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 Winter Melon Tale

At times when you’re watching this, you have a feeling why you still watch it. It’s funny and not because of the plot either. I agree that there are good things coming out of it, but somehow it’s just too random on some level. Or it’s just me. People tend to associate this one with Ten Brothers and I think Ten Brother‘s plot is slightly better in a sense with an actual plot. And interestingly it’s about the same cast.

The Like(s):

  • Sunny Chan and Louisa So as Tin Tai Kwai and Chung Pik Yuk. After watching Phoenix Rising, it was a bit funny to see these two together as a couple because of the other plot and their roles in there. However, I thought their chemistry is not bad at all.
  • Liu Kai Chi and Sunny Chan as brothers. It’s not much to say since Liu Kai Chi’s character as the brother is really selfish, etc. But I like the bonding between the two with Liu Kai Chi as Fan Tung more (of course).
  • Ellesmere Choi and Yvonne Ho. NOOOO. I do not like the context of the story. But I thought it was funny seeing them together again after Last One Standing. I thought her portrayal is better in here since the pressure of being Kevin’s sister in the other one was probably too much, causing nervousness, etc.
  • Nancy Wu as Fok Sze Sze. I don’t know but I found it extremely strange that she looks so nice in those demon/fairy characters than the usual roles. Or maybe those characters are more interesting.
  • Chun Wong as Chung Yuen Si. Every time the others call him ‘Mom’, I end up laughing. It’s just too funny. Must have run out of older cast? Or was it for the emphasis of the comedy? But still admit he’s cool to take on this type of role, trying it out for the sake of the story.
  • The ending. I rarely like these types of endings but for the sake of the comedy, it was funny. I meant like Fan Tung thought he would finally reunited with his ‘fairy’ but then who knew that Sunny’s character, Tai Kwai, is also one of the gods?

The Dislike(s):

  • The ridiculous humor. Seriously, I know they were trying to be funny, but I could not laugh at the jokes in here sometimes. More like laughing at them for being pathetic.
  • The outcome of Mimi’s character, Seung Kun Yun Yee. It was so rushed and all that I don’t know if she liked the other guy or not. They got along fine. But I felt a bit turn off that she chose beauty. I guess it might be more realistic with this ending since she has been suffering all her life with being called ‘ugly’ but somehow I feel that it was a bit unfair for the other dude. Although their relationship could develop into something deeper later. I guess it might be better than having her end up with Jack’s character, Chung Yiu Cho, since he’s WAY too unreasonable at times, blaming her for stuff she didn’t do.

Would I recommend it? Um…if you want to watch something light and laugh about the nonsense in it, you might want to consider. (Of course, there are serious moments but it’s still scattered all over the place.)

Posted (on Xanga): May 9, 2009

Re-posted: Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Last One Standing

Must agree that this is one of TVB’s best series of 2008. It got both brilliance and suspense. This was an awesome collaboration between Roger and Kevin. Although I kind of doubt it if Kevin was up to it since reading up on news during the series’ filming (even if I know Kevin’s acting abilities already). However, Kevin proved it that he was up to the part. He really did well opposite Roger. This was one of the most intense series that took it up to the max with sacrifices that I’ve seen for a while now–without holding back on several matters, causing it not to be cheesy at all. And maybe they never gave Yoyo a big enough role (except for the conflict in the beginning) that made this series better. (I’m not saying I dislike her since she’s one of my favorite actresses.) But I’m saying it made the rivalry and conflicts between Kevin and Roger rise to another level–with schemes and mind games throughout, mostly brain-work and silent wars.

First off, Kevin as Cheung Sing Hei. I must say this was one of the most challenging roles ever for Kevin but considering how he already pulled off such a villain role in The Ultimate Crime Fighter, I must say I’m proud of him. He has gone past his other roles and portrayed such an intense character. His emotional state throughout were apparent and led us into believing and experiencing Sing Hei’s state of mind as the series progressed. It was so vivid and tragic at the same time. If anything, Kevin should have won an award for this role instead of all his roles from the past years (which I swear he could portray with both of his hands tied behind his back). This was a more challenging role and required more time and effort to pull off.

This was the first time in a series that I enjoyed watching a villain character like Roger so much. He had played villains in the past and most of them were of characters who were driven to the wall and had no other choice but to do some “wrongs.” Those characters usually had to improvise in the end to fit the situation and mostly do rash things thus leading to their downfall and/or facing different consequences. However, in this series, Roger’s character, Tong Lap Yeen, has been planning out all his traps from the beginning to the end. He has never been careless or reckless in his behavior. Every word and action was planned and consequences came out as a result. Sure, unexpected things happened, but he soon cooked up a scheme just as quick to resolve the matter in a snap. He possessed both of intelligence and vigilance toward everyone around him. The fact that his character never shown an ounce of regret, in the end, made it even scarier and suspenseful. It made one guessed even more about his character. It just didn’t end there. It followed a somewhat eerie path that he was one of those criminals who didn’t regret anything–and might take up on revenge or doing more wrongs after he got released in the future. A very well crafted character in fact. One of the best villain characters by far. No wonder Roger was having trouble sleeping at times during the night while filming the series because this was one of the most challenging villain roles for him–especially after all those silly and/or goofy roles he portrayed in the recent years. And he pulled it off to the point of flawless!

Other things I like about this series:

  • The partnership and/or companionship between Kevin and Ellesmere in this series as Cheung Sing Hei and Yeung Kin Yip. Although Ellesmere didn’t appear much (or it seemed that way to me), he played such an important role being Kevin’s ally in here, assisting him in finding out different things on the side while Kevin had to pretend he was on the same side as Roger. They were a great duo because they were actually forced to collaborate because of the murder slate Roger pinned on Ellesmere, causing Ellesmere wanting to bring Roger in for justice more than anything else and bringing out his sense of righteousness also (although somewhat too comedic as how he portrayed it). They were funny as bro-in-laws and also as a team. Always having to bicker in front of others or show signs of disapproval yet always getting together to discuss cases when others weren’t around. I wasn’t as impressed with Ellesmere’s performances before but in recent series and especially in this one, I really like him as an actor and feel that he was really up to different and bigger roles–even if he doesn’t get as much chance.
  • Eddie Lee and Elaine Yiu – I already knew and sense it in the beginning already but it was really nice and cute and somewhat a subtle point to the series. It wasn’t too much either considering the mood set for this series itself. There were also some conflicts between them during intense times, but really enjoy it during the other times and somewhat near the end where they reunite again.
  • Evergreen Mak and Fiona Yuen – The fact that they paired up numerous times already made it feel weird to not pair them up again when they’re in the same series together. But still fun to watch and probably for the last time or so since Fiona has left TVB already.
  • Sherming Yiu as So Lai Fa aka Tseng Shu Leung (Law Lok Lam)’s mistress. No one in their right mind would like the person who ruined someone’s marriage, but in this case, I have to make an exception. And no, I’m not making this exception because Sherming portrayed this role. It was because although Lai Fa was involved with Shu Leung, she took on a stronger responsibility for her son and probably and possibly loved Shu Leung’s character more than Kiki’s character did–even IF he didn’t deserve it. Lau Kit Yee (Kiki Sheung) was just using Shu Leung as a lifesaver at that time after her husband died and she needed a male figure to support her because she couldn’t find ways to stand up on her own or take care of herself–thus leading to her seeking and finally finding Shu Leung, who was not only a restaurant owner but he was single (aka available or so he said). She forced her kids to like him and accept him because he was their financial asset. (He probably deserved it too considering what kind of person he was.) Plus Kit Yee didn’t even believe her kids when they told the truth many times to her (and had been through thick and thin with her since young–not complaining of the hardship). She only wanted to cling on to the man who provided to her every need, causing many misunderstandings and broken hearts. (Although she finally found out the truth at the end and tried to make up for it, it was NOT like it was going to erase everything. IF she had believed her kids earlier, a lot of things wouldn’t happen.) Lai Fa, on the other hand, cared for her son no matter what. She wanted Sing Hei to take care of her financial matters also BUT because she mistakenly thought he had murdered Shu Leung (as everyone did except the killer). She actually treated Sing Hei like family (although they were not related at all since Sing Hei was just Shu Leung’s step-son) when she came to Sing Hei’s apartment and ran into Kit Yee. She said that to Sing Hei, “This is your brother, you have to take care of him.” Although it seemed ridiculous and funny at that time because she desperately wanted to find someone to help her take care of hospital fees for her son to get the treatments he needed, that was a desperate attempt of a mother–in any way she could find–to save her son. She treated Sing Hei like a relative and honestly believed in his word when he said he would take care of things. Her caring nature as a mother was undoubtful–unlike Kit Yee who only cared about money. Another thing that Lai Fa topped Kit Yee was she never re-married again after ten years. (I have to clarify here that I’m not trying to shame people who remarry or whatever, BUT what I meant in this situation was how Kit Yee had used others to her means hence the marriage, NOT because she found love again or whatever. She was just using people. It was a despicable move and tarnished the name of marriage in general. Not to mention how she only cared for herself and disregarded all her kids’ opinions and thoughts. It was ridiculous since she should understand her kids better than that. If she didn’t think something was possible, she should still investigate the matter instead of disregard everything like that. She thought that the kids made it up because they didn’t like him, but what about when they were older? Would her daughter do such things? Considering how obedient her daughter was through all the times.) Yes, maybe people who know about Lai Fa’s past wouldn’t dare to touch her or socialize with her. But she had moved away (aka practically disappeared) until recently but she still kept to herself and raised her son despite all the hardships–not seeking out any other man. (There wasn’t much information disclosed but considering how young and attractive she was, she could find anyone she wanted and knew the right tricks. But she didn’t do it.) She also had a lot of debts, but she still stood firm on caring for her son, etc. It seemed that after Shu Leung died, her life revolved around her son. She looked weak and wishy-washy or seemed that way from some flashback scenes with Shu Leung but yet she possessed a stronger personality than hold the eye. This was why I really like her for who she was. She was NOT perfect in any way, but the fact that she had set out some goals and actually tried to act like a responsible mother made her very brave in every aspect. And to add the last point to this one, I honestly think Sherming Yiu is getting tossed aside by TVB again–although I must say she did well and convinced the audience that she was such character, but how could they promote so many inexperienced actresses nowadays and NOT her? Strange. Very strange but on the other side, she gets more experienced with different roles than just the same, repetitive ones like the usual main leads get.
  • The fact that Kevin doesn’t end up with Yoyo or Macy. It would be too lame or overdone and definitely defeats the purpose. Considering after so many things has happened, how could Yoyo accept Kevin just like that after she found out and broke up with Roger? And the fact that how could Kevin accept Macy–even if Macy doesn’t mind–just like that? He can’t just end up with her just because of guilt and harm he caused for her and vice versa, plus there have been so many conflicts going on. Even if in the future, they should meet again and reconsider, they honestly need more “cool off” time and think about it more carefully of the consequences and/or resolve conflicts of their minds first. But I honestly don’t ever think they could end up together even if she didn’t meet someone else and is getting married soon. He had used her and she also took revenge on him. Both parties couldn’t be blamed. But what I dislike the most was when he did try to withdraw several times, she kept coming back and forcing him to accept her. Yes, can’t blame her for liking him, but she provided the opportunity for him to use her even more. And then when he finally told her they couldn’t be together for real, she would slap him and then go back to him again. He already came clear but she still acted like it was his fault and assumed that he was with Yoyo, etc. Even if he was with Yoyo afterward, they’ve already broken up. What was with that? It was a great choice for Yoyo not to accept Kevin either. She would keep thinking about the conflicts between them all and what had happened. Probably something will happen in the future, but not at that time.
  • And because it wasn’t as gift-wrapped as it was supposed to be with typical TVB series. This could count as one of TVB’s highly anticipated series considering both Kevin and Roger are in it, but it didn’t disappoint like most highly anticipated series would be. Very well scripted throughout and answered all the questions without leaving any loose ends.

Aside from those things, I would like to bring a point up also–or probably yet another point (lol). I usually don’t like to pick on new actors/ actresses but I must agree with some people that Yvonne Ho as Kevin’s sister is a poor choice. I swear she could be his older sister and making her a tad more childish at times doesn’t help either. (I know she worked very hard and shouldn’t be blamed but the pressure put on her to portray this role is somewhat unfair.) At first, I thought she should have swapped roles with Elaine or at least pick Elaine to be Kevin’s sister and pick someone else to be Roger’s sister. However, I could see towards the end of the series that Elaine as Hoi Man plays a bigger role after Roger sheds off his mask slowly to the others.

The only complaint I want to make is making Law Lok Lam the villain for like several minutes as the awful step-father makes it almost insulting although he was convincing as always.

Overall, this was a very good series and for the first time–I wouldn’t mind a sequel–IF there is going to be one in the future.

Posted (on Xanga): November 25, 2008

Re-posted: Thursday, March 18th ,2010