore, unless it's something extremely blatant or outrageous (of course not advocating plagiarism here by any's just that it's something I don't pay much attention to anymore....)

      Actually, I felt that THC was quite realistic in the way they portrayed the doctors, though yes, you do have a point about the whole 'darker side' where some medical people engage in malpractice and stuff....I sort of feel the series did touch on that a little bit though with that part later on in the series where Mei Suet (Mandy's character) purposefully doesn't heed the instructions or advice of others and performs that medical procedure on a patient and getting herself in trouble because of it....of course, the purpose of the series was more for inspiration and encouragement, so not surprised that they would try to keep the message positive with the series.

      I actually preferred the way the doctors were portrayed in THC versus HH because as I said in my review, it's more realistic to think of them as 'ordinary people' underneath their doctors' robes -people who go home and spend time with their family and have to deal with similar issues that us ordinary folks face (THC) rather than some 'god' up on a pedestal who spend their time outside of work going to fancy bars, sipping red wine, and hitting on girls (HH).