A Traditional Story of Taiwan: Amitabha Buddha’s Gravestone

(image source: net)

I’ve been following this collection of stories more actively of recent. Many of the stories were touching and thought-provoking. However, this stood out for me although it seemed like an average story. The ending was brilliantly tragic. I think it was the twist that became more meaningful in the long run–even if it had to be so tragic. What stood out for me even more was James Chang’s performance. He was indeed a very good actor, who was obviously overshadowed by the current culture of idol dramas. He was a serious actor and deserved to shine in this collection of stories. Too bad he couldn’t shine outside of this, not for the lack of trying but because people rather promote some other actors. And when I say “serious actor”, I do not mean he couldn’t do comedy, because he was brilliantly awesome at those scenes too. What I meant was he was a true actor, not needing some “polished” role to make him shine but he was able to convince just by using his acting abilities. I had liked him since watching the Madame White Snake parody that he starred in with Ehlo, Athena, and Sunny.

Taste of Life: The 200th Mark

Just as I was afraid, the show dragged on and ended up focusing on other side characters that had nothing to do with the main cast. However, what caught my attention recently was Pan Bo Xi’s presence.

Pan Bo Xi portrayed Athena Lee’s ex-boyfriend, Kenji. He entered in episode 200 so I guess that was their way to celebrate. Finally, the team focused on Athena again. Or more like I felt it had dragged on with the side story arches for so long. Athena is actually four years older than Bo Xi in real life but she said it would be no problem with making the chemistry convincing. I totally agree. They looked so cute together.

Aside from that as the latest of interest for me, Jun Ya actually joined the drama in episode 160. He once again took on the role of a doctor yet this time the role leaned on the dislike side briefly after earning some praises from the viewers. (Click here for details.)

Oh yeah, even Angus Xie had joined the drama awhile back and it seemed like they were phasing out other main cast from the start, like Jason and Eric.

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

Taste of Life: Worth Waiting?

I originally didn’t want to follow this but after seeing the above picture, I couldn’t help it. NOT like obsessing over a picture could turn it into an awesome drama. But it’s just too cute to resist. Not to mention how the previous aired drama has been beaten to death with its theme. Seriously?

Yup, the length is always the final factor in wanting to watch or not. I could always opt-out, but then I would be left hanging. I guess I’ll have to dive in for Jason, Eric, and Athena. (Others from Shi Jian Qing are also in here, like most of the long-winded dramas including a similar cast.) Yes, I initially was interested in it because of the three. Then reading this article and watching the clip made me want to watch it even more. (Good one, SETTV, you’re the master of PR all right.) And Eric’s tips to staying fit: exercise, only eat until 50% full, plus no starch at night. Also, congratulations to Eric and his wife with welcoming their second child.

Apparently, the drama focuses on the whole firefighting field. I seriously hope they do it justice. The last time, I was intrigued at first and then eventually got bored since they veered off course. And seriously, hope they don’t push the length and make viewers end up hating it rather than loving it.

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

Penny’s Return

Well, she wasn’t gone, but it was more like she’d been busy in the mainland from one production to another. She finally returned to Taiwan in the currently airing daily soap called Shi Jian Qing (世間情). Penny’s character this time was Ye Jian Ying (葉劍英), nicknamed Ye Zi (葉子).

So far, she seemed to have the most interactions with the main lead, Angus Xie–to which he posted pictures of them together on the set.

To be honest, I haven’t even started watching this. YES, I know it was daily soap so it was long. Yet I was curious because of Athena Lee and Sunny Lee being in it. (I followed them since after watching the parody of Madame White Snake.) Now that Penny’s in it too, another reason to watch, aside from having Angus as the main lead. I just need to make time for it, lol. Or maybe abandon the other episodes and just plain start at episode 191.

On the other hand, Penny set up a Facebook page for fans earlier this month so stalk here: https://www.facebook.com/Pennylin67

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

Madame White Snake: The Latest Time Traveling Skit

When I saw that Ehlo Huang finally made it up to the main lead guy (again), I just couldn’t resist. And because it’s an ancient drama too. Even if it’s SETTV doing it. (YES, I know it gets repetitive and super annoying that I kept implying I don’t like SETTV dramas YET kept diving in. I just couldn’t resist it when it’s one of my favorites and it’s a weak spot.) Anyway, I tried watching the first episode and cracked up so hard I couldn’t stop. It was sort of a parody to the White Snake legends more than an actual serious approach. Yet that was the purpose so I continued on.

For this post, I want to touch on some of the key characters first. Maybe I’ll backtrack and do some other types of topics later for future posts.

Athena Lee (李燕) as Bai Su Zhen (白素貞) aka the White Snake. I don’t remember watching her in any other series but she was really cute as Bai Su Zhen yet could also be quite scary at times too. It made sense because when she saw injustice matters, she would jump in to help others. She wasn’t a doormat in the sense of letting the evil demons from harming others, but I felt really bad for her and thought she should just leave at times when it was just too much. For once, I don’t blame her for being so naive or too trusting at times because people back then weren’t as complicated as now. Or more like the girl population got sheltered too much. Even if she was the snake demon who lived thousands of years already but she wasn’t as in touch with some of the human realm or would know of human nature as much as she would with demons in two shakes.

Ehlo Huang as Huang Yu Rong (黃玉榮) and Xu Xian (許仙). YES, he portrayed himself as an actor but it showed that he was a player in here hence getting some sort of ‘karma’ for his past misdeeds and ended up in the legendary Madame White Snake story. As the story progressed though, he had become more and more like Xu Xian (like how Fa Hai was saying that the longer they stay in the story, they would become more and more like their supposed identities that were given to them by the power of the book). Around the time that episode 28 rolled around, I practically just wanted to strangle him altogether. Okay, I got it that the whole ‘demon’ thing was really scary for a normal person like him, considering how he was already trapped in the ancient world and trying to survive. But confiding in Xiu Ying? And him confiding in Xiu Ying was why I mentioned about him becoming more and more like Xu Xian than before because he was so cunning and devious in a sense when he was Ehlo. Or what we would call modern-day sharpness since people back then weren’t that corrupted like him. Yet he was becoming more and more like Xu Xian with his dullness and trusting in others so easily versus others. Honestly. I seriously hope it would pass soon and I just finished episode 29 recently. Acting-wise, Ehlo didn’t disappoint at all. He was hilarious and natural, even if there were times that it required exaggeration. He still managed to pull it off.

Sunny Lee (李亮瑾) as Liu Xin Hui (柳心慧) and Xiao Qing (小青) aka the Green Snake. She portrayed two roles. In the modern part of the story, she was the director, Liu Xin Hui, of the Madame White Snake production that they were filming. Then when Ehlo got transferred into the story of Madame White Snake, he saw her as the Green Snake and thought she was playing a trick on him and ended up scolding her. It wasn’t until later that he realized she wasn’t Liu Xin Hui and was actually the Green Snake. I didn’t really pay attention to her when she was Liu Xin Hui since it was really strange at first and I didn’t even know where this was going, but when she was Xiao Qing, she was really cute and her character really grew on me. Regardless of how she was so mischievous at times, but I found her so lovable and loyal to the White Snake.

James Chang (張維錫) as Fa Hai (法海). He was someone from the modern time too yet got stuck in the Madame White Snake story for too long that he had forgotten his real name. However, he was still able to remember some of the events relating to the modern world so he ended up being buddies with Ehlo for most of the story while they tried to figure out a way to return to the modern world. For a character like Fa Hai, he was so lovable, considering how some past adaptations hadn’t really favored him as far as plots were concerned. (Yet I later realized how SETTV was breaking down the choice of characters. Ehlo was the arrogant main guy; Bai Su Zhen was the typical pitiful, naive girl; Xiao Qing being the supportive friend/loyal servant; Fa Hai was the 2nd main lead who would do anything to help the main girl but wouldn’t get anything. YES, I’m picking on SETTV again but I couldn’t help it. They had it made out with their past typical formula already. So it wasn’t like that was news.) I really want to hang on some more and hope that he wouldn’t turn against them for some final twist though. I meant I hope it would be different this time and continue to stay that way, even if that meant typical SETTV formula.

STACY as Shao Xiu Ying (邵秀英) and the Golden Frog Demon and Lisa. In the modern time, she was Ehlo’s supposedly girlfriend Lisa but wasn’t acknowledged and he sort of ignored her after several dates or something. Forgot since it was WAY in the first episode. But when he finally traveled to ancient times, she was the Golden Frog Demon who was disguising herself as Shao Xiu Ying. Perhaps, I shouldn’t blame Ehlo too much for trusting her at times since she was a look-alike comparing to his modern girlfriend so he felt the similarities? (Because even if he was the pervert before too, but he wasn’t that trusting with her. He would try to do whatever he needed to do with what the book was saying and get out of there.) And oh yeah, she completed the typical SETTV formula with being the wicked girl who made the main girl’s life miserable.

Li Fei (李飛) as Xu Guo Tou (許過頭) aka Ku Gua Tou (苦瓜頭). At first, I thought they were putting in some character with buckteeth to mock and make fun of people with buckteeth so it was a turn off for me. Yet I later learned to really like this character. Though he could get into crazy schemes with his young master at times, he was really lovable as a loyal servant. I must agree with Xiao Qing that he was the only one within the Xu family who really had a ‘heart’ regarding what happened as of recent episodes. He really cared for Bai Su Zhen as his ‘shao nai nai’ (少奶奶) and Xiao Qing as his master (師父).

So, as I said earlier, I managed to catch up on most of the episodes already. Though still wondering where this all was going, I managed to follow some of the cast on Facebook and saw both James and Sunny posted pictures with words that said they had wrapped up already. James even mentioned that it was 40 episodes. So it would be finish airing like next week? I’m glad since I don’t want it to drag out anymore. It’s not like it’s long since each episode is barely half an hour. But it’s supposedly a comedy after all so wrapping it up after some more trials would be appropriate instead of dragging it out like the daily or weekend soaps. Last, but not least, major kudos to the cast for remaining so pro and cheery when they have to shoot an ancient drama in the peak of summer!

*All images were captured by DTLCT