Between Love & Desire

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

Main Cast:

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

Others:

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

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

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

Discussions:

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

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

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Rear Mirror

I only wanted to catch this because of Wayne Lai. And no, it wasn’t because of the talk about how he might be getting TV King again. OR something. But it was more like I haven’t watched anything TVB related for a while so I thought I pick two series up–just for kicks. (The other one, which I started out first, was Black Heart, White Soul.) How was it? It started out fine, I guess. But I think it eventually went downhill. Or it was me being picky again.

Main Cast:

  • Wayne Lai as Sunday Kei Yat Sing (祈逸昇). Okay, I liked his character. But I think it wasn’t a breakthrough role for him or anything. Yet I liked it that he was not stupid in here, especially the part where he already knew Ah Mong wasn’t his kid. He just wanted to protect the kid after the initial shock and anger, knowing the kid was innocent. I felt it would be too dumb if he didn’t know since all the blood tests, etc, after all these years and the constant hospital trips. I also liked that he was capable of defending himself–both physically and intellectually. However, I felt his character was somehow like it was in Off Peddar, minus having the kid.
  • Louisa So as Anson Yiu Ngai Yan (饒毅昕). She finally returned to the main lead status? Or something? Yeah, I missed some gaps so not sure. But she was all right. She was able to convince me when she was fierce or finally relaxed near the end with learning to take it easy and able to put down her worries, etc. I guess the reason why they didn’t throw her under the bus for being an ambitious person was saying how she didn’t want to be in the situation, it was just that she had to take over the company for her father’s sake. And she was the main lead, can’t pick on her too much, except throwing in some constant obstacles here and there to move the plot along. So they chose to throw Bevis under the bus for making him unreasonable and clingy. (I hated that Bevis threw the ultimatum at her too but it was just part of the plot, didn’t make sense.)
  • Tony Hung as Ivan Yiu Chi Hau (饒至孝). I don’t remember if I’ve seen him before. Must have but because I haven’t watched anything TVB related recently so I forgot. But I guess he was all right. I actually liked his character as a standalone, NOT with Natalie. Sounds harsh, but I thought he was fine as a character within the Yiu clan and finally earning acceptance from his father. That was nice. I didn’t think they need to add romance to everything.
  • Natalie Tong as Mui Man Kwan (梅敏君) aka MK. I swear if the next person who tells me how underrated Natalie is will get it in the face. I’ve been seeing lots and lots of her second lead roles so it’s not like she’s underrated OR anything. At least it seemed second lead to me. Managed to almost always win the second lead guy. I got it that she was better than her sister for not pulling some despicable card and I got it that they need to make her character different, feisty but could be quite considerate. I got all those. Just that it was like the majority of her roles of recent. Always snappy on the surface yet could be quite nice. I’m just plain bored. Are we done with those yet? I didn’t feel anything for her character although they made it interesting enough. It was just me.

Supporting Cast:

  • Yiu Family
    • Chung King Fai as Yiu Siu Bong (饒兆邦). He was indeed cunning. Yet it made sense after all these years in the industry. The ending twist proved it all. However, I guess he couldn’t win over aging. Or perhaps it was better for him now? Living a carefree life? Sort of.
    • Lau Kong as Yiu Siu Wing (饒兆榮). I swear he was supposed to be the main villain. The twist made his previous actions a lot more forgiving. And made the rest of us realized things weren’t always how they looked.
    • Susan Tse as Gu Suk Yin (顧淑賢). She’s really getting typecast nowadays. But I will have to accept it anyway. Yet I swear her being forgiven so easily made me feel like Qiong Yao had somehow taken over the production and turned it into some soapy message about “forgiveness and letting go of revenge.” Sure, she did take care of Anson all these years, and seeing her cry made it okay to forgive her and justify her actions? Killing your mom (robbing your mom the chance to see you grow up) and then raising you would still qualify as earning points? WOW! Really? Well, the whole forgiveness thing made it easier for them to get along as one happy family. But seriously lacked in the reality department. Anson was seriously a goddess for being able to let go like that. (Yeah, that was sarcasm. I’m not saying it’s impossible to forgive someone. BUT I swear it seemed too unconvincing.)
    • Mary Hon as Elaine Fong Yi Ling (方綺鈴). She was sure petty but realized later on how Anson wasn’t the scheming type and really treated them like family.
    • Benjamin Yuen as Jason Yiu Ngai Chung (饒毅忠). The more capable one of the two mishaps in the family. His credibility sure ranked higher than his brother, and his intelligence was on a higher scale as well. Yet his mother’s words and his jealousy got the better of him. Until he realized how fair Anson was with letting him overseeing some projects because of his experiences and capabilities.
    • Stanley Cheung as Ryan Yiu Ngai Suan (饒毅信). The player of the family. He sure was annoying. Always causing trouble. It wasn’t until near the end that he realized his wrong ways.
  • Kei Family
    • Lily Leung as Pauline Tse Hau Lin (謝巧蓮). She sure was easy. I meant like how she didn’t mind that MK was staying with them. If it was any other traditional women, they would react differently. I guess that broke the norm. She didn’t mind that Ah Mong wasn’t her real great-grandson either. Perhaps it was after all these years of living together and bonding. Yet it wasn’t like she wasn’t heartbroken with realizing how despicable the kid’s mother was.
    • Elaine Yiu as Mui Man Yee (梅敏儀). The question I have here is: How long is TVB going to throw her under the bus? I swear, when her acting was just so-so, they let her star in stuff. Then dragged her down to play villain/semi-villain roles or annoying roles when she finally could be considered as a good actress. Not everyone could be a good person in the plot. YET I swear I’m getting tired of seeing how she kept getting annoying roles just because the character was ambitious. It was like against the law or something to be ambitious. Like each of her roles now consisted of ambitious and then added in with the formula of cunning, despicable, and then you have it, it was her fault all along. I meant I got it that her character was despicable. YET I swear I didn’t blame her when she wanted to go out and help Sunday with work and stuff. So he was going the typical traditional route with wanting her to stay home and take care of the kid and him being the bread-earner. YET it wasn’t helping her cause with feeling helpless at home. Yeah, I got it that they turned the plot into her being a scheming woman after all the failed attempts of meeting other men in her life hence saying her choice was wrong all along. But because I’ve been through suffocating moments of being trapped at home for an extended time before, I understand the helplessness. It wasn’t like she wanted it to be that way. It just happened. YET this time, the plot wasn’t in her favor. They made her the monster for wanting to go against the norm and offering ‘help’. It turned for the worst because she left, etc. And what puzzled me the most was the inconsistency throughout. Perhaps I’m biased because Elaine portrayed the role YET I wasn’t quite convinced as to why she turned out that way. Again, it’s always hard to predict human reactions to situations and how just because we believe someone is or isn’t capable of something doesn’t mean they couldn’t. BUT I swear some things were missing for me to get that she was despicable. Although the plot had told me so, I was still rolling my eyes and realizing some of the things just didn’t stick.
    • Yiub Cheng as Kei Mong (祈望). Cute kid.
  • Hung Family
    • Amy Fan as Hung Lai Sa (洪麗莎). Funny character. She was actually my favorite female character in here. Okay, Louisa’s Anson was cool (CEO and all, go get ’em, right?), but I liked Lai Sa the most because she was just hilarious and lovable in one package. She was soooo silly at times too.
    • Ronald Law as Hung Tze Long (洪子朗). I felt like he got robbed. I’m sooo serious. I really liked his character in here and felt it had potential for some development yet he was used as a tool to get MK and Ivan together. That was it. Because we learned that he was Lai Sa’s young brother–with a great sense of humor–and he was a cop. A funny character. Somewhat bordering on annoying (according to his sister, lol, since he kept sabotaging her). Yet he was also a kind and nice person. He wasn’t a doormat though since he had his own limits. He was also quite intelligent and was quite observant (obviously) from various signs he saw at times with others, and especially MK later on. He didn’t get to do anything else with his ‘police’ status and was only brushed aside to appear from time to time to cheer MK up–or talk randomly with the others. It wasn’t like everyone had to have an important role in here, but I felt if anyone’s character was to be developed further, it should be his.
  • Yiu Gong Building Materials Corp.
    • Ram Tseung as Yue Dai Chi (余大智). Mr. Yiu Siu Bong’s trusty assistant. Used to be the old man’s driver but got promoted. He was seriously cunning at times yet had to take the second seat to Sunday after Sunday joined the company. It was somewhat hilarious to see him trying to up Sunday. Yet he had to admit defeat later. It was somewhat annoying seeing how he was picking on Sunday at times. But that passed when he finally realized Sunday wasn’t the bad guy like he dubbed Sunday out to be.
    • Li Shing Cheong as Po Yung Jun (蒲勇進). Sunday’s friend. He was really funny! A loudmouth and busybody. I got annoyed at him sometimes for being so nosy too. But in a sense, he was loyal to Sunday. What was funny was that he portrayed Wayne’s master in Rage and Passion years back but now was his buddy and seemed to be under the latter’s command, lol.
    • Cheung Kwok Keung as Ben Shum Bok Man (沈博文). The main villain of the story–though it wasn’t revealed until like near the end. Well, sure, he was a businessman. We learned that throughout he could be fierce and ruthless, etc. Yet he was in the middle, for the most part, he needed convincing at times. It turned out he was the one everyone should be watching out for. However, I felt his demise was so fast. It was two seconds later and then he was off again. It wasn’t like I wanted to see the dragged out plot. Because leaving his motive in the dark until the end sort of helped with the shock factor. Yet it went from “OMG, he’s actually the cunning one, shouldn’t have overlooked him (aside from the whole scheme with wanting to steal his son back)” to “Loser, idiot, your two seconds in the sun wasn’t worth it.” Yeah, that was how I felt. If they cut out some other stuff, they could’ve developed some more side stories like a little more battle between the two sides. Like he wasn’t going to go down after one hit. His brief triumph made us realized how cunning Mr. Yiu was, but it made things worse by making him look too silly. So Mr. Yiu had more experience and was able to win with his patient and careful planning, but so what? That didn’t mean he had to go down in such a pitiful way. Then I was wondering how he could let go of his son sooo fast. I meant okay, I got that he was feeling hopeless about how the kid was clinging onto Sunday so he didn’t have a chance AND it seemed like a better choice to trade the kid for his chance to control the Yiu’s company. However, it felt loose with how he had lost a son in the past and wanted someone to take over his empire later when he was gone. Sure, he told Anson that she was stupid for believing his stories YET I swear at least some of it had to be true.
    • Man Yeung as Fei (輝).
    • Jennifer Shum as Cindy.
    • Kibby Lau as Jojo.
    • Paco Ali Lee as Yuen Ka Bo ( 阮嘉寶). Psycho. I seriously felt like she had no purpose to be around, except to pull Ivan and MK together (aka realizing their feelings for one another, etc)–and yeah, just like how Ronald’s character was, just there to help move MK and Ivan together. ‘Cause they didn’t really explain why she became such a psycho. OR not even a side story into her background. Providing the reason with how she liked spicy stuff and loved scary things wasn’t that convincing or helpful. People who liked scary movies or like going to scary fun houses DO NOT EQUAL PSYCHO. And sure, there could never be a reason to actually explain people’s behaviors. Yet I felt like they just made her up and then tossed her down along with the other female cast in here just so some people could come out much nicer.
    • Brian Chu as Andy.
    • Kyle Tse as Derek.
    • Leo Lee as CK.
    • Dolby Kwan as Leo.
    • Eddie Ho as George.
    • Calvin Chan as France.
    • Burmie Wong as Joyce.
    • Ip Ting Chi as Dora.
    • Albert Lo as Lawyer Yip (葉律師).

Others:

  • Geoffrey Wong as Bevis Fong Tin Hang (方天恒). OMG, they threw him under the bus YET again. I don’t know. Maybe I’m not watching the right series, but the ones I saw of him since TVB days have been SAD. NOT in the sense of his character, but he kept getting those repeated roles and eventually will have to step aside. The only exception was Come Home Love. Minus that, his character made me want to hit him over the head with something at times. Seriously? It made it unbelievable that they knew and dated each other all these years YET he couldn’t see what was going on? It was like leaving her in a time of need and it proved they couldn’t pass the test. Sure, I got it that there could be soooo many times he could wait and keep delaying to meet with her schedule, and he had to face his family too. Yet he seemed oblivious to what was going on in the family OR something. ‘Cause how could she go? Perhaps they were just wrong for each other because they couldn’t see eye to eye on things, I could accept that. But it seemed ridiculous that he justified his recent engagement by explaining to her everything, etc. Seriously? It made it worse and less convincing.
  • Steve Lee Ka Ding as Ha San Fu (夏山虎). It’s another gangster role for him. Yet I felt like it was soooo anti-climatic. Sure, everyone can’t be in the important scenes and all. But I swear I thought he would play a bigger role in the feud later on. Like how triads could be involved within all those business messes and all.
  • Bing Man Tam as Bing Suk (炳叔). Um, no surprise of his role. I’ve seen him in villainous roles in the past and also those despicable ones so I wasn’t surprised. His sole purpose was to make people’s lives miserable in here–to aid his cause. It wasn’t like he was all good now that Anson saved his life. He just wanted to revenge against the other lady for causing his ‘near-death’ incident.
  • Andy Sui as Wai (維).
  • Nicole Wan as Bertha.
  • So Lai Ming as Ada.
  • Louis Szeto as Lun (倫).
  • Kevin Lee as Fei Ying (飛鷹). A bully. Well, he was a triad member under Ha San Fu’s command. But it was indeed funny to see him trying to apologize to Ah Mong later on.
  • Raymond Tsang as Brother Leong (良哥).
  • Kedar Wong as Kwok Ga Hei (郭家禧).
  • Hinson Chou as Ah Dong (阿東). His sole purpose was to introduce MK into the story. Then there was also the whole picking on Taiwanese people again. Seriously.

Relationships – Romances, friendships, etc

  • Wayne Lai and Louisa So as a couple. They’re okay I guess. Their characters matched, of course, as the plot favored. Yet I didn’t feel as much chemistry versus his other strangely odd pairings, lol. Strange but yeah. I meant I felt sort of a bond when their “family of three” went out on a date with flying the kite and all. Yet I wasn’t sold on their pairing in general regarding Wayne and Louisa. Interesting, when I read that it was their collaboration after 10+ years, but when I remembered their scenes in “Journey to the West”, it was indeed funny how things turned out.
  • Wayne Lai and Yiub Cheng as father and son. I so felt their bond. It was touching in many ways. It was one of those cases that illustrated how it wasn’t just about “blood thicker than water” OR whatever they always shoved in our faces. It was about the love and care they have for one another, and the time spent together. Not just some ‘bribes’ from some people then the kid was gone. (Then they packaged it as “blood thicker than water.”)
  • Wayne Lai and Elaine Yiu as a couple. Not in the millions of years would I thought of them together. But they were actually convincing for me in the flashbacks. I actually liked their story in King Maker and felt it was a shame how things turned out. (YES, against her favor again–although that one made more sense why she turned psycho later on). The flashbacks were the reasons why I wasn’t convinced as to how she could change like that. Sure, people change, and they couldn’t stay innocent and/or naive like that forever. But I was a sucker for their story. I believed her when she said she was suffering from depression after giving birth, but the rest of the plot just went downhill with killing her character because she chose to flee. (I was upset too after realizing she left through some recounts. Yet the flashbacks didn’t help. They used a real medical situation and twisted it to make her character wrong so I didn’t like that. It was like they were trying to say all those symptoms were made-up. What made the plot weak was how it made her seeking out other men later and realized only Sunday was a decent man and she was wrong. She needed a break from all the madness of being trapped in the house, by adding the whole she ran off and met other men along the way was just to kill her character even more.) I’m not saying people don’t make up stuff like they’re sick or crazy to get away with stuff, BUT by adding in real symptoms at first and then just plain toss that aside and decide let’s make her a monster for running away and ignore those stuff just made it become disorganized and unconvincing.
  • Wayne and Amy? I can’t say that they’re a couple because she never had a chance. But I swear I could see some sparks between them more than Wayne and Louisa. Or maybe it was just me. Character-wise, they probably clashed too much–as seen already. Or perhaps it was because the main female lead had to win so that was how it was. Because if the circumstance was different, it could be opposites attract. She did try to cheer him up at times, etc. But whatever. I could dream.
  • Wayne and Ronald as friends. I really liked their friendship although brief exchanges at times. Yet I was more convinced than some dragged out relationships in here. I wish it could develop more than just that. But perhaps because it was short so it was memorable and bearable? Or perhaps because they were true friends so they didn’t need to say much? But they were there whenever that was needed?
  • Li Shing Cheong and Amy Fan. They were funny all right. I said at the beginning–after witnessing their constant bickering: It would be funny if they ended up together. And they did. Which was funny in a sense. Because they were really going after one another’s throats at the beginning and all. I loved watching them more than the other pairings in here combined. NOT kidding.
  • Tony Hung and Natalie Tong as a couple. I guess they do work. However, I swear I stopped caring for them in the later parts of the series. I meant I wasn’t even interested at all because it had started out as one-night stand (accidentally–YET AGAIN like a typical formula), and later they cleared it up, then somehow along the way realized they were meant for each other after some stuff happen. That was it. I was bored. Sure, people are saying I’m heartless or sooo unromantic or stuffs like that. But I didn’t even care about their pairing at all.
  • Tony Hung – Natalie Tong – Ronald Law – Paco Ali Lee. I swear Tze Long was a lot luckier than Ka Bo. Because he got to let go and play the “bigger” person or “do the right thing” as most plots would say. ‘Cause she seemed really petty and all later on. I swear again, it seemed so unconvincing. Or perhaps if they show more of her story or past, I would be more convinced. Yet it was like Tze Long needed to let go, Ka Bo needed to storm off angry so Ivan and MK could finally be together. That was about it. I felt so sorry for Tze Long and Ka Bo, especially how the other two were still soooo freaking close during that one hotpot get together (that they bumped into one another that one time). ‘Cause it was too obvious. I swear Ka Bo being pissed off was justified. One minute he claimed he loved you and confessed to you YET his actions contradicted everything. Um, sure, he was confused, but the whole thing with being so close to MK and totally tuning Ka Bo out at times make me feel like Ka Bo wasn’t paranoid with thinking something else was going on between the two. So why pave Ka Bo out to be the monster when she was as led on? Tze Long’s case, of course, was different–and because he wanted to stay friends or good brothers (as he stated during their breakup)–so they have to develop a little more to his story. Yet both cases were sad. I don’t know what to make of it with all these confusion except episode fillers. I swear! SO yeah, I got it that Ivan and MK were part of the main cast so it made sense to focus on them, BUT I’ve never seen a more boring story. It was tossed together to have another type of romance just because they were one of the main couples. I know that feelings couldn’t be forced, so it was all right with MK not liking Tze Long. But what I do mind was seeing how MK used Tze Long as a lifesaver. Sure, she might be touched that he cared for her all these years, but it could be the alcohol doing the thinking for her at the moment SO why was she doing that to him? Because it was like she lost her chance with Ivan hence just grabbing onto to Tze Long. She was his friend/good brother after all, why do that to him?
  • Louisa – Tony – Benjamin – Stanley/ Anson – Ivan – Jason – Ryan. I felt their bond near the end when they were gathered in the kitchen and cooked together, reminiscing about old times. So it seemed like they weren’t that bad after all. At least for the other two. Then it implied that their bond wasn’t that terrible. It was just that growing up had caused a lot of complications, and how their mothers had influenced some of their scheming nature as well.

Discussions:

  • The Ending. Seriously, I have never seen any final battles soooo anti-climatic in my life. Sure, it provided a twist in the end, allowing us to see how cunning Mr. Yiu Siu Bong was–with setting the trap for Ben. However, I felt like it was sooooooooo boring. It was like, “Whoa!” and then it went down to the gutter seconds later. (Yeah, like how I said in the character discussion.)
  • Was I sore with how MK didn’t end up with Tze Long hence throwing Natalie/MK under the bus? NO. Seriously, like I said, I was sick and tired of Natalie’s repetitive roles. Yet what I was more annoyed with was how they focused so much on developing the romance between Ivan and MK that the other elements of the plot had suffered. The ending becoming so anti-climatic was also due to the fact that they spent too much time on Ivan and MK. So the business battles became a side conflict. For a story starting out with business rivalry and family conflicts, it sure finished weak in regard to those matters. And just to state the romance side, I actually didn’t care for the pairings (like said before), I was okay with Tze Long not ending up with MK. Since I didn’t like her with any of the guys anyway. I actually liked Tze Long and wanted to see more of him, rather than the ongoing soap with MK and Ivan.
  • The case regarding Ah Mong. I understood that the “Social Services” people were deceived into believing Ben was the more suitable candidate for taking care of Ah Mong. However, it also made them quite stupid. I meant Sunday had been taking care of the kid for all these years, so how could he be so unprepared? Have they looked into history at all? They should’ve talked to the doctors and nurses and all those people having direct contact with the family all these years instead of just looking at that one circumstance. It seemed too ridiculous. (But seriously, there were cases in real life that had hinted at Social Services’ incapabilities so I’m not surprised on that part.)
  • No. 8 Bus? I know this is unfair to make such an association between the two dramas. Yet some of the similarities made it hard to ignore. Not to mention how the bus being part of the main theme, etc. Yet No. 8 Bus made more sense to me. I’m serious. Although it was long and seemed dragged out at times with the ongoing conflicts, at least it had a purpose. Sure, there were random moments too, but it made sense. Characters were better developed, not just tossed aside or used as plot devices and then that was it. Not everyone had to be romantically involved or hooked up to link them together.

So after all of that rant, I managed to narrow down to the main reason why it was unappealing to me. It was so unfocused. Like they were all over the place with some stuff. AND most of all, they tried to squeeze everything into the last episode to create tension and solve it within that episode. Seriously? It goes back to my previous point.

Recommended? Up to you. Perhaps, I thought too much so I didn’t enjoy it. But I will admit they have a lot of good ideas, just that they needed to pick and choose between combinations, not all over the place. I understood why Jason and Ryan didn’t get their own other stories because the focus was their frustration at the company–and at home. So I was all right with that. But I felt some characters hogged the screen too much just because. Again, it might be just me. Or it’s definitely me.

Black Heart White Soul

This series brought me back to watching TVB series again. Since I haven’t watched Roger’s stuffs for a while now and really want to see what this one is about, just like how I tried to watch each time he comes out with a new series. And I was glad I could finally watch something Roger’s in without having to bite my teeth down and trying to just wait and see if it improves. Because this one with its intense theme had worked like a charm from the beginning to the end. Even if there were some sideshows I rather not care for. So I will start with my usual character analysis before jumping into more details of the plot/theme, etc.

Main Cast:

  • Roger Kwok as Matthew (Matt) Ko Chit Hang (高哲行). The complexity of his character just compensated for some of the past roles he had taken. His character in here reminded me of the role for Last One Standing in a sense of his manipulation and cunning nature had gone to the max. Yet the differences were: a) he was driven to fight for his own future and b) he repented in the end. What made it so chilling about his character was how he had transformed from being a pitiful victim to a notable model after his loss and then eventually turning into the scariest villain in the whole web of madness. Roger delivered brilliantly from the beginning to the end. Like there was a doubt about it.
  • Ron Ng as Cheung Lap Fan (張立勳) aka Funny. Totally impressed. NO, I’m serious. I don’t know what happened with some other productions, but this one really blew my mind away. I meant it wasn’t like he was phenomenon or anything in that sense. But compared to his past performances, this one even surpassed my expectations. I meant he was doing fine at one point and then what was with the swinging back and forth with his body movements at times that I mentioned he was doing in Wax & Wane when I was comparing his performance against Forensic Heroes III. Yet this one, the character created wasn’t just to make him shine and show off his good looks or whatever else. This character had challenges and depths, not just showy/cute and/or hot-headed like his typical past roles. He had a lot to work with, considering how he was stuck in a lot of moral dilemmas right from the start, whether with his family, friends, or colleagues. What made me really like his character even more was how he wasn’t reduced to a dumb character later on just because of a lot of complications going on at the same time in the end. He was conflicted, that was true, but he didn’t steer from his righteousness and his duties as a cop. That was what was different about this cop role than some past ones.
  • Kristal Tin as May Tam Mei Ching (譚美貞). There were mixed feelings for her throughout. Yet I must say it was very interesting and complex to see how her character change and grow. Like she wasn’t just suddenly changing to super good but it took a lot of time for her to start over after her past failure and how she had caused trouble onto herself by mingling with someone like Fire. What was even more ironic was how she had changed her lifestyle and had considered what she really wanted to do with the rest of her life yet she was thrown into another conflict. This one, much more intense than ever. Kristal once again delivered.
  • Kiki Sheung as Sin Hui Ying (冼慧英). WOW! At first, all I could say was that. Because she has been typecast in the last few years into housewife roles or just plain scheming woman roles. SO I was surprised to see that they let her portray a cop. Not just any regular cop but the madam. I was glad for that as the plot moved on, giving some sense of freshness into the whole thing.
  • Waise Lee as Henry To Yee Hang (杜以鏗). Haven’t seen him for a long time. Maybe it’s mostly because I haven’t been watching TVB stuff for a while so I didn’t know when he came back. Anyway, scary indeed yet I realized he wasn’t that scary after all. Because he was just a big bully standing on the top of the world, trying to control everyone around him and taking out others who oppose him. And people are dropping their jaws, thinking I’m mad for saying he’s not scary with his destructive abilities. I felt he was scary at first too, but later, when Marco confronted him, I realized Marco was right. Marco said he already been to prison so he wasn’t scared and the person who had to be scared was Henry. Indeed, Henry was soooo used to being on top and giving orders and being in the spotlight. But could he handle prison? It’s a scary place–regardless of if it was only a setting in the series or real life. There was also Matt, whom Henry, couldn’t predict would be his death.
  • Louis Cheung as Marco Ma Kai Yuen (馬啟源). I don’t know what to say about him. I don’t remember watching him before. So let’s say this is the first time. In a way, I pity him. Yet I felt it had to be that way. Maybe it was his own ending because he had betrayed Fire when he obeyed Henry’s orders? Although Fire didn’t die because of him, he had chosen, even if he did try to delay the inevitable. Other than that, loved the song he sang in here.
  • Leanne Li as Scarlet Sze Ka Lei (施嘉莉). Wow, seriously? I swear I tried to get into her story and felt she was really pitiful. She was, at one point. I didn’t really blame her for trying to push Marco into taking out Henry since she was indeed living in hell the way things were. But what shocked me was when she didn’t want to flee with Marco but chose to crawl back to Henry. I guess the person who understood her the most was Henry, not Marco. She indeed was just using Marco after all. Although in a way, it was a good role since it showed that the female side could subtly manipulate in here too, not letting the guys dominate the scenes all the time, but I felt as an actress, she was once again typecast.
  • Jason Chan as Alvis Yung Chi Chung (翁子聰). I was a bit disappointed that his role didn’t get elaborated a little more. I guess it was just a little sideshow to introduce Roger’s character a little more. Not that I want every single character to be involved in the end, since characters indeed come and go, and some just plain died along the way. But it was a bit disappointing to see that he didn’t get taken care of by Matt too. I meant, come on, the guy was a jerk to Matt from the start, so it was strange he was let off so easily.
  • Vivien Yeo as Icy Yeung Man Bing (楊漫冰). OMG, I loved her entrance since the beginning, so cute and funny. I thought she was going to play an important role in here. Well, again, NOT like I want everyone to be upfront and in our faces kind of thing. But I swear Vivien had been soooo robbed since whenever. Yet I guess I should be glad she wasn’t playing some nonsense role like that one time I was watching. Too bad, but can’t do anything about it anyway.
  • Lisa Lau as Gillian To Cheuk Chi (杜綽姿). I don’t know what was going on here but I felt she was a really weak part of the cast. It wasn’t always so obvious and I didn’t look her or any other new people up before watching this. So I didn’t know how creepily she looked like Suet Nei until I saw her. Then when her character cut her hair in the show, Lisa was looking sooooo much like Suet Nei that it got creepier. The fact that they both lacked in acting made it funny too. But not too funny. It was so sad and hard to endure her parts. She was too trying in a lot of ways. Although there were some scenes that could be said to be better, she didn’t impress me at all throughout. Or show even a tiny bit of potential, unlike some newbies that the majority picked on and I was fine with (because they didn’t stick out like a sore thumb, lol). Her character didn’t help at all either. It wasn’t like I would expect her to be the perfect chick alongside the main leads. But she was like so self-destructive at times that made it disturbing, clinging onto Funny like that. I got the part about her being depressed over Sap Zai’s death since she really thought she was responsible because she had used reverse psychology on him not long before the fall. However, the other elements, later on, made it so bad that I didn’t want to bother with being patient anymore. Like how she went along with the others, trying to use death on Funny, etc. Suicidal episodes and thoughts are real psychological issues of this world, but people who used death on others so they could get what they want? Well, she felt bad for tricking Funny, but she went along with it anyway to get what she wanted. So I didn’t empathize with her at all. Although I guess the most pitiful thing about her was not knowing what kind of monster her father really was. Or was that better to not know? Or would she eventually know if she were to wake up one day?

Others:

  • May Chan as Lau Miu (劉淼). Mixed feelings at times. Yet what I admired about her was her loyalty to May. What May really wanted, she didn’t mind. Even if May wanted to stay with Matt at one time, knowing or having suspicions that Matt killed her brother, etc. She was indeed annoying at times and was even overboard with her words, but she was also right in some of the things that she said about Matt.
  • Matt Yeung as Lau Yim (劉焱) aka Fire. Don’t know what to say. I thought he was creepy at first, but later realized he was just a pawn in the big puzzle.
  • Claire Yiu as Yip Ying Sum (葉應心). Didn’t like her an ounce in here. Yeah, I got it that she was scared and didn’t want to get involved and her boyfriend/later-husband didn’t want to see her involved either. Yet I felt that she was really a doormat at times. She didn’t say stuff out yet just blamed it on others as well. Yes, May was aggressive at one point, but she didn’t have to hang out with May. If she chose to be a doormat, then don’t get bitter about it. What made me super mad about her was how she said it was okay that her husband beat her. Well, she didn’t say it like that, but she said she shouldn’t leave him in time of hardship, etc. Yes, it is true that people try to work the relationship out since she indeed did say they had good times in the past, how could she leave him when he was having obstacles, etc. BUT that still didn’t make it right for him to hit her or abuse her in any other way. Didn’t he realize that they were a team and they should work it out, not drenching himself in alcohol and beating his wife? Aside from that, will Claire ever make her way up again? Just wondering. NOT that I want everyone to be the main person, but seriously, Claire’s roles have been just plain whatever since I don’t remember anymore.
  • Becky Lee as Denise Chiu Man Fai (趙敏暉). In a way, I really pity her. I meant she was really loyal to Marco and had to endure a lot. In a way, it was her choice, but I couldn’t help but feel sad for her.
  • David Do as Ng Shing Yee (伍承義) aka Sap Zai (十仔). Um, I swear I feel pity for a lot of people in here. But for some reason, I couldn’t even pity him. He was pathetic in a lot of ways. It made it hard to watch. NOT that I wanted him to die, but I swear it made sense. There were just too many complications going on and he didn’t take actions in time so he was pulled in any way. He didn’t know, but as a cop, he should have some kind of instinct. Or even have the nerve to do something about it. Besides, Funny and Madame Sin were always by his side, why did he choose to trust the other dude to cover his ass than his family?
  • Parkman Wong as Siu Wing Kwong (蕭永光). Um, I couldn’t feel anything for this dude either. Just another pawn in the whole mess. He thought he could get out of it alive–and then gaining some. Yet he was wrong. So wrong.
  • Derek Wong as Benjamin Ko Chit Ming (高哲明). Matt’s younger brother. Sometimes when he appeared, I just want to hit him over the head with something. Yet ironically, he finally turned a new leaf and then his brother was all bad-ass. Although I really wanted to say he was just pretending, Derek’s expression really convinced that he had really changed–even if it was only a brief time in prison.
  • Jennifer Shum as Ada. The poor woman. Just a few days and she would be happily married. OR so it seemed. Yet things didn’t turn out that way.
  • Koo Koon Chung as Kwong King Cheung (鄺景昌). He’s back! I didn’t realize it since again, I haven’t been watching TVB stuff. But I really enjoyed his role and performance in here. It has been a while now. I felt he was the coolest, for a villain that was.
  • Joe Tay as Leung Ching Wah (梁正華).
  • Lau Kong as Ko Lam (高霖). Don’t know what to say except a reunion between him and Roger for a father and son relationship once again. Then I guess I could forgive him for not allowing Matt to drain his retirement money over a hopeless surgery (or so they thought at that time). Yet what was really pitiful was how unsupportive he was in other matters, always siding with the little one. At least that seemed to be true with real-life stuff, considering how at times parents do favor one over the other (no matter how they try to say it was NOT true).
  • Gregory Lee as Choi Chi Fung (蔡子峰). I like how he was involved with the cases. Yet I felt it wasn’t enough. It was more fun watching him at times then oh let say some person I really don’t want to keep picking on. But I guess it was fine since didn’t want to get too random.
  • Momo Wu as Lung (綸).
  • Man Yeung Ching Wah as Yip Ying Sum’s boyfriend/later husband. I just plain hate him no matter how I look at it. I try to reason of course the past May was really scary and unpredictable and he wanted to stay on the so-called “respectable” side of the society. Yet I swear I can’t like him regardless.
  • Burmie Wong as Bonnie.
  • Glen Lee as Hung Gwok Dong (洪國棟). Only appeared a bit and then was killed off. Yet the impact of his death became really large scale later on. Considering how the story moved along to tell us all the pieces eventually with the puzzle moving and emerging.
  • Stephen Ho as Satay. Another gangster role. Nothing new. But contributed somewhat to the plot. At least moved some things forward.
  • Geoffrey Wong as Yip Chi Kit (葉智傑). He got a somewhat cool role in here. Undercover and all. First, I thought he was tossed into this for a random role and once again a not so likable character. Yet his role wasn’t so senseless after all.

Relationships – Family, friends, and romances:

  • Roger Kwok and Kristal Tin as a couple. I wasn’t sure about this couple when I saw the cast list. But I was proved wrong and I was glad of it. They were refreshing and funny in their own way (when they finally become a couple, that was). And cute too.
  • Ron Ng and Lisa Lau as a couple. Seriously? Is this Ron’s worst pairing ever? I never thought the day I would side with Ron or pay that much attention to his pairings. I thought as long as it worked somehow with the plot, it was fine. Yet Lisa seriously was a disappointment as his pairing. NOT talking about character either, but that had gone against her even more with her nosy nature and using Sap Zai to extract information–both regarding police stuff and about Funny.
  • Ron Ng and Kiki Sheung as mother and son. Refreshing for me since I haven’t watched them collaborated in that manner before. But that didn’t sell me until near the end as things got even more complicated. Because at first what I saw was just a typical pair of mother and son with expectations and pressure to do good and her nagging of him as a parent/madam. Yet what stepped past all that was the whole responsibility of being a cop. Then it tied it right back to both, with him having to prove to her that he wasn’t the greedy type already being pulled in by the other side–and also being a good son. What happened, later on, was really tragic but really touching. Both really convinced me of their relationship as mother and son.
  • Roger Kwok and Ron Ng as friend-enemies. Real interesting and nerve-racking on many levels, especially seeing who would win the battle later on in the plot. And for those thinking Ron got robbed with not appearing more than Roger, I swear it wasn’t like that. Anyone want to get technical, go ahead. But I thought how the plot was crafted, it was really fascinating and intriguing to watch and see which side was going to win in the end.
  • Ron and Vivien? Why not? I mean come on! I swear they would be paired up, considering how they came into the department on the same day, and she sort of chided him with a shove to greet the other members as well! LOL! Icy was really cute and funny in her own way and he was just teasing with not letting her know he was their new boss, etc. Then how he dragged her into posing as his girlfriend. But that ended up as nothing. They always like to do those ‘fake turning into real’ kind of thing, so why not? But I guess it would be too cliche with them working together and all. Such a shame though, since they would be a cute couple. They do not have to be focused on so much, but just a side cute thing for the rest of us among all the intense battles in here.

The finale? Very satisfying for me as in intense and chaos, etc. Who was the winner in the end? Kwong King Cheung. Yes, I swear he won. Since he managed to dodge all the prison terms and other things, successfully taking out Henry and completing his mission. Because seriously, the others either died, went to prison or had other casualties. Aside from the intensity and confrontation with Marco at one point, he didn’t have any true enemies, always collecting money and doing his deeds and then that was it. He didn’t need to worry who was after his head, he only sided with money. I was actually rooting for him to win in the madness of all those battles among different forces in here. At least where all the villains were involved.

But kidding aside, it wrapped up quite well. Not only it wasn’t rushed but it paced itself just fine throughout, not saving everything until the end. Although there were even more intensity and conflicts playing out in the end, it had been that way since the start. The whole not knowing who could be trusted and the side battles between different groups. I had to go and read spoilers to see what might come out of it in the end, and thinking it might be rush with Ko Chit Hang turning good again. But it wasn’t too unreasonable when the scene came around. It made sense, considering how he really did love May. It was just that he was too into twisting facts to his own benefit. So when he learned to finally let go (thanks to the nurses who were taking care of him in prison), anything was possible for his case. And if Roger doesn’t win the “Best Actor Award” this year, I’ll hang my hat. (LOL!) Okay, I’ll just hang one since I have several hats, LOL!

When Heaven Burns

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

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

Main Cast/Characters:

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

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

Supporting Cast/Characters:

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

Themes:

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

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

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

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

Miss Hong Kong 1993

Since llwy12 and I were talking about Miss Hong Kong in the old days and now, I decided to go and watch some of the old ones. I’ll be blogging about it as I go along. I must say that I only started at ’93. What do I notice first? Simple yet elegance. I’m not saying that it wasn’t fancy enough or anything but it reflected a lot of natural elements and how it seemed routine but it was not too trying like it has become over the years, especially the recent years. Okay, let’s get back to the show, right?

The opening started off with Philip Chan leading the 20 contestants in an exercise routine. Simple yet powerful. Then Eric Tsang came into the scene. They were having the theme with outer space and such so Eric was dressed in an astronaut uniform. He requested to check on the contestants so they were called forward for initial questions–probably a technique to get us to warm up to them. Not to mention it was important with having them introduce themselves to us. Who were they? Those who watched probably know or at least remember some but here they are:

#1. May Lam Lai Mei (林麗薇) – Student
#2. Lee Sze Wan (李詩韻) – Assistant Manager of Public Sector (?) (NOT to be mistaken with Selena Li)
#3. Lee Lai Lai (李麗麗) – Realtor Consultant
#4. Ngam Toi Yuk (顏) – International Environmental & Agricultural major (?)
#5. Leung Sau Yan (梁秀茵) – Piano Teacher
#6. Marianne Chan Miu Ying (陳妙瑛) – Model
#7. Divina Lau Hoi Ling (劉海靈) – Student
#8. Rachel Tang Lai Man (鄧麗文) – Model
#9. Middy Yu Siu Po (余少寶) – Accounting major
#10. Chow Yat Fung (周逸鳳) – Foreign Exchange Student (Canada)
#11. Teresa Mak Ka Kei (麥家琪) – Form 5 Student
#12. Lam Pui Kwan (林佩君) – Computer Student
#13.  Kenix Kwok Ho Ying (郭可盈) – Assistant Manager
#14.  Mok Hoi Yan (莫可欣) – Research Assistant (of Biology?)
#15. Mickie Ng Miu Yee (吳) – Model
#16. Yeung Pik Fai (楊碧暉) – 3rd Year College Student
#17. Cicely Ma Man Yee (馬敏怡) – Form 7 Student
#18. Claudia Chan Ho Yin (陳皓妍) – ????
#19. Cheng Lai Na (鄭麗娜) – Manager of Human Resources
#20. Christina Lau Fei Fei (劉飛飛) – College Student

Forgive me for some of the translations because I honestly was stumped with some of the long words regarding some occupation. AND if I misled you, sorry!

Okay, moving on to the next part, they were divided into groups of 4 for another round of questioning. Actually, the previous one was just a warm-up to the whole show. Anyway, Sandra Ng came into the scene around this time. (Don’t ask me about her entrance since we got it on tape and it was in bits and pieces because we were still struggling with it while it was playing on TV.)

The first group of 5 were each given a scenario to overcome and they have to persuade the person involved to do or not to do. (In other ways, it was like to go forward with the cause or not.) May Lam went first (of course) and she was given the scenario of her mother wanting to divorce her father. She had to support her mother’s decision and she had to pretend Philip was her mother. So she launched into convincing her mother by promising to introduce her mother to a potential candidate and ended up using Eric Tsang as an example. She described how humorous he was and a very nice person, etc. Then Philip jumped to the other side and told her to persuade her mother not to divorce. SO she went into giving an example of why her mother shouldn’t divorce her father and ended up using Philip as an example, saying how he was such a player, etc. (Philip was probably holding it back since it was just an example! LOL!) He managed to divert the attention from himself and said that the mother only wanted to marry someone, not just Philip, so May switched gears and said that most men around were either players or indecent, etc, not as good as her father so she (the mother) should reconsider. Here, Eric jumped in and thanked her aka dismissing her, giving her encouraging words of how if he was the judge, he would’ve given her high points. (DUH, she was praising him.) But it was still funny. Contestant #2 was given the scenario to persuade Sandra to participate in CATIII movies. She was weak. Honestly, she kissed up to Sandra by praising Sandra’s body during the first part (aka trying to convince Sandra toward it) and then was all over the place and/or unconvincing when trying to persuade Sandra not to. Lucky it was cut short. Contestant #3 was another failure since she was not able to convince–either way. Too fidgety. The next one was funny, not the contestant, but more like Eric and Philip’s interaction. Philip was saying how he’s Eric and she (the contestant) have to persuade him to join the show that was recruiting for new singers. It was another failure because she kept bringing the ‘4 Heavenly King’ into the scene but did not provide any real legit reason as not to, etc. Eric was saying, “Why not? Lui Fong could, why couldn’t I?” (OKAY, that was mean, making fun of Lui Fong and his height.) Contestant #5 had to persuade Dodo Cheng to come and participate in the competition. (Dodo was supposed to host but she could not make it so Sandra had to fill in for her.) Sandra had to jump in while the contestant was talking, saying, “But you’re not young as Sandra Ng.” (OKAY, that hurt. She must be joking, right? Sorry, but Dodo’s irreplaceable regardless of how popular Sandra is. AND of course, she was just joking around so it was all right. Still…) The contestant had to jump in and agreed with Sandra, making it sound like she was trying to score points since she failed to impress with her answers. Eric had to jump in and say, “That’s just your opinion.” (Aka Sandra’s opinion and not the contestant’s, lol.) Watching the hosts fight were even funnier than hearing some of the previous answers. (The camera zoomed toward Anita Mui laughing among the judges. I miss her!)

We were then spared of the torture–temporarily–and was presented with a break. Yup, performance time. Robocop! LOl! Alex To! Of course, the first five contestants also participated in the performance but it was better than hearing some of their answers, lol. Awww…a bit short-lived but a great one.

The next group was given a word each–which were written by the hosts–and had to interpret and/or make up a story of the scenario they were given. While explaining the game, Eric had to use Sandra as an example, LOL. Marianne was given the most difficult word since it was similar to the word ‘pervert’ or probably more extreme and have to describe Eric using that word but have to focus on his professional career only AND not other things, lol. Lucky she diverted cleverly by breaking the word up and commented on Eric having power and ability to lead, etc. Sandra had to jump in and sabotage Eric but lucky Eric stopped her, lol. So Sandra was saying they shouldn’t talk too much about the truth, lol. (Or it would be worse for Eric.) Moving on, lol. Divina Lau’s wish was revealed while she was walking toward them that she wanted her first love to be Eric Tsang. BUT then Philip told Eric not to be too happy because she changed her mind when she grew up and wanted that person to be George Lam. (Awww…too bad, Eric, LOL.) Devina was given the word zheng (正) and have to describe Philip’s behaviors toward others. More flattery BUT it was all right since she was clever enough not to go over. Sandra jumped in again and Eric had to scold her once again. Contestant #8 want to be with Jacky Cheung? (At least he was one of the ones that were listed. LOL! Too bad for her!) And she was given the word yi (一), the easiest word YET she could not muster up an ounce of a creative answer. Well, she was feeling more comfortable along the way but somehow it was like they had to urge her on more to get her to say a few more words out of the vocabulary that she learned. She was supposed to describe Anita Mui’s personality and how Anita treated her friends. But I guess rather she was nervous than kissing up like some of the other girls. But poor Anita had to endure Eric’s rants, lol. Middy was clever and creative in her answer and was enough. Contestant #10 was seriously a kiss-up. YES, she was trying to be creative but it made me think she was trying too hard to score points with Sandra. Eh…especially that comment about saying Sandra was not a loudmouth BUT just possess great communication skills. Eric was saying, “Really?” And the contestant replied with, “If not, how could she the host today?” (WOW! That wasn’t even subtle.)

Change of air. Karen Tong led the 5 contestants in a soft yet powerful song. Karen was posing as Superwoman. Contestant #10 took a fall when she landed but continued on so I guess I have to give her points for professionalism.

The next group was given an object but was told it was some sort of machinery (serving other than its real purpose). They have to come up with a story to tell others what the function of that machinery. First up? Teresa Mak! She was given a rice cooker and told it was a lie detector. LOL! She was good! I loved her answer, very smooth and convincing. She did pause at near the end to think of an example but was convincing for the most part. Contestant #12 was given an umbrella and was told that it was a multi-capabilities gadget. She was as creative, but fell short at the end, wanting to kiss up (which Eric pointed out) since she was talking how it could be used as an antenna but could only tune into TVB. (OKAY… Eric actually said it could be used to score points, lol.) Finally Kenix’s turn. She was given a beard shaver device. (Great, I forgot the exact term.) But anyway, she was really creative and had a wide imagination, LOL! Really clever all right. Contestant 14 was equally creative and was given a durian. She was more calm with her response. Contestant 15 was given a cake. She was okay.

To wrap up the 3rd group, Andy Hui was invited out to perform. (Kenix and Andy’s rumors started from here. In fact, Eric was teasing Kenix at the beginning of the program when he was asking about the rumors.)

The final group had to tell a story based upon all the words that appeared on the board in front of them. They had to be quick and creative. Ekk! I thought this was harder than the other rounds. Since they have some basis to go on for the other one versus this one, having to pull a story out of their heads just based upon some random words. Though one of the hosts would start the story off with one sentence, the rest was left up to the contestants to come up with a story that would make sense and fit into the words given. I thought all the contestants did well since they were fast enough. Even if some of them were stuttering along but they managed fine.

Lui Fong finished the rounds off with his Star Wars costume of Darth Vader and a catchy song.

Jimmy Lin looked so young! (Okay, he still look young now but that was some good memories seeing him in those days.) Nice song. Darn, I feel kind of sad for him since everyone was like taller than him. But maybe it was because they were wearing high heels.

The next part was where they got to travel to various places to find the energy stick (sorry, literal translation) and restore faith to mankind. It was one of those stories made up so we could see more beautiful scenery and the beauties performing. Not to mention the four previous singers who were portraying their roles as the guards of the sticks. The girls were divided into four groups once again. However, two of the singers were switched around for two of the trials, which were Lui Fong and Karen Tong. Also, this was probably pre-recorded and played for the audience to see while the scoring was done for the previous questionings, etc. The first stop? Rome. Alex To posed as the Lion King (LOL). The next group encountered Lui Fong who was the God of Leisure (?).  The third group was Kenix’s group and Andy Hui was the God of Music. They had to answer one question: What is the true meaning of love? (Cliche, right? But I liked the song they were singing.) The last group had to fight the White Dragon (Karen Tong). They were in Japan. Then they were dancing around at various places. It was a celebration that they conquered all the enemies and completed their mission already. I swear this is TVB’s attempt to see who had potential in acting so they could haul in people. The girls looked good in the costumes though. That was fun so I guess I shouldn’t complain too much.

And that was a good way to put in the transition back to the stage–where the contestants were now dressed in the costumes where they were sent off earlier. It was those weird space costumes.

After that little excitement, we were finally delivered the results of the semi-finalists. The contestants were called out after some random talks between hosts and they were dressed in some respectable outfits. (I’m guessing from air force?) They had to stand around and wait for their fate now. But first, they had to clear away some prizes/announcements first. Kenix snatched all of it! Wow! Anita Mui was the presenter for the first one.

So, who were the semi-finalists? (Listed by the order they were called.)

#13.  Kenix Kwok Ho Ying (郭可盈)
#11. Teresa Mak Ka Kei (麥家琪)
#6. Marianne Chan Miu Ying (陳妙瑛)
#1. May Lam Lai Mei (林麗薇)
#9. Middy Yu Siu Po (余少寶)
#18. Claudia Chan Ho Yin (陳皓妍)
#7. Divina Lau Hoi Ling (劉海靈)
#20. Christina Lau Fei Fei (劉飛飛)
#8. Rachel Tang Lai Man (鄧麗文)
#15. Mickie Ng Miu Yee (吳)
#17. Cicely Ma Man Yee (馬敏怡)
#14.  Mok Hoi Yan (莫可欣)

I actually agreed with the result since some of the others weren’t as impressive though they tried their best.

And see you guys next time since I’m cheating on the post and want to split it into two and it would allow more space for discussions.