Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Premiere of HKTV Series online -- PART 1

A few days ago, HKTV started up a ‘movement’ on Facebook asking whether audiences were interested in watching the first 5-10 minutes of the first episode of all their series online.  The response was overwhelming, as within hours of their post on Facebook, they received over 5000 likes/comments from people (like me for instance) who were interested in seeing what HKTV had to offer (and since they still don’t have their license yet, releasing the clips on the Internet is pretty much the only option they have at the moment). 

So far, they’ve released clips for 3 of their series (with more coming) and I must say that I definitely like what I see!!   All 3 clips were very well made, both from a visual standpoint (graphics, etc.) as well as storyline and acting (so far).  Actually, now I’m wishing that HKTV would just put the entire first episode of each series up instead of just the first few minutes because honestly, a few minutes is really not enough (I was so engrossed in the clips that I felt like I blinked and it was over already…LOL).

Great job to the HKTV cast and crew!  Watching these clips was definitely a breath of fresh air for me – especially given the dismal state of TVB’s series in recent months (gosh, I don’t think I actually sat down and seriously watched a TV series since the year started!).  For me, one of the highlights of watching these clips is that I don’t have to keep watching the same artists / pairings onscreen all the time (when you start seeing the same artists playing the same types of roles in series after series -- as TVB has been doing --  it starts to get boring!) – plus I was super-excited to see artists back on the small screen whom I hadn’t seen in a long time (William So, Liu Kai Chi, Yu Mo Lian, just to name a few).  It was also refreshing to see some new faces pop up (well, they may be ‘new’ to me because I’ve never watched their previous works but not necessarily ‘new’ to the industry). 

Lastly….below are a few of my thoughts on the clips released so far (sorry, can’t say much since the clips were so short…bummer…).  But hey, at least we get to see more than what was in the sales presentation, so that’s definitely a plus. 

P.S.:  Damn HK government!!!  Stop fooling around!!!  Issue those darn licenses already, will ya!!!!  Argh!!


Once Upon A Song (童話戀曲201314)

My comments:

.—This has got to be my favorite clip so far out of the 3 released!  I love the upbeat nature of the opening segment and the lighthearted humor that made me laugh without even thinking about it (the natural kind of humor that doesn’t try to be funny but ends up being funny because of the dialogue and interaction of the characters). 

.— In the short, few minute clip alone, Jason Chan already left quite an impression on me with his performance as ‘Handsome Chan’ (still can’t get over that name…haha).  His interaction with William So’s character ‘Da Wai Gor’ was absolutely hilarious (I actually miss William’s acting – he always comes across very natural to me in his roles, as though he is playing himself every time).  I especially enjoyed the scene where Da Wai Gor describes all the stuff that his missing dog used to do for him and Handsome agrees to do all those things despite not knowing what most of the stuff meant (LOL).

.—The girls in the clip did a good job as well.  I’m actually not familiar with Evelyn Choi at all, but so far, her performance as ‘Yan Tze Ching’ wasn’t bad at all  (though of course I would have to watch more of the series to really see).  Lesley Chiang also did pretty well with her role as ‘Kalie’ (so far) – her facial expressions were pretty spot on, which is pretty impressive considering this is her first acting gig (oh and her dialogue was pretty funny as well).

.—Overall, definitely looking forward to watching this.  HKTV:  Please release the rest of the episode!!!

Brain Opening Detective (開腦儆探)

My Comments:

.—To be honest, showing a mere 6 minutes wasn’t enough to really get the ‘feel’ for this series.  Unlike the other 2 clips, I actually didn’t feel anything when I watched this  (honestly, all I could think about was ‘Yay, Felix back onscreen again!’  LOL!)

.—The scene showing Felix’s son getting shot was interesting, but I kind of felt they did the ‘kid getting shot’ scene better in Police Boundaries than they did here – the one here was too ‘science fiction-ish’ (if that’s a word), especially with the whole slow motion thing and such.  But I’m thinking perhaps that was done on purpose because according to the plot summaries, this series will have a ‘supernatural’ element to it – if that’s the case, then it explains why those scenes were shot that way.

.—By the way….I’m trying to figure out who plays Felix’s wife in the series (her appearance in the clip was way too brief for me to tell).  I do like the ‘refreshing’ team of Sam Lee pairing up with Felix to solve cases though – now that’s a collaboration we haven’t seen before.

.—All in all, I will probably still watch this because of Felix, but so far, the ‘premiere’ segment wasn’t really too exciting for me.

Police Boundaries (警界線)

 My Comments: 

.—The 11 minute opening segment that they showed of this series was AWESOME!!  I was at the edge of my seat practically the entire time and felt like it went by way too quickly (honestly, it felt more like 5 minutes than 11…).  This has actually been the number one anticipated HKTV series for me since it was announced last year and sure enough, the opening segment didn’t disappoint.

.—Love Liu Kai Chi (he’s one of my all-time favorite veteran green leaf actors), so I’m definitely thrilled that he has such a heavy role in this series (he’s definitely one of the leads and in most of the rundowns, his name is even listed first!  Yay!).  He was witty and cool in the opening segment and by the looks of it, his character is going to be a very interesting one (and no, doesn’t look like he’ll be playing the villain this time).

.—The ‘funniest’ scene for me so far was the one at the convalescent home (yay, Yu Mo Lian is back…haha!).  Loved the interaction between Mo Lian Jie (missed her acting too), Philip Keung, and Liu Kai Chi in that scene (sorry, but I’m not sure who the other woman was in that scene).

.—Too bad that Leila Tong wasn’t in the opening clip (didn’t see Felix Lok or Annie Liu either) – but ah well…she’s one of the main characters so most likely she will show up in the first or second episode.

.—There wasn’t a whole lot of scenes with Dominic Lam either, though he’s also one of the main characters – but the few scenes he was in were definitely very intense…he didn’t have any dialogue, yet just seeing those scenes play out was already enough to give me a sense that there would be something up with his character somehow (and we find out what that ‘something’ is at the end of the clip).

.—Oh and I have to say that I absolutely did not recognize Lawrence Chou at all, even though he had majority of the screen time in the first 11 minutes (not surprising, since the last time I saw him in something was like over 10 years ago!).  He looks so much more mature than how I last remembered him – in any case, he did a great job in the opening segment and really brought out the emotional intensity of the first segment. 

.—As for the woman who played Lawrence’s wife (girlfriend?) in the first segment, of course I had no clue who she was (I know her name is Joman Chiang, but that’s about it), but so far, I’m impressed by her performance (I think this is her very first TV series…if so, then wow….)

.— Lastly, I absolutely must give kudos to the filming techniques for this series – the entire time, I felt like I was watching a movie rather than a TV series.  Oh and I definitely have to mention the scene at the piano recital involving Lawrence, Joman, and the boy who plays their son (he is super-cute!!) as well as the subsequent ‘flashback’ scene showing the ‘event’ (shootout) that happened ‘one year ago’ – those scenes were very nicely transitioned (kudos to the editing team) and quite clever (not sure about you guys, but when the scene cut back to the recital and they showed what happened to the boy as a result of that awful event, I nearly cried…and of course the ‘shock’ of seeing the ‘culprit’ sitting right there in the audience – intense!)  GIVE ME MORE OF THIS SERIES PLEASE!!!


  1. As a silent avid reader of your blog I couldn't agree more!

    Although, I didn't really like Fantasy Love Song as much though because it felt a bit forced (probably because of the delivery) and not as smooth as the other two released clips. Despite these flaws, it's still way better than TVB's current quality.

    For Brain Opening Detective, the mourning of the son's death was executed very well. Kudos to Felix and the actress that plays his wife (She looks familiar, I think she also jumped ship from TVB). It also shows that a good script and direction is vital, bad scripts just ruins acting sometimes.

    The cinematography, sets and props are top notch (they don't have to forcefully edit logos out like TVB ie Apple Iphones). They have a more of a realistic approach to police stations where the Lab actually looks like a lab and there is a lot of waiting involved to obtain evidence. Whereas TVB just makes evidence appear out of nowhere.

    So far Police Boundary seems the most reliable and promising in marketing to the general HK audience. The other two are more risky due to introducing the audience to the sci-fi concept and musical elements (Thank goodness many of these are relatively short series and the plot should be relatively fast pace because of this).

    I hope the rest of the script will be as good as the first 5-10 minutes we see! I can't wait until the remaining good actors in TVB jump ship over the HKTV.

    1. @redmittens: Thanks for reading and commenting! A big warm welcome to you! :0)

      Hmmm...I see what you mean regarding Fantasy Love Song....I'm actually wondering whether that clip was truly the opening segment because it definitely didn't look like it. Going back and rewatching it again, I felt like something is missing in the beginning (could be an editing issue?). Anyway, agree that despite whatever flaws it may have, still way better than TVB's current series in terms of quality.

      Agreed about the script piece. I personally feel that HKTV's approach of providing 100% complete scripts prior to filming played a huge role in why only a few minutes of their series turned out so well. Understanding exactly how their character develops and giving artists ample time to prepare for their roles definitely does make a huge difference and I truly feel that's one of the reasons why even some of the newbies put in such impressive performances. I think that if they had taken the TVB approach (30% script prior to filming and the rest written on the fly), things would not have turned out so well.

      And yes, the cinematography and sets are definitely top notch. Ricky Wong definitely made the right decision when he invested in Hollywood movie filming equipment and also insisting on 100% real location filming. The police station lab actually looks like a lab because the filming took place at a real police station lab, not some fake set -- this also makes a huge difference in the acting as well. Many of the top notch, consummate actors/actresses in the industry (Sheren Tang, Power Chan, etc.) have talked about how filming in a real location with real sets enhances the acting after watching HKTV's clips, I completely understand what they were talking about!

  2. People keep posting comments on FB to tell HKTV to start online first (because seriously, I don't see the light at the end of the tunnel for now T_T). What do you think about that idea? Something like myTV or upload episodes on iTunes. If they have a myTV format they can also get revenue by adding commercials in there. Although, I think the main priority now is the 'license' and Ricky Wong said he didn't have a 'plan B'.

    To be honest, I was a bit confused at the "Brain Opening Detective" plot because I read some comments on weibo saying that the son is 'alive' but living in another dimension? Can't say much because the clip was so short (darn!) As for who played Felix's wife, her name is Anita (she has weibo), and I also remember her playing some small roles in some TVB shows.

    As for me, I'm also super hyped about "Police Boundaries"! And is the kid actor new? Because he's really cute and can act! I also liked that 'memory' transition because you don't know if his son was okay or not and then they show him finishing and getting put in a wheel chair (tear*). I think Joman is a model and if this really is her first time acting, then it did not seem like it (because it was pretty good!). And ohmygosh, I was so happy that the police station was finally NOT a 'chaung ging' (lol, I suddenly forgot the english term for this, help me out xD). I'm so happy for all the new scenery. Everything starts feeling 'real' for once! Oh, and I loved the cafe in "Fantasy Love Song"!

    I was reading some comments on FB about the lighting on the videos and they said it was too 'dark and dim'. I found it was okay. Perhaps they are too used to TVB's fake lighting.

    And as for the that TVB has appealed (again!) and the stupid CY is asking for some stupid report, my hopes have lowered again.

    1. @huama: I absolutely 110% agree with the idea of HKTV starting online first (in fact, that's sort of what I was advocating in forums earlier). Sure, I understand how Ricky Wong feels about wanting HK audiences to be the first to watch his series and such, but the reality is that this is probably not going to happen anytime soon. So instead of stubbornly insisting on catering to HK audiences, why not just release his series online so he can 'stop the bleeding' financially (start generating some revenue) -- plus I have a feeling that HK audiences will be less receptive to his series anyway because of the huge bias towards TVB (it's hard to break people's decades-old habit of watching TVB) and also the fact that HK audiences are generally more conservative and prefer series that are more 'family-friendly' where everything is spelled out clearly for them. Since the 'feel' of HKTV series is more in line with American series, I think an overseas audience would be more accepting and appreciative of their series.

      Ah, so the woman who plays Felix's wife is Anita Chan? She's somewhat of a newbie, right? I know she was in some TVB series, but mostly in 'kelefe' roles, so I really couldn't recognize her. Yea, we'll definitely have to see more of the series to truly understand it...but hey, as long as Felix in is there, I'm watching it! LOL!

      I'm super super excited about Police Boundaries as well! I'm actually trying to figure out who the kid is as well (I tried searching on the Internet, but so far haven't been able to find anything). But yea, he was really good (and really cute too). I think I read on Weibo somewhere that this is Joman's first attempt at filming TV series, so yea, definitely kudos to her because her performance came across like that of a veteran actress (I think she's also relatively young too, which I was surprised to find out because she plays such a mature role in the series).

      Haha...I don't remember the English term for 'chaung ging' either...probably the closest would be 'set' I would think. But in any case, yes, finally the police station is real, not fake like what we're used to seeing.

      I actually thought the lighting was a bit dark in the beginning as well, but it only took a few seconds to get used to it -- after that, it was perfectly fine for me.

      TVB is being anal and stupid -- it was a dumb move for them to appeal because it's not like the judge is going to change his decision. And if they really listened to his words carefully, they will understand that he is not really 'rejecting' their case, he's just saying that they should wait until the licenses are issued before filing for judicial review. Goes to show how desperate they are! Oh and the funny thing is -- ATV received the exact same decision from the judge last year and they never I guess this puts TVB at a lower level than ATV, since at least the ATV execs didn't waste their time or money appealing. LOL!

      And please don't get me started on CY....I have no confidence in that guy whatsoever! Judging by what he has done (and not done) since taking office, HK itself is pretty much doomed, so I'm not evening holding out hope on the license issue....

    2. I think putting it online would put pressure on the government to release the licenses if there are favorable reviews from netizens. There is nothing stronger than the voice of the people. Even if HKTV is better it will take some time for people to convert... so why not start now and build a fan base(well they have started on that already, we can see how much demand for their clips are on facebook)?

      The unfortunate thing is that the overseas viewers won't be able to watch unless it is released online because TVB either owns or has a partnership with all the local Asian channels.

    3. @redmittens: Interestingly enough, I just read an article today about HKTV’s move to put their series online and whether that will truly put pressure on the government to issue the licenses (I included a link to the article below). Even though I’m absolutely in favor of them putting their series online, I actually doubt that it will compel / pressure the government to issue the licenses any faster – maybe I’m just too jaded about government in general, but personally, I don’t have confidence in the government and really don’t feel that they will listen to the will of the people. I mean, look at the statistics that have been out so far – many polls that have been out for months have indicated that at least 80% of HK audiences support the idea of additional free TV stations and more than half of the entertainment industry (including almost all of the ‘official’ industry organizations such as the Artists’ Guild, Directors Guild, etc.) as well as all the major Advertisers Unions have all voiced support for additional free TV licenses and many have even written to the government encouraging them to expedite the issuance of the licenses. But as of right now, nothing has been done and there’s still all this back and forth on the part of the government as to whether they should issue the licenses or not (you would think that with the overwhelming public and industry support, it should be a ‘no-brainer’ right?). The fact that the government is using every excuse in the book to try and delay the issuance of the licenses despite all the support for the cause tells me that something is definitely going on within the government bureaucracy behind the scenes….

      Yes and actually, that’s the exact reason why I’m so supportive of HKTV releasing their clips online first – since I live overseas, the only way I’ll get to watch is online. I know that from the beginning, Ricky Wong already had plans to simultaneously air his series on TV and online, which is good – but the problem is that the TV piece doesn’t seem to be working out, since they still don’t have their license. That being the case, then why not just release the series online first so his company can at least start reaping some benefit from the exposure (even if not financial gain, at least positive feedback and perhaps even support from advertisers). I’m sure Ricky Wong is smart enough to see how much more support HKTV got after they did their sales presentation and released the trailers of their series (both online and at the event itself) – in fact, there were quite a few advertisers in HK who expressed how impressed they were with HKTV’s productions (based on those sales preso clips) and agreed to back HKTV up once they get their license (and it was after that time that the major advertising organizations released their statement supporting Ricky Wong).,Hong+Kong+Television+Network+previews+programming+despite+lack+of+license.aspx

  3. I watched all the clips and Dominic Lam's the most eyecatching, followed by William So's . Not really interested in Felix Wong's drama yet - felt too short and did he just get "power" touching his son's toy pistol??

    I saw an actress that I didnt see for a long time in William's drama. She played Shek Sau's wife. Don't know what is her name but wow! Still looks the same as what I remembered.

    The police station in Dominic's drama - well looked really familiar - was that the same one used in Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung's Sha Po Leung ???

    1. @fangorn: Yup, I would order the clips the same way as well: Police Boundaries first, Fantasy Love Song second, and Brain Opening Detective third.

      I've never been a fan of sci-fi stuff, so not sure how I'll feel about Felix's series -- but I'm willing to give it a chance, since it's Felix for one and also the overall plot does sound interesting.

      Hmmm....I actually didn't get a good look at the actress cuz that scene went by too quickly, but I'm thinking you may be referring to Lisa Lui Yau Wai? Looking at the cast list, she's the only one I could think of who fits the profile. But I will have to go back and re-watch to be sure.

      Lol...I have no clue where that's the same police station, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were.

    2. Oh I found her...her name is 龔慈恩 (Mimi Kung) - she was in TVB. I can't recognised Lesley Chiang as Curry, though. I re-look back the cast list - Bernice Liu is in it??? O_O

    3. Lesley Chiang and Benji Chiang are both Paul Chun's daughter and son! They got noticed when they posted their self written songs online. Both of them are part of the main cast in Fantasy Love Song musical drama.

    4. At first I was afraid if they release online the government will have even more excuse to not issue the licenses! But at this point Ricky Wong should seriously consider releasing their series online. Of course that is hoping it'd be available for overseas as well but with ads. I seriously don't mind watching ads as long as I get to watch good series! I've mentioned several times that HTKV should take a look at Crunchyroll a very popular legal anime viewing site with "Simulcast" Meaning the episodes is aired the same time they are aired/available in Japan.