HKTV: Voting In Progress

For fans of HKTV, super good news! They’re finally launching! That’s not all either because they had set up a poll on their website, asking the public to vote for which TV series should be broadcast first. Go here if you’re interested. Yes, people who have been tuning in – even if vaguely, might have learned that Ricky Wong managed to find a way so they could finally launch. The phrase “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” rings true in this case.

Anyway, the deadline for the voting is November 9. Results will be announced on the 10th.

NOTICE: HKTV died already, go here for the news article and analysis provided by llwy12.

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The Smiling, Proud Wanderer 1984: Theme Song

*NOTE*: Video got taken down already, I’ll try to find another version later.

Because of all the hype lately, I just have to hunt down for one of the old versions, LOL! Since people were wandering about music (the heart of the novel), so I hunt around for the song of an old version as well. I just love the song so much. The song said it all. So jiang hu. In fact, I’m tempted to go watch again. Anyway, the song is ‘Xiao Ao Jiang Hu’ (the title of the series) and it was performed by Johnny Yip and Frances Yip.

Mystery of the Parchment

Probably the second TVB series that I watched. And this one was one of those I could chant along with it as it played on screen. That told you how many times I’d watched it already.

The likes:

  • Canti Lau. He was funny at first, serious later after going through some trials, and somehow goofy again near the end where it seemed after everything was over. Did I doubt his acting? No, he was convincing with his role–even if I’d doubted the plot at times, I did not doubt him.
  • Kitty Lai. It was one of those rare Kitty roles that I really liked in those days and possibly it was because it was the first role that I saw of her so I really liked it.
  • Canti and Kitty. I back-watched so this was actually the first of them. Must admit they were addicting to watch. It was so funny how they didn’t even get along at first–like those typical ones–YET they weren’t that off like she wouldn’t even cave into him regardless. Too bad their relationship had become subtle later due to other subplots–AND possibly unnecessary.
  • Gallen Lo. At the first watch, it was normal to hate him. Come on now, the villain. Somehow, I found his character to be essential later on. In fact, he was a bit pitiful. Well, slightly, since in the later parts, he was kind of one of those typical characters who chose the path of ‘throne’ rather than ‘friendship’. One couldn’t really blame him since he was royalty after all SO it was normal to re-gain his throne. BUT I felt he was only able to live peacefully IF he knew he did not have a chance. It was like he didn’t want to live such a boring life. He was so reluctant, SO when he realized he had a chance again, he just had to jump at it. I thought it was a constant battle with his character since he was struggling with what his father and the others were molding him since young versus the whole idea of what that one monk said one time with how all of us would become nothing anyway, so why fight (i.e. kill each other to get what we want BUT can’t take with us)? In the end, the greed side won out AND it was also his ending when he betrayed his lover, going against his words. Maybe I should feel pity for him more than hate.
  • Gallen and Betty Mak as a couple. I don’t know. This was my first co-star of Gallen so it left some impression with their story, so tragic. They really cared for each other YET as I stated before, he just couldn’t put the whole royalty background down to live with her in a normal place. What was even sadder was when he ended up coaxing her and using her to benefit himself as well, causing the worst. AND for once, I didn’t feel it was an easy out for him when he went crazy and lost his memory (or what it seemed to be). ‘Cause it was like he had lost everything, even her since he had betrayed her trust–like she said. It wasn’t about face OR about Canti’s character that she forced Gallen’s character to keep his words, BUT it was for his sake AND how both sides could live peacefully, not fighting each other’s countries. YET he had used those ‘promises’ to lure her into telling him the information.
  • Betty Mak. I honestly pitied her to the point that I couldn’t name anyone else on top of my head that I could pity more. ‘Cause she was used by everyone in here–her father, her lover, and her so-called friends. YES, all stated to have some legitimate reasons for their doings BUT it didn’t justify using her like that, pretending to care for her yet they just wanted to satisfy and/or fulfill their wishes. She was kind and nice and intelligent. Maybe because she was too intelligent that she became an asset for others. Perhaps, the only person who actually cared for her–aside from her dead mother–was the crazy woman who her father kept in the cell for a period of time.
  • The ancient feelings of it. It was 1990 but they still managed to keep it ancient enough. The humor was truly hilarious AND it moved forward fast enough, except in the middle, which was a shame. The downhill parts was due to the whole triangles–partially AND then the scheming parts, which was kind of essential. BUT I was overly frustrated with some lacking parts, which will be mentioned later on in the next section.
  • The comedy. As said above, you could actually laugh without feeling it was corny because Canti and the other supporting cast were so funny. The rest of the supporting cast DID NOT have to be big shot stars like in recent series. And being just some supporting actors, they were able to make us laugh. Their ability to do comedy was better than some people who take the leading roles. (Seriously.)
  • The supporting cast. This was the time where they didn’t slap a bunch of characters in front of your face with ‘star-cast’ OR so they liked to do it. It’s already mentioned in the previous one but I have to put it here to stress my point even more.
  • Wayne Lai as one of the beggars. Okay, this was one of those things with watching old series–AGAIN. You get to spot the most insignificant actors back then. But then the funniest thing was NO ONE cared about them the first time around YET now claimed that they were so good and no wonder they got promoted. (I would be like, “Yeah, really? Where were you when they were playing those really small roles?”)
  • Gordon Lam as one of the beggars. Same as Wayne Lai! LOl!
  • Wilson Tsui as one of the beggars. Awww…he was getting demoted? He was doing so good in the other roles in the ’80s.

Dislikes:

  • Donna Chu as the Beggar Clan leader’s daughter. She later became the leader of the Beggar Clan, of course. I couldn’t find myself liking her regardless of what she was going through in the later parts of the story. Maybe because she was first runner up of Miss HK 1989 that she got some meaty role? AND that Kitty’s screen time was cut? (It looked like that way to me.) I rather they focused more on the whole conflicts and fighting OR random humor than seeing her character appear so much, later on, sacrificing Kitty’s role–as I said before.
  • The inconsistency of Canti’s character later on. Well, possibly it was because he had become the king SO he had changed? Like they all were in those days OR so we were often told? BUT it was super LAME seeing he would grab at a chance to stare at girls OR act like he didn’t care about Kitty’s character anymore. There was a distance between them, BUT it was like he who chose to ignore it–or something. It was more toward the ending since it showed that he cared for Kitty A LOT as the story was still developing.
  • The fact that Canti ended up with both girls. Well, it was hard NOT to since he was the king after all. BUT I just didn’t like Donna Chu’s character as I said before so it kind of defeated the purpose of seeing that happen. It was too random. Sure, he liked her ’cause she was sort of fun to mess around with. BUT it was a joke letting him ending up with her as well. It made Canti and Kitty’s relationship a bigger joke.
  • The fact that they made Wong Wai the BIG BAD GUY. I meant I knew he was evil and hated his character throughout. YET some of the reasoning behind it did not make sense at all. ANY NORMAL guy would be offended IF his bride ran off to who knew where and abandoned him on their supposed wedding day. Any guy would be pissed off. Though being greedy MIGHT NOT be as big of a crime to pay the price of being killed BUT in a way it made sense that he killed off her family and everyone else. I meant that dude was driven to insanity with false promise, losing face, etc. It would’ve been better IF the other lady just plain turned him down. Her father obviously knew she was with his second disciple (aka second senior to her) BUT still wanted to arrange the marriage because of the heavy gift Wong Wai’s character gave him. AND in a sense, Wong Wai’s character still loved the other lady A LOT to even spare her life since he already learned all the martial arts from her family and even the secret one that she and the second senior created (though he had no idea about the last part). If they (the scriptwriters) had come up with better reasons for his evilness–aside from how he wanted to take over the world (sort of since he wanted to be king), it would hold a better plot. It was too lame and typical. The only thing I felt he deserved of his fate was being greedy with his wanting to be king AND that he had deceived his disciple. It had in a way gone full circle since it was sending a message about how IF you decided to deceive someone, you would meet your fate. It wasn’t exactly a great idea to deceive his wacko disciple.

It was good overall IF you didn’t have to think about it as much but just watch it as another typical ancient series with a lot of conflicts, etc. And not to mention, something you didn’t have to care about. But if analyzed further, it had a lot of holes. YET the only thing that I felt still hold true regarding it was still holding some elements of those traditional wuxia themes where the humor wasn’t overly cheesy yet. They still kept it about right. Just some inconsistency here and there.

Brothers Under The Skin

Actually, I just remembered that this was actually my first TVB series ever and not Road for the Hereos like I mentioned before. But I didn’t count it as official because I was roaming around and playing with my cousins when we were little, so didn’t really watch much or remember some of the details. I only remembered that Felix was quite annoying, bullying Liu Kai Chi. But when I watched it properly this time around, I liked it a tad more–until it went downhill that was.

What was so good about it?

  • Felix Wong. He was a big bully at first, but as the series progressed, I really enjoyed watching him. So hilarious yet so charming at the same time. Yes, he could be super mean at times, but I actually enjoyed it. (Until it got out of hand, of course.) Man, Felix’s acting took it to the max during episode 18 with his soul and this guy’s soul being switched! It was just so addicting watching how he carried on the arrogant attitude. (The other guy was good also, so convincing as the honest and kind dude.) He was honestly robbed in this one. His acting showed he was able to do it YET the whole thing was so messed up. I do understand that one could turn the whole show around. It was actually because of him that I hung on ’til the end YET the plot was killing me so badly.
  • Liu Kai Chi. At first, it seemed like he was really honest and easy to step on. But he was just nice and kind. He didn’t get stepped on easily though, which was great. BUT he even gained such an edge that I sort of despise. I didn’t doubt his acting, but his character was turning worse and worse as it proceeded. I think he got influenced by the servant girl so there was this smart-aleck edge to his attitude that I really, really hated later as well. His acting was still good, it was just that his character was getting quite annoying in the later parts of the series.
  • Felix and Liu Kai Chi as master and servant. They were just too funny to watch. Felix would get the upper hand because he was the young master BUT LKC would get the ultimatum later on because he was the one who could read and write better than Felix. Watching them bicker and fight over Sheren was too funny. But too bad their friendship and/or loyalty to one another wasn’t stressed so strongly anymore. It was like they focused on other annoying things more.
  • Sheren Tang. I didn’t like Sheren much in those days, except for maybe one series or so. And it didn’t help that she was really annoying at the beginning. But it grew on me later and glad she wasn’t going to portray a typical screeching girl like others. She was quite brilliant when she put her stubbornness aside. This role also gave Sheren more room for acting. Yet her character was a different story. She was no different than a villain, except that she kept chanting the typical ‘good guy’ mantra. The fact that she used any type of tactics to deceive others made it even more despicable, especially in Helena’s case. Oh yeah, I thought she should’ve used this approach to act her role ‘Zhou Zhi Ruo’ than using that ‘long face’ for ZZR. Since this one made her look so fake with her pitiful behaviors. I couldn’t even stand it anymore. Regardless of how gentle she was later on. Oh yeah, one more complaint, her skills seemed to be VERY impressive at the beginning, WHY did it deteriorate so bad? Probably too focused on Felix? OR had the scriptwriter(s) forget about that as well? Another pathetic attempt to make her gentle BUT failed. It was like the consistency in her character wasn’t even there and the change did not stick as it should. It was convincing at first yet the whole roller coaster attitude later made it like she was two different characters for some reason. Poor transition. Of course the script, NOT her acting.
  • Felix and Sheren as a couple. I didn’t realize how cute they were together until now. Their characters really match wit per wit. YET I no longer cared for them later due to script errors AND many other lame scenes. I wished there was some other series that would be more worth watching since they did have great chemistry together.
  • Benz Hui. Always liked seeing him around. A righteous character yet hilarious at the same time. But like others in here, I ended up feeling I really, really despised him too. Like how he encouraged the whole forgetting Kiki totally and just focus on Felix and Sheren’s wedding. Yes, Felix should marry the one he loved, BUT he did promise to take care of Kiki before. SO it was a scheme to get the antidote that one time, BUT Felix still tricked Kiki regardless. It was the antidote for him, how could he just forget Kiki like that? How could he encourage his disciples’ behaviors like that? He should’ve just stay out of the whole triangle and let them decide or fight or whatever.
  • Benz Hui, Felix, and Liu Kai Chi as master and disciples. I really liked watching those scenes, especially when they conspired with one another to make other people’s lives miserable. It really showed that LKC’s character wasn’t that dumb. He often contributed his ideas for different plots too. I rather they focused on building their good bond more than just the dragging on and on with the triangle. (I got too happy too early because of how fast the Felix-Sheren-Liu Kai Chi triangle ended. Did not realize Felix’s other triangle was even more unbearable.)
  • Benz Hui and Lisa Lui as a couple. It’s rare that I pay attention too closely to older couples in series. But I loved them together in here.
  • Lisa Lui. I think I could only like her character in here throughout because she was supposedly following her master’s orders before but turned good. YET her character was consistent throughout. Unless she was possessed and was doing things she did not want to, other times, she was kind and nice.
  • Kiki Sheung. Another one that I didn’t really like back then but maybe it was because she was given the wrong roles, etc. But this character was really cool. It allowed for more development and allowed her to show off her acting skills. I honestly felt sorry for her for being used so much though. I can’t believe that the others made her out to be unreasonable. She was being used and she was so hurt to the point that she ended up hurting others. It wasn’t a good excuse, BUT I honestly hated the idea of seeing her sinking further like that and no one sympathized with her. I was rooting for her at times since others were getting on my nerves. They seemed to deserve it the way they were leading on like that. I swear she liked Felix for who he was since the part when his soul was switched, she said she liked him for who he was, NOT his appearance. BUT it was lame trying to make her loud and fierce SO Sheren’s character could score some points. Believe me, between her and Sheren, I used to like Sheren slightly better BUT for this one, I was just judging for character AND this time Kiki won my attention. I thought her best choice must be in the temple. Though I hate people who use the temple to hide, I thought with Kiki’s character, I actually felt genuine toward it because she seemed to have understood it already, letting go of her stubbornness and her past.
  • Felix and Kiki. OMG! I didn’t even realize how much chemistry they had. LOL! Though he was trying to con her to get the meds for his master BUT their scenes were so funny, especially how flaky he sounded BUT she still fell for it since she really liked him. It became really sad as the plot unfolded and her background was revealed. I honestly felt bad for her for having such high hopes in his and her future, like at least there was him yet it wasn’t so after she realized her life was more complicated than just being on the wrong side of the battle between her father and Felix’s master. Everything was coming to her at once, especially how she was betrayed by both what she believed to be the truth but wasn’t so–on so many levels. Then I can’t seem to blame her for doing that curse on him either since she sacrificed herself for Felix yet she found out it was just a lie. I’ve never liked the other girl more than the main girl until now.
  • Lai Hon Chi. Though his character was really annoying at the beginning, he was one of the great actors. The fact that he ended up being one of the rare characters that I liked made it even more ironic.
  • Helena Law Lan. A ghost/fantasy related series without her? Never! She was so convincing as always. I honestly felt pity for her. She lost her daughter, went on the wrong approach to seek justice for this world, thinking she could find someone to replace her daughter’s position in her heart. YET she was just a tool for others to use and dispose of so easily. The saddest thing was she soon joined the forces with the others to gang up on Kiki later on as well. Too bad. I didn’t feel sad for her anymore.

What was bad? Yes, there were bad sides to it too. In fact, WAY too many, but a few points would sum it up already.

  • The majority of the main cast blamed Kiki’s character for being unreasonable. I mentioned this above already BUT I just have to emphasize it here again. Come on now! What they did were so wrong! I know that Felix Lok’s character was scheming and they needed the antidote to save Benz. BUT that was messed up with letting Felix seduce Kiki and that almost cost her life. IF she had died, what would they do? I wouldn’t be surprised if they just moved on. They probably have it that she rather died since they wouldn’t be bothered anymore. I honestly hated that they kept saying it was her fault later on. YES, it was she who caused some of those troubles. BUT if they hadn’t used her and then tossed her aside like they couldn’t care less, then she wouldn’t have done what she did. It was really stupid that they insisted on being right and it sounded reasonable that they had no choice BUT to use Kiki. IF they were so good, they could have gone inside and stolen the antidote on their own OR fight Felix Lok to get it. BUT they had to sink so low as to use Kiki like that AND then blamed her for being unreasonable later. They weren’t the only ones having feelings. She had some too AND she really fell for Felix. So how could she just forget about it? An on and off switch? Great… Perhaps, the only thing that made me forgive them a little more WAS Felix saying that he owed her more than he could ever repay so he can’t just leave her alone. At least someone found his heart. YET things just got worse and worse and worse with the lot acting all righteous on the surface BUT using such despicable tactics to achieve their means throughout. The fact that they shrugged Kiki and her father’s attempts to help time after time WAS just beyond tolerance. The funniest thing and most despicable thing was that they would call Kiki and her father in the most respectable tone and act in the most respectable manner when they needed something, BUT when it was done, they would shrug it off and make it like those two killed all their ancestors SO they had no choice but to ‘X’ them out. Ridiculous to no end!
  • Sheren’s servant girl. I don’t know. I can’t seem to stand her. She was rude, loud, and ignorant. Unreasonable too. Yes, she was just a servant and we can say forget it about her being educated BUT it just got on my nerves each time she interrupted and made things worse. What right did she have to issue the orders to beat Kiki up that one time? AND what right did she have to scold at Helena’s character? Helena was really nice and kind to her and her master when they stayed in Helena’s place. BUT what did she get back? The rude treatment and the scolding marathon. So disrespectful. AND gosh, her loudness was like killing my patience. It was like she never knew how to shut up! It was like she was a mute in her past life so now she had to compensate for it. Oh yeah, when she needed to talk to provide info, she didn’t. BUT other times, she didn’t know when to shut up.
  • Inconsistency with characters and plot. It kind of made sense with some parts BUT it was too lame seeing how the majority of the characters forgot what the heck they were saying before. Promises were forgotten just like that even if it was just minutes ago. It made all characters so freaking annoying because they couldn’t even keep a promise. It was like trying our patience too much. NO one kept their promises in here. It was just lame.
  • The greatest sin WAS blaming Heaven. Pathetic attempt to make it tragic. They kept promising, promising, promising and going back on their words YET were never punished. Then the last part, they tried to make everything super tragic with Felix and Sheren’s part. What the heck? They went back on their words numerous times already and kept making Kiki and her father out to be bad when the two helped them so much. Now, they were punished and wanted to blame Heaven, saying that they would fight against Heaven no matter what to stay together since loving each other was NOT a crime? I know there was the difference because Sheren had promised with blood SO it became even more serious YET it was pathetic to even think they were good people in the first place.

The fact that this series had such a good cast made it even more pitiful in the end. The plot had potential BUT the character developments were the worst of it all. I hated it that all the supposedly good people in here were so hypocritical. They just used others to their advantage AND still thought it was just right to do that. Messed up! I said it many times in the past already, I didn’t care if the character wasn’t perfect or had other shortfalls, BUT using others like that was just wrong in my book. Somehow, I was just rooting for Felix Lok to kill them all off. They were just hypocrites attempting to make Kiki’s character bad by acting ridiculously pitiful.

So much for being part of the ’80s classics! Honesty, the worst out of the lot. AGAIN, only the acting was good. The rest were just pure crap due to poor character developments and plot. It couldn’t even hold true to anything when TVB tried to divert away from those Jin Yong adaptations. I swear IF they had focused on the comedy scenes more, I would be less pissed. Since I rather they be random more than acting like super annoying, despicable beings. Because I found everyone charming in those scenes (well minus that annoying servant girl BUT still the rest of the cast made up for it).

I sort of remember how Felix said about TVB slamming some series toward him because he was disobeying? Was this one of it? (Or did I remember wrong?)

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