Thursday, March 21, 2013

Latest HKTV/CTI update: Information on HKTV’s new series “The Menu” (導火新聞線)

It’s been awhile since HKTV (CTI) held a press conference announcing upcoming series that they’re working on. Of course, this doesn’t mean that HKTV stopped  filming series – in fact, they’ve actually been working hard filming quite a few new series, it’s just that they haven’t been making formal announcements recently.   Not sure if they’re trying to keep things relatively low key now or something but I’ve noticed that overall, the ‘noise’ seems to have died down a bit (those who have been following this whole free TV licensing thing probably know what I mean).

In any case…. HKTV finally announced another new series a few days ago – though to be honest, I’m not sure if I would call this series ‘new’ persay because I’ve already known about this series for months.  HKTV actually included a trailer clip for the series already back when they did their sales presentation in December and throughout the past couple months, there has been much talk about this series on Weibo, so for me, it was pretty much just waiting for them to ‘officially’ announce it.

Back when I summarized my thoughts about HKTV’s sales presentation (those interested can read it here), I had already expressed an interest in this series and was pretty much just waiting for more information to come out.  Well, after seeing the cast list and reading the official plot summary, I’m definitely still interested! 

Just for the record, I’m not a fan of any of the 3 leads at all, but in this case, it’s fine because I like most of the supporting cast and also the storyline sounds refreshing.  I honestly can’t remember TVB doing a news media themed series in a long time (if ever) and certainly not one as intense as what this series (HKTV’s attempt) sounds like it will be (I recommend watching the trailer clip for the series – it was quite gripping!).  Also, like I said in my earlier post, this will be the first time that Noel Leung gets to do a ‘villain’ type role (she will play the ‘ruthless, ethically questionable’ chief editor described in the summary), which is definitely different from the ‘goody goody’ type roles she always used to get at TVB, so that will definitely be interesting to watch.

I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for more information about this series – that’s for sure! :0)


Latest HKTV/CTI update:  Information on HKTV’s new series “The Menu” (導火新聞線)

Source: HK Channel, Sina Weibo

Translated by:  llwy12 

HKTV held a blessing ceremony for its new media-themed series The Menu (導火新聞線) today.  Led by the series’ script coordinator Poon Man Hung (潘漫紅) [TN: former TVB scriptwriter who helmed the popular medical drama The Hippocratic Crush (On Call 36 小時)] and main director Ben Fong (方俊華) [TN:  former TVB director with dramas such as Moonlight Resonance (溏心風暴之家好月圓) to his credit], the cast and crew will join forces to create a brand new series that explores the theme of safeguarding freedom of the press while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of news reporting ethics and morality.   To increase the series’ dramatic element, the storyline will bring the rush of minute by minute news gathering techniques to the forefront through the depiction of newspaper reporters’ unwavering efforts to uphold societal righteousness and ethics in the midst of uncovering the truth about the movement to stifle freedom of the press.

The Menu features a cast consisting of both veteran and newcomer actors/actresses, including Kate Yeung (楊淇), Catherine Chau (周家怡), Noel Leung (梁小冰), Gregory Wong (王宗堯), Shek Sau (石修), Samuel Kwok (郭峰), Benji Chiang (姜文杰), etc.   During today’s press conference, the cast gathered on stage and introduced each of the characters that they would be portraying in the series.  Afterwards, the cast and crew were led by HKTV’s Managing Director To Wai Bing (杜惠冰) in a blessing ceremony to offer best wishes in advance for a smooth production and filming process.


The Menu (導火新聞線)

Creative Producer:  Lam Siu Chi (林少枝)
Copy Editor (Scriptwriter):  Poon Man Hung (潘漫紅)
Main Director:  Ben Fong (方俊華)

Cast: Kate Yeung (楊淇), Catherine Chau (周家怡), Noel Leung (梁小冰), Gregory Wong (王宗堯), Shek Sau (石修), Benji Chiang (姜文杰), Samuel Kwok (郭峰), Felix Lok (駱應), Dexter Young (楊天經), Anita Chan (陳穎), Li Fung (李楓), Brian Wong (黃澤), Maggie Wong (黃美), Lee Hong Kit (李鴻杰), Kwan Wai Lun (關偉倫), Chan On Ying (陳安), Cherry Pau (鮑康), Rachel Lam (林熹), Jones Lee (李忠希), Leung Kin Ping (梁建平), Eddie Li (李雨陽), etc.

Plot Summary:

Supervising and maintaining an orderly society has always been a responsibility that the Media should partake in and support –however, the perception of the news media is oftentimes synonymous with the promotion of violence, sex, bloodiness, and overall havoc in society.  The series will revolve around 3 female news agency workers with very different philosophies on life who, in efforts to gather material for publication of their free newspaper Smart Post (囧報), engage in nearly daily arguments and conflicts.  The chief editor of the newspaper is a woman driven by profit who does not hesitate in publishing unscrupulous, sensationalist reports, even if it means sacrificing moral reporting standards and ethics.  At the same time, the agency’s supervisory staff and reporters are filled with an almost patriotic desire to make the voices of the weak and vulnerable in society heard loud and clear, while simultaneously bringing to light society’s many injustices.  In the face of reality – that is, a commercialized society and the injustices that go along with it -- a newspaper that even those in the same industry look down upon, continues to persevere;  ultimately motivated by different goals, its staff continues to struggle daily to reveal – and, in some cases, hide – the truth.  In such a pressure-filled environment, how will the news agency’s staff uphold righteousness while at the same time protect their own reporting aspirations?


  1. haven't been here like forever lol.
    how are you ll jeh? (if you still remember me lol) miss you so much :) i leave comments for you at AF but never see any respond, so just wonder are we in a fight that i'm not even aware of? LOL

    thanks for update info on CTI series. i'm not fond of the three female leads either lol. like i had mentioned a while back to you, though i like noel leung a lot during her prime time, i never think of her as a "great" actress, maybe cuz of her constantly playing the same role (more like almost exactly same character in many of her series), due to her innocent face? lol but the funny thing about noel leung that i noticed in the past was she could only play ancient characters lol, she didn't "shine" or more like couldn't shine in modern series. so seeing her in this modern series kinda "scare" me a bit, it like ricky wong is gambling here lol. about kate yeung, saw her in some of tvb series, imo she isn't much of a first line actress material.
    can you tell me who that not so pretty catherine chau? lol never seen her before or maybe i did but didn't pay attention like how i saw that boyfriend of Joey Yung in movies before but didn't notice him cuz the guy wasn't anything special lol (what his name again? i totally forgot lol)
    i see problems in two of the three female wong better has a beyond good script for this series lol.
    But i seriously wish that half if not all of CTI upcoming series will achieve some kind of success, not that i'm a fan of CTI or anything, but they need to achieve some success so that it might motivate TVB.

    1. @kk: Hi there, my friend! Of course I remember you (why would I forget? LOL!). Yes, I did see the comments you left for me on AF – sorry I didn’t respond, as I forgot, since I don’t use the profile feed often (haha…don’t worry – were’ not in any fight…LOL!). But as I’ve said before – if you need to get a hold of me on AF, you should PM me, as I respond to PMs more than I do profile feed comments….of course, you can always email me on my blog as well (

      Anyway….definitely great to hear from you again! Thanks for commenting and please feel free to stop by more often (though if I don’t respond in a timely manner, please forgive me as I’ve got a lot going on at home and at work, so I don’t have as much time to spend on things as I would like).

      So with regard to the CTI series – I agree with you regarding Noel. I’ve always felt she was a decent actress (not “great” in comparisons with others, but definitely way way better than a lot of the current TVB ones) and to be honest, she did have quite a few “classic” performances that I’m still fond of to this day (in other words, she’s always been a ‘likable’ actress for me). Like you said (and like I mentioned in one of my earlier posts), part of the reason why she never got a chance to develop her acting skills is because she was always typecasted into similar roles when she was at TVB (which of course isn’t surprising cuz that’s the way TVB operates – they do that to majority of their actors/actresses) – that’s why I sort of give her the benefit of the doubt, since she has been doing completely different roles since joining HKTV (i.e. her role in their horror series Frightful Century is VERY different – a role she’s never done before and of course the one here is a borderline ‘villain’ role, which is also different). I think Noel has the opportunity to shine here – especially since she has been keeping her acting skills up by participating in various stageplays throughout the years (so it’s not like she’s going to be ‘rusty’ in terms of the acting). I’m actually looking forward to this series and willing to give Noel the benefit of the doubt.

    2. @kk: As for the series’ other 2 leads – Kate Yeung and Catherine Chau….first, I think you may have the wrong Kate…this particular Kate never worked for TVB. I honestly never even heard her name before prior to HKTV, but my understanding is that Kate is a movie actress who won a Best New Comer award at HKFA back in 2002. Her most famous role was in Sylvia Chang’s movie 20/30/40. I’m not 100% sure about her background though (since, like I said, I never even heard her name prior to HKTV coming into the picture) and I’ve never seen any of her performances, so really can’t comment on her acting, at least not at this moment.

      As for Catherine Chau – she was a supporting actress at TVB who is actually a pretty decent actress but never got much attention at TVB (not surprisingly given how TVB operates). She was actually in quite a few TVB series, but mostly in minor roles, which is why you probably don’t remember her (she definitely didn’t have any ‘memorable’ roles over there, which is pretty sad for an actress with potential like her).

      Yes, I agree that the cast for this series is kind of ‘weak’ in that there aren’t any ‘famous’ names in there – but the overall concept of the series does sound interesting, so if the script is good, I still think HKTV can pull this off (to be honest, what attracted me to this series in the beginning was the suspenseful trailer, not the cast).

      Lastly – I agree with you in that I hope HKTV’s series will be able to achieve success too. Before, I wanted them to succeed because of their impact on TVB, since finally, after years of crap, we are now beginning to see TVB change for the better…but now, I want to see HKTV succeed for a slightly different reason – because to me, they’ve been able to do something that TVB hasn’t been able to do in more than a decade: that is, treat the audiences (us) with sincerity and respect (for example – the seriousness with which they take the production of their series by using state of the art equipment, real location filming, etc. and ensuring utmost quality of their series as a BASIC TENANT….all that alone already proves to me that they want to give the audiences the best viewing experience possible)….that’s something TVB hasn’t been able to do (or wasn’t willing to do) in the past 10-15 years….to me, that’s already a huge motivating factor for supporting HKTV!

  2. Hi LL, it good to know that we're not in any fight atm lol.
    i really miss chatting with you :)
    off topic but my gosh i was so happy seeing TVB Rant "segment" back lol in other thread haha....*jumping up and down running around my room* LOL.
    thousands roses to you LL jeh, the one and only TVB Critique lol.

    sorry i got mixed up with catherine chau and kate yeung lol. i mean i saw catherine in tvb series before and i think her acting and look are pretty decent, so if given chance by ricky wong, wonder if she will be able to "shine", cuz like i said i don't really pay attention to her much in tvb series, there are way more better actresses at tvb that are more underrated and many actors too.
    but that not so pretty kate yeung (haha i know i feel so shallow saying this lol), now that you mentioned sylvia chang, i think i might saw kate somewhere in movies but i just can't remember which lol.

    about noel leung, i didn't know that she has been doing stage plays all these years it good then. i do agree she was totally a likable actress despite the typecast roles. the thing is, though she was typecast into certain role she still did very well in term of acting and her innocent face help too, she was really into her character as well which is the most important thing that i think many of tvb actresses now days are lacking (exclude actresses like krystal tin and elena kong lol the rest you know who am i talking about right? lol). imo though few of tvb actresses now days can act but they can't "absorb" into the character. i don't know how to explain this. but to me, though many fandans in the past were typecast into certain type of characters, i'm still able to enjoy their acting very much cuz for me they were able to get into characters. take flora chan for example, she always play the intellectual strong independent type but i can never get tire of her, or kenix with her "madame" roles.

    i totally agree with you on the part where HKTV has more "respect" for the audience, don't know about their series storyline or how good the script can be yet but from the trailers, at least they're willing to invest money in the cgi effect and art equipments, i seriously LOL with some of tvb series recently for their poor cgi effect, the quality of the camera angle and the wardrobes.
    oh another reason why i want HKTV (NowTV too lol) to succeed is this might give underrated actors at tvb more chance to succeed and "shine", cuz now they might have other places to work, places where they're more appreciated. i still don't think tvb change for the better yet maybe a little bit but still not enough, cuz they still haven't promote people that i think deserve more promoting like krystal tin and elena kong, instead they're trying hard to promote people like aimee chen christine kua jason chen, and some "goddesses"... i am seriously might have to give up tvb series next year lol, i was kinda looking foward to that ruco chan series with yoyo mung call ruse of engagement (?) but now that they make aimee chan the female lead i think i'll pass that series lol, though i don't think yoyo is a great actress but having her play second to aimee is like a slap in the face for yoyo, no wonder why she consider join HKTV lol. and then there other series with ruco and edwin as brothers, i seriously think that they should make kristal female lead, was so disappoint that they let linda chung lead over kristal, what is tvb thinking kristal's acting is so much more superior....sigh.....ok i'll stop now before my blood pressure is running high again lol. my "tolerance" for tvb is running so low lately lol, i'm officially sick of all the craps that came out of them in the recent years (excuse my language lol), tvb has really lost it especially in the past few years....

    1. @kk:  Haha…yea, I know I’ve been ‘slacking’ a bit with blog updates and such but hopefully I can get back into the groove of things again soon.  I miss our chats too! :0)  And thanks for the support on the TVB rant segments – I know how much you enjoy reading those!  LOL!


      Oh…so you did get the two of them mixed up….for a minute there, I thought you were referring to someone completely different…haha.  I can’t comment too much about Catherine and Kate, since I haven’t seen enough of their performances to actually judge – but this will be a good time for them to ‘prove’ themselves and show audiences their caliber as actresses.


      Totally agree with your point about artists ‘absorbing’ themselves into their characters and thereby making the characters / roles memorable and enjoyable (even if being typecast).  To be honest, this is where the ‘acting’ piece comes in and that’s why I’m not too surprised that many of today’s actors/actresses at TVB don’t have this trait (since most of them can’t act).  It’s sad to say that in the past 10-12 years or so, I’m not able to name very many characters/roles that are worthy of remembering – most of the ‘memorable’ characters/roles that I still remember and love to this day were mostly from the 80s and 90s.  Yup, the examples you gave were spot on – Flora and Kenix are 2 great examples of how typecasted roles can still be memorable and enjoyable….alot of it depends upon how they interpret the role and bring life to it for audiences.


    2. @kk: LOL…yea, I brought up the ‘respect’ thing because that’s truly how I’ve been feeling as of late.  I don’t know how many times I’ve asked myself over the past decade:  “Um, does TVB think we’re stupid or what?” – it’s because with a lot of the crap they’ve been churning out, I almost feel like they are trying to insult our intelligence.  Ok, I know that they feel very strongly about catering to housewife audiences because that’s the majority audience pool in HK, but honest to goodness, just because they are housewives doesn’t mean they are ‘stupid’!  I think TVB got way too caught up in the whole ‘無知婦嬬’ (‘ignorant housewife’) concept and so probably think that they can do/say whatever and people will still believe them.  Times have changed and along with it, the standards have as well…..but as usual, TVB is still operating in the Stone Ages and applying their old-fashioned way of thinking to everything they do.  Frustrating and lame!

    3. kk I totally agree with you regarding TVB still not promoting those who can act like Kristal and Elena but instead are promoting the likes of Aimee Chan, Jason Chan, and the other "goddesses".

      Yes the fact that Aimee lead over Yoyo Mung was a huge slap in the face. I'm so glad she left TVB cause they've been mistreating her for quite some time.

      Actually the thing with the brother series was that originally Ruco was suppose to take on Edwin's role and Moses was suppose to be the older brother. But Moses turned down the role so in the end, Ruco became the older brother and Edwin was added in. I felt so sad when I heard that because I liked the younger brother role more and my two favorites actors Ruco and Kristal pairing together again for a serious drama (not some silly/nonsense series like No Good Either Way).

  3. oh guess what i'm rewatching Armed Reaction right now, if i remember correctly it was one of Esther Kwan's classic? i love Esther she's number one on my list compare to other fadans of her generation lol. for me it Esther, Flora, Ada (i couldn't stand Ada's characters in the past cuz for some reason many if not all of them were so annoying lol, but i totally fall in love with Ada in To Catch the Uncatchable, her perfect comedic timing and chemistry with Dayo quiet shock me a bit lol) i actually put Ada number 3 on my list more for her real life personality lol, kenix (nobody can play "madame" like kenix lol, though the person that i think can play that kind of role well after kenix is yoyo), mariane (whatever happen to her? anyway she great in both dramatic and comedic role), jessica and maggie are fine lol i don't mind watching them haha.....

    who do you like the most ll? i mean out of the seven fadans in the 90's.

    i'm not quiet familiar with the 80's fadans, but from what i remember and to me they actually more pretty than the 90's fadans lol. the best thing about the 80's was the quality of the script. especially those jin yong series, though tvb change quiet alot but at least 80's tvb jin yong series were lot better than those Yu MaMa remake, and to think jin yong banned tvb for Yu MaMa's adaptation, the world has gone mad, that is the only "logical" explanation i can think of lol.

    (notice that i can be so off topic? lol sorry about that, so many things to talk to you about lol)

    1. @kk:  Oooh, yes….Armed Reaction is definitely a classic and can be considered one of Esther Kwan’s most representative works (talk about ‘memorable’ characters – her ‘Chu So Ngor’ character in that series is still one of the most memorable characters of the 90s to this day…and of course Bobby’s ‘Chan Siu Sang’ deserves a lot of credit too….loved the 2 of them in the series!). 

    2. Hmmm, 90s generation fa dans, eh?  Yup, I would put Esther at the top as well, though Flora would be a close second – Kenix would be right up there for me too.  The reason why I would put Kenix over Ada is because 1) to me, Kenix is more ‘natural’ when it comes to acting – every time I watch her on screen, I don’t feel as though she’s acting, and 2) just like you, I didn’t really like Ada’s characters in the beginning and in fact, found many of her roles annoying as hell (probably cuz she got a lot of those ‘ditzy’ flower vase roles who pretty much did nothing but yell and scream all the time) – it wasn’t until Ada started doing comedic roles that I really started appreciating her acting (loved her in To Catch the Uncatchable too!).  Again, shame on TVB for typecasting Ada in the same types of roles for so many years and not really giving her a chance to shine until later on.  Putting the acting aside however, I total agree with you in terms of ranking Ada higher because of her personality (absolutely started falling in love with her playful personality the past couple years, especially since Weibo started becoming popular….definitely enjoy reading her funny posts on Weibo and following her hilarious conversations with friends)....with that said though – since we’re talking more in terms of ‘acting’, I would definitely put Kenix next (after Esther and Flora).

      As for Jessica and Maggie – I’ve always felt that they’re fine actresses, but I’ve just never been a ‘fan’ of them myself (for some reason, their style of acting just isn’t my cup of tea).  Don’t get me wrong – I don’t mind watching either of them and I actually do enjoy their performances majority of the time….however if I were to list my ‘preferences’ amongst that batch of actresses, they would definitely be lower on my list. 

      I like Mariane too, but in comparisons to the others, she never filmed nearly as many series as they did, so there was probably a bit of a disadvantage there in terms of the opportunity to gain audience affinity.  But yes, she was definitely a fine actress as well – her representative work (Love is Beautiful with Anne Heung and Eddie Cheung) absolutely proved to me that she had the potential to become a might great actress someday if she had stayed in the industry.  But oh well – she’s better off now, since she has a successful business and is absolutely thriving as a business woman (and she still looks beautiful as well…kept up quite nicely if you ask me…haha).

      As for the 80s fadans – um, you probably don’t want to get me started on that era because I will probably never shut up.  Since I grew up in the 80s, of course that’s the era I’m most familiar with and have the most affinity with.  Frankly, if you were to ask me, it’s actually very hard for me to list who my ‘favorite’ fadans were from the 80s because there were just way too many great actresses from that era and it would be a travesty if I accidentally left anyone out.  But I can definitely tell you that my list of ‘favorites’ would be way way way longer than my 90s list…LOL!

    3. Oh and don’t even get me started on that jerk of a producer (damn ‘Yu Mama’) cuz I don’t think I can talk about him without cursing him out big time (ok, I’ll try to remain ‘civil’ here, as much as I can…haha).  The sad thing about Jin Yong banning TVB for Yu Mama – well, turns out that Jin Yong probably has nothing to do with it because based on what I’ve read over the past couple years, Jin Yong has a 3rd party company representing him (he doesn’t handle his own affairs anymore, probably due to his old age) and whenever production companies are interested in ‘adapting’ his material, they discuss it with the 3rd party, NOT with Jin Yong himself.  And it so happens that the head of that 3rd party company is good friends with Yu Mama – THAT’s probably the main reason why Yu Mama was able to negotiate such a good ‘deal’ in being able to adapt so many Jin Yong works, despite ‘butchering’ every single one of them!  No wonder the dude (Yu Mama) always acts like an arrogant jerk and whenever audiences complain about his ‘butchering’ and changing JY’s original adaptation (and his ‘habit’ of plagiarizing and copying from others), he doesn’t give a crap at all!   Not only that, he always makes it seem as though Jin Yong himself gave his ‘blessing’ on all his productions, casting choices, etc. when in reality, Jin Yong actually knows NOTHING about it!!  What a damn loser!!  Argh!! (see what I mean? Talking about him gets me all fired up! LOL!)

    4. Oh, speaking of Yu Mama….I saw an interview he did a couple weeks back that made me want to vomit….I didn’t watch the whole thing (cuz I was already sick to my stomach) but from what I did see, he was actually comparing his latest JY adaptation (that horrid ‘Swordsman’ series) to Oscar winning director Ang Lee’s ‘Life of Pi’, saying that the two were ‘on the same level’ in that both were ‘meticulous pieces of art that not everyone is capable of understanding’! WTF??? Sounded to me like the damn jerk was trying to compare himself to Ang Lee? Omg, is he freakin’ delirious? Or is he truly so darn full of himself that he thinks he’s worthy of Ang Lee level respect? Crazy fool! [Haha…ok, I should probably stop now….LOL!]

      Oh case you haven't noticed (LOL), I'm totally fine with people going off topic (especially since I do it myself all the time on my blog...haha). You guys can comment on anything you want on my blog, so don't worry about going off topic at all!

  4. lol I finally know why Kate looks so...familiar she was in the independent singer-songwriter Wallis Cho's MV for "hug".

    llwy12 I look forward to the series the same reason as you! First off I like Noel Leung so that's a grabing factor, and second the original trailer was so intense and totally grabbed my attention. The topic like you said is something never covered before which is great! Actually I remember there was a movie that starred Gigi Lai as lead, and Ruco Chan as minor role about news reporter/paparazzi but that's it.

    1. Oh and Kate was also if I'm not mistaken in Hocc's Butterfly musical. So I think she's also a stage actress.

  5. As for Catherine Chau I've always noticed her acting and she did pretty well in comedies. To me she was always underrated and had alot of potential that TVB never utilized cause they're too busy promoting those pageant winners.

    ah see these supporting actors get their chance over at CTI really makes me wish Ricky Wong would contact Mark Kwok and bring him back to dramas. The worst part is that I never really purposely watched his later roles in TVB because there were always jerk of the century or so important minor role.