Monday, September 14, 2015

TVB and OnTV collaboration: Midnight time slot series poll

Ok, so I was catching up on some entertainment news today and came across an article from (which I’ve linked up below).  In the article, – or, more accurately, their television division ON TV – officially announced yesterday (9/13) that they are collaborating with TVB on a special poll.  Together with TVB, they’ve chosen 10 ‘classic’ TVB series for netizens to vote on (via Facebook) during the 2 week timespan from 9/14 to 9/28 -- TVB has agreed to re-broadcast the series with the most votes in their midnight timeslot starting on 10/5 (once the currently airing series Time Before Time is finished).

According to the article, the voting will go through 2 phases:  in the first phase, OnTV will post detailed information about each series, including cast photos, plot summary, video clips, recommendations on ‘must-watch’ scenes, etc so that each person voting will supposedly have all the details they need to vote.  The second phase will launch next week, though OnTV didn’t give any details on what this phase consists of.  Also, a very important point – there is no limit to the number of series each person can vote for…so for example, if you like all 10 series, you can vote for all 10 if you want.

Before I list out the 10 series that OnTV and TVB chose, I just want to say this:  maybe I’m thinking too much into things, but I just find it very coincidental that I wrote about this EXACT SAME idea on my blog a few days before this whole thing got rolled out.  Technically, I wrote 2 posts on TVB midnight timeslot – the first one was in July in which I kind of ‘complained’ about TVB’s choice of series and informally gave them some ‘suggestions’ on the next series to air.  Then last week, I did a most detailed post on which series I would’ve chosen if I were the program lineup director.  In addition to that, I also relayed the suggestion of doing a poll to have audiences pick what they want to watch in that timeslot.  Well, looks like now the poll is actually happening – though the part I don’t understand is why OnTV is doing the poll rather than TVB themselves. [Sidenote:  Call me a conspiracy theorist if you want, but there’s a part of me that can’t help but think that OnTV is associated with TVB somehow.  I already suspected this a few weeks ago when I was able to trace a picture that a few websites had used back to OnTV’s video clip – in that picture, OnTV was reporting on news about Lesley Chiang and Fred Cheng’s breakup.  They interviewed Lesley while she was at HKTV’s dinner for their series Hidden Faces, yet in the picture, any reference to HKTV (including their logo and the name of their series) were all blurred out.  When I saw the picture, I had questioned why a mainstream media outlet -- which, in order to maintain credibility and reputability, should take a ‘neutral’ stance when reporting news – would have the need to ‘block out’ another company’s logo and all references to that company’s product (especially since they didn’t block out the logo to the commercial sponsors of that event, Vidal Sassoon).  I later discovered that the picture was ‘clipped’ from the news video posted on OnTV’s website – sure enough, when I went on to check, everything in the video referring to HKTV was blurred out.  This is the first time that I’ve actually seen a mainstream media outlet in HK take such ‘action’ against a company that is not one of their competitors.  Well, now this whole thing with the poll further fuels my ‘suspicion’ about OnTV’s position. I won't go too much into it here, since it's kind of irrelevant to this post, but will probably revisit this topic again later on.]

Now that I’ve said my piece about the poll and OnTV, here are the 10 series that OnTV and TVB have chosen for audiences to vote.  (Discerning readers will probably notice that a few of these series were on my ‘suggestions’ list as well, except my list was limited to series from the 80s and 90s eras only).

Here are the 10 series from OnTV (in no particular order):

War of the Genders (男親女愛) – 2000

Looking Back in Anger (義不容情) – 1989

The Duke of Mount Deer (鹿鼎記) – 1984

The Feud of Two Brothers (流氓大亨) – 1986

It Runs in the Family (孖仔孖心肝) – 1990

Detective Investigation Files (刑事偵緝檔案) – 1995

Don’t Look Now (執到寶) – 1980

Files of Justice (壹號皇庭) – 1992

Police Cadet (新紮師兄) – 1984

A Step Into the Past (尋秦記) – 2001

And which series do I vote for?  Without a doubt, definitely Looking Back in Anger (not hard to guess considering I’ve been ‘harping’ on TVB since July to air that series in their midnight timeslot and also relayed that thought in 2 blog posts).   Outside of that series, I really don’t want to vote for the others because I actually disagree with some of the series on the list.  I’m actually curious to know how they came up with these 10 choices because as a long-time TVB fan who is familiar with their series from the late 70s to now, there are definitely other more ‘classic’ series that would bump some of these series out of top 10 contention. I'll have to do a little more digging but hopefully, either OnTV or TVB explain their criteria for choosing these series somewhere on their website or FB pages.

Source links:  
OnTV Facebook page (series profiles) article (brief series intros)


  1. What??? Blood of Good and Evil also The Breaking Point as well are excluded of the top-10, I believe these two dramas are really popular at that time and could have categorized as high quality series. IMO War of Genders, A Step Into The Past, Don't Look Now, DIF, Files of Justice aren't enough to fulfill the 'rewatched drama'. And where's the classic Jin Yong Condor Trilogy wuxia series?! I must say that is a ridiculuos list, just wondering whether HKG viewers perspective have changed drastically.

    1. @jadul80:  Totally agree with you!  That’s why I said that I’m VERY curious to see what the criteria was in choosing those 10 series.  I wonder if TVB chose them or if OnTV did?   I hope whoever they assigned to this ‘project’ is knowledgeable about TVB series from the old days (though I doubt).  I remember several years ago I had done a post (well, more like a RANT) about a ‘most classic onscreen couples of all time’ poll that TVB magazine had done which I was super pissed off about because whoever put together that poll obviously had never watched TVB series prior to the year 2000 – they got most of the ‘after 2000’ couples right, but many of the couples they picked from 70s/80s/90s series were WTH choices (i.e. Liu Wai Hung and Esther Kwan – classic  couple?  Really??  I don’t even remember what series they were in!).  Not only that, to add insult to injury, they also left out many universally recognized classic couples (such as Deric and Maggie, Ekin and Nnadia, Michael Miu and Barbara Yung, Felix and Barbara from LOTCH, etc.) – obviously I wanted to strangle the person who put together the poll! 

      To be honest, I don’t have confidence that they used the correct criteria to make their choices.  In that same article where they introduce the poll, they also asked a few artists to ‘test’ the poll to see which series they would choose – 3 out of the 4 artists they asked were ‘after 90s’ artists who hadn’t even seen the older series, so they chose the series they were familiar with and ‘grew up watching’ (which of course were the the 2 after 2000 series).  Only Wayne Lai actually knew what he was talking about (since he’s from the 80s) and even though the series he picked wasn’t my choice (he chose 1980’s Don’t Look Now) he actually gave a very good detailed explain why he chose that series, plus he’s familiar with all the other series on the list so was able to make an informed decision.

      I didn’t have time to comb through the FB profiles that they did for each of the 10 series so not even sure if the info they put for the series is accurate (which is going to be important since majority of those voting probably haven’t watched any of the 10 series except for the 2 that were made after 2000).  But when I glanced at the vote count last night – well, sure enough, the 2 series that got the most votes so far were War of the Genders and A Step Into the Past.  Go figure!!

  2. So, no chance for young gens to watch BOGAE & TBP, what a pity, they can't compare which one is better as they only enjoy TVB series when its quality is going downhill. Wayne Lai, Sean Lau, Bobby Au Yeung, Roger Kwok have excellent acting skill but too bad IMO both of them have no star power compared to Chow Yun Fat or Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Deric Wan as well. The showbiz is very cruel, good looks actor with average acting skill can rise fastly to stardom.

    1. @jadul80: Well, kind of good news and bad news – good news is that the top 2 series with the most votes as of today are Looking Back in Anger (yay!) and War of the Genders, so at least the series we want re-broadcast (LBIA) edged out A Step into the Past. Bad news is that War of the Gender has the most votes – it has 626 votes versus LBIA’s 444 votes. There’s still about a week and a half left before the poll closes, so anything can still happen – but I have a feeling that in the end, it will be a battle between these 2 series (the rest of the series have between 100 to 200 votes, so not even close!)

      But yea, I agree it’s a shame that they didn’t include BOGAE and TBP in their top 10. Now that I think about it, TVB should have gone with their “top 10 highest-rated series of all time” list from 1995, as most of the ‘big guns’ were on that list, including Looking Back in Anger (#1 spot), Legend of the Condor Heroes (#3), Blood of Good and Evil (#4), The Breaking Point (#6), The Challenge of Life (#7)…even some of the other classics from the TVB/ON TV list were on there, such as The Feud of Two Brothers (#2) and Police Cadet ’84 (#10). If they had used that list, they would’ve only needed to replace Love and Passion (#5) and Big Family (#9), since these 2 series don’t really deserve to be on the list in my opinion.

      Here’s the link to the post that talks about that 1995 ‘highest rated list’ (I wrote about it on my blog back in 2011):

    2. Hi llwy12, just check TVB website and they start to air War of The Genders for midnight time-slot, this sit-com drama has 100 eps, just wondering why WOTG became so popular, nothing special about dramedy IMO. Next, it should be Looking Back In Anger time-slot after War ended, we'll see how the response from HKG viewers.

      Off-topic : I watched early episodes of current TVB anniversary dramas Under The Veil (remake of Double Fantasies) and Captain of Destiny. Hard to believe TVB produced these low quality series that expected to be "big drama" to celebrate their 48th birthday on upcoming November. Looks like Lord of Shanghai is more promising with Anthony Wong & Kent Tong in it.

    3. @jadul80: LOL...I gave up on both Under the Veil and Captain of Destiny after the first 2 episodes...both were such huge time-wasters that I feel like asking TVB for a 'refund' for the little time I spent watching, hahaha. Lord of Shanghai is the only series that I am somewhat looking forward to, but mostly because of the cast...I have a feeling the script is going to suck just like the rest of TVB's series this year. With that said, let's see if I end up giving up on that series too -- no matter how promising that series might be, none of the artists in it are 'must watch' for me, so if the series drags and the story sucks big time, I have no problems giving up on it without finishing.

      A little off topic, but one way I can totally tell that TVB has really gone down the drain in my book: I just realized when I was checking my Weibo that the Light Switching Ceremony (marking the official beginning of anniversary time) had already taken place and the group photo that usually generates much 'buzz' (and controversy) was already published, yet I totally had no clue until like yesterday because I had stopped paying attention (since there was nothing really worth me paying attention to). Normally I stay up to speed with this stuff, but this time, I didn't even bother -- heck, I didn't even look at the group picture this year because I could care less who got to stand where and definitely not going to make the effort to go back and look. I wouldn't be surprised if I ended up missing the anniversary gala and awards show too and just read about the results afterwards (not saying that will happen for sure, but who knows....).

  3. @jadul80: Yea, I saw the news about War of the Genders getting the most votes. Looking Back in Anger came in second and A Step into the Past came in third. As I’ve said before, if it were me, I wouldn’t have included WOTG or ASITP on the list, as both are “after 2000” series – I would’ve only included 80s and 90s series…I’m thinking if that had happened, the results would’ve been different.

    I actually forgot how many episodes WOTG had, but if it was only 100 episodes, that’s actually not a lot for a sitcom (most of the older sitcoms were more than 100 episodes, usually more in the 200-300 range). I’m honestly not sure why WOTG became so popular either…I mean, yes, Dodo Cheng is a great actress (definitely on my favorites list in terms of actresses) and Dayo Wong is awesome too with his acting, but outside of the 2 of them and the acting, I really didn’t find too much else appealing about the series itself from a plot/script/story point of view.

    Even if TVB does decide to air LBIA after WOTG, I actually don’t feel it will have as much impact as airing it after TGOM, which is what they should’ve done. Like I said in my post, to get the maximum effect, TVB should’ve taken advantage of the momentum and hype they had gotten with TGOM and air LBIA right after – instead, they made the wrong move and aired other series that were nowhere near the level of TGOM and lost the good momentum they had gained. 5 months have passed and around 4 to 5 series have already aired (none of which were able to ‘recreate’ TGOM’s hype) – I wouldn’t be surprised if HK audiences are no longer as interested as they were before. And therein lies the problem with TVB’s current management – they’re incompetent and don’t really understand how to ‘seize the moment’…when they stumble upon something successful (i.e. the unexpected hype from TGOM airing in midnight timeslot), they mishandle it and pretty much let the opportunity get away from them.