Sunday, September 6, 2015

TVB series recommendations from the years 1990 and 1991

This is part 6 in a multi-part series of posts about TVB series from the 80s (and now 90s) era that I recommend.  Please read this Introductory post for details about how this came about:  TVB series recommendations from the years 1980 and 1981.

** Note:  I used Wikipedia in conjunction with TVB’s website and a few other sources to gather the information for each series.  Note that the cast lists are not all-inclusive and the English song titles are rough translations.**

Here's my list of recommendations from 1990 and 1991:


  1. Blood of Good and Evil, The Challenge of Life and The Breaking Point are the most notable contemporary drama of 1990-1991 and my faves of all time :) I rewatch BOGAE countless times so can remember exactly most of its scenes in this 40 eps top notch series :D IMO Chai Hou Nam is tailored-made role for Deric Wan, brilliant cast, just wondering who select the whole cast for BOGAE, the producer Lee Siu Wah or casting director? None miscast here, two thumb ups!

    Another pretty good dramas in the list : A Time of Taste, Rain In The Heart, A Way of Justice, The Cop Story, The Witness of Time. Too bad it's hard to rewatch these drama currently unless TVB will air them through either Xing He or Classic channel.

    1. @jadul80: Yup – BOGAE, TCOL, and TBP were truly the ‘big’ series from those years and all 3 are on my all-time favorites list as well.

      As I always say, BOGAE is definitely the best series that came out of the 90s era – so perfectly casted, stellar acting, flawless script….can’t praise the series enough! In terms of casting, my guess is that it was a joint effort, as the cast seems to be close with the producer, scriptwriter, and director. Actually, speaking of ‘close’, the director of the series is Lai Kin Kwok, who passed away recently – both Deric Wan and Lam Lei saw director Lai as a ‘mentor’ of sorts, so they were pretty close…when they were interviewed about the director’s passing, they recalled some of the memories they had filming BOGAE with him.

      TCOL is another great series that, though far from flawless, still boasted an excellent script and top-notch acting from most of the cast. TCOL was actually the series where I started liking Leon as an actor (his acting in the 80s was bad but going into the 90s, he definitely got good). Also enjoyed his pairing with Jacqueline Law (one of my favorite actresses from that era), as I felt they had such great chemistry – I was rooting for them from the beginning! And of course, Sean Lau – what can I say about him that I haven’t already said? Loved Sean in this series – his acting was beyond AMAZING! I also love the off-screen chemistry that this cast had, especially the female cast – Kitty Lai, Monica Chan, and Jacqueline Law became close friends and sisters during the filming of this series and even though Jacqueline is no longer here (saddens me every time I think of her passing), their friendship is still unchanging.

      TBP is definitely another favorite series that I can re-watch over and over again without getting bored (in fact, I’m actually re-watching this series right now…LOL). True, this series’ script wasn’t as solid as other series and there are actually a few issues with the script/plot that I can probably go on and on complaining about, but in the overall scheme of things, doesn’t matter as much – the overall script was decent, plus the excellent cast and acting more than make up for any flaws the script had. Too bad Deric was the villain again in this series and obviously wasn’t the main lead (coming off TCOL, this series was obviously tailor-made for Leon), but he still put in an awesome performance nonetheless. And yes, Leon was indeed excellent in this series (though part of the credit should go to the scriptwriter as well for the way he wrote the character) and to this day, I still feel that he and Kathy were a very well-matched couple both on and off the screen (loved their pairing and could actually feel their chemistry so much back then, it was to the point that it was impossible not to think that the two of them were actually dating in real life).

    2. @jadul80: While I agree with the other dramas you listed (especially Rain in the Heart, as that is one of my favorite series too), there are actually quite a few more that I would add as well: Cherished Moments, It Runs in the Family, When the Sun Shines (one of my favorite sitcoms from the 90s era), Mystery of the Twin Swords, The Black Sabre, Live for Life, A Life of His Own, On the Edge (Francis was outstanding in this series), The Sword of Conquest, Family Squad, etc.….all good series in my opinion. The other interesting thing about those 2 years is that we truly got to see Deric Wan’s range as an actor – from his villain role in The Breaking Point to his good cop role in The Cop Story to his tailor-made Chai Ho Nam role in Blood of Good and Evil to his refined, gentleman doctor role in Triangular Entanglement to his silly, comedic role in Legend of the Dragon Pearl…oh and of course, his good guy role in On the Edge where he held his own against Francis Ng (who was more than EXCELLENT in that series). It’s hard to find such versatile actors nowadays, especially in lead roles – most of the versatile actors are veterans who are still playing supporting roles unfortunately…

  2. Agree, Deric Wan is really versatile actor as he can portray any roles superbly plus he has an aura that I can find them in current era. Both Maggie Siu & Kitty Lai are my faves of all time, same case with Deric they always blended with any character in every TVB series.

    Leon Lai, Frankie Lam definitely have an idol package with their good looks appearance :D

    Btw, do you know the latest info about underrated former TVB actors, Wilson Lam & David Siu?

  3. @jadul80: I like Maggie and Kitty as well and definitely agree with you about their versatility as actresses. There's alot of talk in recent years about TVB lacking quality actors and actresses -- while this is true, I think the actress situation is worse off than actors. In my opinion, TVB still has quite a few decent, talented actors (plus those who are not under management contract and only return to film a series or two to help out), but very very few decent actresses left. Personally, I haven't been impressed by any of the actresses from the past 15 years (I'm talking about the actresses who started in the industry in the late 90s/early 2000s)...there are plenty of great actresses from the 70s/80s and early to mid 90s eras, but in the after 2000s era, I really can't think of any....

    Yup, agree with you about the idol package thing with Leon and Frankie. That’s why the 2 of them are such "hit and miss" when it comes to acting and are what I would call “inconsistent” actors – if given a role that’s well-written and fits them, they can do great, but if not, then their performance is only so-so. Most ‘idol’ actors are like that, so I don’t necessarily consider them ‘true’ actors (just like I don’t consider ‘idol path’ singers as ‘true’ singers). For me, “versatility” (being able to portray a variety of different characters and all convincingly too) is a very important attribute of truly excellent actors – unfortunately, very few actors (and actresses) fall into the ‘versatility’ category nowadays.

    Yes, I know the recent news about David Siu and Wilson Lam (and yes, both are definitely underrated actors). I actually found it kind of funny when both actors were back in the news due to various reasons (David because of the re-broadcast of Greed of Man and Wilson because of his participation in a new movie as well as his daughter entering the industry) and some audiences were totally clueless on who they were. Wilson still looks quite good for his age, though not sure about his acting, since he’s been away for such a long time taking care of his businesses. David on the other hand looks so different – I used to find him pretty suave and good-looking….well, we all know his personality hasn’t changed – still fiery and every bit the straight-shooter when it comes to interviews....hope his acting is still as good as it was before…

  4. Oh thanks for the David/Wilson info :) I watched some of their series, Wilson Lam : Withered In The Wind 1987, The Key Man 1991, Foundling Progress 1987 (can't remember exactly the storyline since I only watched once via VHS long2 time ago :D), A Way of Justice 1991. Do you have seen Ho Ching and The Shanghai Conspiracy?

    And David Siu, some of his series that I have watched : The Greed of Man, Land of Condors 1992, A Time of Taste 1990. Still seek his other dramas like The Tribulation of Life, File Noir, Land of Glory, The Link.

    1. @jadul80: Yea, those are Wilson’s most ‘representative’ series at TVB. Actually, he didn’t film as many TVB series as compared to movies – you listed most of them already, which were the ones where he had the most screen time. I actually didn’t like The Key Man (mostly because I can’t really stand Alex Man’s style of acting – he’s a good actor for sure, but his style just doesn’t suit me…too over the top in my opinion) so I didn’t even bother finishing that entire series. Withered in the Wind was excellent though and Foundling’s Progress I remember a little bit, though to be honest, I sometimes get that series mixed up with Ho Ching for some reason. Yes, I’ve watched Shanghai Conspiracy – in fact, that’s actually the series I remember most out of all of Wilson’s series, probably because the story was interesting and suspenseful – plus the cast was good in terms of the acting. Oh and the pairing of Wilson and Carina was great – in that series, they were one mighty fine looking couple, that’s for sure!!!

      In comparisons to Wilson, David actually filmed tons of series at TVB and most of his performances were VERY good. Back then, he was actually one of those rare actors who had the looks and the acting skills, plus he had a certain charisma on screen that would draw you into his performances – oh and of course, he was versatile, which was also rare. Too bad his personality ruined things though because he could’ve had a pretty illustrious acting career I feel…

      Here are a few of David’s series that I would recommend most: Behind Silk Curtains from 1988 (this was actually a special anniversary production similar to The Yang’s Saga in that it was short – only 5 episodes – and it had cameos from TONS of TVB artists), File Noir from 1989, Impossible Dream from 1991 (small budget series, nothing really exciting goes on, but damn, David was cute in that series, especially in those scenes when he plays the father figure to the little baby girl!), The Enforcer’s Experience from 1990 (man, I still remember his character’s name in that series – Bill Ko…and loved his pairing with Sheren Tang, who is one of my favorite actresses), A Time of Taste from 1990 (of course), The Greed of Man from 1992 (another ‘of course’, since it was one of his representative works), The Link from 1993 (another one of my favorite performances from him – the series itself was so-so, as I got hugely annoyed with Ada Choi’s character in there, but loved the storyline involving David and also Amy Kwok), and last, but not least, Remembrance from 1994 (one of my all-time favorite series from the 90s) – David was the villain in the series and he was excellent! I actually wrote a review on this series several years back – here’s the link if you’re interested in reading it:

      Oh, one comment on Tribulation of Life – watch it if you like (if you’re able to find it that is), but David actually doesn’t have a huge role in that series, as he’s not really the main lead. In fact, I can barely remember his role because he had so little screen time – and even though he was paired with Maggie Siu (another one of my favorite actresses), their storyline was actually only secondary (if that). Also, just to clarify in case you’re wondering – Stephen Chow only has a cameo in that series…if I remember correctly, he’s only in 2-3 episodes (though if you add up his screen time, probably barely half an episode…lol)…his name is listed near the front in most of the cast lists you’ll find on the series because he’s the ‘biggest name’ in that series (though not back then – back in 1988, he actually was still low level actor).