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.

Shade of Darkness

Wow! This was so good I’m still feeling the chills. This is actually one of TVB’s better series even though it has such a tragic ending. Yes, it was justified what happened at the end, but it was somewhat too sad. It was probably intentional also for the purposes of the storyline. Moreover, I think this was one of the best horror series ever made. And not to mention that it actually worked even if the main character ends up dead at the very end. When first heard of, most people would think that it would suck big time to make the main character die, but it actually made sense with how things turned out.

Like Factors:

  • Canti Lau as Lo Leung/ Chan Man Bok: I think Canti’s one of TVB’s (and not to mention HK’s) most lost cause. It’s a shame that what happened in the past and it ruined the whole thing. He’s one of the greatest actors at that time and also a potential singer. Too bad. Anyway, as both characters in conflict with each other, he was really good. (And also the scenes where he was possessed–it was really scary.)
  • Fiona Leung as Wai: I really miss watching her on TVB screen ’cause she’s one of the most missed actresses. She can really bring out her character in here without trying too hard or over-reacting. Her eyes are always full of emotions and show different stages of what her character’s going through. I really like that and miss this type of acting.
  • Ada Choi as Canti’s cousin: This series showed potential for Ada and she could really act. It was really convincing to see her in this role as the pitiful girl with such a tragic past. She’s one of the few ones who can act pitiful without you feeling it is too fake. (That’s really good.)
  • Kenix Kwok: Just her performance as both characters because I don’t like the first character very much. However, this series showed great potential for Kenix also. It really paved on a path for her thus leading to her success with upcoming series.
  • The friendship between Canti, Fiona, Elaine, the young cop, and the reporter: Although they have their differences and come into conflicts from time to time, they do learn to appreciate one another’s differences and each’s personalities.
  • Effects: That was way too creepy watching the scenes. The lighting is right for the eerie atmosphere. Not to mention those creepy sound effects.
  • The moral etched right into the series: This is one of those rare times where I don’t mind TVB slapping those “moral slogans” into a series. It really freaks people out and scares you into not making the wrong choices. (But of course, people don’t believe in such supernatural events so it would mean nothing anyway. Like I completely believe in it but still something worth note-worthy.)
  • What happened to Chan To in the end. I really like it that they didn’t make him die in the hands of the ghosts because that would probably be too cliche. He died because of karma. It really was a great kick in the end. He never saw it coming. He always thought it was Canti.

Complaints (yes, this is hard to avoid when one is watching a TVB series):

  • Medical knowledge/ anything involving hospital scenes: WAY TOO FAKE. Why? Come on now, anyone would know that you don’t perform certain procedures like that even if you’re not a doctor. When they were trying to revive Kenix’s character during the hospital scene, it was super painful to watch. Seriously, he’s a doctor, right? Why didn’t he know that you can’t just perform the procedure like that? She was under thick blankets not to mention layers of clothes. This was the director, scriptwriter, and producer’s fault though. They should know the flaws. There were many other errors as well. It was ridiculous to see those flaws considering it’s not hard to learn the basics of medical procedures just for the purpose of filming those scenes. (Luckily, recent series that involved medical scenes improved.)
  • Kenix’s character: Her original character of course. I’m glad that she was in this series but her character sort of didn’t contribute anything to the story although it was leverage for Ada’s character at one point to experience and live once again. The scenes with her in it and some parts in the middle of the series was kind of draggy and repetitive. Luckily it wasn’t super annoying though.

So what was the ultimate moral of this series? If you win the lottery, DON’T ever tell anyone. Not even your own family, considering this scary world we live in today.

Posted (on Xanga): February 17, 2009

Re-posted: Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010