Year 2016 in Recap

year_review
Year 3 in doing this. I really want to keep doing this, but I felt that 2016 had been a complete letdown on my part. Granted, it was a terrible year on many levels. It had affected me so much, draining me emotionally that I didn’t feel like keeping some kind of streak anymore. I only did some posts when I felt like it. Then I also tried to pick myself up by the end of the year by trying to release songs translations back-to-back at times, not even saving them for later so cushion posts could do the honor. I just didn’t feel like updating a lot of things. At first, I had prepared a post about a particular pairing, but I felt like I’m better than that. Not to mention how I wouldn’t want to cause even more misunderstandings between fans. At times, it’s very hard to restrain. But in the end, real life got in the way. I took the actions that wonderful couple took, instead of arguing with senseless people who are full of evil thoughts for them. Yet I will say that can’t be epic like them so maybe one day I will break out of my silence to go at it in one post to unleash all the bottled up frustrations. Because I know one of those days I will just blow up.

Total Posts in 2016: 77 (6.5% of all time).
January: 18 (23% of the year)
February: 3 (4%)
March: 1 (1%)
April: 3 (4%)
May: 9 (12%)
June: 7 (9%)
July: 14 (18%)
August: 3 (4%)
September: 3 (4%)
October: 6 (8%)
November: 2 (3%)
December: 8 (10%)

Notice that I took the poll out for the stars. Partially, it was due to what happened earlier this year. The other part was because I felt kind of wrong with teasing readers about possible updates if they voted more or whatever. I’m grateful to those who participated and continue to follow my blog–even in silence. I appreciate the constant likes and all as well. I really do. It’s just that I don’t want to be leaving you hanging on that. Sure, I will continue to update for my favorites from time to time, but that will depend on how long before I take care of some real life matters.

Books Reviews:

Movies + TV Series Reviews/Episode Summaries:

Fan Fiction: I think the year reached a new low for fan fiction updates because of my distractions of other stuffs. I can’t promise it’ll get any better this coming year. I’m sorry that I made those of you who are reading those story wait for too long. But I can promise you that I will finish regardless of obstacles since I don’t usually scrap stories away when it’s well on its way. I’ll try to do a separate fan fiction update later this year to clarify some matters.

  • Payback – Chapters 4-5

Songs Translations: Using Rebirth to start the year didn’t help at all. Despite the fact that I was having high hopes at that time. The year continued to dive with a lot of forced positiveness. But what else could I do, right? Hopefully the coming year will be better.

So, what now? I don’t think there is any other choice except to move forward. I want to keep being positive, ignoring trolls in general and just focus on my own matters. I want to get back on writing posts about Jun Ya and Xiao Xiao Yu. I have been active on Xiao Xiao Yu for the first part of the year and then somehow faded. But I did update more on Qiao Qiao in the later parts of the year. I just have to continue on that track. Not to mention getting back into fan fics, because I seriously miss them. Focusing on just real life stuffs really suck all the energy right out of me. I’ll try to work on a balance. Somehow. Because I seriously miss this blog. What I did do though was letting this blog becoming somewhat official with its own domain. Yes, that was a mini-Christmas present for myself since I managed to find a deal. Oh yeah, how could I forget Janine? Although I did update on her this year but I was somewhat neglecting her and only updating randomly. I also want to get back to Penny. More importantly, I want to actually watch and finish reviewing some dramas I’ve been holding back on.

This might possibly be the last year I do this type of update since I don’t find the fun in it anymore. Maybe resorting back to the typical data from WordPress next year. Not sure. But we’ll see.

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Between Love & Desire

Let’s say that this series was decent. Considering how I haven’t been back to watch TVB series for a while. I wanted to dive in because of the three main cast. There were mixed feelings since the beginning, especially how they decided to craft a certain character.

Main Cast:

  • Moses Chan as Hugo. This role was somewhere in the middle and I’m talking about the level of intensity comparing to his past roles. Yet I felt Moses did well. He didn’t disappoint. He was stubborn at the beginning and somewhat arrogant (because of his reputation in the field). I half-expected him to be the villain and Ben would be the actual hero. However, it flipped around and proved that things weren’t what it appeared. The background story helped his character heaps and made sense as to why he had become that way. Yet he had gone too far. In a way, he was still the same guy inside, but he was just using the professional front as an excuse for some of the sticky cases he was involved in. He managed to find a balance at the end, which wasn’t unbelievable.
  • Maggie Siu as Rebecca. I read some comments about how some people felt like Maggie’s character was too boring or had no entertainment value. I will say, yes, if you were looking for an overly dramatic performance or plot. To me, it was just right. Sure, there was intensity after her mother died and how she had to continue on, but the majority of her thoughts afterward were going back to stability or not that “exciting” like some people would put. However, I think it was suitable for her character, because she wasn’t a young girl anymore, unlike Roxanne’s character–who was still full of energy and innocence. Not to compare both women but I felt it was necessary in this case–since they were indeed at different points of their lives. Rebecca’s personality and reactions to matters (even if she was upset) was different from how Haley would react and let’s face it, it fitted with their age. I was glad the writer(s) and director(s) didn’t let Maggie go all jumpy like some young girl, because that would be too much. (I must say I wasn’t too thrilled with some of Maggie’s past trying to be cheerful ones like in When Heaven Burns at one point.) Flashbacks didn’t count in here since I know TVB was seriously cheap, trying to not cast an additional actress for a younger Rebecca (or even a younger version of Hugo).
  • Ben Wong as Patrick. Whose bright idea was it to make Patrick so hateful for the majority of the series and then turned it into a goofy character? I don’t know. It was hard not to hate him because of how he tagged Rebecca throughout and tried to jump in when she was the most vulnerable. (It was like perfect timing for him or something, but I was so glad Rebecca never caved in, regardless of how it turned out with her and Hugo.) I would prefer that the writers focused on developing his character along with Haley’s storyline more than just trying to pave him as a possibly third-party and then switched gear during the second half of the series, making him into a comedic character. It was indeed different that his and Haley’s link was explained later (aside from being his assistant) but it didn’t help for his cause to make him out to be the bad guy (in someone’s marriage) and then tried to flip it around later. Luckily, Ben’s acting was so charming and great that I forgave him after the comedic scenes rolled around.
  • Roxanne Tong as Haley. Patrick’s assistant and sister-in-law. She wasn’t on the poster but I felt she deserved the main cast spot as much as the other three. Anyway, this was my third time watching Roxanne and I felt she have great potential. I first watched her in Come Home Love, then still waiting to see her character development in Come Home Love: Dinner At 8, and now this one. Her character this time was vibrant and really stood out. She was cute and cunning in her own way. Although I felt that it was an exaggeration with the way she ate at times with how she dragged out the “ummm, good” parts in the middle of tasting the foods that arrived. But that was just me. Overall though, she was quite charming with her comedic acts, which is rare nowadays since people tend to exaggerate too much and cause it to have the opposite effect.

Others:

  • Joseph Yeung as Martin. Another boss role for him. Although he seemed to be busy embroiling in the whole office battle from the start, but when he finally left, we realized he wasn’t just holding on to Hugo for the sake of the money. It was his words to Hugo that we realized he did recognize Hugo’s talent and would love to hire Hugo again one day when he made his comeback.
  • Rachel Kan as Rowena. Hugo’s arch-enemy. There were quite a few comments that I had read stating that Rowena should have gotten more screen time to enhance her witty side and to intensify her battle with Hugo, but I felt it was enough. Just because she wasn’t in the limelight for the majority of the show didn’t mean that she wasn’t smart or cunning. She was plenty of that. I think people need to be able to detect all the cues without it being outright dramatic all the time like some other cat-fight dramas or power-driven series. Although the plot had directed the attention away from Rowena and the law firm half of the time, but that didn’t mean Rowena wasn’t fighting, wasn’t scheming, wasn’t trying her best to climb to the top. We got to see her intimidating side when she was face-to-face with Hugo yet we got to see her harsh yet effective stances explained when she was talking to her assistant, Cindy.
  • Patrick Dunn as Scott. I honestly think he was the wisest in here. Although Hugo was known as the best but Hugo was still busy feeling the high of his fame to realize the situation around him. Rowena, on the other hand, was also quite confident and bordering on the arrogant side to see clearly at times although I do admit she did know how to play her games. Scott was the wisest because although he seemed to be MIA from the main battlefield, but he often saw more than he cared to say at times. He was able to analyze the situation and even advised Hugo at times when Hugo was stuck–or when Damon was running around trying to fend for himself while his bosses were fighting.
  • Mandy Lam as Carmen. One of the lawyers at Martin’s law firm. She jumped into Hugo’s car at one time, asking for their help in looking for her daughter. However when Hugo needed the backup at the law firm, she was indifferent. I totally understand why with the office politics and all yet I felt it was sooooo cold.
  • Joey Law as Damon. Hugo’s disciple. Loyal to Hugo yet quite raw in office politics hence kept getting the push around by others. I think Joey would go far. He sure got the looks and need more experiences to hone his skills.
  • Candy Chang as Cindy. Rowena’s disciple. I didn’t like her at first, mostly because of my bias, thinking she was in cahoot with Rowena, trying to mess with Damon for information. Hey, it was possible with the rivalry between the other two. Yet later when she told Damon of her past and how she wanted to work hard to get back on her feet, I dialed back with my bias. Not to mention she proved to be really strong and righteous in her own way when she attempted to “show” Damon of the proof Hugo needed to get off the assault charge.
  • William Chu as Justin. Cindy’s ex-husband. It was a bit of a shocker that he and Cindy were exes. But Cindy’s explanation made sense with how they wanted to keep it under-wrap as much as possible, not wanting to affect their careers. He didn’t appear much but seemed to get along well with others and even fended better than Damon. Once again, it made sense because he and Cindy wanted to work hard and start over with their careers, making up for lost time.
  • Lily Li as Rebecca’s mother. I had a little bit of a flashback since they’d been master and disciple in a past series. In fact, it was my first series of Maggie so that left an impression. Anyway, although she appeared just a little and then eventually only in flashbacks, but she really left an impression in here, especially how it paved for the way how Hugo and Rebecca’s relationship crumbled–considering how it was a major trauma in Rebecca’s life.
  • Brian Chu as Fred. Hugo’s brother. I thought that his acting wasn’t as terrible as some people paved it out to be. At least not to me. I could totally feel it after Rebecca’s mother died and he grieved her in his own way–with how he kept his promise to get a new phone for her. Then when he was struggling to deal with his own weaknesses and how he got stage fright and ran away. He was somewhat spoiled because of how protective his brother was of him and wanted what was best for him, aside from pushing him a tad too hard with the whole becoming a lawyer thing. Yet he was indeed quite filial to Rebecca’s mother–like said before, considering how she practically raised him. He also respected Rebecca and others around him. It was just that he was lost in life, not sure of what his aspirations were or what road he wanted to head for.
  • Momo Wu as Edith. Fred’s friend and crush. I wasn’t sure to like or not to like her at first. NOT because of her appearance but I was somewhat turned off with how she stole her master’s shop name to go in to business. Yet when her story unfolded more and how she was a very strong character–despite going through so much hardship, she gained my respect. She snapped right back at Hugo when they first met, but proved to be consistent with her character when she insisted on paying Fred back, not wanting Hugo to misunderstand her for clinging onto Fred for his money. I ended up enjoying their banter from time to time whenever their lives were crossed, mostly because they had to look after Fred–with their own method.
  • Eileen Yeow as Ah Fong. Rebecca’s best friend. I really liked her for her spunky personality and her humorous reactions to matters. However, she lost points for me when she tried to push Rebecca toward Patrick at one point. Luckily, she didn’t keep to it until the end.
  • Ricky Wong Chun Tong as Cheng Wu aka Uncle Wu. A friend of the family to Hugo and Rebecca. I initially thought he was related to them somehow yet later realized it wasn’t so. Yet it proved that he was more reliable and supportive of them when they were enduring such hardships, unlike the so-called “family” they supposedly had after their father tragically died.

Relationships: I initially didn’t want to do this section like I typically would because I felt it was unnecessary since I’ve been piling up on the “Discussions” section, but after debating with myself a bit, I thought I might as well put it in. Or more like move the topics to this one.

  • Moses/Hugo and Maggie/Rebecca. Like many TVB pairings, their collaboration seemed over-killed by now. Yet for me, I think this one was sort of long overdue. Or possibly I haven’t caught all the ones they were in together or paired up. But I felt this one topped it all, even if their other characters were more complicated. I just felt that they deserved a happy ending after When Heaven Burns and Master of Play.
  • Ben/Patrick and Roxanne/Haley. It was in a way “icky” for me, considering how he married her sister previously. Yet for Ben and Roxanne as a pairing, I felt it wasn’t too bad–despite their age gap. For some weird reason, I felt he suited with her more than some of his past co-stars, even if they were closer in age to him. I enjoyed their comedic moments. One of my favorite parts (and possibly for Hugo and Rebecca too) was the part where both men thought both women might have died from the gas inhalation so Patrick totally unleashed on Haley about how worried he was and how rash it was for her to do such thing without waiting for them, etc. It was hilarious how Haley laughed (which was typical her) but it was hilarious with both men saying almost, exact same thing. (I wonder how long they had to rehearse that together, lol.)
  • Joey/Damon and Candy/Cindy. It was sort of open ending, which was all right with me, but I felt they would eventually end up together.
  • Brian/Fred and Momo/Edith. Was I the only one not sore that they didn’t end up together? Not because of her somewhat shady past (according to some people) or his immature nature throughout. But it was more like it would be too gift-wrapped. I think that they were both still young and like Edith said, they still have a lot to work for with their life goals and/or dreams to strive for. Perhaps, one day when they meet up again, they might see a possibility to take their relationship to another level. But right at that point, I felt it was enough with their special friendship.

Discussions:

  • Was the ending rushed or not? Usually, I will argue that TVB endings are rushed, but in this case, I felt it was laid out fine. I didn’t want to be spoiled but my mom made me nervous so I had to go check on some reviews to get the idea if we should proceed after several episodes or not. Some mentioned how it was rushed or how certain characters changed overnight more or less. However, I think it wasn’t rushed for the majority of the characters. Hugo and Rebecca didn’t change overnight regarding how they decided to return to each other’s side. They had always have feelings for one another but they were both too stubborn in their beliefs that they didn’t want to cave in. Although Rebecca had said at one point or another that she didn’t know if it was love that she still stuck by his side after so many years or it was just gratitude for what he’d done for her, but I felt that she still cared for him. It was just that so many years of waiting had worn her down and not to mention her mother passed away so recent. Her world was falling apart and she didn’t know where to start with continuing on with her life. It wasn’t just about Hugo’s lack of attention either. Then there was Hugo, we learned from flashback that he was quite kindhearted, hard-working, and considerate. It wasn’t like some viewers had said that he changed for the better overnight. It wasn’t so. He had lost his way along the way while trying to become rich and successful. He often struggled with his feelings and what he thought was more realistic throughout–even after the separation from Rebecca. He needed a push from Uncle Wu and then later from Scott’s kid to realize what his path should be or to make up his mind at long last. So when he was willing to let go of the competition and the battles within the law firm, he and Rebecca just fell back into being a team once again. Because even Rebecca realized at the end that she didn’t have to wait for him all the time, she could just step forward and walk along his side, facing difficulties together. What I felt was rush–YES, I will admit–was Patrick’s change of heart. But possibly it made sense. I meant Patrick was really disappointed and probably upset that Rebecca was willing to believe Hugo one more time after the incident where she was assaulted. Yet I think what convinced Patrick to let go somewhat was learning how much Hugo loved Rebecca, i.e. the part where Hugo lost his head and was willing to risk getting caught when he beat the uncle-in-law up for assaulting Rebecca previously. He wasn’t letting go completely but he realized Hugo wasn’t a monster like he paved Hugo out to be from the start, seeing how much Hugo hurt Rebecca–mostly from his point of view. He was able to see a different side of Hugo, even if violence wasn’t the best approach, but like Patrick himself said that it proved how much someone meant to you if you had lost your head over a situation. So later when he saw them (Hugo and Rebecca) at the hospital together and how they’d gotten along again, he was more convinced that they were going to get back together eventually. He looked hopeless, like his chance was totally slipping, no doubt about it. So it wasn’t like it was overnight. Perhaps, it was also because he didn’t realize he had somehow liked Haley hence the over-protectiveness, not just because he had promised her sister to take good care of her. It was somewhat a plot mess with that one, but it wasn’t too unconvincing. Moving on to Rowena, did she just plain win the office battle overnight? No, I think I answered this somewhat in the Character section, but to tie it in, Rowena was proven both intelligent and brutal. The time it took for her to take over completely wasn’t unreasonable, she had plans and schemes going on. Sure, it seemed she won because Hugo got distracted with his family issues or when Hugo let go, but it didn’t mean he totally gave it to her. She was fully capable of her own tricks. Again, like how she told Cindy at various points with her tactics, it wasn’t too unconvincing that she won in the end. Besides, you don’t win a battle by kicking and screaming for blood. Patience is the key because you need to be able to stay calm and wait for the right opportunity to strike. Sure, Rowena miscalculated several times and took several steps back, but she didn’t give up so easily. Her determination puled her through at the end.
  • Should the series had focused more on the law side (aka cases over romances)? Although the background surrounding several major characters were at law firms and had to do with the law industry in general, however, the title still indicated that it wasn’t exactly about the law, but about several characters so I didn’t feel like it needed to focus on the law too much. I swear TVB had already done quite few series regarding the law so I didn’t think it was lacking in that matter. They didn’t promise in the title so I wasn’t sore. This was about the conflict between Moses and Maggie’s characters more than a law focused drama.

Recommended? Up to you. I’m on my own wavelength like always. I felt it was a midway lighthearted series for me, because Maggie didn’t die in here–since she usually died (or would encounter some major tragedy).

A Great Way to Care II

If looking at this as a standalone series–like I was advised, this was decent by itself. It could be considered a cop drama also. However, on the sequel front, it failed miserably on several levels. I’ll do a breakdown (like I usually do) to clarify a bit more.

First off, cast:

  • Alex Fong as Dr. Ko Lap Yan. I felt he was robbed. YES, he was just walking around randomly (like some people had said) at times and not even doing anything important. As the main lead, I swear he should’ve been given more stuff to do than random walking. Even if I just said above that I will address it as a ‘standalone’ first, it still felt off that the main lead was standing around doing senseless stuff more than being involved in the big picture. Despite all that, I felt Alex’s acting was still solid when he appeared, not slacking off even if he was ‘robbed’,  unlike some people who would only do the best when they’re given more meaty roles.
  • Ram Tseung as Dr. Lien Chi Sum. Once again, Dr. Lien carried the comedian role like the previous one. He was still the compassionate doctor who cared for his patients and keeping to the morals. However, I felt it was unnecessary to include a possible “extramarital affair” into his story. Perhaps, they were trying to put in the whole possible test with how he was away from his wife, etc. But still unnecessary. He should be involved with the cases and giving professional advice like Dr. Ko and not waste time with other matters.
  • Tavia Yeung as Yan. What to say about her? At first, it didn’t click for me. Later on, her character grew on me. Yet it wasn’t enough for me to like her completely. AND I’m not sore about what happened in the past year or so (in case anyone was thinking it). But I felt like something was missing. It wasn’t the fact that she became the villain later either. It was more like maybe she–along with some others–were given unnecessary side stories as well. But I think she got luckier than the other characters since, after all, it did tie in with her character in general about discovering her true background.
  • Ben Wong as Chung Kwok Ban. A more developed character here. Yet I felt something was missing. Like how he was so fierce and/or ruthless in the other one yet so dashingly handsome. This on, it seemed to show that he had gone soft. Though he was still stern with some of them when they were making fun of him and that one ‘girl’ who claimed to be his ‘girlfriend’, something was still missing. Then there was the image for him. I’m not saying he should stay the same as a character after all these years. Yet I felt if they were consistent with making Alex and Ram looked almost like the first part, at least pay attention to Ben’s image.
  • Yoyo Mung as Louise/ Kiu. Okay, I agree with some people she was robbed. It wasn’t that Yoyo’s acting was lacking but she was given such a random role. And I don’t care if she didn’t hog the screen all the time. I just cared if she contributed to the plot with its relevancy in regards to the theme. Yet like after Law Lok Lam’s case, her character seemed to go downhill in the development area. I loved how she interacted with the others but like the others, I felt there were just too many random scenes versus focusing on the main cases.
  • Edwin Siu as Jackson. I don’t know what to say about his character at first. Yet I got used to his character later. Sure, he was quite a smart-aleck and drove others insane at times. The other times, he showed bravery and wasn’t willing to compromise a doctor’s integrity for money or pressure of losing work. The rest? I guess he was witty enough. Edwin had managed to make it work somehow–even if he was like others who were given more random moments than important cases related duties.
  • Aimee Chan as Jade Lai. Not sure what to say about her. Not that I would pick on her like others. It was cool to see her as a psychologist who had studied abroad with so much intelligence in her. But I felt it was hard to believe at times when she was giving Dr. Lien advice regarding him and his assistant. I got it that she could know and understand the signs, but I felt it was strange with her being the one pointing it out to him. So they did work at the same place so it was hard to not notice but I felt like it just didn’t fit. Just me though.
  • Christine Kuo as Scarlett. I was surprised to like her character in here and didn’t find her acting as annoying as some other ones. Or maybe it was the role and she wasn’t giving me the feeling she was “trying” to be cute. She showed a brave side of herself when she united with the others to fight against Henry later on. Quite noble and admirable in that sense.
  • Eric Li as Pauli. I always liked him. Glad he was rising again with some sort of important role or once in awhile not seeing him as a villain. He, like the others on the medical side, got robbed regarding their participation in the cases, but he didn’t lack charm during other side scenes.
  • Oscar Leung as Edgar Wong. It was really funny for me to see him in here as a doctor because of how vividly I remember him as a psycho in the first part. Yet I guess he did his part in here and managed to convince.
  • Power Chan as Sunny. Totally delivered but after that one case with him helping a certain patient and stepping forward to “take the fall” and more, his role got reduced like the others–unless it was some random scenes.
  • Cheung Kwok Keung as Henry Law. Again, appearing as the “despicable” doctor who had somehow convinced Dr. Ko to join the team. Yet, later on, he found out how Dr. Ko was protecting other doctors and wasn’t going to bend to his “rules”, he tried to kick Dr. Ko out by framing Dr. Ko for malpractice. Indeed, he met with his deserved fate. Somehow, his role also got reduced somewhat and made way for other randomness as well. I got it that he was already causing troubles in the first one and needed to be one of the ‘bad’ ones to wrap this part up but I felt it was loose in a sense.
  • Jimmy Au as Lao Gui (老鬼). I was surprised to find him in here. Was he in the other one? I don’t even remember anymore. But it was interesting how he was under Chung Sir’s commands. He later was given a major role when Chung Sir was in the coma. It was actually cool seeing him wearing the suit and all. I swear they’d given him a better image for the “boss” type than Ben in here. What in the world? Consistency, people.
  • Amy Fan as Dr. Ko’s high school sweetheart. OMG, I found it was the funniest scenes were when she appeared. Sure, it was a tad nerve-racking for Louise that one time when she appeared and had tried to latch onto Dr. Ko. But it was so funny how one of the doctors pretended to be Dr. Ko (after all these years) and she saw right through it. I think I only managed to laugh out loud the hardest during that scene when she pushed that other doctor aside to reach Dr. Ko. (Then it was even more hilarious when Jackson was stopping Louise from preventing the other doctor to go ‘pretend to be Dr. Ko’ because he said maybe it would work, considering how Dr. Ko might look like that in several more decades. SAD for the other doctor but still funny.)

Pairings:

  • Alex and Yoyo. I was so happy that they were together since I enjoyed their pairing a lot in other ones. However, I’m the odd one out when it comes to wanting a large role for Yoyo or not. Because speaking on my point of view as an immature writer, the main guy doesn’t always end up with some major character in my stories, so I was fine with that arrangement. Even if Yoyo’s character wasn’t like having some ‘breakthrough’ role, I accepted the flow of the story for her and how it eventually came to develop the relationship with Dr. Ko. The foundation was laid out from the start. It wasn’t like it was random. They worked together after all. And it would be too repetitive if Dr. Ko once again ended up with a cop. NOT impossible that he would marry a cop again, but it seemed repetitive for this type of story. The only thing felt kind of beat to death and pathetic was how she chased him down (along with some others) to get him (and them) to donate “sperms” for her. NOT that I’m not open-minded enough to accept the scientific breakthrough. But I felt the way the scriptwriters made her approach them was really insulting and reduced her IQ to about 10. Aside from that, the ending scene was really cute with them bickering by the seaside. Then how he was saying how if she would say it was her kid when the kid was in good, tip-top “smelling good” condition versus how it was his kid when the baby needed a change of diapers (i.e. being all “smelly”).
  • Ben and Tavia. Um…I felt their characters had chemistry through their interactions. It was so cute how he was the shy one and seemed to be so reserved, etc. She was the one doing all the teasing at the beginning. Then later they dated and he was really protective of her, etc. Yet as actor and actress, I felt Ben and Tavia didn’t exude enough chemistry for me to get overly obsessed with them. (I like some of her other parings better.) And perhaps it was the ‘lapse’ in his image for this one that had made him less compatible with Tavia–like I mentioned earlier. I actually felt it was touching how he was willing to “bend” some corners or try to talk her out of it, trying to help her when he finally realized she was “the killer.” Yet too bad things couldn’t be better for him. Sure, he got out of the coma (which was a miracle), but it wouldn’t be good after knowing what had happened to her.
  • Edwin and Aimee. Was this a compensation for Forensic Heroes III? I was glad that their characters were somewhat different. Yet I didn’t like the whole idea with her being the “third party” at one point. Sure, she didn’t know and later even teamed up with Scarlett to “payback” but it felt strange. I was indeed touched by how he didn’t mind that she had surgery in the past and was able to overcome not looking at her appearance. But maybe it was because I wanted more focus on the “cases” that I feel their relationship was also a random side thing to fill up the gaps of the episodes.
  • Edwin and Christine. One-sided feeling at first. Later, it was sweet to me. It was such a shame they didn’t work. I was surprised she got over him so fast. Yet it wasn’t too weird since there were times in between. Just too bad.
  • Power and Christine. That was seriously random. I guess that was why the other guys couldn’t guess either. But was this an attempt to create a new odd pairing? Just wondering, lol. So did they get back together in the end or no? I wouldn’t mind.

As a sequel, how was it? Like I said before, it’s a sad story. After Law Lok Lam’s case, it went downhill from there on the medical side. Dr. Ko still got recruited from time to time, like some of the other medical staff to give advice for a case or two. But that was it. It seemed like the rest of the time, they were just fighting randomly at the office or doing whatever. Like I said before, I liked it that the randomness continued into this series like it had shown in the past when they were off-work. Yet this one just continued on and on with their randomness throughout the working day, making their characters more like a joke than serious about their work. Sure, they were entitled to make a stab of a joke or two at times to lighten up and not get affected by the cases itself AND it would be easier to help patients if they were calmed, but the random talk overlapped the actual analyzing of different mental problems or other issues patients might be going through. AND I had a feeling this was more like Forensic Heroes IV than A Great Way to Care II. Mostly it was because they focused on the cops and forensic teams working together more than the cop and medical sides like in the first part. I was fine with them needing the forensic team at times, especially with processing the scenes. But the focus here was supposed to be psychological cases.

Replacement counterparts. This was mostly my guess because I swear it seemed that way at times.

  • Tavia Yeung and Yoyo Mung for Kate Tsui. If I put in ‘Tavia for Kate’, I don’t think fans would let me off that well, especially after all that madness from the anniversary stuff and the awards last year. AND because I heard both Tavia and Yoyo were female leads for this part so it was safe to put them in together. The scriptwriters tried to make both Tavia and Yoyo different from Kate’s character so that was the good part. But it lacked some essence with Yoyo’s character, like I said before. I would at least expect her to be more involved with the cases like how I said numerous times already.
  • Edwin Siu for Raymond Wong. I felt Edwin fended fine alongside Alex and Ram. Because it wouldn’t be the same if it was all another ‘copy character’ with someone like Raymond’s Chun. They made Edwin tenfold more ‘smart-aleck’ in his ways. And how Edwin’s character was a doctor and not a nurse made it different as well.
  • Aimee Chan for Vivien Yeo. The reason why I put the two in comparison was because of who they were paired up with later on. I still like Vivien’s Ka Bik more. Perhaps it was because of Ka Bik’s irresistibly cute and bubbly nature. Again, not picking on Aimee (unlike some people who hadn’t let that ‘dead horse’ rest in peace yet), but it was more like a comparison of characters.
  • Edwin Siu, Eric Li, Oscar Leung, and Christine Kuo for Ruco Chan, Ellesmere Choi, Timmy Hung, and Yoyo Chen. It felt that way to me with the setup of them gathering at times to discuss cases. Though the group of 3 from the first part were still interns and were preparing for their tests. I would’ve added Power Chan to the new team but he was sort of by himself more than gathering with the others at times so I left him alone for now. As for this case, I felt the guys fend better than Christine at first. Yet some foundation was put in for her later so it wasn’t too bad.
  • Power Chan for Ellesmere Choi. It seemed like both suffered through nervousness and/or confidence problems hence not passing a certain exam yet.
  • Oceane Zhu for Iris Wong. I just remember recently. Their characters and personalities were different, just that they were both nurses so I thought I place them against each other. I felt Iris’ character Daisy was really funny, even if she seemed flirty at times. She brought in a sense of charm to her role. Though I do like Oceane as an actress (considering the new group), but I didn’t really feel it was as funny or likable as Daisy. (And I so didn’t see it that Oceane’s character was a spy for Henry later. SAD…)

The Missing Members:

  • Kate Tsui as Mandy/Monkey. Honestly, that was lame. Even some characters who got killed off in the past got more screen time than that. I don’t expect it to go on for episodes and waste even more time on personal matters, but at least have her appear in the first episode? And I remember reading about how someone had said that, “Kate was the heart of A Great Way to Care” and for once, I couldn’t agree more. It’s not about comparing or wanting to pick on new members. The new additions could be there to add in variety to the cast. Yet I felt it was soooo wrong to not wait for Kate. She and Alex have created this special chemistry that felt just right for the series itself, either it was personal or working together. To think that Kate was so excited for the sequel.
  • Raymond Wong and Vivien Yeo. They were mentioned but that was it. I felt robbed because I just watched The Days of Days awhile back and they were in there, but taking on some senseless comedic roles. And back to this one, I felt it was just too frustrating to not include them for more cute scenes between the two in here. After all, their relationship was already established so the story could move onto their married life; and it could always be written as they move the business back OR have some expansion of the business hence it would make sense for them to be back in town.
  • Astrid Chan. OMG, I enjoyed her pairing with Ram and how their team of husband and wife cracked me up so much in the first part. It didn’t have to focus on them all the time in here, since the other one was like that too, but it showed consistency. However, I didn’t feel as robbed with her story of going overseas to accompany her son while he was studying abroad. At least she wasn’t killed off.
  • Elliot Yue. Really? The main lead’s father wasn’t around. No one’s going to believe that one. Okay, it’s not unreasonable that he’s not around and about all the time. BUT he wasn’t just Dr. Ko’s father’s BUT also Chung Sir’s godfather. So it was hard to imagine Chung Sir didn’t visit him or vice versa. Dr. Ko did receive a call from him later on questioning about the future “daughter-in-law” but that wasn’t enough.
  • Ruco, Ellesmere, Timmy, and Yoyo Chen. For once, I didn’t have any complaints. First, I was disappointed, but then reality kicked in for me and I realized that it was unrealistic that the interns were still around. Sure, they could still work there, but it would make sense they would want to venture out there to get more experiences. And sometimes their specialized areas are different and they would want to find the hospital or facility that is suitable for their practices.
  • Iris Wong as Daisy. It would make sense IF she was still there. But perhaps it was because how she had ended up with Brian (Ellesmere) already so she would follow him to a new place.

Cases? Not as complex as the first part, because the first part was more deeply rooted to psychological stuff and complex diagnosis. Even if it wasn’t as complicated at times, but still stick to the medical-related issues.

So when Ben Wong said that this part was better than the first installment, he meant it was better for him because it was more focused on him and the police side than the doctor and/or medical team side. If it was a spin-off, then I don’t think some of us would make such a big deal out of it. But it wasn’t so that meant it veered way off course from the previous one.

I’m not saying that it was terrible since I said it was decent as a standalone series. Just that when compared, it failed to deliver according to its main theme. Watch it as a standalone series then it would be more enjoyable.

When Heaven Burns

I watched this one because my mom was looking for something serious to watch after all those sitcoms we were watching–among other comedies. First off, the title. I must admit that I was in objection of it when the title got changed from Heaven and Earth to When Heaven Burns but after having watched it, I could say that it suited the series quite well. Seriously, it was so intense and nerve-racking at various points so, in a way, it wasn’t too lame with changing the title. After all, the Chinese title was still Heaven and Earth, right? So how was it? Honestly, people who skipped it just missed a really good series. YES, that coming from me who has been ranting about recent series (and even got scolded for it on this blog). For once, I didn’t mind the repetitive team and/or group who contributed to this series. I meant not that I didn’t like the cast (okay, maybe for one or two persons), but I just got tired seeing them together all the time. I was curious so I tuned in along with my mom anyway. Yet I found it more enjoyable than I expected. People who thought that this series was dragging shouldn’t even give it another go because you already set an opinion, so don’t let me convince you and later come back to scold me. Because seriously, if you think this was dragging, I’m not sure what ‘dragging’ mean anyway. Sure, it was slow and passive at times, BUT it did not mean dragging. There were this underlying heaviness and intensity building up episode after episode until the breaking point that led to the mind buzzing mind games in the later half of the series. Don’t believe me? It’s okay. You don’t have to. And perhaps I don’t like over-hyped stuff so I enjoyed this series even more. Though the cast seemed to be promoted heavily of recent, the series did not aim to ‘shove it into your face’, or I didn’t get that feeling like they were trying to sell something. Maybe that was why it worked.

Moving on, like my usual reviews, I will place in the whole ‘cast/characters’ discussions–among other things. But will also include the ‘theme’ part this time around as well since I feel it’s essential and actually feel like discussing it more specifically for this series. However, I won’t include ‘couples/pairings’ this time around because I feel that wasn’t the point of the drama. YES, there was love spread into the drama at times, making things even more complicated with relationships. But that was just part of the small piece and I don’t want to get distracted with it for this one series.

Main Cast/Characters:

  • Charmaine Sheh as Hazel Yip Chi Yan (葉梓恩). A character worth watching after so many of her recent ‘goody two shoes’ ones. I mean I like to see her in those ‘nice and kind’ ones too. YET I felt she was getting rusty or would get there soon if she doesn’t take on any challenging role soon. Sure, the majority of the characters in here had to be quite serious as well. But I felt this one was a role that she won me over again with her portrayal. It wasn’t too much or too little. It was just right with her passiveness at times or her cold composure. She managed to capture those moments when Yan was hurting so much that she didn’t know where to turn to (aka all lost and confused). Then there was the whole not caring for the world attitude. There were so many complications in her life that she couldn’t handle, even turning to different means as an outlet–like senseless one-night stands or alcohol. I was really disturbed at first with how her character appeared to be cheating and all but somehow sympathized with her later with how her family was so broken and her being stuck in the past for so long that she was hurting herself and others around her. The worst part was not being able to pull out until later. But what I really liked about her character throughout was her stubbornness. Once she made a decision, she didn’t waver anymore. There was another thing that they (the scriptwriters) added to her character that I quite like, which was the whole deep thoughts and stories in her radio segments. I liked those narrations and it sort of set the tone for what was going on around them and how the guys–or other characters–would think it over as they listened to her segment. It was somewhat a narration or reflective moment at times when the scenes were happening around them but there was only her words to convey the message of those scenes–and the impact of what just happened.
    • Angel Chiang as the young Yan. Though she didn’t resemble Charmaine to be a younger version of Yan but she had the spunk and grace for the character. I really enjoyed her chemistry with the rest of the guys throughout as a band. Her bravery to fight against the guys at times was quite admirable as well. Maybe that was just her rebellious nature.
  • Moses Chan as Angus Sung Yee Long (宋以朗). After all those so-called ‘comedies’, he finally returned to the more serious roles as well. Mixed feelings at times actually. Maybe it was his intimidating image that had made the others believe he might have been the cause of their role in the Ka Ming conspiracy, BUT it wasn’t so. Perhaps Joe was right with his whole ‘drummer versus guitarist/lead singer’ theory/concept because that was what made Angus more suspicious out of the three of them. What was admirable of him–even IF that seemed like an excuse to like his character–was whoever he hurt, he didn’t hurt the people within his group of friends (aka among the four of them, i.e. Joe, Ronnie, and Yan). It was like he was compensating for what he’d done in the past hence leading a distorted life yet didn’t want to hurt the other three more than he already did. (Possibly that was the difference between him and Joe.) What made me not being able to forgive him, in the end, was sacrificing Jessica in order to get back at Ben (and eventually Joe). Did he have to do that? He probably thought so but that little act condemned him even more with his already life sentence (even if it wasn’t served in prison). SO Jessica had agreed to help him after confronting him BUT he should have considered it more, considering how Jessica had been so loyal to him throughout. (Or was he too blind with hatred and/or wanting to take revenge that he didn’t care? Not to mention how he was so close to winning.)
    • Yeung Chiu Hoi as the young Angus. Consistent enough. He looked less intimidating than his current self, of course, but for obvious reasons. However, there were always traces of the lack of confidence in him and the reluctance that was still present.
  • Bowie Lam as Joe Lau Chun Hung (劉俊雄). Was I the only one who got fooled by his character? Okay, so I was trying to put my biases past Bowie since I found his expressions were always so intimidating regardless of the roles he portrayed and thought I was being mean for picking on him. So I tried to focus on his character instead and what was going on around his character. YET I was wrong to think he was some poor guy who was trying to repent–with his wife not understanding him and even cheated on him. Sadly no. He was the most dangerous one out of the three. He was so charming in character and so manipulative in his words that made everyone felt they were in the wrong more than him. Often taking the blame and sounding like he was protecting the others yet he was just protecting himself by letting others think he was the victim. The part where he was telling Angus the reason why he picked up playing the drum really summed up his character. He told Angus that he used to think it was so cool being a guitarist and sing at the same time, having all the attention. However, he later realized that the drummer actually held the key to it all because the band had to follow the drummer’s rhythm or they would be all off (aka the drummer controlled all with forcing everyone to play fast or slow). Seriously, it really boiled down to him being able to control everything in front of him with his careful planning and patience throughout–and most of all his persuasive abilities.
    • Ronald Law as the young Joe. He managed to look as intimidating? LOL! I had no idea but I guess he was convincing as the younger version of Joe since there were signs present that showed how the current Joe hadn’t changed–with some flashbacks here and there.
    • Signs that Joe wasn’t all bad. AND NO, I’m not talking about the whole ‘facade’ he put up at times to deceive them–regardless of when he was younger or at times when he was older. I’m talking about when it was finally revealed that he was actually the most manipulative among the three guys. There were parts like him lying or trying to get through some sticky situations yet during his time alone, he would reconsider. Another time and more obvious was after Cloris’ death and him crying out in his office finally–while he was deleting her text messages to him.
  • Kenny Wong as Ronnie Cheng Chun Hin (鄭振軒). He started out as losing his memory and then recovering it slowly. We all hate the ‘memory loss’ card, right? But it made sense this time since he and the other two went through a near-death experience after all. Not to mention how he was traumatized along with the others during the whole incident. He struck first and planted the seed of evil. (YES, he was the one who stabbed Ka Ming first when Ka Ming was lying inside the tent resting.) But repented greatly later, wanting to pay for his sin. But wasn’t given the chance in that way. Instead, he paid for it with his eyes, and some more.
    • Kelvin Leung as the young Ronnie. Another good choice because he merged in quite well with Kenny’s portrayal because Ronnie seemed to me as always the passive one OR possibly the invisible one out of the three guys (aside from Ka Ming).

The reason why I only listed 4 as the main cast AND not like the other lists had indicated was because I felt the story revolved around those characters for the majority of the time and it took them to resolve all the conflicts as well.

Supporting Cast/Characters:

  • Ben Wong as Bowman. The reason why I put him first was sort of by order of appearance and somewhat because I’m biased (LOL). Anyway, he was actually somewhat my favorite character throughout despite his limited screen time. (Though acceptable since I felt he contributed to the story with tying in different characters and moving the story forward but didn’t need to be ‘in your face’ to get the point across.) I felt so bad for him at the beginning since he was just part of the whole charade that Yan was putting up for herself, wanting to find replacements for her past (and more specifically for Ka Ming). But then I had somewhat forgiven Yan for deceiving him. Though that didn’t mean I like him less because I found him very genuine, not tainted by all the things around them. Ben had made that happened with his portrayal–regardless of the amount of screen time he had. In a way, I was glad he got a new start later–after Yan finally sorted out her mind (for good). (Side-note: My mom actually wanted to see Ben portray Kenny’s character instead YET I had convinced her it wasn’t a good idea because that would mean he was part of the ‘cannibalism’ conspiracy. LOL! NOT that anyone was being sacrificed in the events of shooting the drama but those types of characters were disturbing still, LOL!)
  • Maggie Siu as Emma. One of Maggie’s couldn’t care less roles? I don’t know. It seemed like it didn’t fit her. I had a hard time imagining Emma so dumb, mostly due to Maggie. NOT that I doubt her acting in the past, but this time it seemed weird. I don’t know what happened. But it was like she was uncomfortable with the role? I enjoyed her chemistry with Moses when they were shown as a somewhat cute couple at first. Yet it all crumbled in the later events (mostly due to the story), but I also had a hard time with her character being that naive. But I guess her character wasn’t too unbelievable since she was so sheltered by her sister and how she sort of depended heavily on her sister to look after the family business so she didn’t have to worry about other stuff.
  • Astrid Chan as Gina. I had mixed feelings for her throughout the series but I let go of certain judgments later on because I felt she was another victim in this whole web of lies and other deception games. So she chose to stick around and continue with her role but I felt she was so given a bad image or seemed to reflect so in front of the others at the beginning because her husband was so good at acting that she had been pushed to become the ‘bad person’. Astrid didn’t fail to deliver her emotions throughout, projecting her image–or what we were led into believing–and the actual tormenting turmoils she went through later on.
    • Joey Mak as the young Gina. Good casting actually since she somewhat resembled Astrid. OR did they do the make up that way and somewhat of the hairstyle too? Not sure but she did manage to show consistency in the character.
  • Felix Lok as Dr. Ivan Wong. At first, I found him too despicable because of the affair he was involved in. But I sort of pity him later. Just slightly. Or perhaps I wasn’t so judging of him anymore. A minimal role for Felix but he played a key role in the end. Somewhat, but it wasn’t like he needed to prove himself.
  • Angela Tong as Shirley. Ronnie’s wife. I was arguing with my mom whether her character accepted Ronnie regardless if her husband had once eaten someone OR if she was too traumatized and didn’t want to believe. YET I had to wonder in the later parts of the plot after things cooled down. YES, she relied on her husband the majority of the time. But let that slide as well? Do people just accept things just like that? (I meant cannibalism isn’t like shop-lifting. Sure, both could be repeated BUT shop-lifting dealt with the store’s possession versus a human being.) Regardless of the ambiguous of her character, I thought Angela did quite well with conveying all the torn feelings she’d gone through. AND no, I’m not saying it’s unrealistic with her character, just felt that it was worth some thinking with her point of views–and how it was a different sort of reaction from the other female population in here. AND yet it made one really think about human nature–and whether one chooses to accept or to dodge.
  • Queenie Chu as Jessica. I think she was the most pitiful in here. Some could argue that she got what she deserved because she aided Angus in deceiving Emma–and possibly others. YET I felt she had always been loyal to Angus and only loved him hence it was too cruel to see her being sacrificed as his final pawn. The scene with her and Angus at the music store was quite touching. She didn’t ask for anything extraordinary–and had never asked for more, except for him to play a song for her one last time. Indeed, she was right that Angus was the most truthful or real when he was playing his music. The other thing about her that made it even sadder was how she was a replacement for Yan at first (could be seen through various points of when Angus was playing the guitar at the shop and saw Yan sitting there instead of the actual Jessica) and gradually earning a place in Angus’ heart with how he finally took the hint to be more attentive to her (mostly through Ben’s urging BUT Angus began to open his eyes to see Jessica for herself, not as a Yan who he could never be with), like how he was giving her the birthday gift (aka his necklace) to symbolize her importance in his heart. Yet it was just too late for them when he pulled the final card (i.e. sacrificing her as well) and perhaps that little scene with him playing the guitar for Emma (and actually picturing both Yan and Jessica) made it somewhat forgivable for him? NOT like completely forgivable but like how she finally earned a spot in his heart. Anyway, another different role for Queenie and I think she nailed it.
  • Cheung Kwok Keung as Ben. He got robbed. NOT the character, but CKK. Personal opinions here since seeing him in these types of roles just make me want to cry because I imagine him all so powerful in some of his previous roles. (One of the most memorable was in No. 8 Bus.) Anyway, he didn’t fail to deliver with convincing us he was this despicable character who betrayed his boss again and again. Yet I felt it was kind of lame that they had him playing the harmonica and trying to seek sympathy from Jessica in the end. I swear it was a bit over-killed with linking everyone to music–one way or another, but I will let it slide. (Like I could do anything anyway.)
  • Lau Dan as Uncle Chuen. Had some major scenes at the beginning but still didn’t lack in importance later on. It was his mission to help Joe repent from his past wrongdoings, and he made it his responsibility to bring Joe back to the correct path near the end as well. Yet it was too late. Or was it? AND do I need to say anything else about his acting? Convincing as always.
  • Cindy Lee as Cloris. Also a pawn in here and this had to do with Joe. Yet I can’t feel any pity for her though I was shocked by her death. I meant, okay her final moments were really worrisome and tragic, and I know I’m heartless to not pity her. But she had it coming. She criticized and chastised Gina at the beginning for cheating on Joe YET she ended up helping Joe cheat on Gina? Love’s blind YET she had it coming. The reason I was shocked, of course, was I didn’t expect her to die. I would expect the usual seeking out Gina later to confront Gina or would just go crazy, not death. Though her ending indeed made an impact on Joe when he broke down while deleting her messages. (As mentioned earlier.)
  • Elaine Jin as Brenda. She was an interesting character at first because of her mysterious nature with possibly being the only one to overthrow Angus. YET I lost interest in her character after she fell into Joe’s trap as well. WHAT? I don’t care if they were having an affair either since I was used to Joe’s manipulation already. But what I was disappointed at was seeing how she fall into his trap so easily. Or was she just letting go and using him to enjoy her remaining days? Another way to look at it though was emphasizing Joe’s ability to manipulate–even the most cunning person in here (at least from the female side).
  • Chan Hung Lit as George. His second last role and he got this? How memorable. NOT. But anyway, to be honest, he did quite well (OF COURSE) and I think it got cut off because of the inevitable? NOT SURE. But it wasn’t too lame in covering the tracks because he might as well just disappear though he was sent on a mission to uncover Angus’ secrets elsewhere. (Though I shouldn’t even blame anyone or be mean about it since no one knew this one was his second-last role, right?)
  • Tsui Wing as Arthur. I really, really hated him at first (equally as Yan so don’t worry about me picking on just the guy) but later, I was like whatever. And TW showed us another side of him in here with this role.
  • Andy Dai as Sam. The minute I heard ‘Sam’, it reminded me of his role in this old series called Exchanging Couples (OR something like that), because he was also named Sam in there (and the fact that his wife/later ex-wife in there worked at a radio station as well made it even more familiar). He was quite funny in here. So he was trying to be serious and at times appearing quite arrogant–as most bosses were allowed to. But it made it even funnier that he thought they were supposed to worship him yet they were just conning him at times.
  • Joe Junior as Dr. Dylan. The person driving the whole ‘rock and roll’ theme forward in here. Though the rest of them were there with their goth look and all, I thought it wouldn’t be the same without his recounts of past events and his passionate talks about ‘rock and roll’ from time to time. They definitely needed a respected elder to point them in the right direction or telling them to go with the music, etc. His talk about life wasn’t cheesy either but it made sense, incorporating into the overall theme itself.
  • Rachel Kan as Daisy. Sort of a double-faced person, but I don’t blame her since she was quite witty with her comments (even if it was mostly through sarcasm). And the other reason for being bitter was having to cover for Emma just because Sam wanted to score points with Emma.
  • Catherine Chau as Mabel. Almost didn’t recognize her. Maybe it was because of the image. It was all right I guess, fitting in with her character and making her sort of wild along with the other two. It was kind of random that she got together with Arthur at one point (since Arthur claimed to really love Yan, so much for it).
  • Stanley Cheung as Hui Ka Ming (許家明). The unfortunate guy that got eaten by Angus, Joe, and Ronnie. I put him last on purpose (AND YES to make a point). Was this what they called the weakest link? He was really kind-hearted and down to earth from those flashbacks.

Themes:

  • Cannibalism. YES, I placed this first because that was the ‘advertised’ theme at the beginning–even before the actual filming took place. It was just a small part of the story but had a really big impact. Because they only showed a bit of it at the beginning and a more graphic (IF could be called ‘graphic’ at all) scene later on when the truth finally unfolded. But they didn’t dwell on it. They moved on to the ‘forgiving’ part and the whole ‘repenting’ part. Or what could be called an attempt to heal–if at all.
  • Friendship. It was all over the place in here. Yet it was real. Besides, what’s the right way to be friends anyway, right? What I mean is those random times between Hazel and her co-workers versus what she would do with the other three guys.
  • Black/White. The morality in here was also quite scattered but understandable. Yet it had made its point that life was more about the grayness of it all more than establishing boundaries. Sure, people could put up boundaries all they want YET the outcome when those things happened was different. In short, you don’t know what you would do until the actual moment. ‘What ifs’ could not measure the real impact anyway.
  • Rock and Roll. The reason for the whole goth look throughout the series with the majority. And at first, I felt it would be too wannabe with seeing them trying to fit in and act like they were caring about ‘rock and roll’. BUT it wasn’t so. I was so glad that they made it so natural with different characters talking about ‘rock and roll’ but tied it in with the whole story. They weren’t trying too hard either (for once).

Favorites: Basically, I like the whole series–regardless of how random it got at times but it made sense and let us explore the characters even more. But there are other things I want to focus on as well.

  • Dark. I guess what made the whole thing worked was its goth nature and how it didn’t manage to crank the hype up by throwing in some other things. It appeared boring (to some people) and passive, but it was like they were waiting for that dark curtain to lift and free them all. The darkness of it all (NOT literally but could be) allowed for a wider range of exploration–whether through the mind or other types of interactions.
  • Consistent. I’m talking about both the consistency in personalities for the characters who had a younger version of themselves in here, and of the storyline itself as an overall. It was a bonus of a so-called ‘slow’ series because it covered most of the tracks with its flow. It was never too fast or too slow but drove the point loud and clear in the end.
  • Filming Technique. I was surprised and somewhat blew away by how it was filmed with merging the two worlds into the story–back and forth–throughout the whole story. I will admit that it was a bit confusing at first but I got used to it later and really liked how they used the past as bits and pieces of the puzzles–until they reached the end. Awesome indeed.
  • Karma’s Kick. Chills literally ran down my back when the mother of that kid call out his name, telling him to apologize to Gina in the hospital. I must admit I was soooo scared that the ending would be corny and cheesy with everyone getting together singing a ‘Barney song’. (SORRY, inside joke if you know what I mean.) But it wasn’t so. NOT that I’m the type that wants to see deaths left and right. In fact, I’m more peace-loving than I let on at times. But what I felt throughout the series was the intensity that reeked so strongly as each episode went by, so how could they mend things just like that? Yet when Joe died, I only felt okay so one of the bad guys died, and indeed it was because of his own doing. Not to mention it was too late to return. But it wasn’t so. It was until the kid’s mother called his name (also Ka Ming like their friend Ka Ming), it totally went over my head and really made it more complicated in a way. In fact, it was really the writer’s intention because Gina had literally stopped in shock and finally realized it was really karma getting her husband, NOT just because he died saving a kid. YES, there was something inside him (something still good in there though he had claimed it was too late) that insisted that he wasn’t all bad. He even made an effort to buy his wife a gift for their upcoming anniversary, and then the obvious with him wanting to save the kid the instant he saw the kid wandering out in the street. But it was like the time to pay his debt had arrived. What about the other guys? Ronnie lost his vision and had to face the authorities regarding the case involving Joe. The final question that the investigating detective had asked Angus upon his departure was if Angus had felt lucky that he had gotten away for what all three of them had done. But Angus had replied, “How would you know I’m not facing my own punishment?” Indeed, Angus’ punishment was never seeing Yan again because she had claimed that she would leave and would never come back. That was on the surface though because I seriously think that Angus had already paid somewhat for his betrayal to Ka Ming. Why? Yan had stabbed him that one time at the apartment where they used to gather and practice their music after learning the truth version as to what really happened to Ka Ming–and Yan. Then she came back–as if having forgiven him already. (Yeah, call me superstitious but I sort of want to elaborate on that little possibility as some of the details were relevant to the story.) That was why Angus received the lightest punishment physically. (And personally, I think the reason why Angus got the lightest punishment was because he never intended or really agreed to their actions at first with Joe trying to convince him, pulling him out of the tent to talk about it since Joe was saying Ka Ming would die anyway. Then before they knew it, Ronnie had already stabbed Ka Ming–and they just went ahead with the plan. Perhaps Angus’ reluctance at first and his deep regret later made it more pitiful? Sure, he participated in different schemes later on and wasn’t so ‘good’ anyway, but before Ronnie recovered his memory, between the two of them, Angus had shown more regrets among them all, knowing he was already marked to pay a debt.) Emotionally, all three would always be scarred with what they did–regardless. Though I think Joe had finally got his release from it all, because usually, the ones staying behind are the ones who have to face with the cruel truth–no matter how they try to repent themselves.
  • Full circle. I almost forgot about this but it was the scene where Yan saw a group of five going into the apartment building where they once practiced at and found Angus renting the apartment out to the five teenagers. Life was full of both the expected and unexpected. Yet it seemed familiar with how they once started out.
  • Alternate Ending. Most of us probably hate alternate endings, but I thought this one was well planned and well-executed. Maybe because of the ‘what if’ concept and not the actual thing with TVB playing us, saying it didn’t happen, they were doing the ‘what if’ at the beginning. (LOL, that would suck big time because they did put us through so much since the beginning.) And the most unexpected thing (but made sense) was it was Yan who held the key to it all if their lives had been different. Why? It was revealed when Yan was walking to the bus stop at the end that “if she had turned around, Ka Ming wouldn’t leave with the guys to the mountains” thus their lives leading toward a normality–with everyone not suffering from endless guilt ’til the end. Then there was also the possibilities of the other people’s lives like how Emma would’ve gotten married to that one lawyer guy, Angus might have started something with Jessica, etc. And one day, just like the scene showed with them reuniting to sing and enjoy their music once in a while. But to get back to Yan and her decision, maybe that was why she tortured herself, indulging in guilt all these years? She was blaming herself more than anyone because if she had turned around, then Ka Ming wouldn’t leave. But it was too much to take so she had chosen to blame it on the others and severed her ties from them rather than confronting her own demons. SURE, the others were at fault for making that decision, but it was from her own take that she could’ve made a difference if she didn’t leave. Interesting take indeed.
  • The sub-theme song. At first, I was like ‘whatever’ since I didn’t like the three guys’ singing too much. How wrong I was. Because I actually liked it a lot more when the last two episodes came around. Because at that point, it made sense. Though some earlier episode showed them composing it together that one night. But I still thought it would be one of those moments and then they were back to scheming again. That was it. Yet the song finally came into importance when they finally reunited on stage and performed together with their counterparts. (And just for clarification, for the relevancy of the story, the characters wrote it BUT in real life, some of the talented musicians/lyricists had made it happen. Go here for the translations from llwy12.) Oh yeah, for some weird reason, when they sang onstage like that, it seemed to be the live version? (Like it wasn’t obvious with the stage setup but at times nowadays, we wouldn’t know if they just sync in the studio version.) Or was it? I wasn’t sure but it sounded different from how it was in the sub-theme.

On a concluding note, I must give this series a ‘one of the best of 2011’ label. This actually deserved to be on a mantel for once. This really put the ‘quality’ part back into some of the recent TVB productions. YET if people are just looking for some ‘excitement’, better skip it. Because this wasn’t another ‘hype-up’ series trying to draw in viewers just for the sake of it. But about a journey all of us must go through in life, accepting things, reflecting on things, forgiving or not forgiving, etc. In short, it was the explorations of the mind and heart.

Twilight Investigation

I never thought my TVB drama of the year would actually start with this one. Serious! Well, I blame my sister because she was skipping around to watch her favorite Shek Sau, LOL! Though it couldn’t be counted for being new as of this year because I sort of step out of anything HK related for a while. But anyway, how was it? Average actually though I did watch from episode 1 to 20 without skipping around. Yes, I was that fair though I felt some parts could do without and others could be developed upon. But what do I expect when it’s a TVB drama, eh? Moving on, right?

The Goods:

  • Shek Sau as Yip Kwok Cheung (葉國昌). I don’t know. I just can’t stop laughing at him. He’s what they call “smart at work, dumb at home” type of person. ‘Cause honestly, he was so pro and cool when he worked on the cases but when he was at home, he was like so out of it, so lost. He had to take care of half of the people’s mess in here and seemed to let others take advantage of him. I wonder if the idea with the way he dressed was incorporated in so it showed the differences when he was at work or home. He was so slick at work with the hair up and all, but his hair was all ruffled up and his clothes laid-back at home. Well, it would make sense since most of us are that way, but the way he let Ho Yan took advantage of him was so pitiful.
  • Raymond Wong as Chow Ka Sing (周家昇). I’ve been enjoying his performances lately. It wasn’t because he was getting better roles (kind of but it has nothing to with the factor that would get me to like someone more or less), but more like I’m getting used to his way of acting. He sure surprised me with his funny side. Okay, he was funny in A Great Way to Care as well but it was different. He was acting so macho and all in here yet could be a big baby at times as well. The fact that they add even more to his personality made it addicting. The scene between him and Billy with his wanting to shoo Billy away was so touching, and then the part where Billy brought some food and his favorite drink for him was equally touching. (Sometimes it makes you wonder that bonds between two people transcend that of the bloodline. After all, Billy did live with him throughout all these years. It’s hard to just cut off the relation like that.)
  • Queenie Chu as Mandy. I wasn’t sure if I would like her in here though I did enjoy her other past performances. Yet I guess it would be safe to say that she was extremely misled at one point. She can’t be too perfect, right? Sad that it happened yet I’ll let it slide since the family of three reunited again.
  • Raymond and Queenie as a couple. I didn’t know if it was going to work or not. But I found it refreshing. It was actually better than some of his past co-stars. I’m so serious here. I could see sparks between them and then there was the whole feeling with their family.
  • Johnson Lee as Wang Siu Fu (王小虎). At first, I thought he was portraying some typical bad guy again. I’m serious. I didn’t read spoilers this time and it seemed suspicious. Yet there was this different story about it. His strong sense of loyalty to his boss sort of reminded me of his character in Split Second. But I was glad it led into a different path–or it would end in the usual, cliche route. Anyway, I think Johnson has a knack for comedy without trying too hard. He could keep a straight face while saying one of the funniest lines ever. Honestly, I couldn’t stop laughing because of how passive he was while he was saying those lines. It was of course intended for sarcastic humor–and he succeeded. (At least I thought so.)
  • Oceane Zhu as Bing Bing (冰冰). I like seeing her being the chameleon at times throughout different cases. She could be seductive or serious or cool at any moment. Cool character? Not sure because of that so it helped her acting more but not bad at all. I will hold my judgment since it is just my first series of her. (Or so I could remember.)
  • Johnson and Oceane. I’m a sucker for such a mysterious story. LOL! But they were quite cute together without trying too hard. One of the funniest parts with them was seeing how she had to rescue him out of the sticky situation when he got them busted, and then he had to stand aside and hold her purse while she fought off those men. LOL! Priceless! Oh yeah, the part near the end where she hired bodyguards stationed at the door to protect him was so funny as well. Gotta watch out for her man, eh? The most ironic thing was how he used to be in a gang so he should be able to fend for himself, right?
  • Power Chan as 977. Always like Power and another enjoyable performance. He made the scene even more lively with his enthusiasm and really brought out his character at various points with his charm.
  • Lau Dan as So Kam Lam (蘇鑑林). He was just around at times. Yet he got some more screen time in one of the cases to develop his character even more. Let’s just say the man hasn’t lost it. Kudos!
  • The bond between 977 (Power) and Uncle Kam (Lau Dan). I really liked it that 977 was so loyal to Uncle Kam, always supporting him and following him to different places even if the old man can’t see him (at least not the majority of the series). Their talk in prison was one of those memorable scenes between them, so touching. (Yeah, I’m a sucker for that as well.)

Other Notable Performances:

  • Lam King Kong as Tse Po Chuen (謝保全). I always liked him though he was in the background most of the time, portraying various roles. He doesn’t disappoint this time either. Quite convincing as the mentally challenged person. (And he did get a part where he played the possessed person–aka the part where Power’s character, 977, entered his body.)
  • Ram Tseung as Mok Chun Chung (莫鎮忠). I swear, I was so convinced he was innocent and got framed. Then I was so taken with the possessed part that I didn’t realize his character was actually responsible for the fire after all. He sure did it with acting all innocent and kind, but transferred to a revenge-fused madman. AND then out of control ghost. Or should we call him a ghoul? Or monster? Since the regular ghost (according to the to the plot) learn things bit-by-bit, not advance so much like him when he turned and was able to cause so much harm–due to the hatred that was inside him.
  • Jimmy Au as Cheng Nam (鄭南). Okay, he only appeared a bit throughout flashbacks and I’m so cheating here to put him in. Yet I found it somewhat refreshing to watch him in such a role instead of another typical villain. Maybe the story did help.

Torn:

  • Wong Hei as Encore. I guess I like him. Yet I can’t decide since the later parts ruined it somewhat with his mushy scenes with Linda. I don’t doubt his performance. But I think the plot ruined his character. The finale of the ending scenes leading up to his character’s death brought the story back on track. But that was that.

Somewhat Strange/Surprising:

  • Shek Sau and Rebecca? Honestly? Have they ever paired up in the past before? I’m just wondering since I did not watch every single TVB series. Kind of strange to take in at first yet I guess it’s not too bad because they do match to some extent that did not make it too odd in here.

ODD TO DEATH:

  • Wong Hei and Linda!!! What? Okay, I’m not picking on his age. Or hers. I do like older man and younger woman pairing to some extent. And I often leave the option open since some of the collaborations have surprised me in the past. But I find it really odd with this two together. I rather they (the scriptwriters) not include the romance part between these two. But I guess it’s always typical TVB to romanticize everything.

OUTRAGEOUS:

  • They demoted Ben Wong? Like again? I guess he wouldn’t want to be the goody-two shoe for too long or he would get rusty with his acting or be tossed into just one category. Yet I was getting used to seeing him trying out some roles such as the humorous dude, the cool cop, the somewhat clueless guy, etc. What happened? Is this going to turn into a pattern? Hope not. But he was convincing as the calm, patient boyfriend and father at first–and then showing his true colors later.

FEELING ROBBED:

  • How Siu Ho (Johnson) and Bing Bing (Oceane) got together. What? I know how they got together through some minor scenes and some of their recounts later on. Yet I felt robbed. I want more of the story development. If they had cut out some random/mushy scenes between Wong Hei and Linda, then it might work out. YES, mean, but I rather see more scenes of Johnson and Oceane. There could be more room to develop.
  • How in the world did that creep reporter get together with Leng Mui? I’m so serious here. I didn’t see that coming. I know surprises happen but it has to make sense. He seemed like a creep at that one gathering along with his jerk friends. What changed? Well, he could dump his girlfriend, etc YET I’m not totally convinced. I know I said I’m not into gift-wrapping and some things are good being left with some mystery and staying unexplained BUT this isn’t one of the cases that I could let slide.

SHORT CONCLUSION: Cases are nice to watch and some relations are fun to see BUT the main couple’s romance kind of suck.

Recommended? Kind of. Don’t take it seriously though since it’s mostly a comedy. (DUH, RIGHT?)