Year 2017 in Recap

When I thought that 2016 was a terrible year for me, I was wrong. 2017 continued to tank to a new level of crappiness. There were many frustrating things–one after another. It was like when I asked, “How much worse could 2017 be?”, it was like a challenge to the universe. So stuff happening in real life obviously affected how much time I have for this blog or attempted to keep some sort of activity. I did better than last year regarding updates, but that was a lot of effort because I’m still way behind on some news that I wanted to talk about. Yet no time or more like didn’t feel like it at the moment. I continued to get drained to another level that I thought might not be possible–like several days before. Then the pattern just repeated itself at different intervals. I think somewhere along the way, I ended up revamping my blog by getting rid of the too random posts. Like those general update ones. Although my blog already is random on many levels, I didn’t want to just post for the sake of placeholders too much. Anyway, here are some stats for this year.

Total Posts in 2017: 155 (11.7% of all time).

January: 18 (% of the year)
February: 10 (%)
March: 21 (%)
April: 20 (%)
May: 11 (%)
June: 18 (%)
July: 6 (%)
August: 4 (%)
September: 20 (%)
October: 14 (%)
November: 9 (%)
December: 4 (%)

Books Reviews:

Sad, because I actually read a bit this year but didn’t feel like doing reviews for some of them. Maybe I’ll go back to do them later.

Movies + TV Series Reviews/Episode Summaries:

Fan Fiction:

Complete failure–unlike what I promised last year about getting things done. I started looking over some of the fanfics again and managed to get going on some, but I can’t promise how fast it would be rolled out. I’ll get it out when I’m happy with what I wrote.

Songs Translations:

I used “You’re Always Beautiful” to start the year, thinking that if I continue to retain some sense of positiveness, somehow things will get better. But it didn’t. Anyway, how was this year regarding translations? I didn’t realize I was that productive. Mostly, I tried to push the majority of 183 Club’s songs out.

Chinese:

Vietnamese:

I didn’t want to do this update like I said last year. However, I felt like I needed to persuade myself to continue on. Not to mention, I want to keep some sort of a teeny, tiny bit of hope that 2018 will actually be better. So we’ll see, right?

Celebs Real Life Couples

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.

Hong Kong

  • Andy Hui and Sammi Cheng
  • Angela Tong and Chin Ka Lok
  • Edmond So and Winnie Lau
  • Eric Suen and Macy Chan
  • Ekin Cheng and Yoyo Mung
  • Felix Wong and Leung Kit Wah
  • Frankie Lam and Kenix Kwok
  • Hacken Lee and Emily Lo
  • Jacky Cheung and May Lo
  • John Chiang and Lee Lam Lam
  • Kevin Cheng and Grace Chan
  • Leila Tong and Desmond Tang
  • Liu Kai Chi and Barbara Chan
  • Michael Miu and Jamie Chik
  • Noel Leung and Gary Chan
  • Power Chan and Mimi Lo
  • Roger Kwok and Cindy Au
  • Simon Yam and Qi Qi
  • Stephen Fung and Shu Qi
  • Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Carina Lau
  • Wong Cho Lam and Leanne Li

Mainland China

  • Benny Qian and Coco Lv
  • Deng Chao and Betty Sun Li
  • Dong Xuan and Gao Yun Xiang
  • Fu Xin Bo and Ying Er
  • Kevin Yan and Sunny Du
  • Qiao Zhen Yu and Wang Qian Yi
  • Tiffany Tang Yan and Luo Jin
  • Tong Li Ya and Chen Si Cheng
  • Zhang Jie and Xie Na

Taiwan

  • Alice Ko and Kunda Hsieh
  • Alyssa Chia and Xiu Jie Kai
  • Ann Hsu and Roy Chiu
  • Blue J and Sandrine Pinna
  • Blue Lan and Jade Chou
  • Calvin Chen and Joanne Tseng
  • Chen Yu Feng and Ye Jia Yu
  • Eric Huang and Jenny Lu
  • June Tsai and Lee Yi
  • Justine Ji and Wu Jian Xin
  • Leroy Yang and Jiang Zu Ping
  • Nylon Chen and Lene Lai
  • Phil Chang and Shi Yi Lang
  • Vic Chou and Reen Yu
  • Wallace Huo and Ruby Lin
  • Wesley Chia and Amanda Chu

Singapore

  • Christopher Lee and Fann Wong

MIXED

  • Ada Choi and Max Zhang
  • Archie Kao and Zhou Xun
  • Dicky Cheung and Jess Zhang
  • Gallen Lo and Sophie Su
  • Mark Chao and Gao Yuan Yuan
  • Michelle Chen and Chen Xiao
  • Nicky Wu and Cecilia Liu Shi Shi
  • Sonija Kwok and Zhu Shao Jie

*This list will be updated from time to time.

Twilight Investigation

I never thought my TVB drama of the year would actually start with this one. Serious! Well, I blame my sister because she was skipping around to watch her favorite Shek Sau, LOL! Though it couldn’t be counted for being new as of this year because I sort of step out of anything HK related for a while. But anyway, how was it? Average actually though I did watch from episode 1 to 20 without skipping around. Yes, I was that fair though I felt some parts could do without and others could be developed upon. But what do I expect when it’s a TVB drama, eh? Moving on, right?

The Goods:

  • Shek Sau as Yip Kwok Cheung (葉國昌). I don’t know. I just can’t stop laughing at him. He’s what they call “smart at work, dumb at home” type of person. ‘Cause honestly, he was so pro and cool when he worked on the cases but when he was at home, he was like so out of it, so lost. He had to take care of half of the people’s mess in here and seemed to let others take advantage of him. I wonder if the idea with the way he dressed was incorporated in so it showed the differences when he was at work or home. He was so slick at work with the hair up and all, but his hair was all ruffled up and his clothes laid-back at home. Well, it would make sense since most of us are that way, but the way he let Ho Yan took advantage of him was so pitiful.
  • Raymond Wong as Chow Ka Sing (周家昇). I’ve been enjoying his performances lately. It wasn’t because he was getting better roles (kind of but it has nothing to with the factor that would get me to like someone more or less), but more like I’m getting used to his way of acting. He sure surprised me with his funny side. Okay, he was funny in A Great Way to Care as well but it was different. He was acting so macho and all in here yet could be a big baby at times as well. The fact that they added even more to his personality made it addicting. The scene between him and Billy with his wanting to shoo Billy away was so touching, and then the part where Billy brought some food and his favorite drink for him was equally touching. (Sometimes it makes you wonder that bonds between two people transcend that of the bloodline. After all, Billy did live with him throughout all these years. It’s hard to just cut off the relation like that.)
  • Queenie Chu as Mandy. I wasn’t sure if I would like her in here though I did enjoy her other past performances. Yet I guess it would be safe to say that she was extremely misled at one point. She can’t be too perfect, right? Sad that it happened yet I’ll let it slide since the family of three reunited again.
  • Raymond and Queenie as a couple. I didn’t know if it was going to work or not. But I found it refreshing. It was actually better than some of his past co-stars. I’m so serious here. I could see sparks between them and then there was the whole feeling with their family.
  • Johnson Lee as Wang Siu Fu (王小虎). At first, I thought he was portraying some typical bad guy again. I’m serious. I didn’t read spoilers this time and it seemed suspicious. Yet there was this different story about it. His strong sense of loyalty to his boss sort of reminded me of his character in Split Second. But I was glad it led into a different path–or it would end in the usual, cliche route. Anyway, I think Johnson has a knack for comedy without trying too hard. He could keep a straight face while saying one of the funniest lines ever. Honestly, I couldn’t stop laughing because of how passive he was while he was saying those lines. It was of course intended for sarcastic humor–and he succeeded. (At least I thought so.)
  • Oceane Zhu as Bing Bing (冰冰). I liked seeing her being the chameleon at times throughout different cases. She could be seductive or serious or cool at any moment. Cool character? Not sure because of that so it helped her acting more but not bad at all. I will hold my judgment since it is just my first series of her. (Or so I could remember.)
  • Johnson and Oceane. I’m a sucker for such a mysterious story. LOL! But they were quite cute together without trying too hard. One of the funniest parts with them was seeing how she had to rescue him out of the sticky situation when he got them busted, and then he had to stand aside and hold her purse while she fought off those men. LOL! Priceless! Oh yeah, the part near the end where she hired bodyguards stationed at the door to protect him was so funny as well. Gotta watch out for her man, eh? The most ironic thing was how he used to be in a gang so he should be able to fend for himself, right?
  • Power Chan as 977. Always liked Power and another enjoyable performance. He made the scene even more lively with his enthusiasm and really brought out his character at various points with his charm.
  • Lau Dan as So Kam Lam (蘇鑑林). He was just around at times. Yet he got some more screen time in one of the cases to develop his character even more. Let’s just say the man hasn’t lost it. Kudos!
  • The bond between 977 (Power) and Uncle Kam (Lau Dan). I really liked it that 977 was so loyal to Uncle Kam, always supporting him and following him to different places even if the old man can’t see him (at least not the majority of the series). Their talk in prison was one of those memorable scenes between them, so touching. (Yeah, I’m a sucker for that as well.)

Other Notable Performances:

  • Lam King Kong as Tse Po Chuen (謝保全). I always liked him though he was in the background most of the time, portraying various roles. He doesn’t disappoint this time either. Quite convincing as the mentally challenged person. (And he did get a part where he played the possessed person–aka the part where Power’s character, 977, entered his body.)
  • Ram Tseung as Mok Chun Chung (莫鎮忠). I swear, I was so convinced he was innocent and got framed. Then I was so taken with the possessed part that I didn’t realize his character was actually responsible for the fire after all. He sure did it with acting all innocent and kind but transferred to a revenge-fused madman. AND then out of control ghost. Or should we call him a ghoul? Or a monster? Since the regular ghost (according to the plot) learn things bit by bit, not advance so much like him when he turned and was able to cause so much harm–due to the hatred that was inside him.
  • Jimmy Au as Cheng Nam (鄭南). Okay, he only appeared a bit throughout flashbacks and I’m so cheating here to put him in. Yet I found it somewhat refreshing to watch him in such a role instead of another typical villain. Maybe the story did help.

Torn:

  • Wong Hei as Encore. I guess I like him. Yet I can’t decide since the later parts ruined it somewhat with his mushy scenes with Linda. I don’t doubt his performance. But I think the plot ruined his character. The finale of the ending scenes leading up to his character’s death brought the story back on track. But that was that.

Somewhat Strange/Surprising:

  • Shek Sau and Rebecca? Honestly? Have they ever paired up in the past before? I’m just wondering since I did not watch every single TVB series. Kind of strange to take in at first yet I guess it’s not too bad because they do match to some extent that did not make it too odd in here.

ODD TO DEATH:

  • Wong Hei and Linda!!! What? Okay, I’m not picking on his age. Or hers. I do like older man and younger woman pairing to some extent. And I often leave the option open since some of the collaborations have surprised me in the past. But I find it really odd with this two together. I rather they (the scriptwriters) not include the romance part between these two. But I guess it’s always typical TVB to romanticize everything.

OUTRAGEOUS:

  • They demoted Ben Wong? Like again? I guess he wouldn’t want to be the goody-two shoe for too long or he would get rusty with his acting or be tossed into just one category. Yet I was getting used to seeing him trying out some roles such as the humorous dude, the cool cop, the somewhat clueless guy, etc. What happened? Is this going to turn into a pattern? Hope not. But he was convincing as the calm, patient boyfriend and father at first–and then showing his true colors later.

FEELING ROBBED:

  • How Siu Ho (Johnson) and Bing Bing (Oceane) got together. What? I know how they got together through some minor scenes and some of their recounts later on. Yet I felt robbed. I want more of the story development. If they had cut out some random/mushy scenes between Wong Hei and Linda, then it might work out. YES, mean, but I rather see more scenes of Johnson and Oceane. There could be more room to develop.
  • How in the world did that creep reporter get together with Leng Mui? I’m so serious here. I didn’t see that coming. I know surprises happen but it has to make sense. He seemed like a creep at that one gathering along with his jerk friends. What changed? Well, he could dump his girlfriend, etc YET I’m not totally convinced. I know I said I’m not into gift-wrapping and some things are good being left with some mystery and staying unexplained BUT this isn’t one of the cases that I could let slide.

SHORT CONCLUSION: Cases are nice to watch and some relations are fun to see BUT the main couple’s romance kind of suck.

Recommended? Kind of. Don’t take it seriously though since it’s mostly a comedy. (DUH, RIGHT?)

Dropping By Cloud Nine

Since this was 10 episodes, I decided to give it a try. I meant what harm could it do, right? Only ten. YET…I was actually quite stumped how people couldn’t even get it right with short stories.

Opening, In-Between, and Ending:

  • Ron Ng as Jesse aka Professional Photographer.
  • Kate Tsui as June aka Tourist. Funny that she wasn’t scolding him for taking her picture at first but was just wanting him to take pictures of her right side more than left.
  • First Thought: Wow, obvious with how they appeared like that with the fate talk and all.
  • Second Thought: OMG! They’re not the main couple? Like really?
  • Third Thought: Okay…whatever…works…really…NOT…
  • Ron and Kate as a couple. I don’t know, after the whole The Brink of Law, I’m already sold. So I guess I’ll take whatever I could for this case. At least no one dies, right? Though they’re not linked either since he’s attached and she’s waiting for someone, playing the fate game.
Story #1: Let Go / Bu She Bu De (不捨不得)
  • Figaro Ceng as Li Li Jun (李勵軍). He’s laid-back as always with his composure. It’s nice to see him lead for a change (instead of those supporting roles–though I don’t mind him in those unique roles). Just want to see him lead, that’s all. (Better than some of the current TW leads actually.)
  • Mag Lam as Li Li Jun ( 李麗君). No comment since could be considered cute but the story’s too short to observe more.
  • Wong Cho Lam as Travel Agent. No surprise that he’s so enthusiastic toward convincing others to buy the travel packages, etc.
  • Wong Lai Yee as Xiao Yun (小韻). Kind of charming with her exchanges with the other two.
  • Thoughts: Would I get stuff tossed at me if I say I rather see Figaro with Wong Lai Lee? I meant just by their compatibility with one another when he sat down next to her at the restaurant and they had a little chat. Of course I’m missing the point here. Anyway, then when she checked on his phone’s screensaver, it reminded me of the field of flowers at the beginning of I Do?–and yes, that’s kind of creepy in a sense but whatever works since I’m sure it’s a coincidence. And imagine two people with the same name. At least the same sounding and all.
  • Definition of FATE: Two people who DO NOT do anything but somehow ended up meeting and ending up together. What is this story? Um…a mutual friend who intentionally, purposefully tossed a phone into one party’s bag when the other had accidentally forgotten about his phone. NICE? Sorry for being so sarcastic, but I usually think of fate as some unknown force of nature aka an invisible hand of some sort, NOT some planned action by a known being.
  • Other thoughts: Aww…that flower field was indeed quite beautiful and mesmerizing.
  • Question: They actually went to Taiwan to film it? I meant Figaro didn’t have to go anywhere. But I meant the TVB crew. Like seriously?
Story #2: Merry Single Christmas / Yi Ge Ren De Kuai Le Sheng Dan (一個人的快樂聖誕)
  • Jacqueline Chong as Emily. I don’t feel like she’s one of those hostile bosses though. Maybe it’s because she’s not good with socializing with her co-workers but that doesn’t make her like some evil being either. She’s just too occupied with her work but she still contributes in with paying the party’s fees–though she doesn’t participate actively. She only needs to slow down a bit and enjoy the simplest things.
  • Mandy Lam as Helen.
  • Kibby Lau as Sandy.
  • Derek Chow as Wei.
  • Kelvin Lee as David.
  • Match Lau as Joe.
  • Joey Yau as Linda.
  • Kim Li as Raymond.
  • Question: How in the world did they make such an interesting and exciting theme so boring? I’m so serious here! I’m like NOT that glued to the screen and multi-tasked like mad. AND of course, I had to pause it about a bunch of times before I got done watching it. Not that I didn’t enjoy the cast and the atmosphere, but it was just so lacking even if they tried to cover it all up with trying to make it so glamorous. (As always…like that would work…)
  • Moral of the story: Okay, got it. I was surprised I actually liked it. I meant they didn’t make it like it was a crime to be single. You could find happiness through yourself or how you view things as.
Story #3: Two Unchanging Hearts / Lian Ke Bu Bian Xin (兩顆不變心)
  • Stephanie Ho as Sue.
  • Yuang Cheung as Eric.
  • Miu Miu Ko as Abby. I found her extremely funny. GOSH, her plans backfired major time with the haunted house thing. Then she attempted to drive away Eric’s pursuers.
  • Calvin Chan as Ian. I found him extremely cute and funny also, trying to follow with Abby’s schemes.
  • Brian Tse as John. The poor clueless dude. Not too clueless since he sort of got Abby’s hint but it was sort of sad, lol. Oh well, not everyone can win.
  • Suyen Cheung as Celia.
  • I was impatient even with the first 2 minutes into it. YET glad I stayed since it sort of reminded me of those weird games in school days. Like matchmaking and crazy pranks.
  • Eric and Sue’s communication method and tacit understanding. I loved those subtle gestures at times. It was kind of cute. Like the part where they were in the library studying and Abby was sneaking up on them and watching from one of the bookshelves, Eric sort of sent a message to Sue that someone was there and she just pretended to search for something else while spotting Abby standing there–to which Abby was pretending to not notice and walk away, lol. (Busted I guess so had to get out of there…)
  • Abby and Ian as conspirators. Honestly, they were sort of somewhat more fun to watch. Crazy plans, etc. Mostly her plans and he followed along. Yet it was so funny seeing them cooking up new schemes to pull Eric and Sue together.
  • The grand finale. OMG! That was so unexpected! Eric liked Abby, NOT Sue. Man, that was so playing on the audience’s emotions big time. I meant it seemed Eric and Sue were meant for each other with their coincidences with picking the same book, etc. Then it was like he was always smiling at Sue, etc. But he was just trying to get Abby’s attention. I guess opposites attract, eh? LOL! I sort of favor this ending though since I thought Abby was so cute in her own way, trying so hard to matchmake but didn’t realize it that she was the one Eric was after.
Story #4: Romance on a Ride / Yi Cheng Che De Chun Tian (一程車的春天)
  • Sherry Chen as Jia Hui (嘉慧).
  • Lai Lok Yi as Qian (謙). Cute, nerdy glasses.
  • Cheung Wing Hong as Chun (春).
  • Sarah Song as Katy.
  • Chan Nim Gwun as Iris.
  • Rachel Kan as Carol.
  • Sherry and Lai Lok Yi. They were quite cute together as a couple.
  • The real version. Oh…so the ride only became romantic or full of happiness when she was thinking about her boyfriend AND not that dude who was sleeping away and leaning on her.
  • Moral of the story. Braveness. Okay, got it why she let the guy leaned on her for so long. I meant she wasn’t even brave enough to tell him off and all, sort of relating to her and her boyfriend’s situation. Yet she was glad she didn’t tell the person sitting next to her off since she learned something from him. But if it was real life, I think the situation would be different. Like would anyone let some dude lean on her like that? It didn’t matter if she sympathized with his fatigue or not. Back to the story, it was kind of interesting how she was observing different passengers and incorporating her story into her own with her boyfriend and friends, etc. Yup, what a time to reflect on life’s many possibilities.
Story #5: Marriage’s Secret Language / Jie Hun Mi Yu (結婚密語)
  • Elle Lee as as Grace.
  • Vincent Wong as Gary.
  • Jacky Lei as Jack.
  • Lam Sau Yi as Jacqueline.
  • Jones Lee as Tony.
  • Amy Tsang as Ada.
  • Kitterick Yiu as Wilson.
  • Eddie Law as Ben. Funny dude.
  • Jack and Grace. I so didn’t see that coming. I meant I thought it was a flashback of Gary and Grace years ago so they let different actor and actress portray the roles. YET it was actually Grace and Jack. So he remembered. But it was too late anyway. Doesn’t matter anymore.
  • Moral of the Story. Got it. So they were reflecting about the past with their exes, mostly Grace. Then Grace was realizing how she shouldn’t dwell on what couldn’t be more than focusing on what could really be (something that was within reach).
  • Thoughts. Not bad actually. But not the best either.
Story #6: Our Romantic Story / Wo Men De Liang Man Gu Shi (我們的浪漫故事)
  • Man Cheung as Jun (俊).
  • Yaka as Wincy.
  • Joel Chan as Ivan.
  • Macy Chan as Ying Ying (影影).
  • Hoffman Cheng as Wallace.
  • Alan Luk as Daniel.
  • Lydia Law as Jie Dai Yuan (接待員).
  • Chloe Nguyen as Sherry.
  • Kaka Chan as Theater Staff.
  • Thoughts. Surprisingly good to me. I meant I was looking for the typical ending just like what happened in that movie they saw at the theater that one time. Yet even though some details were the same, such as Wincy leaving her umbrella at that one restaurant or how she lost her wallet in the streets, but the outcome was different. Like how the restaurant staff brought Wincy’s umbrella out for her and her wallet was actually somewhere in one of those bushes (not in her purse all along). Then there was also the part where Wincy was saying how she hadn’t seen stars for so long but they just proceeded on with Jun eating his purchased food while Wincy browsed a magazine in her purse to pass time while they were waiting for the bus. I actually liked how the situation presented itself to them like the movie yet because of their similar circumstances (being dumped and getting over the relationship), their reactions were different. Despite the fact that they’d seen the movie together. And perhaps it was like how they were in the same circumstance so they didn’t take on the role of reassuring one or the other like the leading actor in the movie did.
  • The cast. I actually enjoyed the cast more this time around since I felt they weren’t really the usual main cast in the typical long series of TVB but they surpassed some of those cast major time. Not to mention how it made it more realistic because these situations happen to people holding a normal job too, not too glamorous but not too pitiful either.
  • The fact that they didn’t end up together. Well, not really or it was that way for us to dwell upon. But it was not cliche. Sure, there were people in your life you often encounter and could chat up a storm yet it didn’t mean you have to step further into it. It was just someone to talk to at times.
Story #7: Love’s Shift / Ai Qing Zhuan Yi (愛情轉移)
  • Lisa Ch’ng as Elaine. I’m not sure if I’d seen her before but have good impressions of her for portraying a somewhat strict, strange being to letting us see the real her in the end (aka from her point of view).
  • Kaki Leung as Ivy. Seriously, I think she was the one barking more than Elaine when she used the term ‘bark’ on Elaine and Mag Mag.
  • Jason Chan as Tom. Perhaps, he was the wisest in here, not judging Elaine or willing to participate in gossips with others. He knew from different details that it wasn’t like so thus not caving in with the rest of the public to sling even more mud on Elaine.
  • Edwin Siu as Victor. NO comment. He was portraying another asshole role so what should I say?
  • Eddie Lee as George. The poor guy who got rejected.
  • Calvin Lui as John.
  • Thoughts. I felt that this was getting better and better with the story. OR it was just me. People often criticize others for being blind with being the person in the situation versus those not involved are more clear-headed, etc. YET this proved wrong. Sometimes other people DO NOT know the real version or know the story exactly as it was. They just want to form their own conclusion. AND it was because they were not involved in the matter that they could say or give advice as they pleased, thinking it was the best solution YET they were not the ones having to deal with it all. It was those who were involved and had all the pieces of the puzzle who knew. That was why it was hard to deal with situations. They know whether they have too much to lose or not. Another good episode with the whole reflection and healing one–without the element of romance involved.
Story #8: Beautiful Daydream / Bai Ri Qi Meng (白日綺夢)
  • James Ng as Bai Zhan Ting (白占庭).
  • Alfred Hui as Gan Zu Xiong (甘祖雄).
  • Ria Tong as Zhong Xiao Qi (鍾曉淇).
  • Nicole Wan as Stacy.
  • Winnie Ma as Susan.
  • Kaka Chan as Natalie.
  • Koni Lui as special guest aka trophy presenter.
  • First Thought. Awww…the feeling of being used by someone so they could get through your friend. Well, if you experienced it before, it sucks big time–to the point that sometimes you just can’t get over it no matter how others told you it’s no big deal. They DO NOT get it.
  • Second Thought. OMG! It was all a dream like even the whole idea of the girl using him to get to his friend? Okay…at least he didn’t get used by others. PHEW!
  • Last Thought. I honestly don’t think Zhan Ting was too fat or too unattractive though. He just fit those schoolboy images perfectly though, with the dorky glasses and somewhat ruffled hair. It was probably his confidence–and maybe others’ views. Or his own paranoia. Or he was just bored or read too much manga to dream up of different stories so he could be involved in it.
Story #9: I Do / Wo Yuan Yi (我願意)
  • Phoebe Pang as Hu Ke Ling (胡可玲).
  • Sheldon Lo as Shi Zhi Qing (石志青).
  • Anita Kwan as Hu Ke Yi (胡可怡).
  • Cheng Tse Sing as Ling’s father.
  • Elena Kong May Yee as Ling’s mother.
  • Alvina Kong as 3rd Aunt.
  • Ko Jun Man as Qing’s father.
  • Tsang Wai Man as Qing’s mother.
  • Shek Sau as Uncle Zhu.
  • Mary Hon as Uncle Zhu’s wife.
  • Joseph Yeung as Wedding Host/Witness.
  • Ronald Leung as Alfred, Hu Ke Yi’s first husband.
  • Stephen Huynh as Ben, Hu Ke Yi’s second husband.
  • Jim Tang as John Hu Ke Yi’s third husband.
  • Thougts. Awww…that was so cute, especially the ending. Well, imagine playing the game of ‘getting married’ when they were little and growing up together, etc. Cliche but sometimes people prefer those who didn’t grow up with them since it was more of a family feeling than romance. Yet this one sort of fell back on that one and when the feeling was mutual, it was really cute.
  • Regarding marriage. I guess no one has the right to judge how many times one gets married OR if it’s real or not. Again, outsiders have no right to judge because they do not have all the pieces and they could form their own opinions however they want to.
  • The ending. I thought Ling Ling would catch it since her sister did signal to her. But then it was Zhi Qing who caught it and then handed the bouquet to her.
Story #10:  When an Old Sweater Met an Old Scarf / Dang Jiu Mao Yi Yu Shang Jiu Wei Jin (當舊毛衣遇上舊圍巾)
  • Gregory Wong as Wen (文).
  • Cheung Kwok Keung as Old Wen.
  • Candice Chiu as Lan (蘭).
  • Lisa Lui Yau Wai as Old Lan.
  • Janet Chow as Fion.
  • Thoughts. Man, I wasn’t sure if I was more involved with seeing how Cheung Kwok Keung and Lisa Lui portrayed the older version or the younger versions of Wen and Lan. Though the older couple only appeared a bit, their emotions said a lot with their expressions. It was interesting how things turned out because I thought his wife wouldn’t care anymore or how they would eventually end up together but separated years ago. But it wasn’t so. It was just those little memories and then they continued with their lives–to be reunited briefly again, but separated because of their different course of life. Call me a crybaby but I actually cried near the end when they were just crossing paths to walk in opposite directions. It was like so close, yet it was not meant to be.

Favorite story? At first, I thought it was kind of brainless because of the first few stories having nothing special except it was a bit different. But then I was wrong since the later stories were better (for me). So for me, it was a toss between story # 3, #6, #9, and #10. But I must say that the story that left the deepest impression was the last one. Honestly, that was so, so sad. Though I know it was kind of forbidden and was glad there was no cheating or breaking up some marriage’s involved yet it was like so sad. I guess they weren’t meant to be anyway since they would never say anything more than the initial exchange in response to the little lunch box she prepared for him that last time when she brought it to the airport.

Other thoughts? Honestly, aside from some familiar faces, I think this was just an attempt to introduce new faces to us. What better way than to do it with some short stories, right? What I did like about it was how it was planned was with those cute drawings that played into the theme video instead of the actual people and some song. The music was very soothing as well. But it was strange in a sense too because it would be more suitable for the autumn theme with the colors used and not Valentine’s Day theme as TVB had intended for it to be.

Recommended? Your choice really. ‘Cause I thought it was a series of light-hearted episodes to pass time, not something intense if you were looking for that. It was more along of those meaningful messages about life than typical dramas TVB tried so hard to push forth these past years.

*Cast names are listed by how they are known as by region, character names are listed by Mandarin Pinyin (as relevant).

D.I.E. Again

This was a major disappointment because of its inability to live up to part one. And yes, I do understand it’s a sequel and sequels usually do not live up to the first installment. However, I would’ve expected it to surpass the first part even, considering its surprise success–even knocking out some of the so-called star-dubbed anniversary series, but I guess it could not. It had lost its essence to the humor and the cleverness of the cases. Though some parts or reasons could be typical because some murders could happen because of misunderstandings or other stuff in life, it was too much of a joke to have most of the cases too simple. It reduced their team down to brainless characters. It was too silly for its own good since part I was serious for the majority of the time, but it was just some characters behaving the way they usually did and felt like it was not weird. That was how their characters were and why we ended up loving them as the audience, witnessing their humorous moments–even during the most tragic cases. Sonija’s character became so goofy that made it a big joke. Though I really loved the chemistry between Roger and Sonija, making her too goofy at times killed it. She was supposed to be the serious one. (Yes, she did learn to relax with Roger around but not to the extent that she was jumping around when she found out she was back at D.I.E. A bit too overboard.)

The additional cast was not that bad since they were juniors and did not expect to strive 100% since they still needed to learn from their seniors. However, making Zac Kao somewhat like Kenneth’s character in the past was a bit too lame. The joke with the whole “Jackson” matter was over-killed. They did that for the humor in part I yet it was so subtle that if you weren’t paying attention, it was okay. But this time, they threw it in too many times that it was annoying. Him Law and Macy Chan were enjoyable at times since they were funny yet enough with it. Icy was a good addition too since she was an interesting character–totally different on and off work. I enjoyed her moments when she had to tolerate Roger’s smart mouth running. My only complaint was in adding the new characters, they had sacrificed Stephen and Mimi’s screen time again. (I meant together, not individually.)

Was I the only one feeling Derek was robbed again? The three Kwoks were supposed to lead the drama but somehow, I felt he just got knocked down again with the side stories. Yes, he was still the righteous guy who worshiped Bruce Lee, but somehow his character had lost its essence due to side stories. When I learned that Margie was not going to be in the sequel, I was really disappointed. But later, I learned about Derek pairing up with Nancy, I was getting my hopes up after seeing some photos of different scenes. I liked their chemistry in Face to Fate though it was somewhat tragic. So that was a reason to look forward to. But it seemed too trying in here to just rush Derek’s character off into moving on. Why didn’t they just make him wait for Margie since she would be finished with her studying later? They did not make Nancy’s character strong enough to take over–though they did try to emphasize matters at various points. I felt it was missing something. The whole idea with Derek moving on and trying to get over Margie made their get together in part I a big fat joke since there was no point in getting together because it did emphasize how he valued relationships and how hard it was for them to get together–with various obstacles. Now the whole thing again with a different girl? I wouldn’t mind if it happened again since no one was guaranteed to date one time and meet the one, but the story was just too trying that it became too much. Referring back to the last point, I would’ve preferred that Derek focus on his righteous acts and wait for Margie so they could increase Stephen and Mimi’s screen time together a bit more.

The cases? Things only got a tad more interesting around the last two cases. However, it was a bit repetitive with Derek’s mother’s family. It was like they were running out of things to do or they just wanted to let history repeat itself again yet they were trying to get clever. Although I only watched the first Saw movie, I could feel it was stealing the formula of the Saw movies. That was a bit disappointing. (Though we could say all psychos are nuts that way but having it down to the details with the pattern? Eh….)

Am I watching if there’s part 3? Probably but won’t have much hope. It’s just that the three Kwoks are so addicting to watch!

Posted (on Xanga): October 21, 2009

Re-posted: Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

Pages of Treasures

Okay, so finally finished watching this one after putting it off for a bit. Strange that they should try to pull the “triangle” thing like toward the very end of the series. There have been hints here and there with Alex and Hillary, but to start some mess toward the end is just pointless. It doesn’t prove anything at all. (I still see the chemistry between Alex and Hillary more than Alex with Abbie. Both appearances and personalities. Maybe because Eric seems very uncomfortable around Shirley although he’s trying hard to make it natural and it seems like his character, Alex, really loves her character, Abbie. We can see that through various gestures and things he did for her, but there’s something missing. Still too awkward if anything. For once, I would like to see the second leading guy ending up with someone else instead of the second leading girl. It’s just too typical that it’s not even interesting to watch or anticipate anything more. IF they had put at the beginning that he met both girls at the same time and somehow like both girls, having to choose–it would’ve been better and fairer for Hillary. That’s another typical plot but still better to see than the pointless scenes of meeting Hillary and having her play the bad person.) I think that they’re focusing too much on the whole Abbie, Alex, and Hillary triangle that they seem to stray from the story as an overall. I would like to see more of Wayne and Sonija scenes as Ming and Chung. It’s like although they appear a lot too, I feel they’ve been robbed as of their time spent together. It’s like the script just barely squeezes in their shared screen time or something. I love to watch Eric, but I feel that Wayne is once again robbed even if this is supposed to be his first leading role.

Aside from that frustration rant, ‘Like’ factors are:

  • The bond of the Fong family. Even if the mother seems unreasonable at times and is too pushy with making the whole family stay together, but everyone has a great bond overall. They are supportive of each other, especially the father toward them.
  • The chemistry between Wayne and Sonija as Ming and Chung. They’re just too funny together and their interactions are just too much to watch. It’s one of the most joyous moments of the series itself. Yes, there was the whole misunderstanding thing at the beginning of the series, but that was resolved quickly. They’ve become friends and the constant bickering and the support for each other is just great also.
  • The message of the importance of knowledge. The most disappointing factor is that it got lost among all of the other themes in here. But was brought back into focus with the last few episodes. Still, it does no justice.
  • Paul Chun and Mary Hon as husband and wife. I find it very refreshing that for once, Paul’s not portraying a man who takes care of his own kids by himself. It’s great to see the interaction between this old couple. Yes, Mary’s character is annoying at times but it really complements with Paul’s character who’s passionate about books and his calm side makes up for her stubbornness at times (and vice versa, depending on situations).
  • Stephen Huynh and Sharon Chan as a couple. It’s just hilarious how they got together and thus leading to Pansy getting the treatment she has always wished for (i.e. her scar).
  • Eric Suen and Vivien Yeo as a couple. Yes, I have to put them in even if I hate the triangle. I love their chemistry together. Even if they meant the characters to have so many flaws, but I like them together. Eric is so comfortable with Vivien that makes it better to watch them versus when he’s trying too hard to act lovey-dovey with Shirley.

Things that they should have focused on instead of the triangle:

  • More on the importance of reading and enhancing your knowledge and less on the romance (especially Alex’s side). I really like it that they emphasize this strongly and remind us not to abandon books over technology. However, it lost its purpose and message after developing too much into the romance department. We’ve seen the importance of the books through the father and how the bookstore was opened. But it seems to only exist so they could come in and chat or socialize instead of focusing on books as a major theme.
  • Sharon Chan as Pansy. I would rather they give Sharon’s character, Pansy, more background and develop her character more. She has some good in her but because she’s so aggressive to drive for her career and the fact that she has a scar that caused her to resort to selfish means thus looking out for herself only. However, I rather see how she learns to appreciate Chung slowly and let things continue to improve between them slowly than see that it gets squeezed in the last few episodes. Probably they don’t want to tone down her lively personality by making her too virtuous but squeezing in some last minute stuff isn’t all that believable either. However, Sharon’s acting is so charming and funny that it’s hard to hate Pansy. And maybe because there are fewer scenes of her so it’s hard to hate her.

Since I complained so much about the Abbie, Alex, and Hillary triangle, I guess I have to break it down and analyze further to explain why I actually dislike this triangle so much.

First off, Alex’s character:

  • Filial son and a good brother (to both siblings). In short, he’s a family man and always tries his best to provide for his family and gets along with everyone all around. He really wants his family to be happy so he will try to do anything to make it work with everyone’s expectations. There are conflicts at times between him and other family members, but they do calm down and try to understand in order to make it work.
  • Intelligent. It can’t be denied that he’s a very intelligent person–mostly because of his educational background.
  • Tech-freak. Yes, it’s his passion and his career. It’s noticeable how important it is to let him see the knowledge in the books versus his over obsessiveness with the tech-world.
  • The too perfect exterior. We see too much of him being the filial son and the caring brother, plus not to mention the considerate boyfriend with the whole “chat” at the beginning of the series. It paves out a great image for him, which is more ironic to see so many holes in the relationship with him and Abbie yet it still worked in the end because TVB said so.

Second, Abbie’s character:

  • Career woman. She’s a career woman not because she chooses to be that way but because she has no other choice than to be one since she doesn’t have any family left (except for her nephew).
  • Pessimist. This can’t be helped since considering how her past was with an abusive father and how her mother ran out like a coward to leave her in such a mess. So this is a great setup because the pitiful characters usually get more sympathy.
  • Intelligent. It sets out a great foundation for her with her reading knowledge and how well she gets along with Alex’s father. There goes her bonus point again.

Third, Hillary’s character:

  • Filial daughter. Whether the mother deserves it or not, but must admit that Hillary is a very good daughter. She cares for her mother a lot and shows it through various actions. Their mother-daughter relationship is really good. However, it reeks of irony no matter how you look at it. It seems like the mother’s trying to make up for her past wrong with putting so much love toward Hillary. It makes it sickening sometimes too that she thinks she could be forgiven. This also sets up a death-trap for Hillary since she automatically gets blamed because she gets all the love and attention thus she’s wrong. (Oh puh-lease, could the scriptwriter grow up for two seconds?) I feel even more pity for Hillary since she didn’t do anything wrong (just because she’s the one living by the mother’s side at that point). Hillary’s a good daughter that’s why she feels the need to defend her mother and try to understand her, but it doesn’t make her the shameless sister. (So why did they put in the typical boyfriend snatcher thing for her? To make her character more hated by others?)
  • Career woman. She’s dedicated to her work and welcomes new challenges. She’s also professional toward her work even if there are conflicts among her and other colleagues. It shows that during her intro scene and various scenes later into the series.
  • Romantic. She’s probably a hopeless romantic at times thus leading to her easily getting deceived by that one dude at the beginning of the series.
  • Not the wisest. The scriptwriter sets her out for destruction and probably a guaranteed way of getting the viewers to hate her by showing us how she was involved with a married man at the beginning. However, she does learn her lesson and decides to not be a third person in relationships anymore. It does show promise in her character but the good image has already been ruined since we would always remember her as the girl who once tried to ruin someone’s marriage. (Yes, stupidity even if she does learn to smart up a bit.)
  • Wishy-washy. She tends to get easily persuaded sometimes and doesn’t have enough self-control. Why does she have to go after the guy her sister dumped? It’s lame. Yes, he’s a potential candidate or good one, but come on now! WHY in the world did she look so happy when she hears that they’ve broken up? What was that?! Ugh! (I call it the scriptwriter’s conspiracy to bring her character down with this thing and score more points toward Abbie.) Yes, she gives up in the end because she knows how much Alex cares for Abbie.

The result? A mess. Definitely. From various points, Alex and Hillary match more in that they have this undeniable tacit understanding. However, if people want to argue that opposite attracts, it’s fine too. I think because of TVB’s attempt to give more advantages to Abbie’s character that it ruins the whole thing. It turns out making Alex the bad guy and the whole triangle just crumbles down to a bunch of nonsense.

Alex and Abbie as a couple:

  • Cute. Cute is actually a nice word for childish. Honestly, yes, the cute message is spread all over their interactions and forces us into believing that they’re actually meant for each other, etc. It makes me want to roll my eyes every time I see their “cute” interactions. It’s trying too hard to show their bond. It’s too much on the surface that it becomes fake. It’s more convincing when they’re alone thinking of each other or doing things for each other–more him than her–that they really care for each other, but it’s just plain odd when they’re together. (Like I said before, lack of chemistry. And possibly because he has to jump through too many hoops for her that it’s too unconvincing. His fault for choosing it, but the script sucks big time in the convincing department with how much they love each other.)
  • History. So they have some history together. Does that mean definite success in the relationship? Yes, it helps a lot so that’s why TVB decided to pair them off from the beginning to secure Abbie’s place in Alex’s heart and us viewers have to believe that Hillary is actually the evil sister and a boyfriend snatcher. (Yes, I’m rolling my eyes again.)
  • Hot-headedness. Yes, they seem very cute together–when they get along. But when he disobeys her? There’s the whole tantrum unleashing and the only way he could calm her down is to give in to her ideas or reasoning. Not to mention that he would try to apply logic into the whole matter, which is even more frustrating. What’s with that trying to explain to her when he already made a mistake? It only adds oil to the fire.
  • No Trust. Okay, the beginning of the story makes Abbie the reasonable girlfriend who trusts Alex completely with Hillary so it automatically is his fault for lying to her. (Lying is never good but his reasons are valid because he cares for Abbie’s feelings.) She’s upset when she comes into his company that one time so his automatic reaction would be to not trouble her with such small things. (Since he doesn’t think of Hillary in that way, right?) It’s probably a wrong move to make up an excuse like that, etc but his intention was good. (I’m not encouraging for people to lie away, but in this case, I just want to clarify that part since he wasn’t even thinking of cheating on her or wasn’t even dating Hillary behind her back.) Lie number 2 (if counting by sequence, it’s actually #1) is about the song that he said is still unfinished. Whether or not he wants to conceal it as his and Hillary’s song or not is debatable. However, I think it could possibly be that he does want to create a different song just for Abbie without Hillary’s help–or anyone’s help for that matter, considering how much he loves Abbie and only wants what’s unique for her. Yes, he seems so into the song when he’s playing it with Hillary at the musical instruments shop, but it’s because of his passion for music and their common interest. (To Abbie, it must have been a heavy blow since she only sees it through her POV, but I just want to debate a little about it from a viewer’s POV.) She has every right to get mad and I couldn’t care less, but I thought just to be fair, she did lie to him about already finding her mother and what has been going through her mind. He’s too dumb sometimes regarding not taking enough hints, so it’s better off if she says it. (Considering how they dated for several years already, she would’ve known him better than react that way. Same goes for him just to be fair to both sides. He’s an idiot for not handling things better. Not wanting to trouble her with stuff is one thing, but hiding too much stuff will make her paranoid.) So the whole hiding thing just proves that there’s no trust or lack of trust in this relationship. It’s just a fake exterior the scriptwriters created at the beginning for both characters just to spice up the “cute” relationship. This leads me to the next point.
  • Fake Commitment. Another reason why this relationship doesn’t work is because of false promises from both sides. Yes, Abbie seems quite unreasonable at times and only Alex could tolerate her (until he couldn’t take it anymore), but he DID promise to stick it through with her and try to help her with erasing the past memories she had of her brutal childhood. What did he do? Yes, he tries to get her to see that it’s not all scary with family and bring her into his family so she would feel a sense of belonging. However, it’s like he’s trying to do this as fast as he could in trying to convince her to stay in Hong Kong so he could be with his family before the two-year agreement expires. (HUH?) I honestly want to hit Alex over the head with something. (So he could become dumber and it would make more sense than see him in such an intelligent suit and yet he fails to use common sense.)
  • Conclusion. They’re so not ready for a relationship–the way I see it. ‘Cause honestly he’s dedicated to his family more and she has too much past baggage in her to carry on such a relationship. She actually doesn’t need a boyfriend but more like someone to spoil her rotten and make up for what she lost in the past. (I do NOT blame her for what happened but that is what she had become.) Alex is not ready for it either since he keeps pressing her and persuading her to stay in Hong Kong and accept his family. However, he doesn’t realize that’s not the point about accepting his family. It’s about her family. He needs to focus on getting help for her–like getting her psychological help. (Cliche but better than what he’s doing since they jump into trying to get the mother psychological help asap when they found out what might have happened to her so why not apply that with Abbie as well in the beginning?) Like all his mantra about how good his family is could help her put it all behind her. It does help a bit but it just doesn’t erase her nightmares away right there and then. They’re just too wrong for each other because both want to be right. Yes, he does try hard to make it work and she probably did too but the approaches are so off that it makes me wonder about their intelligence, especially his since he’s a bright guy (or it’s what the script meant for his character to be) yet he can’t seem to do it the realistic way. He did persuade her to stay in Hong Kong so that means he’s willing to sacrifice. So although that little “ice cream” thing is somewhat cute when he has to sneak around and eat it, it’s irrelevant and immature that he would complain when he knew what he was getting himself into when he wanted to help Abbie. Why does everyone else have to pity him when he signed the contract already? It’s his choice. (I like Alex a lot, but I just don’t see the twisted reasoning behind it all. It’s not like she forced him, he agreed to it without giving it a second thought. He should blame himself.)
  • The reason why they actually end up together: Because character-wise, it has been built in by TVB to seal Abbie’s place with Alex from the start. Not considering how it would earn her mega brownie points with the whole taking the stab for Alex’s mother. I don’t hate them as a couple but I just thought the script was trying too hard to make it work.

Alex and Hillary as a couple:

  • Serious yet carefree. It makes it almost ironic that Alex and serious should be associated together, considering his childish moments at times. However, he’s very comfortable with Hillary when they’re together with how they operate–considering they have the same mentality–at work; and when they’re together as friends. It gives off a very comfortable image and how he would be so happy that he is able to eat ice cream or enjoy other things. Their topic of conversation touches on the serious side more frequent yet there are traces of a playful side as well. (This is possibly due to the fact that because they are friends that he doesn’t feel pressured or the need to impress her, but it just seems so lighthearted and refreshing at times when they’re together.)
  • Tacit understanding. They have this bond toward each other that sometimes things don’t need to be said or explained but they get it. It’s very genuine.
  • Chemistry. Yes, it sort of got covered in other categories already but just want to put it separately to emphasize my point. It’s also the reason why I don’t see that she’s a rebound. (They do care for each other, but it’s just that the script seems to convince us that he loves Abbie more.) He’s really considerate toward her with switching places with her during the employees meeting organized by their boss at the hotel conference room. He’s really happy eating ice cream with her when they’re finally dating and seems to be more comfortable. There are other gestures too so it makes me feel like he feels guilty toward Abbie near the end and sort of unwilling to part with Hillary than love for Abbie. It’s too strange. (Or it’s just Eric’s acting!)
  • Height. A bit irrelevant but this is brought up lots of time. They’re both 173 cm so they’re the same height. But it’s because she’s wearing high heels the majority of the time so it looks like she’s taller than him.
  • The reason why they’re not together: TVB said so. And also because how their characters are set like that. I know it’s supposed to set up the hospital breakup scene for Hillary to finally let go because she sees how much Alex cares for Abbie, but it’s just wrong and sad that the way Alex looks at her when she leaves. It’s like he doesn’t want it to end. (How could it be so ironic? Blame Eric for forgetting he should be caring 100% for Shirley’s character and not Vivien’s, lol. Or it could have been guilt that he has caused Hillary grief hence the look.)
  • And maybe I shouldn’t have watched the Break-up Agency mini movie between Eric and Vivien because I was really anticipating the new collaboration between Eric and Shirley before that.

If this was a Taiwanese idol drama, they would’ve already made it work for Alex and Hillary with finding someone who understands you more and fighting to stay together. (LOL) Too bad. And the most twisted thing is Alex doesn’t like Hillary in that way but because Abbie keeps rubbing the matter in his face that he realizes of Hillary’s existence. (I mean he has always treated her as a friend and even if they have this strong bond, he still thinks of it as the two of them having this shared interest, etc. It doesn’t mean anything to him–until Abbie brought it to his attention.)

With all that said, I think that Vivien must have offended TVB majorly to deserve such types of roles on her all the time. The most likable one must be from Forensic Heroes and that doesn’t count for anything either. (Into Thin Air was another likable role for her but still minimal significance.)

So with all those rants, who did I hate the most in the whole series? Abbie and Hillary’s mother of course. They make it like she had no other choice but to run off and abandon her daughter. She escaped, why not take her daughter too? It wasn’t like she didn’t have any time. Yes, she was afraid that she might not be able to provide for Abbie, but was leaving her with such an abusive father a better alternative? Abbie was given false hope when she received such a great day planned by her mother, but then it all came down to nothing. (It was almost as if because the mother wanted to follow someone else but was afraid he wouldn’t accept it that she has a daughter already so just abandoned Abbie just like that. NO EXCUSE. She made a poor choice by choosing an abusive husband–and it was not like she was supposed to be perfect–but come on now, she just fled responsibility and left her daughter behind to face her consequences?) She just has the nerve to look so pitiful. Yes, she probably couldn’t think straight or right at that point when she decided to leave. But she understood more than anything that she couldn’t stay so what made her think that her daughter–a 5-year-old–could bare so much? Apologizing doesn’t help. No matter how she loves Hillary or seems to think of Hillary as Abbie at times, it doesn’t help. (The reason why I’m saying that she’s using Hillary as a substitute for Abbie at times is because of past recounts of how she remembered back to when Hillary was lost and how desperate she reacted during those times, etc seem to be so similar to Abbie–like losing a daughter. There’s also points where she remembered back to the day she took Abbie out to the park, etc. It’s obvious she cares for Abbie a lot, but the script is just stupid to make such weak points for her reason to leave but NOT to take Abbie with her. Either she cares for Abbie or not. She was probably confused at that time, but she still remembered to care and treat Abbie well, so how could she just turn around and leave just like that without Abbie by her side?) The most frustrating part is Alex’s mother wanting Abbie to forgive her just because she wants to keep her son by her side. Yes, it’s hard not to want such a thing with family reuniting, but she’s too harsh on Abbie and doesn’t understand that Abbie also left everything behind in the U.S. for Alex. So why can’t he do the same? It’s only fair for her. But Alex’s mother doesn’t understand what Abbie’s going through and just wants to get her way. It doesn’t matter how many times she’s saying that Abbie is cold-blooded, it still doesn’t change anything with how Abbie’s mother is such an irresponsible fake person. (Alex’s father is more reasonable and understanding since he knows how sad it is to lose her mother at such a young age. Maybe it’s ’cause he has experienced so much more and read so many books? I’m not trying to discriminate against the mother but that’s what it seems to imply here. It seems that only the father is the bigger person to let Alex go back to the U.S. with Abbie. Yes, he will probably miss his son too but it’s not like they’ll never come back. And like he said, they’re always family no matter what. The plan doesn’t go through but at least it’s good to know that he has his father’s full support.)

I sound really ironic for not liking Abbie yet defending her at various times with her mother’s situation. But in truth, I like her character and pity for her, but I don’t like the unconvincing elements paved into the plot by the scriptwriters in trying too hard to convince us of certain matters. It’s just too weak. This is the reason leading to not really liking her character much in the end. When a plot is so weak, everything will just crumble away.

If you want to watch this for a family drama or a comedy, it’s all right. But it’s really not made out as what it’s supposed to be. Yes, love the Fong family (as said before) and their bond but other side things just distract the purpose of the series. Pages of Treasures–doesn’t it relate to the whole theme of the importance of reading and enhancing your knowledge? They stray from the main theme so much that the whole message got lost.

If you’re honestly a fan of Wayne, Sonija, or Eric–or just watching to see the Fong family, just use the remote and fast-forward all the scenes of the triangle and that’s good enough. The last few episodes are sort of intense and funny in a sense about the psycho woman too, but it just goes right back to wanting to give Abbie credit again that it gets a tad lame (and overly dramatic). Yes, it made Alex’s mother realize that Abbie’s a great girl after all but it’s kind of weak and somewhat unrealistic to see Abbie forgiving her mother. Yes, she’s probably tired of fighting over that just ’cause of what happened in the past. But it seems too quick considering her strong reaction before. It’s also probably because she had encountered a near-death experience but still rushed.

I thought the triangle in Life Art with Kevin, Gigi, and Queenie was weak but looking back, this one is weaker and it dares to occupy the majority of the series. (I finally understand why the triangle in Life Art was so weak because it was more on how Gigi’s character came into acceptance with her disabilities and how Kevin’s character learned to appreciate the simplicity of life surrounding him. So it would make sense that it focused less on the triangle, but this one? No excuse since they put it WAY in the back of the series and try to show us that Alex and Abbie are meant to be together. It just doesn’t slide.)

With all those talks about various characters, almost forget about acting, so here goes:

  • Wayne Lai: No doubt he’s good and could pull off his role extremely well, making us believe that’s who he is. He doesn’t disappoint at all with his first leading role.
  • Sonija Kwok: She’s really improving nowadays and shows her emotions better and it’s not overdone at all.
  • Paul Chun: Was there ever doubt since he started acting like ages ago? Well, maybe some people probably would doubt him, but I think he’s one of the veteran actors who could still pull it through flawless nowadays.
  • Mary Hon: No doubt either ’cause of different types of roles from before. This is somewhat similar to some other roles but still love her.
  • Eric Suen: The reason I put him behind the others is that I’m a bit disappointed since he seems to do better in certain types of roles versus others. He’s the reason I fail to be convinced with the whole Alex and Abbie relationship. But it’s also partially due to the weak script. Again, it’s likely due to the fact that he’s more comfortable with Vivien because of their past collaboration. However, he should take it up to the challenge in interacting with various actresses. He has great chemistry with his past co-stars so I’m not sure why it doesn’t work this time around. (Stress? LOL!) I think I’m being too harsh on him ’cause the failed chemistry between Alex and Abbie. So to say something positive, I think his overall acting is good because during his interaction with the whole family is very natural and great.
  • Shirley Yeung: Slightly disappointed because I was actually impressed by her performance in several series. It’s like there are still traces of her character from The Brink of Law left over and she couldn’t pull out of it hence the fake acting sometimes (’cause the whole pitiful look reminds me of that character too much). She needs to sharpen up a bit. I do understand the pain that her character’s going through but her acting doesn’t convince as much, making it so weak at times.
  • Vivien Yeo: She’s getting there because she managed to portray different sides of her character and how complex it is.
  • Sharon Chan: I can see that she’s able to pull off various roles more comfortably nowadays and that’s a good thing to see with variety but hope to not see her in such a role too often. Yes, in the end, it actually shows that she values her friendship with Chung a lot since she actually tried to expose Chung’s brother before it’s too late. But it still lacks something to help her character build a stronger foundation toward the end. It’s like it’s rushed and tossed in at the last minute so they can wrap up the series nicely.
  • Jason Chan: The potential actor of the series. He’s actually quite charming and his acting isn’t bad. Hopefully, he doesn’t slip and gets careless later on ’cause I’m looking forward to some of his upcoming series.
  • Lily Ho: Mixed feelings but her acting’s a bit weaker comparing the same group of newcomers. She does better in some scenes versus the others. Still, there’s room for improvements so don’t want to be too harsh on her.
  • Fred Cheng: He is robbed once again. I thought he was rising after the whole Love Bond, The Charm Beneath, and all those series that he played a major role in. Why is he sinking again to play such a role? I know this makes him more versatile by playing all types of characters, but this is getting repetitive with making him bad or unimportant all the time recently. Still seeing potential in him with how he looks so convincing with turning a new leaf at the end again.
  • Stephen Huynh: Funny, but charming at the same time! Can’t complain about him since I’ve seen him in various roles already. However, hope he gets some other different roles before his acting slips ’cause of boredom.

This is almost a good series if it wasn’t for TVB trying to be creative again. So this has gone down to average or below average by the end of the series with unnecessary plot developments.

Posted (on Xanga): February 14, 2009

Re-posted: Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Last One Standing

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

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

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

Other things I like about this series:

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

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

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

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

Posted (on Xanga): November 25, 2008

Re-posted: Thursday, March 18th ,2010