Monday, May 11, 2009

It's Been a While.. Ok.. a VERY Long While

Hi everyone out there! I don't know how many people are still checking this blog, but just wanted to say I'm still here. Haha.. I just looked back to see that my last post was in October.. wow... That's been forever! I apologize for not updating.. When I started this blog, one of my goals was to keep the site updated! But as you can see, that didn't work out exactly as I had expected... I blame school work for this! I have been keeping up with series and the latest one I am addicted to is Rosy Business! It find it very thrilling and I especially like that Wayne Lau and Sheren Tang are the leads. Finally, Wayne is being given a chance to star as the lead! And I've loved Sheren since War and Beauty and she definitely is not disappointing in this series! Anyway, I hope to write a full review of this series eventually, but it will probably have to wait until the summer, when I'm a bit more free. I hope there's still people reading this haha Until next time!

Best Regards,

Friday, October 24, 2008

Gigi Lai 黎姿 is leaving TVB

Hi everyone! It's been a while. Sorry! School has been overloading us with work so I haven't gotten the chance to work on any reviews.

Anyway, I'm sure most of you have heard about this, but Gigi Lai (黎姿) has announced that she plans on departing from TVB and that The Gem of Life <珠光寶氣> will be her last TVB series. If you haven't seen the story yet, it's here. So read it if you're interested.

I just thought I'd make a quick post regarding what I think about Gigi's decision. Personally, I'm not a big fan of Gigi, so I don't feel as bad as some of her fans. However, I do think that it is a loss, since Gigi is a decent actress. It's surprising that she's been in the entertainment industry for over 20 years, and still looks so young. I only found out recently that she's older than Ada Choi, who generally plays more mature roles and has a more mature air about her. Anyway, it makes sense that she would want to take a break, since she's accomplished so much in the entertainment industry. It's also not surprising because of her brother's accident which happened a while back. In an interview, Gigi said that she's had this idea for about two years now, since she first began filming The Gem of Life. Either way, it seems like her brother's accident has really affected her, and I respect her decision because it's based on the fact that she wants to spend more time with her family and take care of her brother's business. In my opinion, this is really admirable, as she won the best actress award not too long ago for War and Beauty <金枝慾孽> and she has plenty of opportunities ahead of her. I'm sure she we'll be seeing her again, though not in the near future. It may be a while, but I won't be surprised to see her back in how many ever years it will be.

Well, that's all for now. I still need to do a review for Your Class or Mine and Moonlight Resonance! I hope I have time for it! Until next time!

Best Regards,

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Legend of the Demigods <搜神傳> - Review

*Warning - Spoilers Ahead*
*Credit to Asianfanatics for the cast profile pictures*

Analysis of Portrayal of Main Characters:

Linda Chung Ka Yan as Gwai Choi Chi / Ho Choi Mui - Optimistic about life, Gwai Choi Chi, known by her friends and family as Ho Choi Mui, is passionate about helping others, especially those who are in need of it. She always looks at the optimistic side of things. Her catch phrase is "siu hao seung hoi, ho choi zhi loi," which basically means that if you face things with optimism and a smile, good luck and fortune will find itself to you. She's the classic good character, who cares and loves for everyone, even the bad guys. Sometimes she would be so nice that I would think how could she even think about doing that?
Overall, it's a pretty simple character for Linda to portray, with not
much complexity. This is Linda's first role as the lead actress, because it was filmed two years ago. The time since then has been used to complete all of the special effects. I would have liked that the role be more complex and challenging, but it's understandable that they created a simple role for Linda's first series as the lead. She did a good job with what was given to her.

Sunny Chan Kam Hung as An Hei - Simple and somewhat naive, An Hei begins the series as a narcoleptic goof, who is shunned for being lazy. His sleepiness is caused by a curse placed on his grandfather by a servant who was ill treated and died in the house. He is given a rusted sword by "Wong Dai Seen" which is revealed to contain a sword spirit (Stephan Au). This spirit, Gon Cheung, helps An Hei gain the confidence that he lacks and has the ability to possess him in times of need. Eventually the two characters develop a deep friendship that is strong enough that An Hei can kill Gon Cheung in order to fulfill his wish of being with Ka Lau Loh.
Sunny is one of my favorite actors in TVB, and I thought that the character of An Hei was really fun. He played some of the comedic relief and his character is just simply likable because he's so naive and he doesn't think of the wrong things. I enjoyed the storyline between him and Linda, though I didn't quite like how it ended with the two basically forgetting that they got married. What's that about? Overall, Sunny played the character well.

Benny Chan Ho Man as Sek Kam Dong - Given increased strength by Wong Dai Seen, Sek Kam Dong uses his newfound power to bully the townspeople into doing whatever he wants. Having been bullied before, he wants to make sure that he doesn't ever have to be in that situation again. He is best friends with Ho Choi Mui, but his bullying ways have led them to come upon disagreement time and time again. When An Hei comes into the picture, Sek Kam Dong picks and bullies him, causing further rifts between him and Ho Choi Mui. Though he seems like a bully, Sek Kam Dong does have a valiant side to him. He comes to discover what friendship really means on his journey with Ho Choi Mui and An Hei.
As the comedic role, I think Benny did an ok job with the character. I think
the writing for Sek Kam Dong was totally over exaggerated, and could have been toned down a bit.. ok a lot. The snorting was unnecessary. I thought it was just kinda kiddish and dumb. I'm not a big fan of comedy where they over act and do stupid things to try to make you laugh. I like more wit behind my comedies, so I wasn't a fan of the comedy aspect of this character (in fact, I'm not a fan of Canto comedies in general). As for character development, I thought that it was nice to see a change in the character from beginning to end, but it wasn't a total 180 degree turn. He still retained some of the selfishness that was there from the beginning. Overall, I didn't really like Benny's acting here, but that's not to say I don't like Benny as an actor.

Halina Tam Siu Wan as Mo Kik Tin Cheun - As the centuries old ruby snake spirit, Mo Kik Tin Cheun was hurt by the man she loved, leading her to go astray on her path to becoming an immortal. From the hatred that the betrayal caused her to have, Mo Kik Tin Cheun creates her source of power. She uses it to seduce and harm innocent people into helping her achieve her ultimate goal - to kill her former lover.
Halina Tam plays the character pretty well, but I would have liked to see more fierceness. Some of the scenes in which she was supposed to be really evil, she didn't pull off well enough, in my opinion. She didn't always really demonstrate the power that Mo Kik Tin Cheun is supposed to have through how she carried herself. It's a bit hard to explain. Anyway, I thought her story with Timothy's character was pretty interesting, and it concluded in a way I didn't expect which was nice. All in all, an interesting character, though I think Halina could have shown a bit more intensity with the evil role.

Kara Hui Ying Hong as Cho Mong Yao / Ho Choi Ma - Dropped from the sky as an immortal plant, Cho Mong Yao fell in love with a doctor who helped to heal her wounds after she descended from the Heavens. Together, they have Ho Choi Mui, who they raise to become a very optimistic young woman. When Ho Choi Mui is taken to the Underworld, she sacrifices half of her immortal pearl to save her, giving Ho Choi Mui partial immortality and some powers. She is captured by Mo Kik Tin Cheun so that she can use her immortal tears to heal Tin Cheun's scarred and snaky face. She remains there until near the end of the series when Ho Choi Mui, An Hei, and Sek Kam Dong go to save her.
As an actress, I like Kara Hui because she is able to really put emotion into the characters. I think Ho Choi Ma's character is a bit on the bland side, and it was much more fun with Ho Choi Ma's immortal sister, who was more of an airhead. Kara didn't really have much of a chance to display her array of acting abilities due to the fact that she was captured for much of the series, but she did a good job.

Stephan Au Kam Tong as Gon Cheung - Released from the sword which he and his wife made in lives past, Gon Cheung is given to An Hei by Wong Dai Sin as an indirect way to help him. When An Hei is in possession of the sword, Gon Cheung is able to possess him and help him in battles. An Hei comes to rely on Gon Cheung more and more as the series progresses, and Gon Cheung tries to build An Hei's self-confidence. Toward the end, he is taken by Mo Kik Tin Cheun and made into her evil warlord. The only way to save him is to kill him, which is the final step in An Hei's journey to becoming a real fighter who believes in himself.
Going into this series, it was a bit difficult to take Gon Cheung seriously at first since I've seen him in 200+ episodes of Best Selling Secrets haha It took a few episodes, but I was finally able to separate Gon Cheung from Mo Gei Yung. That being said, I enjoyed this character, and I think Stephan did a great job with him. The quirkiness and the seriousness were all handled nicely. It was especially funny in the beginning when Gon Cheung wouldn't let An Hei do anything that was disrespectful (in Gon Cheung's eyes) to the sword, like let Linda hold it, or take it to the bathroom haha As I will explain, Gon Cheung and Gah Lau Loh's story is my favorite relationship in this series.

Nancy Wu Ding Yan as Gah Lau Loh - Loyal servant to Mo Kik Tin Cheun, Gah Lau Loh does not question her master, and seems to follow her in a zombie like fashion. She holds one of the swords that Gon Cheung and his wife, Mok Chie, made in the previous life, causing Gon Chueng to take an interest in how she obtained it. As Gon Cheung investigates this, Gah Lau Loh cannot help but feel a connection between the two. She realizes that she is Mok Chie and that she has had her personality and heart stolen from her by Mo Kik Tin Cheun. When she is able to retrieve it, Gon Cheung has already turned evil, but she stays with him to try to snap him out of the spell. Ultimately, she and Gon Cheung die together again, with the help of An Hei, and their two blades are melded into a sphere, symbolizing their endless love for each other through their lives.
I really do think Nancy Wu is one of the most underrated actresses of TVB. She's given many of the more complex roles, in which she is neither completely good nor entirely evil. This is the same case with Gah Lau Loh, though I think the acting was a bit dull and monotonous, though not Nancy's fault. She had to speak in an almost monotone voice, which gave the effect that she was like a zombie slave to Mo Ki Tin Cheun, but I thought it made the character a bit bland. But, Nancy didn't disappoint, especially after she got her spirit back. She effectively showed how pained and sorry she was that she and Gon Cheung were in such an ironic situation. It's a pity she really didn't get to play with that aspect more, since she died shortly after, though her and Gon Cheung's deaths were nicely done. I think Nancy did wonderfully with the character, and hope TVB gives her more of these complex and unique roles that they fear to give to their main leads.

Favorite Scenes:
The marriage scene at the end between Sunny and Linda was very touching. Seeing Sunny holding an old and withered Linda was very heart-wrenching. And when Linda wouldn't let Sunny leave the room because she wanted her last moments to be with him was a tear jerker.
2. The entire storyline between Stephan and Nancy. Their story was one of the more interesting ones in the series, because it told of love that did not die even when the people themselves died. Nancy was taken by Halina and displaced from body to body until she had no more feelings and could not love any more, while Stephan could not bear the death of his wife so much that he would rather be contained in a sword for hundreds of years than go into the next life. Their ending was also very bitter sweet, as it was up to Sunny to use their two swords to eternally piece them together, even though it effectively killed them.

The Ending:
The ending of this series was pretty good. I liked how they wrapped up the story in a simple and clean way, and didn't leave us hanging about what happened. The ending with Halina Tam and Timothy Cheng was nice, and something I did not expect. It's been a while since I was actually surprised by something in a TVB series! I thought that one or the other of them would die, since they destroyed one of the snake's essence. But the idea that they became a two headed snake took me by full surprise. It was a neat idea, seeing as how the two characters were still in love with each other, but there were too many misunderstandings between the two, causing them to separate and be apart. So now, once each of their true feelings for each other came out, and with the sacrifice that Timothy made for Halina, the two can be together forever.

As for the ending for the three main characters, I think it was appropriate for them to become gods who protect the world from demons. The whole build up for them was that they would use their powers to help the people of the world defend against evil spirits and demons, so it was apt when they ended up becoming gods in this way. Also, it was cool that they were gods together, because it was stressed throughout the series that the three of them must have a single heart in order for them to succeed in their arduous mission. However, there was one thing that I did not like about the ending. Linda and Sunny had gotten married and it was evident that they were greatly in love with each other, but their ending lacked closure. All of a sudden, Linda doesn't want to be with him? That just doesn't make sense to me. It could be because generally, gods are not supposed to have love because it's simply against the rules. I don't know, but I definitely would have liked that Linda and Sunny be together in the end after all the build up in their relationship.

Overall, Legend of the Demigods was an entertaining series. It got a bit boring toward the middle, with the repetition in the journey of the three main characters, but I didn't feel the need to stop watching. I personally love the fantasy genre and am particularly interested in the history behind Chinese mythology and the intricacies that are involved. The story was decent, but definitely not up to par with some of the other mythologically based TVB series, like Gods of Honour.

One thing that distracted me a bit in this series was the computer generated effects. For the first few episodes, they were horribly fake looking and not at all convincing. I know that TVB doesn't have the budget to keep up with the CGI standards of Hollywood, but they've done way better than this in the past. If my memory is correct, I think the effects for Gods of Honour were better looking than in here. I do have to say that it gets better as the series progresses. Either that, or I just got used to seeing them. This is just a minor distraction for me, and it didn't take away from the story. It did make me laugh a few times when it wasn't supposed to though haha

If you have time, and enjoy mythological stories, I would recommend this series to you. The story is decent and the acting is good for the most part. If you don't have time and must decide on what series to watch, you could skip this one and go for something else. If you're a Linda or Sunny fan then you may want to watch. Overall, it's a fairly average series. It's the first ancient period series that TVB has released in a while so it is a nice refreshment from the moderns series.

Overall Rating - 84/100

Friday, September 19, 2008

Three New TVB Reviews Coming Soon!

*Credit to MetalAznWarrior at TVB Musings for the picture*

Hey everyone! It's been a while since I posted any new reviews, but I just finished Legend of the Demigods today and I will be starting a review for it soon. I have four more episodes of Your Class or Mine an seven more episodes for Moonlight Resonance, so those will go up when I finish and have time to write up a review. Oh why TVB? Finish three series around the same time and right when school is starting! hahah =P Well, I'll try to write and get them up as soon as possible. I know for sure the Moonlight Resonance review will be super long, so that may take extra time. I mean, just the fact that it has 41 episodes and that there are A LOT of characters! But bear with me, if there are still any people out there reading this blog! >< Till then, best regards!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

It's That Time of Year Again - Back to School

Hi everyone! I've noticed that a lot of you are going back to school or getting ready to (some have already started). I just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone luck with school, especially if you're going off to college for the first time! I know how crazy and nerve wracking that process can be, having experienced it around this time last year.

Thinking about it, it's a bit ironic how we sometimes wish to get back to school during vacation because of the monotony that summer sometimes has (at least for me), yet when we get back there, we complain about how stressful it is and how we wish it was vacation. It's a bit like an endless cycle of woes, isn't it? During the school year, you have a lot of work, but there's also friends, teachers (if they're good), and more occasions to hang out. In the summer you have a lot of spare time, but sometimes, you have so much free time that you want to be given something to do!

Anyway, I know this isn't a TVB related blog posting, but I just wanted to wish everyone the best of luck wherever you are and wherever you're going! Hope the school year goes well for you guys! Wishing myself some luck at the same time too! Haha I'll try to keep the blog updated with series reviews at least. I wanted to do more frequent updates, but with the school year starting I don't think that's going to happen soon. Hopefully, you guys will still visit every so often ><


Saturday, August 23, 2008

When a Dog Loves a Cat <當狗愛上貓> - Review

*Warning: Spoilers Ahead*
*Credit to AsianFanatics for the character pictures. *

Analysis and Portrayal of Main Characters:
Gallen Lo as Miu Chun (M.C.) - Independent and headstrong, M.C. lives alone with his cat, Cancan. After the death of his girlfriend (played by Tracy Ip), M.C. cuts himself off from everyone and masks his pain with work. The only one who he shows his softer side to is his cat, who was a gift from his girlfriend. His relationship with his parents is not good. He does not get along with his father, and his mother does not acknowledge that he is her son because she is married to a rich man who would mind. Throughout the series, M.C. slowly reveals himself to be caring. When he is saved by Siu Ba, he loses his bias toward dogs. With the help of Chow Chow's friendship, M.C. becomes a nicer person and is no longer regarded as "Mau Si" (Cat poop). Slowly, he falls for Chow Chow, and just when he is about to profess his love, he discovers that his cancer has reoccurred. Dealing with it in the only way he can, M.C. distances himself from everyone. However, Chow Chow eventually breaks through the tough exterior and gets M.C. to accept the fact that he can still spend what time he has left with the ones he loves.
I think Gallen did a good job in this role. He was able to portray the "cold-hearted" boss at the beginning, and also show that this character has more levels. He shows that beneath a hard exterior, there is a person who wants to be loved. The role was interesting, the acting was good.. what else is there to say? haha

Myolie Wu as Chow Chi Yu (Chow Chow) - Raised in a family that runs pet businesses, Chow Chow is a loving person who cares about animals. She does not care if the dog is a stray or a pedigree, she loves them all the same. At first, she doesn't mind not being able to be seen as Carson's girlfriend. But, with M.C.'s help, Chow Chow realizes that she should be more like a cat. With some training, she is able to get Carson to tell everyone their relationship and he becomes more loving and tender to her. However, soon after, she discovers Carson's affair with another woman, and the couple break up. With M.C.'s help, Chow Chow recovers and soon falls for him. She is confused when M.C. suddenly gives her and everyone around him the cold shoulder. But when she finds out the situation, she fully supports him and tries to convince him to let people he loves support him in his final days.
Myolie Wu does a great job with the character. She's isn't new to these types of characters, so she's familiar with how to do it. I thought the character was fun, though a bit naive at times, in particular with her relationship with Carson. The relationship with M.C. was a bitter sweet one, and I thought the ending was appropriate for the two, given the way the writers set it up.

Raymond Wong as Ying Hoi Leung (Carson) - Successful and good looking, Carson is Chow Chow's boyfriend. However, he does not want people to know about the relationship because he does not want to jeopardize any advantages that being single might confer to him in the business world. Until Chow Chow changes herself, Carson really does not treat her as a good boyfriend should. He changes himself when he sees the new Chow Chow; unfortunately, it was too late because he had already had an affair with someone else. After their break up, Carson continues to be a friend of Chow Chow and is willing to help her if she needs it.
This is the second time I've seen Raymond acting in a TVB series. I first saw him in that one ATV series (yes I occasionally watch ATV if I hear it's really, really good haha) with Michelle Ye. I think he's a good actor, and it seems that TVB is getting into the habit of making him the "ladies' man" in their series due to his looks. He was the very flirtatious man in the series Marriage of Inconvenience, with Bobby Au and Angela Tong. I like him as an actor, though he can improve. His character in here doesn't serve much of a purpose other than showing how much Chow Chow evolved as a person from beginning to end, but he did well with what he was given.

Bernice Liu as Man Ji Kei (Kit) - Raised by her step-dad after her mother's death, Kit has been spoiled since she was small due to her step-father's guilt at having split up her mom and dad. She hates her step-father at first, but comes to realize how much he actually cares for her. The only person who has ever intimidated Kit is M.C., who would yell at her if she did something wrong, disregarding the fact that she is the boss's daughter. Though she seems bossy and mean outwardly, Kit is a good person inside, and tried to help Chow Chow when she found out that Carson was cheating.
The character of Kit isn't all too exciting, and I don't think Bernice did particularly well with her. She doesn't have that bossy and selfish aura about her that a character like Kit requires. Not that Bernice isn't a good actress, but, I think, this character would be better played by someone else.

Lui Fong as Chow Chi Jim - Raised by a dog breeder, Jim has grown up to be a great animal trainer himself. He and his wife run a store known as Jim Jim Pet which does well enough to open a new and gigantic emporium which provides all the pet services one could wish for (including weddings). Though he has opinions and beliefs of his own, he is generally overshadowed by his wife, who does not allow him any say in their business or in his personal life. Fed up with this, Jim finally lets his voice be heard and gains the respect of his wife and his in-laws.
I think this is the first series I've seen Lui Fong in, at least recently. He did well, though his character annoyed me sometimes with how passive he could be. I liked how he finally decided to think for himself toward the end and stand up to his wife. He was able to do what he wanted by the end, which was to help stray dogs find owners or to neuter them so that there would be fewer stray dogs running around the streets of Hong Kong. Great acting by Lui Fong, and nice character evolution throughout the series.

Margie Tsang as Shui Tin Lan - The wife of Jim and the CEO of Jim Jim Pet, Ah Lan is a dominating woman who is not used to being told what to do. On the contrary, she tells people what to do, whether or not they want to hear it. With good intentions in her heart, Ah Lan has her way of keeping the family together and fulfilling her wish of making her child successful, but her methods come off too strongly for many. Despite running a pet shop, Ah Lan is afraid of stray dogs and big dogs, but she overcomes this with the help of Siu Ba. By the end of the series, her character has changed to a more passive and less overbearing person. She realizes that to maintain her husband's love for her, she does not need to dominate every aspect of his life. She realizes that she must allow him to do what he wants to do and that they, as a couple, must learn to compromise if their relationship is to be successful.
I think the only other series I've seen Margie Tsang in was in D.I.E. as Roger's sister. I actually didn't even realize that it was the same person until very, very late into the series! The two characters were so different that I didn't even connect that they were the same actresses! lol She is a good actress and does the domineering role well. The character of Ah Lan was annoying and irrational at times, but in the end she was able to find the error of her ways. Well done on Margie's part!

Favorite Scenes:
1. When M.C.'s dad finds out that his son has terminal cancer but cannot do anything about it. He wants to fulfill his son's wish for no one to know, but he also wants to play the father's role and be there to support him. The scene where the two are by the water looking out at the buildings at night was a tear jerker. M.C.'s dad's speech to his son was so touching. Seeing him tell his son that if the cancer comes up again he has to call him was very moving, especially since the audience knew that he was already aware of his son's illness.
2. The final scenes between M.C. and Chow Chow. Christmas is my favorite holiday because of the atmosphere that takes over during that time. So I liked seeing that the couple were able to spend one last Christmas together. And did anyone else just love Siu Ba and Cancan in the Santa suits?! They were soooo cute! Especially Siu Ba!
3. The scene with Siu Ba and Bailey, when we found out that Bailey had a brain tumor. That whole speech, though it was dog to dog, was very touching. There is a lot of truth in what was said. If you know you are going to die, you should spend the time happily with those you love. But, that is way easier said than done. How many of us can honestly say that we could live the last few months of our lives happily, when we know there's a set date in which we will die? I, for one, wouldn't be able to, to be honest. It was touching seeing Bailey play with Kit for the last time. I admit, it was out of the blue that she had a brain tumor, but I understand the purpose of it was to mirror M.C.'s situation.
4. The part where M.C. is trying to teach Chow Chow how to be a cat. That was hilarious! When they were on the bed and Chow Chow's dad sees them and mistakes it for something else! lol

The Ending:
I actually really like the ending of this series. I thought it was done tastefully and that TVB did not sugarcoat the ending as much as they generally do. I was worried throughout the last 6 episodes after M.C. discovers that he has terminal cancer because I wasn't sure if TVB would follow through with killing the main character, especially with all the talk about miracles and M.C.'s first advertisement sign lighting up again... and again... and again... Seriously? I thought it wasn't supposed to work, but it kept lighting up at exactly the right moment! haha.. A miracle, I guess? Anyway, the fake death was unnecessary for me. Plus, I was distracted by the fact that M.C. could actually pull off a fake death in today's modern society. I mean, doesn't he need a death certificate and wouldn't his family want to see him for the last time before they buried him? All that aside though, the writers actually killed him, though they softened the blow with him being able to spend Christmas with Chow Chow, Siu Ba, and Cancan. The ending was nice because there was closure, unlike other series where it's left open to interpretation or where there are different endings. So, that's definitely a plus in my book. Plus, the last few scenes with M.C. and Chow Chow together were very sweet. And let's not forget Siu Ba and Cancan's cute scene at the end!

Overall, I enjoyed watching When a Dog Loves a Cat. Besides the long awaited return of Gallen,
the storyline was decent and the actors were all good. As an animal lover, I enjoyed seeing a show concerning the care and love toward animals. The voices of Siu Ba and Cancan (and the other animals) grew on me after a while, though I still stand by my thought that it would have been less kiddy. This series is nice if you want something fun and entertaining. The ending is bitter sweet, but appropriate for how the writers set it up in the story. So for Gallen fans and people who just want a fun series to watch, definitely give this a try.

Overall Rating: 87/100

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Story Spotlight - Best Selling Secrets <同事三分親> Episodes 242-247

*Warning: Spoilers Ahead*


I was catching up on Best Selling Secrets today, and it happened to be on a very good story arc within the series. So, I decided to do a short feature segment on this particular set of episodes because it really stood out to me. I still have a while to go before I finish the series, so there may be more than one of these "Story Spotlight" segments, but essentially, what this segment will be about is a focus on what I think are the best story arcs in Best Selling Secrets. This is a bit unique to long sitcom type series like Best Selling Secrets because there are multiple characters with numerous story arcs. For normal series, this type of analysis is not very rational since normal series are not that long. But these series are hundreds of episodes in length, so it makes more sense to do. Before we start, I have to say, please credit me and this site if you use the summary, analysis, and/or screen caps I have posted here on another website. The work posted here is original unless otherwise stated. Anyway, without further delay, let's get into it!

First and foremost, it was great seeing Louisa So appear in these couple of episodes. It was nice to see that she would be portraying an antagonistic role opposite of the wonderful Esther Kwan. Her role in this set of episodes reminded me a bit of her role in Phoenix Rising with Krystal Tin and Leila Tong. However, in that role, she was more purely evil and conniving than she turned out to be in Best Selling Secrets. Here, there was more of a pitiful back story for her than in Phoenix.

Quick Summary:
We meet her character as the widow of a very wealthy businessman. She approaches "Ying" and "Jo Yi Jim" to prepare a commercial for her. Ah Chit(Vin Choi's character) discovers a picture of his father and Louisa's character in wedding attire, basically their wedding pictures. This sends him into panic mode as he had always thought that his father only loved his mother, Wong Ga Nam (Esther's Character).

After some research and help from Vincent (Geoffrey Wong's character), Ah Chit finds the marriage papers between Louisa and his father. From she tells him, Ah Chit gathers that his father was going to America to break up with Ga Nam, not to bring her back to Hong Kong. Soon, Ga Nam finds the wedding pictures, and develops a psychological problem after hearing what Louisa had to say. She breaks down, something that is not characteristic of Ga Nam at all, and basically loses it for a bit.

Fortunately, she had Vincent there. In order to get the truth from Louisa, he ate a beggar's food. Finally, Louisa reveals the true story behind the pictures. She was once an immigrant with no permanent residency in HK. However, she met Ah Chit's father, Luk Geen, who helped her gain residency by faking their marriage. However, she falls in love with Ah Geen, who tells her that he already has the love of his life waiting for him. Over the years, she married a rich man who was older than her by 30 years and acquired a wealthy company, but she still remembers Ah Geen and how he helped her in her time of need. She blames Ga Nam for Ah Geen's death because he wouldn't have gone on the airplane if not for her. That's why she has been going against Ga Nam this entire time. By the end of the story arc, she has let go of her past grievances and no longer looks for revenge. As an added bonus, Ga Nam realizes how she must treasure those before her, and she FINALLY accepts Vincent's advances toward her.

Thoughts and Analysis:
Well, putting aside my bias toward both Esther and Louisa (they're both wonderful actresses), the story itself was very touching, in my opinion. The only time that Ga Nam shows her vulnerability is when she is dealing with her past with Ah Geen or when she is concerned for Ah Chit. Those are the two men who can cause her to lose her self-control and strong demeanor. One of the most memorable scenes within these episodes is when Louisa's character decides to go into Ga Nam's office and tell her her side of the story. She tells her how Ah Geen only loved her, and that the reason why he went on the plane was to break up with Ga Nam.

Esther breaks down in this scene, and the two essentially have a yelling match; Ga Nam yelling that Ah Geen only loved her, and Louisa yelling that Ah Geen never loved Ga Nam. I don't think Esther has been able to show such intense emotion in the previous 247 episodes. To be honest, her character in Best Selling Secrets is rather boring. I only find it interesting when her past is discussed, because that's when her character shows a lot of depth and Esther is able to use her amazing acting ability. Otherwise, she is calm and confident in what she does, portraying the wise mother of Ah Chit but sacrificing some of the excitement of her character.

Another great scene is when Ng Si Fu (Elaine Kam's character) confronts Louisa in her office. She tells her that she has already forgiven Ga Nam for anything in the past. Although she once hated Ga Nam for inadvertently causing her son's death, she has now forgiven her. Ga nam has also proven herself to be a good mother, a good wife, and a good daughter-in-law. She tells Louisa that the difference between Ga Nam and Louisa's character is how they handle the past. Ga Nam is able to transform her pain about Ah Geen into Love for her family, whereas Louisa can only change her pain into hate. This, along with her promise to Vincent if he ate the beggar's food, was what convinced Louisa to tell the truth about what happened between her and Ah Geen. Another reason I like this scene is because it shows the dynamics between Ga Nam and Ng Si Fu. Their relationship has evolved so much since the the first episode where Ng Si Fu hates Ga Nam until now, when she can go and defend her daughter-in-law out of concern and sincerity.

And of course, the end of this series of episodes marks the beginning of a new relationship. The experience with Louisa has caused Ga Nam to realize that she mustn't dwell too much on the past and that her relationship with someone else does not affect her feelings for her deceased husband. She can still remember Ah Geen in her heart and through her mother-in-law and son, while pursuing a new relationship. I should also add that I have been waiting for this moment for a very, very long time. FINALLY, Vincent and Ga Nam are together! Too bad, Esther had to leave before the end. I wonder how they'll tie up this long awaited relationship since Esther isn't in the finale? I guess we'll have to see!

So, that was the first Story Spotlight segment! It's much easier to do short segments on one story arc than to do a whole long summary and review of the entire series, especially at this length. Anyway, hope you guys enjoyed reading it! It was a lot of fun to do!

P.S. Remember to credit if you use any of the material in this post. Thanks!

Monday, August 18, 2008

New Highlight Segment?

Hi guys! It's been 9 days since I last posted! Well, over the past few days, I've been thinking I should create a new segment so that I can have more frequent updates, rather than just the reviews at the end of each series. I was thinking of doing an episode-by-episode highlights type of segment (possibly called Inferno's Episode-By-Episode Highlights or something like that?).
I know a lot of blogs do episode-by-episode summaries with the blogger's added analysis, and I wanted to try something a bit different with my own little flavor to it. Rather than summarizing all the events in an episode, I was thinking I could pick out a few favorite scenes per episode (I'll probably do a few episodes each post) and analyze/describe why I like them and their relevance to the series as a whole. That way, I could update a little more frequently. Keep in mind I'll still do the series reviews at the end, but this way, I can delve a bit deeper into each series. What do you guys think? Leave a comment or drop a shout in the shout box! =) Your feedback is super important to me!

Best Regards,

P.S. And I'll try to do more screen caps of my own, and rely a little less on Asianfanatics for the new segment, should it work out. haha

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Speech of Silence <甜言蜜語> - Review (Complete)

*Warning Spoilers Ahead*

*Credit to for pictures*

Analysis and Portrayal of Main Characters:
Kenneth Ma as Leung Kai Yin - Abandoned by his father at a young age, Kai Yin (aka OK Zai) is raised by his grandfather and aunt. Though he is given the chance to be the leading man in his grandfather's noodle company, he prefers the less stressful job of a voice actor with his aunt. He meets his Tong Tong in a series of misunderstandings which begin their relationship. It takes a long time for OK to realize his love for Tong Tong, but when he does, he commits himself unquestionably to her, even when she pushes him away.
Kenneth Ma plays this role well, but for some reason, it feels like he's done these types of roles a lot. Come on TVB, give him something new and exciting! Anyway, he did the role well, portraying the caring young man who will do his best to help his family and friends.

Kate Tsui as Tong Tong - Deafened by an explosion during her childhood, Tong Tong has gone through life trying to live as closely to a normal person as possible. With the ability to hear about 30-40% in only one ear, Tong Tong struggles with self-esteem and inferiority issues. However, this changes when she meets OK and is able to live her dream of being a voice actress, despite her hindered ability to hear.
Tong Tong was a kind of boring character for me. Throughout much of the series she was really mellow and not that interesting. When she started to date OK her chara
cter became a bit more interesting, with her showing a wider range of emotions, but then there came the problem of her trying to distance herself from OK because of her disability. It got a bit tiring for me. I don't think it was a problem on Kate's part as an actress, but because of the character. A lot of the time, Tong Tong looked confused and bored. But you can tell Kate has the acting potential in scenes such as the ones in the hospital when OK got shot, and when she pretended to be ok after her surgery failed. So overall, decent acting, but limited character.

Claire Yiu as Yuen Siu Na (Na 姐) - As the independent woman who must look after her mother and son, Na 姐 does not care what other people say about her behind her back. She tries to appease her mother by attempting to date rich men who will "take care" of her and her son, but she does not really like any of them. She eventually falls for OK, but knows that it is impossible because OK only likes Tong Tong, and no one else. In the end, she lets OK be with Tong Tong, even though she had the opportunity to take him with her to America.
I reallly like Claire Yiu as an actress. It's a shame she's not in that many series. Anyway, the character of Na 姐 is an interesting one. She starts off as someone who seems like she has no opinion of her own, only listening to the words of her mother. But, as the story progresses, she begins to realize that she must do what she believes is correct, and not to simply take the words of her mother. For her son, she is willing to sacrifice the chance to be a rich wife. I felt that her betrayal of Tong Tong at the end was really out of character for her, because throughout the series, she was portrayed as a nice person who would do the right thing, and to have her try to steal OK at the end was a bit unreasonable for her character, in my opinion. But I do understand the necessity to use this plot device to show that Tong Tong and OK belong together. Great acting on Claire's part.

Kingdom Yuen as Leung Lai Yu - Leung Lai Yu is the aunt of OK, who has looked after him after her brother's departure. She is the closest family member of OK, a person who he can discuss anything with. Lai Yu is willing to forgive her brother after his betrayal of her and everyone in the company. She even helps him find a job and reconnect with his son.
I think Kingdom does a great job with these more mellow and emotional roles. She is probably known better for her comedic roles in series such as Virtues of Harmony, but she clearly has a wide range of acting ability. I discovered this, with surprise, after seeing Gods of Honour a few years ago. She played Na Ja's (Benny Chan's) mother, Yun Sup Leung, and she played it brilliantly, I think. That was the first series I saw her in in which she really pulled on the audience's heart strings. At the time, I was still a new TVB watcher, so I had not seen her in anything else before but I knew she was more known for comedy than drama. Anyway, good job, but her character in Speech of Silence was also not too interesting.

Lau Dan as Leung Kam Bor - As a gambling addict in the past, Ah Bor tricked his family and friends of their money to pay for debt that he had accrued. When even that could not cover all of his debt, he fled out of Hong Kong with his mistress. In a fight later on, his mistress accidentally kills the debt collector and frames him for the murder, for which he has to spend twenty years in jail. Once he is out, he returns to Hong Kong with the simple hope of being able to see his son happy and healthy. He doesn't wish to even be acknowledged by his family, for he feels shame in having tricked them so many years ago. Eventually, he is reunited and forgiven after numerous attempts at redemption.
What can I say? A veteran actor is a veteran actor. Lau Dan is just one of those TVB actors who is able to nail a character with ease. He plays this role well, showing the weariness after so many years of prison. It's easy to tell from his expressions how much he regrets his actions in the past and how much he would like to gain the approval of his son again. All in all, good job with the role.

Chris Lai as Cheung Yau - The goofy best friend of OK, Cheung Yau believes in sticking up for his "brothers" when the going gets rough. Throughout most of the series, he has a very funny "relationship" with Elaine's character. They were really hilarious together.
I kind of like Chris Lai in the more comedic type roles. I think he does them very well and it's fun to see him in the loud and more obnoxious roles. I laughed at the scene when he was trying to be formal on a date with Ka Yee and was speaking in ancient sayings and stuff. Then he asks her permission to be rough and rips the arms off of his tux. LOL Anyway, I think Chris did wonderfully with this comedic role. Great job!

Elaine Yiu as Chai Ka Yee - Ah.. the ambitious and rambunctious younger sister of Tong Tong. Ka Yee's dream in life is to marry a rich man and not have to worry about life (financially at least). She wants to be one of those rich wives who shop and play mah jong all day long, despite the disapproval of her father and sister. They think that true love is more important than material wealth, but this concept is lost on Ka Yee for most of the series.She evetually comes to the realization that Mr. Right was right in front of her this whole time, but she never took him seriously.
When Elaine came out in her first significant role (in Revolving Doors of Vengeance, I think) I really didn't like her. Her acting wasn't great and her character was annoying. But with more series, I think she has definitely improved in terms of acting. However, is it just me or does she always get the role of the gold digger friend/sister? Wasn't this almost a duplicate of her role in A Journey Called Life as Hannah, Linda's character's best friend? Anyway, it looks like she's being type-casted into these types of roles, which is a shame, because she really has shown a lot of improvement. She did well in this role, but hopefully, TVB will give her a more challenging and refreshing role next time.

Stephan Huynh as Cheung Chun - Ambitious and daring, Cheung Chun returns from abroad ready to take his father's noodle company into the modern era. He makes risky business moves which are radically different from how things were done before, but his success leaves his opponents unable to question him. He isn't afraid to use back-handed tactics to deal with people and even goes as far as try to trick his family of money when his dad is kidnapped and held for ransom. In the end, he reverts and redeems himself after seeing how OK is willing to sacrifice himself to save him.
I think this is Stephan's first major supporting role in a series since his participation in Mr. HK. He didn't win, like his brother, Francois, but he is in many more series than his younger brother. This is probably due to his better grasp of Cantonese, with just a slight accent. Anyway, his acting is very good for such a beginner. His acting does show faults here and there, but for a newcomer in the bad (meaning "evil") role, he held his own. It's very difficult for new actors to play evil roles well. I mean, that's why many newcomers come into the scene as the good and innocent one. But I think Stephan is doing a good job, and is growing as an actor. It would be nice to see him in more series with a significant supporting role (like in this series) but with more complexity and layers. Hopefully, he'll continue to grow as an actor and surprise us with a brilliant performance!

Favorite Sce
1. Definitely at the end when Tong Tong pretends that her surgery went well and creates an elaborate plan with her sister to try to fool OK Zai and Na 姐 so that they can go to America together and not worry about her.
2. The scene when Mary Han, Tong Tong's mom, is begging her daughter to help her son in America. You can tell how conflicted Mary's character was because she clearly wasn't just getting close to Tong Tong to help her son. Even if she was, she grew to really care about her daughter and she was stuck between a rock and a hard place on this one. She felt that she had to trick her daughter because she didn't think Tong Tong would agree otherwise. Yet, she knew if she did lie, she may lose the trust of her daughter forever.
3. When OK
子 finally forgives his dad, after seeing how Tong Tong forgave her mom, despite all of the things that she did wrong. The scene at the stairs when Lau Dan drops the cassette tape and falls while trying to get the tape of him and his son was touching. A bit cliche, but still.
4. In the hospital, after OK was shot by the kidnappers. The words Tong Tong said to him as he was comatose were touching, especially when she had already decided to let him leave to America with Claire.

The Ending:
The ending was rushed, but what's new with TVB? Haha It was a very cliche ending, at least in my opinion. For some reason, it reminded me of that series called... Invisible Journey with Jessica Hseun and Bowie Lam. I don't recall the specifics, but it was about how Jessica was blind and in the end, she had to do a surgery to heal her eyes. Despite the chances, Jessica's character decided to undergo the operation. Unfortunately, it was unsuccessful, but Bowie and Jessica still got together. I believe the ending scene was with them sitting together as the sun rose up. In Speech of Silence, Kate's character of Tong Tong also undergoes surgery, but this time, for her hearing. It is also unsuccessful but she still manages to live a happy life with the person she loves. So, I suppose that's what brought my memory back to Invisible Journey. Anyway, the ending was mediocre for me, not one of TVB's better endings.

Speech of Silence was Kate's first series as the main female lead. Her acting was good (definitely better than in her first few series), but she still has a lot of potential to grow. I'm looking forward to her being in a more interesting role (i.e. in Moonlight Resonance =D), but not bad for her first series as lead. Kenneth was good here as well, though, again, a role which is a bit different would be refreshing. Overall, the series was mediocre, at best. Not one of the worst series, but also not one of the best for me.
Overall Rating: 80/100

Monday, August 4, 2008

When a Dog Loves a Cat <當狗愛上貓> - Initial Reactions

*Credit to MetalAznWarrior for the above picture*

So, I started When a Dog Loves a Cat today, starring Myolie Wu and Gallen Lo, and I thought I'd write down my first impression from this new series.

First and foremost, let's just say I'm glad Gallen came back to TVB and decided to film a series (more to come hopefully?). It's nice to see some of the actors who were present when I first started watching TVB series a while back. In fact, Gallen starred in my first official TVB series called the Seven Sisters, alongside Charmaine Sheh, Kong Wah, Anne Heung, Florence Kwok, Annie Man, and a few other TVB regulars. It wasn't too memorable of a series, but it does hold a special place in my heart as the first TVB series that I ever watched. Anyway, all said, WELCOME BACK GALLEN!

So far, it seems like a pretty cute series. I love animals, especially dogs, so that may be a bit of bias on my part, but what the heck? Haha I think Gallen is funny as the grumpy and irritable neighbor and coworker of Myolie who seems hard on the outside, but is really a caring person within. He is able to portray the fact that there is a reason why he has such a hardened facade. The scene to mention here is when he and Myolie are trying to sell the wedding idea to the rich daughter. Gallen's hesitant recital of the script as he is thinking of his relationship with Tracy Ip is great. You can really see him thinking of his ex, as well as being able to see that the daughter was just using them to lower the price of the other company. Myolie is good here too, and for some reason, I like her hair in this series. Random? Yes.. haha

And was there an inadvertent or deliberate reference to Lee Hom here?! If you didn't know, Wang Lee Hom (王力宏)is my absolute, favorite Taiwanese artist, and my idol. =D So, you can imagine my excitement when they named the dog "Lyhhome." Hahaha Ok, so maybe it's not that flattering having a dog named after you.. but I was just excited they referenced him some way some how in the series! And of course, it may just have been a coincident, but who knows?

Speaking of the dog, one problem I do have with the series so far is the voice acting of the dog (小巴) and the cat (CanCan). It just kind of irks me for some reason. It sounds like it could be used for a children's show. It really does. Other than that, I'm enjoying the show so far. More to come on it later!

P.S. I promise I'll finish the Love Exchange review and start the Speech of Silence review soon! =)