HK TV Series Worth Watching

This is the Hong Kong list, as promised in the other post.  This will be longer, mostly because I started watching HK ones first. And I also started this two years ago but didn’t launch it until now.

Ancient:

A Tough Side of a Lady – Mulan story going haywire. YET consider it a comedy and enjoy it for its humor. Wong Hei and Marianne Chan made such a cute couple in here.

Better Halves – A fun, light-hearted (for the most part, lol) drama. Nice collaboration between Steven and Maggie.

Destined to Rebel – Ignore the history and you’ll enjoy this since the cast’s really nice to watch. Tragic ending yet it wasn’t too lame.

Heroic Legend of the Yang Family – I don’t remember much anymore, but it was indeed a grand production that was worth it.

In the Realms of Joy – Many people might not even remember or care about this but I thought it was one of those best comedies because they managed to include major and minor characters into the plot. I hate it when they kept focusing on one or two persons SO it would get boring so fast.

King Maker – Was surprised. There were times that it veered off the road, BUT I guess compared to some recent ones, had to say it was good enough.

Lethal Weapons of Love and Passion – This was an adaptation of Huang Yi’s novel, which had gone haywire somewhat because of the alterations in characters and plot in general. Nothing new because adaptations could never match that of the original author’s intention and it often had to do with the capability to do it or not. But regarding characters, I think they did it on purpose with making some people ‘too good’ so as not to damage some reputations. (PUH-LEASE.) I wasn’t so against the cast though I had my doubts regarding some people. YET I watched anyway since I just love those ancient series and how it was wuxia too. Surprisingly, I enjoyed it.

Mystery of the Parchment – Some stuff didn’t make sense. Yet it was one of those if you don’t pay attention as much, you end up enjoying it for its ancient setting.

Road for the Heroes – Half comedy and half-serious. But it still retained some of the ancient feelings that didn’t make it corny at all.

Road to Eternity – This was surprisingly good without ruining it too much. This has a lot of Buddhism in it (obviously) and Zen stuff.

Safe Guards – What can I say? I’m a sucker for the Steven and Wayne team.

Square Pegs – The ending sort of killed it. Yet I guess it couldn’t be any other way. But it was too frustrating. Still worth the time with some parts though.

Swordsman Lai Bo Yee – It was quite draggy at one point too. But the overall was pretty good for an ancient one.

Ten Tigers of Guangdong – Major production from ATV. Can’t say there weren’t frustrated moments. But it was somewhat worth it with those series back then.

The Buddha Jin – One of the earlier adaptations of Ji Gong that was worth it.

The Commandments – I used to hate it when I was little since I didn’t get why people were so gossipy, etc. YET I learned to love this little comedy later on for its intention.

The Duke of Mount Deer 1984 – Interestingly, it was the version that got all the chronological orders right with how the main dude met all the girls/women in his life. Though the personalities and plot elements had gotten lost for some people. (YES, I’m technical so sue me.) There was also the start of the whole ‘Andy and Tony’ team that had grabbed the audience over the years when they reunite in another movie/series. Oh yeah, Elaine Chow Siu Lan actually got a role worth mentioning in that one.

The Gentle Crackdown II – One of the rare times that the sequel was better than the 1st part. Maybe because some parts made a lot more sense.

The Great General – The sequel of “Heroic Legend of the Yang Family”. Wasn’t super perfect, but was really interesting for the most part, not to mention excellent acting from the majority of the cast.

The Greatness of a Hero – One of the rare surprises of recent years.

The Hunter’s Prey – Despite the ending that left some of us felt like we were choking but the overall plot wasn’t bad. Eddie Cheung got sacrificed as usual but what else was new? (YET people still dare to say that he just got sacrificed recently just to boost some younger faces. YEAH RIGHT, he got sacrificed a longgggggg time ago. STOP making it into some stupid fan war to bash the new generation.)

The Legend of the Condor Heroes 1982 – Actually a big and long production that was worth it? The plot got shuffled around a bit but I guess the overall wasn’t too bad. (Don’t convince me how phenomenon it was or how “classic” it was, I watched it! Like more than 10 times too. AND then read the book right afterward so I know what the hell got shuffled and sacrificed. Despite being a grand production, it wasn’t that accurate either. IF you have the resource, at least DO IT RIGHT.)

The New Adventures of Chor Lau Heung 1984 – Despite the fact that it distorted sooooooo much from Gu Long’s novels, except for some parts, it was pretty good if look as a totally different series. (AND don’t even get me started on how they tarnished Gu Long’s vision of the actual story, the point got missed major time but turned into a popular route instead, which was a super shame BECAUSE those who watched this first will never appreciate the more accurate adaptations of the later years. OR should I say the ones that came before as well?)

The New Heavenly Sword and Dragon Sabre 1986 – Let’s just say, the first part of the parents’ generation was much more interesting than the rest. YET it was okay overall. You just watch for the cast ’cause if you really think about it, it was kind of frustrating at times. Not to mention it had distorted some parts and characters.

The Return of the Condor Heroes 1983 – OMG, it was more accurate to the novel than the first part. That was what made it even better to watch. (NOT saying it was better than part 1 here because technically this is just part of the trilogy, just saying it was more accurate hence making it even more enjoyable on its own.)

The Slicing of the Demon – Another surprise in recent years. Maybe because it didn’t go the typical, formulaic route with playing safe and all.

The Smiling, Proud Wanderer 1984 – OMG, this was awesome from the music to the acting, etc. Honestly, CYF was awesome as LHC. The story got shuffled around, some characters were tone down to be more endurable YET they sacrificed others to make a certain character looked better. But like that was news. The overall was good if you skip around more. Then I just did a re-watch of recent and I found the ending unendurable. I swear, NOT picking on this BUT XAJH is technically my favorite (after DOMD) BUT TVB killed the ending. (YES, it was so dragging with them trying to make heroes out of the lamest characters.) It’s sooo sad that they never do a correct adaptation for this one OR the casting is so off. I don’t know if there will ever be one that actually does the novel justice, BUT even this version didn’t satisfy me. Despite awesome acting with some people. AND oh yeah, the song that became the drive for LCH’s journey was practically forgotten halfway through already. OR maybe a third way through. What the hell was that? Then I pulled myself together and reminded myself that at least it focused on jianghu related stuff more than on the soaps side (cough cough). Not to mention they didn’t cut out some of my favorite characters just to make room for some characters that only got 2-minute fame in the actual novel.

The Two Most Honorable Knights 1988 – Umm…the cast made it good. I don’t know. There wasn’t much to go on because they butchered the plot. Once again, Gu Long got robbed but what else was new, right? I hated the whole ‘merge in characters’ for some people. I heard the ’70s version was more accurate but I can’t be sure since I didn’t watch that yet. And there was also the whole thing with me not finishing the novel yet.

Vampire Expert II – Those traditional vampire capturing stories. Great stories of various sorts, but also included some comedies as well.

Where The Legend Begins – Only some people made it good. Yet it was an interesting take from the other side of the whole ‘three kingdoms’ stories.

Pre-Modern:

Au Revoir Shanghai – NOT because I liked most of the cast involved. That helped. But I thought it was well thought out. In fact, most Shanghai related series are good. I said ‘MOST’, NOT ‘all’.

Coincidentally – The first series that Frankie and Annie paired up together–despite the fact that they’ve been in several series together already.

Fist of Fury – It was awesome! One of those ATV classics.

Good Against Evil – I loved it. Not only because of Deric but how the plot seemed to have a mixture of mystery, comedy. etc.

Phoenix Rising – I was surprised to really enjoy this. A lot of gray areas come into play. And sometimes you really wonder if you should take some people’s words for it. Some were obvious, but others were hard to figure.

The Charm Beneath – One of those surprisingly good ones. Regardless of the cast. Or if the plot might be frustrating at times.

The Legend of Dragon Pearl – OMG, I didn’t expect to enjoy it so much. The comedy was mad and random, but it was really charming because of everyone’s acting. OR more like most people’s acting.

The Price of Greed – Despite some poor acting in place, the plot was really good. It had really carried out some chilling effects with all the plots and schemes.

The W Files – Sci-fi/detective/crime-solving one. Pretty cool actually since it addressed a mixture of cases that had to do with the phenomenon side.

Thou Shalt Not Cheat – OMG, it was a riot! Despite some frustrations here and there, the series was good overall. The comedy wasn’t too over either.

Modern:

A Great Way to Care – Ignore the somewhat lame title since it was overlooked somewhat because of that. I didn’t regret diving in though I had my initial doubts.

Black Heart, White Soul – Need I say more? It’s been a while since I enjoyed something so this one had to be placed in after I was done with the series.

Catch Me Now – One of the surprisingly good ones. YET the ending sort of killed it. But I guess it wasn’t the worst of them all when it was trying to kill the main character.

CIB Files – The only series ever that I could like Bowie Lam. (Don’t know why, just that he always seems to be intimidating regardless.) It was creative in the way it was shot at the beginning and led us into the story. The office dramas were reflected throughout and it was fun to see. Though the Wong Hei and Maggie Siu pairing was kind of odd but wasn’t the worst and was still cute in a way.

Cross Border Daddy – Inspirational one. NOT perfect since there were quite a few parts that could do without. Yet it turned out fine.

D.I.E. – The first one was enough. There were mixes of madness among other things since most characters were quite weird. Yet some of the foundations got ruined in the later parts, especially near the ending. But it was decent overall.

Family Man – I lost count on how many times I watched this already. Quite meaningful though not flawless. A good mixture of comedy and romance.

Forensic Heroes I & II – YES, I listed 2 as well because I still liked it despite it sacrificing some characters. The cases were all right.

Forensic Heroes III – MOST people were against it because of its link to the previous installments but it was really decent for a standalone series. There were glitches within the plot (like most TVB series) but it was NOT that terrible like some claimed.

Hearts of Fencing – A light-hearted, youth drama. Many might not care for it. But I thought it was worth watching if you want to reminisce about the old school days. AND for the first time, the ages of the students weren’t off since they used some fresh faces (at the time) to fit the roles.

Just Love II – It honestly was better than part 1 for some reason. Since the foundation was better with some clarifications. And perhaps I rather deal with Johnson’s Mr. 13 than some annoying ‘father-in-law’.

Last One Standing – Quite intense and mind games were involved. The deception and conspiracies from both sides were quite nerve-wracking at times. Yet worth it.

Life Art – Many will disagree since it seemed so average. Yet I felt it was one of those light-hearted ones. There were dramatic moments that the characters went through. But overall, it was really genuine.

Master of Play – Psychological theme, and other dark themes. Add in some more art. NOT everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s one of those that forces one to think about life in general and the choices people make (and much more).

My Date With A Vampire I, II, & III – YES, I’m the rare one who liked all three. Though there were parts that could do without and there were frustrations, I think I valued it for the story, the acting, and interesting interpretations at times. (LOL!)

Not Just A Pretty Face – Hilarious!

Odd Man Out – MOST people probably didn’t remember this or might not know of its existence. It was one of those nonsense comedies but didn’t go into the ‘lame’ boundary.

One Step Beyond – It was mad random and bordering on nonsensical at times. But it managed to capture some of the unpredictable at times.

Placebo Cure – I was surprised since I didn’t think much of it when it came out. But I checked it out anyway later.

Project Ji Xiang – I’m a sucker for those ghost-related ones. Not to mention it was a decent one overall with the plot NOT moving too fast or too slowly.

Reincarnated II – Didn’t watch the other version, and didn’t read the novel either, but enjoyed the series overall.

Seed of Hope – Loved it, very meaningful and not too much. Though I hated some of the ending stuff that happened to Kenix’s character, I tried to just erase that part for its traumatic effects. Patrick and Kenix also made an interesting pairing.

Shade Of Darkness – Ghost revenge type of series. Surprisingly interesting.

Speech of Silence – Another surprise.

Steps (aka The Whole City Is Dancing) – Steven & Bernice. AND Wayne. NOT the best since the ending sort of killed it. But decent overall.

The Brink of Law – Quite exciting and actually unpredictable at various points.

The Ghostbusters Gang – It was mixed with comedy and ghost-related stuff. But really nice to watch the cast battle it out at times.

The Hero From Shanghai – Good Gallen and Maggie collaboration. Didn’t realize they had so much chemistry and were quite cute together. There were also nice fighting scenes, lol.

The King of Yesterday and Tomorrow – Fun, time travel drama. Loved the cast and acting.

Tiger Cubs – Short and simple. The end.

When Heaven Burns – A major surprise for me. Many things I already mentioned in the review since I actually did a long one for the series, but it honestly was worth it. Some might not like it because of the ‘slow’ pace but I didn’t think it was slow at all. Sure, there were times that I got impatient but I was worried the ending would get ruined. But the details were essential for later parts.

Who Is The Killer – Old, but good overall.

Sitcoms:

Be My Guest – It was sooo long ago, but I remember loving it.

Off Peddar – Despite the fact that the ending ruined it, it was pretty good overall.

Welcome to the House – Some of the cast annoyed the world out of me, but the rest made up for it. And besides, it was mostly a senseless comedy so I didn’t really mind.

NOTE: This list will be updated from time to time. Also, the list is by alpha order AND not by significance. And this will also be included in the “Helpful + Fun Posts” in case anyone’s interested.

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Mystery of the Parchment

Probably the second TVB series that I watched. And this one was one of those I could chant along with it as it played on screen. That told you how many times I’d watched it already.

The likes:

  • Canti Lau. He was funny at first, serious later after going through some trials, and somehow goofy again near the end where it seemed after everything was over. Did I doubt his acting? No, he was convincing with his role–even if I’d doubted the plot at times, I did not doubt him.
  • Kitty Lai. It was one of those rare Kitty roles that I really liked in those days and possibly it was because it was the first role that I saw of her so I really liked it.
  • Canti and Kitty. I back-watched so this was actually the first of them. Must admit they were addicting to watch. It was so funny how they didn’t even get along at first–like those typical ones–YET they weren’t that off like she wouldn’t even cave into him regardless. Too bad their relationship had become subtle later due to other subplots–AND possibly unnecessary.
  • Gallen Lo. At the first watch, it was normal to hate him. Come on now, the villain. Somehow, I found his character to be essential later on. In fact, he was a bit pitiful. Well, slightly, since in the later parts, he was kind of one of those typical characters who chose the path of ‘throne’ rather than ‘friendship’. One couldn’t really blame him since he was royalty after all SO it was normal to re-gain his throne. BUT I felt he was only able to live peacefully IF he knew he did not have a chance. It was like he didn’t want to live such a boring life. He was so reluctant, SO when he realized he had a chance again, he just had to jump at it. I thought it was a constant battle with his character since he was struggling with what his father and the others were molding him since young versus the whole idea of what that one monk said one time with how all of us would become nothing anyway, so why fight (i.e. kill each other to get what we want BUT can’t take with us)? In the end, the greed side won out AND it was also his ending when he betrayed his lover, going against his words. Maybe I should feel pity for him more than hate.
  • Gallen and Betty Mak as a couple. I don’t know. This was my first co-star of Gallen so it left some impression with their story, so tragic. They really cared for each other YET as I stated before, he just couldn’t put the whole royalty background down to live with her in a normal place. What was even sadder was when he ended up coaxing her and using her to benefit himself as well, causing the worst. AND for once, I didn’t feel it was an easy out for him when he went crazy and lost his memory (or what it seemed to be). ‘Cause it was like he had lost everything, even her since he had betrayed her trust–like she said. It wasn’t about face OR about Canti’s character that she forced Gallen’s character to keep his words, BUT it was for his sake AND how both sides could live peacefully, not fighting each other’s countries. YET he had used those ‘promises’ to lure her into telling him the information.
  • Betty Mak. I honestly pitied her to the point that I couldn’t name anyone else on top of my head that I could pity more. ‘Cause she was used by everyone in here–her father, her lover, and her so-called friends. YES, all stated to have some legitimate reasons for their doings BUT it didn’t justify using her like that, pretending to care for her yet they just wanted to satisfy and/or fulfill their wishes. She was kind and nice and intelligent. Maybe because she was too intelligent that she became an asset for others. Perhaps, the only person who actually cared for her–aside from her dead mother–was the crazy woman who her father kept in the cell for a period of time.
  • The ancient feelings of it. It was 1990 but they still managed to keep it ancient enough. The humor was truly hilarious AND it moved forward fast enough, except in the middle, which was a shame. The downhill parts was due to the whole triangles–partially AND then the scheming parts, which was kind of essential. BUT I was overly frustrated with some lacking parts, which will be mentioned later on in the next section.
  • The comedy. As said above, you could actually laugh without feeling it was corny because Canti and the other supporting cast were so funny. The rest of the supporting cast DID NOT have to be big shot stars like in recent series. And being just some supporting actors, they were able to make us laugh. Their ability to do comedy was better than some people who take the leading roles. (Seriously.)
  • The supporting cast. This was the time where they didn’t slap a bunch of characters in front of your face with ‘star-cast’ OR so they liked to do it. It’s already mentioned in the previous one but I have to put it here to stress my point even more.
  • Wayne Lai as one of the beggars. Okay, this was one of those things with watching old series–AGAIN. You get to spot the most insignificant actors back then. But then the funniest thing was NO ONE cared about them the first time around YET now claimed that they were so good and no wonder they got promoted. (I would be like, “Yeah, really? Where were you when they were playing those really small roles?”)
  • Gordon Lam as one of the beggars. Same as Wayne Lai! LOl!
  • Wilson Tsui as one of the beggars. Awww…he was getting demoted? He was doing so good in the other roles in the ’80s.

Dislikes:

  • Donna Chu as the Beggar Clan leader’s daughter. She later became the leader of the Beggar Clan, of course. I couldn’t find myself liking her regardless of what she was going through in the later parts of the story. Maybe because she was first runner up of Miss HK 1989 that she got some meaty role? AND that Kitty’s screen time was cut? (It looked like that way to me.) I rather they focused more on the whole conflicts and fighting OR random humor than seeing her character appear so much, later on, sacrificing Kitty’s role–as I said before.
  • The inconsistency of Canti’s character later on. Well, possibly it was because he had become the king SO he had changed? Like they all were in those days OR so we were often told? BUT it was super LAME seeing he would grab at a chance to stare at girls OR act like he didn’t care about Kitty’s character anymore. There was a distance between them, BUT it was like he who chose to ignore it–or something. It was more toward the ending since it showed that he cared for Kitty A LOT as the story was still developing.
  • The fact that Canti ended up with both girls. Well, it was hard NOT to since he was the king after all. BUT I just didn’t like Donna Chu’s character as I said before so it kind of defeated the purpose of seeing that happen. It was too random. Sure, he liked her ’cause she was sort of fun to mess around with. BUT it was a joke letting him ending up with her as well. It made Canti and Kitty’s relationship a bigger joke.
  • The fact that they made Wong Wai the BIG BAD GUY. I meant I knew he was evil and hated his character throughout. YET some of the reasoning behind it did not make sense at all. ANY NORMAL guy would be offended IF his bride ran off to who knew where and abandoned him on their supposed wedding day. Any guy would be pissed off. Though being greedy MIGHT NOT be as big of a crime to pay the price of being killed BUT in a way it made sense that he killed off her family and everyone else. I meant that dude was driven to insanity with false promise, losing face, etc. It would’ve been better IF the other lady just plain turned him down. Her father obviously knew she was with his second disciple (aka second senior to her) BUT still wanted to arrange the marriage because of the heavy gift Wong Wai’s character gave him. AND in a sense, Wong Wai’s character still loved the other lady A LOT to even spare her life since he already learned all the martial arts from her family and even the secret one that she and the second senior created (though he had no idea about the last part). If they (the scriptwriters) had come up with better reasons for his evilness–aside from how he wanted to take over the world (sort of since he wanted to be king), it would hold a better plot. It was too lame and typical. The only thing I felt he deserved of his fate was being greedy with his wanting to be king AND that he had deceived his disciple. It had in a way gone full circle since it was sending a message about how IF you decided to deceive someone, you would meet your fate. It wasn’t exactly a great idea to deceive his wacko disciple.

It was good overall IF you didn’t have to think about it as much but just watch it as another typical ancient series with a lot of conflicts, etc. And not to mention, something you didn’t have to care about. But if analyzed further, it had a lot of holes. YET the only thing that I felt still hold true regarding it was still holding some elements of those traditional wuxia themes where the humor wasn’t overly cheesy yet. They still kept it about right. Just some inconsistency here and there.