‘The Defected’ has so much potential with great cast but couldn’t impress in the end.


‘The Defected’ (鐵探) is a Hong Kong television drama that currently attracts a lot of audiences. The 30-episode series starred Benjamin Yuen as Inspector Sheung Sing, a policeman who becomes embroiled in a conspiracy plaguing the high-ranking officials due to an incident that almost cost him his life. The other main cast include Kara Wai, Philip Keung, Sisley Choi, Oscar Leung, Mat Yeung, Benz Hui, Ben Wong, Grace Wong, etc.

What I first like from this series is the focus on the rivalry of high-ranking police officials to get promoted rather than being another typical police drama that is all about showing undercovers and catching bad guys. The series at least went into a different direction with an uncommon plot. However, I find that the series didn’t do enough on exploring into this area.

Throughout the entire series, only Kara Wai’s character has the upper hand in almost every situation. The plot can be so much more exciting. One of my suggestions is to have several high-ranking officials (such characters with more prominent roles) plotting out some schemes to take down one another (and not just Kara Wai). There are such characters in the series such as Benz Hui, Ben Wong and Lee Shin-Cheong but they formed no important part of the story. What a wasted potential or opportunity to turn this series into one intense and memorable one.

This series had a great cast. Kara Wai is a good choice to portray the ruthless superior. She stands a chance for best actress win at the end of the year with this performance. She had win a lot from film awards but never from television awards. If the best actress competition this year is very weak, she do have a shot at it. However, in my opinion, there is not much from her role that requires her to deliver memorable acting. In most of the time, she just needs to get her eyes opened wide to show the anger while being confronted, and gets to cry for the death of her son near the end of the series. There is particularly no standout or explosive moment from her alone.

Philip Keung on the other hand nailed his role as the undercover named Bingo. He got me immersed into his performance and I particularly enjoyed his interaction with his mother (portrayed by Angelina Lo). He may have a shot at TV king title but I felt that his role is more of a supporting one (preferred him to get best supporting actor or most favourite male character). His character development is great except at the end when he died so suddenly without any honor for his contribution and sacrifice, and incomplete work that should have been finished by him too. Benjamin Yuen took that job since he is the main lead in this drama. His effort to lose weight and gets pale just for this drama is admired but there’s still huge room of improvement for his performance.

The series started off great with high expectation from me. However, it continues to be quite draggy and concluded with a rushed ending (not much climax even when it is near the end). At first, I saw similarity of quality of this series with ‘Line Walker’ (this series is very good). But in the end, ‘The Defected’ wasted most of its potential and becomes just a slightly above average drama this year to my disappointment. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Defected’ a total of 7.0.

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

 

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Drama review for ‘The Learning Curve Of A Warlord’.


A long week with toothache and lacking concentration at work is certainly not good. Fortunately, the week ends with me being very delighted to be able to get my hand on a latest music DVD all the way from Hong Kong and also being thrilled with the final episode of a TVB drama that I have been following for the past one month. The drama is called ‘The Learning Curve Of A Warlord’ (大帥哥).

This 30-episode drama starred Dicky Cheung who is promoted to a marshal in control of a small town during chaotic warlord era. From there, he faces multiple threats and challenges from three neighbouring town’s warlords, the higher rank marshal, Japanese spies, etc along with his loyal friends and three wives. Other cast in the series include Sisley Choi, Zoie Tam, Vivien Yeo, Raymond Cho, Tony Hung, Tsui Wing, etc.

This drama is very impressive. When I first know the existence of this drama and learning a bit of what the story is going to be about and its setting, I felt that this is going to be a lousy, silly and meaninglessly funny drama and that’s it. The selling point would just be the comeback of Dicky Cheung who is famous for his work in TVB decades ago (Journey to the West, etc). In the end, I’m very surprised by how good the drama turns out to be, in all areas.

Dicky Cheung is amazing as Dik Kei / Dai Sui Gor. I am very impressed by his memory skill. He can memorize super long lines of dialogue and spill them out clear, fast, continuous and sharp, along with varied range of expression he delivered in the same time. It’s perfect ‘multitasking while acting’ (that’s another level) if you know what I mean. His performance in here is no doubt splendid and him not winning best actor in last month’s TVB Anniversary Awards is totally absurd. His performance in just the first 10 episodes in this drama (before the awards ceremony) is more than enough to defeat any contenders in 2018 including the best actor winner, Joe Ma. I also got to know that Dicky do improvise certain lines of his as well as of the other cast to improve things. Now, that is great.

The supporting cast also have their shining moment in this drama. They are not left out of their character development and story arc which is good. Zoie Tam and Vivien Yeo (both portrayed as Dicky’s wives) surprised audiences with their excellent performances (both of them improved a lot and outshines the supporting boys in the drama) while the main female lead, Sisley Choi is also not bad (it is just that she couldn’t push it all out in her acting and her character’s personality is partly to blame and hence not getting higher praise compared to Zoie and Vivien).

This series has a lot of dramatic things going on to keep audiences hooked to its episode every evening. It has a lot of hilarious scenes (funny lines and multiple thoughtful reference to famous Dicky’s lines from his past memorable roles), emotional moments (a number of pretty good and heartfelt crying scenes), intense gun fighting sequence, and warm friendship moments. The final episode is intense, unpredictable, exciting. has happy conclusion, and left me moved, thrilled and impressed once again. ‘The Learning Curve Of A Warlord’ performs beyond my expectation and I would rate it a total of 8.4 out of 10. This is my most favourite TVB drama in 2018. Highly entertaining, has great ingredients and I enjoyed it very much.

(Images in this post are from online sources)

Monday blues; hate it when it’s holiday in Malaysia but not here in Singapore…and a drama review for TVB’s ‘Another Era’.


It’s going to be a long week ahead that begins with Monday blues today. I’m getting jealous by the two days of holiday Malaysia is observing today and tomorrow in conjunction with Agong’s Birthday and Awal Muharram. They have a decent long weekend to enjoy while I’m here mumbling on why Singapore has so few public holidays annually. Not a single public holiday for this month as well as for next month. The next one will be Deepavali that falls somewhere in mid November if I’m not mistaken.

As for the short last weekend, I managed to catch a movie with my friend (my movie review for ‘The Nun’ in my previous post), saw a carnival in a mall selling various brands of mooncakes as the Mid-Autumn Festival is just around the corner (didn’t buy any as they are too expensive although I love to eat mooncake), and watching Cantonese drama (my favourite thing to do when I’m free) in a marathon mode. I think I watched 10 episodes in a row yesterday.

The drama that I’m talking about is ‘Another Era’, a 34-episode drama that acts as an unrelated sequel to 1999’s ‘At The Threshold Of An Era’ and both of them are based on the theme of Hong Kong’s financial business. ‘Another Era’ starred Roger Kwok, Niki Chow, Tavia Yeung, Frankie Lam, Benjamin Yuen, Pakho Chau, etc. I am not particularly interested on the ‘finance’ part of the drama (I don’t even bother or can’t even understand certain difficult terminology typically observed in finance sector used in this drama). However, I’m kind of being attracted to the strong cast from this drama (a number of nice veteran actors, and glad to see Linda Chung again in a drama although she only has a supporting role here).

The drama builds up pretty slowly (fortunately, it’s not being dragged too long and made to end in less than 40 episodes which is still not too bad) and from the very beginning, you already know who is going to be the bad guy and that person is certainly going to lose big in the very end. Roger Kwok took on that role (he is very experienced in portraying villain character). However, I’m starting to feel bored of his same old evil facial expression that I have seen before in his previous work like ‘Last One Standing’, ‘Black Heart White Soul’ and ‘Dead Wrong’. Nevertheless, I do enjoy his acting as usual. He is a solid actor. Frankie Lam on the other hand isn’t doing well. He is too wooden and his presence made me felt bored. His story arc with Linda Chung also felt detached from the main story. Benjamin is getting a very likable character here and his death near the end gave a much needed hit/climax. Pakho Chau is on the opposite and his character is pretty annoying (being a lazy games addict guy, not appreciating his good friends, getting mad over small matter easily, knew that his close buddy love him and yet ignoring her even till the end of the drama).

As for the females, Niki Chow outshines Tavia Yeung. That’s good. Tavia has been given a lot of chance in her previous works (she won best actress before too) and it is very welcoming to put more attention to the other female lead, Niki Chow. And she deserves that attention. She handled this role very well (being the saddest role in this drama; losing her two brothers, struggling so much to lead the huge company his father left behind without any experience, losing her father and then losing her boyfriend). Now, I think she do have a chance for best actress award this year only if many others try to pay more attention to her performance here. By the way, Tavia turning the tide and going against her husband (Roger Kwok) near the end is so predictable and hence, that plot twist didn’t work out well. Last but not least, I also find the forceful insertion of few actors from mainland China just to attract more viewers from mainland China is very unnecessary and off putting (Linda Chung’s segment too but that’s still fine because it’s refreshing to see her). Their unimportant and boring storyline do not mix well to the main plot. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Another Era’ a total of 7.0. A solid drama that could have been more intense (I see a lot of potential for this drama to be a thrilling one but the outcome only reaches halfway of that mark) to keep viewers engaged.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Ending the weekend with final episodes of TVB ‘Succession War’.


Saving money is the priority this weekend after a heavy spending on Universal Studios last weekend. I already had an outing yesterday plus a movie and so for today, I will just stay at home most of the time. That’s the best way to keep the money in the wallet. End of the month is near and I can’t wait to get my hard earned salary. I have been spending the day mostly being online on Facebook and YouTube, taking a nice rest in preparation for busy weekdays ahead as usual, and had just watched the exciting final two episodes of TVB drama ‘Succession War’.

It is a historical drama that starred Ruco Chan, Shaun Tam, Selena Lee, Elaine Yiu, Natalie Tong, Angelina Lo, Yoyo Chen, Jonathan Cheung, Stephanie Ho, Matthew Ho, etc. The drama revolves on the last 28 days of the life of Qing dynasty court official Heshen, who is known for being the most corrupt court official in Chinese history.and focuses on the Emperor’s attempt to eliminate him. The drama has 28 episodes, and each episode reflects one day of the storyline. That’s a cool approach and it helps to get the story fast-paced and not lacking any depth, thanks to the multiple helpful flashback scenes.

Ruco Chan is very convincing as Heshen while on the other hand, Shaun Tam who is portraying as the emperor is doing very poorly in this drama. I have never seen him in any dramas before and so I think he is inexperienced. All he do in this drama is to forcefully show his very angry face in every scenes. One same facial expression (and the deep ‘Batman’ voice) for almost the entire drama. An emperor can still convey his power and fearfulness through many subtle ways, but Shaun Tam is just not knowing how to do that or is not given any useful advice by the production team. I hope he do knew all these criticism and improve on his acting skill since we will be seeing him in more dramas in the future.

The girls in this drama are just taking on minor and supporting roles but they too shine due to their great performances and story arc that binds the whole series together. Selena Lee is beautiful and excellent as the imperial noble consort. She has improved a lot over the years and I can say that by now, she is a best actress material. Too bad, this drama isn’t focusing on the females and she will not get any recognition or awards from her role here although she nailed it very well. Elaine Yiu and Natalie Tong are also great in their respective roles that are very similar (helping Ruco on his mission with all kind of sacrifices while being his lovers). Also not to be missed out is the fantastic performances by the veterans such as KK Cheung as the retired emperor and Angelina Lo as the dowager noble consort.

The number of good TVB dramas every year has been decreasing rapidly. ‘Deep in the Realm of Conscience’ is a poor drama and I was surprised by the huge rating and critical reception it gets especially from mainland China. On the other hand, I’m shocked that this ‘Succession War’ receives very low audience viewership and isn’t getting the popularity that it deserves. I personally think that ‘Succession War’ is so much better than that boring ‘Deep in the Realm of Conscience’. The former is very engaging and delivers exciting storyline in every episode up until its aired finale just now. The only bad thing from ‘Succession War’ is Shaun Tam’s acting. Other than that, everything is good. Even my dad who seldom watch dramas is praising it. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Succession War’ a total of 8.1. The best TVB drama of the year so far.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Drama review for TVB’s ‘Apple-Colada’.


‘Apple-Colada’ (果欄中的江湖大嫂) is a Hong Kong television series that centered on the life in fruit market. It starred Alice Chan as a debt-ridden retired actress who move back to Hong Kong from Malaysia to seek refuge with her niece (Eliza Sam) after her nasty divorce with ex-husband. They together run a fruit market previously owned by her deceased older brother and has been seized by a man (Tommy Wong) and his son (Raymond Wong). This drama has 30 episodes and is seen as an unrelated sequel to the 2016’s ‘My Dangerous Mafia Retirement Plan’ that saw some similar cast. The drama also starred Mat Yeung, Crystal Fung, Carlo Ng, Lau Kong, Kaman Kong, Andrew Yuen, etc.

The drama at first (its first few episodes) is quite interesting and that has successfully got me to catch up to the rest of the series. However, as the drama progresses, I find that the storyline to be draggy with nothing much particularly exciting or interesting going on. The plot is also very much predictable especially with the sudden appearance of Carlo Ng and Raymond Wong’s biological parents in the series. From there on, I already knew Carlo Ng would be the bad guy and yup, I was right. There is nothing new or anything worth mentioning from this series.

It is still a light-hearted drama with some funny scenes and warm family or romantic moments. But doing just that will make the series being easily not memorable and in average. I couldn’t pay my attention while watching it as there is no climax or cool stuff to get me engaged into the story and the characters. Alice Chan is a good actress and I’m fine with her leading the series. She also fits well to this role. On the other hand, Eliza Sam is awful in this series. I couldn’t stand her acting in this drama as she kept on forcing herself to raise her voice to suit her character in this drama which is totally unnecessary and annoying. She really needs to improve on her acting. With much lesser leading actresses in TVB now, she really has to do a lot of work. She felt very unnatural and I couldn’t avoid noticing that in almost every scene she was in. Raymond Wong is fine but his role with that wild and bad judgement makes his character unlikable.

The series concluded with a happy ending as predicted. Nothing new again. There are still some things (story arc) not completely resolved like unknown conclusion to Eliza Sam’s cousin brother who fall in love with Mat Yeung’s sister from the first time he met her, Lau Kong’s health condition after the trouble with the gangster hiding drugs in his fruit boxes, Andrew Yuen letting Alice Chan go so easily without much heartbreak, etc. There is not much effort and passion put in to make this a good drama, and that’s a waste considering I do have interest on its main story that is based on the fruit market setting. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Apple-Colada’ a total of 6.3.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

TVB Anniversary Awards 2017 ended with some shocks yet again.


TVB love to deliver shocks in their annual awards presentation by announcing result that is surprising to the majority of people. It is no exception for this year as well. The Hong Kong’s TVB Anniversary Awards 2017 is delayed a month to make way for all anniversary dramas to finish airing and also to express the much grander 50th anniversary celebration the television station is having in late 2017 that extends now until early 2018. Here below is the full result for the awards (held on the evening of 21st January 2018) along with my opinions for each categories:

TVB Anniversary Awards 2017’s Winners List:

Best Non-Drama Programme
“The Ahistoric Grandpa Cooking Show” – WINNER
“Miss Chinese International Pageant 2017”
“Love at Last Sight”
“Feng Shui for the New Year”
“Cantoxicating!”
“Dinner Ma’s”
“Eating Well with Madam Wong (Sr. 3)”
“Dream in the Ring”
“HK Gag Gag”
“Anchors with Passport (Sr. 3)”
“The Place We Call Home”
“Neighborhood Treasures (Sr. 7)”
“Public Housing Outing”
“Hong Kong Round the Clock”
“Easy Come Easy Health”
“Good Cheap Eats (Sr. 6)”
“Cantopop at 50”  – WINNER
“Pay It Forward”
“Sidewalk Scientist”
“Retiring in Paradise”
“Litigation at Home”
“Big Big Kids Awards 2017”
“All Work No Pay Holidays (Sr.2)” 
“Young and Restless”
“Buskkkkk Music”
“The Big Big Channel Nite”
“Amazing Summer Splash”
“Fun Abroad”
“Chef Minor (Sr. 3)”
“C AllStar Thai Odyssey”
“Miss Hong Kong Pageant 2017”
“Faraway Brides” – WINNER
“Starry Starry Talk”
“The Sisterhood Traveling Gang” 
“Bazaar Carnivals (Sr. 3)” – WINNER
“Sir Ben Prop Guide”
“Helen Goes to Kyushu”
“The Ultimate Street Sorcerer”
“Sammy on the Go”
“Line Walker: The Hunting Game”
“EYT: Anniversary Edition” 
“Diva Liza 50-Year Special”
“TVB Anniversary Gala”
“The Heavenly Party”
“DoDo Goes Shopping (Sr. 2)” – WINNER
“Tung Wah Charity Show 2017”
“Gala Spectacular”
“Dickies on Tour”
“J.S.G. Awards Presentation 2017”

Opinion: Didn’t expect that TVB decided to hand out five awards in this category. I enjoyed ‘The Sisterhood Traveling Gang’ but it lost. Anyway, I didn’t have much interest in this category every year. Moving on…

Best Host(s)
Lee Ka Ting & Helen Tam (“The Ahistoric Grandpa Cooking Show”)
Gigi Wong (“Eating Well with Madam Wong (Sr. 3)”)
Maria Cordero & Luk Ho Ming (“Good Cheap Eats (Sr. 6)”) 
Nancy Sit, Michael Lai, Raymond Cho & Karen Tong (“Cantopop at 50”)
Mayanne Mak, Kaki Leung, Roxanne Tong, Crystal Fun, Tiffany Lau & Bowie Cheung (“Sidewalk Scientist”)
Tony Hung (“Retiring in Paradise”)
Luk Ho Ming, Louisa Mak & Crystal Fung (“Young and Restless”)
Bob Lam, Mayanne Mak & Linna Huynh (“Chef Minor (Sr. 3)”)
Janis Chan (“Faraway Brides”)
Lai Chi San (“Starry Starry Talk”)
Evergreen Mak, Joyce Tang & Elena Kong (“Bazaar Carnivals (Sr. 3)”)
Benjamin Au Yeung, Mayanne Mak, Luk Ho Ming, Bella Lam & Liz Ji (“Sir Ben Prop Guide”)
Helen To (“Helen Goes to Kyushu”)
Sammy Leung, Samantha Ko, Mayanne Mak & Jacqueline Wong (“Sammy on the Go”) 
Carol Cheng, FAMA, Kenneth Ma, Edwin Siu & Priscilla Wong (“DoDo Goes Shopping (Sr. 2)”) – WINNER

Opinion: I do expect the hosts for ‘DoDo Goes Shopping (Sr.2)’ to win because it’s Carol Cheng. Anyway, she is really good in hosting and her chemistry with FAMA and also the other co-hosts are amazing and fun to watch.

Most Improved Female Artiste
Rebecca Zhu (“May Fortune Smile on You”, “A General, a Scholar and a Eunuch”, “Hong Kong Round the Clock”)
Samantha Ko (“My Unfair Lady”, “Bet Hur”, “Sammy on the Go”, “Gag Gag Summer”) 
Mayanne Mak (“Miss Hong Kong Pageant 2017”, “Sammy on the Go”, “Line Walker: The Hunting Game”, “TVB Anniversary Gala”) – WINNER
Zoie Tam (“May Fortune Smile on You”, “My Unfair Lady”, “Legal Mavericks”, “My Ages Apart”) 
Roxanne Tong (“Provocateur”, “My Dearly Sinful Mind”, “The Tofu War”, “Sidewalk Scientist”) 
Jacqueline Wong (“Provocateur”, “Nothing Special Force”, “Sammy on the Go”) 

Opinion: The first shock of the evening. Mayanne Mak would be my last choice in this nomination list and yet she ended up winning. Artistes who are doing non-drama programmes are usually not being much acknowledged but here she comes taking home this prize to everyone’s surprise. I would prefer Jacqueline Wong to take this as I do see that she really improved a lot this year. Hey…where is Sisley Choi? She deserves a nomination here as she is seriously the most improved actress of all for this year. But hey…surprise later on.

Most Improved Male Artiste
Owen Cheung (“The No No Girl”, “Legal Mavericks”, “HK Gag Gag”, “Amazing Summer Splash”) 
Matthew Ho (“May Fortune Smile on You”, “Tiger Mom Blues”, “A General, a Scholar and a Eunuch”, “Tiger Mom Blues Returns”) 
Luk Ho Ming (“Good Cheap Eats (Sr. 5)”, “Sir Ben Prop Guide”, “TVB Anniversary Gala”, “Young and Restless”)
Hugo Wong (“May Fortune Smile on You”, “Legal Mavericks”, “The Exorcist’s Meter”)
Hubert Wu (“The Exorcist’s Meter”, “My Ages Apart”)
Mat Yeung (“My Dearly Sinful Mind”, “Bet Hur”, “Love and Construction”, “All Work No Pay Holidays (Sr.2)”) – WINNER

Opinion: I knew Mat Yeung is finally going to win. His hard work for the past many years is finally paid off. The other deserving candidates, Owen Cheung, Hugo Wong and Matthew Ho can wait for the coming years to get this.

Best Supporting Actress
Stephanie Ho (“Recipes to Live By”)
Kaman Wong (“Tiger Mom Blues”)
Mandy Lam (“Lo and Behold”)
Joyce Tang (“Lo and Behold”)
Kelly Fu (“Burning Hands”)
Vivien Yeo (“My Dearly Sinful Mind”)
Eileen Yeow (“The No No Girl”)
Samantha Ko (“My Unfair Lady”) 
Zoie Tam (“My Unfair Lady”)
Toby Chan (“Legal Mavericks”)
Tracy Chu (“Legal Mavericks”)
Rebecca Zhu (“A General, a Scholar and a Eunuch”) – WINNER
Grace Wong (“A General, a Scholar and a Eunuch”) 
Harriet Yeung (“A General, a Scholar and a Eunuch”)
Elena Kong (“The Unholy Alliance”)
Elaine Yiu (“The Unholy Alliance”) 
Alice Chan (“Line Walker: The Prelude”)
Susan Tse (“The Exorcist’s Meter”) 
Katy Kung (“My Ages Apart”)
Sharon Chan (“Heart and Greed”) 

Opinion: Second shock of the evening. TVB gave us surprise on all the awards in female categories. Yes, Rebecca Zhu has improved in her acting too, but I don’t think her performance deserves a supporting actress win yet. Her role in ‘A General, A Scholar And A Eunuch’ is also too ordinary and easily forgotten. I can see just now that she herself was very surprised when her name is announced as the winner. I would prefer Elaine Yiu, Susan Tse, Sharon Chan, Grace Wong or even Samantha Ko to win.

Best Supporting Actor
Hugo Ng (“Burning Hands”)
Matthew Ho (“Tiger Mom Blues”)
King Kong (“Destination Nowhere”)
James Ng (“Destination Nowhere”)
Mark Ma (“Lo and Behold”)
Fred Cheng (“Provocateur”)
Mat Yeung (“My Dearly Sinful Mind”) 
Max Cheung (“My Unfair Lady”)
Lai Lok Yi (“My Unfair Lady”)
Andrew Yuen (“My Unfair Lady”)
Owen Cheung (“Legal Mavericks”) 
Timothy Cheng (“A General, a Scholar and a Eunuch”)
John Chiang (“A General, a Scholar and a Eunuch”)
Jimmy Au (“The Unholy Alliance”)
Joel Chan (“The Unholy Alliance”)  – WINNER
Kwok Fung (“The Unholy Alliance”)
Carlo Ng (“The Unholy Alliance”)
Benz Hui (“Line Walker: The Prelude”) 
Brian Tse (“Line Walker: The Prelude”)
Kenny Wong (“Line Walker: The Prelude”)
Ram Chiang (“The Exorcist’s Meter”)
Ho Yuen Tung (“The Exorcist’s Meter”)
Hugo Wong (“The Exorcist’s Meter”) 
Hubert Wu (“The Exorcist’s Meter”)
Louis Yuen (“Heart and Greed”)

Opinion: I’m happy that Joel Chan won. I noticed him several years ago and he had already been doing awesome job back then. It’s finally time for him to win and he totally deserved it. I was quite nervous before the winner is revealed because I’m worried that Jimmy Au (another favourite and he also starred in ‘The Unholy Alliance’ with Joel Chan) may win because of his seniority and popularity as being Hong Kong’s version of James Bond. He can take that nickname but his performance is too plain. Joel is very emotional when delivering his acceptance speech.

Global Netizens Favourite Series
“Rogue Emperor”
“Recipes to Live By”
“May Fortune Smile on You”
“Burning Hands”
“Tiger Mom Blues”
“Destination Nowhere”
“Lo and Behold”
“Provocateur”
“Married but Available”
“My Dearly Sinful Mind”
“The No No Girl”
“My Unfair Lady” 
“Phoenix Rising”
“Bet Hur”
“Legal Mavericks” 
“A General, a Scholar and a Eunuch” 
“The Unholy Alliance” 
“The Tofu War”
“Line Walker: The Prelude”
“Nothing Special Force”
“Oh My Grad”
“The Exorcist’s Meter”  – WINNER
“My Ages Apart”
“Heart and Greed”

Opinion: This is a new category and it allows all people (not just from Hong Kong) to vote online for this one. I’m delighted that ‘The Exorcist’s Meter’ won because it really deserved. It’s such a small production with lesser known cast and yet able to make huge impact with great and touching storyline and wonderful performances by its actors and actresses. Does that mean this series will not win the ‘Best Drama’? Yes…unfortunately.

Most Popular TV Partnership
Vincent Wong & Natalie Tong (“My Unfair Lady”) 
Vincent Wong & Owen Cheung (“Legal Mavericks”)
Edwin Siu, Raymond Cho & Matthew Ho (“A General, a Scholar and a Eunuch”)  – WINNER
Ruco Chan & Nancy Wu (“The Unholy Alliance”) 
Joel Chan & Elaine Yiu (“The Unholy Alliance”) 
Moses Chan & Jessica Hester Hsuan (“Line Walker: The Prelude”)
Benjamin Yuen, Priscilla Wong & Pakho Chau (“Line Walker: The Prelude”)
Kenneth Ma & Hubert Wu (“The Exorcist’s Meter”) 
Moses Chan & Bobby Au Yeung (“My Ages Apart”)
Ha Yu & Louise Lee (“Heart and Greed”)
Maria Cordero & Luk Ho Ming (“Good Cheap Eats (Sr. 6)”)
Benjamin Yuen & Mat Yeung (“All Work No Pay Holidays (Sr.2)”)
Myolie Wu, Nancy Wu, Mandy Wong, Elaine Yiu, Selena Li & Paisley Hu (“The Sisterhood Traveling Gang”)
Carol Cheng, C Kwan & Luk Wing (“DoDo Goes Shopping (Sr. 2)”)
Wayne Lai, Edwin Siu, Raymond Cho & Raymond Wong (“Dickies on Tour”)

Opinion: I’m happy for the three actors from ‘A General, A Scholar And A Eunuch’ to win because their chemistry on-screen is really awesome and fun to watch. I remembered a lot of funny scenes involving the three of them in that drama.

Most Popular Series Song
四方 (“Rogue Emperor”) – Hoffman Cheng
心暖 (“Rogue Emperor”) – Kenneth Ma & Niki Chow
乾杯 (“Rogue Emperor”) – Ronald Law, Hoffman Cheng & Yao Bin
天賜的味道 (“Recipes to Live By”) – Maria Cordero
財神駕到 (“May Fortune Smile on You”) – Wayne Lai, Amy Fan, Pal Sinn, Matthew Ho & Kelly Fu
一輩子守候 (“The Princess Weiyoung”) – HANA
不變的愛 (“Tiger Mom Blues”) – Edwin Siu
迷 (“Destination Nowhere”) – Fred Cheng
獨來獨往 (“Provocateur”) – Gallen Lo
地盡頭 (“Provocateur”) – Fred Cheng
真心真意 (“Married but Available”) – Fred Cheng & Stephanie Ho
印記 (“Married but Available”) – Kayee Tam
籠牢 (“My Dearly Sinful Mind”) – Alfred Hui
你走的那個晚上 (“My Dearly Sinful Mind”) – Fred Cheng
我有我美麗 (“The No No Girl”) – Nancy Wu
我不會撒嬌 (“My Unfair Lady”) – Stephanie Ho
手中沙 (“My Unfair Lady”) – HANA
陪著你走 (“My Unfair Lady”) – Kayee Tam 
我不歸去 (“The Legend of the Condor Heroes”) – Kayee Tam
用愛邁步 (“Phoenix Rising”) – Kelly Chen
久別重逢 (“Eternal Love”) – HANA
十倍奉還 (“Bet Hur”) – Fred Cheng
心眼 (“Legal Mavericks”) – Vincent Wong
愛近在眼前 (“Legal Mavericks”) – Stephanie Ho
戰勝吧 (“A General, a Scholar and a Eunuch”) – Fred Cheng
一觸即發 (“The Unholy Alliance”) – Ruco Chan
家中的太陽 (“The Tofu War”) – Nancy Sit
天網 (“Line Walker: The Prelude”) – Pakho Chau
忘記我自己 (“Line Walker: The Prelude”) – HANA 
安守本分 (“Line Walker: The Prelude”) – Vivian Koo
快樂快活人 (“Nothing Special Force”) – Kayee Tam
畢業之後 (“Oh My Grad”) – Mag Lam
你在我心間 (“Nothing Gold Can Stay”) – Jinny Ng
到此一遊 (“The Exorcist’s Meter”) – Hubert Wu – WINNER
遙不可及 (“The Exorcist’s Meter”) – Hubert Wu 
泣血薔薇 (“The Exorcist’s Meter”) – Jinny Ng
誇世代 (“My Ages Apart”) – Hacken Lee
別再記起 (“My Ages Apart”) – Jinny Ng
我本無罪 (“Heart and Greed”) – Susanna Kwan 
欲言又止 (“Heart and Greed”) – Vincent Wong & HANA 
I Promise (“Heart and Greed”) – Linda Chung

 

Opinion: My preferred choice is the ending theme song for the series ‘Line Walker: The Prelude’ by Hana Kuk. The song and its melody is much more beautiful than the others.

Most Popular TV Female Character
Elena Kong (“Tiger Mom Blues”) 
Kristal Tin (“Destination Nowhere”)
Koni Lui (“Lo and Behold”)
Jessica Hsuan (“My Unfair Lady”) 
Samantha Ko (“My Unfair Lady”)
Natalie Tong (“My Unfair Lady”)
Sisley Choi (“Legal Mavericks”) – WINNER
Tracy Chu (“Legal Mavericks”)
Rebecca Zhu (“A General, a Scholar and a Eunuch”)
Nina Paw (“The Unholy Alliance”)
Nancy Wu (“The Unholy Alliance”) 
Elaine Yiu (“The Unholy Alliance”)
Nancy Sit (“The Tofu War”)
Roxanne Tong (“The Tofu War”)
Priscilla Wong (“Line Walker: The Prelude”)
Moon Lau (The Exorcist’s Meter”)
Susan Tse (“The Exorcist’s Meter”)
Mandy Wong (“The Exorcist’s Meter”)
Ali Lee (“My Ages Apart”) 
Susanna Kwan (“Heart and Greed”)
Louise Lee (“Heart and Greed”) 
Michelle Yim (“Heart and Greed”)
Eliza Sam (“Heart and Greed”)

Opinion: Third shock of the evening…but I’m actually agreeing on this outcome. Sisley Choi defeated a lot of favourites (Ali Lee, Nancy Wu, Elaine Yiu, Elena Kong, Natalie Tong, etc) to take this prize to everyone’s surprise again. However, I find that Sisley Choi really did very well for her ugly role in ‘Legal Mavericks’. She is very natural and her performance is amazing in that one. Hence, I’m actually fine with her winning this although many others may disagree with me. This is just like what happened when Grace Wong won for her character in ‘A Fist Within Four Walls’ that shocked quite a lot of people in the previous edition of this awards. No wonder there is not even a nomination for Sisley in ‘most improved’ category. She immediately elevated to the ‘favourite female character’ category. Anyway, she talked too much during her acceptance speech just now.

Most Popular TV Male Character
Tony Hung (“Recipes to Live By”)
Ben Wong (“Tiger Mom Blues”)
Gallen Lo (“Provocateur”)
Raymond Wong (“Married but Available”)
Eddie Cheung (“The No No Girl”)
Frankie Lam (“My Unfair Lady”)
Vincent Wong (“My Unfair Lady”) 
Andrew Yuen (“My Unfair Lady”)
Natalis Chan (“Bet Hur”)
Owen Cheung (“Legal Mavericks”)
Raymond Cho (“A General, a Scholar and a Eunuch”)
Edwin Siu (“A General, a Scholar and a Eunuch”) 
Jimmy Au (“The Unholy Alliance”)
Ruco Chan (“The Unholy Alliance”)
Cheung Wing Hong (“The Tofu War”)
Lai Yok Yi (“The Tofu War”)
Pakho Chau (“Line Walker: The Prelude”)
Michael Miu (“Line Walker: The Prelude”)
Benjamin Yuen (“Line Walker: The Prelude”) 
Kenneth Ma (“The Exorcist’s Meter”) – WINNER
Hubert Wu (“The Exorcist’s Meter”)
Bobby Au Yeung (“My Ages Apart”) 
Moses Chan (“My Ages Apart”) 
Bosco Wong (“Heart and Greed”)

Opinion: Happy for Kenneth Ma to win this award again (he had won this before back in 2012 for his role in ‘The Hippocratic Crush’). However, this means that he is not going to win best actor later and I pitied him for that. He hardly get any good roles in recent years. Then, he had this role as ‘Ma Kwai’ in ‘The Exorcist’s Meter’ and he did very well in it. This must be his chance for best actor. But again, he didn’t have the luck to snatch it. I hope that he will get more good roles later on and will one day win best actor. He deserves it.

Best Actress
Lin Xia Wei (“Burning Hands”)
Sharon Chan (“Tiger Mom Blues”)
Elena Kong (“Tiger Mom Blues”) 
Kristal Tin (“Destination Nowhere”) 
Jacqueline Wong (“Provocateur”)
Nadia Chan (“The No No Girl”)
Jessica Hsuan (“My Unfair Lady”) 
Natalie Tong (“My Unfair Lady”) – WINNER
Sisley Choi (“Legal Mavericks”)
Nina Paw (“The Unholy Alliance”) 
Nancy Wu (“The Unholy Alliance”) 
Nancy Sit (“The Tofu War”)
Roxanne Tong (“The Tofu War”)
Priscilla Wong (“Line Walker: The Prelude”)
Mandy Wong (“Nothing Special Force”)
Ali Lee (“My Ages Apart”)
Susanna Kwan (“Heart and Greed”)
Louise Lee (“Heart and Greed”) 
Michelle Yim (“Heart and Greed”)
Eliza Sam (“Heart and Greed”)

Opinion: Fourth shock of the evening. TVB really do it all wrong for the female categories. I’m really disappointed that Kristal Tin did not even make it into top 5 list as revealed in the ceremony. This is a big snub for Kristal as I find her performance in ‘Destination Nowhere’ is the best of all in 2017. It was such a challenging role and she nailed it, and yet a lot of people had simply forgotten or ignored her. She is my pick for best actress. Natalie Tong! Well, for me, she is not a leading actress material yet. My other choices would be Elena Kong, Nina Paw, Ali Lee or Jessica Hsuan. I never even have a sight on Natalie Tong and she prevailed in the end. I also disliked that drama ‘My Unfair Lady’. It was such a boring series.

Best Actor
Tony Hung (“Recipes to Live By”)
Wayne Lai (“May Fortune Smile on You”)
Ben Wong (“Tiger Mom Blues”)
Gallen Lo (“Provocateur”)
Eddie Cheung (“The No No Girl”)
Frankie Lam (“My Unfair Lady”)
Vincent Wong (“Legal Mavericks”)  – WINNER
Raymond Cho (“A General, a Scholar and a Eunuch”)
Edwin Siu (“A General, a Scholar and a Eunuch”)
Ruco Chan (“The Unholy Alliance”) 
Lai Yok Yi (“The Tofu War”)
Pakho Chau (“Line Walker: The Prelude”)
Michael Miu (“Line Walker: The Prelude”) 
Benjamin Yuen (“Line Walker: The Prelude”)
Roger Kwok (“Oh My Grad”)
Kenneth Ma (“The Exorcist’s Meter”) 
Bobby Au Yeung (“My Ages Apart”)
Moses Chan (“My Ages Apart”)
Ha Yu (“Heart and Greed”) 
Bosco Wong (“Heart and Greed”)

Opinion: Congratulation, Vincent Wong! He has an amazing role as a blind lawyer and he delivered in ‘Legal Mavericks’. I find both him and Kenneth Ma are equally good in 2017 and I have to give the edge to Kenneth Ma because of his seniority. Since Kenneth has won ‘My Popular TV Male Character’, Vincent must get something and so, here it is. However, I do find that he is a bit too early on winning best actor. I’m sure he would have plenty of great roles later on and hence having more chances to win this next time (but not Kenneth). That is why I felt bad for Kenneth in losing this one. I seriously don’t mind him winning both ‘My Favourite TV Male Character’ and this ‘Best Actor’.

Best Series
“Rogue Emperor”
“Recipes to Live By”
“May Fortune Smile on You”
“Burning Hands”
“Tiger Mom Blues” 
“Destination Nowhere”
“Lo and Behold”
“Provocateur”
“Married but Available”
“My Dearly Sinful Mind”
“The No No Girl”
“My Unfair Lady”
“Phoenix Rising”
“Bet Hur”
“Legal Mavericks” 
“A General, a Scholar and a Eunuch”
“The Unholy Alliance” 
“The Tofu War”
“Line Walker: The Prelude”
“Nothing Special Force”
“Oh My Grad”
“The Exorcist’s Meter” 
“My Ages Apart” – WINNER
“Heart and Greed” 

Opinion: TVB should reveal the top 5 for this category. I’m particularly surprised by this outcome too. My preferred choice would be ‘The Exorcist’s Meter’. I didn’t watch ‘My Ages Apart’ but I do heard some good comments for that drama. I didn’t expect ‘those good comments’ (not really as critically-acclaimed as ‘The Exorcist’s Meter’) would translate to ‘best drama’ win, the last major prize of the evening. I didn’t expect a drama which is themed on nonsense and exaggerated stuff get to win this top honour.

Special 50th Anniversary Lifetime Achievement Awards

Liza Wang, Luo Zhongbing

Opinion: This a special award to coincide with the station’s 50th anniversary and it replaces the usual lifetime achievement awards. That means Liza Wang is getting this prize again (she had won Lifetime Achievement before several years ago). The other one, Luo Zhongbing is a behind-the-scene man who worked relentlessly for TVB and is acknowledged now with this honour.

That’s it for TVB Anniversary Awards 2017. It concluded after a ceremony that slightly exceeded its planned two and a half hour broadcast time. ‘The Exorcist’s Meter’ took the most awards (3 – theme song, popular male character, and global netizens favourite series). ‘Legal Mavericks’ is just behind with 2 wins (best actor, popular female character). ‘A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch’ also performed better than expectation with 2 wins (supporting actress, partnership). ‘The Unholy Alliance’ had one win (supporting actor). These are my favourite TVB series in 2017. And none of them won ‘best drama’ in the end as that prize went to ‘My Ages Apart’ (and I didn’t watch that because I don’t like drama that is excessively long…it has 50 episodes and I also don’t like its premise). ‘Heart and Greed’, the third installment to the highly successful ‘Heart of Greed’ franchise failed to win anything (unlike its predecessors that swept a lot of awards last time). Well, that is expected because this third installment is poorly made and is no where near the quality of the first two ones.

Alright. That’s a wrap up to TVB dramas and awards for year 2017. Now, it’s time to move on to new and coming dramas in 2018.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

 

‘Heart and Greed’ is a lot less stellar than its last two predecessors.


‘Heart and Greed’ is the third installment in the ‘Heart of Greed’ Hong Kong drama franchise. The first ‘Heart of Greed’ was released way back in 2007 with critical acclaim and the drama went on to win the most accolades at TVB Anniversary Awards that particular year. The drama has also lead to popularization of ‘golden words’ derived from some intense script in it. I enjoyed the drama a lot, particularly on the theme of inheritance-fighting, the emotional impact especially touching on the warmth of the family, and the superb performances by all the cast. It is a classic. Looking on its success, TVB decided to make a sequel entitled ‘Moonlight Resonance’ the next year (2008). Similar hype and success came in as well as the drama also become the highest rated TVB series of all time with its final episode hitting 50 points.

So about ten years later (now), TVB decided to make yet another sequel (with the same 40-episodes span). It’s called ‘Heart and Greed’. I was very excited because of how great the first two dramas turned out in the past. I also very much enjoyed drama with the theme of family and fighting for inheritance with all sort of tactics and schemes. However, I noticed that this latest drama is no longer relating to ‘inheritance’ kind of story but rather about man who would sacrifice everything to help his friend’s dying business.  This drama brought back old cast (Ha Yu, Louise Lee, Michelle Yim, Susanna Kwan, Louis Yuen, Bosco Wong, etc) and mix it up with new people (Vincent Wong, Eliza Sam, Sharon Chan, Michael Tong, Priscilla Wong, etc).

After I saw the change of cast (disappointed for not seeing Linda Chung, Tavia Yeung, Raymond Lam, Moses Chan, Fala Chen, Chris Lai anymore in here) and the change of plot’s theme, I lowered my expectation even before I started watching the drama. And yup…I am right. The drama is no where near the quality to be called a ‘classic’ like its first two predecessors. The drama lacks the intensity and the dramas that we observed in almost every single episodes for its first two series. Besides than the boring storylines of ‘Kyle falling in love with Belle’, the plain development of ‘old Mr Wong persistently helping his old friend, Alan who had once saved him’ part, the out-of-arch segment of ‘daughter of the family making immoral advance to a married man’ and lastly the illogical and rushed plot when the ‘uncle suddenly turned bad in the end’, there is nothing much going on to make this drama a memorable one.

The veteran cast is doing well in leading the whole show. Or is it? It looks to me that Michelle Yim’s role is now so small and yet she is nominated for best leading actress in the coming TVB Anniversary Awards. She is a great actress, and yet given such unimportant character this time, which is in total contrast to her award-winning performance as Yan Hung in ‘Moonlight Resonance’. On the other hand, I find that Louise Lee had been pushing too hard to act in this drama with frequent shouting kind of tone when speaking. Her age must be weakening her performance. Susanna Kwan is good though and I am impressed with her ability to memorize long script for her part. Eliza Sam is still not doing enough to carry her role while Vincent Wong is as his usual good form. Michael Tong returns with his first drama here after many years and he is doing well. Now I wonder why he and Jacqueline Ch’ng (who portrayed as Adam’s wife) are not being nominated in supporting categories for the coming TVB Anniversary Awards. They are good in their roles here. The drama lacks a few more major characters (the main family group now lacks so many people when compared to its first two dramas) to further escalate things up, to create more tensions and climax for the story.

Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Heart and Greed’ a total of 7.4 only. I would have easily rated ‘Heart of Greed’ and ‘Moonlight Resonance’ above 8 and even nears to 9 respectively. But for this third installment, it is just not that good. It is still a solid drama with some (much lesser) warm and touching family scenes, some fun (but less exciting) conflicts in business and relationship issues. The songs in this drama are nice to listen to by the way while I can see also a lot of effort and budget has been placed on the setting (house interior) and the costumes too. The producers have been forcing themselves to create another sequel to this franchise and it turned out not working that well to my earlier projection.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)