A Watchdog’s Tale

Against my better judgment, I watched it. Actually, it was more like I missed watching Maggie Siu so much that I decided to watch it anyway, considering how it was a comedy after all so it shouldn’t be too bad, right? WRONG…it was a real torture, especially when I wasn’t a fan of the pairing. There were things to consider and enjoy YET I did not enjoy the storyline or some characters as much so it was hard to hang on. Lucky some characters kept me watching until the end OR at least tried to hold on.

Likes:

  • Steven Ma as Chow Yung Kung. His portrayal of the character AND not the character itself. I couldn’t believe Steven was able to do it but I didn’t know why I doubted him anyway. YET I did not like the character at all despite all the righteous things that he did at times. He wasn’t all bad BUT I felt like he was too rude at times to forgive. Too over. Probably more realistic since he couldn’t change overnight BUT honestly, it was really hard to endure. But like I said before, Steven managed to let us see that character well.
  • Steven and Ching Hor Wai as mother and son. I really liked their relationship. Despite all the times Yung Kung upset her or made her mad, she was still able to forgive him. She raised him all those years and really cared for him, teaching him all the ropes, etc. He was rude and arrogant at times BUT I liked it that he respected her and treated her well. Also, must clap him on for staying with her at the end too. I felt it wasn’t just because of love that he wanted to stay BUT it was because of her. Their bond was important to him and he valued it very much.
  • Raymond Wong as Ho Tin Yau. I really liked his character at first with his hardworking attitude and how honest he was, etc.
  • Raymond and Shermon? Come on now! Honestly, I was rooting for them. For once, I want to see a pairing worth rooting for, just because Natalie portrayed a bigger role didn’t mean he had to end up with her. Raymond and Shermon did look cute together.
  • Lee Kwok Lun as Cheung Tin Hung. Though he did kidnap his sister, I could forgive him since he was just trying to get some money and establish himself. He just wanted to do something to prove to his family that he wasn’t worthless.
  • Maggie Siu as Cheung Tin Ngo. I really liked her hardworking attitude though she was too much of a workaholic. BUT it was hard to blame her since she was the only one that her father could depend on. I thought her overly obsessed with cleanliness was funny. I didn’t really agree with her being with Kent though. I meant they were funny together and all, but I just didn’t like Kent’s arrogant streak at times. (Okay, he was smart BUT he didn’t need to act so high and mighty.)
  • Bowie Wu, Lee Kwok Lun, and Maggie being in the same family. I loved this idea and collaboration really. It was really fun to see them like that. What was funnier was when Maggie was trying to search for the truth behind her kidnapping AND she was getting clues about the familiar ringtone. Then she realized that everyone in her family had that ringtone! Even the butler! What was even more interesting was Bowie and Maggie were father and daughter in The Blood of Good and Evil as well. (Wonder if they were father and daughter in other series too.)
  • Koni Lui as Ma Cheuk Ling. I really liked her in here and found her NOT fake like some people. Yes, she was an undercover cop BUT she was so down to earth. She had to play that role since she needed to blend in YET it showed much more when she wasn’t being a cop anymore. She was professional when she met up with her supervisor and Raymond that one time. But other times, she was really lovable.
  • Lee Kwok Lun and Koni Lui as a couple. I thought it was really cute and lovable for some odd reason since I usually don’t favor odd pairings. BUT they had great chemistry and their story was really innocent and funny. Couldn’t believe that they had something in common as collecting Hello Mimi! That was worth a few laughs all right.
  • Fred Cheng as Kwok Wing. They were wasting his time, right? He was still not getting anywhere.
  • Kwok Fung as Chow Wai Wai. He was too funny. I enjoyed watching him at times. He was such a bully and was doing illegal stuff BUT he was still hilarious to watch. He redeemed himself later and was so overly friendly that it was funny. AND not to mention how the bar was converted into some coffee shop or bookstore.
  • Queenie Chu as Steven’s ex-girlfriend. Man, she scared the world out of me and I thought Queenie did really good making that happen. Didn’t expect her to be able to pull it off with being so creepy and psycho. I’m not comparing her with others, but just basing it on her own performances thus far.

I won’t even bother with the ‘Dislikes’ since it would be too much and I would never stop SO I’ll just leave it at that, for the most part, to spare even more negativity into the whole thing.

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Welcome to the House

This was the first sitcom of TVB that I managed to finish and I must admit that it was one interesting journey. It took me several months, of course, because I had to spread them out.

Like(s):

  • Raymond Cho and Johnson Lee as Ah Dee and Ah Mieh. I really liked watching them together as friends. They were a really odd duo since one was super loud and mean at times versus the other being the nice and quiet guy. However, I really enjoyed their scenes– together or separate. I finally got to see Ray shine in here and how he just managed to be a smart aleck about everything. Although Ah Dee was really loud and kept taking advantage of Ah Mieh, he really appreciated Ah Mieh’s friendship. Their friendship was fun to watch throughout. I actually wanted to watch this for them and they didn’t disappoint with their performance. Great team.
  • Raymond Cho and Shermon Tang as siblings. It was really funny to watch them at times, always bickering and stealing food from each other. But we could see that they really cared about each other, especially all the times that he bought food for her and all the times she tried to help him.
  • Raymond Cho and Sharon Chan as Ah Dee and Ah Fah. They were so funny and cute together. All their stories cracked me up to no ends. (What was funnier was when they were using Ah Mieh as the shield so they could secretly date without others suspecting them. Poor Ah Mieh.) I was glad that Ah Dee finally learned to take care of others and somehow forgot about the brand stuff at the end (since he was too occupied). It was nice to see how they got back together at the end. Really nice in general to see Ah Dee cooking for everyone at the end.
  • Kingdom Yuen as Ko Lai. It was funny how she became one of my favorite characters later on. Her obsession with keeping everything clean was funny in a way. Maybe because she was so hard working that I didn’t mind seeing a different character. Although she did get random like the rest, she did not lose her touch. The story to introduce her character was a bit too funny with the whole misunderstanding and the eerie atmosphere.
  • Gill Mohindepaul Singh as Lo Hung Lei. This was my first time watching him and I found him really funny in here. I think he was one of those rare actors/actresses who could exaggerate without going overboard. (After all, this was a comedy, right?) Still a lot of funny scenes with him, especially after Hung Lei and Ko Lai became best friends.
  • Ram Tseung as So Gun. I really disliked him at first since he was so full of tricks and it was not even funny either. However, I liked him more later when I understood how he could be lonely all these times and just wanted to find some friends. It was a bit surprising that he ended up with Chu Lei Nga (Joyce Koi) but still funny to see it turning out that way. No complaints about his acting, of course.
  • Johnson Lee and Nancy Wu as Ah Mieh and Sugar. I really liked them in here but it was a bit disappointing to not know if they ended up later or not. But I guess they probably did. (Wishful thinking.)
  • Gill Mohindepaul Singh and Johnson Lee as a duo. It was really funny how everyone in the family thought that they would be taken advantage of when they joined this club. It ended up that they drove everyone there crazy so they were blacklisted.
  • Shermon Tang and Lai Lok Yi as Ma Duk On and Ko Yau Ching. I didn’t expect him to come back since everyone kept appearing and disappearing randomly after their story ended. But glad he came back since they did make a cute pairing.
  • Iris Wong as Chu Chi Ding. I think I was the only crazy one to like her but I did see it her way later on. She seemed mean but it was because she was independent and only relied on herself. It was so funny that she switched target later because of what the fortune-teller told her. It would’ve been funny if she was with Ah Mieh at the end though–I wouldn’t mind later on since she seemed mean on the outside but at least she was better than that fake author.

Dislike(s):

  • Assumptions. I guess it was trying to make fun of some people, but it got super annoying that no one ever shut up and gave others a chance to explain but just assumed away and jumped in all the time, causing even more misunderstandings. I could remember all the times that everyone didn’t even let Ah Mieh talk but it was until the end that they found out for themselves.
  • Christina Ng as Cheung Yu Moon. It was not as noticeable at first but later she tried too hard to steal the limelight that it got super annoying. She was not made out for comedy. Even if she was being cast in an older role in here but that didn’t help either. It was just too disturbing to watch her being a ‘know-it-all’. I did not even get that she did not know to do the most basic things, like changing the bed sheets. (I know they were trying to portray that she was just really scared of her husband’s situation but using that as an example was being exaggerated. Come on now! How old was she? Even if she didn’t do it, wouldn’t she know just by watching? All of us have that instinct. Unbelievable.)
  • Annie Chung as Ko Wai Ting. Her character was too ironic since she was so rude to her uncles and aunts but she acted all virtuous and sympathetic toward grandpa, which didn’t make sense at all. The script was trying too hard to make her sound filial but it was full of holes. I won’t say anything about her acting since this was the first time watching her, but her character was what irked me sometimes.

Anyway, this was a sitcom after all so it was about willing to waste time and watch it or not. I mean if you want to relax a bit from stress to laugh about all the randomness, it would be good for taking the stress off. But if you want to watch something more meaningful, you shouldn’t dive in.

Posted (on Xanga): August 12, 2009

Re-posted: Monday, March 29th, 2010

The Threshold of a Persona

Was I the only one who thought that this was a waste of the majority of the cast’s time? Honestly. I’ve never suffered through a Roger Kwok series before. (Even the ones that he portrayed the villain.) I think every time TVB does a series on the Immigration Department, it becomes draggy because they fail to focus on the main points of the plot. I do not want them to twist some major facts about it to make it more interesting. But I mean they should’ve cut it short if they do not know where to focus on. 30 episodes of this?

First off, the theme song of the series, Conceal (掩飾). I like collaborations, especially between singers for a song but Roger and Patrick? I heard that TVB’s trying to promote Patrick but pick one or the other. Their voices do not go well together. I think one of my favorite ones is Steven Ma and Ron Ng’s collaboration for The Brink of Law and I do know that Ron’s not that good but their voices flow well for the theme song, making it memorable and suitable.

Let’s start with the likes before I get any further.

The Good:

  • The friendship revolving around Kit (Roger), Kei (Yoyo), Lun (Power), and Yu (Raymond). I actually like how their friendship was given to us at the beginning and how other factors influenced their path throughout the series. It really came to the question of if they could pass the test of obstacles or not. It was unbelievable that Yu turned so evil toward the end, killing everyone and destroying everything that dared to stand in his path, but it was not out of nowhere. We could see that he had a strong sense of ambition through his actions and words to others (although ambition is not a sin). However, he easily wavered because he did not have a strong sense of morality. He did not care how things were done as long as it got done and would use others as stepping stones. He would also violate the laws to get where he wanted to be. (It made it double bad because he was a cop.) Lun, although he had a foul mouth at times, he was just very straight-forward and wasn’t good with words. It didn’t mean he wasn’t clever. Despite all his criticisms about Yu and their disputes, he still helped Yu at the end because he valued friendship very much. Kit and Kei were on the same line as Lun that they tried to keep their friendship intact. They always tried to keep in check with one another, especially the part where they helped Lun with getting him to stop gambling. However, Yu broke that bond when he decided to target his friends and not back down from his actions. Their friendship was somewhat typical that one or two within the group would turn bad, but still a nice one to see. The only complaint I have is they should’ve been focused on more to develop the climax rather than focusing on subplots too much that reduced their significance until like the last two episodes.
  • The friendship between Kit (Roger) and Shun Fong (Patrick). It seemed that they were casual friends and co-workers but they did share this special bond with each other. I liked how they often gave each other advice with solving cases to lessen the stress from one or the other. Also, the whole thing with Shun Fong trying to help Kit with patching up his family again regarding Chi Yan.
  • The brotherly bond between Kit (Roger) and Wing (Ben). Although they weren’t related by blood, their actions showed a deeper relationship than that. I liked it that it wasn’t just another typical thing with brothers who were not from the same parents would argue non-stop or would plot against each other, etc. There was an admittance of being shocked or confused about being put together because their parents got married. But the acceptance of it because of their parents’ happiness and of having a family brought them together as brothers. They really cared for each other–not just for the sake of the parents. It showed through many times like Kit always supported his brother and tried to get along with his sister-in-law when Lai Man was being unreasonable. Wing would always support Kit, especially the time he almost beat up Wu Shum to save his brother or trying to stop Kit from shooting Yu and be blinded by revenge. One of my favorite scenes must be the part where they were both in the hospital and wanted to beat Yu up. It was rash of their behaviors, but it showed a bit of their unification and bond. They not only cared for each other but for one another’s loved ones and friends as well.
  • The relationship within Kit and Wing’s family. Although things seemed hectic at the beginning, later on, it seemed like they were really close. The father only asked one question, “Are you okay with it?” Then if the answer was yes, he would make sure that everyone supported the person in the situation. He won’t question otherwise. But it will depend on the person, just like in Kit’s case with his wife. Yes, there were many other barriers that they couldn’t get past but it still counted that they tried their hardest to make it work for everyone. Lai Man seemed very unreasonable and wicked at the beginning but only her words sounded mean because she was harmless for the most part. I liked the parts where she supported Kit’s kid, Hei, when the kid was bullied by his classmates. It really showed that she cared but sometimes her words were sharp. There was also the part where they know that Chi Yan was not really related to the father but Lai Man still told her husband, Wing, to look after Yan, saying that she was still his sister after all. For the most part, their family encountered a lot of problems at first but could overcome it all with their sincerity and determination.

The Bad:

  • Creating the whole story with Shun Sui (Joey Mak) and Kelvin (Ruco Chan). Do they need this too? This reminded me of the character Ruco portrayed in Project Ji Xiang where he landed in prison at the end of the series. However, this time, it was because of other stuff too. To get back onto the subject at hand, I admit that Kelvin was a spoiled guy and could not stand firm when he encountered obstacles, but he should not be blamed for what happened between him and Shun Sui in totality. “He was drunk” was not a good excuse BUT in this case, that qualified as part of it. He did not like her and made clear of that from the very start. He might be spoiled, but he wasn’t a playboy. He didn’t flirt with other girls just for the thrill. His weakness was probably his father since he wished to prove to his father that he could do it, but when his father only delivered lectures and expectations, it made him feel inferior and frustrated at the same time. He didn’t have proper guidance because both his parents were busy or doing other things and I don’t blame them. But he just seemed like one lost guy. He still had a good heart in general. How could they just listen to one side only–aka Shun Sui–and blame it on him for what happened that night? Shun Sui was a spoiled kid (although they weren’t rich), plus she did whatever she wanted. It didn’t matter if her brother yelled at her or not. She was just that way. Why did the mother act super dramatic? She could’ve used all those times she used to run around on her own to look after her daughter instead of blaming the other family after what happened. I don’t expect her to be perfect, but I just hate that she wouldn’t look at herself first before pointing the fingers at others. Only Shun Fong would care enough to yell or look after Shun Sui–yet he was yelled at for being naggy. That was just messed up. Yes, he should’ve handled it better and not yell, but it did not help either that he was very much on his own to care for his sister instead of the mother doing that. So, Shun Sui should take the partial blame too yet Kelvin was dubbed out to be the bad guy without a chance for explanation. When he did say it wasn’t his fault–which it wasn’t–no one believed him. What the heck? Like she was that innocent. She ran away once. (I know holding the past on her head was not a good idea but they should at least consider all angles instead of just listening to her blindly.) All in all, no one had the right to yell at Kelvin in this case, except for Shun Fong since he seemed to be the only one to care enough. The only thing I saw fit in this was that they did not make Kelvin marry Shun Sui in the end. That would be too lame.
  • The draggy parts of Shun Fong (Patrick), Kelvin (Ruco), On Yi (Natalie), and Chi Yan (Toby). I know they (the writers) wanted to do a friendship and another quartet with this group–like how they did with Kit’s group, plus other stuff, but it was just too much with the irrelevant parts, not to mention they didn’t have that good of a friendship to begin with except being random. Maybe that was some sort of bond and innocent friendship at the beginning too. But what kind of friends were they not to trust Kelvin but just jump to the decision of thinking him as a spoiled rich boy? Only Shun Fong could have a say in this or could react fiercely because he was Shun Sui’s brother and couldn’t control his anger. But On Yi had no right since she knew that she was playing around with Kelvin’s feelings and giving him hope. She knew she didn’t like him but didn’t say it. She didn’t agree but not saying anything was misleading. Why didn’t she just say it first or clarify it? But she had to give him hope until it was too late, which made him feel betrayed with the whole misunderstandings, leading to him getting drunk in the first place–and leading to the worst of it all.
  • More romances than cases. This was a crime/ law show after all. Why did I see more of romances here and there, especially senseless ones than the main point? I like to see romance and all too but they weren’t developing with the right couples. I understood the essential of Kit’s story but I hated it that the subplots and other characters got more in the way with dumb stories.

Who got robbed?

  • Ruco Chan. This was personal opinions of course. This was honestly insulting him and wasting his time. I know he has to start somewhere since he just came back to TVB but honestly? Casting him in a typical rich spoiled boy wasn’t helping. This was the effect of watching Ben Xiao Hai right before I dive into this series. Since his portrayal took me away in the other one, but for Threshold, I felt like, “What the heck was that?” TVB probably wanted viewers who do not watch ATV series to get used to him but must they cast him in this role? I see people who act poorly gets meatier roles than this. I just hope he isn’t typecast for these roles in the future. Since it has been TVB’s ultimate habit to cast people in similar roles that it’s boring to the point of dullness that either makes people ponder if it’s just the similar roles or the actor could not act.
  • Raymond and Yoyo. I do not mean their characters either since they are like part of the main cast of the drama. However, I thought that this is like the second time around and they do not end up together–once again. (Maybe TVB was compensating for Roger and Yoyo regarding to Last One Standing.)
  • Ellesmere Choi and Queenie Chu. I know they were leading Team A of the three teams involved in the cases but I felt I rather see more development of their characters than seeing the draggy parts of the other characters. I actually liked this pairing very much but too bad not enough scenes of them. I liked their subtle fights and conflict of interests. Then later they became more understanding of each other and thus came to peace with each other. (We could see hints that they will end up together but still would love to see that part rather than the other relationships in here.)
  • Roger and Yoyo. They were like the main couple but I feel like they were robbed major time because I would rather the plot speed up a bit, leaving more room for Roger and Yoyo to be together.
  • Power Chan. I know he was one of the major characters too but somehow he only had one story of his own–the gambling problem. There was also the one with his grandpa. But it was like other than being their friend, he didn’t have other side stories. It was sad. I don’t mean to give him a romance story–that would be a bonus, but it was like he seemed to come and go for the most part. I rather they create other stories for him than focus too much on other people. He played a great part near the end but it didn’t count either because it tied in with everyone in the story also, not his own story.

Having said all that, I do appreciate the entire cast and production team’s effort in their hard work in bringing us such a series with the major issues and subplots involved. It was really complex on some levels but some parts could seriously do without–like mentioned throughout this review many times already. After all, it was better than A Matter of Customs on some level since the other one was more draggy with revolving around a certain plot too much. I must admit also that this series had a very good cast. It was just that the story-line could’ve done better. They should’ve cut back instead of dragging everything out to the point of dullness. The fact that only the first few episodes were relevant for the purpose of the plot and then the last two episodes were where the excitement kicked in was just lame. Shame.

Posted (on Xanga): August 6, 2009

Re-posted: March 26th, 2010