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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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?)

The Grand Canal

Phew! Finally finished this series…and possibly glad that I could finish it throughout so I wouldn’t be hanging or missed any details of it.

Excellent acting from these actors and actresses that reminded me that TVB once had really good actors and actresses:

  • Tony Leung: Even if Tony’s character went downhill later on since he was mostly dominated by his emotions rather than his mind, but his acting still carried on with portraying the emotional state his character was going through that made it convincing.
  • Felix Wong: Felix was just plain evil in here. It wouldn’t be exaggerating to say that his most successful villain role was this one. Because I saw some of the other ones that he portrayed the bad guy but it was just wrong and I wasn’t convinced. For this one, he managed to make me hate him and believed that his character was beyond reasoning and was just some greed driven maniac.
  • Margie Tsang: Her character was really annoying at times because she was really loud. But to look at it on another point of view, she was just very naive and wasn’t as mature as the others. To put it simply, she was just living in the wrong time period since she didn’t understand the intense situations sometimes. However, she had a good heart overall and cared for her friends and was very loyal to them. I actually liked it that she was quite stubborn because she wasn’t wishy-washy like the majority of the characters in here. She knew what she liked or didn’t like. She was also understanding toward others since although there might be misunderstandings between parties, but after she found out the truth or others told her about it, she would forgive and forget it (also another good side of her). It was really good to know that she didn’t die in here or listened to Felix’s character near the end of the story. Maybe it was because of her strong friendship with Derek’s character that made it possible but it was really great to know she didn’t listen to his nonsense thus causing more trouble. It was safe to say that she had this strong sense of righteousness within her that made her character more admirable in a sense.
  • Derek Kwok: Yes, TVB viewers often refer to him as the MOST underrated guy in TVB history. The fact that he only delivered his best made it even more frustrating since TVB is practically blind to keep casting him in supporting roles or just some role. But I’m glad that he always gave it his best–whether people think it was the best role or not. As I said before, I really loved his character (and knew that he won’t last till the end of the series) and really liked his friendship with Margie’s character in here. It was just a pure kiddy relationship since they both loved to roam around town and explore or do any random activities together. His loyalty to his second brother was apparent also. A great character overall.
  • Sean Lau: I think this was my second favorite role of him. At first, I thought he was not right for this role. However, he was really great as the future king. He really brought out the smart side of the character and managed to convince me of his emotional state at various points–such as being stuck in between his family and his friendship to Tony. And also various scenes with Margie. (Subtle but still touching.)
  • Jimmy Au: I don’t know if it was his acting or the roles chosen because he usually did WAY better in supporting roles vs. the ones where he starred in. Maybe the characters were better written? Although they managed to rob his character of various talents in here, he still showed great loyalty with various people in here. I really liked scenes of him and his wife also. (Not that I don’t like Rebecca, just think that he matched with Red Dust Lady more.)
  • Wong Yee Kum (Red Dust Lady): She was really great in various scenes with being calm as well as rash at times. She was very intelligent, outshining Idy’s character in many ways. She didn’t judge anyone (like in the case of Idy, etc). Yes, she was stubborn at times too and couldn’t control herself, but it was in her personality. Her loyalty and bravery were very admirable. (Thanks to llwy12 for helping with her name.)
  • Liu Kai Chi: Yes, he was Mr. Naive all right. Can’t blame him because of his brother’s great acting and always speaking up for him when he was in trouble. I really liked his performance in here as the nice and suave prince although he was badly taken advantage of by practically everyone in here. Such a tragic ending for him and he was probably the only one in his whole family that I actually felt sorry for since he didn’t deserve the fate at all. He was not the cunning nor deceiving type so he wasn’t able to figure some things out on his own versus his sister who had the time, intelligent, and the access to it (but failed to discover it sooner).
  • Lawrence Ng: The only reason why I even put his name in was because I think this was one of the rare series that I actually liked his acting or think he was up to it–although he was portraying a villain. He made me hate him so bad that I couldn’t even blame others for being dumb (except for Idy’s character, lol). He put the show up so well with being the filial son and then the drastic change in his character later after he acquired what he wanted all along.
  • Cheng Yim Foong (the girl who portrayed Sheung Yee). Her character ended in tragic and it was very annoying with too much of the pity thing playing into the story but I think that this actress was really great in portraying her role. It got really complex later on but she managed to pull it off very well. (Thanks to llwy12 for helping with her name.)
  • Bau Fong and Lee Heung Kam. Love these veteran actor/ actresses. They were only in the first part of the series but managed to convince me with their characters (even if they weren’t the wisest people).

Other good points about this series:

  • The friendship between Tony and Sean. It was known and proven many times that they were a great team at times thus leading to jealousy from various parties and causing more conflicts between both sides.
  • The brother/sister relationship between Tony, Jimmy, and Wong Yee Kum. There were misunderstandings at times but they managed to resolve it and stay true as friends till the very end. I loved it that they had different views at times but still managed to stay true to one another, not giving in to power or some other forces.
  • Sean and Margie as a couple. To elaborate a little more on this, I didn’t like the idea of them being a couple at first either but it really grew on me. (And I was waiting for sparks to fly between Tony and Idy instead.) This was actually my other favorite pairing–if it was even relevant to discuss in such an intense series like this. He was probably what people call book smart while she was the street smart kind. They complemented each other really well. She might not be helpful to him at various times, but could help him relax a bit with taking him out to various places to relieve some stress or talk nonsense so he could laugh. (LOL)
  • Derek and Margie as friends. I really thought he liked her romantically at first since he loved to hang out with her, etc. But it was just this pure and innocent friendship between them. He liked to roam around and play some senseless games once in a while so she made the perfect candidate as his close friend because of their similar interests. They were really funny when together as said many times already. They had this strong bond of friendship which others couldn’t understand (because most of them were so serious) thus leading to Margie having a very strong reaction toward his death. (Glad like I said before so she wouldn’t back down to believing Felix’s character.)
  • The costumes and hairstyles. If you watched the majority of the ’80s series, you would know that they reused some of the costumes, but it was all right. Still nice to look at for the main cast and great hairstyles. I especially loved those they did for Rebecca’s character at the beginning of the story. It looked really sophisticated and nice–unlike those weird, bulky hairstyles they did for ancient series nowadays.

The bads:

  • Idy Chan’s acting. I’m sorry to pick on her yet again but I couldn’t even see her shine in here even IF it was the highest peak of the series or the lowest point. Her character was tolerable near the end but her acting ceased to impress. The majority of the script was to be blamed but her acting didn’t amount to much either.
  • The dragged out of the plot and/or lack of development of both characters and plot. This was said over and over again but I thought I should include it one more time to get the point across. They had a lot of great characters to work with, yet they kept shuffling back and forth with only certain characters at times and dragged it out too much. They should’ve developed more of Chun Wong’s sidekick’s character in here. He was a great character from the book–or so I was told. Why did they make him fall so behind in the story? It just defeated the purpose of putting him in the series in the first place. That went for the other characters as well. Tony’s character was a very intelligent person yet his indecisiveness caused more harm than help people in general. It got really annoying and was quite repetitive. Same for Idy’s character because she was supposed to be smart (like how the scriptwriters led us on to believe), but it took too long to solve problems, etc. They managed to give characters good background information and show off their skills at the beginning but failed to develop it later on. The beginning of the story was developed quite well with the plot also but it just dragged on so much in the middle that only the last 10 episodes were worth watching.
  • The fact that the majority of the female cast in here was annoying. I only managed to endure Margie’s character in here because it was Margie and she made it so charming with her character without being as annoying. However, Wong Yee Kum was the most intelligent as far as I see and the most understanding also. Although she did have her moments (like mentioned before) but it was understandable and relevant–unlike some other characters in here. The second to her character that wasn’t as annoying was probably Rebecca Chan’s. Although she was a third-party at one point of the story, I pitied her more than hated her. I couldn’t help but come back to thinking that the scriptwriters must have hated women a lot or was trying hard to make Idy’s character shine that they wanted to sink the rest of the female characters in here. (Because honestly, making the female population super whiny and annoying wasn’t the way to “charm” in case the definition of “charm” had changed. It had to be on purpose or someone was really dumb.)

So on the last few notes, I would like to say that this series actually reminded me of The Yang’s Sagas because of the political elements and the conflicts in between. However, The Yang’s Sagas was WAY better because of its length and well thought out storyline. (It was also sad but wasn’t draggy or annoying.) I wouldn’t recommend this series even if you really love any of the cast, but watch it at your own risk since it was really long. But if you skipped just one episode, you missed some major detail stuck in between. To say it simply, each detail was essential to the overall plot and would help you understand the plot better but it wasn’t necessarily well written.

Posted (on Xanga): January 28, 2009

Posted: April 27th, 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

Catch Me Now

I must agree with people that it’s actually one of the best TVB dramas of 2008. And I also agree that the ending had ruined everything. If they’d thought of things beforehand and stuck with it, there wouldn’t be any need for alternate endings. It’s just lame and inexcusable. The ending for this series is actually more acceptable and understandable than the one for D.I.E. since it’s just dumb to suddenly kill Roger’s character out of nowhere. Talking about that, both dramas are awesome, but the ending or alternate ending had ruined it.

Good Points about Catch Me Now:

  • Damian Lau – Still awesome and unbeatable as always and prove that the people of his generation are still way ahead. TVB made a great choice by letting him take on this role. Very clever, witty, and charming at that. His portrayal as Jack was just right and beyond the character also. (Although it did get me to wonder if TVB had borrowed the idea from Pirates of the Caribbean since his restaurant and his name, NOT to mention what he did underground. But I will let it slide since it was Damian after all.)
  • Idy Chan – I was having second thoughts about watching this at first because of her, but I must say although a bit rusty but she did make it worthwhile to watch as the series moved on. Although her chemistry with Damian was a bit awkward at times (not their acting but to me as their appearances), it was great in a sense when you get into their characters more. The pair actually complemented each other because although she was kind of a klutz and not really intelligent, her principle and belief about life have made Jack realized lots of other things and made him think more positive about the general human population.
  • Joe Ma – I was super surprised to like him in this series and his portrayal as one of the main guys. But I really got into liking him in this series. He really suited this role as the tough/ serious cop with a great sense of righteousness. His character struggled through grasping the “gray” area of life was also quite traumatizing and a great point in the story since it was a conflict between cops vs. thieves/robbers.
  • Both Damian & Joe’s teams in this story – Loved their interactions with each other as well as of the other side. How they followed the leader and were very loyal and were also understanding to the point of willing to cooperate with each other in the end.
  • The fact that Johnson Lee finally gets a chance to show off his awesome acting. He has always been awesome, but I thought in this role he stood out even more. I swear TVB was robbing him as bad as they were robbing Wayne Lai or some others. But in this one, he was brilliant as the comical BT with both charm and wit. Sharon Chan was also a very good match for him in here and a very refreshing chemistry for them. Uncalled for to kill him off, but when I watched the scene where BT died, I was so taken aback and have to give TVB credit doing the aftermath scenes just right. Quite tragic and so fast for anyone to react.
  • Same as Johnson Lee, I finally see Dickson Lee in a role worth watching after the brilliant role he portrayed in The Black Sabre more than a decade ago. I really loved his character in here because it was a mix of humor and seriousness. Although he seemed like he was breaking the rules and cutting the corners, plus being a jerk at the beginning for snapping at Joe’s character at every chance. But he was just a straight-forward person and had a smart-mouth. He was a very loyal friend with others as well as his fellow cops.
  • Sharon Chan – Sort of mentioned her role already above but I want to add that I finally see her back in action. I meant she was in quite a few series lately, but this was by far the best since she had taken on 2nd lead roles. She was more natural in here than say Lethal Weapons of Love & Passion. I really loved her role in here and that I can see that she has worked hard for the role.
  • The concept of “black” and “white” and the “gray” in between.

The only draggy parts were the ongoing misunderstandings between Joe Ma and Fala Chan’s characters. Once or twice, we got it, but the repetitiveness of it made it unendurable. I totally understood the struggle and the feeling Fala’s character went through, but they stretched it too much that I wanted to toss something at the TV. Overall, a very good series and worth-watching.

Posted (on Xanga): September 14, 2008

Re-posted: Tuesday, March 16th, 2010