Overachievers

I must say that comparing to Rear Mirror, this was much, much, much better. It didn’t mean that this series did not have flaws. It did. But this one was better in the building of suspense and consistency throughout. What broke from the usual conventional series was having Wayne’s other half appeared somewhere along the way and not just introduce every character first and then try to weave stories in along the way. It made it different and I feel somewhat hopeful for TVB series again. Only somewhat though, lol.

Main Cast:

  • Wayne Lai as Mike Chiang Yuen (蒋元). His character was a mixture of cleverness and recklessness. It was hard to describe and I guess people could like him for this role, because his character wasn’t pulled toward one side of the spectrum or the other. In other words, not too extremely nice or too extremely annoying. This character was in-between. I actually liked that more. Or perhaps I think he had enough roles where he was too hot-headed or too nice. Sure, he was righteous at times or was too trusting at others. Yet when he got mad, it sure was scary. His reactions during different situations made it less predictable. It was always depending on the circumstances.
  • Nancy Wu as Mandy Ting Man-Chi (丁漫姿) / Ah Man. I think this role restored my faith in Nancy. I don’t know. It was just that of recent, her roles were either a hit or miss for me. Mostly miss so I wondered what happened. She was getting more opportunities yet she wasn’t impressive, just average. I was comparing it to her past roles, NOT comparing her to others. (I usually do that for most people.) With this role, I didn’t feel like the scriptwriters tried too hard to make her stand out. She existed as another character within this complicated story yet she stood out because her character was real, not trying. I could really feel her suffering during the worst moments and her calmness when she finally found truth happiness. Not just because she found someone more suitable for her, but it was like she felt she could let go of her past, etc.
  • Raymond Wong as Hugo Chung Hiu Yeung (鍾曉陽). I haven’t watched much of TVB of recent except a pick and choose here and there. But was Raymond thinking of going on the path of the bad guy after his success of being a semi-villain hero? If so, he sure knew when to pick the time. There were many things Hugo said that one couldn’t help but sympathize with him. Yet I felt there were many things that were too frustrating. Not because he betrayed Mike and and Mandy throughout the story, hurting them time after time when they trusted him–both professionally and personally. That was just a part of it. It was like the scriptwriters wanted to make him into this super complicated character that failed to impress in the end. Raymond’s performance wasn’t bad. It was just that the character was too unconvincing in many ways. It gave kids whom suffered a painful childhood a bad name. Sure, that was a possibility of having endured so much pain and violence within the household that he could have gone to the extreme and not know that what he did was wrong, especially with what happened in the later years when he grew up. It sure was a painful childhood and it had impacted him. A LOT. But that was like almost every single TVB series. Making the victim the bad guy in the end, not giving them a chance to seek help or portray them in a better light. It was almost as bad as keep showing people with psychological problems running around shooting others, etc. It was getting too repetitive.
  • Edwin Siu as Yuen Siu-Tin (袁小田). I have mixed feelings for him throughout. I liked his snappy jokes at times and how he contributed to Mike’s workplace later on. Yet other times, I felt it didn’t really contribute to the story. Okay, I got it that he got his side story and I sort of enjoyed that somewhat. But I felt it was just all right. Luckily, it didn’t overshadow the main story.
  • Power Chan as Lee Chau Kan (李秋芹). At first, I felt he was annoying with how he fought with Mike and all. However, I realized it was just that he was a straightforward person, not knowing how to say those sweet words. He wore his heart on his sleeves so he didn’t care if others didn’t like his honesty. He did care very much for his family though and didn’t want to fight yet there were many things he wasn’t able to control. At first, he couldn’t get along with Mike (mostly because of Mike yet Mike couldn’t be blamed either), but later they learned many things about each other and gotten along better as a result of so many things unfolding. They even joined forces later.
  • Raymond Cho as Andy Chiang Sing (蔣昇). I don’t know what to say. Seriously, he seemed to support Mike at times yet he was too cowardly to take a big step forward against their father. It was probably because of his lack of confidence and how the old man really knew where to poke hence him not being able to take a big leap to decide for himself.
  • Maggie Siu as Flora Kwan Fa-lai (关花拉). Maggie was hilarious in here. She was very lovable in her own way, despite sometimes arguing with Mike senselessly. Although her role seemed to pale comparing to others, but I felt she contributed greatly to the story. It was shocking that she had to be sacrificed in the end. But I felt it wasn’t too out of nowhere. Still, tragic.

Supporting:

  • Susanna Kwan as  Lee Chau Ping (李秋萍). She was indeed a manipulative person YET she didn’t realize she had also fallen under Hugo’s spell. Or was it more like she didn’t care as long as her daughter was happy? Well, she didn’t know. Lucky for her, it wasn’t too late for her case. Susanna, of course, didn’t disappoint in her performance.
  • Elliot Yue as Chiang Sing-Tin (蔣承天). Another strong, fierce role for him. He thought he was powerful yet he didn’t realize his biggest mistake was underestimating his enemies.
  • Jason Chan as Louie Chiang Tsun (蔣進). I felt really sad for him. He was a sweet guy and only wanted to follow his path and be accepted for who he was. Yet the pressure was a lot higher because of how his family put a lot of emphasis on reputation and all. He didn’t want to fight with his siblings or anything for the spot. Among all the children of the Chiang family, I thought he was the most innocent of them all. He didn’t belong there yet he couldn’t escape his fate. Then he became a tool for Hugo’s schemes. I felt Jason had reached a new level, not just the good looking guy anymore. Not because of the role he portrayed, but the nature of his character and what he had to deal with–both personally and the events surrounding him.
  • Grace Chan as Abby Chiang Lai (蔣勵). I don’t know. I didn’t care for her character from the start. It wasn’t because I later realized she ended up going with Hugo, BUT she was just there. I usually don’t pick on people for just being there, but she was just too whatever for me to care. I also felt like she seemed to think she had a lot of morality in her yet in the end, she had become the third-party. It didn’t matter if she tried to help Hugo previously, and that the trauma of later wasn’t totally her fault. Yet she continued to tag Hugo without considering Mandy’s feelings. The most despicable part was how she turned around and accused Hugo of returning to Mandy’s side when Hugo was cheating on her with Ivy.
  • Sisely Choi as Ma Siu-Ming (馬小明). I actually quite like her from the group of newbies. Her character was also a nice addition to the plot, unlike someone.
  • Fred Cheng as Ko Hing (高興). So lovable and cute. Although portraying a mentally challenged kid, but he was impressive and contributed to the plot majorly. His character became the string that pulled Mike and his father back together. Even if they all weren’t really related but for some reason the old man just loved him.
  • Yoyo Chen as Tong Ching (湯晴). I didn’t blame her. All right, she had a colorful past and all. But I didn’t blame her. I thought that was the past. Sometimes I just didn’t know what to say. Andy was too paranoid and lacked self-confidence. I sort of didn’t get why she accepted him in the first place.
  • Ali Lee as Ivy Yu Si Lam (余诗琳). Even if she thought she was smart, in the end, she lost major time.

Others:

  • Becky Lee as Man Ka Yau (文嘉瑜). Mike’s ex-wife. Mixed feelings.
  • Lau Kong as (文世光). Man Ka Yau’s father. He played a major role later on since Mike needed his help and all.
  • Cheung Kwok Keung as Dickson. Seriously? I thought he was going to get a bigger role. Can’t believe he just appeared, followed orders, and faded into the background. Sure, he provided some important information to Mike later on, but it was like he was just there.

Recommended? I think it’s worth it. Worth it a lot more than some recent series.

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Liao Zhai 2014: Ye Sheng (叶生)

Both consorts gave birth at the same time, involving the fate of the whole kingdom. The Royal Physician Ye Cheng Fei (Raymond Cho) exhausted all his energy in saving the newly born prince yet was threatened by Consort Han (Cynthia Khan), a cat demon, so he could only flee into hiding with the prince. During the next eight years, Ye Cheng Fei, on one hand, practiced medicine and on the other hand, raised the prince. At the time the king passed away, Consort Han gained control of the imperial court, Cheng Fei contacted the Eighth Prince (Kou Zhen Hai) to help the prince regain the throne. In addition, Leng Xiang Ling (Wang Yan Su), who was operating a brothel, took care of Cheng Fei hence slowly melting his icebound heart after so many years. However, the appearing to be loyal and honest Eighth Prince was actually someone with sinister intentions and bad ambitions. The prince got poisoned, within that dangerous moment, Cheng Fei was also framed for the crime. At the execution field, Cheng Fei relied on a Taoist technique to allow his soul in staying within the human realm. He not only wanted to save the prince’s fate, but also his fate with Xiang Ling.

Nhị vị quý phi đồng thời lâm bồn, quan hệ đến vận mệnh của giang sơn xã tắc. Ngự y Diệp Thừa Phi (Tào Vĩnh Liêm) tận lực cứu được thái tử vừa mới được sanh ra nhưng lại bị Hàn Phi (Dương Lệ Thanh), một con mèo yêu, đe dọa nên đành phải mang thái tử bỏ trốn. Trong tám năm, Diệp Thừa Phi một mặt hành y, một mặt nuôi dưỡng thái tử. Lúc hoàng thượng băng hà, Hàn Phi độc lãm triều chính, Thừa Phi liên lạc với Bát Vương Gia (Khấu Chấn Hải) để giúp thái tử phục vị. Người kinh doanh thanh lâu là Lãnh Hương Lăng (Vương Nghiên Tô) chiếu cố Thừa Phi, dần dần đã tan hóa băng phong trong tâm của Thừa Phi trong bao nhiêu năm. Nhưng Bát Vương Gia ngoài mặt chính trực lại là một người lang tử dã tâm. Thái tử bị trúng độc, trong lúc nguy hiểm đó, Thừa Phi lại bị hãm hại. Trên hình trường, Thừa Phi đã dùng Đạo Mộc để giữ lại hồn phách tại nhân gian. Y muốn cứu không chỉ có mạng của thái tử mà còn có đoạn duyên với Hương Lăng.

*All information were from Baidu, and all translations were by DTLCT.

*All images were collected around the net hence belonging to their rightful owners.

I’m Sorry, But I like Kevin Cheng

I think I’m writing this to repent myself more than anything since my last post of him was so negative. Or at least it felt that way to me, contrary to my past impression of him and the last several years. Perhaps, I was such a big chicken and how I was so scared that people would criticize me or even going to target me if I as much as express my likings for Kevin. (It reminded myself too much of how I was cornered in the past and had not stayed firm on my beliefs.) I shouldn’t have let others influence me regardless. What’s to be ashamed of, right? But this topic should be about Kevin and NOT me so I’ll move on.

Actually, I felt that he has been typecasted since he became the lead and that’s saying something. I remembered liking his acting style when he was NOT lead. Everyone goes through that phase at TVB, except for several rare people. This is NOT a reason to justify Kevin’s lack of variety since he was declared as TV King. But it’s what most viewers have been familiar with. Just because TVB decided to give him the crown, anti-fans streamed in to attack him. It’s like a contagious hatred that spread endlessly, which happened in the past with others and will continue to happen in the future.

Did anyone realize all the smaller roles that Kevin appeared in years and years ago? What am I getting at? I don’t think it’s even fair to say that he just jumped out to be the main lead all of a sudden. He was around for a while. Just like some other people. I think he actually deserved the lead spot after so many years. BUT I do not think that he should get the crown for TV King. YES, I said it. It was for the wrong series. It was too early also. But I don’t think he deserved to be bashed like that.

Just to make a point and to redeem myself. Next topic? Kevin, Ray, and Timmy.

Kevin Cheng: What in the world happened?

Okay, so I felt like blogging about Kevin today since he was one of my favorite singers back then (but I didn’t realize it was him until one of those days several years back that I put two and two together). He just looked different in those days so it was a bit hard to notice.

So what was with the outburst? Honestly, I wondered what happened but I guess TVB happened. More specifically a temptation in the name of V-Lok. Yeah, I knew what happened in the past with his master/teacher must have been hard, etc but it was a bit disappointing to see him cave in in the end. Well, he got fame and recognition, but somehow I felt it was for all the wrong reasons. I felt like he should have gone down the singing career path instead of the acting one since people did not care for him in that matter because he would just be a shield for all of TVB’s political fights. Not to mention he was often placed on the platter for people to idolize because of his looks AND not his talent (or like no one cared to analyze it further than that). Then somehow along the way, I don’t know, but his singing seemed to deteriorate (or so I thought) as well. It was like the more handsome he became (or thanks to those people working on his current image), the less talented he turned into.

What was wrong with his singing now? I don’t know. I liked more songs from him back then than now. He sounded more lively back then. Yes, I know that most of the songs he sang now are sadder but honestly, I could not feel the emotions brought into it versus his songs back then. Also, though his image was along the line of a nerd (or something like that) back then, somehow I liked it more that way. It looked more natural, more real versus all the fake layer now. NOT that I am accusing him of being fake, BUT I am just saying it looked forced somehow.

I think I should be glad that he and Raymond Cho are still best friends–like once upon a time. At least it shows that he still remembers how Ray was supporting him during those harsh times.

The Fate of Roger and Ray

I just want to post this for fun since Roger Kwok and Raymond Cho are two of my favorites. I just noticed some certain details about their collaboration and a little of real life and want to share with everyone–for fun.

TV series they were in together:

  • Square Pegs (戇夫成龍): Roger was Ah Wong aka Ting Seung Wong (丁常旺) while Raymond was Bao Gai Chung (包繼宗). It was later found out that Ah Wong was actually Gai Chung and the current Gai Chung was brought home by the uncle in a scheme to gain family assets. Gai Chung was seen at first very jealous of Ah Wong and even looked down on Ah Wong because of Ah Wong’s supposedly retarded state (but it was only because Ah Wong had lost his memory). However, Gai Chung redeemed himself near the end of the series by trying to help the now normal Ah Wong who had regained his memory. Gai Chung was not bad in general but was just jealous of Ah Wong because he could not end up with the girl he loved at first and what was even worse, the girl he loved at first had married Ah Wong. Gai Chung later realized Ah Wong’s good nature and also became more understanding. He and Ah Wong became good brothers so Mr. Bao ended up with two sons.
  • Life Made Simple (阿旺新傳): Roger reprised his role as Ah Wong while Raymond had to take the role of Lok Kui Shing (洛渠成) since the meaty rich guy role had gone to Bosco Wong. However, they had retained some of the little details in association with Raymond and his interactions with Jessica’s character, Fung (鳳). Like how Shing accidentally spill water on Fung’s pants that one time and had to buy her a pair of new pants (while in Square Pegs it was her dress/whole outfit). Shing liked Fung in the later parts of the series but also lost to Ah Wong. Contrary to the previous series, Shing was a normal guy next door and lovable in his own way. He was not jealous of Ah Wong or anyone around him but had a very kind heart. He liked Fung but did not go out of his way to sabotage Ah Wong or anything. He later became Fung’s best friend and even supported her final decision in returning to Ah Wong’s side. One of the funniest scenes was during Ah Wong and Fung’s wedding, Shing was drunk and when Ah Wong and Fung were going around to different tables so others could offer them wine and words of congratulations, Shing was actually offering wine and saying his words of congrats to Ah Wong’s mother and Uncle Shui instead. A sad moment for Shing BUT kind of hilarious for the rest of us who were watching.
  • The Threshold of a Persona (ID 精英): Roger was Fong Chun Kit (方浚杰) while Raymond was Cheng Pak Yu (鄭柏宇). Both were best friends since whenever. However, their priorities were different from how Pak Yu was willing to cut corners while Chun Kit believed in honest, hard work. Pak Yu’s greed and his way of doing things regardless of method caused him to drift down the wrong path and eventually met his fate. It was very intense between these two, considering how Pak Yu had caused Chun Kit’s wife’s death near the end also.

Conclusion: Raymond can’t win! It was Roger after all. But that was interesting to see them in the past three series together. Possibly the next collaboration will be different? Or not? Whenever that might be.

Real Life:

  • Their English names both start with an ‘R’. Roger and Raymond. Great combination, huh?
  • Their sons’ English names both start with a ‘B’. Roger’s son is Brad and Ray’s son is Brandon. Coincidence?

Anyway, those are all I know for now. Does anyone want to share more?