Rear Mirror

I only wanted to catch this because of Wayne Lai. And no, it wasn’t because of the talk about how he might be getting TV King again. OR something. But it was more like I haven’t watched anything TVB related for a while so I thought I pick two series up–just for kicks. (The other one, which I started out first, was Black Heart, White Soul.) How was it? It started out fine, I guess. But I think it eventually went downhill. Or it was me being picky again.

Main Cast:

  • Wayne Lai as Sunday Kei Yat Sing (祈逸昇). Okay, I liked his character. But I think it wasn’t a breakthrough role for him or anything. Yet I liked it that he was not stupid in here, especially the part where he already knew Ah Mong wasn’t his kid. He just wanted to protect the kid after the initial shock and anger, knowing the kid was innocent. I felt it would be too dumb if he didn’t know since all the blood test, etc, after all these years and the constant hospital trips. I also liked that he was capable of defending himself–both physically and intellectually. However, I felt his character was somehow like it was in Off Peddar, minus having the kid.
  • Louisa So as Anson Yiu Ngai Yan (饒毅昕). She finally returned to the main lead status? Or something? Yeah, I missed some gaps so not sure. But she was all right. She was able to convince me when she was fierce or finally relaxed near the end with learning to take it easy and able to put down her worries, etc. I guess the reason why they didn’t throw her under the bus for being an ambitious person was saying how she didn’t want to be in the situation, it was just that she had to take over the company for her father’s sake. And she was the main lead, can’t pick on her too much, except throwing in some constant obstacles here and there to move the plot along. So they chose to throw Bevis under the bus for making him unreasonable and clingy. (I hated that Bevis threw the ultimatum at her too but it was just part of the plot, didn’t make sense.)
  • Tony Hung as Ivan Yiu Chi Hau (饒至孝). I don’t remember if I’ve seen him before. Must have but because I haven’t watched anything TVB related recently so I forgot. But I guess he was all right. I actually like his character as a standalone, NOT with Natalie. Sounds harsh, but I thought he was fine as a character within the Yiu clan and finally earning acceptance from his father. That was nice. I didn’t think they need to add romance to everything.
  • Natalie Tong as Mui Man Kwan (梅敏君) aka MK. I swear if the next person who tells me how underrated Natalie is will get it in the face. I’ve been seeing lots and lots of her second lead roles so it’s not like she’s underrated OR anything. At least it seemed second lead to me. Managed to almost always win the second lead guy. I got it that she was better than her sister for not pulling some despicable card and I got it that they need to make her character different, feisty but could be quite considerate. I got all those. Just that it was like the majority of her roles of recent. Always snappy on the surface yet could be quite nice. I’m just plain bored. Are we done with those yet? I didn’t feel anything for her character although they made it interesting enough. It was just me.

Supporting Cast:

  • Yiu Family
    • Chung King Fai as Yiu Siu Bong (饒兆邦). He was indeed cunning. Yet it made sense after all these years in the industry. The ending twist proved it all. However, I guess he couldn’t win over aging. Or perhaps it was better for him now? Living a carefree life? Sort of.
    • Lau Kong as Yiu Siu Wing (饒兆榮). I swear he was supposed to be the main villain. The twist made his previous actions a lot more forgiving. And made the rest of us realized things aren’t always how they look.
    • Susan Tse as Gu Suk Yin (顧淑賢). She’s really getting typecast nowadays. But I will have to accept it anyway. Yet I swear her being forgiven so easily made me feel like Qiong Yao had somehow taken over the production and turned it into some soapy message about “forgiveness and letting go of revenge.” Sure, she did take care of Anson all these years, and seeing her cry make it okay to forgive her and justify her actions? Killing your mom (robbing your mom the chance to see you grow up) and then raising you would still qualify as earning points? WOW! Really? Well, the whole forgiveness thing made it easier for them to get along as one happy family. But seriously lacked in the reality department. Anson was seriously a goddess for being able to let go like that. (Yeah, that was sarcasm. I’m not saying it’s impossible to forgive someone. BUT I swear it seemed too unconvincing.)
    • Mary Hon as Elaine Fong Yi Ling (方綺鈴). She was sure petty, but realized later on how Anson wasn’t the scheming type and really treated them like family.
    • Benjamin Yuen as Jason Yiu Ngai Chung (饒毅忠). The more capable one of the two mishaps in the family. His credibility sure ranked higher than his brother, and his intelligent was on a higher scale as well. Yet his mother’s words and his jealousy got the better of him. Until he realized how fair Anson was with letting him overseeing some projects because of his experiences and capabilities.
    • Stanley Cheung as Ryan Yiu Ngai Suan (饒毅信). The player of the family. He sure was annoying. Always causing trouble. It wasn’t until near the end that he realized his wrong ways.
  • Kei Family
    • Lily Leung as Pauline Tse Hau Lin (謝巧蓮). She sure was easy. I meant like how she didn’t mind that MK was staying with them. If it was any other traditional women, they would react differently. I guess that broke the norm. She didn’t mind that Ah Mong wasn’t her real great-grandson either. Perhaps it was after all these years of living together and bonding. Yet it wasn’t like she wasn’t heartbroken with realizing how despicable the kid’s mother was.
    • Elaine Yiu as Mui Man Yee (梅敏儀). The question I have here is: How long is TVB going to throw her under the bus? I swear, when her acting was just so-so, they let her star in stuffs. Then dragged her down to play villain/semi-villain roles or annoying roles when she finally could be considered as a good actress. Not everyone could be a good person in the plot. YET I swear I’m getting tired of seeing how she kept getting annoying roles just because the character was ambitious. It was like against the law or something to be ambitious. Like each of her roles now consisted of ambitious and then added in with the formula of cunning, despicable, and then you have it, it was her fault all along. I meant I got it that her character was despicable. YET I swear I didn’t blame her when she wanted to go out and help Sunday with work and stuffs. So he was going the typical traditional route with wanting her to stay home and take care of the kid and him being the bread-earner. YET it wasn’t helping her cause with feeling helpless at home. Yeah, I got it that they turned the plot into her being a scheming woman after all the failed attempts of meeting other men in her life hence saying her choice was wrong all along. But because I’ve been through suffocating moments of being trapped at home for an extended time before, I understand the helplessness. It wasn’t like she wanted it to be that way. It just happened. YET this time, the plot wasn’t in her favor. They made her the monster for wanting to go against the norm and offering ‘help’. It turned for the worst because she left, etc. And what puzzled me the most was the inconsistency throughout. Perhaps I’m bias because Elaine portrayed the role YET I wasn’t quite convinced as to why she turned out that way. Again, it’s always hard to predict human reactions to situations and how just because we believe someone is or isn’t capable of something doesn’t mean they couldn’t. BUT I swear some things were missing for me to get that she was despicable. Although the plot had told me so, but I was still rolling my eyes and realizing some of the things just didn’t stick.
    • Yiub Cheng as Kei Mong (祈望). Cute kid.
  • Hung Family
    • Amy Fan as Hung Lai Sa (洪麗莎). Funny character. She was actually my favorite female character in here. Okay, Louisa’s Anson was cool (CEO and all, go get ’em, right?), but I liked Lai Sa the most because she was just hilarious and lovable in one package. She was soooo silly at times too.
    • Ronald Law as Hung Tze Long (洪子朗). I felt like he got robbed. I’m sooo serious. I really like his character in here and felt it had potential for some development yet he was used as a tool to get MK and Ivan together. That was it. Because we learned that he was Lai Sa’s young brother–with a great sense of humor–and he was a cop. A funny character. Somewhat bordering on annoying (according to his sister, lol, since he kept sabotaging her). Yet he was also a kind and nice person. He wasn’t a doormat though, since he had his own limits. He was also quite intelligent and was quite observant (obviously) from various signs he saw at times with others, and especially MK later on. He didn’t get to do anything else with his ‘police’ status, and was only brushed aside to appear from time to time to cheer MK up, or talk random with the others. It wasn’t like everyone had to have an important role in here, but I felt if anyone’s character was to be developed further, it should be his.
  • Yiu Gong Building Materials Corp.
    • Ram Tseung as Yue Dai Chi (余大智). Mr. Yiu Siu Bong’s trusty assistant. Used to be the old man’s driver but got promoted. He was seriously cunning at times yet had to take second seat to Sunday after Sunday joined the company. It was somewhat hilarious to see him trying to up Sunday. Yet he had to admit defeat later. It was somewhat annoying seeing how he was picking on Sunday at times. But that passed when he finally realized Sunday wasn’t the bad guy like he dubbed Sunday out to be.
    • Li Shing Cheong as Po Yung Jun (蒲勇進). Sunday’s friend. He was really funny! A loudmouth and busybody. I get annoyed at him sometimes for being so nosy too. But in a sense, he was loyal to Sunday. What was funny was that he portrayed Wayne’s master in Rage and Passion years back but now was his buddy and seemed to be under the latter’s command, lol.
    • Cheung Kwok Keung as Ben Shum Bok Man (沈博文). The main villain of the story–though it wasn’t revealed until like near the end. Well, sure, he was a businessman. We learned that throughout he could be fierce and ruthless, etc. Yet he was in the middle for the most part, he needed convincing at times. It turned out he was the one everyone should be watching out for. However, I felt his demise was so fast. It was two seconds later and then he was off again. It wasn’t like I wanted to see the dragged out plot. Because leaving his motive in the dark until the end sort of helped with the shock factor. Yet it went from “OMG, he’s actually the cunning one, shouldn’t have overlooked him (aside from the whole scheme with wanting to steal his son back)” to “Loser, idiot, your two seconds in the sun wasn’t worth it.” Yeah, that was how I felt. If they cut out some other stuffs, they could’ve developed some more side stories like a little more battle between the two sides. Like he wasn’t going to go down after one hit. His brief triumph made us realized how cunning Mr. Yiu was, but it made things worse by making him looking too silly. So Mr. Yiu had more experience and was able to win with his patient and careful planning, but so what? That didn’t mean he have to go down in such a pitiful way. Then I was wondering how he could let go of his son sooo fast. I meant okay, I got that he was feeling hopeless about how the kid was clinging onto Sunday so he didn’t have a chance AND it seemed like a better choice to trade the kid for his chance to control the Yiu’s company. However, it felt loose with how he had lost a son in the past and wanted someone to take over his empire later when he was gone. Sure, he told Anson that she was stupid for believing his stories YET I swear at least some of it have to be true.
    • Man Yeung as Fei (輝).
    • Jennifer Shum as Cindy.
    • Kibby Lau as Jojo.
    • Paco Ali Lee as Yuen Ka Bo ( 阮嘉寶). Psycho. I seriously felt like she had no purpose to be around, except to pull Ivan and MK together (aka realizing their feelings for one another, etc)–and yeah, just like how Ronald’s character was, just there to help move MK and Ivan together. ‘Cause they didn’t really explain why she became such a psycho. OR not even a side story into her background. Providing the reason with how she liked spicy stuffs and loved scary things weren’t that convincing or helpful. People who liked scary movies or like going to scary fun houses DO NOT EQUAL PSYCHO. And sure, there could never be a reason to actually explain people’s behaviors. Yet I felt like they just made her up and then tossed her down along with the other female cast in here just so some people could come out much nicer.
    • Brian Chu as Andy.
    • Kyle Tse as Derek.
    • Leo Lee as CK.
    • Dolby Kwan as Leo.
    • Eddie Ho as George.
    • Calvin Chan as France.
    • Burmie Wong as Joyce.
    • Ip Ting Chi as Dora.
    • Albert Lo as Lawyer Yip (葉律師).

Others:

  • Geoffrey Wong as Bevis Fong Tin Hang (方天恒). OMG, they threw him under the bus YET again. I don’t know. Maybe I’m not watching the right series, but the ones I saw of him since TVB days have been SAD. NOT in the sense of his character, but he kept getting those repeated roles and eventually will have to step aside. The only exception was Come Home Love. Minus that, his character made me want to hit him over the head with something at times. Seriously? It made it unbelievable that they knew and dated each other all these years YET he couldn’t see what was going on? It was like leaving her in a time of need and it proved they couldn’t pass the test. Sure, I got it that there could be soooo many times he could wait and keep delaying to meet with her schedule, and he have to face his family too. Yet he seemed oblivious to what was going on in the family OR something. ‘Cause how could she go? Perhaps they were just wrong for each other because they couldn’t see eye to eye on things, I could accept that. But it seemed ridiculous that he justified his recent engagement by explaining to her everything, etc. Seriously? It made it worse and less convincing.
  • Steve Lee Ka Ding as Ha San Fu (夏山虎). It’s another gangster role for him. Yet I felt like it was soooo anti-climatic. Sure, everyone can’t be in the important scenes and all. But I swear I thought he would play a bigger role in the feud later on. Like how triads could be involved within all those business mess and all.
  • Bing Man Tam as Bing Suk (炳叔). Um, no surprise of his role. I’ve seen him in villainous roles in the past and also those despicable ones so I wasn’t surprised. His sole purpose was to make people’s lives miserable in here–to aid his cause. It wasn’t like he was all good now that Anson saved his life. He just wanted to revenge against the other lady for causing his ‘near death’ incident.
  • Andy Sui as Wai (維).
  • Nicole Wan as Bertha.
  • So Lai Ming as Ada.
  • Louis Szeto as Lun (倫).
  • Kevin Lee as Fei Ying (飛鷹). A bully. Well, he was a triad member under Ha San Fu’s command. But it was indeed funny to see him trying to apologize to Ah Mong later on.
  • Raymond Tsang as Brother Leong (良哥).
  • Kedar Wong as Kwok Ga Hei (郭家禧).
  • Hinson Chou as Ah Dong (阿東). His sole purpose was to introduce MK into the story. Then there was also the whole picking on Taiwanese people again. Seriously.

Relationships – Romances, friendships, etc

  • Wayne Lai and Louisa So as a couple. They’re okay I guess. Their characters matched, of course, as the plot favored. Yet I didn’t feel as much chemistry versus his other strangely odd pairings, lol. Strange but yeah. I meant I felt sort of a bond when their “family of three” went out on a date with flying the kite and all. Yet I wasn’t sold on their pairing in general regarding Wayne and Louisa. Interesting, when I read that it was their collaboration after 10+ years, but when I remembered their scenes in “Journey to the West”, it was indeed funny how things turned out.
  • Wayne Lai and Yiub Cheng as father and son. I so felt their bond. It was touching in many ways. It was one of those cases that illustrated how it wasn’t just about “blood thicker than water” OR whatever they always shoved in our faces. It was about the love and care they have for one another, and the time spent together. Not just some ‘bribes’ from some people then the kid was gone. (Then they packaged it as “blood thicker than water.”)
  • Wayne Lai and Elaine Yiu as a couple. Not in the million of years would I thought of them together. But they were actually convincing for me in the flashbacks. I actually liked their story in King Maker and felt it was a shame how things turned out. (YES, against her favor again–although that one made more sense why she turned psycho later on). The flashbacks were the reasons why I wasn’t convinced as to how she could change like that. Sure, people change, and they couldn’t stay innocent and/or naive like that forever. But I was a sucker for their story. I believed her when she said she was suffering from depression after giving birth, but the rest of the plot just went downhill with killing her character because she chose to flee. (I was upset too after realizing she left through some recounts. Yet the flashbacks didn’t help. They used a real medical situation and twisted it to make her character wrong so I didn’t like that. It was like they were trying to say all those symptoms were made-up. What made the plot weak was how it made her seeking out other men later and realized only Sunday was a decent man and she was wrong. She needed a break from all the madness of being trapped in the house, by adding the whole she ran off and met other men along the way was just to kill her character even more.) I’m not saying people don’t make up stuffs like they’re sick or crazy to get away with stuffs, BUT by adding in real symptoms at first and then just plain toss that aside and decide let’s make her a monster for running away and ignore those stuffs just made it become disorganized and unconvincing.
  • Wayne and Amy? I can’t say that they’re a couple because she never had a chance. But I swear I could see some sparks between them more than Wayne and Louisa. Or maybe it was just me. Character-wise, they probably clashed too much–as seen already. Or perhaps it was because the main female lead have to win so that was how it was. Because if the circumstance was different, it could be opposite attract. She did try to cheer him up at times, etc. But whatever. I could dream.
  • Wayne and Ronald as friends. I really like their friendship although brief exchanges at times. Yet I was more convinced than some dragged out relationships in here. I wish it could develop more than just that. But perhaps because it was short so it was memorable and bearable? Or perhaps because they were true friends so they didn’t need to say much? But they were there whenever that was needed?
  • Li Shing Cheong and Amy Fan. They were funny all right. I said at the beginning–after witnessing their constant bickering: It would be funny if they ended up together. And they did. Which was funny in a sense. Because they were really going after one another’s throats at the beginning and all. I loved watching them more than the other pairings in here combined. NOT kidding.
  • Tony Hung and Natalie Tong as a couple. I guess they do work. However, I swear I stopped caring for them in the later parts of the series. I meant I wasn’t even interested at all, because it had started out as one night stand (accidentally–YET AGAIN like a typical formula), and later they cleared it up, then somehow along the way realized they were meant for each other after some stuffs happen. That was it. I was bored. Sure, people are saying I’m heartless or sooo unromantic or stuffs like that. But I didn’t even care about their pairing at all.
  • Tony Hung – Natalie Tong – Ronald Law – Paco Ali Lee. I swear Tze Long was a lot luckier than Ka Bo. Because he got to let go and play the “bigger” person or “do the right thing” as most plot would say. ‘Cause she seemed really petty and all later on. I swear again, it seemed so unconvincing. Or perhaps if they show more of her story or past, I would be more convinced. Yet it was like Tze Long needed to let go, Ka Bo needed to storm off angry so Ivan and MK could finally be together. That was about it. I felt so sorry for Tze Long and Ka Bo, especially how the other two were still soooo freaking close during that one hotpot get together (that they bumped into one another that one time). ‘Cause it was too obvious. I swear Ka Bo being pissed off was justified. One minute he claimed he loved you and confessed to you YET his actions contradicted everything. Um, sure, he was confused, but the whole thing with being so close to MK and totally tuning Ka Bo out at times make me feel like Ka Bo wasn’t paranoid with thinking something else was going on between the two. So why pave Ka Bo out to be the monster when she was as led on? Tze Long’s case, of course, was different–and because he wanted to stay friends or good brothers (as he stated during their breakup)–so they have to develop a little more to his story. Yet both cases were sad. I don’t know what to make of it with all these confusion except episode fillers. I swear! SO yeah, I got it that Ivan and MK were part of the main cast so it made sense to focus on them, BUT I’ve never seen a more boring story. It was tossed together to have another type of romance just because they were one of the main couples. I know that feelings couldn’t be forced, so it was all right with MK not liking Tze Long. But what I do mind was seeing how MK used Tze Long as a lifesaver. Sure, she might be touched that he cared for her all these years, but it could be the alcohol doing the thinking for her at the moment SO why was she doing that to him? Because it was like she lost her chance with Ivan hence just grabbing onto to Tze Long. She was his friend/good brother after all, why do that to him?
  • Louisa – Tony – Benjamin – Stanley/ Anson – Ivan – Jason – Ryan. I felt their bond near the end when they were gathered in the kitchen and cooked together, reminiscing about old times. So it seemed like they weren’t that bad after all. At least for the other two. Then it implied that their bond wasn’t that terrible. It was just that growing up had caused a lot of complications, and how their mothers had influenced some of their scheming nature as well.

Discussions:

  • The Ending. Seriously, I have never seen any final battles soooo anti-climatic in my life. Sure, it provided a twist in the end, allowing us to see how cunning Mr. Yiu Siu Bong was–with setting the trap for Ben. However, I felt like it was sooooooooo boring. It was like, “Whoa!” and then it went down to the gutter seconds later. (Yeah, like how I said in the character discussion.)
  • Was I sore with how MK didn’t end up with Tze Long hence throwing Natalie/MK under the bus? NO. Seriously, like I said, I was sick and tired of Natalie’s repetitive roles. Yet what I was more annoyed with was how they focused so much on developing the romance between Ivan and MK that the other elements of the plot had suffered. The ending becoming so anti-climatic was also due the fact that they spent too much time on Ivan and MK. So the business battles became a side conflict. For a story starting out with business rivalry and family conflicts, it sure finished weak in regard to those matters. And just to state the romance side, I actually didn’t care for the pairings (like said before), I was okay with Tze Long not ending up with MK. Since I didn’t like her with any of the guys anyway. I actually liked Tze Long and wanted to see more of him, rather than the ongoing soap with MK and Ivan.
  • The case regarding Ah Mong. I understood that the “Social Services” people were deceived into believing Ben was the more suitable candidate for taking care of Ah Mong. However, it also made them quite stupid. I meant Sunday had been taking care of the kid for all these years, so how could he be so unprepared? Have they looked into the history at all? They should’ve talked to the doctors and nurses and all those people having direct contact with the family all these years instead of just looking at that one circumstance. It seemed too ridiculous. (But seriously, there were cases in real life that had hinted at Social Services’ incapabilities so I’m not surprised on that part.)
  • No. 8 Bus? I know this is unfair to make such an association between the two dramas. Yet some of the similarities made it hard to ignore. Not to mention how the bus being part of the main theme, etc. Yet No. 8 Bus made more sense to me. I’m serious. Although it was long and seemed dragged out at times with the ongoing conflicts, but at least it had a purpose. Sure, there were random moments too, but it made sense. Characters were more well developed, not just tossed aside or used as plot devices and then that was it. Not everyone have to be romantically involved or hooked up to link them together.

So after all of that rant, I managed to narrow down to the main reason why it was unappealing to me. It was so unfocused. Like they were all over the place with some stuffs. AND most of all, they tried to squeeze everything into the last episode to create tension and solve it within that episode. Seriously? It goes back to my previous point.

Recommended? Up to you. Perhaps, I thought too much so didn’t enjoy it. But I will admit they have a lot of good ideas, just that they needed to pick and choose between combinations, not all over the place. I understood why Jason and Ryan didn’t get their own other stories, because the focus was their frustration at the company–and at home. So I was all right with that. But I felt some characters hogged the screen too much just because. Again, it might be just me. Or it’s definitely me.

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Twilight Investigation

I never thought my TVB drama of the year would actually start with this one. Serious! Well, I blame my sister because she was skipping around to watch her favorite Shek Sau, LOL! Though it couldn’t be counted for being new as of this year because I sort of step out of anything HK related for a while. But anyway, how was it? Average actually though I did watch from episode 1 to 20 without skipping around. Yes, I was that fair though I felt some parts could do without and others could be developed upon. But what do I expect when it’s a TVB drama, eh? Moving on, right?

The Goods:

  • Shek Sau as Yip Kwok Cheung (葉國昌). I don’t know. I just can’t stop laughing at him. He’s what they call “smart at work, dumb at home” type of person. ‘Cause honestly, he was so pro and cool when he worked on the cases but when he was at home, he was like so out of it, so lost. He had to take care of half of the people’s mess in here and seemed to let others take advantage of him. I wonder if the idea with the way he dressed was incorporated in so it showed the differences when he was at work or home. He was so slick at work with the hair up and all, but his hair was all ruffled up and his clothes laid-back at home. Well, it would make sense since most of us are that way, but the way he let Ho Yan took advantage of him was so pitiful.
  • Raymond Wong as Chow Ka Sing (周家昇). I’ve been enjoying his performances lately. It wasn’t because he was getting better roles (kind of but it has nothing to with the factor that would get me to like someone more or less), but more like I’m getting used to his way of acting. He sure surprised me with his funny side. Okay, he was funny in A Great Way to Care as well but it was different. He was acting so macho and all in here yet could be a big baby at times as well. The fact that they add even more to his personality made it addicting. The scene between him and Billy with his wanting to shoo Billy away was so touching, and then the part where Billy brought some food and his favorite drink for him was equally touching. (Sometimes it makes you wonder that bonds between two people transcend that of the bloodline. After all, Billy did live with him throughout all these years. It’s hard to just cut off the relation like that.)
  • Queenie Chu as Mandy. I wasn’t sure if I would like her in here though I did enjoy her other past performances. Yet I guess it would be safe to say that she was extremely misled at one point. She can’t be too perfect, right? Sad that it happened yet I’ll let it slide since the family of three reunited again.
  • Raymond and Queenie as a couple. I didn’t know if it was going to work or not. But I found it refreshing. It was actually better than some of his past co-stars. I’m so serious here. I could see sparks between them and then there was the whole feeling with their family.
  • Johnson Lee as Wang Siu Fu (王小虎). At first, I thought he was portraying some typical bad guy again. I’m serious. I didn’t read spoilers this time and it seemed suspicious. Yet there was this different story about it. His strong sense of loyalty to his boss sort of reminded me of his character in Split Second. But I was glad it led into a different path–or it would end in the usual, cliche route. Anyway, I think Johnson has a knack for comedy without trying too hard. He could keep a straight face while saying one of the funniest lines ever. Honestly, I couldn’t stop laughing because of how passive he was while he was saying those lines. It was of course intended for sarcastic humor–and he succeeded. (At least I thought so.)
  • Oceane Zhu as Bing Bing (冰冰). I like seeing her being the chameleon at times throughout different cases. She could be seductive or serious or cool at any moment. Cool character? Not sure because of that so it helped her acting more but not bad at all. I will hold my judgment since it is just my first series of her. (Or so I could remember.)
  • Johnson and Oceane. I’m a sucker for such a mysterious story. LOL! But they were quite cute together without trying too hard. One of the funniest parts with them was seeing how she had to rescue him out of the sticky situation when he got them busted, and then he had to stand aside and hold her purse while she fought off those men. LOL! Priceless! Oh yeah, the part near the end where she hired bodyguards stationed at the door to protect him was so funny as well. Gotta watch out for her man, eh? The most ironic thing was how he used to be in a gang so he should be able to fend for himself, right?
  • Power Chan as 977. Always like Power and another enjoyable performance. He made the scene even more lively with his enthusiasm and really brought out his character at various points with his charm.
  • Lau Dan as So Kam Lam (蘇鑑林). He was just around at times. Yet he got some more screen time in one of the cases to develop his character even more. Let’s just say the man hasn’t lost it. Kudos!
  • The bond between 977 (Power) and Uncle Kam (Lau Dan). I really liked it that 977 was so loyal to Uncle Kam, always supporting him and following him to different places even if the old man can’t see him (at least not the majority of the series). Their talk in prison was one of those memorable scenes between them, so touching. (Yeah, I’m a sucker for that as well.)

Other Notable Performances:

  • Lam King Kong as Tse Po Chuen (謝保全). I always liked him though he was in the background most of the time, portraying various roles. He doesn’t disappoint this time either. Quite convincing as the mentally challenged person. (And he did get a part where he played the possessed person–aka the part where Power’s character, 977, entered his body.)
  • Ram Tseung as Mok Chun Chung (莫鎮忠). I swear, I was so convinced he was innocent and got framed. Then I was so taken with the possessed part that I didn’t realize his character was actually responsible for the fire after all. He sure did it with acting all innocent and kind, but transferred to a revenge-fused madman. AND then out of control ghost. Or should we call him a ghoul? Or monster? Since the regular ghost (according to the to the plot) learn things bit-by-bit, not advance so much like him when he turned and was able to cause so much harm–due to the hatred that was inside him.
  • Jimmy Au as Cheng Nam (鄭南). Okay, he only appeared a bit throughout flashbacks and I’m so cheating here to put him in. Yet I found it somewhat refreshing to watch him in such a role instead of another typical villain. Maybe the story did help.

Torn:

  • Wong Hei as Encore. I guess I like him. Yet I can’t decide since the later parts ruined it somewhat with his mushy scenes with Linda. I don’t doubt his performance. But I think the plot ruined his character. The finale of the ending scenes leading up to his character’s death brought the story back on track. But that was that.

Somewhat Strange/Surprising:

  • Shek Sau and Rebecca? Honestly? Have they ever paired up in the past before? I’m just wondering since I did not watch every single TVB series. Kind of strange to take in at first yet I guess it’s not too bad because they do match to some extent that did not make it too odd in here.

ODD TO DEATH:

  • Wong Hei and Linda!!! What? Okay, I’m not picking on his age. Or hers. I do like older man and younger woman pairing to some extent. And I often leave the option open since some of the collaborations have surprised me in the past. But I find it really odd with this two together. I rather they (the scriptwriters) not include the romance part between these two. But I guess it’s always typical TVB to romanticize everything.

OUTRAGEOUS:

  • They demoted Ben Wong? Like again? I guess he wouldn’t want to be the goody-two shoe for too long or he would get rusty with his acting or be tossed into just one category. Yet I was getting used to seeing him trying out some roles such as the humorous dude, the cool cop, the somewhat clueless guy, etc. What happened? Is this going to turn into a pattern? Hope not. But he was convincing as the calm, patient boyfriend and father at first–and then showing his true colors later.

FEELING ROBBED:

  • How Siu Ho (Johnson) and Bing Bing (Oceane) got together. What? I know how they got together through some minor scenes and some of their recounts later on. Yet I felt robbed. I want more of the story development. If they had cut out some random/mushy scenes between Wong Hei and Linda, then it might work out. YES, mean, but I rather see more scenes of Johnson and Oceane. There could be more room to develop.
  • How in the world did that creep reporter get together with Leng Mui? I’m so serious here. I didn’t see that coming. I know surprises happen but it has to make sense. He seemed like a creep at that one gathering along with his jerk friends. What changed? Well, he could dump his girlfriend, etc YET I’m not totally convinced. I know I said I’m not into gift-wrapping and some things are good being left with some mystery and staying unexplained BUT this isn’t one of the cases that I could let slide.

SHORT CONCLUSION: Cases are nice to watch and some relations are fun to see BUT the main couple’s romance kind of suck.

Recommended? Kind of. Don’t take it seriously though since it’s mostly a comedy. (DUH, RIGHT?)

Only You: Episode 2

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This episode continued with Mandy’s job search. She was so picky, LOL! Well, I guess she had a point regarding the requirements with knowing how to drink, please others, etc. It began to feel like some special “socializing” abilities rather than just the normal professionalism that employees had to acquire for their job titles. Anyway, Mandy soon met with her mother at a restaurant for tea time (?) and found out that her mother had set up a meeting with the matchmaker, Chong Sze Tim. (Yeah, the same matchmaker and wedding planner who helped Dee with the whole wedding arrangement in the previous episode.) Mandy was still hostile–or at least semi-hostile–toward her while exchanging some words. Her mother of course interfered. However, Mandy’s attitude changed when the subject changed to that of wedding arrangements. Yup, she had already talked to Ling regarding the whole making money out of the wedding business when they met up for lunch, so it was only right that she snatched at the opportunity when Madame Chong brought it up. Like it was an easy road since her attitude just killed everything and Madame Chong wouldn’t want to commit suicide by accepting Mandy as a student. LOL! That would lead to major blood pressure problems in the near future. On a personal note, I don’t know, but I liked Yoyo’s character so far. It was kind of different from her previous roles. It was not too good, too dumb, too kind, or too cruel. There was this mixture of caring for her family yet she had this attitude that just drove people insane at times. In other words, NOT perfect yet not completely hateful either.

To steer away from that side of the main cast to the other side, LOL! Yeah, so I didn’t mention about Madame Chong’s family, right? So here goes. Evergreen Mak and Kristal Tin were part of that clan. Then there was their son Zhong Chung Leung (Vin Choi)–more like stepson to Mrs. Zhong. There was also Ma Hui Ching (Natalie Tong), who was Madame Chong’s daughter. In a way, they were a family business. In the previous episode, we found out that Chung Leung didn’t transfer his tuition fees to Hui Ching so now he couldn’t go to Australia to study because he had enrolled somewhere else to pursue a girl. His father was more than mad but couldn’t do anything about it–even after some major persuasion with the school. To top it off, they had another thing to worry about. Their main photographer, Summer (Kevin Cheng), was not back yet because of delays and couldn’t make it in time to take pictures for one of their clients. Mrs. Zhong immediately came up with some medical excuse for Summer and tried to edge out of it. Nice? It seemed that Kevin was portraying somewhat of an irresponsible person–for once? NOT sure, but we’ll find out in a bit.

Because of Summer’s inability to appear at the time, King (Lai Lok Yi) tried to cover for him by offering his service when he was turned down by the customers since they did not trust him–though he was supposed to be the backup photographer and was more than qualified to help them with the photo session. After much frustration, he left again. So much for being nice and trying to help, I guess.

On the other hand, Madame Chong was offered a case to help this one family with an upcoming wedding but one of the requirements was that she was still happily married. This was the thing that couldn’t be fulfilled but Phoebe (Kristal Tin) jumped in to say that it was true and used crafty words to seal the deal. Madame Chong couldn’t turn it down so she had to seek out her disciple to handle the ceremony. She had no idea that her loud mouth disciple was the reason for her downfall. Or what seemed so because the disciple engaged in an argument with Lady Wong and accidentally spilled the beans regarding Madame Chong’s past. That got into the tabloids and caused Madame Chong’s reputation. I seriously did not blame Phoebe in this case since she wasn’t totally lying. Yes, she was manipulating the words to make it sound good yet she wasn’t bashing or picking on Madame Chong. She was just using good words to make Madame Chong’s reputation good. I blame the nosy disciple for not knowing when to shut up. Anyway, Madame Chong went to their client’s office to try and explain but the rep wouldn’t hear her. Luckily, the boss came and told them that she would see Madame Chong. After some explanation, the lady boss said that she didn’t care about Madame Chong’s past but admired her for her talents and wanted her to arrange the wedding and be there for the ceremony.

Back to Mandy’s side, Mandy somehow landed a job since it was Ling’s cousin’s wedding. She tried to pull it off but failed major time because she wasn’t paying attention when Ling was passing on information to her. Despite her crafty words and manipulation, she wasn’t convincing. But coincidences of all coincidences or maybe it was just planned that way so the plot would unfold later, but Madame Chong’s reception was also at the same hotel/restaurant. So they went head to head and had some exchanges. Mandy was still the typical Mandy, arrogant as always, LOL! Madame Chong didn’t want to argue with her anymore. Yet the little respect Mandy showed toward Madame Chong was letting her get into the Taxi first. But Madame Chong refused and so Mandy abandoned her courtesy and headed home. Yup, Madame Chong was shaking her head.

The episode ended with Mandy sitting on her bed and counting the red packets. It showed that she had failed major time. Need to be more convincing. If only she would know that she still had a lot to learn.

Only You: Episode 1

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After watching the first episode, I must say I was impressed. It might be too early to say anything regardless because I’d read some spoilers but I was willing to stay positive–for once (at least recently). This series was, of course, about weddings or more like wedding planning. Well, it could be counted as everything surrounding weddings, such as preparations–as mentioned above–and the hardships they’d gone through for it. The reasons for such a fancy and glamorous preparations could be for the sake of saving face–as in this case, but it actually turned out to be a different reason and could account for a whole different reason in the end. I must admit I was thinking along the line of dragging formula as the wall crumbled when Mandy (Yoyo Mung) exclaimed out her frustration and spilled the beans about her recent job loss. But the whole event turned around all right in the end. It seemed that this series would be a case per case thing instead of dragging it out with the whole jumble of stories like in the past series. Then they would save it for everything to resolve in the end or near the end. But it was not. I like this approach better when it comes to theme-related ones. I must say I was not much of a fan of some of the cast members but watched anyway since I at least liked some of the cast. Glad I carried on anyway because I liked the development thus far and how the characters were–even if they seemed annoying at one point or another. It was more on a serious level than some of the recent nonsense ones. However, you shouldn’t dive in if you just can’t stand the main cast because you wouldn’t enjoy it anyway. I was willing to continue because the plot had convinced me somewhat and how the characters promised some sense of variety. There was, of course, the overall plot that tied the main cast together but most of the couples in here were probably appearing as guests for each case the wedding planners do. Can’t wait to see what else would happen.

So anyone wants spoilers? Well, the first story started with Mandy’s family preparing for Dee (Eddie Lee) and Rainbow (Leanne Li)’s wedding. Dee and Rainbow only wanted a simple get together party among family and friends, but it had turned into a whole catastrophe because Mandy wanted to show off to her other relatives and save face for the family. Then there was also the whole thing with their mother (Suet Nei) wanting to do a traditional wedding after witnessing a professional matchmaker and wedding planner going through the ceremony with a relative’s wedding. This professional matchmaker was of course portrayed by Louise Lee. She was pestered by all family members before and after Mandy’s job loss, causing quite a nuisance for her. However, upon hearing the mother’s confession of how important it was to her to witness a traditional wedding and bringing luck toward her son and future daughter-in-law, the matchmaker was touched and proceeded to do her best directing the mother throughout the preparations. On the other hand, Mandy was very frustrated with the job loss that she finally took it out on her brother after finding out about the huge bill from the wedding pictures. So all parties were on the out that night, shutting themselves in their rooms, except for the mother. Their mother was worried and wanted to cancel all arrangements with the matchmaker the next day because of Dee’s rude behavior and hostility. However, after some encouragements and persuasions, she proceeded with the planning. That night, Dee returned home to see his mother in the kitchen–more like just a glimpse of her in the kitchen–and mumbled about the nuisance of preparations in his drunk state. Yet the next day Dee finally understood his mother’s feelings toward the whole thing. Even Rainbow was touched by what her mother-in-law had done for her–and cooperated with the arrangements throughout, no longer complaining about the unfairness of not being able to plan out her own wedding, etc. Another touching moment occurred when Mandy produced two watches as the wedding gift for her brother, which Dee remembered the promise Mandy had made to him since they were still young. After that flashback, Dee tearfully said that Mandy had remembered and Mandy returned by reminding him that she would never forget what she promised to him. See what I mean with a touching episode? Well, who knows what else could happen in the future but that moment really brought meaning into the whole theme. It brought forth more hope for weddings and/or marriages. (I’m a sucker for it.)

Safe Guards

That was a very great and satisfying ending. There were so many conflicts and hardships during the last few episodes but glad they found a clever way to resolve it instead of making it rushed like the previous series. Really loved Ram Tseung in here as Ching Mun. He was so clever and carefree. Too bad his wife died but NOT for nothing. He managed to try harder and made others proud. His dedications toward the business were greater also. Plus they finally got their reward by getting the contract signed.

Really like Steven and Wayne in here as Tzi and Joong. Like I said in the previous reviews, really like Wayne’s acting and he was a great team with Steven throughout–no wonder they were signed up for two more collaboration after this series. It was a great decision.

Steven and Elaine – I don’t know why people were against it so much. They complemented each other so well with him being the strong/ruthless and fearless leader with a sense of righteousness while she was the kind and understanding wife. Yes, she might appear to be such a weakling and seemed useless for the series, but she did know a lot of things since she used to work with her father before. She had the experience. Plus, I think this was a guy series so her character as Fung shouldn’t and wasn’t supposed to overshadow Steven, Wayne or Ram’s characters. Plus considering during those ancient times (that was a LONG time ago), women weren’t supposed to participate in stuff as much, especially business matter so it was only correct that she shouldn’t be the strong type who stood around and talked away 24/7. So in conclusion, really like this pairing (of course it doesn’t top Steven and Bernice) but still a good pairing–even IF Steven had to pull most of the weight of the acting but it was all right. He’s capable. Elaine wasn’t terrible but she needed more work in playing a calm character. I think she improved A LOT during The Gentle Crackdown II because I thought she played out the kind and nice weakling better. (And she was a cute couple with Johnson Lee in there as well.)

Lai Lok Yi – I swear I didn’t know why he was in here. It was like give or take. But maybe because his character, Yee, caused Steven’s character, Tzi, to realize the importance of expanding their business to the seas instead of land like they’ve been doing. For the first time, I can only say average from him–maybe because he appeared too late in the series and didn’t get to contribute as much.

I must say that was a shocker when they revealed Ching Pung’s real identity. It was really hard to believe yet so convincing at the same time. Because it didn’t justify for anything that their grandpa should believe in such omens as bad luck all these years. And even if their father believed it, Ching Tong was kind to his brothers and would have given Ching Pung great responsibility. The ending point explained a lot. It served Ching Pung right for being so greedy. I think that it was such a grateful thing that the grandpa did to still raise and gave Ching Pung such a position (aka giving him access to the assets/ money) all these years. If a man found out he had been tricked, he would have kicked the kid out already but he didn’t. He still continued to raise Ching Pung and only made the “unlucky” thing up as an excuse to as a cover so Ching Pung could get a share of the family fortune in the future. Ching Pung himself was the one responsible for his downfall since he drove everyone to the wall, causing the mother to take such actions.

Ben Wong as the villain in here was interesting since he took quite the big role. (Haven’t seen him in such big roles recently even if it was as a villain.) Interesting portrayal and he was great portraying the calm and supportive brother at the beginning and later breaking away because he couldn’t take the failure. Hau took the turn for the worse and thus leading him to cause more damage and to his downfall in the end. I like it that his ending wasn’t too lame, considering he learned to repent after he known of his son’s existence and began to see how good Tzi treated his son in the end. The scene was just right before his death also, not too dramatic or subtle.

Loved Law Lok Lam‘s last scene–although brief appearance,  but it was the most important part of the whole series, causing a turn back and a HUGE surprise for everyone. The role he played was of importance since he was the only one to prove the credibility of the evidence gathered.

Considering how many years have passed with each of the events and conflicts going on, it made everything more believable since TVB just jumbled conflicts in stories within months. The series overall was really good for recent ancient series. Although it wasn’t the best, because of its flaws, it shone out in the sense of realism.

Posted (on Xanga): November 23, 2008

Re-posted: Saturday, April 17th, 2010