Year 2016 in Recap

year_review


Year 3 in doing this. I really want to keep doing this, but I felt that 2016 had been a complete letdown on my part. Granted, it was a terrible year on many levels. It had affected me so much, draining me emotionally that I didn’t feel like keeping some kind of streak anymore. I only did some posts when I felt like it. Then I also tried to pick myself up by the end of the year by trying to release songs translations back-to-back at times, not even saving them for later so cushion posts could do the honor. I just didn’t feel like updating a lot of things. At first, I had prepared a post about a particular pairing, but I felt like I’m better than that. Not to mention how I wouldn’t want to cause even more misunderstandings between fans. At times, it’s very hard to restrain. But in the end, real-life got in the way. I took the actions that wonderful couple took, instead of arguing with senseless people who are full of evil thoughts for them. Yet I will say that can’t be epic like them so maybe one day I will break out of my silence to go at it in one post to unleash all the bottled-up frustrations. Because I know one of those days I will just blow up.

Total Posts in 2016: 77 (6.5% of all time).

January: 18 (23% of the year)
February: 3 (4%)
March: 1 (1%)
April: 3 (4%)
May: 9 (12%)
June: 7 (9%)
July: 14 (18%)
August: 3 (4%)
September: 3 (4%)
October: 6 (8%)
November: 2 (3%)
December: 8 (10%)

Notice that I took the poll out for the stars. Partially, it was due to what happened earlier this year. The other part was because I felt kind of wrong with teasing readers about possible updates if they voted more or whatever. I’m grateful to those who participated and continue to follow my blog–even in silence. I appreciate the constant likes and all as well. I really do. It’s just that I don’t want to be leaving you hanging on that. Sure, I will continue to update for my favorites from time to time, but that will depend on how long before I take care of some real-life matters.

Books Reviews:

Movies + TV Series Reviews/Episode Summaries:

Fan Fiction:

I think the year reached a new low for fan fiction updates because of my distractions of other stuff. I can’t promise it’ll get any better this coming year. I’m sorry that I made those of you who are reading those stories wait for too long. But I can promise you that I will finish regardless of obstacles since I don’t usually scrap stories away when it’s well on its way. I’ll try to do a separate fan fiction update later this year to clarify some matters.

  • Payback – Chapters 4-5

Songs Translations:

Using Rebirth to start the year didn’t help at all. Despite the fact that I was having high hopes at that time. The year continued to dive with a lot of forced positiveness. But what else could I do, right? Hopefully the coming year will be better.

So, what now? I don’t think there is any other choice except to move forward. I want to keep being positive, ignoring trolls in general, and just focus on my own matters. I want to get back on writing posts about Jun Ya and Xiao Xiao Yu. I have been active on Xiao Xiao Yu for the first part of the year and then somehow faded. But I did update more on Qiao Qiao in the later parts of the year. I just have to continue on that track. Not to mention getting back into fanfics, because I seriously miss them. Focusing on just real life stuffs really suck all the energy right out of me. I’ll try to work on a balance. Somehow. Because I seriously miss this blog. What I did do though was letting this blog becoming somewhat official with its own domain. Yes, that was a mini-Christmas present for myself since I managed to find a deal. Oh yeah, how could I forget Janine? Although I did update on her this year, I was somewhat neglecting her and only updating randomly. I also want to get back to Penny. More importantly, I want to actually watch and finish reviewing some dramas I’ve been holding back on.

This might possibly be the last year I do this type of update since I don’t find the fun in it anymore. Maybe resorting back to the typical data from WordPress next year. Not sure. But we’ll see.

Under the Veil

I wanted to watch something of Wayne’s so that was the reason for tuning in to this one. Then I realized Wayne and Sonija were collaborating again so the better for me since I had liked them together after watching Pages of Treasure (and felt they were kind of robbed as a couple in there). I also didn’t have any problem with the rest of the cast so I dove in. As I was patiently waiting for the plot to unfold, I thought it was just another palace related show. However, I was wrong. Yes, the main story arch was regarding the palace and the uprising of some arrogant dude who thought he would be a better ruler. It always happened that way. What made it different was how it brought back feelings of old series. Mostly feelings of ancient series of the old days. It wasn’t being controversial on purpose or try to dramatize everything. The story just flowed along. I found it funny at first that they had several characters in here in various roles and even their characters looked alike. I soon got past that and realized it would be an interesting one. At least it was different. Then I got pulled in by the story. Sure, some were repetitive and reminded me of Liao Zhai related stories. Yet it was refreshing in a sense of the chemistry between various characters. I felt it strange at first that they let Kristal portray a guy. It was almost as if they were running out of cast or something. But then the character grew on me and so did Kristal’s portrayal. (If they did some Mulan adaptation, she would make a perfect Mulan. Not kidding.)

Anyway, aside from the main story arch, I felt the rest of the couples had a fair share of stories. Although Yat Pan Heung was shown as a greedy, flirty, and despicable character at first, the background story for her made sense. She was a prostitute, what was she expected to do? Then she was living in such a place, how could she not come up with different schemes to triumph over others? Who was she supposed to trust? It made sense. The previous happening with the switch and all was only to teach Chu Yi Dan a lesson. It didn’t allow for Yat Pan Heung to justify herself more than that. Because he wasn’t her fate so he only saw her as the fun person, not like his boring wife–as he mistakenly thought. Chu Yi Dan finally learned that his wife was very talented in her own way and very strong. There were many things she’d done for him but he didn’t realize its importance until she was no longer doing them. It made him realized his unreasonableness and knowing that the wife he wanted had been by his side all along. When Yat Pan Heung finally met Hon Tin Loi, the story unfolded and she found her own happiness and what could be considered a normal life. I actually liked those characters more, lol. Call me bias but scholar versus awesome martial arts dude. But both Wayne and Sonija did quite well in bringing out their different roles.

Then there was the story of the Song prince and Princess Lap Ka. Their story was cute at first and then moved toward the tragic route. However, their story was spread out throughout and not bunch together. It created a sense of mystery to it, making you wonder if there would be some sort of miracle in the end, which there was. But it didn’t make it too corny. The story actually made sense in the fairy-tale or folktale kind of way.

The story regarding the fish spirit and Cheung Chan was a mixture of cuteness and tragedy. Although it turned out favorable in the end. But that story brought forth both humor and mystery. The ideal, sweet girl wasn’t who she posed as out in public and a supposedly fish demon wasn’t so evil like often portrayed in others’ eyes. Eliza actually did quite well portraying both roles. She brought out the innocent, cute side of the fish spirit nicely. Then there was the cunning, scheming side of the royal miss, Hung Mao Dan. Her chemistry with Bosco was cute and likable in their own way.

Aside from all the couples in here, I felt some of the notable mentions went to Lee Kwok Lun, portraying two roles (like some others in here) of the turtle spirit and Justice Bao. He was humorous as the turtle spirit and somewhat grim as Justice Bao. Yet he was convincing in both roles. Koo Koon Chung was given a loyal, righteous role in here, which was hilarious. Well, okay, not like he’d never portrayed a good person type of role before, but I was more used to his cunning side or somewhat playful roles in the past. So having him in this role was a nice change. He was a great addition under the reins of Dyun Fung Sam. At the part where it was thought he had abandon Dyun as well, considering how he had a family and all, it was tragic but understandable. Yet he returned after having settled all his families at a safer place. It proved that he really meant what he said, i.e. caring for his family, and that he wasn’t afraid of death–like initially thought.

After all that was said and done, I think the most tragic couple must be Yuen Sam Yeung and Dyun So Sei. The ending for them was so sad. There was supposedly another chance for them at long last after all those years of waiting. However, in the end, they couldn’t be together. Both Raymond and Kristal acted out their scenes so well. Their chemistry wasn’t bad either.

There were many things about this series that made me wanted to defend TVB again, although I know they’re a lost cause for the most part. Most dramas nowadays are always leaning toward “love, love, love” and not so much for the theme of patriotism so I thought this series sort of brought that back into focus. Yes, there were various love stories in here–and it would probably contradict my previous statement somewhat, but I think that they made the right calls for the main story arch, i.e. the side stories weren’t that dragged out for the sake of it. It was more plot-driven than character-driven so it made the pace likable and enjoyable in many ways.

The ending? Although not completely satisfying and I’m sure there were flaws somewhere, but I felt it was nicely executed for the most part. A typical ending with a battle between good versus evil. Yet it united some of the key characters for the epic ending. It was nice seeing Raymond in another role, but this time as Prince Wanyan Siu. He joined forces with them to help find the special liquid and also defeated the ultimate bad guy in here. It was a nice battle scene. Not overdone. They actually worked together to defeat the bad guy AND NOT make it like someone hogged the entire scene for some outright exaggerated battle. It brought forward a sense of joint effort like how it was from the beginning, having different characters participate in the events, not one or two-persons all the time. One of the main reasons why I liked this series. And yes, it was indeed a major surprise that I’m praising it.

A Great Way to Care II

If looking at this as a standalone series–like I was advised, this was decent by itself. It could be considered a cop drama also. However, on the sequel front, it failed miserably on several levels. I’ll do a breakdown (like I usually do) to clarify a bit more.

First off, cast:

  • Alex Fong as Dr. Ko Lap Yan. I felt he was robbed. YES, he was just walking around randomly (like some people had said) at times and not even doing anything important. As the main lead, I swear he should’ve been given more stuff to do than random walking. Even if I just said above that I will address it as a ‘standalone’ first, it still felt off that the main lead was standing around doing senseless stuff more than being involved in the big picture. Despite all that, I felt Alex’s acting was still solid when he appeared, not slacking off even if he was ‘robbed’,  unlike some people who would only do the best when they’re given more meaty roles.
  • Ram Tseung as Dr. Lien Chi Sum. Once again, Dr. Lien carried the comedian role like the previous one. He was still the compassionate doctor who cared for his patients and keeping to the morals. However, I felt it was unnecessary to include a possible “extramarital affair” into his story. Perhaps, they were trying to put in the whole possible test with how he was away from his wife, etc. But still unnecessary. He should be involved with the cases and giving professional advice like Dr. Ko and not waste time with other matters.
  • Tavia Yeung as Yan. What to say about her? At first, it didn’t click for me. Later on, her character grew on me. Yet it wasn’t enough for me to like her completely. AND I’m not sore about what happened in the past year or so (in case anyone was thinking it). But I felt like something was missing. It wasn’t the fact that she became the villain later either. It was more like maybe she–along with some others–were given unnecessary side stories as well. But I think she got luckier than the other characters since, after all, it did tie in with her character in general about discovering her true background.
  • Ben Wong as Chung Kwok Ban. A more developed character here. Yet I felt something was missing. Like how he was so fierce and/or ruthless in the other one yet so dashingly handsome. This on, it seemed to show that he had gone soft. Though he was still stern with some of them when they were making fun of him and that one ‘girl’ who claimed to be his ‘girlfriend’, something was still missing. Then there was the image for him. I’m not saying he should stay the same as a character after all these years. Yet I felt if they were consistent with making Alex and Ram looked almost like the first part, at least pay attention to Ben’s image.
  • Yoyo Mung as Louise/ Kiu. Okay, I agree with some people she was robbed. It wasn’t that Yoyo’s acting was lacking but she was given such a random role. And I don’t care if she didn’t hog the screen all the time. I just cared if she contributed to the plot with its relevancy in regards to the theme. Yet like after Law Lok Lam’s case, her character seemed to go downhill in the development area. I loved how she interacted with the others but like the others, I felt there were just too many random scenes versus focusing on the main cases.
  • Edwin Siu as Jackson. I don’t know what to say about his character at first. Yet I got used to his character later. Sure, he was quite a smart-aleck and drove others insane at times. The other times, he showed bravery and wasn’t willing to compromise a doctor’s integrity for money or pressure of losing work. The rest? I guess he was witty enough. Edwin had managed to make it work somehow–even if he was like others who were given more random moments than important cases related duties.
  • Aimee Chan as Jade Lai. Not sure what to say about her. Not that I would pick on her like others. It was cool to see her as a psychologist who had studied abroad with so much intelligence in her. But I felt it was hard to believe at times when she was giving Dr. Lien advice regarding him and his assistant. I got it that she could know and understand the signs, but I felt it was strange with her being the one pointing it out to him. So they did work at the same place so it was hard to not notice but I felt like it just didn’t fit. Just me though.
  • Christine Kuo as Scarlett. I was surprised to like her character in here and didn’t find her acting as annoying as some other ones. Or maybe it was the role and she wasn’t giving me the feeling she was “trying” to be cute. She showed a brave side of herself when she united with the others to fight against Henry later on. Quite noble and admirable in that sense.
  • Eric Li as Pauli. I always liked him. Glad he was rising again with some sort of important role or once in awhile not seeing him as a villain. He, like the others on the medical side, got robbed regarding their participation in the cases, but he didn’t lack charm during other side scenes.
  • Oscar Leung as Edgar Wong. It was really funny for me to see him in here as a doctor because of how vividly I remember him as a psycho in the first part. Yet I guess he did his part in here and managed to convince.
  • Power Chan as Sunny. Totally delivered but after that one case with him helping a certain patient and stepping forward to “take the fall” and more, his role got reduced like the others–unless it was some random scenes.
  • Cheung Kwok Keung as Henry Law. Again, appearing as the “despicable” doctor who had somehow convinced Dr. Ko to join the team. Yet, later on, he found out how Dr. Ko was protecting other doctors and wasn’t going to bend to his “rules”, he tried to kick Dr. Ko out by framing Dr. Ko for malpractice. Indeed, he met with his deserved fate. Somehow, his role also got reduced somewhat and made way for other randomness as well. I got it that he was already causing troubles in the first one and needed to be one of the ‘bad’ ones to wrap this part up but I felt it was loose in a sense.
  • Jimmy Au as Lao Gui (老鬼). I was surprised to find him in here. Was he in the other one? I don’t even remember anymore. But it was interesting how he was under Chung Sir’s commands. He later was given a major role when Chung Sir was in the coma. It was actually cool seeing him wearing the suit and all. I swear they’d given him a better image for the “boss” type than Ben in here. What in the world? Consistency, people.
  • Amy Fan as Dr. Ko’s high school sweetheart. OMG, I found it was the funniest scenes were when she appeared. Sure, it was a tad nerve-racking for Louise that one time when she appeared and had tried to latch onto Dr. Ko. But it was so funny how one of the doctors pretended to be Dr. Ko (after all these years) and she saw right through it. I think I only managed to laugh out loud the hardest during that scene when she pushed that other doctor aside to reach Dr. Ko. (Then it was even more hilarious when Jackson was stopping Louise from preventing the other doctor to go ‘pretend to be Dr. Ko’ because he said maybe it would work, considering how Dr. Ko might look like that in several more decades. SAD for the other doctor but still funny.)

Pairings:

  • Alex and Yoyo. I was so happy that they were together since I enjoyed their pairing a lot in other ones. However, I’m the odd one out when it comes to wanting a large role for Yoyo or not. Because speaking on my point of view as an immature writer, the main guy doesn’t always end up with some major character in my stories, so I was fine with that arrangement. Even if Yoyo’s character wasn’t like having some ‘breakthrough’ role, I accepted the flow of the story for her and how it eventually came to develop the relationship with Dr. Ko. The foundation was laid out from the start. It wasn’t like it was random. They worked together after all. And it would be too repetitive if Dr. Ko once again ended up with a cop. NOT impossible that he would marry a cop again, but it seemed repetitive for this type of story. The only thing felt kind of beat to death and pathetic was how she chased him down (along with some others) to get him (and them) to donate “sperms” for her. NOT that I’m not open-minded enough to accept the scientific breakthrough. But I felt the way the scriptwriters made her approach them was really insulting and reduced her IQ to about 10. Aside from that, the ending scene was really cute with them bickering by the seaside. Then how he was saying how if she would say it was her kid when the kid was in good, tip-top “smelling good” condition versus how it was his kid when the baby needed a change of diapers (i.e. being all “smelly”).
  • Ben and Tavia. Um…I felt their characters had chemistry through their interactions. It was so cute how he was the shy one and seemed to be so reserved, etc. She was the one doing all the teasing at the beginning. Then later they dated and he was really protective of her, etc. Yet as actor and actress, I felt Ben and Tavia didn’t exude enough chemistry for me to get overly obsessed with them. (I like some of her other parings better.) And perhaps it was the ‘lapse’ in his image for this one that had made him less compatible with Tavia–like I mentioned earlier. I actually felt it was touching how he was willing to “bend” some corners or try to talk her out of it, trying to help her when he finally realized she was “the killer.” Yet too bad things couldn’t be better for him. Sure, he got out of the coma (which was a miracle), but it wouldn’t be good after knowing what had happened to her.
  • Edwin and Aimee. Was this a compensation for Forensic Heroes III? I was glad that their characters were somewhat different. Yet I didn’t like the whole idea with her being the “third party” at one point. Sure, she didn’t know and later even teamed up with Scarlett to “payback” but it felt strange. I was indeed touched by how he didn’t mind that she had surgery in the past and was able to overcome not looking at her appearance. But maybe it was because I wanted more focus on the “cases” that I feel their relationship was also a random side thing to fill up the gaps of the episodes.
  • Edwin and Christine. One-sided feeling at first. Later, it was sweet to me. It was such a shame they didn’t work. I was surprised she got over him so fast. Yet it wasn’t too weird since there were times in between. Just too bad.
  • Power and Christine. That was seriously random. I guess that was why the other guys couldn’t guess either. But was this an attempt to create a new odd pairing? Just wondering, lol. So did they get back together in the end or no? I wouldn’t mind.

As a sequel, how was it? Like I said before, it’s a sad story. After Law Lok Lam’s case, it went downhill from there on the medical side. Dr. Ko still got recruited from time to time, like some of the other medical staff to give advice for a case or two. But that was it. It seemed like the rest of the time, they were just fighting randomly at the office or doing whatever. Like I said before, I liked it that the randomness continued into this series like it had shown in the past when they were off-work. Yet this one just continued on and on with their randomness throughout the working day, making their characters more like a joke than serious about their work. Sure, they were entitled to make a stab of a joke or two at times to lighten up and not get affected by the cases itself AND it would be easier to help patients if they were calmed, but the random talk overlapped the actual analyzing of different mental problems or other issues patients might be going through. AND I had a feeling this was more like Forensic Heroes IV than A Great Way to Care II. Mostly it was because they focused on the cops and forensic teams working together more than the cop and medical sides like in the first part. I was fine with them needing the forensic team at times, especially with processing the scenes. But the focus here was supposed to be psychological cases.

Replacement counterparts.

This was mostly my guess because I swear it seemed that way at times.

  • Tavia Yeung and Yoyo Mung for Kate Tsui. If I put in ‘Tavia for Kate’, I don’t think fans would let me off that well, especially after all that madness from the anniversary stuff and the awards last year. AND because I heard both Tavia and Yoyo were female leads for this part so it was safe to put them in together. The scriptwriters tried to make both Tavia and Yoyo different from Kate’s character so that was the good part. But it lacked some essence with Yoyo’s character, like I said before. I would at least expect her to be more involved with the cases like how I said numerous times already.
  • Edwin Siu for Raymond Wong. I felt Edwin fended fine alongside Alex and Ram. Because it wouldn’t be the same if it was all another ‘copy character’ with someone like Raymond’s Chun. They made Edwin tenfold more ‘smart-aleck’ in his ways. And how Edwin’s character was a doctor and not a nurse made it different as well.
  • Aimee Chan for Vivien Yeo. The reason why I put the two in comparison was because of who they were paired up with later on. I still liked Vivien’s Ka Bik more. Perhaps it was because of Ka Bik’s irresistibly cute and bubbly nature. Again, not picking on Aimee (unlike some people who hadn’t let that ‘dead horse’ rest in peace yet), but it was more like a comparison of characters.
  • Edwin Siu, Eric Li, Oscar Leung, and Christine Kuo for Ruco Chan, Ellesmere Choi, Timmy Hung, and Yoyo Chen. It felt that way to me with the setup of them gathering at times to discuss cases. Though the group of three from the first part were still interns and were preparing for their tests. I would’ve added Power Chan to the new team but he was sort of by himself more than gathering with the others at times so I left him alone for now. As for this case, I felt the guys fended better than Christine at first. Yet some foundation was put in for her later so it wasn’t too bad.
  • Power Chan for Ellesmere Choi. It seemed like both suffered through nervousness and/or confidence problems hence not passing a certain exam yet.
  • Oceane Zhu for Iris Wong. I just remember recently. Their characters and personalities were different, just that they were both nurses so I thought I place them against each other. I felt Iris’ character Daisy was really funny, even if she seemed flirty at times. She brought in a sense of charm to her role. Though I do like Oceane as an actress (considering the new group), but I didn’t really feel it was as funny or likable as Daisy. (And I so didn’t see it that Oceane’s character was a spy for Henry later. SAD…)

The Missing Members:

  • Kate Tsui as Mandy/Monkey. Honestly, that was lame. Even some characters who got killed off in the past got more screen time than that. I don’t expect it to go on for episodes and waste even more time on personal matters, but at least have her appear in the first episode? And I remember reading about how someone had said that, “Kate was the heart of A Great Way to Care” and for once, I couldn’t agree more. It’s not about comparing or wanting to pick on new members. The new additions could be there to add in variety to the cast. Yet I felt it was soooo wrong to not wait for Kate. She and Alex have created this special chemistry that felt just right for the series itself, either it was personal or working together. To think that Kate was so excited for the sequel.
  • Raymond Wong and Vivien Yeo. They were mentioned but that was it. I felt robbed because I just watched The Days of Days awhile back and they were in there, but taking on some senseless comedic roles. And back to this one, I felt it was just too frustrating to not include them for more cute scenes between the two in here. After all, their relationship was already established so the story could move onto their married life; and it could always be written as they move the business back OR have some expansion of the business hence it would make sense for them to be back in town.
  • Astrid Chan. OMG, I enjoyed her pairing with Ram and how their team of husband and wife cracked me up so much in the first part. It didn’t have to focus on them all the time in here, since the other one was like that too, but it showed consistency. However, I didn’t feel as robbed with her story of going overseas to accompany her son while he was studying abroad. At least she wasn’t killed off.
  • Elliot Yue. Really? The main lead’s father wasn’t around. No one’s going to believe that one. Okay, it’s not unreasonable that he’s not around and about all the time. BUT he wasn’t just Dr. Ko’s father’s BUT also Chung Sir’s godfather. So it was hard to imagine Chung Sir didn’t visit him or vice versa. Dr. Ko did receive a call from him later on questioning about the future “daughter-in-law” but that wasn’t enough.
  • Ruco, Ellesmere, Timmy, and Yoyo Chen. For once, I didn’t have any complaints. First, I was disappointed, but then reality kicked in for me and I realized that it was unrealistic that the interns were still around. Sure, they could still work there, but it would make sense they would want to venture out there to get more experiences. And sometimes their specialized areas are different and they would want to find the hospital or facility that is suitable for their practices.
  • Iris Wong as Daisy. It would make sense IF she was still there. But perhaps it was because how she had ended up with Brian (Ellesmere) already so she would follow him to a new place.

Cases? Not as complex as the first part, because the first part was more deeply rooted to psychological stuff and complex diagnosis. Even if it wasn’t as complicated at times, but still stick to the medical-related issues.

So when Ben Wong said that this part was better than the first installment, he meant it was better for him because it was more focused on him and the police side than the doctor and/or medical team side. If it was a spin-off, then I don’t think some of us would make such a big deal out of it. But it wasn’t so that meant it veered way off course from the previous one.

I’m not saying that it was terrible since I said it was decent as a standalone series. Just that when compared, it failed to deliver according to its main theme. Watch it as a standalone series then it would be more enjoyable.

Be Home For Dinner

One of the worst sitcoms ever made. Or should I say it is the worst? I had high hopes for this one, partially because I thought the cast would be smarter than to involve themselves in this. But why should I expect more when creativity just couldn’t win in this time and day–and not to mention at TVB. Then the whole thing with everyone making a living and needed the money so they wouldn’t be fussy about it, right? Though I had lowered my standard of the overall the sitcom since it would be long anyway. Something would get lost–one way or another. Yet I couldn’t forgive the creators of this sitcom for putting in so much lame morality. I’ll elaborate later. But what I would like to point the finger toward right now is the story–at least the general story–was so creepily like When Dolphin Met Cat. Though I started watching When Dolphin Met Cat somewhere along the way of waiting for more episodes of this sitcom YET I could see already the creepy likeness of it. I had finished When Dolphin Met Cat like way before I finished this because let’s see 14 episodes (about an hour each episode) was much faster and easier to take than 100 and something. For one thing, When Dolphin Met Cat was made more than six years ago so that ruled out the whole finger-pointing at the drama for copying. I’m NOT implying that this one’s copying since I have no proofs. Yet it’s just so creepy that there were so many details alike. After finishing the other one, I decided to wait on the review so I could add more similarities before posting it. But I will post the other review in the future with a section of similarities for everyone to read also. However, I must say that When Dolphin Met Cat had a better ending though it had many frustrating plot elements as well. Why? It didn’t force the whole ‘family getting along’ like this one tried to so hard.

The Main Cast (sorry, going to use Mandarin pinyin though it’s a Canto production):

  • Elliot Yue as Zhong Guo Zhu (鍾國柱). His intro scene was very cool with how he was setting up the trap with sending in Tian Kai and Ou Gao Rong to test the food at the restaurant before actually emerging himself, exposing the others in the end. Then there was some foundation–though he wasn’t perfect. It was all right with me that he was a bit paranoid and crazy like the rest of his family. He had some sense of arrogance, which was expected of such a famous editor like him having a reputation, or as they called it ‘having an important footprint in jianghu’. (Can’t translate it accurately but basically it represents his importance.) But all that was lost until near the end when Jessie reemerged, making his character dumb as well for falling for such tricks.
  • Helen Ma as Dou Gui Sen (竇桂森). A kind and innocent elder of the Zhong family. She sure qualified for the naive character in here. I think of all the characters in here, I would understand if she falls for Jessie’s tricks BUT the others? Unacceptable. Perhaps because she has this kind nature that was hard to hate.
  • Stephen Au as Zhong Guo Dong (鍾國棟). Mixed feelings. I really liked his character at first until how he kept pushing Bei Er into mending things with her mother and sister. Then how he handled the whole Jessie thing. SO he wasn’t bright in that area YET the others made him dumber AND then when he found out, he still went through with it? Overall, not bad YET the plot ruined his character.
  • Kristal Tin as Carmen Cen Bei Er (岑貝兒). I always thought she was quite bright and reasonable. Not to mention graceful as well. Yet all that was lost near the end. What a shame. I felt really bad for her with being cornered by others and how they were putting the blame on her, making her cave in. YET I sometimes felt it was deserved, especially near the end when she didn’t fight back hard enough.
  • Yvonne Lam as Mary Suen/Sun (孫瑪利). The best character in here. I swear. It has been a long time since Yvonne Lam was given a great role. I liked it that she had been given a variety of roles over the years YET I wonder when she would receive a role worth mentioning again. Her performance had always been wonderful but this one was one of those roles that really made her shine above all characters. I really loved her witty humor and blunt personality. She was not fake at all. The fact that she was making snark remarks regarding Jessie’s wedding was funny and made her the smartest in here. I loved how she didn’t just force herself to go along with the others during that time. Sure, she would support her family when the situation presented itself. Yet that wedding was too much of a joke for her hence her making a joke out of it (which was what it was really). Can’t say enough about her character. Absolutely lovable.
  • Law Lok Lam as Mr. Ko/Kao. Awhile now that I saw him in a role worth mentioning because at times he would appear but just briefly or so. NOT sure if it was because I couldn’t catch the right one where he appeared more than a few episodes. Yet I remember the last one worth mentioning was for The Brink of Law and interestingly, he portrayed Elliot Yue’s brother (who was later killed by Elliot Yue). Great performance as always, so funny with the comedy yet his serious moments were worth mentioning as well.
  • Jason Chan as Sam Zhong Si Han (鍾思翰). Somewhat spoiled at times. Yet he had a good heart overall. He was quite determined and somewhat stubborn like his father. Acting? Can’t say much at this point except he was great eye candy. But then again, it was not like he exaggerated to the point of intolerable since his emotions were seen through his eyes. He needs to take on more challenging role (well, if he’s allowed) to see what else he could do with. Hopefully, we would get to see it.
  • Lily Ho as Qi Qi (琪琪). It was a bit odd to have her introduced so far into the story yet I guess that left something new for the audience to discover. Not too bad with her being so graceful and knowledgeable about various things. I thought Lily had improved with some of her past performances, especially how she had to carry such a role. Not the best but was still convincing enough.
  • Matt Yeung as Tian Kai (田凱). Matt finally made his way up again. Because I could remember the days when he was in The W Files playing a major role. I haven’t really watched him in recent years OR watched enough TVB series to know. Yet this could be an important role again. I had mixed feelings toward him one time or another. Mostly because of the plot that impacted the character. Yet I must admit he was a good friend to most people in here.
  • Katy Kung as Zhong Si Ya (鍾思雅). I don’t know. I wasn’t into her character at first after the whole incident with messing with Sam’s laptop and destroying valuable information. At least almost. Yet later on, her character somewhat grew on me when she finally grew up and was serious about work.
  • Raymond Chiu as Ou Gao Rong (歐高榮). Very clever. He talked less and did more, making him so mysterious yet cool at the same time. So Raymond doesn’t have the look yet he’s very charming and witty in his own way, making his character very convincing. I liked how he was always doing things silently and never took credit for his work. He was not arrogant either and not abusing his power like that one time when the others thought he was Mr. Ko’s son. Probably because of that hence Mr. Ko trusting him to do so much.
  • Oceane Zhu as Susan. I thought she was quite clumsy and somewhat fussy at the beginning. Yet I found her quite lovable later. Though she seemed weak on the outside but was quite strong inside. Like how she found out her boyfriend was cheating on her but kept her head high and continued on, not coming back to him after he begged. Also, she was very considerate of others though she could be so girly at times too. A different role for Oceane comparing to her role in Twilight Investigation yet her performance didn’t disappoint at all.
  • Queenie Chu as Qing Qing (菁菁). At first, I found her character so cool and multi-dimensional but due to the plot that had dragged some of the characters down as well, she sunk along with the others, coming out quite disappointing as well. I rather they brought back more of the Lolita persona to make her expose Jessie and more than have her NOT speak up at all–just like some others. I liked how she was yelling at Li Chun that one time at the restaurant. Why not use it later on too? But then again, the script sucks so it didn’t matter if she wanted to or not, she couldn’t control it. It was too unreasonable that she became quiet and somewhat a doormat again later on. Didn’t make sense. Yet it didn’t mean I disliked Queenie. Still convincing.
  • Celine Ma as Bai Mei Gui/ Rose. Never doubt her in the acting department. She made it quite convincing with her performance throughout. How she was so fierce and somewhat of a hateful person to a more likable one near the end. Though her straightforward personality still stood tall until the end, which made her different from some others, she became more tolerable as in her habits and how she treated others. She had always taken care of people around her yet she had tuned down on some bad habits. I liked how she was the other wise voice in the whole Jessie thing since she hated that too and didn’t even have a hand in it, even encouraging the cancellation of the wedding. It wasn’t like she was evil YET she just hated fake people.
  • Glen Lee as He Jia Ming (何家明). Odd and silly at times yet found his story touching with how he set up that one skit with the others to make his ‘Uncle’ proud.
  • Becky Lee as Cen Hai Er (岑海兒) aka Tang Jing Jing (唐晶晶). Mixed feelings. I didn’t really think much of her at the beginning but soon got used to her. Then the plot ruined it by making her sounding so unreasonable and inconsiderate with pushing Bei Er as well. YET I rather they focused on her bonds with the others at the newspaper place. Because I quite enjoyed her scenes with others at various points, especially the part where she tried to help Jia Ming with the whole meeting his ‘Uncle’.

Others:

  • Geoffrey Wong as Brian. It was a shame that he was the scapegoat for some other cause. I quite liked him and wonder if he would get any other serious role in the future aside from these comedic ones. Not that I don’t enjoy it but feel it’s a waste. Is this the price of leaving ATV? Like ATV was doing anything at that time but still. A shame.
  • Steven Ho as Liu Li Chun (劉立春). I really hated him at first for cheating and ruining his future like that. Yet I found him the wisest–among all those that were cheated and hurt by Jessie–later on. Because he was the one who asked the whole question about whether it was worth it to keep it from Guo Dong and all. I knew it wasn’t just some side jealous rant then because honestly, he had gotten over it and he was convincing in that area.
  • Griselda Yeung as Jessie and Rachel. I must say that it was quite convincing with her playing both roles of Jessie and Rachel since I had a feeling they were different characters. And sometimes I even wanted to side with her character, Jessie, more than the main people because they were seriously dumb enough to fall for it OR not even expose her so why not, right?
  • Mannor Chan as Ann. I found her somewhat despicable. I don’t know why she would still have face to ask Bei Er for favors later. OR even talk and chat like normal with Bei Er. So she admitted she spoiled Jessie hence the consequences now. YET she kept doing it and acted like everything was normal later, which was even more unacceptable. But I guess some people are just too forgiving OR WAY TOO NAIVE so she was able to pull it off as well as her daughter in playing the pitiful card.

Favorite Characters?

  • Mary Suen/Sun. I said it in the other section already and I will say it again, the only intelligent person throughout regardless of the obstacle. Very brave, blunt, and witty in many senses. Quite graceful as well. Never cease to surprise me with her jokes. Yet she always meant well. But she was never fake at all.
  • Bai Mei Gui/Rose. Another favorite character because of her straightforward personality and somewhat intelligent and witty nature. I guess for her case, it would be called cunning more than intelligence YET I felt she was a lot smarter than some characters in here so I clap her on. Except for that one time when she was trying to pull Bei Er and her family together too BUT I sort of forgave her for that because the positive just won over the annoyance.
  • Mr. Ko. YES, hilarious at times yet he was quite clever also. Well, if he didn’t let his emotions get in the way. I also found it funny that he and Ou Gao Rong were in it together that one time, not clarifying about their father and son status. Priceless actually. Another funny moment was how he was doing all the chores for the Zhong family and acting like one of their members, LOL!
  • Ou Gao Rong. An intelligent person and quite capable hence the trust and many assignments bestowed on his shoulders. Already said most of the things I want to say so don’t want to be that repetitive.
  • Susan. Need I say more? No. I sort of forgave her participation in the whole wedding because honestly, she just wanted to participate in the fun and didn’t know about the whole conspiracy–unlike some people who had all the pieces of the puzzle but clammed up.

Sadly as it was, I narrowed it down to only these choices. Why? It seemed like the majority had disappointed me immensely with their stupidity at one point or another. NOT that I want them to be perfect. Yet the scriptwriters ruined it by making a lot of things so complicated when it was just plain common sense. NOT to mention how half of them were like drinking some kind of stupid potion throughout or something. Like they were too eager to torture themselves that sometimes I just want to side with the villain just for kicks.

Pairings:

  • Elliot Yue and Helen Ma. Odd couple, considering their characters. Yet I found it touching at various points to learn how they met and fallen in love. Not too mushy yet could be a guide for their children to understand the story behind their past and respect them more as a couple.
  • Kristal Tin and Stephen Au. I was so rooting for them but halfway through, I got turned off. Mostly because the plot had ruined their foundation. Whenever they were together later on, I really liked it, but I can’t stop thinking about the stupid details that went along with that. Too bad.
  • Kristal Tin and Geoffrey Wong. Another collaboration as a couple. I really, really liked them as a pairing since watching No. 8 Bus and TVB had really used that to their advantage each time trying to find some pairing with Kristal. YET too bad he always get the toss aside in here.
  • Law Lok Lam and Yvonne Lam. Man, the hilarious older couple in here. I really loved how their story started and developed in the later parts of the story. Many hilarious twists and turns as well as when the serious issues were addressed to test their relationship. It wasn’t just about love but respect. YET I was super convinced of their odd chemistry, not just because of the plot.
  • Jason Chan and Lily Ho. Was this a resurrection since their collaboration in Pages of Treasures? I must admit it was all right in the other one though I do not remember much anymore. Had mixed feelings with that series so I tend to tune the rest of the stuff out at times. But not bad since it was kind of cute with them and somehow, I liked how their relationship matured over time. Then there was the whole idea of her being all talented and graceful. Call me a sucker for it but yeah, I don’t mind their pairing.
  • Matt Yeung and Katy Kung. I was so glad that they paired up instead of Tian Kai ending up with Jing Jing. I don’t know. It made it somewhat cute that he was with his ‘xiao shi mei’ AND that it was fun watching them bicker and then working together at times.
  • Glen Lee and Becky Lee. Strange pairing but whatever works. I guess they had to gift-wrap everything hence letting them end up together as well. Not to mention how they had a good musical background and would be suitable, etc.
  • Raymond Chiu and Oceane Zhu. They were so cute together. I loved how they were friends at first and then developing into a romance. A typical cute love story. YET I didn’t mind because it fitted with her bubbly, sucker for romance character and his somewhat prince in shining armor one (even if he was just an average guy to some people). I also liked how their characters eventually got married in the end and shared the happiness with the rest of the characters, not just forgotten like that. (Or I would rant even more. NOT kidding here.)
  • Tsui Wing and Celine Ma. So unexpected since I thought Rose would end up alone in the end. YET that was so cute and funny in a sense. I guess her good heart paid off since she was able to marry a person she often dreamt of, having wealth and all. And I swear it was so deserving because she was kind enough to hang out with the kid and helped the kid, etc.

What was disappointing? Heaps actually, but to break it down, here goes:

  • The family conflict with Bei Er, Hei Er, and whatsoever. I don’t know who was right or wrong YET they had implied and stressed and even wanted to shove it in our faces with the importance of family–regardless of the details throughout. I seriously was sickened by the fact that they (the scriptwriters) paved it so lamely. I got so confused with all the recounts from different characters that I eventually gave up altogether on it. However, it never made sense how they put the blame on Bei Er’s father. I swear, it was so weak, considering how the mother left with Hai Er already. I meant okay, she explained that she knew the father loved Bei Er more hence taking the risk. YET it didn’t make sense because of possibly the fact that we were so used to the flashbacks of how Bei Er’s father was so sincere and nice and kind. OR it was her point of view. YET I just didn’t trust the other two, mostly because their portrayals were too poor or too fake OR something. At least at that point. I just wasn’t convinced. Then came that whole idea with how everyone was shoving and pushing for Bei Er to accept her mother when she had to overcome so much of finally realizing that Jing Jing was actually Hai Er and more. They were pushing her too much that I felt it was too sickening. AND I didn’t see the logic of just because “family is important” that they should push her. She needed space and time. Even if she remembered later and came to peace with her past, but I wasn’t convinced either. Considering how the others kept blaming Bei Er IF she chose to ignore them. They kept scolding her for being cold-blooded, etc BUT who the hell abandon her ages ago? How could she accept them in two shakes? Who’s the cold-blooded one now? I couldn’t help but associate this to Pages of Treasures in relation to Abbie (aka Shirley Yeung’s character in there). What the heck was that? I just couldn’t accept their twisted morality of forcing others to accept and admit when it was so weak with the setup of the plot. Then there were the whole recounts with blaming on the ‘China Town’ in the other country being close-minded and not understanding the situation with the Cen family. How lame was that? I don’t know. But it made me feel more suspicious than ever.
  • The love-hate thing and whatever else with Zhong Guo Dong and his ex-wife and the people involved. The other thing that made me want to throw things at people in here. I knew by the time that no one was saying anything that it would be up to Jessie to leave before anyone else made a move. Seriously. That was soooo bad AND stupid of everyone to think they should just hold it in. After all, Guo Dong was right that his only true friend was Mei Gui. Though afterward, he still chose to marry Jessie, which was LAME. So messed up YET Jessie wasn’t exposed properly that made me even more pissed. She was so scheming and manipulative yet the others tolerated her? It was like they thought it was okay that Guo Dong lived with such a psycho? SO fake. Seriously, in real life, IF you find out someone had harmed your family member in the past and was back to do it again, would you let them? Regardless of the reason, you would be more than protective. It doesn’t matter with past guilt OR not. You start putting up some radar–even IF you want it to work. What was even more despicable was how dumb Bei Er and Qing Qing were for not saying anything because they were the ones having pieces of the puzzles. I think after all that was done–wrong or what, Li Chun was smarter than the rest of them since he was asking Bei Er that one time at a cafe place about how they were letting Jessie return to Guo Dong’s side AND how if Guo Dong hadn’t been so successful now, would she jump in with him again? It wasn’t like she wasn’t rich herself. But it was like it was something for her to grip on, like seeking a perfect or successful person versus a loser such as Li Chun now (or so people would dub him as). Talking about Li Chun, that was the other frustrating thing about not exposing everything since Jessie manipulated the details, making it like she’d mistaken Li Chun for Guo Dong one time BUT it didn’t seem so with Li Chun’s recounts and some details here and there. HELLO, sometimes I just want to side with Jessie altogether and let her bring the rest of them down since they were so dumb.
  • How stupid people were. This could be combined with both of the choices above YET I want to emphasize even more. Anyone have common sense? I don’t believe in real life people would still react that way. Like loving to be someone else’s puppet and torturing themselves and others around them like that. It was like I rather side with the villain than them at times, especially the Zhong family and eventually Carmen as well as some others at the cooking classes/dessert shop.

What needed to be focused on more?

  • The main theme. YES, they still talked about food and all. YET somehow it got lost along the way. Though it resurfaced again through different stories, I felt it wasn’t developed enough.
  • The newspaper people. I rather they expand more funny stories or random ones so we could understand some of the employees there more than so much on family or love dramas of the Chung/Zhong family. Sure, they were the focus of the sitcom YET it was too lame when they were too focused on with trying to resolve some matters. I rather the scriptwriters went toward the random/nonsense route than attempt to teach us a bunch of twisted morality stuff.

Recommended? If you want to waste your time, go ahead. If you like their twisted morality story, go ahead as well. NOT that I disagree with the essence of it, but I hate how they approached it. Why in the world did I watch it and even continued if I thought it was so terrible? Typical me wanting to see if it would improve. Then there was the whole ‘good foundation’ at the beginning with some witty exchanges here and there. But I was wrong and it didn’t improve at all–despite the fact that some side stories were worth watching more than the ones involving some major characters. Then there was the whole thing about curiosity like I said before, wanting to see what else was similar to When Dolphin Met Cat and all.