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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Road for the Heroes

Old TVB series and one of those should watch ones. I think this was one of my very first TVB series OR even one of the first series that I remember watching OR focusing on, considering how I did not care to watch series or TV too much when I was younger. It was also this series that I began to know of Roger Kwok and became one of his fans.

What was so good about this series? Lots of reasons actually.

  • Jacky Cheung sang the theme songs. The series started out with the powerful song “Hong Ye Wu Qiu Shan” (紅葉舞秋山) by Jacky Cheung. (Though I did know of his popularity at that time BUT it wasn’t hard to figure out he was an awesome singer when listening to the song.) Anyway, the song really fitted in with the theme of the series, considering how it described the conflicts in the story perfectly. (Hong Ye and Qiu Shan used to be one sect, which was called Qiu Shan Hong Ye. It was split up after Bau Fong (the master)’s death. Qiu Shan was considered as the righteous and good sect with Bak Piao leading it while Hong Ye was led by Law Lok Lam who did the opposite just to go against his senior. Therefore, the song Hong Ye Wu Qiu Shan was hinting at how both could not coexist, considering the conflicts between the two leaders. Very meaningful, huh? It also made sense that Jacky sang the song since he was able to bring out the powerful message and made it even livelier with his voice.) The title of the main theme is translated literally as ‘red leaves dancing on the autumn mountain’, which described the ruptures and changing of events thus fitting in with the overall theme of the series anyway. Double meaning, great or what? Or at least I like to think of it that way. And then I just thought of something else as I was trying to interpret the song and incorporate it into the series itself. What if it also meant that if Qiu Shan and Hong Ye were united, then it would bring harmony to mankind but if it was separated, it would become unpredictable and bringing forth an earth-shattering storm? Too many possibilities or perhaps I’m just reading too much into the song itself. Still…a very complex song. The sub-theme was sung by Jacky and Karen Tong, which was an equally memorable song. (*NOTE*: I just found out through llwy12 that the theme song was actually from a Jacky Cheung album titled “真情流露” SO it wasn’t actually made for this series. It was just that TVB managed to find the right song for the theme of the series in general–with how the jianghu world was complicated with many conflicts and change of events; and how one would rather live a carefree life than being involved in those conflicts.)
  • Roger Kwok. Come on now! Even IF that was my first time watching him, I knew he could act. I remember laughing at the parts where he was super clueless and was too honest for his own good and crying at the scenes where he was suffering so badly for the faults of the others.
  • Alvina Kong. The only actress I could remember watching that has a natural performance of portraying a guy role. I meant she DID NOT know she was a girl at the beginning and her character grew up under the impression that she was a guy SO she did an awesome job portraying her character. She was comfortable and convincing. It made me believe she really thought she was a guy. She maintained that characteristic throughout, even when after she learned that she was a girl. She was slowly adapting to being a girl, but it was hard for her and she still preserved those obvious traces and/or bad habits of being a guy.
  • Roger and Alvina as a couple. Perhaps this will be my favorite collaboration ever and probably will remain my favorite Roger pairing since it was my very first time watching them both. They matched wit per wit and did a splendid job as good brothers at the beginning and then later becoming a couple.
  • Michael Tao. Perhaps I did not appreciate him much in the old days BUT I do realize he has the potential to portray the bad guys OR the serious roles more than comedic ones. (I only remember liking him in one humorous role, which was with Michael Miu and Barbara Yung in United We Stand.) Anyway, he made me hate him so bad I was convinced he was none other than evil. Evil characters were much more complex back then and DID NOT try too hard to draw attention. They were there for the essential element to drive the story forward, NOT meant to portray a certain role to shine. Michael did his part and it contributed to the story.
  • Bau Fong. He had a brief appearance at the beginning as Bak Piao and Law Lok Lam’s master. He often portrayed roles of the enlightened ones and he was excellent as those. (Though there were times he was seen as the villain, which he was able to deliver as well.) Anyway, his cleverness was seen near the end of the story (though his character already passed away) with the trap he planted at the supposed ‘treasure’ site. His words, which was supposed to be a premonition for the future was very powerful and was really something. It actually ties with our minds in real life–with each of us longing or searching for something. Sometimes, it just takes simple things to be happy about and maintaining a satisfied mind. Sometimes, some of us are not able to stop ourselves because we could never be satisfied with what we already have, making us sink deeper into the pit. It really gets us thinking what life is all about without making it too cheesy.  (In case anyone wants to know, the phrases are: “There are no treasures in this world. The treasures really lie in our hearts.” Deep, right?)
  • Helena Law Lan. She had a comedic role in here–unlike her usual serious or spooky roles. But it was interesting and enjoyable all the same. Her presence made the series livelier and created a comedic atmosphere each time she appeared. It was interesting to see that she was actually Roger’s sworn sister in here, lol.
  • Bak Piao versus Law Lok Lam. They are probably two of my favorite veteran actors and it was interesting to see them together. Though not sure which one was the worst with how their characters were at times, but must say they did well with their roles. Probably Law Lok Lam’s character was a tad better since he admitted in being the evil one while Bak Piao’s character was too fake with claiming to be the ‘good, righteous’ being, vowing to destroy all evils. Too bad they were outwitted by Michael’s character. It was interesting that they did not die but ended up following their little sect sister into the temple at the end. At least they finally came to terms with their own selves and was able to let go of everything. It was not about winning or losing anymore, but about letting go of their hate for one another.
  • Lau Kong. One of his very rare roles of portraying the good guys in the old days, lol. But he did a good job all the same. I actually pitied him very much the first time watching and the rewatches were as emotional. He was tricked by his senior (Bak Piao) and was forced to flee civilization to hide his senior’s kid and protect her. Not to mention his kind nature of rescuing Roger’s character also. He was an honest and heroic character in his own way. I remembered crying at his death scene–with much help from Roger and Alvina’s actions during the scene.
  • The bond between Lau Kong, Roger, and Alvina. I totally feel their bond as one family at the beginning. Therefore, it was really convincing with Lau Kong’s death scene later and the other two’s reactions. It was totally worth it after all since the two really respected and loved him for who he was, appreciating him–though Alvina was obnoxious at times. It also showed their love for him when they remembered him at various times later on, especially when Roger was missing him and actually wanted to cry at times. And how Alvina never trusted anyone, even her own father when he (her real father) tried to get the jade piece from her. There was also the fact that Alvina remembered Lau Kong’s words and truly believed him when he said that she was a guy, not questioning him at all (even if she was the cunning one of the two kids). The part where she totally broke down and cried and even cursed him when she found out that she was actually a girl made it very emotional as well. It was the part in the temple when she hid from the others and confronted him, asking why he lied to her and tricked her saying that she was special, BUT she found out the real reason why she was different from Roger was because she was a girl.
  • The rest of the cast. The ones that I did not mention yet but contributed majorly to the story regardless of their roles. They were considered the supporting team or just average characters but I felt it would not be the same without them. But I had the feeling they blended right in with the rest of the cast and no one shine over the other. They were a team working to make it happen. It was really enjoyable watching everyone get along, especially their group of friends traveling along the way that one time, vowing to get away from the turmoil of jianghu and seek for their own peaceful destination to live.
  • The just right comedic moments. I was impressed and probably am still used to the mixture of humor and NOT over top humor like in series nowadays. (Yes, those corny, random, lame humor of nowadays DO NOT amuse me with it trying too hard in those ancient ones.) The charm led on by several parties drove the series along just at the right times, making it not too hectic at times. One of the most interesting scenes was seeing how three other girls were fighting over Alvina’s character at the beginning, considering how Alvina had quite a mouth when she was still a guy. Alvina was really convincing (as I said before) and it made sense that the three girls should cling to her like that. There was also the scene of seeing how Alvina was seen as the love interest of that one guy who bullied her and Roger at the beginning.
  • The mixture of fighting and talking scenes. I did not feel the drag of things even IF they were talking too much at times. Maybe because it was much more interesting back then with the plots or details. There were times when you could see they were switching the actors/actresses to the stunt double BUT it did not matter that much. I rather see that than the blind effects (aka CGI).
  • No over-hyped feeling. I did not feel the hype of the series or the ‘try too hard’ element like series nowadays. It was just right and no one was trying too hard to shine. They did their part and the series was a success. No one was hogging the camera and seemed to want a ‘breakthrough’ role. It just happened.
  • The ending. It was really well done and DID not seem rush like most TVB series nowadays. It was really good. There were closures here and there. It did not answer everything but it was relevant to leave some things hanging. It was part of life, not everything had to be answered, and it made sense.

I totally recommend this one for those who love the cast and love old TVB series.