Okay, I was just bored and wanted to start a list. But I will only include the ones I know for sure of OR care about somewhat. So if you don’t see your favorites on there, DON’T freak out. Also, I’m not including any past relationships OR rumors. AND–yes, this is the last one–I’m dividing them by region since I was getting a headache trying to group ’em one way or another.
So I decided to start some kind of saga to share the things I love and hate about my favorites. Who’s the first one on the plate? Who else but Mr. Huo, right? But before I get started, DO REMEMBER that these are my personal likes and dislikes SO if you don’t agree with me, IT’S OKAY. I’m just sharing, NOT forcing anyone to agree with me.
Best Character EVER: Tang Lang (from Detective Tang Lang), intelligent and hilarious. NOT completely perfect but super righteous at times. Also, his kick-ass martial arts in here.
2ND Best Character EVER: Lu Yun Xiang (from Sound of Colors), OMG, he’s an artist! Super hot-headed character at times, but he’s so sweet and cute at other times.
Favorite Swordsman Character: Gui Hai Yi Dao (from Tian Xia Di Yi). (I would’ve put “Ling Hu Chong” BUT thanks to YZ, I can’t anymore, because I can’t ignore the fact that his character got ruined really badly in there.) So anyway, this was the character that brought me into being one of his fans. He really convinced me in here and come on now, his martial arts skills really ruled too! (Did he do the stunts himself back then? At least some of it?)
Devilishly Witty Character: Xing Wang (from Westside Story), a genius and bordering on the side of a nerd, but was also quite awesome with various talents.
Most Hateful Character (in my book): Li Wei Xiang (from 100% Senorita), NOT because of the other girl, but I hated the fact that he was portraying a supposedly intelligent lawyer and supposedly a very understanding boyfriend YET he was more than stupid could describe. Like how he didn’t forgive his ‘godfather’ until he needed the old man for a favor near the end to help his girlfriend. Then there was the whole thing with claiming to be supportive and understanding toward his girlfriend, he acted super annoying with kept confronting her and forcing her to see how ‘hurt’ he was YET didn’t think to investigate into her strange behaviors for some ‘side’ story. It could also be the stupid plot’s fault with affecting his poor character development BUT still, I didn’t like it one bit though I felt Wallace did a really good job with portraying such an annoying role when he was still struggling between roles and trying to make it happen during the beginning of his career.
Annoying YET Can’t Hate Character: Li Ya Shou (from Wu Shi Lang). I don’t know. I couldn’t explain why I didn’t hate him. Well, partially it was Wallace and how hilarious his character was at times that I couldn’t blame him for being up to no good with his ‘getting rich’ schemes. Perhaps, it was also the fact that he knew his father died from hunger that he got so freaked out with the whole landing into the same fate as his father so I was sort of sympathizing him on that front too. And Wallace’s haunting eyes at times when he looked after Shi Lang that made it sooo hard to hate him. (Besides, I don’t really like those insanely ‘good’ characters nowadays. It’s just too flaky.)
Best Drama Ever: Detective Tang Lang, just because I’m a fan of detective/police stuff and action/martial arts stuff as well. It’s a mixture of both and Wallace so kicked ass in here with his moves. The cases were quite interesting and the pace was fast enough. Plus most of the characters made it lively most of the time and hilarious during others. This drama wasn’t flawless but I seriously felt it was one of Wallace’s best choices BECAUSE though at times he picked good roles BUT failed to pay attention to the plot that made it SUPER hard for some people to watch. (I seriously am not that ‘obsessed’ yet obviously to go through every single one of his series.)
Most Touching Drama: Sound of Colors. Okay, I think some of the others were quite touching as well, but I felt this one with how it made me cry more than usual, even during re-watches, deserved the spot the most. Jimmy Liao’s adapted story, wasn’t perfect and I could detect all the goofs throughout. Yet the overall story was quite good and touching. The ending was worth a box of tissues already. But I didn’t hate it. Sure, I felt bitter after watching the ending for the first time and it stuck with me for several days (or more). Then I became more accepting of it and even felt in a way, it was meaningful. Perhaps, it was somewhat paving its way and dropping hints with how things would eventually come to that point (aka making sense), so I was able to accept it better as well.
Worst Drama Ever: 100% Senorita. NOT just because I hated his character, but I felt so robbed with how it was supposed to be a revenge plot. Then it got side-track AND got so draggy that I ended up hating almost all the characters in there. Then only the last ten episodes seemed to be worth watching. (Or so I thought.) And the fact that Deric Wan was part of it puzzled me even more since he could DO WAY BETTER than got stuck with this stupid stuff.
TOO BAD: Xiao Ao Jiang Hu, seriously, I think it’s too obvious. It’s one disastrous, nerve-racking journey from the start. It’s a train-wreck that most of us should see it coming YET refuse to believe BECAUSE some of us actually believe in Mr. Huo’s judgment and how he would be able to control more factors coming into this drama–with his going somewhere and reading the script and studying it to death with other information before taking the role. YET he got conned as well with the scrip changes. AND of course it’s NOT something new that scripts get change in the industry, sometimes it happens the night before even. BUT the fact that he barely could do anything about it was so frustrating. He wanted more of the ‘martial arts’ side and less ‘romance’ side (like how a typical wuxia should be) YET he couldn’t fight too much with the rest of the production team and make it ‘difficult’ for them. (OR so I heard. I also heard two of them were women so he couldn’t ‘bully’ them too much.) He only won over some of the fighting scenes with Howie Huang (aka he was able to suggest certain scenes and that was it). After what happened though, the next time I see Mr. Huo caving in and agreeing to some YZ production again, HE’S ON HIS OWN. (People say you could only fall for something one time AND the next time it’s your fault, so that’s that for me. I won’t abandon him BUT just won’t watch it if he’s going to fall for YZ’s trap again.) AND what else? Um…the fact that Wallace criticized Taiwanese soaps for keep having the same formulas (and I agreed with him when he listed all the repetitive formulas during that one interview) YET accepted and went through with YZ’s schemes? WOW! Being in YZ’s production is actually worse than starring in a Taiwanese soap, I’m telling you. At least most of the TW soaps make sense with some twists–even if it could be frustrating.
Favorite Female Co-Star: Ruby Lin. YES, unlike some of the fans of his who are like attacking her, she’s actually my favorite among all his co-stars. And I felt they were actually quite cute together. If only they would work together again and there would be a happy ending at last! (How many times do the guy have to die for her, really? LOL…) UPDATE: They got together and got married in 2016 already so that was happy news for me. I’ll take whatever I can get. (LOL!) (Go here and here for more coverage relating to their relationship.)
2nd Favorite Female Co-Star: Alina Zhang. Words have it that they’re more like ‘sisters’ in real life OR something like that. But I really enjoyed their chemistry in Detective Tang Lang. They didn’t click for me at first yet in the later parts, it got to me with how funny they were with the constant arguments and many more.
3rd Favorite Female Co-Star: Mariam Yeung. How can I not like it that she got him out of his shell after their collaboration? It was so cool that they were getting along so well afterward and she even invited him to co-star again in one of her MVs. Aside from that, I thought they were quite funny in WSL together.
Favorite 2nd Female Lead Pairing: Yvonne Yao. To be honest, I have to skip around to watch his and Yvonne’s scenes only when I was watching since I couldn’t stand the main story when I was reading the spoilers. That was too bad that she would only be ‘second’ in his heart. I didn’t see the big deal with the main girl. One of the rare times when I actually get quite bitter with the main characters. And when I say the ‘main girl’, I meant the character AND not the actress so don’t misunderstand. Maybe one day I will watch it the right way with how the plot go and get it. But as of now, NOT happening.
Favorite Male Co-Star: Wei Qian Xiang. OMG, they were a hilarious team in Detective Tang Lang. Both were so crazy at times yet didn’t fail to impress.
Most Pitiful Co-Star: Yuan Shan Shan. Seriously, people might not like her. But I felt she was sooooo robbed with her scenes being stolen when she was the ‘main lead’ AND then bashed to high Heaven. Then what else? Her character got reduced to some silly girl instead of the supposedly awesome, witty character I was looking forward to. (Like seriously, I thought I could trust people when they say she’s one of YZ’s favorites! Never know she got sacrificed and got thrown ‘invisible rocks’ at while YZ stood laughing and shaking his head.) I’m not saying YSS is a great actress OR trying to convince anyone to like her, I just felt soooo sorry for her with what happened. (People might also be saying she’s a grown-up and could take care of herself and who cares, etc. But for me personally, I couldn’t hold it in anymore. It’s just ridiculous.) AND I seriously don’t care about those who are telling the rest of us who read the novel to “shut up” because we actually took the time to read the novel. AND without the freaking novel, it would be just another stupid soap. AND most importantly, Ren Ying Ying IS actually my favorite Jin Yong female protagonist ever so of course I’m pissed off. (SO YZ wasn’t the first one who created the ‘soap’ with twisting some characters within XAJH since I felt XAJH had always been the most butchered novel ever regardless of adaptations. It’s still such a shame that people have the resources to make this the best BUT didn’t?)
Compensation Paring: Penny Lin. I felt robbed from the stupid 100% Senorita drama. They had great chemistry and I could see the sparks BUT I hated how the plot was and his stupid character in there. I wish they could work on another project together and with an ideal plot.
Missed Chance Pairing: Tammy Chen. Honestly, I felt soooo disappointed that they didn’t get to star in Lucky Days together.
Didn’t Happen Pairing: Angela Chang. Okay, I admit, I was skimming too with some scenes when I was checking on At the Dolphin Bay. I might one day go back to properly watch it. But I really like this pairing too. Too bad.
Could Have Been the Ideal NEW “Ling Hu Chong and Ren Ying Ying” Team: Cecilia Han Xue. Okay, I heard they don’t get along in real life? (Where was that rumor from or was it real?) But seriously, it was interesting that they were cast as Ling Hu Chong and Ren Ying Ying but from different production teams. Too bad the other side got snubbed. YET I swear I could enjoy it with this second collaboration. With some alterations here and there to compromise, I felt the other side did a better job creating the wardrobe for Ren Ying Ying. Even if she had to wear pink and white (for one of her outfits), I felt it projected the whole “thánh cô” (聖姑) vibe better.
AS A SINGER:
Favorite Song: Ni Hao Jiu Hao. He sang it with such passion. And I especially like the intro at the beginning of the song as well.
Favorite Theme Song:
Bottom line? He needs to bring out another album. (And possibly sing a song or two with Angela Chang, lol.)
Liu Kai Chi. There was this one article I read with how he was talking about Liu Kai Chi as his mentor at one point of their collaboration and the way he described it, it seemed he really respected LKC.
Kent Cheng. Wallace recently visited Kent while both were in Hengdian filming, and then later when Kent was on break, he returned the favor as well. It was cool to see how Kent was posting it up on Weibo and they seemed to be getting along fine.
*Will be updated as I catch up like INSANE with all his “works” (EXCEPT for anything YZ related since I swore off YZ dramas after Tian Di Bu Rong BUT had to make an exception for XAJH because of Mr. Huo. Now? I’m really out!)
*Images were collected around the net, therefore, belonging to their rightful owners
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Actually, I just remembered that this was actually my first TVB series ever and not Road for the Hereos like I mentioned before. But I didn’t count it as official because I was roaming around and playing with my cousins when we were little, so didn’t really watch much or remember some of the details. I only remembered that Felix was quite annoying, bullying Liu Kai Chi. But when I watched it properly this time around, I liked it a tad more–until it went downhill that was.
What was so good about it?
Felix Wong. He was a big bully at first, but as the series progressed, I really enjoyed watching him. So hilarious yet so charming at the same time. Yes, he could be super mean at times, but I actually enjoyed it. (Until it got out of hand, of course.) Man, Felix’s acting took it to the max during episode 18 with his soul and this guy’s soul being switched! It was just so addicting watching how he carried on the arrogant attitude. (The other guy was good also, so convincing as the honest and kind dude.) He was honestly robbed in this one. His acting showed he was able to do it YET the whole thing was so messed up. I do understand that one could turn the whole show around. It was actually because of him that I hung on ’til the end YET the plot was killing me so badly.
Liu Kai Chi. At first, it seemed like he was really honest and easy to step on. But he was just nice and kind. He didn’t get stepped on easily though, which was great. BUT he even gained such an edge that I sort of despise. I didn’t doubt his acting, but his character was turning worse and worse as it proceeded. I think he got influenced by the servant girl so there was this smart-aleck edge to his attitude that I really, really hated later as well. His acting was still good, it was just that his character was getting quite annoying in the later parts of the series.
Felix and Liu Kai Chi as master and servant. They were just too funny to watch. Felix would get the upper hand because he was the young master BUT LKC would get the ultimatum later on because he was the one who could read and write better than Felix. Watching them bicker and fight over Sheren was too funny. But too bad their friendship and/or loyalty to one another wasn’t stressed so strongly anymore. It was like they focused on other annoying things more.
Sheren Tang. I didn’t like Sheren much in those days, except for maybe one series or so. And it didn’t help that she was really annoying at the beginning. But it grew on me later and glad she wasn’t going to portray a typical screeching girl like others. She was quite brilliant when she put her stubbornness aside. This role also gave Sheren more room for acting. Yet her character was a different story. She was no different than a villain, except that she kept chanting the typical ‘good guy’ mantra. The fact that she used any type of tactics to deceive others made it even more despicable, especially in Helena’s case. Oh yeah, I thought she should’ve used this approach to act her role ‘Zhou Zhi Ruo’ than using that ‘long face’ for ZZR. Since this one made her look so fake with her pitiful behaviors. I couldn’t even stand it anymore. Regardless of how gentle she was later on. Oh yeah, one more complaint, her skills seemed to be VERY impressive at the beginning, WHY did it deteriorate so bad? Probably too focused on Felix? OR had the scriptwriter(s) forget about that as well? Another pathetic attempt to make her gentle BUT failed. It was like the consistency in her character wasn’t even there and the change did not stick as it should. It was convincing at first yet the whole roller coaster attitude later made it like she was two different characters for some reason. Poor transition. Of course, the script, NOT her acting.
Felix and Sheren as a couple. I didn’t realize how cute they were together until now. Their characters really match wit per wit. YET I no longer cared for them later due to script errors AND many other lame scenes. I wished there was some other series that would be more worth watching since they did have great chemistry together.
Benz Hui. Always liked seeing him around. A righteous character yet hilarious at the same time. But like others in here, I ended up feeling I really, really despised him too. Like how he encouraged the whole to forget Kiki totally and just focus on Felix and Sheren’s wedding. Yes, Felix should marry the one he loved, BUT he did promise to take care of Kiki before. SO it was a scheme to get the antidote that one time, BUT Felix still tricked Kiki regardless. It was the antidote for him, how could he just forget Kiki like that? How could he encourage his disciples’ behaviors like that? He should’ve just stay out of the whole triangle and let them decide or fight or whatever.
Benz Hui, Felix, and Liu Kai Chi as master and disciples. I really liked watching those scenes, especially when they conspired with one another to make other people’s lives miserable. It really showed that LKC’s character wasn’t that dumb. He often contributed his ideas for different plots too. I rather they focused on building their good bond more than just the dragging on and on with the triangle. (I got too happy too early because of how fast the Felix-Sheren-Liu Kai Chi triangle ended. Did not realize Felix’s other triangle was even more unbearable.)
Benz Hui and Lisa Lui as a couple. It’s rare that I pay attention too closely to older couples in series. But I loved them together in here.
Lisa Lui. I think I could only like her character in here throughout because she was supposedly following her master’s orders before but turned good. YET her character was consistent throughout. Unless she was possessed and was doing things she did not want to, other times, she was kind and nice.
Kiki Sheung. Another one that I didn’t really like back then but maybe it was because she was given the wrong roles, etc. But this character was really cool. It allowed for more development and allowed her to show off her acting skills. I honestly felt sorry for her for being used so much though. I can’t believe that the others made her out to be unreasonable. She was being used and she was so hurt to the point that she ended up hurting others. It wasn’t a good excuse, BUT I honestly hated the idea of seeing her sinking further like that and no one sympathized with her. I was rooting for her at times since others were getting on my nerves. They seemed to deserve it the way they were leading on like that. I swear she liked Felix for who he was since the part when his soul was switched, she said she liked him for who he was, NOT his appearance. BUT it was lame trying to make her loud and fierce SO Sheren’s character could score some points. Believe me, between her and Sheren, I used to like Sheren slightly better BUT for this one, I was just judging for character AND this time Kiki won my attention. I thought her best choice must be in the temple. Though I hate people who use the temple to hide, I thought with Kiki’s character, I actually felt genuine toward it because she seemed to have understood it already, letting go of her stubbornness and her past.
Felix and Kiki. OMG! I didn’t even realize how much chemistry they had. LOL! Though he was trying to con her to get the meds for his master BUT their scenes were so funny, especially how flaky he sounded BUT she still fell for it since she really liked him. It became really sad as the plot unfolded and her background was revealed. I honestly felt bad for her for having such high hopes in his and her future, like at least there was him yet it wasn’t so after she realized her life was more complicated than just being on the wrong side of the battle between her father and Felix’s master. Everything was coming to her at once, especially how she was betrayed by both what she believed to be the truth but wasn’t so–on so many levels. Then I can’t seem to blame her for doing that curse on him either since she sacrificed herself for Felix yet she found out it was just a lie. I’ve never liked the other girl more than the main girl until now.
Lai Hon Chi. Though his character was really annoying at the beginning, he was one of the great actors. The fact that he ended up being one of the rare characters that I liked made it even more ironic.
Helena Law Lan. A ghost/fantasy-related series without her? Never! She was so convincing as always. I honestly felt pity for her. She lost her daughter, went on the wrong approach to seek justice for this world, thinking she could find someone to replace her daughter’s position in her heart. YET she was just a tool for others to use and dispose of so easily. The saddest thing was she soon joined the forces with the others to gang up on Kiki later on as well. Too bad. I didn’t feel sad for her anymore.
What was bad?
Yes, there were bad sides to it too. In fact, WAY too many, but a few points would sum it up already.
The majority of the main cast blamed Kiki’s character for being unreasonable. I mentioned this above already BUT I just have to emphasize it here again. Come on now! What they did was so wrong! I know that Felix Lok’s character was scheming and they needed the antidote to save Benz. BUT that was messed up with letting Felix seduce Kiki and that almost cost her life. IF she had died, what would they do? I wouldn’t be surprised if they just moved on. They probably have it that she rather died since they wouldn’t be bothered anymore. I honestly hated that they kept saying it was her fault later on. YES, it was she who caused some of those troubles. BUT if they hadn’t used her and then tossed her aside like they couldn’t care less, then she wouldn’t have done what she did. It was really stupid that they insisted on being right and it sounded reasonable that they had no choice BUT to use Kiki. IF they were so good, they could have gone inside and stolen the antidote on their own OR fight Felix Lok to get it. BUT they had to sink so low as to use Kiki like that AND then blamed her for being unreasonable later. They weren’t the only ones having feelings. She had some too AND she really fell for Felix. So how could she just forget about it? An on and off switch? Great… Perhaps, the only thing that made me forgive them a little more WAS Felix saying that he owed her more than he could ever repay so he can’t just leave her alone. At least someone found his heart. YET things just got worse and worse and worse with the lot acting all righteous on the surface BUT using such despicable tactics to achieve their means throughout. The fact that they shrugged Kiki and her father’s attempts to help time after time WAS just beyond tolerance. The funniest thing and most despicable thing was that they would call Kiki and her father in the most respectable tone and act in the most respectable manner when they needed something, BUT when it was done, they would shrug it off and make it like those two killed all their ancestors SO they had no choice but to ‘X’ them out. Ridiculous to no end!
Sheren’s servant girl. I don’t know. I can’t seem to stand her. She was rude, loud, and ignorant. Unreasonable too. Yes, she was just a servant and we can say forget it about her being educated BUT it just got on my nerves each time she interrupted and made things worse. What right did she have to issue the orders to beat Kiki up that one time? AND what right did she have to scold at Helena’s character? Helena was really nice and kind to her and her master when they stayed in Helena’s place. BUT what did she get back? The rude treatment and the scolding marathon. So disrespectful. AND gosh, her loudness was like killing my patience. It was like she never knew how to shut up! It was like she was a mute in her past life so now she had to compensate for it. Oh yeah, when she needed to talk to provide info, she didn’t. BUT other times, she didn’t know when to shut up.
Inconsistency with characters and plot. It kind of made sense with some parts BUT it was too lame seeing how the majority of the characters forgot what the heck they were saying before. Promises were forgotten just like that even if it was just minutes ago. It made all characters so freaking annoying because they couldn’t even keep a promise. It was like trying our patience too much. NO one kept their promises in here. It was just lame.
The greatest sin WAS blaming Heaven. Pathetic attempt to make it tragic. They kept promising, promising, promising, and going back on their words YET were never punished. Then the last part, they tried to make everything super tragic with Felix and Sheren’s part. What the heck? They went back on their words numerous times already and kept making Kiki and her father out to be bad when the two helped them so much. Now, they were punished and wanted to blame Heaven, saying that they would fight against Heaven no matter what to stay together since loving each other was NOT a crime? I know there was the difference because Sheren had promised with blood SO it became even more serious YET it was pathetic to even think they were good people in the first place.
The fact that this series had such a good cast made it even more pitiful in the end. The plot had potential BUT the character developments were the worst of it all. I hated it that all the supposedly good people in here were so hypocritical. They just used others to their advantage AND still thought it was just right to do that. Messed up! I said it many times in the past already, I didn’t care if the character wasn’t perfect or had other shortfalls, BUT using others like that was just wrong in my book. Somehow, I was just rooting for Felix Lok to kill them all off. They were just hypocrites attempting to make Kiki’s character bad by acting ridiculously pitiful.
So much for being part of the ’80s classics! Honesty, the worst out of the lot. AGAIN, only the acting was good. The rest was just pure crap due to poor character developments and plot. It couldn’t even hold true to anything when TVB tried to divert away from those Jin Yong adaptations. I swear IF they had focused on the comedy scenes more, I would be less pissed. Since I rather they be random more than acting like super annoying, despicable beings. Because I found everyone charming in those scenes (well minus that annoying servant girl BUT still the rest of the cast made up for it).
I sort of remember how Felix said about TVB slamming some series toward him because he was disobeying? Was this one of them? (Or did I remember wrong?)
I must admit this was a true classic despite its many flaws and the dragged out of the storyline at some parts. (So much for praising it, eh?) Anyway, to move on towards the positive side, I must say that the acting with both Chow Yun Fat and Ray Lui were awesome. I could only say average for Angie Chiu. Yes, I admit that she was one of the prettiest actresses back then but that didn’t mean her acting was awesome in series since I could always see the same type of expressions on her face for each role she portrayed. Yes, I understood the hardships and conflicts that her character went through, but could only say average acting for her part. The guys–portraying both roles of sworn brothers and later arch-enemies and back into being sworn brothers in the end really brought up the grayness in society at that time period in the story itself. The morality of it all didn’t lay in so thick like some of the recent dramas, but it brought more liveliness in the story itself because in such types of time, conflicts arose more and it was more of survival the fittest than having the time to question things. Perhaps, Chow Yun Fat’s character, Hui Man Keung, was the most virtuous among all the characters combined within those triads and groups since he had a policy of “resorting to violence only when there were no other alternatives.” It was like a world that they lived in was so chaotic and complex that there were no clear boundaries drawn in. (Come on now, even the cops themselves were having a hand in the whole thing.)
Although I wasn’t impressed by Angie’s acting at the other scenes in the series, I must say she had great chemistry with Chow Yun Fat as an overall and maybe that was why the series became so popular also. (And of course because of Ray Lui’s collaboration with them both also.)
Kent Tong actually got me impressed with his character for once and he was a good guy at the beginning, wanting to help society but was forced to mix in with the others so he could acquire the necessary power to stop most of the illegal activities. He failed as a cop but was more successful after joining forces with some other gang–which was so ironic but understandable at that point. It was such a tragic but sooo subtle how his character died near the end. It was so unpredictable–although understandable–that he shall die since he had quite a major role in it. The most ironic thing was Liu Kai Chi’s character made it through until the very end. Of course, the story was left untold on purpose toward the end without any narrative telling us what happened to Ting Lik–but could be foreseen since no gang could rule over the rest forever. They could only do so at a certain point in time.
Maybe the most unpredictable part was seeing Hui Man Keung died at the very end of the series. That was such a surprise since we would think Ting Lik would die first–considering how Hui Man Keung was more clever and really knew his way around. Who’d thought he died in such way? It was one of the most tragic death scenes of all although very fast and horrifying at the same time. The second most tragic death must be that of Mei Man because she was one of the most important persons to Hui Man Keung and probably a turning point to the story since his mind no longer felt like fighting for anything anymore. He did think of getting rid of that one triad boss, but her death caused him not to want to take over or fight for power any longer. She was his best friend among all the people he knew in his life. She was there at the beginning when he was still a scholar trying to fight for the rights of his country; she was there for him when he needed her the most when he first came to Shanghai; she was there for him when he had decided to live for himself (since he felt he already did enough for his country and paid heavily for it); she was there for him when he wanted to seek revenge upon the one who killed his family; and she was also there for him even if she knew he chose the wrong path. In short, she was the supportive figure behind him all along through his hardships.
I don’t want to spoil too many details of the series itself so I’m just mentioning some parts worth bringing up here. Other than that, great appearances from Au Yeung Pui San as the Japanese assassin, Michael Miu and Felix Wong as cameos during different points of the story. It was very funny to see them appearing just a little bit. (But understandable since it wasn’t their time yet.)
Phew! Finally finished this series…and possibly glad that I could finish it throughout so I wouldn’t be hanging or missed any details of it.
Excellent acting from these actors and actresses that reminded me that TVB once had really good actors and actresses:
Tony Leung: Even if Tony’s character went downhill later on since he was mostly dominated by his emotions rather than his mind, his acting still carried on with portraying the emotional state his character was going through that making it convincing.
Felix Wong: Felix was just plain evil in here. It wouldn’t be exaggerating to say that his most successful villain role was this one. Because I saw some of the other ones that he portrayed the bad guy but it was just wrong and I wasn’t convinced. For this one, he managed to make me hate him and believed that his character was beyond reasoning and was just some greed-driven maniac.
Margie Tsang: Her character was really annoying at times because she was really loud. But to look at it from another point of view, she was just very naive and wasn’t as mature as the others. To put it simply, she was just living in the wrong time period since she didn’t understand the intense situations sometimes. However, she had a good heart overall and cared for her friends, and was very loyal to them. I actually liked that she was quite stubborn because she wasn’t wishy-washy like the majority of the characters in here. She knew what she liked or didn’t like. She was also understanding toward others since although there might be misunderstandings between different parties, after she found out the truth or others told her about it, she would forgive and forget it (also another good side of her). It was really good to know that she didn’t die in here or listened to Felix’s character near the end of the story. Maybe it was because of her strong friendship with Derek’s character that made it possible but it was really great to know she didn’t listen to his nonsense thus causing more trouble. It was safe to say that she had this strong sense of righteousness within her that made her character more admirable in a sense.
Derek Kwok: Yes, TVB viewers often refer to him as the MOST underrated guy in TVB history. The fact that he only delivered his best made it even more frustrating since TVB is practically blind to keep casting him in supporting roles or just some role. But I’m glad that he always gave it his best–whether people think it was the best role or not. As I said before, I really loved his character (and knew that he won’t last till the end of the series) and really liked his friendship with Margie’s character in here. It was just a pure kiddy relationship since they both loved to roam around town and explore or do any random activities together. His loyalty to his second brother was apparent also. A great character overall.
Sean Lau: I think this was my second favorite role of him. At first, I thought he was not right for this role. However, he was really great as the future king. He really brought out the smart side of the character and managed to convince me of his emotional state at various points–such as being stuck in between his family and his friendship with Tony. And also various scenes with Margie. (Subtle but still touching.)
Jimmy Au: I don’t know if it was his acting or the roles chosen because he usually did WAY better in supporting roles vs. the ones where he starred in. Maybe the characters were better written? Although they managed to rob his character of various talents in here, he still showed great loyalty to various people in here. I really liked the scenes of him and his wife also. (Not that I don’t like Rebecca, just think that he matched with Red Dust Lady more.)
Wong Yee Kum (Red Dust Lady): She was really great in various scenes with being calm as well as rash at times. She was very intelligent, outshining Idy’s character in many ways. She didn’t judge anyone (like in the case of Idy, etc). Yes, she was stubborn at times too, and couldn’t control herself, but it was in her personality. Her loyalty and bravery were very admirable. (Thanks to llwy12 for helping with her name.)
Liu Kai Chi: Yes, he was Mr. Naive all right. Can’t blame him because of his brother’s great acting and always speaking up for him when he was in trouble. I really liked his performance in here as the nice and suave prince although he was badly taken advantage of by practically everyone in here. Such a tragic ending for him and he was probably the only one in his whole family that I actually felt sorry for since he didn’t deserve the fate at all. He was not the cunning nor deceitful type so he wasn’t able to figure some things out on his own versus his sister who had the time, intelligence, and access to it (but failed to discover it sooner).
Lawrence Ng: The only reason why I even put his name in was because I think this was one of the rare series that I actually liked his acting or think he was up to it–although he was portraying a villain. He made me hate him so bad that I couldn’t even blame others for being dumb (except for Idy’s character, lol). He put the show up so well with being the filial son and then the drastic change in his character later after he acquired what he wanted all along.
Cheng Yim Foong (the girl who portrayed Sheung Yee). Her character ended in tragedy and it was very annoying with too much of the pity thing playing into the story but I think that this actress was really great in portraying her role. It got really complex later on but she managed to pull it off very well. (Thanks to llwy12 for helping with her name.)
Bau Fong and Lee Heung Kam. Love these veteran actors/ actresses. They were only in the first part of the series but managed to convince me with their characters (even if they weren’t the wisest people).
Other good points about this series:
The friendship between Tony and Sean. It was known and proven many times that they were a great team at times thus leading to jealousy from various parties and causing more conflicts between both sides.
The brother/sister relationship between Tony, Jimmy, and Wong Yee Kum. There were misunderstandings at times but they managed to resolve it and stay true as friends till the very end. I loved it that they had different views at times but still managed to stay true to one another, not giving in to power or some other forces.
Sean and Margie as a couple. To elaborate a little more on this, I didn’t like the idea of them being a couple at first either but it really grew on me. (And I was waiting for sparks to fly between Tony and Idy instead.) This was actually my other favorite pairing–if it was even relevant to discuss in such an intense series like this. He was probably what people call book smart while she was the street smart kind. They complemented each other really well. She might not be helpful to him at various times, but could help him relax a bit by taking him out to various places to relieve some stress or talk nonsense so he could laugh. (LOL)
Derek and Margie as friends. I really thought he liked her romantically at first since he loved to hang out with her, etc. But it was just this pure and innocent friendship between them. He liked to roam around and play some senseless games once in a while so she made the perfect candidate as his close friend because of their similar interests. They were really funny when together as said many times already. They had this strong bond of friendship that others couldn’t understand (because most of them were so serious) thus leading to Margie having a very strong reaction toward his death. (Glad like I said before so she wouldn’t back down to believing Felix’s character.)
The costumes and hairstyles. If you watched the majority of the ’80s series, you would know that they reused some of the costumes, but it was all right. Still nice to look at for the main cast and great hairstyles. I especially loved the ones they did for Rebecca’s character at the beginning of the story. It looked really sophisticated and nice–unlike those weird, bulky hairstyles they did for ancient series nowadays.
Idy Chan’s acting. I’m sorry to pick on her yet again but I couldn’t even see her shine in here even IF it was the highest peak of the series or the lowest point. Her character was tolerable near the end but her acting ceased to impress. The majority of the script was to be blamed but her acting didn’t amount to much either.
The dragged out of the plot and/or lack of development of both characters and plot. This was said over and over again but I thought I should include it one more time to get the point across. They had a lot of great characters to work with, yet they kept shuffling back and forth with only certain characters at times and dragged it out too much. They should’ve developed more of Chun Wong’s sidekick’s character in here. He was a great character from the book–or so I was told. Why did they make him fall so behind in the story? It just defeated the purpose of putting him in the series in the first place. That went for the other characters as well. Tony’s character was a very intelligent person yet his indecisiveness caused more harm than helped people in general. It got really annoying and was quite repetitive. Same for Idy’s character because she was supposed to be smart (like how the scriptwriters led us to believe), but it took too long to solve problems, etc. They managed to give characters good background information and show off their skills at the beginning but failed to develop them later on. The beginning of the story was developed quite well with the plot also but it just dragged on so much in the middle that only the last ten episodes were worth watching.
The fact that the majority of the female cast in here was annoying. I only managed to endure Margie’s character in here because it was Margie and she made it so charming with her character without being as annoying. However, Wong Yee Kum was the most intelligent as far as I see and the most understanding also. Although she did have her moments (like mentioned before) but it was understandable and relevant–unlike some other characters in here. The second to her character that wasn’t as annoying was probably Rebecca Chan’s. Although she was a third party at one point in the story, I pitied her more than hated her. I couldn’t help but come back to thinking that the scriptwriters must have hated women a lot or were trying hard to make Idy’s character shine that they wanted to sink the rest of the female characters in here. (Because honestly, making the female population super whiny and annoying wasn’t the way to “charm” in case the definition of “charm” had changed. It had to be on purpose or someone was really dumb.)
So on the last few notes, I would like to say that this series actually reminded me of The Yang’s Sagas because of the political elements and the conflicts in between. However, The Yang’s Sagas was WAY better because of its length and well-thought-out storyline. (It was also sad but wasn’t draggy or annoying.) I wouldn’t recommend this series even if you really love any of the cast, but watch it at your own risk since it was really long. But if you skipped just one episode, you missed some major detail stuck in between. To say it simply, each detail was essential to the overall plot and would help you understand the plot better but it wasn’t necessarily well written.
Posted (on Xanga): January 28, 2009
Posted: April 27th, 2010
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