Raising the Bar

Surprisingly, I also watched this ages back and do not remember much anymore. However, I couldn’t get some things out of my mind regarding this for some reason, so I thought I might as well do a review and get it all out. I have already forgotten about most of the characters since there were a lot. Yet I remember some stuff, so will try to discuss those areas.

The reason why I even watched this in the first place was because of Ben Wong and how he managed to make it back to the main lead at long last. Yes, that was the sole reason why I wanted to watch at first. I usually do not watch legal series, but I made an exception for Ben. So, yeah, if Ben ever read this, he should be happy, lol. (YEAH, right, lol.) Anyway, how was it? To say that it was a mistake was an understatement. There were some good things about it–for sure. But some things were just too whatever.

Main Cast:

  • Ben Wong as Marcus Fan Chi Ngai (范智毅). So, Ben’s back as the main guy. How was he? In a sense of acting, I didn’t doubt him at all throughout. He delivered. It was a long journey for him making up top again so I applaud him. In a sense of character, I guess he was a typical good guy, so there wasn’t much to say about that. I actually liked his goofy off-work side more, lol. Because he would end up in all these strange debates with the other senior lawyers or with his friends.
  • Louis Cheung as Quinton Chow Chi Pok (周梓博). Coming in from Black Heart White Soul, I say my perception was mixed feelings. Yes, my last series of him before watching this one was that one, so yeah, it was going great for him really. (Yes, sarcasm.) However, I swear, he did better in the other one. Yes, even if he was a mix character in the other one, he delivered better in terms of acting. In this one, I thought he was too trying, possibly because of taking on a student a role or something. I’m not sure. I couldn’t figure it out. But his charater was all right. Nothing really special that stood out for me. At least, he wasn’t annoying either?
  • Ram Chiang as Woody Lam Sam Muk (林森木). He was the other shining character in here for me. I thought he contributed to shouldering the series for the majority of the main cast already and deserved a call out for that. He had some interesting insights and often the voice of reason among their group of senior lawyers at times.
  • Grace Chan as Giselle Tong Ching Chi (唐靖姿). I tried really hard to like her but I just couldn’t. Seriously, it was really hard. First, I had my bias with Grace–thanks a lot to Overachievers, I didn’t like her at all in there. So yeah, seeing her in here, it was hard to restrain. Battling that bias took several episodes for me and it became easier because once I got into her character, I did like her ambition and her willingness to work toward her goal. Her character was interesting in that sense and she did have some principles or at least, tried to live by the codes, not cutting corners, etc. But as the series went along, her character became boring for me in a sense. I guess, I was just impatient. So I tried to focus on other parts of the plot and see how it went with her journey to becoming a lawyer. What went completely downhill and became a nail in the coffin for me was the last conflict of the series. The one where Marcus was accused of having an affair with one of the students (or it was said he manipulated his way into it via his power). I seriously wanted to reach into the screen and strangle her. Yeah, that bad. I know we–as the audience–witnessed along with Giselle throughout how lawyers had gone astray or forgot their original goal after having been in the industry for too long. Giselle, herself, was also a victim of those harassment throughout the series. However, having been with Marcus for that long and understanding him like that, how could she disregard his words and believe the other girl completely? What happened to innocent until proven guilty or relying on evidence or whatever else. I do understand in those cases, there was a posibility of people in higher places abusing their power, etc. However, I thought she would have given Marcus the benefit of a doubt because she worked alongside him for so long. Nope, she not only disregard his integrity entirely but also withheld evidence, causing the situation to drag out until the girl’s family member decided to submit the journal on her own. What the hell? I don’t know how the legal system over there work (because I don’t live there, so this isn’t a snappy comment, just saying I don’t have firsthand information), but when you found something relevant to an ongoing case, you submit it. Or at least, that was how it was supposed to be. She withheld it and thought it was fine? Seriously? Even though it was someone’s personal journal, but there was an ongoing case regarding a very serious matter, that should qualify as evidence. I don’t know if that was an error of the scriptwriters OR just a flaw in the character, but that totally did it for me, not caring for her character at all. She shoudln’t have become a lawyer either if she acted like that. OR maybe she fitted right in with all those flaky lawyers? Seriously, I didn’t even know why Marcus forgave her at all. Sure, she had determination, etc. But she made the wrong call major time regarding legalities.

Supporting:

  • Elaine Yiu as Vivian Cheung Wai Wan (張慧芸). I was really, really surprised they didn’t throw Elaine off the bus this time. Well, in some ways, they did. She cheated, no doubt about it. But I was surprised they redeemed her later and made her character realized what was important during the car accident scene. I was also surprised that they allowed for her to return to her family all intact and didn’t forgo some side drama in that area also. It was strange because I swear I still have PTSD from all the times TVB threw Elaine under the bus because she wasn’t the main lead and was taking on continuous similar roles. I guessed that because they had to focus on other major characters, so they just let her off–or ran out of time. But I liked that she got to portray a lawyer this time around.
  • Natalie Tong as Ashley Cheng Cheuk Tung (鄭妁彤). I never thought there came the day I wanted Natalie to have more scenes. Yes, coming from me who kept complaining nonstop about her repetitive roles. However, this was seriously a different type of role for her and shone through. I was surprised they let her portray this role since it was completely different from her cutesy roles or innocent ones. I actually quite liked this side of Natalie with the professional front, but also a mysterious background–somewhat at first. She was daring, witty and charming. It was indeed addicting to watch her in here. I thought this type of role was more challeinging for her or more interesting to watch than the usual they kept giving her. It seemed more of a challenge.
  • Timothy Cheng as Duncan Yam Suen Yip (任雋燁). He was hilarious. Seriously, he cooked up a lot of schemes for Marcus. One of the rare roles I liked of his. Maybe it was because whenever I watched a series he was in, he took on a less than likable role. So, yes, this one was refreshing for me in that playful and light-hearted way. Of course, he took part in his own set of intense dramas, but for the majority of the time, he seemed to take on a comedic role among their group of senior lawyers.
  • Elena Kong as Judge Amanda Lui (呂官). I don’t remember much about her anymore. But I remember liking her.
  • Sam Tsang as Don Chu Yiu Lik (朱耀力). I kind of liked him at first, then the cheating came into play and I was just like, throw him away. However, for some odd reason, knowing his age, I didn’t find him trying too hard the way Louis did with his lively vibe. Maybe it was Sam’s experience or how his character was that made it less annoying. I don’t know.

Pairings:

  • Ben and Elaine. I remember reading some articles about how Elaine talked about her collaboration with Ben and they worked well together because they knew each other a long time already, etc. I don’t want to disregard all that. I thought it was interesting in a way that they paired up in here and even have a small family of their own. However, I still didn’t feel the chemistry as strong. Sure, I liked them together at times and the way they were at times. It seemed they were comfortable in their roles and their interactions. That was good. But in my weird brain, it didn’t work as a “wow” over the top chemistry as I spotted with some of their past on screen partners. It was still fun to watch though.
  • Elaine and Sam. I know, I must be crazy to be put them in. But I swear they had more chemistry for some odd reason. AND no, I don’t promote cheating or whatever. I hate those people and their excuses the most. However, in an interesting turn of events, them as actor and actress, I found more chemistry with them for some reason. So, what I’m trying to say is if they ever work together in another drama, I would support this pairing.
  • Natalie and Timothy. Normally, I wouldn’t like this repetitive formula. But considering the options of the drama, I found them much more interesting to watch than some couples in here. It was somewhat tragic or maybe just sad when the plot was laid out at some parts. But the ending was seriously hilarious. He had to work super hard for their family of three, lol.

Recommended? I would say you have to love the main cast to watch. It was hard for me mostly because of some of the things I listed up there. So, it wasn’t enjoyable for me. But those who like legal dramas might want to check it out. It’s not in my top 20, but it was somewhat okay to watch.

Inspector Gourmet

I actually watched this ages back but never found time to review it. Then I totally forgot about the plot and had to watch it again, lol. Was it worth a second watch? I think it was sort of worth it because I looked at it with fresh eyes. It also helped that the series went by the formula of a case-by-case format.

Main Cast:

  • Kenneth Ma as Bill Kei Yeung Tak Kei (楊得基). This was one of Kenneth’s loudmouth roles. It wasn’t hard for him regading acting. But the character was fun to watch because you see his humorous side come on. Sometimes, he was too dramatic–probably for the purpose of the character. Although I admitted that he did quite well in terms of acting, as a personal opinion about his role, this wasn’t my favorite character. It was too pushy at times, which created this negative effect for me.
  • Eliza Sam as Tong Ka Ka (唐嘉嘉). She was a righteous person and was always passionate in helping others righting wrongs. The fact that she was so involved with the cases because she’d been reading and watching too much detective stuff made it funnier. Her perserverence was quite admirable though. Especially how she was determined to recruit Mak Sai at the beginning. She had an eye for talent and knew they needed him, so she found all the ways to convince him. It took a negotation but she wasn’t willing to let go, knowing there were still options left. It was a good trait to have if she wanted to be a good detecitve aka not giving up halfway and all. But she wasn’t so innocent or as easily conned by Bill–as Bill liked to think. She could get so mad at him too. Actually, she used to work for a newspaper doing investigative journalism yet her boss tried to conceal the truth, fearing that they would offend other businesses, so she quit. Her past experience had helped her immensely with the current job. So, she wasn’t all talks either. She was willing to merge into different roles they took on necessary for the stalking process. It was somewhat exaggerated, but it worked in the long run. Eliza did very well with expressing those sides of Ka Ka.
  • Louis Yuen as Mak Sai (麥犀). Louis had always been a wild card to me when it came to watching him–whether it was a series like such or a hosting gig. This time, it was on the positive side. Also, I was surprised. I actually remembered his character a lot more than the other cast involved, interestingly. Maybe because he was funny but didn’t try too hard to be. That was just how he was, carrying on like usual or what he thought was normal. Yet others found him weird and all. Regarding his push to get Ah Kiu and her father to reconcile, I saw where he came from, but he didn’t agree with it. Reason? He was in the wrong years ago–even if it was an accident his mom passed away–aka his attitude was terrible and he was arrogant. He hoped to get closure and have forgiveness from someone else hence he sympathized with Ah Kiu’s father. YET the victim shouldn’t be forced to forgive just because. He didn’t understand that it was two different situation. However, I will write this off as part of the scriptwiter’s flaws, considering they always pushed and use the parent card regardless of how wrong the parents’ side was, and NOT an overall character flaw as the character was expected to follow the flow of the story anyway.
  • Priscilla Wong as Sam Oi Kiu (岑愛嬌) aka Sister Kill (Kill姐). I completely forgot about this role of Priscilla. I guessed it was because this was my first time watching her and then I steered away from TVB series for a while and then double back to watch Line Walker hence not remembering about her until I finally did this review and realized she played a major part in Line Walker: The Prelude and then the third installment, Line Walker: Bull Fight. That was a major surprise all right. I didn’t know why, but I actually liked her in this series yet felt she was awkward in Line Walker: The Prelude. Maybe because she wasn’t considered first lead in here, so it took off the pressure? Not sure. But back to the role itself, I found her hilarious and witty in here. That intro scene of her was crazy and wicked, lol. She was a natural in here with bringing out the character’s personality, no awkwardness whatesoever.

Supporting:

  • Elvina Kong as Anna Chu Sau Na (朱秀娜). Bill’s older sister. Mixed feelings. I sided with her regarding her feud with her husband and all. But as a character in general, I didn’t really like her, which was strange because I usually like Elvina’s performances regardless of character. Yet I felt her too trying or too awkward in here for some reason. Not sure why.
  • Timothy Cheng as Ko Yan (高仁). Anna’s ex husband. Another despicable character under his belt and a character created to crank up the tension between other characters of the show. He treated women like disposables yet there were still brainwashed women who followed him senselessly and thought they were going to stay young forever, thinking they wouldn’t be replaced by him as well. He sure met his match when he got trapped by Lo Tai Wai. And it really served him right with all those girls leaving him. What did he think? He was going to replace them in the future anyway. He didn’t expect them to be loyal, did he? (Their rant about him messing with underage girl was seriously them trying to fall back on moral grounds though. They only left him because he would face legal consequences and was already out of money.)
  • Eric Li as Lo Tai Wai (盧大維). Despicable. He lacked talent yet wanted to fame. He acted like a typical jealous high school kid and seemed to never grew up. His jealous of Mak Sai caused a lot of the problems coming into the story. He continued to use all tactics to go against Mak Sai yet had no problem to use underhanded tricks to get intel from Mak Sai either. A beyond pathetic character overall. Oh yeah, super cliche that he was involved with Ko Man in the final case though.
  • Oscar Leung as Cheung Kwok Wah (張國華) aka Nga Dai Wah (淆底華). At first, I didn’t know what to think of him. It mostly had to do with how cowardly he was and his fear toward Lo Tai Wai. However, after seeing the big reveal later and the reasons for the blackmail schemes, I felt sorry for him. He had a legit reason to fear that despicable guy. It wasn’t like he could do anything else regarding the loan shark situation of ages ago. It was an emergency and he did pay them back already. It was just that Lo Tai Wai was despicable enough to use that against him. Considering how he was a model cop after all, how could he let those be released like that? I do feel bad for him. He just wanted a girlfriend and wanted to get married one day, a simple family plan. Yet he had to meet with a pyscho like that. However, his expectations was a bit too high. He expected her to see the light? Really? Misplaced trust or loyalty here. But whatever. Oscar’s acting at that point was really good, though, the torn feeling and all. Omg, I so didn’t remember when I watched the first time around that he got shot and stuff. Such a tragedy. I would have liked to see the others visiting him at the end of the story. Yet they found time for other senseless side stuff instead.
  • Jacqueline Wong as Janice Chow Ching (周晴). What to say? I didn’t find her character or story necessary for the series, except to cause ruptures and became a test between Bill and Ka Ka. Sure, it became another case among all the other cases in here. Yet it wasn’t like a “must-have” case in that sense. It was just another story arch that tried to crank up its hype with dramatization and all. Her case did prove how well the team worked together. However, I still didn’t like it. Like I said, unnecessary. But the only consolation toward the whole thing was not dragging the case out till the end. Luckily, it ended early to leave way for other cases.
  • Vivien Yeo as Lee Nga Choi (李亞彩). A mentally challenged girl who tried to look after Mak Tong. Vivien actually did quite well. She was quite convincing as the nervous yet kind person, trying to communicate as best as she could. I thought this role was more along Vivien’s caliber and didn’t seem to be a waste of time last some of the past roles that were quite similar. This gave her more space for acting–even if it was just a case of the overall story. It was a matter of delivering the character and not just appearing all the time yet not contributing anything to the plot.
  • Bowie Wu as Mak Tong (麥棠).
  • Lau Kong as Sam Wing (岑榮). A typical gambler. He thought it was right that he gambled away and caused the loan shark to come threaten and hurt his family YET felt he was wronged. Seriously? It was a miracle his daugther didn’t sell him out yet still paid his debts for him. Looking down on her and thinking that it was unlucky that he had a daugther instead of a son. Typical old traditional toxic thoughts. I had no sympathy for such person AND felt it was really stupid that others thought his daughter should think him like royal after all he put them through. Just because he was the father? Really? No wonder the abuse cycle continued with so many people. Although fictional but it still portrayed a fraction of real life stuff. The parent card was always used to justify terrible behaviors. I found it amusing that he’d been torturning the family all these years living in fear YET could just redeem himself for a short while and then expected others to forgive just like that. Once again, the mentality of the using the parent card to get past all barriers. I hated that Ah Kiu was forced to forgive him just because. Seriously?
  • Angelina Lo as Fung Ching Mui (馮靜梅). Didn’t like her character at all. She was an enabler. I don’t care for her excuses. I’m just really done with those repetitive characters in dramas so my patience wore really thin when it came to such characters. Her guilt wasn’t a good reason for all that madness.
  • Mark Ma as Sam King On (岑景安). Ah Kiu’s younger brother. Also part of the enabler team, so sorry if I didn’t sympathize with him. He somehwat was stuck in between several parties. But seriously, grow a backbone and support his sister a bit. Seriously.
  • Stephen Wong as Jason Pun Kai Tak (潘啟德). Ka Ka’s cousin. That was a bit amusing to see Bill overreacting during his appearances. He was only there to get Ka Ka into that final grand event to pull the scheme on Lo Tai Wai. Then he was just taunting Bill a bit. Well, not really taunting, but more like testing Bill a bit to make sure Bill was worthy of Ka Ka. He shouldn’t have eased off so soon though.

Others:

  • Océane Zhu as Fok Ling Ling (霍玲玲). Omg, her character was too much. Yet I felt it was more fun to watch than some of her other roles. I don’t know. After they failed her in Come Home Love, I didn’t think much of her anymore because it was like she was demoted after some initial attempt to try and promote her. So the majority of nowadays roles of hers are this random. I didn’t expect much but just felt I could take whatever they tossed our way, I guess. Although her gestures toward Bill was a bit over during her intro scene, I found her cute, lol. She was accused of stealing money fromt the cash register but it turned out her lady boss was careless hence causing the bill to be stuck in her shoes instead. She totally conned Bill, lol. Well, it wasn’t her fault that he thought he would get something out of it. Yet it was still funny seeing how he lost money, considering how he paid way over the price of the tickets. She did compensate him BUT of course, how would she know he spent A LOT more for it? And she managed to get out of the date, lol. Yeah, it was sad for him, but come on. He was smart when it came to cases, but regarding other stuff, not so much. It could have been a funny character. But too bad, it pinned her with being a third-party too. So yeah, it’s been nice knowing her. Nail in the coffin part was when she looked down on Bill for being a mere chef yet she didn’t see a problem with seducing other people’s husband. Seriously? (That boss, the cheater, was a scumbag anyway, but that didn’t make it right for her to jump in.)
  • Cilla Kung as Pun Siu Lin (潘小蓮).
  • Matt Yeung as Duncan Dung Sai Kan (鄧世勤).
  • Tracy Ip as Ko Man (高敏). I pity her. I seriously do. How could she think that it be normal to suddenly rush forth all these changes? She totally got conned.

Relationships – family, friends, romances, etc.:

  • Kenneth and Eliza. They were cute in a sense. I enjoyed their goofiness at times when they were out on a mission or together. It created a sweet feeling. Then it went all to hell later because of the extra case with Janice. So yeah, I stopped caring about them as a couple later.
  • Kenneth and Louis. OMG, their trolling of one other and senseless nicknames. It was childish to some extent but somehow created the right comedic moments for the show. Their ongoing feud with one another sort of created this strane atmosphere at work. Yet it also challenged one another at times.
  • Louis and Priscilla. They were the funny couple for me. Minus the whole trying to push the forgiveness stuff, I liked them together for the most part. They didn’t like each other at first because they started out as rivals somewhat on one of the cases. Yet learned to work together and found one another’s good sides and all. They became like best buddies before starting. It was a typical story of bickering couples. But their chemistry was interestingly better than some of her so-called better looking co-stars. I swear. It was strange, but it worked.
  • Eliza and Priscilla. At first, Ah Kiu ddin’t think much of Ka Ka and thought Ka Ka was only good at being beautiful. Yet during one of the cases that they worked together, Ah Kiu realized Ka Ka’s quick thinking and resourcefulness that caused her to change her view toward Ka Ka. Since then, they worked together quite well and even maintained a comfortable friendship.

Likes:

  • The comedy. While it lasted, that was. It went downhill later, but was hanging on by a hair because of the cases.
  • The food theme. I learned more about different food and its culture, history, etc. It was a fun journey on that front.

Dislikes:

  • The ending. I know, shocking. I don’t mean how it turned out with the cases. I meant how they completely forgot about Cheung Kwok Wah. Yeah, I know, he was in a coma. He might or might not recover. But maybe at least put in a scene of the hospital visit? It wasn’t hard to do. Maybe even a five-second zoom by to tell us would be good enough. They tried to squeeze in the kidnapping scenes and then tried to put in that senseless AD hence not even having time for updating us on Cheung Kwok Wah. Also, I didn’t like the cooked up scheme with forcing Ka Ka to accept Bill again. Yeah, give her some more time. Why can’t it be on her own terms? But it had to be forced to some outrageous schemes and making her feel guilty for taking time to think. Really? So, if you twist it around, it was all right if he turned her down or ask for time apart?

Recommended? I would say it depends. If you like a somewhat light-hearted detective show, this is for you. It’s good for entertainment purposes, obviously. Just something to watch over dinner. It’s not like life-changing or expect to be deep or anything. Just a fun series that somewhat surrounded food-related debates at times.

Dropping By Cloud Nine

Since this was 10 episodes, I decided to give it a try. I meant what harm could it do, right? Only ten. YET…I was actually quite stumped how people couldn’t even get it right with short stories.

Opening, In-Between, and Ending:

  • Ron Ng as Jesse aka Professional Photographer.
  • Kate Tsui as June aka Tourist. Funny that she wasn’t scolding him for taking her picture at first but was just wanting him to take pictures of her right side more than left.
  • First Thought: Wow, obvious with how they appeared like that with the fate talk and all.
  • Second Thought: OMG! They’re not the main couple? Like really?
  • Third Thought: Okay…whatever…works…really…NOT…
  • Ron and Kate as a couple. I don’t know, after the whole The Brink of Law, I’m already sold. So I guess I’ll take whatever I could for this case. At least no one dies, right? Though they’re not linked either since he’s attached and she’s waiting for someone, playing the fate game.
Story #1: Let Go / Bu She Bu De (不捨不得)
  • Figaro Ceng as Li Li Jun (李勵軍). He’s laid-back as always with his composure. It’s nice to see him lead for a change (instead of those supporting roles–though I don’t mind him in those unique roles). Just want to see him lead, that’s all. (Better than some of the current TW leads actually.)
  • Mag Lam as Li Li Jun ( 李麗君). No comment since could be considered cute but the story’s too short to observe more.
  • Wong Cho Lam as Travel Agent. No surprise that he’s so enthusiastic toward convincing others to buy the travel packages, etc.
  • Wong Lai Yee as Xiao Yun (小韻). Kind of charming with her exchanges with the other two.
  • Thoughts: Would I get stuff tossed at me if I say I rather see Figaro with Wong Lai Lee? I meant just by their compatibility with one another when he sat down next to her at the restaurant and they had a little chat. Of course I’m missing the point here. Anyway, then when she checked on his phone’s screensaver, it reminded me of the field of flowers at the beginning of I Do?–and yes, that’s kind of creepy in a sense but whatever works since I’m sure it’s a coincidence. And imagine two people with the same name. At least the same sounding and all.
  • Definition of FATE: Two people who DO NOT do anything but somehow ended up meeting and ending up together. What is this story? Um…a mutual friend who intentionally, purposefully tossed a phone into one party’s bag when the other had accidentally forgotten about his phone. NICE? Sorry for being so sarcastic, but I usually think of fate as some unknown force of nature aka an invisible hand of some sort, NOT some planned action by a known being.
  • Other thoughts: Aww…that flower field was indeed quite beautiful and mesmerizing.
  • Question: They actually went to Taiwan to film it? I meant Figaro didn’t have to go anywhere. But I meant the TVB crew. Like seriously?
Story #2: Merry Single Christmas / Yi Ge Ren De Kuai Le Sheng Dan (一個人的快樂聖誕)
  • Jacqueline Chong as Emily. I don’t feel like she’s one of those hostile bosses though. Maybe it’s because she’s not good with socializing with her co-workers but that doesn’t make her like some evil being either. She’s just too occupied with her work but she still contributes in with paying the party’s fees–though she doesn’t participate actively. She only needs to slow down a bit and enjoy the simplest things.
  • Mandy Lam as Helen.
  • Kibby Lau as Sandy.
  • Derek Chow as Wei.
  • Kelvin Lee as David.
  • Match Lau as Joe.
  • Joey Yau as Linda.
  • Kim Li as Raymond.
  • Question: How in the world did they make such an interesting and exciting theme so boring? I’m so serious here! I’m like NOT that glued to the screen and multi-tasked like mad. AND of course, I had to pause it about a bunch of times before I got done watching it. Not that I didn’t enjoy the cast and the atmosphere, but it was just so lacking even if they tried to cover it all up with trying to make it so glamorous. (As always…like that would work…)
  • Moral of the story: Okay, got it. I was surprised I actually liked it. I meant they didn’t make it like it was a crime to be single. You could find happiness through yourself or how you view things as.
Story #3: Two Unchanging Hearts / Lian Ke Bu Bian Xin (兩顆不變心)
  • Stephanie Ho as Sue.
  • Yuang Cheung as Eric.
  • Miu Miu Ko as Abby. I found her extremely funny. GOSH, her plans backfired major time with the haunted house thing. Then she attempted to drive away Eric’s pursuers.
  • Calvin Chan as Ian. I found him extremely cute and funny also, trying to follow with Abby’s schemes.
  • Brian Tse as John. The poor clueless dude. Not too clueless since he sort of got Abby’s hint but it was sort of sad, lol. Oh well, not everyone can win.
  • Suyen Cheung as Celia.
  • I was impatient even with the first 2 minutes into it. YET glad I stayed since it sort of reminded me of those weird games in school days. Like matchmaking and crazy pranks.
  • Eric and Sue’s communication method and tacit understanding. I loved those subtle gestures at times. It was kind of cute. Like the part where they were in the library studying and Abby was sneaking up on them and watching from one of the bookshelves, Eric sort of sent a message to Sue that someone was there and she just pretended to search for something else while spotting Abby standing there–to which Abby was pretending to not notice and walk away, lol. (Busted I guess so had to get out of there…)
  • Abby and Ian as conspirators. Honestly, they were sort of somewhat more fun to watch. Crazy plans, etc. Mostly her plans and he followed along. Yet it was so funny seeing them cooking up new schemes to pull Eric and Sue together.
  • The grand finale. OMG! That was so unexpected! Eric liked Abby, NOT Sue. Man, that was so playing on the audience’s emotions big time. I meant it seemed Eric and Sue were meant for each other with their coincidences with picking the same book, etc. Then it was like he was always smiling at Sue, etc. But he was just trying to get Abby’s attention. I guess opposites attract, eh? LOL! I sort of favor this ending though since I thought Abby was so cute in her own way, trying so hard to matchmake but didn’t realize it that she was the one Eric was after.
Story #4: Romance on a Ride / Yi Cheng Che De Chun Tian (一程車的春天)
  • Sherry Chen as Jia Hui (嘉慧).
  • Lai Lok Yi as Qian (謙). Cute, nerdy glasses.
  • Cheung Wing Hong as Chun (春).
  • Sarah Song as Katy.
  • Chan Nim Gwun as Iris.
  • Rachel Kan as Carol.
  • Sherry and Lai Lok Yi. They were quite cute together as a couple.
  • The real version. Oh…so the ride only became romantic or full of happiness when she was thinking about her boyfriend AND not that dude who was sleeping away and leaning on her.
  • Moral of the story. Braveness. Okay, got it why she let the guy leaned on her for so long. I meant she wasn’t even brave enough to tell him off and all, sort of relating to her and her boyfriend’s situation. Yet she was glad she didn’t tell the person sitting next to her off since she learned something from him. But if it was real life, I think the situation would be different. Like would anyone let some dude lean on her like that? It didn’t matter if she sympathized with his fatigue or not. Back to the story, it was kind of interesting how she was observing different passengers and incorporating her story into her own with her boyfriend and friends, etc. Yup, what a time to reflect on life’s many possibilities.
Story #5: Marriage’s Secret Language / Jie Hun Mi Yu (結婚密語)
  • Elle Lee as as Grace.
  • Vincent Wong as Gary.
  • Jacky Lei as Jack.
  • Lam Sau Yi as Jacqueline.
  • Jones Lee as Tony.
  • Amy Tsang as Ada.
  • Kitterick Yiu as Wilson.
  • Eddie Law as Ben. Funny dude.
  • Jack and Grace. I so didn’t see that coming. I meant I thought it was a flashback of Gary and Grace years ago so they let different actor and actress portray the roles. YET it was actually Grace and Jack. So he remembered. But it was too late anyway. Doesn’t matter anymore.
  • Moral of the Story. Got it. So they were reflecting about the past with their exes, mostly Grace. Then Grace was realizing how she shouldn’t dwell on what couldn’t be more than focusing on what could really be (something that was within reach).
  • Thoughts. Not bad actually. But not the best either.
Story #6: Our Romantic Story / Wo Men De Liang Man Gu Shi (我們的浪漫故事)
  • Man Cheung as Jun (俊).
  • Yaka as Wincy.
  • Joel Chan as Ivan.
  • Macy Chan as Ying Ying (影影).
  • Hoffman Cheng as Wallace.
  • Alan Luk as Daniel.
  • Lydia Law as Jie Dai Yuan (接待員).
  • Chloe Nguyen as Sherry.
  • Kaka Chan as Theater Staff.
  • Thoughts. Surprisingly good to me. I meant I was looking for the typical ending just like what happened in that movie they saw at the theater that one time. Yet even though some details were the same, such as Wincy leaving her umbrella at that one restaurant or how she lost her wallet in the streets, but the outcome was different. Like how the restaurant staff brought Wincy’s umbrella out for her and her wallet was actually somewhere in one of those bushes (not in her purse all along). Then there was also the part where Wincy was saying how she hadn’t seen stars for so long but they just proceeded on with Jun eating his purchased food while Wincy browsed a magazine in her purse to pass time while they were waiting for the bus. I actually liked how the situation presented itself to them like the movie yet because of their similar circumstances (being dumped and getting over the relationship), their reactions were different. Despite the fact that they’d seen the movie together. And perhaps it was like how they were in the same circumstance so they didn’t take on the role of reassuring one or the other like the leading actor in the movie did.
  • The cast. I actually enjoyed the cast more this time around since I felt they weren’t really the usual main cast in the typical long series of TVB but they surpassed some of those cast major time. Not to mention how it made it more realistic because these situations happen to people holding a normal job too, not too glamorous but not too pitiful either.
  • The fact that they didn’t end up together. Well, not really or it was that way for us to dwell upon. But it was not cliche. Sure, there were people in your life you often encounter and could chat up a storm yet it didn’t mean you have to step further into it. It was just someone to talk to at times.
Story #7: Love’s Shift / Ai Qing Zhuan Yi (愛情轉移)
  • Lisa Ch’ng as Elaine. I’m not sure if I’d seen her before but have good impressions of her for portraying a somewhat strict, strange being to letting us see the real her in the end (aka from her point of view).
  • Kaki Leung as Ivy. Seriously, I think she was the one barking more than Elaine when she used the term ‘bark’ on Elaine and Mag Mag.
  • Jason Chan as Tom. Perhaps, he was the wisest in here, not judging Elaine or willing to participate in gossips with others. He knew from different details that it wasn’t like so thus not caving in with the rest of the public to sling even more mud on Elaine.
  • Edwin Siu as Victor. NO comment. He was portraying another asshole role so what should I say?
  • Eddie Lee as George. The poor guy who got rejected.
  • Calvin Lui as John.
  • Thoughts. I felt that this was getting better and better with the story. OR it was just me. People often criticize others for being blind with being the person in the situation versus those not involved are more clear-headed, etc. YET this proved wrong. Sometimes other people DO NOT know the real version or know the story exactly as it was. They just want to form their own conclusion. AND it was because they were not involved in the matter that they could say or give advice as they pleased, thinking it was the best solution YET they were not the ones having to deal with it all. It was those who were involved and had all the pieces of the puzzle who knew. That was why it was hard to deal with situations. They know whether they have too much to lose or not. Another good episode with the whole reflection and healing one–without the element of romance involved.
Story #8: Beautiful Daydream / Bai Ri Qi Meng (白日綺夢)
  • James Ng as Bai Zhan Ting (白占庭).
  • Alfred Hui as Gan Zu Xiong (甘祖雄).
  • Ria Tong as Zhong Xiao Qi (鍾曉淇).
  • Nicole Wan as Stacy.
  • Winnie Ma as Susan.
  • Kaka Chan as Natalie.
  • Koni Lui as special guest aka trophy presenter.
  • First Thought. Awww…the feeling of being used by someone so they could get through your friend. Well, if you experienced it before, it sucks big time–to the point that sometimes you just can’t get over it no matter how others told you it’s no big deal. They DO NOT get it.
  • Second Thought. OMG! It was all a dream like even the whole idea of the girl using him to get to his friend? Okay…at least he didn’t get used by others. PHEW!
  • Last Thought. I honestly don’t think Zhan Ting was too fat or too unattractive though. He just fit those schoolboy images perfectly though, with the dorky glasses and somewhat ruffled hair. It was probably his confidence–and maybe others’ views. Or his own paranoia. Or he was just bored or read too much manga to dream up of different stories so he could be involved in it.
Story #9: I Do / Wo Yuan Yi (我願意)
  • Phoebe Pang as Hu Ke Ling (胡可玲).
  • Sheldon Lo as Shi Zhi Qing (石志青).
  • Anita Kwan as Hu Ke Yi (胡可怡).
  • Cheng Tse Sing as Ling’s father.
  • Elena Kong May Yee as Ling’s mother.
  • Alvina Kong as 3rd Aunt.
  • Ko Jun Man as Qing’s father.
  • Tsang Wai Man as Qing’s mother.
  • Shek Sau as Uncle Zhu.
  • Mary Hon as Uncle Zhu’s wife.
  • Joseph Yeung as Wedding Host/Witness.
  • Ronald Leung as Alfred, Hu Ke Yi’s first husband.
  • Stephen Huynh as Ben, Hu Ke Yi’s second husband.
  • Jim Tang as John Hu Ke Yi’s third husband.
  • Thougts. Awww…that was so cute, especially the ending. Well, imagine playing the game of ‘getting married’ when they were little and growing up together, etc. Cliche but sometimes people prefer those who didn’t grow up with them since it was more of a family feeling than romance. Yet this one sort of fell back on that one and when the feeling was mutual, it was really cute.
  • Regarding marriage. I guess no one has the right to judge how many times one gets married OR if it’s real or not. Again, outsiders have no right to judge because they do not have all the pieces and they could form their own opinions however they want to.
  • The ending. I thought Ling Ling would catch it since her sister did signal to her. But then it was Zhi Qing who caught it and then handed the bouquet to her.
Story #10:  When an Old Sweater Met an Old Scarf / Dang Jiu Mao Yi Yu Shang Jiu Wei Jin (當舊毛衣遇上舊圍巾)
  • Gregory Wong as Wen (文).
  • Cheung Kwok Keung as Old Wen.
  • Candice Chiu as Lan (蘭).
  • Lisa Lui Yau Wai as Old Lan.
  • Janet Chow as Fion.
  • Thoughts. Man, I wasn’t sure if I was more involved with seeing how Cheung Kwok Keung and Lisa Lui portrayed the older version or the younger versions of Wen and Lan. Though the older couple only appeared a bit, their emotions said a lot with their expressions. It was interesting how things turned out because I thought his wife wouldn’t care anymore or how they would eventually end up together but separated years ago. But it wasn’t so. It was just those little memories and then they continued with their lives–to be reunited briefly again, but separated because of their different course of life. Call me a crybaby but I actually cried near the end when they were just crossing paths to walk in opposite directions. It was like so close, yet it was not meant to be.

Favorite story? At first, I thought it was kind of brainless because of the first few stories having nothing special except it was a bit different. But then I was wrong since the later stories were better (for me). So for me, it was a toss between story # 3, #6, #9, and #10. But I must say that the story that left the deepest impression was the last one. Honestly, that was so, so sad. Though I know it was kind of forbidden and was glad there was no cheating or breaking up some marriage’s involved yet it was like so sad. I guess they weren’t meant to be anyway since they would never say anything more than the initial exchange in response to the little lunch box she prepared for him that last time when she brought it to the airport.

Other thoughts? Honestly, aside from some familiar faces, I think this was just an attempt to introduce new faces to us. What better way than to do it with some short stories, right? What I did like about it was how it was planned was with those cute drawings that played into the theme video instead of the actual people and some song. The music was very soothing as well. But it was strange in a sense too because it would be more suitable for the autumn theme with the colors used and not Valentine’s Day theme as TVB had intended for it to be.

Recommended? Your choice really. ‘Cause I thought it was a series of light-hearted episodes to pass time, not something intense if you were looking for that. It was more along of those meaningful messages about life than typical dramas TVB tried so hard to push forth these past years.

*Cast names are listed by how they are known as by region, character names are listed by Mandarin Pinyin (as relevant).

Where The Legend Begins

I must say that I have never read Three Kingdoms properly so I do not know how accurate it was. But it was not that hard to tell that Cao Cao was supposed to be the villain. That was interesting to see that they showed him as an honorable person to his sons at the beginning. It also presented a different perspective on the story of the Three Kingdoms.

This focused around the Cao household and what roughly happened during the wars among Cao Cao, Sun Quan, and Liu Bei. They briefly mentioned some historical context to move the story forward but Sun Quan and Liu Bei never appeared, which was understandable since if the others were to appear, it would’ve stolen the spotlight from Cao Cao and therefore defeating the purpose of revolving the story around Cao Cao in the first place. But they managed to put in the famous ‘Battle of Red Cliff’ (Chi Bi) and how badly Cao Cao was defeated, causing his downfall (or at least made him lose the will to fight any longer).

This story began with Yan Fuk’s dream of Lok Sun being punished for causing the rift between her husband and this other god. It was all a misunderstanding but Lok Sun still got punished and the other two gods were spared of the punishment. (Because the female population was always responsible for the male population’s actions, right? Sarcasm and insert major eye roll here.) Yan Fuk was actually the reincarnation of Lok Sun.

Yan Fuk suffered the same fate as Lok Sun because she was stuck between two men–who were brothers (and incidentally Cao Cao’s sons). Yan Fuk’s only fault was that of her beauty. If that was even supposed to be a fault at all. Even Cao Cao himself had fallen for Yan Fuk at one time though Yan Fuk skillfully persuaded him that he was her respectable elder since he was her father’s friend. He finally thought it through and decided to resolve the conflicts that his two sons were going through to win Yan Fuk’s heart. Yan Fuk, of course, favored Cho Chi Kin (portrayed by Steven Ma) from the start because of their shared love for poetry and the likes. They had this tacit understanding and complemented each other very well. Chi Kin’s older brother, Cho Chi Woon, claimed from the beginning that women were trouble and those beauties only destroy men (and the country in general). He even wanted to kill Yan Fuk at first but when he finally met face to face with her, he immediately fell in love with her. That led to the conflicts between him and his brother.

At first, Cao Cao wanted Chi Kin to succeed him as the leader of the Cao/Cho household, but he later reconsidered and changed his mind, letting Chi Woon be the leader. He never knew that Chi Woon was not using his own talents to win over Chi Kin for the power. Others failed in vain in convincing him that there was some stronger power behind Chi Woon helping him. They were right and that was the pretentious Si Ma Yi. Chi Kin did not want to fight with his brother but he was driven to the wall with his brother’s despicable/underhanded method of winning that he was pulled into the conflict in gaining power as well. (Not to mention how he knew that only he could help the citizens live a better life after gaining power. Chi Woon was not a good choice where citizens were concerned because he would do anything to gain power. Chi Woon was like their father in that way.) Cao Cao also knew that Chi Woon was not the best choice so he wanted to marry Yan Fuk to Chi Woon so she could be his adviser and guide him in the right direction. However, he never realized there were other parties and forces involved so his plan was crumbling apart. Aside from Si Ma Yi’s constant schemes to get rid of Chi Kin’s allies, there was also Yan Fuk’s supposedly good sister Kwok Huen stirring things up to sabotage Yan Fuk due to jealousy.

There were too many things going on at the same time that it was hard to explain. You just have to watch it to know what really happened and understand the conflicts better. Who was the big winner in the end? Si Ma Yi, of course, since Cao Cao failed to listen to the others and gave too much power to Chi Woon that when he finally found out about Chi Woon’s beyond cure state, it was too late.

Aside from all those political conflicts and side romance stories, I found several scenes memorable–touching even, which were:

  • The part where Lau Sik Sik died. I actually cried at that part because of her tragic ending. She was an orphan who was brought into the brothel to be trained as a singer and later was recruited by Cao Cao’s first wife to fight against Yan Fuk. Yet, she was not a petty person. She knew and understood that Yan Fuk was a talented person and someone whom she could befriend since they shared some common interests. I felt that she was more on par with Yan Fuk and could be considered as the good sister than that of Kwok Huen. (Since although Kwok Huen used to be from a rich family and her beauty was stressed at various times but she could not be compared to Sik Sik’s elegance or grace.) The conflicts between Cao Cao’s wives had caused Sik Sik’s death. Not to mention how Kwok Huen had sided with Cao Cao’s second wife to try and replace Sik Sik by copying Sik Sik’s singing style. Sik Sik, like Yan Fuk, only wanted to live a simple life–but it was impossible with the circumstances surrounding them. Priscilla was a good choice for the role and her voice matched one of those ancient singers.
  • The part where Yeung So died. Yes, death was an unavoidable thing around the Cao household since Cao Cao was a very suspicious person, always thinking that others were plotting against him if they did anything out of the ordinary–according to him. Yeung So’s death was caused by his stubbornness and unwilling to let go and some traces of arrogance that had made others feel threatened by his talents thus wanting to get rid of him. Perhaps he should’ve listened to his master before taking actions or at least be more cautious toward what was going on. However, he should not be blamed in totality since he was desperate to help his good friend, Chi Kin. In fact, he was a loyal friend. He had never shown jealousy toward Chi Kin or Yan Fuk considering how others had compared them to him with their ability to solve various problems. His death scene was really tragic considering how they showed Chi Kin and Yan Fuk remembering back to the past about their group of friends going to the inn to drink and talk about various matters. Also, the poem he uttered out before his death and the song version came on accompanying the whole scene was very well done. A very touching moment. (Not to mention the letter that Yeung So left behind for Chi Kin.) Though lack of screen time (or what it seemed like), Gilbert did very well in portraying his character with his brilliant side and the somewhat stubborn side as well.
  • The part where Chui Fau died. Though ironic since she was an annoying character throughout with her petty antics in trying to get rid of Yan Fuk yet she turned out all right in the end. Her only fault was her stupidity since she did not understand Cao Cao’s plans yet only wanted to support her husband throughout. It was really pathetic and beyond frustrating that when Chi Kin was telling Cao Cao how he did not like Chui Fau but Cao Cao did not listen. He brushed it off and proceeded with their marriage anyway. However, when he discovered why it was a big mistake in letting Chui Fau marry Chi Kin, he immediately sought to eliminate the obstacle (or so he thought) for Chi Kin. I felt that it was very ironic since Chi Kin finally learned to accept her and she finally learned how to become a good wife (minus the whole high dreams of wanting to be a queen one day). What was even more tragic was leaving behind their son without a mother. I felt that scene was equally memorable with the other two death scenes since it highlighted the conflicts and enhanced the rift between Chi Kin and his father. She did not deserve to die however stupid she was.
  • The part where Yan Fuk died. It was sad yet frustrating at the same time though I knew from the beginning that she would die. It was probably her fate and if tying in with her Lok Sun identity, it could be explained that her time in the human world was done and she had served out her sentence after learning all the things about the human world. Yet it was giving Kwok Huen and Si Ma Yi the satisfaction of her death since they eliminated the biggest obstacle of their lives.

What I found the most frustrating and pathetic was Chi Woon knew from the start that Chi Kin and Yan Fuk was the real couple yet he kept wanting to win over Chi Kin and marry Yan Fuk. Yet afterward, he would blame Yan Fuk for being unfaithful when she had tried her best to make it work–because of what she could not change with the forced marriage. It was probably Cao Cao’s fault also for thinking that he could just plan anything and it would go accordingly. However, I just felt it was really dumb to blame everything on Chi Kin and Yan Fuk when Chi Woon was the one being unreasonable and unfaithful throughout. Chi Woon never loved Yan Fuk to begin with, he was only obsessed with her beauty and how badly he wanted to win over Chi Kin. (If not, why would he fall for Kwok Huen’s schemes?) But in a way, it emphasized Cao Cao’s downfall and how his family would never gain power for a long time so that was their deserved fate. But I felt Chi Kin and Yan Fuk were the victims of time, considering how they only wanted to have a simple life yet were forced into such conflicts.

What I found the most admirable was the friendship among Chi Kin, Yan Fuk, Shik Shik, and Yeung So. They knew each other’s talents and capabilities and shared interests thus becoming good friends yet they seemed to live in the wrong time (as mentioned above). They were so comfortable with one another and was really happy at that one inn where they would meet and talk about various topics, composing poems, or drink to their friendship. Their bond was what made Shik Shik and Yeung So’s deaths even more tragic and touching. No one was able to stop it from happening, especially in Yeung So’s case. Shik Shik was unexpected. But Yeung So’s was predictable considering how he was taking such actions but he chose it anyway, knowing it would bring him trouble. The others did not have any power to prevent it from happening and could only witness it in frustration or sadness. The scene with Yan Fuk reminiscing about the past and Chi Kin practicing his swords skills while Yeung So was being transported to the appointed site for the beheading process reflected their state of emotions well. Each time, it was like the ones who were left behind would hurt more with continuing to carry on no matter how hard it was. It was like until the end that Chi Kin finally died as well that their bond finally broke. Though their story would probably remain behind with those who knew them.

What was a bit interesting and amusing all at once was the relationship between masters and servants in here for several cases. What I meant was Yan Fuk and Yau Seen versus Kwok Huen and Song Yau. Both servants were loyal to their masters but one out of gratitude and respect contrary to the other with blind trust/beliefs. It was interesting how Kwok Huen was able to brainwash Song Yau into helping her throughout with the various plots. It was ironic that Song Yau said Kwok Huen saved her so she would do anything to protect Kwok Huen yet if it wasn’t for Yan Fuk saving Kwok Huen in the first place, none of that would’ve happened. But Song Yau got what she deserved in the end for being so blind with helping Kwok Huen. I also felt that June was better in portraying her role so her character was more convincing and May Kwong was not as good so it was hard to understand how her character was becoming that way.

Acting? Honestly, Steven and Ada were the ones that I was really impressed with among the four main cast. Moses was all right but I thought he could not make me sympathize with him even when he was being underestimated by his father. I guess it was mostly due to the fact of his ironic character, stating that women were trouble but he just dived right into it and could not resist temptation and just turned around blaming them in the end. It was pathetic. And for some reason, I could not feel the bond between him and Steven as brothers but could feel more with Steven and Evergreen Mak’s. Maybe it was because how Chi Woon had always been so calculative (aka keeping scores) and had been silently jealous of Chi Kin that made it hard to see their brotherly bond. Yes, there were traces of their bonding with how they played that one game at the beginning of the series, but I felt it was always Chi Kin/Steven pulling the weight or effort to mend things with Chi Woon/Moses. Evergreen’s acting seemed stronger than Moses’ though he was not placed into one of the lead roles. He still delivered his part and made his loyalty toward Chi Kin/ Steven convincing and admirable. He was an honest person but he knew the importance of family–unlike Chi Woon who was blinded by jealousy. Perhaps, putting Moses alongside Steven was a bad idea since Steven would shine without trying. Ada probably looked more compatible with Moses than Steven (or what I thought of at the beginning) but Steven and Ada’s acting made up for it with their chemistry and interactions throughout. What about Sonija? Let’s just say that she did better in her recent roles. Because honestly, Sonija was what made it hard to see what was the fuss about her beauty. Maybe it was only Chi Woon who was blinded by Kwok Huen’s words and seduction method but there wasn’t anything important about her. Possibly that was why Kwok Huen was so jealous of Yan Fuk and wanted to get rid of her. Even Irene Wong did WAY better than Sonija in portraying her role. Although it was a different type of character considering their characters’ personalities, Sonija failed to capture the essence of the character thus making it unconvincing or show any signs of significance.

However frustrating that was, I still find it one of the better TVB series since it managed to capture an interesting side of the story. It was another perspective to consider since we were always told from the point of view of the other two famous figures, Sun Quan and Liu Bei. What I wanted to complain about was the makeup for the cast. The guys were all right but the girls were more noticeable. Except for Priscilla’s makeup, the rest of the female population seemed too pale or too old somehow. I’m not saying that they’re old, I’m just saying that the makeup made them look that way. All the female cast chosen were not ugly at all yet the makeup failed to bring out their beauty. Even though Ada looked stunning in her costumes but she still looked like she was too tired or something.