The Classic of Mountains and Seas

I started this awhile back but had to put it aside. Finally went ahead and watched it fully. I think it took me several days since I was in a binge mood. How was it? I had to step back for a while and think about it before I put this review together. What didn’t change my mind was the feeling of the series as an overall. It was average and that was being lenient. I think what helped for me was the plot was moving forward, at least it wasn’t too character focused that they would eventually had to sacrifice the pace. Sure, it was about 40 episodes, but they did have a lot of characters involved and the journey to find all the key characters took more than half of that and then the conflicts and some of the cases they encountered added to the main story. What made it an average series for me was the weakness of some characters in here. I’ll go into details in a bit.
Main Cast/Characters:

  • Zhang Han (张翰) as Chi Yu (赤羽) and Xin Yue Hu (心月狐). I became his fan after watching him in The Four. I was actually impressed with his performance in here as both Chi Yu and Xin Yue Hu. I thought it wouldn’t make a difference since both were quite mysterious and had a dark side. However, there were many differences–aside from the obvious dressing style, lol. In a way, one couldn’t completely hate Xin Yue Hu, because he was trying to regain a life that he never had in the first place. It was indeed sad. He was cunning and in many ways untrustworthy, but I think he was able to learn many things when he was trying to experience. In the end, he chose to sacrifice himself so Chi Yu could escape to help Su Mo with the battle. Zhang Han’s acting really captured both characters nicely. Chi Yu, seemed fierce on the outside, yet he was really caring and playful when time allowed for it. Although I must say Xin Yue Hu could be so hilarious too, considering his dressing style. It cracked me up so hard with how colorful it was with his wardrobe. Not to mention how he pretended to be lost so he could follow Su Mo and Su Shui. He had alternative motives but that was hilarious how he was like trying to act innocent.
  • Guli Nazha (古力娜扎) as Su Mo (苏茉) aka Shun Hua (舜華). First time watching her in a drama, because I watched her previously in the Up Idol reality show and liked her. I think she was really raw in here. She seemed all right in the normal scenes, but some cases where there were more complicated words/phrases, I noticed she wasn’t looking at her co-stars while she was saying those lines, like she was trying to remember. But she wasn’t completely terrible so I have confidence for her future series. About Su Mo, I think there was mixed feelings throughout. I admired her bravery at times and how she tried to gain strength and not be a complete weakling with the guys needing to protect her all the time. I thought her character started out as smart, at least smarter than Fu Er in some sense and not trust Baili Han–with her suspicions at times (way before she knew the bigger picture and what the motives of all the sides were). However, I think her character became inconsistent that they (the script-writers) made her dumber or something. Not sure what happened there. But I think that was what made her character go downhill later. She could be so stubborn at times or silly, but I didn’t think her character deserved to be dumb down to move the story forward. Like how they (the script-writers) made her too forgiving at times or her indecisiveness. I wished they would make her more involved with her powers. I meant they did put in the part where she was training and gaining strength and was better in some sense with the fighting techniques, but it ended up turning into some comedy scenes instead of taking it seriously. Sure, the comedy was funny and I thought it was needed to ease the situation, but I felt in the sense of needing those skills for the battle, it failed. I know she wasn’t the type to love fighting, but she was already determined to contribute and help others so I didn’t like that the plot didn’t allow for her to be able to fight back with her skills and how she ended up being a sort of “Snow White” character. What I mean by Snow White is how she was wishing at the ending for all of the conflicts and hate to disappear, etc so she ended up like a silly wishing princess. I know because she didn’t lust power so she was different from others and wasn’t pulled into being used by Baili Han in that sense, but it was frustrating to watch her turned into a complete weakling along the way. I guess what I’m saying is I want her to be able to defend herself. I don’t need her to be so good that it would be unrealistic but at least more capable.
  • Kenny Kwan (關智斌) as Shangguan Jin (上官锦). I swear he looked familiar, but I didn’t really know who he was at first, lol. Mostly because I don’t watch him that actively and didn’t realize that was Kenny Kwan I used to watch ages ago–until I looked up the cast list. At first, I was really suspicious of his character and thought he would be the false nice guy. In a way, he was too good to be true. But in the end, he didn’t disappoint. Throughout, I didn’t know if he was going to turn, etc, because the characters in here were indeed unpredictable at times and where the plot was going. However, I think my favorite scene of him was near the ending where he was upset with Su Mo because she didn’t trust him yet had went with Xin Yue Hu thus getting tricked. He wasn’t just jealous of Xin Yue Hu, but was seriously upset because his reputation wasn’t trusted over Xin Yue Hu-regardless of how much she thought she was trying to protect them by not wanting them to enter that dangerous palace. That part made his character so real, because he wasn’t holding back anymore. He was seriously disappointed and upset.
  • Lan Ying Ying (蓝盈莹) as Fu Er (芙儿). I hated her right from the start. I don’t know. Bias or whatever, but I just can’t stand her. She was really unreasonable and two-faced. She expected and expected yet didn’t think or care for Su Mo at all. If things went her way, sure. But other than that, she was determined to pave Su Mo out to be the bad person. She was willing to risk her siblings connection with Su Mo just so she could chase after some guy. They were family after all–or at least that was portrayed from the start. She was already so jealous of Su Mo that it was so easy to manipulate her and trick her into believing Su Mo would want to kill her. Sure, Shangguan Jin didn’t help matters that one time when he attempted to assassinate her, but she didn’t believe Su Mo enough to understand that Su Mo wasn’t that kind of person. According to the story, she was the gorgeous one yet she felt inferior to Su Mo for some reason hence fueling her hatred. Despite all of that, I swear the plot ended up making her more active to move the plot forward than Su Mo (ironically). In the end, it was also her that fought back to Baili Han (after he revealed the truth).
  • Li Chao (李超) as Baili Han (百里寒). I knew he was up to no good from the start. The early details of his schemes helped, but when he appeared at that one town, it was obvious there was an agenda with him. When it was revealed why he’d become that way, I do sympathize with him on some levels with having a spoiled brat brother and how he was betrayed. Yet there were many things in this world that wasn’t like that. What had the others done to him? I understand if he don’t trust others and would want money and power to secure his place and never to be left in such a position again. However, I can’t sympathize with him for wanting to take over the world. Not to mention he used all those people who trusted him.

Supporting:

  • Wu Lei (吴磊) as Shi Pei Pei (石佩佩). I thought he was one of those obnoxious, annoying bad guys at the initial meeting. But later, his character grew on me. He was just spoiled rotten by his parents, because he was so prone to the curse or whatever that was predicted ages ago. It was hard to blame him with how he didn’t have any friends growing up or know how to interact with others. He was still obnoxious at times later, but he was indeed more caring toward others around him. He liked to have fun and all, but he wasn’t unreasonable or wanting to harm others. His sacrifice was really heroic and so unexpected. I thought he would make it to the end.
  • Yin Zheng (尹正) as Su Shui (素水). I thought he was creepy at first (which was on purpose since the characters in here were afraid of him too). But then his character revealed to be quite sweet. It was just that he carried a burden of his ancestors. He became my favorite character later. Yes, I liked the others in the group yet I felt Su Shui brought forth a sense of loyalty and silent support that was touching. There were many lovable things about him. Although he seemed cold at times, but he had their backs if the others were in trouble. Since Su Mo was the one he needed to protect, he followed her more. However, he showed that he cared about the others too. Despite the fact that he kept popping up out of nowhere to scare them (on purpose or not is questionable) at times.
  • Tang Wan (唐菀) as Liu Ruo Shuang (柳若霜). Mixed feelings throughout. I pitied her for having such a tragic past yet the people she helped Baili Han harm were innocent. I wished she would somehow see the real side of him before her death. Sure, she helped him with a lot of cruel things, but she thought she was doing good for the big picture. She didn’t question him or judge him, because he saved her from hopelessness after what happened to her family. But I felt she at least deserved to know the truth that she was just a pawn. Or would that be too cruel?
  • Vengo Ko (高伟光) as Bin Yi (宾翊). I felt like I couldn’t pity him at all. Sure, I was torn at the beginning. Then he made up my mind for me, because instead of stopping Fu Er, he helped her by teaching her to control others with his technique. Yet in the end, that worked out for him? Because Fu Er finally realized he was the only one willing to protect her and care for her from the start? Even if that was obvious before. But she finally understood that when he was trying to stop her, he was really trying to help her, not just because he wanted her because she looked like his wife.
  • Nicole Wan (万妮恩) as Hong Ling (红菱) aka Tian Xiao Ju (田小菊). I didn’t really like her at the beginning. Then it changed. Well, it was normal to be suspicious of her motives. I knew there was something wrong when she tricked Su Mo to go alone in the woods. But then she appeared and attempted to save Su Mo, because she claimed she was in it for the money and not wanting anyone dead. Her background was revealed and I felt bad for her and that had affected her reliance on money more than anything. But somehow she didn’t click with me until a little later because I was paranoid, thinking she might change her mind again. Yet when the story progressed, she became one of my favorites as well. Her honesty and feisty natures made me loved her ever more later on. I especially liked it when she went against Fu Er when Fu Er tried to attack Su Mo and the rest of their group. It was actually quite hilarious to watch since Hong Ling was so awesome and fearless.
  • Caesar Li (李茂) as Baili Bing (百里冰). Baili Han’s younger brother. Can you blame him? He was scared. He was only a kid. I didn’t like his spoiled nature either when he was being petty over food. But the robbers incident was really scary. He witnessed his parents being murdered and many other villagers being killed as well. He chose to sacrifice himself for his brother in the end (which caused a reaction from Baili Han but just slightly). The actor was really good actually, because he was seemed as timid, not having enough confidence and quite guilt driven after learning of his past, but when Sun Ju was disguising him, he looked more cunning and full of confidence. Also, before he regained his memory, he was quite obnoxious and playful.
  • Matthew Ko (高鈞賢) as Sun Ju (孫巨). Another person whom I haven’t watched for ages now so I forgot. But I knew he looked familiar. This role was interesting for Matthew. I meant it wasn’t like he haven’t portrayed villainous roles before. But this one left room for more development. Too bad that the ending rushed it that his character became deranged on purpose. I could understand that the lack of his father’s approval caused him to go insane. But it just didn’t quite click with me because of the pace. Not to mention out of character. The argument could be it was his father after all and it would cause him to lose control. Yet he had plotted and have been patience for so long. Why snap when his scheme (supposedly) was about to come to fruition? Not to mention killing his father at that point. It was like it was getting toward the end and the script-writers didn’t want to try anymore so they just unleashed a bunch of killings to show Sun Ju’s ruthlessness and then end him to show Baili Han’s cleverness. I don’t doubt Baili Han’s cunning level, but the flow for Sun Ju’s story was sloppy to say the least. I would think he could at least imprison his father or somehow make the old man see his accomplishments (or so he thought) before he take any type of action. He was the other brain in this series that could come face-to-face with Baili Han. Yes, he was arrogant and he seemed taunting toward Baili Han at times, but I didn’t think he was that careless. His somewhat silliness or playful side at times concealed his deceptiveness.
  • Liu Chang De (刘长德) as A Su (阿肃). He was seriously scary at first or somewhat creepy because of his background. I thought the reason why he needed someone to talk for him at the beginning when he met them was because he was being arrogant, acting secretive and trying to conceal his identity. Yet it was revealed later that he couldn’t talk in front of the female population. It was indeed quite funny. It reminded me of Raj in The Big Bang Theory, especially with how he couldn’t really talk to any female unless he had some alcoholic drink. But even that would make him obnoxious–or unreliable. His character really grew on me later, especially with how he got along with the group and all.
  • Ethan Liu (刘骐) as Xiao Yang (枭阳). Dummy. Mean, but I don’t know what else to describe him. He was seriously easily manipulated. However, the honorable thing about him was not taking advantage of the situation to win over someone. Sadly, that was the reason why Sun Ju couldn’t get him to harm Baili Han when Baili Han was injured.
  • Piao Shuo (朴铄) as Yu Yang (玉羊). I don’t know whether to hate him or pity him. Because he was also used by Baili Han to pursue power and all. He did learn to become more human (or so that was defined versus how he was before). He ended up liking Liu Ruo Shuang and would do anything to protect her.

Others:

  • Tian Yu Peng (田宇鹏) as Hong Tai (宏泰). A loyal person by Chi Yu’s side. He was the reason that pushed Chi Yu to the max thus causing the inevitable with Xin Yue Hu rising to the surface. He wasn’t just a loyal servant to Chi Yu, but also an older brother. I wonder if he liked A Zhi and was just making up the other story to trick the others that one time.
  • Liu Hong Li (刘鸿利) as A Zhi (阿芝). I thought she would survive until the end. Well, even if not that long, but at least longer than expected but she died halfway through. At first, I didn’t like her because of how she abandoned Chi Yu and made him feel worse than ever. Yet after Xiao Bing’s incident, I realized in a way, she couldn’t be blamed. She was scared (like she said) of being attacked by others. Yet I felt the whole chasing him down was taking it to the extreme. Perhaps, she thought that if she was face-to-face with him, at least she could control the situation better, but that was very hurtful for him to see such betrayal.
  • Ren Xue Hai (任学海) as Fu Er’s father and Su Mo’s adopted father. Mixed feelings. I guess he was those traditional fathers so I wasn’t too into him. However, in the end, I think he said what was really in his heart, actually treating Su Mo like his daughter. I think he was one of those who remembered what happened the first time around? Because he looked at her and shook his head in a way that was like, “Poor girl with such a burden”?
  • Qian You You (钱宥佑) as Fu Er’s mother and Su Mo’s adopted mother. She was a kind and caring mother and also quite brave to stay behind with her husband like that.
  • Su Mao (苏茂) as Shangguan Bo Yu (上官博余). Shangguan Jin’s father. Mixed feelings since he was the reason Shangguan Jin was so stressed out and tried to take out Fu Er at one point so I wasn’t really a fan of his.
  • Guo Zi Qian (郭子千 ) as An An (安安). A very tragic ending for her.
  • Xiong Zi Ling (熊梓菱) as Jia Jia (嘉嘉). An An’s sister. She trusted Su Mo and ended up becoming friends after the events of the earlier episodes.
  • Zhang Ke Yuan (张珂源) as The head of the immortal disciples. He was sooo funny, kept being underestimated by the others.
  • Tong Xiao Mei (童晓梅) as Su Mo’s grandmother. At first, I disliked her of how she made Su Mo choose. But then I realized she couldn’t be blamed. The hate and the feuds between the tribes were too much. It was hard to let it all go. She wasn’t totally unreasonable either since she finally understood and told Su Mo not to hold grudge, because of what she learned from Su Shui.

Friendships / Relationships / Whatever:

  • Zhang Han/Chi Yu and Nazha/Su Mo. Just rating based on this series and ignoring their outside relationship (lol), I think they did match. Their chemistry wasn’t bad. But I think Nazha was still a bit raw to convince me here. Perhaps, because she was kind of new at that time (at least from what I read in her filmography). Maybe in the future, they would collaborate again on-screen and I would like it even more.
  • Zhang Han/Chi Yu and Kenny Kwan/Shangguan Jin. At first, they had a guarded attitude toward one another, which was understandable, considering how most people around them have motives of some sort. However, they became almost like brothers later on with drinking together, chatting or competing. Although Shangguan Jin had a better life growing up regarding how he did not have to run for his life most of the time, but his father putting pressure on him was enough to break him. In a way, he could relate to Chi Yu and vice versa.
  • Zhang Han/Chi Yu and Tian Yu Peng/Hong Tai. It was obvious that they weren’t just a pair of master and servant like said before. They were like brothers. It was really tragic and frustrating to see Hong Tai’s ending. That had fused Chi Yu’s rage.
  • Wu Lei/Shi Pei Pei and Liu Chang De/A Su. They had a funny friendship. At first, Pei Pei was teasing A Su, but later they became like brothers. Pei Pei had to represent A Su to talk to the female population at first, but later ended up being someone A Su could confide with.
  • Wu Lei/Shi Pei Pei and Caesar Li/Baili Bing. They didn’t get along at first. It made sense since Xiao Bing caused a lot of troubles for Pei Pei and A Su. Yet they got along all right later. Because of their constant bickering and wanting to upstate each other, it allowed for Pei Pei to understand Xiao Bing even more. It had also aided in discovering the truth when Sun Ju tried to disguise himself as Xiao Bing.
  • Nazha/Su Mo and Yin Zheng/Su Shui. I think Nazha’s best scenes were with Yin Zheng since Su Mo and Su Shui had a special connection. He was really loyal to her and helped her regardless of situation. Moreover, because of how Su Mo’s bridge of emotion was broken when she realized what had happened to Su Shui. He had sacrificed himself to save her grandma. It was the first time ever that she thought of revenge and hatred toward someone. Shui Sui’s death also allowed Su Mo’s grandma to realize she should let go, especially how he had used his own life to save hers. At the part where Su Mo called Su Shui and he “appeared” there again, it was so touching and so real that I actually cried a bit–with how Su Mo realized what was going on, etc. It was indeed a memorable scene. Nazha did quite well here.
  • Nazha/Su Mo and Nicole Wan/Hong Ling. I felt like they were more like sisters than Su Mo and Fu Er. Mostly, because despite Hong Ling’s obsessed with money (with reason) and all, she actually cared for Su Mo and understand Su Mo, even if she did chide Su Mo at one time for being silly or too naive, etc. She even defended Su Mo against others. I enjoyed their friendship so much, which made Su Mo’s reaction so genuine when she realized Hong Ling had sacrificed herself.
  • Nicole Wan/Hong Ling and Liu Chang De/A Su. They were a bickering couple. Well, if you can bicker with one being quiet all the time, lol. But as far as it went, it was hilarious trying to see how they would eventually end up together. It was funny how Hong Ling gave him misinformation so he went and dressed like Shangguan Jin, lol.

Favorites/Likes:

  • The main theme. The song “Don’t Ask” by Zhang Han definitely helped me with moving forward with the series in general. Although short, but it was a good song and addicting too.
  • The concept of the story. Although another fantasy related series, but I thought it was more refreshing to be focusing on the legend of these four constellations instead of same old, same old.
  • The cast in general. I must admit, I actually liked all the cast involved, more or less.

Annoying:

  • The whole pushing Su Mo to one another with the guys. Whether it was between Chi Yu or Shangguang Jin or Chi Yu with Xin Yue Hu. It was so frustrating. Like she didn’t get to decide or something. Sure, if something happened to Chi Yu, he would want her to end up with a good guy or someone he could trust to look after her. But I felt it was sooo not respecting her with deciding that for her. Sure, she liked Shangguan Jin at first or seemed like it, but that didn’t give Chi Yu the right to decide for her if something happened to him. Or when Chi Yu was ready to let Xin Yue Hu be with her. I’m not talking about the ending where he wanted to sacrifice himself so at least one of them survive to help Su Mo with the final battle. I was talking about the part where their souls were struggling to gain control of the body. It seemed hopeless for him, but did he have to turn her over to Xin Yue Hu? Seriously?
  • The inactive vibe of the main character aka Su Mo. I already covered in the above section about characters but I just want to put it here again for emphasis. To the point that it took Baili Han’s arrogant rant to allow Fu Er to see that she was wrong. Although Su Mo couldn’t really prove she didn’t mean to kill Fu Er and didn’t really know what Fu Er was saying about the cave incident, but Su Mo didn’t really actively thought about it or ask if others know about it. Or more like the script-writers didn’t care to let other characters explore the possibilities further and undo the misunderstanding. Eventually, they just moved along. Then it wasn’t until Baili Han revealed of his trick that it was clear. I understand the misunderstanding needed to last for Baili Han’s plan to go through, but some aspects, it was kind of scattered.

Recommended? I would say you have to be a major fan of the cast to go through with it. The story is indeed interesting, but eventually I just couldn’t overlook some of the factors I mentioned above. In a sense of an ancient/fantasy series, I think it contains a certain formula that lived up to it. But there were some weakness that made it frustrating. To be fair though, I think it was one of the better series of nowadays, plot-wise and length-wise.

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Only You: Episode 2

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This episode continued with Mandy’s job search. She was so picky, LOL! Well, I guess she had a point regarding the requirements with knowing how to drink, please others, etc. It began to feel like some special “socializing” abilities rather than just the normal professionalism that employees had to acquire for their job titles. Anyway, Mandy soon met with her mother at a restaurant for tea time (?) and found out that her mother had set up a meeting with the matchmaker, Chong Sze Tim. (Yeah, the same matchmaker and wedding planner who helped Dee with the whole wedding arrangement in the previous episode.) Mandy was still hostile–or at least semi-hostile–toward her while exchanging some words. Her mother of course interfered. However, Mandy’s attitude changed when the subject changed to that of wedding arrangements. Yup, she had already talked to Ling regarding the whole making money out of the wedding business when they met up for lunch, so it was only right that she snatched at the opportunity when Madame Chong brought it up. Like it was an easy road since her attitude just killed everything and Madame Chong wouldn’t want to commit suicide by accepting Mandy as a student. LOL! That would lead to major blood pressure problems in the near future. On a personal note, I don’t know, but I liked Yoyo’s character so far. It was kind of different from her previous roles. It was not too good, too dumb, too kind, or too cruel. There was this mixture of caring for her family yet she had this attitude that just drove people insane at times. In other words, NOT perfect yet not completely hateful either.

To steer away from that side of the main cast to the other side, LOL! Yeah, so I didn’t mention about Madame Chong’s family, right? So here goes. Evergreen Mak and Kristal Tin were part of that clan. Then there was their son Zhong Chung Leung (Vin Choi)–more like stepson to Mrs. Zhong. There was also Ma Hui Ching (Natalie Tong), who was Madame Chong’s daughter. In a way, they were a family business. In the previous episode, we found out that Chung Leung didn’t transfer his tuition fees to Hui Ching so now he couldn’t go to Australia to study because he had enrolled somewhere else to pursue a girl. His father was more than mad but couldn’t do anything about it–even after some major persuasion with the school. To top it off, they had another thing to worry about. Their main photographer, Summer (Kevin Cheng), was not back yet because of delays and couldn’t make it in time to take pictures for one of their clients. Mrs. Zhong immediately came up with some medical excuse for Summer and tried to edge out of it. Nice? It seemed that Kevin was portraying somewhat of an irresponsible person–for once? NOT sure, but we’ll find out in a bit.

Because of Summer’s inability to appear at the time, King (Lai Lok Yi) tried to cover for him by offering his service when he was turned down by the customers since they did not trust him–though he was supposed to be the backup photographer and was more than qualified to help them with the photo session. After much frustration, he left again. So much for being nice and trying to help, I guess.

On the other hand, Madame Chong was offered a case to help this one family with an upcoming wedding but one of the requirements was that she was still happily married. This was the thing that couldn’t be fulfilled but Phoebe (Kristal Tin) jumped in to say that it was true and used crafty words to seal the deal. Madame Chong couldn’t turn it down so she had to seek out her disciple to handle the ceremony. She had no idea that her loud mouth disciple was the reason for her downfall. Or what seemed so because the disciple engaged in an argument with Lady Wong and accidentally spilled the beans regarding Madame Chong’s past. That got into the tabloids and caused Madame Chong’s reputation. I seriously did not blame Phoebe in this case since she wasn’t totally lying. Yes, she was manipulating the words to make it sound good yet she wasn’t bashing or picking on Madame Chong. She was just using good words to make Madame Chong’s reputation good. I blame the nosy disciple for not knowing when to shut up. Anyway, Madame Chong went to their client’s office to try and explain but the rep wouldn’t hear her. Luckily, the boss came and told them that she would see Madame Chong. After some explanation, the lady boss said that she didn’t care about Madame Chong’s past but admired her for her talents and wanted her to arrange the wedding and be there for the ceremony.

Back to Mandy’s side, Mandy somehow landed a job since it was Ling’s cousin’s wedding. She tried to pull it off but failed major time because she wasn’t paying attention when Ling was passing on information to her. Despite her crafty words and manipulation, she wasn’t convincing. But coincidences of all coincidences or maybe it was just planned that way so the plot would unfold later, but Madame Chong’s reception was also at the same hotel/restaurant. So they went head to head and had some exchanges. Mandy was still the typical Mandy, arrogant as always, LOL! Madame Chong didn’t want to argue with her anymore. Yet the little respect Mandy showed toward Madame Chong was letting her get into the Taxi first. But Madame Chong refused and so Mandy abandoned her courtesy and headed home. Yup, Madame Chong was shaking her head.

The episode ended with Mandy sitting on her bed and counting the red packets. It showed that she had failed major time. Need to be more convincing. If only she would know that she still had a lot to learn.

Only You: Episode 1

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After watching the first episode, I must say I was impressed. It might be too early to say anything regardless because I’d read some spoilers but I was willing to stay positive–for once (at least recently). This series was, of course, about weddings or more like wedding planning. Well, it could be counted as everything surrounding weddings, such as preparations–as mentioned above–and the hardships they’d gone through for it. The reasons for such a fancy and glamorous preparations could be for the sake of saving face–as in this case, but it actually turned out to be a different reason and could account for a whole different reason in the end. I must admit I was thinking along the line of dragging formula as the wall crumbled when Mandy (Yoyo Mung) exclaimed out her frustration and spilled the beans about her recent job loss. But the whole event turned around all right in the end. It seemed that this series would be a case per case thing instead of dragging it out with the whole jumble of stories like in the past series. Then they would save it for everything to resolve in the end or near the end. But it was not. I like this approach better when it comes to theme-related ones. I must say I was not much of a fan of some of the cast members but watched anyway since I at least liked some of the cast. Glad I carried on anyway because I liked the development thus far and how the characters were–even if they seemed annoying at one point or another. It was more on a serious level than some of the recent nonsense ones. However, you shouldn’t dive in if you just can’t stand the main cast because you wouldn’t enjoy it anyway. I was willing to continue because the plot had convinced me somewhat and how the characters promised some sense of variety. There was, of course, the overall plot that tied the main cast together but most of the couples in here were probably appearing as guests for each case the wedding planners do. Can’t wait to see what else would happen.

So anyone wants spoilers? Well, the first story started with Mandy’s family preparing for Dee (Eddie Lee) and Rainbow (Leanne Li)’s wedding. Dee and Rainbow only wanted a simple get together party among family and friends, but it had turned into a whole catastrophe because Mandy wanted to show off to her other relatives and save face for the family. Then there was also the whole thing with their mother (Suet Nei) wanting to do a traditional wedding after witnessing a professional matchmaker and wedding planner going through the ceremony with a relative’s wedding. This professional matchmaker was of course portrayed by Louise Lee. She was pestered by all family members before and after Mandy’s job loss, causing quite a nuisance for her. However, upon hearing the mother’s confession of how important it was to her to witness a traditional wedding and bringing luck toward her son and future daughter-in-law, the matchmaker was touched and proceeded to do her best directing the mother throughout the preparations. On the other hand, Mandy was very frustrated with the job loss that she finally took it out on her brother after finding out about the huge bill from the wedding pictures. So all parties were on the out that night, shutting themselves in their rooms, except for the mother. Their mother was worried and wanted to cancel all arrangements with the matchmaker the next day because of Dee’s rude behavior and hostility. However, after some encouragements and persuasions, she proceeded with the planning. That night, Dee returned home to see his mother in the kitchen–more like just a glimpse of her in the kitchen–and mumbled about the nuisance of preparations in his drunk state. Yet the next day Dee finally understood his mother’s feelings toward the whole thing. Even Rainbow was touched by what her mother-in-law had done for her–and cooperated with the arrangements throughout, no longer complaining about the unfairness of not being able to plan out her own wedding, etc. Another touching moment occurred when Mandy produced two watches as the wedding gift for her brother, which Dee remembered the promise Mandy had made to him since they were still young. After that flashback, Dee tearfully said that Mandy had remembered and Mandy returned by reminding him that she would never forget what she promised to him. See what I mean with a touching episode? Well, who knows what else could happen in the future but that moment really brought meaning into the whole theme. It brought forth more hope for weddings and/or marriages. (I’m a sucker for it.)

Steps

Just finished the series itself and must say that although it was a very nice series in general, I was quite disappointed with a certain part. Again, I should have known and shouldn’t have expected so much, but can’t believe they let Victoria end up with Dat in the end. Yes, he was a nice guy and all, but can’t they just stay as best friends? She rejected him once and now since Dickson wasn’t around anymore, she was back to Dat? I know it wasn’t like that and Dat had helped her and been there with her through thick and thin, but it was somewhat unfair for him because it was like settling for him since she didn’t have any more choices. The fact that Anita succeeded in playing the pity card made me even more mad. It wasn’t like Dickson had forced her into those actions when they were younger. They fell in love ages ago and she also made a choice to be with him and also made a choice to quit her dancing. It wasn’t like he brainwashed her or manipulated the situation to make her life worse. Whether those choices were good or not, she still made them. But it was made to sound like he owed her. He owed her nothing. Yes, separating a family and destroying the little girl’s family was a sad thing, but it sucked major time that they have to make things turn out that way. Why couldn’t Anita have been more independent and also make the little girl understand that her mom and dad were now separated but still loved her? It was dumb to separate two people who loved each other to go with responsibility because of guilt. Dumb plot. But very touching scenes between Dickson and Victoria with their parting scenes and their last dance. It ruined the story by making her end up with Dat–as I said already. It was like TVB needed to gift-wrap so they make it all nice at the end. On a lighter note, Kate did improve surprisingly. She did bring out her character really well regarding her smart and professional side, plus her vulnerable side as well. Really starting to like Matthew Ko also since really see his acting potential. He was able to portray his cute personality as well as the last few scenes of a responsible father. I was a tad disappointed of Stephen Wong Ka Lok as Dat since he seemed to be doing all right in Love Bond and all, but now he seemed to lack something in here? Couldn’t really see his difference or wasn’t impressed in the most touching scene of him either. I got confused with what he was trying to do. It was like he didn’t improve or something.

Another thing that made me not satisfied with this series was not exposing Judy. She was the manipulative hand behind many scenes in helping that one dude to embezzle the company’s money but she was never exposed although she did get what she deserved in the end. Since TVB love gift-wrapping so much, why didn’t they make that happen? Lame! Caring too much of one thing but not another.

Luckily, Tsun and Keung reunited as best friends again at the end, plus Tsun and Sum Ying were awesome together. They were a really great bickering couple as well as supporting each other in the end. The dance during the competition was very touching.

I also liked Sum Ying and Victoria’s friendship. It was very nice to see something that actually looked like true friendship in here. They can talk about everything and could support each other through different things. A very great scene between them was Victoria confronting Sum Ying to tell Tsun about her eye conditions, but Victoria ended up keeping the secret for Sum Ying instead.

Fala Chen as Ka Man was just amazing. Yes, her acting was really up to it since she was only in a few series but wasn’t raw like some new ones. She managed to show her menacing side but also her somewhat vulnerable side. Her past was a great obstacle to get past but glad that in the end, she knew when to stop and didn’t listen to Amanda to play dirty tricks on Sum Ying because she could see that Sum Ying wasn’t feeling well. In a way, her going to jail wasn’t a bad thing since she learned to take on responsibility and face the consequences bravely. Plus starting over.

Stephen Huynh – Unlike Stephen Wong, I could see his acting a lot better since he managed to play out each role really well. Been in quite a few series but wasn’t disappointing at all. He knew what he was doing and could bring out his character.

Wayne Lai and Claire Yiu’s chemistry wasn’t all that, but still not bad at all. Like their little story. A bit funny at first and later more serious.

A very nice series overall, except a few things were still unknown and others were too gift-wrapped that made me feel kind of mad.

Posted (on Xanga): Friday, October 3rd, 2008

Re-posted: Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

The Greatness of a Hero

Another TVB mistake in warehousing a series. But I think I could understand this time because of the possibility of the complex language used in ancient series versus the modernized language we’re all used to. This was surprisingly good from the beginning to the end–even when there were hints of frustrations from several characters.

Like Factor(s):

  • The cast. I was doubtful if it was going to work and was one of the reasons why I did not watch this when it first came out. But I was glad I did since the cast worked together really well. There were roles that you thought not possible but it was nice to see the collaboration.
  • Kent Cheng and Sonija Kwok as Dik Yan Kit and Cho Yuet. It was very strange that they were actually my favorite couple in here. Maybe because their relationship was on a more mature level than the rest of the couples in here. It was also possibly because of his age and her responsibilities for the family. However, they complemented each other really well despite the age difference. Their story was touching and memorable. At first, I thought it was the pity thing that he took her in and somehow married her later. But it was not that. There was an actual indication that when his wife passed away, she matched-made them, saying that they shouldn’t hold back and lose the opportunity. It showed they must have grown to admire each other for their personalities instead of just the whole ‘pity for her’ factor or ‘repaying his gratitude’ element.
  • The Dik’s family. I liked how they got along with one another with support and care for the majority of the series. And it was a bit unrealistic that everyone treated Cho Yuet so well but they probably wanted to portray the loyal family with the well-behaved children, plus an understanding mother-in-law who could sympathize with the daughter-in-law’s past and would not pick on Cho Yuet in unreasonable manners–although she admitted that she was hesitant of their marriage at first.
  • Sunny Chan and Bernice Liu as Sung Ting Yuk and Dik Ching Lyun. This was the second time I saw their collaboration and it was not bad at all. Liked their scenes for the most part.
  • Wayne as the villain. Okay, I usually do not like seeing my favorite actors as villains, but Wayne is an exception since it’s a good reminder that he isn’t just portraying all these silly guy roles. He was so convincing as the evil guy.

Dislike Factor(s):

  • The costumes/ hairstyles. I know they probably tried their best with the colorful outfits and the sophisticated hairstyles and trying to make everything worked, but it looked so bulky with the hairstyles that it was a bit disturbing. It made me feel sorry for those people wearing such thick hair pieces, especially the female cast in here.

Anyway, it was a good series overall. It was not the best but because it wasn’t trying to be cheesy that made it more likable on different levels.

*The funniest thing was I was watching it about the same time as The Threshold of a Persona so I was thinking ‘same cast’ and it added to the craziness of watching both of that and A Great Way to Care at the same time.

Posted: August 8, 2009

Re-posted: Sunday, March 28th, 2010