Between Love & Desire

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

Main Cast:

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

Others:

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

Relationships:

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

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

Discussions:

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

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

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Twilight Investigation

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

The Goods:

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

Other Notable Performances:

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

Torn:

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

Somewhat Strange/Surprising:

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

ODD TO DEATH:

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

OUTRAGEOUS:

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

FEELING ROBBED:

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

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

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