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.

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The Money-Maker Recipe

Phew! That was quite nerve-racking toward the end. The last few episodes were the most worth-watching than some other parts. The brain schemes and other double-crossing matters were what filled up the rest of the time. Not to mention how Szeto Luen Fai and his daughter turned out all right in the end. Thanks so much to Wing Shan for having such a kind heart, causing a turn of events. Not to mention the last few scenes of Chong made him worth the main character! Great set up between Chong, Janet, and Yu Ju near the end, causing things to turn out perfectly awesome. Bits of here and there with Yu Bo sacrificing herself for her family was quite touching and worth brownie points. Also funny but cute parts between her and Yuk Lun. There was also great scenes of Siu Tim and Wing Shan also. Quite touching with the whole mother-son relationship between Wing Shan and the little boy. So glad the ending didn’t turn out too lame. Cause and effects were applied and weren’t as forced. Not a bad series that was both entertaining and somewhat nerve-racking within the stock market battles. Learned a lot although most were quite exaggerated. Still not bad at all.

Acting/ Performances:

Kiki Sheung as Cheung Yu Ju was just both hilarious and witty. Although she let the fame get to her head in the turn of events, she soon learned from her mistakes and repented herself. Kiki portrayed the character really well–from scenes where she was really nice to slightly arrogant, back to the kind person that she was again. Must say her acting rocks big time versus when she was younger. Very lively and convincing.

Michael Tse as Wong Chi Chong was quite interesting. On the surface, Chong seemed to be the weak and/or unintelligent kind, but he was very smart and was just a kind person who didn’t want to harm others around him. He was a very straight-forward guy and didn’t back down even if the other person was of a higher authority figure. He was very brave in that sense. Michael Tse managed to bring out the character also and he has always been a great actor so no doubt about him. There were also funny side stories, which he portrayed really well in those scenes.

The chemistry between Michael and Kiki were quite odd at first, but it was all right and flowing later since according to the plot, they were an odd pair. Besides, they were quite a team and convincing enough for this type of story. Their interactions were funny and natural towards each other.

Joyce Tang as Janet. Her character seemed like nothing special for the majority of the series, but she was very clever and was the brain for the majority of Ding Siu Ging’s stock market wins. She had the capability to go beyond her skills, but could still distinguish between right and wrong thus always persuading Ding Siu Ging not to harm others for his benefit. Luckily, she managed to withdraw from it in time. Joyce has come a long way and I honestly think she’s one of those that have improved a lot since her first series. She used to exaggerate her characters, making it unbearable, but now she could control her expressions and delivered quite a performance. She really brought out the depth of Janet’s characters–different phases Janet went through, struggles with her father and her loneliness, etc. It was really great watching her.

Savio Tsang and Angela Tong – Quite a hilarious pair and I think this was one of the better roles for both although they seemed like odd characters, there were different levels to their characters–unlike usual typical characters. Savio’s actually wasn’t that classy compared to some of his other roles, but he did quite well with it. It was so convincing that I thought he was really those kind. It was also touching how he changed his bad habits for Yu Bo in the end. And also that through him, Yu Bo knew how to cherish the people around her.

Ellesmere Choi and Toby Leung – Not bad at all. Not sure if I’ve watched other performances of Toby Leung but she wasn’t bad at all as Wing Shan. The scenes between her and her son were very touching; and she managed to deliver out the parts with how she almost went psycho because she lost her son, etc. Her chemistry between Ellesmere wasn’t bad either. I think this was also one of Ellesmere’s better roles although he played more classy roles than this. This role’s depth was worth more than the exterior of others. It could help bring out his performance more than just wear a suit and deliver some lines.

Loved Law Lok Lam as always although he played the hateful rich dude Szeto Luen Fai for the majority of the series. But he did care about his family and would protect them no matter what. He also knew who was good to him and who wasn’t–thus leading him to finally stopping after knowing Wing Shan had a great heart for saving him although she could have died herself because of the situation. His willingness to change was really convincing and Law Lok Lam once again delivered a brilliant performance.

Rain Lau – She’s really getting better at the comedy acts and isn’t going overboard with her comedic scenes like the old days. It was really great to watch her in recent series so no complaints.

Mary Hon and the rest of the veteran cast were great also with making everything seemed lively and convincing for the plot itself.

It was a decent series overall with a mix of humor and intensity among the stock-market as well as daily life people bonding together in times of need.

Posted (on Xanga): October 7, 2008

Re-posted: Friday, April 16th, 2010

Revolving Doors of Vengeance

I wish I could say that this was one of the better TVB series but with a lame title. Regretfully, this one had both–the title and lame plots. I must admit I was curious after reading some comparisons between this and The Brink of Law and how people say that there were similarities between both. However, I honestly think that The Brink of Law was ten times better–even if they managed to kill off half of the cast. This one was too messed up and gift wrapped toward the end. Although I must admit they wrapped it well with some plots intertwining to catch John Chiang’s character, it was not a satisfactory series with so many loops and stupidity in here. Sounds judgmental to death but I felt like morality was not even clear in here or no one had any, to begin with.

Likes:

  • Felix Lok as Ng Gam Kuen. He was the only one I actually liked in here among the cast that had anything to do with the whole plot. He was loyal to the father (Lau Dan) and was doing his best to help but would always worry to death while others were doing stupid things.
  • Lawrence Ng as Koo Ka Hyun. The kid was so cute and had a lot of potentials. His acting was great.
  • Lo Hoi Pang as Martin’s father. I think his parts were the most fun in the series since he played tricks on people so much. His attempted plot was a bit funny and his bond with his son was really touching too. Some parts with his disciple were fun while others memorable to watch.

Dislikes:

  • The fact that Kit (Ron) and Hoi Sum (Ella) ended up together. I think Hoi Sum loved to torture herself or something since he was the one who did not know what he wanted or both or whatever. But she kept wanting to hurt herself by doing that. Kit was also an idiot and a rash person throughout. Nothing was significant about him from the beginning to the end. He was also so hot-headed and did not listen to anyone. Yes, he eventually learned but it just made their relationship a joke that he was firm or stubborn with a lot of his principles but was not able to resist temptation thus going with Chloe (Elaine). Using Hacken’s song “Never Change In This Lifetime” as Hoi Sum and Kit’s song was a big insult to the song. Honestly, if he was that loyal, he would’ve more self-control.
  • Chloe (Elaine) and Mark (Derek) ended up together. WHAT?! Another dumb pairing and was too gift wrapped. Not saying that he did not deserve happiness but HER? Seriously? There were no other girls in the whole wide world? These people seriously forgave too easily or were just looking for self-torture. She no longer had anyone to rely on, that was why she chose him in the first place. NOT convinced that she was turning good. It was just that she needed someone to lean on since she had no other hope after what happened to her father.
  • Everyone kept jumping back and forth. I swear the Wong family was so wishy-washy. They kept shifting focus and all, especially fighting with their uncle and then coming back to let him use them some more.

Things that I DIDN’T LIKE but could accept:

  • Martin (Joe) and Becky (Kenix) ending up together. If we were keeping score, she lied to him right from the start–to which he just ignored it most of the time because he was interested in her. Okay, so he used some techniques to test her later but that was just to see if she was lying to him or not. So it was okay that she lied and deceived him BUT it was not okay that he tested her? GREAT. But still, it was acceptable to a level because it was all confusing and how she wanted to have enough money for her aunt’s surgery. But still…it was quite a low attempt with using her son to bait Martin.

Who got robbed:

  • Raymond Cho. It was a shame that he only appeared a bit and he was one of those with great potential and it was too bad that he did not rise as much back then. It was until recently that he got more focused but still did not make up for anything. It was because those other ‘supposed’ handsome faces that kept hogging the screen that made him lose out on opportunities. He’s quite good-looking actually and with potential also. Not to mention, he did sing the song better than someone else.
  • Nancy Wu. Seriously, I loved Maria more than the rest of the main cast in here. None of the girls in here could live up to Nancy’s fiber, except for let’s say, Kenix Kwok. Too bad.
  • Tsui Wing. It was funny how I didn’t notice him until I watched Off Pedder but I must say he’d gone a long way. It was a shame he could not rise in the earlier series.
  • Other potential cast. I think most of the bearable cast or the great characters were actually the supporting ones instead of the main cast.

So, overall, who got the most out of this drama? I swear it was Hacken Lee since they used some of his songs for the series. I had a feeling they were boosting him (which was well deserved) but other than that, this series tried to set all the hype around the characters but failed to deliver with an exact goal as an overall. It was a bunch of randomnesses thrown together. I could only feel that the ones who appeared a little were the more decent characters than the main cast combined.

Posted (on Xanga): September 11, 2009

Re-posted: Friday, April 2nd, 2010

A Great Way to Care

If you ignore the corny English title, this was actually very good. The funniest thing was if you watched this and The Threshold of a Persona at the same time, you would realize the majority of the supporting cast were the same. It might cause confusion also but it was still interesting to see how each portray their roles for both series.

Anyway, first off, what was TVB thinking in warehousing this series? I understand that they aired The Threshold of a Persona because of Roger’s popularity. But warehousing this one was a big mistake. (Or perhaps it was the reason that I mentioned above about the similarity with the supporting cast.) This was quite fast pace and interesting because of the different psychological issues addressed throughout this series. It was surprisingly good because of all the cases involved and it was not draggy since it managed to stay on topic for the majority of the time. There were side stories and romances too but it did not dwell long. It let the cases integrate with their daily life problems too so it was just right.

The Like(s):

  • Alex Fong as Dr. Ko Lap Yan. I was actually doubtful about watching this since I’m not much of an Alex fan or think much about his acting. However, I admit he does have it to pull through, making us love him at times as the brilliant doctor but hates him sometimes for using sharp words. Dr. Ko is actually very kind and really cares for his patients. But he’s harsh toward his interns because he wants them to succeed and be good at what they do. (If he’s not harsh and they rely on him too much or would not work hard enough, what would happen when they become real doctors and get careless, which could result in the worst?)
  • Ram Tseung as Dr. Lien Chi Sum. Having like Ram for his performances in several series, I really like the role given to him in here. He is such a funny character yet there is this apparent morality within him that one must respect. He seems to be really laid-back and could almost be dubbed as being lazy but his sense of sincerity and care given to his patients are really admirable. He takes his job seriously with proper responsibilities of each patient. Although he has his moments of immaturity, it is only within friends and off-work that shows another side of his character. And although he seems weak or easily persuaded with his behaviors, he is very firm on his belief and would not use any other means to gain status over other colleagues. It seems like he does not really care for what is being done at home either or seems careless but he really does care and support his wife in the time of need, not taking one side or another. The conversations they have various times show that he does support her and not just ignore it or dismiss it altogether. He does treat it in seriousness, considering all angles, not like other husbands who only take one side or the other. He tries hard to sort everything out and make it work for his family accordingly.
  • Raymond Wong as Lee Ying Chun. I’m not really a fan of Raymond Wong–mostly because of how he portrays his characters in other series. He is not the worst but I just don’t like his style. However, I must admit I really like his character and portrayal in here. I like the character of Chun because he’s very caring toward patients and would not mind the nature of his job but really love it for what it is. It does not matter that others might misunderstand or look down on him, but he feels happy that he could help others. It is also very nice to see the balance in his character that he would not get stepped on easily. I like the part where he found out his girlfriend cheated on him and insulted him of his weakness. At first, he was all quiet and I was getting disappointed that he might be all talks and would be weakened by all the words. But then it showed that he was only thinking and he actually took the action to sever the ties right away, i.e. destroying all the furniture in the room. (It sounds violent but shows that he could stand up for himself, not being someone’s doormat.) I must give TVB credit for giving him the right image in here. It’s like he doesn’t seem to shine much, just the typical nice guy character but there’s this sense of mystery within him, making him more complex.
  • Vivien Yeo as Suen Ka Bik. For the first time, I feel that Vivien isn’t robbed of a role. It’s about time too. Her character as Ka Bik is really strange at first if you do not understand her. But we, as the audience,’ are lead into her story and what actually happened that led to her self-destructive mode and depression. Although her character is an obese person, I really like it that it acknowledges and associates it with her internal and external conflicts, tying in with the main theme. Vivien was really cute in here (when she actually appears as her thin self again). Not that she wasn’t cute at the beginning but it was hard to tell through the prop. Her character was really bubbly and childish in a way but it was really funny and surprisingly cute how innocent she was.
  • Ben Wong as Chung Kwok Ban. I know he seemed really, really mean at the beginning but I start to like his character in the later episodes. In a way, he just felt that newbies usually have this great enthusiasm but no talents so he worried for Mandy’s safety if she were to jump in and do it without thinking of the consequences (which was true that almost cost her life several times). However, he was still capable of seeing through that she did have what it took to be a cop. He also was not an unreasonable person who didn’t have a brain but only wanted to be bossy about everything. He actually could think up of different solutions and connect the dots pretty well. He cared for others but just didn’t know how to express it properly. Since I was watching like this and Threshold and at the same time, I must say that I was impressed with Ben’s portrayal for both roles. It contained humor and kindness for the other one versus the whole intense character in here with a mixture of brilliant elements. (Must give TVB credit also for giving the right image for both characters, seeing him as a simple cop in the other one yet in this one, it gave more confidence with the suit, plus the hairdo. He looked really handsome in here–if I have to admit it, lol.) Anyway, another interesting character and I think Ben has gone a long way since his very first series that made me cringed when I was watching it and never finished. Although it took a while to actually be impressed with his performances, I think he does work really hard and knows his weaknesses or takes it into a note to improve and get to this point.
  • The friendship between Ko Lap Yan (Alex Fong), Lien Chi Sum (Ram Tseung), and  Lee Ying Chun (Raymond Wong). Although the other two were doctors and Ying Chun was a nurse, the three men got along really well, sharing jokes and seeking advice from each other when in need. The fact that Ying Chun lived with Dr. Ko was funnier. They got into these weird fights about who should have the power to speak or decide at times but it showed how close they were to not be afraid to speak up about matters. Although they talked nonsense the majority of the time and only were serious some of the time, it did show the bond of their friendship and the ability to make one another forget their stress for the time being.
  • The relationship between Dr. Ko (Alex Fong), Dr. Leung (Chung King Fai), and Mandy (Kate Tsui). I think it was a bit funny how Dr. Leung knew them both–because one was his student and the other was his god-daughter, but they did not know it–at first.
  • The interns. I especially liked the relationship between the interns and the doctors in here, except for some doctor who was taking advantage of the situation–that was. I also liked how Nelson (Timmy Hung), Leo (Ruco Chan), and Brian (Ellesmere Choi) got along and discussed cases together, sharing experiences. I did not like Martha (Yoyo Chen) as much although I understand where she was coming from. There were side stories with them too and the randomness between the interns and it got funny at times but not too much as into the whole ‘corny’ zone. Their interactions showed some bonding among the interns with how they were all going through it together. Of course, there were conflicts at times but it did not lose its elements with making it too dramatic either.
  • The guest stars. The guest stars in each case made it interesting and you got to see how each actor/ actress would portray their role in here as well as their characters contributing to the overall story.
  • The ensemble. Yes, I got tired of listing every single character or actor/actress so just put in this one since I really liked it that they were not making someone shine on purpose. But everyone was in it together to make everything work out well. You could feel the realness of it, just normal people trying to work and get on with their daily life. (There was the whole deal with the excitement of the cases but it was there for the purpose of the series’ theme.) I didn’t have the feeling of anyone hogging the camera on purpose, except for one person, which I will discuss in the next section. Other than that, this group worked really well together. (Kudos to the production team for making everything possible.)
  • Not too cheesy. I liked it that there was actually some acknowledgment that it should not be too gift-wrapped. Yes, there were closure and some kind of ending for everyone but they did not put in pairings for every single character. Like how we were misled into believing that Ko Sau Yee (Elliot Yue) would end up with his old fiancee or at least have a great friendship throughout the story with her giving up gambling and all. However, things happen and what she passed onto her son caught up with her. It goes into the whole thing with wanting something to happen versus its actual outcome. There was also the part where Ko Sau Yee lost one leg due to the accident (that was not so accidental) and the internal conflicts afterward. Everything was not perfect but it worked out as long as they learned to accept and look on the bright side.

The Dislike(s):

  • Suet Nei as Ram’s mother. Seriously, I’m getting sick of seeing her in series. Can’t they find someone else? I mean I’m all right if she’s around sometimes but like most of the time? I guess I do not watch the right series to avoid her but her pattern is quite repetitive. Although she tries to shine through her portrayal, it gets super fake and annoying more than attract the appropriate attention. Lucky she’s only around for a while or if it focuses on her too much, I would’ve gone mad.

Favorite Couples:

  • Raymond Wong and Vivien Yeo as Lee Ying Chun and Suen Ka Bik. They had a really cute story together and I really liked the development of it. It was kind of different from other dramas that it actually showed that he didn’t care for appearances and learned to love the real her, not just with words but his actual actions. It showed that because they made it that Ka Bik was really fat at the beginning and he was still willing to help her overcome the worst and gain confidence again. (Other series, it was all about talks about not minding but we never got to see the test. It sounded too much like nonsense sweet words used to reassure one party or the other. But this one just went right into addressing it about minding it or not.)
  • Alex Fong and Kate Tsui as Dr. Ko and Mandy. Their relationship was interesting in a sense because I would’ve never liked it when I first heard of the collaboration–considering TVB’s recent casting with older men with younger women, but I must give them credit for making it work this time around. Actually setting his age at the about right level made it more realistic since making him portray a younger character than his actual age would be too fake. They even addressed and stressed the age difference throughout the series so it was not too fake or seemed like they were trying to hide something. It could’ve been worse if they put in some corny lines like, “Age doesn’t matter as long as there are feelings.” I liked it there was the talk between Dr. Ko and Mandy about all the possible issues although he had feelings for her, which she took it as a joke that he was such a worry-wart at first, actually reassured him with the seriousness of the situation and how she understood, etc.
  • Ram Tseung and Astrid Chan as Dr. Lien and Sau Wai. I like how their team of husband and wife worked together. It was funny how it seemed that he was really scared of her and would leave everything up to her. But they really supported each other when trouble came along. He had his silly moments and she would complement it with her reasoning. It was just too funny with their interactions at times. She seemed to be the naggy-slash-controlling wife but that was just the harsh words she used sometimes to keep him in line about his craziness, like trying to buy a car just to show off to one of the rival doctors.
  • Ellesmere Choi and Iris Wong as Brian and Daisy. They were just too funny at times. They worked at the same clinic yet there was only constant interaction related to their work. However, they got to know each other better through a religious group. It was just funny to see how he sort of turned her down and she was sort of embarrassed but managed to dive out of it safely. I was a bit disappointed that nothing more happened but was happy to see that they ended up together after all. Perhaps, he lacked confidence and didn’t feel it was the right time? Or he didn’t know and he was too busy trying to pass the exams that he couldn’t focus on relationships? Still a cute couple.

Posted (on Xanga): August 7, 2009

Re-posted: Saturday, March 27th, 2010

The Threshold of a Persona

Was I the only one who thought that this was a waste of the majority of the cast’s time? Honestly. I’ve never suffered through a Roger Kwok series before. (Even the ones that he portrayed the villain.) I think every time TVB does a series on the Immigration Department, it becomes draggy because they fail to focus on the main points of the plot. I do not want them to twist some major facts about it to make it more interesting. But I mean they should’ve cut it short if they do not know where to focus on. 30 episodes of this?

First off, the theme song of the series, Conceal (掩飾). I like collaborations, especially between singers for a song but Roger and Patrick? I heard that TVB’s trying to promote Patrick but pick one or the other. Their voices do not go well together. I think one of my favorite ones is Steven Ma and Ron Ng’s collaboration for The Brink of Law and I do know that Ron’s not that good but their voices flow well for the theme song, making it memorable and suitable.

Let’s start with the likes before I get any further.

The Good:

  • The friendship revolving around Kit (Roger), Kei (Yoyo), Lun (Power), and Yu (Raymond). I actually like how their friendship was given to us at the beginning and how other factors influenced their path throughout the series. It really came to the question of if they could pass the test of obstacles or not. It was unbelievable that Yu turned so evil toward the end, killing everyone and destroying everything that dared to stand in his path, but it was not out of nowhere. We could see that he had a strong sense of ambition through his actions and words to others (although ambition is not a sin). However, he easily wavered because he did not have a strong sense of morality. He did not care how things were done as long as it got done and would use others as stepping stones. He would also violate the laws to get where he wanted to be. (It made it double bad because he was a cop.) Lun, although he had a foul mouth at times, he was just very straight-forward and wasn’t good with words. It didn’t mean he wasn’t clever. Despite all his criticisms about Yu and their disputes, he still helped Yu at the end because he valued friendship very much. Kit and Kei were on the same line as Lun that they tried to keep their friendship intact. They always tried to keep in check with one another, especially the part where they helped Lun with getting him to stop gambling. However, Yu broke that bond when he decided to target his friends and not back down from his actions. Their friendship was somewhat typical that one or two within the group would turn bad, but still a nice one to see. The only complaint I have is they should’ve been focused on more to develop the climax rather than focusing on subplots too much that reduced their significance until like the last two episodes.
  • The friendship between Kit (Roger) and Shun Fong (Patrick). It seemed that they were casual friends and co-workers but they did share this special bond with each other. I liked how they often gave each other advice with solving cases to lessen the stress from one or the other. Also, the whole thing with Shun Fong trying to help Kit with patching up his family again regarding Chi Yan.
  • The brotherly bond between Kit (Roger) and Wing (Ben). Although they weren’t related by blood, their actions showed a deeper relationship than that. I liked it that it wasn’t just another typical thing with brothers who were not from the same parents would argue non-stop or would plot against each other, etc. There was an admittance of being shocked or confused about being put together because their parents got married. But the acceptance of it because of their parents’ happiness and of having a family brought them together as brothers. They really cared for each other–not just for the sake of the parents. It showed through many times like Kit always supported his brother and tried to get along with his sister-in-law when Lai Man was being unreasonable. Wing would always support Kit, especially the time he almost beat up Wu Shum to save his brother or trying to stop Kit from shooting Yu and be blinded by revenge. One of my favorite scenes must be the part where they were both in the hospital and wanted to beat Yu up. It was rash of their behaviors, but it showed a bit of their unification and bond. They not only cared for each other but for one another’s loved ones and friends as well.
  • The relationship within Kit and Wing’s family. Although things seemed hectic at the beginning, later on, it seemed like they were really close. The father only asked one question, “Are you okay with it?” Then if the answer was yes, he would make sure that everyone supported the person in the situation. He won’t question otherwise. But it will depend on the person, just like in Kit’s case with his wife. Yes, there were many other barriers that they couldn’t get past but it still counted that they tried their hardest to make it work for everyone. Lai Man seemed very unreasonable and wicked at the beginning but only her words sounded mean because she was harmless for the most part. I liked the parts where she supported Kit’s kid, Hei, when the kid was bullied by his classmates. It really showed that she cared but sometimes her words were sharp. There was also the part where they know that Chi Yan was not really related to the father but Lai Man still told her husband, Wing, to look after Yan, saying that she was still his sister after all. For the most part, their family encountered a lot of problems at first but could overcome it all with their sincerity and determination.

The Bad:

  • Creating the whole story with Shun Sui (Joey Mak) and Kelvin (Ruco Chan). Do they need this too? This reminded me of the character Ruco portrayed in Project Ji Xiang where he landed in prison at the end of the series. However, this time, it was because of other stuff too. To get back onto the subject at hand, I admit that Kelvin was a spoiled guy and could not stand firm when he encountered obstacles, but he should not be blamed for what happened between him and Shun Sui in totality. “He was drunk” was not a good excuse BUT in this case, that qualified as part of it. He did not like her and made clear of that from the very start. He might be spoiled, but he wasn’t a playboy. He didn’t flirt with other girls just for the thrill. His weakness was probably his father since he wished to prove to his father that he could do it, but when his father only delivered lectures and expectations, it made him feel inferior and frustrated at the same time. He didn’t have proper guidance because both his parents were busy or doing other things and I don’t blame them. But he just seemed like one lost guy. He still had a good heart in general. How could they just listen to one side only–aka Shun Sui–and blame it on him for what happened that night? Shun Sui was a spoiled kid (although they weren’t rich), plus she did whatever she wanted. It didn’t matter if her brother yelled at her or not. She was just that way. Why did the mother act super dramatic? She could’ve used all those times she used to run around on her own to look after her daughter instead of blaming the other family after what happened. I don’t expect her to be perfect, but I just hate that she wouldn’t look at herself first before pointing the fingers at others. Only Shun Fong would care enough to yell or look after Shun Sui–yet he was yelled at for being naggy. That was just messed up. Yes, he should’ve handled it better and not yell, but it did not help either that he was very much on his own to care for his sister instead of the mother doing that. So, Shun Sui should take the partial blame too yet Kelvin was dubbed out to be the bad guy without a chance for explanation. When he did say it wasn’t his fault–which it wasn’t–no one believed him. What the heck? Like she was that innocent. She ran away once. (I know holding the past on her head was not a good idea but they should at least consider all angles instead of just listening to her blindly.) All in all, no one had the right to yell at Kelvin in this case, except for Shun Fong since he seemed to be the only one to care enough. The only thing I saw fit in this was that they did not make Kelvin marry Shun Sui in the end. That would be too lame.
  • The draggy parts of Shun Fong (Patrick), Kelvin (Ruco), On Yi (Natalie), and Chi Yan (Toby). I know they (the writers) wanted to do a friendship and another quartet with this group–like how they did with Kit’s group, plus other stuff, but it was just too much with the irrelevant parts, not to mention they didn’t have that good of a friendship to begin with except being random. Maybe that was some sort of bond and innocent friendship at the beginning too. But what kind of friends were they not to trust Kelvin but just jump to the decision of thinking him as a spoiled rich boy? Only Shun Fong could have a say in this or could react fiercely because he was Shun Sui’s brother and couldn’t control his anger. But On Yi had no right since she knew that she was playing around with Kelvin’s feelings and giving him hope. She knew she didn’t like him but didn’t say it. She didn’t agree but not saying anything was misleading. Why didn’t she just say it first or clarify it? But she had to give him hope until it was too late, which made him feel betrayed with the whole misunderstandings, leading to him getting drunk in the first place–and leading to the worst of it all.
  • More romances than cases. This was a crime/ law show after all. Why did I see more of romances here and there, especially senseless ones than the main point? I like to see romance and all too but they weren’t developing with the right couples. I understood the essential of Kit’s story but I hated it that the subplots and other characters got more in the way with dumb stories.

Who got robbed?

  • Ruco Chan. This was personal opinions of course. This was honestly insulting him and wasting his time. I know he has to start somewhere since he just came back to TVB but honestly? Casting him in a typical rich spoiled boy wasn’t helping. This was the effect of watching Ben Xiao Hai right before I dive into this series. Since his portrayal took me away in the other one, but for Threshold, I felt like, “What the heck was that?” TVB probably wanted viewers who do not watch ATV series to get used to him but must they cast him in this role? I see people who act poorly gets meatier roles than this. I just hope he isn’t typecast for these roles in the future. Since it has been TVB’s ultimate habit to cast people in similar roles that it’s boring to the point of dullness that either makes people ponder if it’s just the similar roles or the actor could not act.
  • Raymond and Yoyo. I do not mean their characters either since they are like part of the main cast of the drama. However, I thought that this is like the second time around and they do not end up together–once again. (Maybe TVB was compensating for Roger and Yoyo regarding to Last One Standing.)
  • Ellesmere Choi and Queenie Chu. I know they were leading Team A of the three teams involved in the cases but I felt I rather see more development of their characters than seeing the draggy parts of the other characters. I actually liked this pairing very much but too bad not enough scenes of them. I liked their subtle fights and conflict of interests. Then later they became more understanding of each other and thus came to peace with each other. (We could see hints that they will end up together but still would love to see that part rather than the other relationships in here.)
  • Roger and Yoyo. They were like the main couple but I feel like they were robbed major time because I would rather the plot speed up a bit, leaving more room for Roger and Yoyo to be together.
  • Power Chan. I know he was one of the major characters too but somehow he only had one story of his own–the gambling problem. There was also the one with his grandpa. But it was like other than being their friend, he didn’t have other side stories. It was sad. I don’t mean to give him a romance story–that would be a bonus, but it was like he seemed to come and go for the most part. I rather they create other stories for him than focus too much on other people. He played a great part near the end but it didn’t count either because it tied in with everyone in the story also, not his own story.

Having said all that, I do appreciate the entire cast and production team’s effort in their hard work in bringing us such a series with the major issues and subplots involved. It was really complex on some levels but some parts could seriously do without–like mentioned throughout this review many times already. After all, it was better than A Matter of Customs on some level since the other one was more draggy with revolving around a certain plot too much. I must admit also that this series had a very good cast. It was just that the story-line could’ve done better. They should’ve cut back instead of dragging everything out to the point of dullness. The fact that only the first few episodes were relevant for the purpose of the plot and then the last two episodes were where the excitement kicked in was just lame. Shame.

Posted (on Xanga): August 6, 2009

Re-posted: March 26th, 2010