Archive for January, 2010

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January 2010: upcoming posts :)

January 22, 2010

hi everyone!

i tweeted that my next post will be on “Prequels and their Sequels” (focusing on Survivor’s Law, Forensic Heroes and D.I.E. are there any others which i’ve missed? ahhh.. The Gentle Crackdown. *edit: i forgot about the 學警series – The Academy, On the First Beat, E.U.!)

i also want to do a review on D.I.E. Again. i’m thinking of doing a special on D.I.E. and D.I.E. Again, but i guess that can be covered in the “Prequels and their Sequels” post!

so, upcoming posts for Jan/Feb include:

  1. D.I.E. Again review
  2. “Prequels and their Sequels”

more to come soon! :)

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1000 hits! :D

January 15, 2010

hi everyone!

thank you so much for the support!!

1000 hits and counting in just 1 month!

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! :D

kRysTaL~ :)

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TVB dramas in 2009: the year in review

January 15, 2010

the original plan was the write a 2009 year in review; then i realised that i’m incapable of writing this post ‘cos i’ve not watched all the dramas in 2009. i’ve watched all but 9-10 — that’s a huge portion which i’ve not watched.

i then decided to cover 2008 and 2009 in the same post, but the 2008 portion got too long i had to split them :)

i guess i have enough to say about the series i’ve watched, and my thoughts on those i’ve not watched, but have read enough reviews about :D

*edit (14/01/10): after reading AnnisaIris and Vivien‘s posts, i feel a need to work my creative juices and come up with some great categories to slot the series in. after thinking long and hard, and pondering on whether using the ‘5 tastes’ would be too cliche, i finally decided on something related to food – oh mann, makes me look so greedy! – … think of each series as a dish. ok, i really don’t know how i came up with this. let’s see how it goes XD

*“The Gem of Life”, “When Easterly Showers Fall on Sunny West” and “Pages of Treasures” were covered in the 2008 year in review post *

2009

nah. i’ll skip.

The Winter Melon Tale (大冬瓜) – skipped.

in food terms: looks unappetizing. (don’t get me wrong; i have nothing against winter-melons :D)

i couldn’t even get past the 1min+ theme song! it seems like “Ten Brothers” again; only it looks even worse. even though it stars one of my faves, Lai Lok Yi, i couldn’t imagine myself wasting time watching this series. and Sunny Chan was in this? what a waste of his talent!

A Bride for a Ride (王老虎搶親) – skipped.

in food terms: might leave a bitter taste in my mouth so i’m staying away.

i couldn’t get past the 1st 10min! seeing Chin Ka-lok behaving stupidly in an attempt to make us laugh was not how i’d like to spend my time. Sammul was in this series, but even this was not enough to get me interested. at least Sammul was in E.U. already so i didn’t need to see another series of his so badly XD

argh. [cringe]

Man in Charge (幕後大老爺) – skipped but saw bits and pieces; not interested in continuing.

in food terms: bland. leaves you feeling so irritated that you need an antidote. very blah.

Matthew Ko is 2nd male lead? please spare me! i ended up watching bits and pieces, and Kate’s character was so awful and violent! felt really sorry for Kenneth, and even though i thought his pairing with Leila was pretty sweet, Matthew Ko spoilt it all (the show i mean) – and as if being 2nd male lead isn’t good enough, he has to be evil! a huge failure.

Burning Flame 3 (烈火雄心3) – currently watching… high possibility of giving up.

in food terms: sour. has potential with great ingredients (cast), but doesn’t deliver.

i hadn’t heard good reviews when i first started this series, but since Wong He and Kevin Cheng were in it, i thought to give it a try; i’ve not watched No. 1 and 2, and that isn’t needed to start No. 3. the show is full of annoying characters! Wong He and Myolie really kinda deserved each other. Kevin was the Mr. Nice-guy who was so lax it was unbelievable. oh wait – i forgot Bosco was even here! LOL :D his character is so irritating! basically, i’ve seen 8 episodes and can conclude that it’s draggy and un-engaging. i really do want to see Stephen Wong and Elaine Yiu pair up so for that i might continue.

hmph. expected more.

Sweetness in the Salt (碧血鹽梟) – watched; was disappointed.

in food terms: salty. how appropriate!

this series started out really promising – the theme of salt was refreshing; the idea of Steven being the in the official salt office and Tavia being in the bootleg salt camp was very Romeo-Juliet-ish. i loved Tavia’s character! Steven was too upright for his own good. as for Raymond W., he was great! this is yet another series where Raymond Wong doesn’t end up with the woman he likes (lost Myolie in “When a Dog Loves a Cat” to Gallen; lost Charmaine in “When Easterly Showers Fall on Sunny West” to Joe…) – he loses Tavia to Steven Ma. loved Kwok Fung and Ram Tseung too :) unfortunately, the series went downhill after ep21. all of a sudden it seemed like the plot went out of control. the ending was the worst – Tavia went to live in the mountains, and it was so freezing cold there were fireflies? OMG. and of course Steven had to be there… disastrous ending.

Born Rich (富貴門) – watched bits and pieces.

possible food term: savoury~
update: it was salty in the end.

41 episodes seems too long; but “Moonlight Resonance” was 40 episodes! i’m not expecting anything of MR standard, but i’m especially looking forward to Anita Yuen’s performance! and Kenneth Ma and Sharon Chan! :D

edit: hands down i enjoyed Anita and Joe’s performances the best! Gallen was so psycho, and i’m not a fan of his, so i can’t really say anything. Ray Lui was ok, but i couldn’t stand his relationship with Kenix. Jamie Chik was boring. basically i didn’t like most of the characters. the story was too long, and draggy. the ending was the worst – it was the greatest downfall of this drama.

haha :) thought that it’ll disappoint but no!

you didn’t expect much but they delivered.

The King of Snooker (桌球天王) – watched; enjoyed it!

in food terms: savoury. refreshing theme but no edge.

i’m not a fan of Adam Cheng’s. other than him, the cast were really low-key. Niki Chow, Patrick Tang, Joyce Tang and Derek Kwok, Benz Hui. i thought the cast reminded me somewhat of the cast for “Wars of In-Laws II”. i didn’t expect to enjoy this as much as i did! the snooker theme was pretty cool; after a while i felt like playing snooker even though i really don’t know how to – hahahh :D the plot flowed really smoothly, the characters were well-developed – loved Joyce Tang’s Chin To-to and Derek’s Ray Lui!! :) then all of a sudden the plot was rushed; Patrick suddenly was the most awful character on earth and he had totally no sportsmanship. blah. it was strange how he changed from good to bad and back to good so quickly. overall, i enjoyed this series, although i’d have liked if Joyce ended up with Derek ‘cos she had absolutely no chemistry with Adam at all.

The Stew of Life (有營主婦) – watched bits and pieces.

in food terms: savoury. satisfying but nothing new.

i hadn’t heard good reviews about this series, but the first 10 episodes were surprisingly addictive! i think this is a pretty good series – it’s a simple series about family, and will bring laughs – but if i’m to choose between this and “Pages of Treasures” (since they have the same concept), “Pages of Treasures” will have priority hands down! this series seemed to reunite the cast of “Welcome to the House” – Chung King-fai, Christine Ng, Johnson Lee, Shermon Tang, even Gill Mohindepaul Singh. although i didn’t watch this series in full, i think it’s worthwhile if you need a good laugh; just don’t expect too much.

hmmm… satisfying!

The Greatness of a Hero (盛世仁傑) – watched; LOVE IT!

in food terms: tangy. not only satisfying but turned out better than expected!

when we first started watching this series, i kept saying that this prepared one for “Beyond the Realm of Conscience”, as both have palace themes. this series only had 20 episodes, which is pretty short for something of this scale! the sets were pretty awesome, and the costumes beautiful; it also had a huge cast, so much so that they could afford to kill Stephen Hyunh and Tracy Ip in the first 2 episodes! Kent Cheng was a brilliant protagonist, against no other than the awesome Wayne Lai as the evil power-hungry advisor. it was a series which had everything – conspiracy, politics, family, love, hate, revenge… there was even some comedy, especially when Bernice’s grandmother and Sunny’s mother were at loggerheads. the ending was rushed; and that was a pity. overall, it surprised me in its plot, acting and delivery. worth watching :)

D.I.E. Again (古靈精探B)

in food terms: tangy. it has the edge to make it stand out!

i was thoroughly addicted to the prequel, and this sequel was high up on my to-watch list. i was disappointed by the monotonous roles Roger, Sonija and Derek resumed. however, the new cast – Kwok Fung, Zac Kao, Him Law, Macy Chan and Jessie Shum added new life to this otherwise it’s-the-same-story-again sequel. the cases were nothing special, and unlike the prequel, where many cases involved the main cast, this sequel had many cases involving Big Mouth Ying! case-wise, the prequel fared better; cast and character development wise, this sequel gets the thumbs up :) a review is in the pipelines, but i haven’t had time to start! nevertheless, i like this series a lot! the dynamics between the characters are really really nice to watch :)

The Threshold of a Persona (ID精英)

possible food term: salty.
update: tangy!

i watched the 1st episode 3 times already! the immigration theme is really interesting; lets us know more about another side of Hong Kong. i heard and read that it’s a big disappointment. that’s really sad. it seems to have so much potential! i really do want to watch it for John Chiang vs Raymond Cho – pretty exciting especially since they’re both brilliant actors, and that they’re father-in-law and son-in-law in real life :) Claire Yiu and Kenny Wong seem to be a good motivation to watch this too… we shall see!

update: i didn’t think i’d enjoy this series as much as i did! the plot was pretty well developed; the myraid of characters were very interesting to watch. they didn’t concentrate too much on one character and neglect others. they covered every character, every subplot (and there were so many subplots), and developed them pretty well! :D overall, i think it had everything – it was about immigration, which also involved the police, the triads, no lack of family/love problems, it touched on social issues like single-parent families, rebellious teenagers, illegal-immigrants… there was an aspect of law too; and office rivalries, interpersonal relationships, numerous problems which are overcome, gambling problems, blackmailing, murder…

A Chip off the Old Block (巴不得爸爸) – currently watching… enjoying it!

possible food term: tangy!
update: tangy!

i’ve heard positive reviews of this so i’ll definitely be watching! the time-travel aspect is nothing new, but i’m sure it’ll bring laughs! and Shirley’s back!! looking forward to Ron and the ever-versatile Sunny :)

update: i love series set in the 1930s, 1960s! so far, i’m really enjoying this series! i couldn’t resist but read some spoilers – haha interesting! the concept is great! the interactions between each character are very fun to watch :) i find it really funny how Ron keeps jumping in cupboards in a bid to go back, to no avail haha :D

yumm! delicious! :D

E.U. (學警狙擊) – watched; LOVE IT!

in food terms: spicy!

hot guys, cool non-stop action…

this was the first drama i saw in 2009. i was pretty skeptical in the beginning, ‘cos i didn’t think “The Academy” was fantastic, and i thought “On the First Beat” was a disaster. i heard and read good reviews, and decided to give it a try… little did i expect that this third installment saved the impression i had of the 學警 series! it was so engaging, and i was so addicted! Ron improved greatly, and although i didn’t think much of his pairing with Elanne Kong, she was pretty sweet; Sammul’s pairing with Cheung Kayi was really sweet. the best part was the non-stop action and numerous connections to the triads through Elanne (her father being Michael Miu, the big triad boss), and Kayi (her older sister being Kathy Chow, Michael’s wife), which resulted in the internal conflicts the 2 characters had to go through. i forgot to mention Laughing-gor, the sensation; to tell you the truth, i think i missed the episodes where Michael T. was most prominent.

haha. i’m definitely going to re-watch this one day!

Rosy Business (巾幗梟雄) – watched; LOVE IT!

in food terms: spicy!

suspense, family politics, heated struggles…

Chai-gau and Sei lai-lai!! this series was brilliant! and i didn’t even watch the beginning or the ending. i really need to watch this series in full one day. it’s a must! the theme of rice was refreshing, and unlike “Sweetness in the Salt” (it makes the most sense to compare these 2 series as they have the same producer, and focus on staple necessities), which had problems with plot development and pacing, “Rosy Business” was well thought out; characters all had time to develop and make an impression – a huge impression. everyone had their place and their time to shine when the time was ripe. the acting was first-class; no one disappointed. this series was aptly awarded Best Drama at the TVB 42nd Anniversary Awards – bravo bravo bravo!

i can’t praise this series enough!! :D

You’re Hired (代商驕) – watched; LOVE IT!

in food terms: sweet and spicy!

a mix of suspense and warmth!

click here for my comprehensive review!

this is one of my favourite series now! i was really so addicted to Dayo Wong’s Mak Tai-song – he was such a great character! the show’s approach was new and it dealt with a different aspect of business (more than just shareholder meetings and aiming to kick the chairman out etc.) – it dealt with business strategies and saving businesses. this series had everything – comedy, love, wit, revenge, family, greed… and i felt so satisfied after i finished watching!

highly recommended! :D

craving

Just Love II (老婆大人II) – anticipating.

possible food term: savoury~

i enjoyed the prequel, and was laughing like crazy! i’m not sure how this sequel will turn out, but i did watch the 1st episode – it’s basically a continuation of Part I. many things have changed – Sunny’s Dad has passed away, and i think Dave Wong is written out – he ended up with Natalie Tong in Part I, they also wrote Fiona Yuen out; Joyce Tang joins the cast as this psycho woman. i wonder if Patrick and Selena are in this… ok, let’s see how it goes! but i really don’t expect much.

A Great Way to Care (仁心解碼) – anticipating.

possible food term: savoury~

this is probably a neglected hidden gem, judging from the reviews i’ve read. i’m no fan of Alex Fong’s or Kate Tsui’s, but since the reviews are positive, i’ll give it a shot!

In the Chamber of Bliss (蔡鍔與小鳳仙) – anticipating.

possible food term: tangy!

this is another series which has positive reviews, but is neglected. Damien Lau doesn’t disappoint; i’m ok with Kathy Chow.. oh, and Kenneth Ma is in this too? this should be interesting, especially with Dominic Lam too! i enjoy series set in the 1930s period! :)

Beyond the Realm of Conscience (宮心計) – anticipating.

possible food term: salty.

the biggest disappointment of 2009? with all the hype and through-the-roof ratings, i should give it a try even though it now has a negative air about it. i want to see Tavia’s breakthrough evil role! and of course i’d watch it for Susan Tse, Michelle Yim, Susanna Kwan, Lee Kwok Lun and the other capable veterans, and captivating costumes and sets :)

**The Beauty of the Game & A Watchdog’s Tale will be considered 2010 dramas as they finish airing in 2010.

I’M DONE! FINALLY!! :D

PLEASE TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK!

THANKS!

*this post will be updated whenever i’ve completed a series :)

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Face to Fate 布衣神相: an essay

January 8, 2010

info

Wiki
DramaWiki

*note: i watched this drama in Mandarin with English subtitles.

background

i was going through the files on my computer and i found this! an essay on <Why I think “Bu Yi Shen Xiang” is a good show>. i remember that my family were really addicted to this show about 2 years back, and my Dad insisted i write this essay to improve my writing skills!

ta-da! here it is!

i’ve edited some parts ‘cos they were incoherent, and since i watched this series in Mandarin with English subtitles, i had to edit the names of the characters so that most people would understand who i’m referring to!

i just realised that this series was NEVER released in Hong Kong! what a pity! and now i realise that this series is based on the novel written by Wen Ruian, the same author of “The Four”!

Introduction

“Face to Fate” is a brilliant show because it kept me, as a viewer, entertained with its coherent ‘flowing’ structure, and complex plot, which had many unexpected but believable twists and turns. The characters were diverse and the casting was very appropriate.

I think a good show needs to captivate the audience, with a good structure and good plot, and have them craving for the next episode. The audience need to be able to follow the plot and relate to the story and its characters. It has to have twists and turns which piece the story together, and which will leave the viewers shell-shocked, and wanting desperately to know what will happen next. Finally, the casting and acting has to fit the characters, and the ability for an actor or actress to play their role convincingly is also very important.

Structure

The structure of the plot is crucial in any story, but especially drama serials, which last for as long as 20 to over 100 episodes. They have to have a strong main plot, which can be developed, manipulated and twisted to keep the audience entertained, and related sub-plots to divert the attention of the audiences when, perhaps, the main characters are going through a ‘dead period’ when nothing much is happening to them, and also to give the audience a different focus to enhance their enjoyment of the story.

“Face to Fate” is an ongoing serial, with 30 episodes of 45 minutes each. In this show, the general plot, sub-plots and ‘flow’ are consistent throughout, and the main plot about the ‘good-versus-evil’ and the ‘Golden Seal Battle’ are sufficient to develop over 30 episodes, without having the feeling that they are deliberately dragging the story longer for the sake of airing 30 episodes.

“Face to Fate”s sub-plots play an obvious part in the main plot, and they are carefully crafted to add dimension to the story. Unexpected twists make it complex, but not too confusing, so the viewers will not lose the flow of the story.

Unlike a movie, which has to capture your attention for over an hour or two, serials have to keep your attention constantly, in this case for 45 minutes over 30 episodes. In “Face to Fate”, almost every episode has a climax, and the episodes are edited to ensure they end on a suspenseful note.

“Face to Fate” has managed to keep the viewers wanting to watch more and more, and continue to watch religiously till the end. As a viewer, I was engaged in the whole story, I felt for the characters and against them, and of course, it was well cast, and well acted.

Plot

The main plot revolves around the ‘white sects’ and the ‘black sects’; good verses evil. There is also the issue with ‘black, white and grey’, where characters and issues are not as clear-cut as black and white; evil and good. The ‘Golden Seal Battle’, which is the major battle in this drama, takes place every 5 years, and is about to commence. With good verses evil, the triumphant side gets to rule the entire fraternity.

Black and White

The winners of the ‘Golden Seal Battle’ will get to rule the fraternity for 5 years. With both sides eager for power, the evil side decide to resort to underhanded tactics and kill all the white side’s 5 participants for the battle. This is when the main characters, Frankie Lam (Li Buyi), a fortune-teller, and Raymond Lam (Lai Yao-er), a ‘miracle’ doctor, neutral parties, not belonging to the good or bad sides, come in. Frankie (Li Buyi) feels he needs to help the good side because of his late master, who told him to ‘stop evil from being triumphant’, and Raymond (Lai Yao-er), to retain his family’s reputation, as doctors who heal, never harm. Their task is to find 5 former experts and persuade them to represent the white side in the battle.

But problems arise for both the white and black sides even though the battle hasn’t begun. The white side has a spy; a traitor, and a secret about one of their members shocks everyone, causing trouble everywhere.

Viewed as the ultimate good guy, David Chiang (Shen Xingnan), the leader of the 5 good sects is actually a traitor! He is working with Felix Lok (Geshu Tian), the leader of the evil sects. This revelation shocks the viewers, but the path to exposing him proves difficult, and to protect his secret, he either frames or takes the lives of many good people who get too close to the truth. But to those who trust him explicitly, he gives reasons for his mistakes. It takes many episodes till the truth is finally known to everyone, and subsequently, he goes mad.

Bad guy Derek Kwok (Liu Fenyu)) is an assassin who kills for anyone who pays him. He is recruited by the bad side, as he is a very powerful martial arts expert. But things do not go according to plan, and he meets and falls in love with Nancy Wu (Shen Jianghong)), daughter of David Chiang (Shen Xingnan). Nancy (Shen Jianghong) is viewed as a traitor to the white side, as she insists she will not leave him or reveal his whereabouts, and the bad people go after both their lives, as Derek (Liu Fenyu) is seen as no longer loyal to the bad side. With both the good and evil sects after their lives, they manage to escape death, and leave the fraternity to lead peaceful lives. But in the end, the two lovers, who have humbled themselves, return to stop evil from going out of control, and Derek (Liu Fenyu) fights for the good side in the battle.

Black, White and Grey

There are issues about the good and the bad, and how the good are actually bad, traitors, and the bad turn good. There’s also this whole division of this show which deals with the black, white and grey aspects of looking at people.

Many misunderstandings arise due to the disturbing fact of a traitor in the good side. This causes internal unrest, and soon, everyone is suspicious of each other. In order to catch the so-called traitors, the good sect leaders resort to underhanded and un-humane methods. People could not be branded as good or bad only on where they stood in the battle. They had to be viewed as how their principles and actions told. This is the grey factor which the show puts across.

The so-called good sect leaders are short-sighted, and are blinded by what others tell them. Completely putting their trust in David Chiang (Shen Xingnan), who frames Frankie (Li Buyi) and Raymond (Lai Yao-er), and even kills his wife Anne Heung to protect his secret, those sect leaders do everything they can to capture Frankie (Li Buyi) and Raymond (Lai Yao-er), or people close to them. After all they’d done for the good side, the good people still condemned them as the spies without thinking twice.

The final straw came when so-called good sect leader Zhong resorted to evil tactics to expose the whereabouts of the ‘spies’ Frankie (Li Buyi) and Raymond (Lai Yao-er). He tortured Raymond (Lai Yao-er)’s woman, Selena Li (Yan Yelai) by cutting her limb’s tendons, leaving her half alive. This is part of the reason why Raymond (Lai Yao-er) went to the evil side.

Raymond (Lai Yao-er) goes to the evil side, for after all he’d done for the good people, they accused him as the spy and would stop at nothing to kill him for being a traitor. They did not even let the people close to him off, and only the evil people appreciated his talent.

It is later revealed that one of David Chiang (Shen Xingnan)’s highly skilled disciples Tavia Yeung (Ye Mengse) is the biological daughter of Felix Lok (Geshu Tian), the leader of the evil sects. With a kind heart, Tavia refuses to believe that Felix Lok (Geshu Tian) is her father. However, she agrees to live with her father in his palace, but she does so only to protect all the good people, as the evil people were making all their lives difficult. Although she was seen as a member of the evil side, she continued to believe in goodness, and did her best to try and stop evil from triumphing.

The ultimate evil person in this show is, of course, the ruthless leader of the evil sects, Felix Lok (Geshu Tian). He could kill anyone without blinking an eyelid, and is fond of torturing people to get information out of them. But a weak side of him is revealed when he realises that he has a daughter. For a heartless and ruthless man, he gave in to everything his daughter requested, and for her sake, would change his governing style. His role as Tavia’s father showed that he had a heart, and revealed a good side of him; the side who was pure in his love for his daughter.

The Bat King, Felix Lok (Geshu Tian)’s right-hand man is loyal, and this is a virtue. Throughout, he shows traces of compassion and kindness, and is punished for it. However, he still stays loyal to his lord. Another example of evil people with virtues is the Phantom Physician, who, although concocts poisons to harm people, is very filial, and would stop at nothing to get his mother cured and out of her coma, even when it would cost him his life, as it did in the end.

Golden Seal Battle

The battle to reveal who will rule the entire fraternity for 5 years was not only a battle of the good versus evil, but also a personal battle for the protagonists.

The battle of overcoming the odds was fought by Frankie (Li Buyi), Raymond (Lai Yao-er), and Tavia (Ye Mengse). They won their own battles to come to the end of the show.

Frankie (Li Buyi) had a ‘down-period’ when he was moping and had no hope anymore, as he was labelled a traitor, after all he had done for the white side. Both the white and black sects were after his life at this point. The evil leader, Felix Lok (Geshu Tian), was Frankie (Li Buyi)’s former senior – the were under the same master, and Frankie (Li Buyi)’s master knew that Felix Lok (Geshu Tian) had turned bad and chained him to a cave. Frankie (Li Buyi), who was very young at that time, helped him escape. This caused his entire sect to be annihilated, with Frankie (Li Buyi) the only survivor. Before he died, Frankie (Li Buyi)’s master told him to stop evil from triumphing. Frankie (Li Buyi) decided to pull himself together for the sake of his own conscience, the good side, and to fulfil his master’s dying wish.

On the other hand, Raymond (Lai Yao-er) had his own tough period when his brother was seriously ill, and later died. His nemesis is Savio Tsang (the Phantom Physician), who works for the evil side. For centuries, their two families have been competing, as the Raymond’s family cures people, which the Savio’s family harms people, all using herbs and medicine. The curing of Savio’s mother had caused Raymond’s brother’s death. Later, Raymond tried to improve his life, and Selena’s life, and decided to accept the hospitality of the evil side.

For Tavia (Ye Mengse), a member of the good side, who finds out that her father is the evil Felix Lok (Geshu Tian), leader of evil side, she has to overcome many obstacles internally. She later becomes the leader of the evil side, and all the fraternity. With her strong-will and kind heart, she manages to mediate between the good and evil sides and come to a compromise.

On the journey to find the 5 experts to replace the deceased, the show lets us see the diversity of characters involved. All the 5 experts have different problems, personalities, and Frankie (Li Buyi) and Raymond (Lai Yao-er) help them solve the issues related to their past. The issues with their past were the main reasons why they left the fraternity, and lived in reclusion.

From the beginning, the evil side had the upper hand, as they know all the white side’s fighters, and hence managed to kill all of them before the battle. But nothing is known to the white side about the evil side’s fighters.

When it is time for the battle, the evil side played cheat by using zombies as their fighters. Those are not real people and have had spells done on them, to make them almost indestructible.

The big showdown had to be between Frankie (Li Buyi) and Raymond (Lai Yao-er), former good friends who had chosen different paths. The former was fighting for the good side, and the latter, who had turned cold and heartless, was fighting for the bad side.

Although it seemed as though Raymond (Lai Yao-er) had heartlessly killed his former best friend, it is revealed in the end that Frankie (Li Buyi) did not die. Raymond (Lai Yao-er) had finally come to his senses and had Frankie (Li Buyi)’s accu-points sealed to make it seem like he had died. That way, Raymond (Lai Yao-er) could claim that he had fulfilled the conditions the bad side set for him to learn a new martial arts skill and save Selena, who was in a coma, and would make it possible for Frankie (Li Buyi) to plan an attack on the bad side, who claimed that the ‘Golden Seal Battle’ would cease to exist in 5 years.

Cast

The actors who were cast to play the roles all looked like they were supposed to be good, evil, stupid or scheming. It is hard to imagine this brilliant cast replaced by any other actors.

Frankie Lam played the main character, Li Bo-yee 李布衣 (Li Buyi). His character was a very calm person, and was always deep in thought. He did things discreetly, but planned very carefully. Frankie Lam managed to bring this across to the audience very well.

Lai Yeuk-yee 賴藥兒 (Lai Yao-er) was played by Raymond Lam. He was the temperamental physician who was loyal to his friends, and later turned heartless and a member of the evil side, then realised his mistakes and prevented evil from triumphing. His role was probably the best in the show, in which he changed his personality and life goals so many times because of loyalty and love.

Tavia Yeung played Yip Mung-sik 葉夢色 (Ye Mengse), who was a strong-willed martial arts disciple, who disliked the strong trampling on the weak, and evil ruling the fraternity. She was quite rash because of her beliefs and because of her rashness she always made the situations worse in the beginning of the show. As the show went on, her character matured, much to my delight. She came across as rather irritating in some episodes in the beginning, but she was always a character who you knew would never waver from the good side.

Yin Ye-loi 嫣夜來 (Yan Yelai), the owner of an inn, played by Selena Li, looked rather miserable in all the episodes. She spent a good deal of the show in a coma, but she was still a very important character, as her predicament drove Raymond (Lai Yao-er) to do all the things he did. She managed to portray a character who was strong on the outside and soft on the inside.

Other than Raymond Lam, the two other best roles go to Derek Kwok, who played Lau Fan-yue 柳焚餘 (Liu Fenyu), and David Chiang, who was the traitor Shum Shing-nam 沈星南 (Shen Xingnan).

Derek Kwok managed to convey Lau Fan-yue 柳焚餘 (Liu Fenyu)’s evilness and coldness when he killed, and also his loneliness and despair when all by himself. We later find out he turned to ruthlessly killing because some people massacred his entire family, who were very kind people, leaving him all alone.

David Chiang, on the other hand, managed to appear as a good-hearted man who did everything in the name of the good sects, but hid a deep, dark secret. In a matter of moments, he could be talking to the good people and you would never expect him to be evil, and the next moment, he would be throwing evil looks and looking like he would be out to kill.

Conclusion

The great thing about this show is that everyone is connected to each other in ways unthinkable, but believable and would make you go ‘wow’. The people are not who they seem to be, and there are so many twists and turns, making the plot complex. Even in the white and black sides, there are so many different personalities with differing views on certain problems, and this gives the show dimension. The acting was convincing, and managed to portray the differing characters and feelings to the audience. The scenery was captivating, and there weren’t many inconsistencies which were obvious and make the audience irritated.

Overall, I really enjoyed this show, and wouldn’t mind watching it a few more times! I don’t think I’ll ever grow tired of the plot, and its characters and the brilliant portrayals. This has to be one of the best period wuxia shows I’ve seen ever!

unlike my other reviews, this is really one-of-a-kind! i don’t think i’ll be writing an essay in this format, or any essay based on TVB dramas anymore… i’ve not added any pictures, ‘cos it’ll take too long for this post to be published.

i hope you all enjoy it! :)

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TVB dramas in 2008: the year in review

January 8, 2010

i was inspired to do a year in review post for 2009 after reading Annisa‘s post! then Iris’ post really made me sit down and start! :)

i realised i didn’t see enough dramas in 2009 to write something comprehensive, so i decided to cover 2008’s dramas, as i’ve watched almost all of them!

then i decided to cover both 2008 and 2009’s dramas, but the 2008 section was too long, so i split them into 2 posts! :)

2008

Wars of In-Laws II (野蠻奶奶大戰戈師奶) – watched; LOVE IT!

i didn’t really watch Part 1, however, it’s a spin-off, and not a real sequel, so it didn’t matter. inspired by “The Devil Wears Prada”, Liza amused me with her OTT dress sense and myriad of expressions. the chemistry between all the cast members was brilliant! i was surprised that supporting cast like Patrick Tang, Nancy Wu, Stephen Hyunh and Eileen Yeow appeared in really minor roles! the only bad thing was that Bosco Wong’s hair irritated me so much! it was not purely a love story (there were basically 3 couples: Bosco, Myolie, Vivien and Vincent – 4 sided love square; Joyce and Derek; Liza and Benz), but it also concentrated a lot on the fashion magazine ELVA. overall, the series was very enjoyable – it touched on basically everything — love, family, business, revenge… :)

recommended! :D

The Gentle Crackdown II (秀才愛上兵) – skipped; the last few episodes were exciting though.

i couldn’t get through the 1st 10 minutes. the ultra stupid comedy was unbearable. Yumiko Cheng can’t act well; her attempt to replace Niki, who was in Part I was unsuccessful. i happened to catch the last few episodes, and they were great! there was not a tinge of the ‘stupid-ness’ that put me off in the first place; it was suspense, suspense and more suspense – Wayne and Steven are great onscreen partners, and Wayne did an excellent job — no wonder he got Best Supporting Actor for his role here!

if you can get over the stupidness, it’s quite good.

Wasabi Mon Amour (和味濃情) – watched; gave up halfway.

i’m not a fan of Michael Tao or Louisa So. i was not excited about this series at all, but it concentrated on food – and none other than my favourite Japanese cuisine! i decided to give it a try, only to conclude that this is one of the lamest TVB dramas i’ve seen. Louisa So was so irritating, and Michael Tao was boring. the series was not going anywhere. i gave up.

don’t bother.

The Seventh Day (最美麗的第七天) – watched; LOVE IT!

a spin-off of 2006’s “Under the Canopy of Love”, with main cast Kevin Cheng, Niki Chow and Bosco Wong, with Natalie Tong. this was such a sweet drama! i loved how they used this comic strip approach to link the characters and happenings! although the story was pretty stereotypical, like a Korean drama where the female lead suffers from a terminal illness, it was not a miserable love story. there were many funny moments, and although Bosco and Natalie’s story was really exaggerated, it was sweet in its own way. as for Kevin and Niki’s story, it was touching – the most annoying part was Selena Li’s appearance, and of course Kevin’s awful father. this is probably one of the best TVB love stories i’ve seen! :)

recommended! :D

The Master of Tai Chi (太極) – watched; was disappointed.

with its stellar cast -Vincent Zhao, Raymond Lam, Melissa Ng, Myolie Wu, Kenneth Ma, Selena Li, Derek Kwok etc. – and interesting theme, i expected more than it gave. it was so slow! although the action sequences were pretty exciting, the rest of the show droned. i even fell asleep at some points. the cinematography method made it different; it focused a lot on the characters and their dialogue, and their interactions with each other. i still find it hard to believe how a barbarian like Vincent Zhao’s character could suddenly become a civilised man. overall, the characters were not very likable, and the plot was bland.

don’t bother. it’s slow and boring.

D.I.E. (古靈精探) – watched; LOVE IT!

this series was very engaging! it was a very fresh series, with new pairings – Roger Kwok and Sonija Kwok; Sonija Kwok and Kenneth Ma; and the return of Margie Tsang, who pairs with Derek Kwok. TVB managed to bring forth a police-investigative series with a comedic twist, and this was a success. i loved how this series was basically about rejects in the police force, and the characters were all unique in their owns ways. i like the bond all members of D.I.E. form as the show progresses. as police series go, cases involve their own people, and almost every single character has a past which is dug up in the form of a case; characters had depth, and it was interesting to see how they struggled internally to solve cases lawfully and not involve their emotions. this is a very enjoyable series which, although quite exaggerated most times, brings laughs, and the cases are pretty special too! :)

recommended! :D the alternative ending was really stupid and irrelevant but it would explain why Roger didn’t die and how they could make a sequel!

A Journey Called Life (金石良缘) – watched; LOVE IT!

this series surprised me. it was different kind of family drama. its English titled is very apt – it’s really about life. this series covered so many aspects of life – family, love, career, money, choices, sacrifices, heartbreak, disappointment, greed, accomplishment, failure… each character had enough space to develop and grow; the plot was touching and brought social messages to the audience. when i started watching, i couldn’t stop; it was so addictive! every character had problems, past and issues they had to overcome and it was very real – it wasn’t a happy ending for everyone. through the trails and tribulations, characters grew stronger and more united. i was moved by this series; it was a powerful and touched me deeply :)

recommended!! :D

Catch Me Now (原來愛上賊) – watched; LOVE IT!

i gave up after 6 episodes in my first attempt. it wasn’t engaging enough. i decided to try again, and i was addicted! it was really cool and slick! Damien and Joe are great onscreen partners, or in this case, nemesis. this series is really cool – it’s a modern Robin Hood story, where Damien is the thief who steals from the rich – and not just any rich guy but those who get rich doing shady business – and gives it to the poor. i loved the interaction between all of Damien’s team-members – each of them had their expertise and were dedicated to their double-lives — as thieves no less hahahh :D the interesting part was Joe’s quest to find the culprits of his mentor’s murder. it turned out that Joe’s respected mentor was in Damien’s team. this series was not just about black and white; bad and good; it encompassed many many grey areas which characters struggled to come to terms with.

recommended! :D i forgot to mention Evergreen Mak was amazing as the villain! the ending was really sad. the alternative ending was slightly better; it all depends whether you prefer Damien dead or not.

The Silver Chamber of Sorrows (銀樓金粉) – watched; it was pretty good.

set in the 1930s, it involved one family, headed by Paul Chun, who had 4 wives. his first wife, Nancy Sit, managed the household and has one daughter, Charmaine Li; second wife, Rebecca Chan, was Nancy Sit’s servant whom Paul took a liking for and she is powerful for she gave birth to the sole heir; third wife, Christine Ng married into the family as she had no choice, as her intended groom, Paul’s younger brother disappeared on the wedding day. in order not to loose face, she decided to marry Paul as his third wife. fourth wife is Nancy Wu, a songstress from Shanghai, who is young and sultry. this series was really dramatic and suspenseful; yet it was miserable. the women engaged in a never-ending power struggle; others tried to break free of the feudalism. ultimately, Paul was a super evil guy who wanted to burn his entire family to death in the end!

worth watching!! beware: your blood pressure might rise due to the number of evil people in the series XD

Forensic Heroes II (法證先鋒 II) – watched; LOVE IT!

Bobby was still at the helm of the series, but they killed Linda off, injured Yoyo and wrote in Charmaine Sheh and Kevin Cheng. Charmaine appeared as this aloof and super cool and arrogant NB (narcotics bureau) head, who later headed Yoyo’s team. in the meantime, Frankie was depressed at Linda’s demise, and it was timely that his childhood buddy Kevin Cheng returned, and helped him through his difficult time. the cases were not awesome, but i really enjoyed the new chemistry between the characters! even though many people didn’t like how the ‘original four’ were no more, i enjoyed watching the love triangle between Charmaine, Kevin and Frankie (click for my post on this at my personal blog). what i enjoyed most was the good friendship which Frankie, Kevin and Bobby formed. it gave out a very warm feeling. i was so addicted that when it finished, i missed this series dearly…

worth watching!! :D i would have recommended it, but that’s being too bias on my part already :)

The Money-Maker Recipe (師奶股神) – skipped but saw bits and pieces; lame.

a spin-off of “The Family Link”, but without Sheren Tang, Cecila Yip and Derek Kwok! this series was about Kiki Sheung and Michael Tse. new cast members include Dominic Lam, Joyce Tang, Ellesmere Choi etc. it was basically about stocks and shares. the ‘師奶 (housewife)’ element which made “The Family Link” a silent success was over done here. there was too much emphasis on saving money, making money and much more nagging! however, do look out for Dominic’s great evil performance. Joyce is always a joy to watch too :)

don’t bother.

Speech of Silence (甜言蜜語) – watched; enjoyed it!

i’m not a fan of Kate’s, but this series was really addictive and really touching. it was all about dubbing, and this is the first TVB series i’ve seen about it! Kenneth was very likable and his chemistry with Kate’s is nothing to complain about. i especially loved the Lai Lok Yi and Elaine Yiu pairing – they’re both my favourites :) all the dubbers were interesting characters who basically talked too much for their own good – they were forever up to nonsense, and talking behind others’ backs! i’ve forgotten to mention Claire Yiu, who was the beauty of the series; i didn’t like how her character cling on to Kenneth. overall, this series was very refreshing, and made me see another side of the entertainment industry.

recommended! :D the ending was too cliche though.

Love Exchange (疑情別戀) – watched; it was ok…

i watched this after “Forensic Heroes II”, and i was disappointed ‘cos it started really slowly! the trailers were all about suspense and secrets, but the first few episodes were rather bland. i had expected something like “Last One Standing”, but it was not to be. however, it got better as the show progressed, and i grew to love Anita Yuen’s character. she and Michael Miu made a really sweet couple! i’m not a fan of Crystal Tin’s, and her character irritated me non-stop! thank goodness for Power Chan, ‘cos he’s a brilliant actor; and surprise surprise, he’s evil again! he was such a greedy and unscrupulous fellow! i felt that concept where the spouses of suspected adulterers befriended each other, and later fell in love was pretty novel. overall, the series did not live up to expectations.

it was ok…

When a Dog Loves a Cat (當狗愛上貓) – watched; blah.

wow, Gallen’s return to TVB! this series was basically about dogs and cats, and something about an advertising campaign. it’s pretty forgettable – and i watched every single episode! Myolie was with Raymond Wong in the beginning, and Gallen was an awful guy who was arrogant and full of himself. he had a sad past which no one knew about; he was a very private guy. his family was dysfunctional, as his father and mother divorced when he was young; he lived without family by his side and even battled cancer by himself. as for Myolie, she grew up in a family where she was sheltered, and she single-handedly ruined her family’s business. ok, where am i going with this? oh i almost forgot – Bernice Liu, Margie Tsang and Lui Fong were in this series too.

don’t bother. you wouldn’t miss anything.

Moonlight Resonance (溏心風暴之家好月圓) – watched; LOVE IT!

my ultimate favourite TVB drama of all time!! i watched it twice, and was equally enraged and touched both times! a spin-off of “Heart of Greed”, it more than surpassed expectations – i was never a fan of “Heart of Greed”. although the love triangle between Linda, Bosco and Claire was so draggy and very boring, that was probably the only downside of the series. i enjoyed every moment Hor-ma was with her children, when Sa-yi was up to her nonsense, when Ah-Hung was ruining the family and the business, when Jo-Ba turned over a new leaf and cared for his family, when the Ma-ma stood up to defend Hor-ma and put Ah-Hung down, when Ka-mei was scheming and lying through her teeth… i loved Ah-Ka and Ah-Yuet’s budding love; Goon Ga Jai and Yu So Tsau’s relationship; Ah-Hing’s really sweet character… there were so many touching moments which brought me to tears… this series is absolutely brilliant!

highly recommended!!! :D

Legend of the Demigods (搜神傳) – watched; it was ok…

at first, i boycotted this series ‘cos i thought it was going to be really really stupid and mindless. and it was! but it was strangely addictive. my sis and i would look at each other, bemused on why we were so addicted to this series! XD the acting from the main leads – Linda, Sunny and Benny – was nothing special. Halina Tam did a great job as the villainous snake demon, and i enjoyed Stephen Au’s appearance as the sword spirit! this was a series where it seemed like the scriptwriters were making the story up as each episode went by. when obstacles were created, solutions were found, and they were on a quest to overcome the various obstacles, only to go back to square one again. haha, what a strange series!

don’t bother. trust me, you really wouldn’t miss anything! XD

Your Class or Mine (尖子攻略) – watched; enjoyed it!

i didn’t expect anything from this series. i was afraid it was going to be another Bobby Auyeung disappointment, like the disastrous “Marriage of Inconvenience”. only it surprised me and i enjoyed this series so much! with only Bobby, Sheren, Derek and Benz being the only notable stars, this series was deemed as a filler (that’s what Iris told me), especially with a bunch of virtually unknown young guys and it being sports and school themed. from this series, i found out more about the education system in Hong Kong. Bobby and Sheren worked really well onscreen, and their feud in the beginning where they were trying to outdo each other was really hilarious! i was touched by how Bobby’s motives changed for the better towards the middle, when he really cared about the students. oh yes, and i really liked how TVB wrote Kenneth Ma’s “Survivor’s Law II” character in to fight a case for them! :)

worth watching! :)

The Four (少年四大名捕) – watched; enjoyed it!

click here for my comprehensive review!

i enjoyed this series a lot! there was enough action and scheming; evil people and fighting scenes. the love element was weak, but it was an action series. the acting was also up to par :)

worth watching!!

Last One Standing (與敵同行) – watched; LOVE IT!

wow. this series really took my breath away! it was suspenseful, it involved revenge, deceit, greed, outwitting and outsmarting the ultra evil guy… it kept me at the edge of my seat for a long long time! Roger Kwok was absolutely brilliant – his best performance to date! his evil state and general cunning appearance sent chills down my spine! Kevin Cheng was great! :D being a huge Kevin Cheng fan, he looked so hot (i’m sorry, getting too personal XD) and his performance was great too – so many expressions; internal conflicts. the supporting cast also did a great job – Ellesmere Choi as Kevin’s brother-in-law was like a scared rabbit who was afraid of everything, especially losing face. Evergreen Mak was also great as this super honest guy. the pace is wonderful; it’s such a breath-taking show!!

recommended! :D brilliant plot and performances by Roger and Kevin!

The Gem of Life (珠光寶氣) – skipped but saw bits and pieces; a waste of time.

i think this was the greatest disappointment; with all the glamorous filming locations and star-studded cast, it was a formula for success. only it wasn’t. the plot was directionless and it was so draggy… characters were all in their own worlds – it wasn’t realistic at all.

i don’t think anyone would recommend it. don’t bother. and 80 episodes of directionless droning plot which isn’t even entertaining is really not worth it.

When Easterly Showers Fall on the Sunny West (東山飄雨西關晴) – watched; it was ok…

this series resembles “The Silver Chamber of Sorrows” a lot! i like watching these series where Chinese were embracing that times have progressed and they no longer cared about feudal traditions. it was the usual story of poor girl and rich guy; Raymond Wong was the rich guy who fell in love with Charmaine; his mother, Liza Wang, objected. her sole purpose was to do everything in the interests of the family. Liza Wang annoyed me so much! it was all about the family and reputation… Joe Ma is the long-lost son who comes back to the family and later turns really evil. Charmaine’s role is nothing special, but she, together with Selena Li, represent the new generation of independent women. i enjoyed Selena Li’s pairing with Edwin Siu the most :)

it was ok… “The Silver Chamber of Sorrows” was better :)

Pages of Treasures (Click入黃金屋) – watched; enjoyed it!

i watched the preview of the 1st episode and was so engaged i wanted to watch more! i ended up buying the DVD and it lived up to expectations! the chemistry between all cast members was awesome! the story was basically about Paul Chun and Mary Hon’s 2 sons returning for good – Wayne is the eldest, and has been working in a factory in Mauritius for over 20 years, the factory closed down and therefore he was back in Hong Kong; Eric Suen is the 2nd son, and is a high-flyer in an IT firm in the US, he was back in Hong Kong for a holiday, and ended up joining a HK firm and staying for good. the love triangle between Eric, Shirley Yeung and Vivien Yeo really annoyed me, but the rest of the show was great! Sonija Kwok and Wayne Lai hated each other from the beginning, but later became a sweet couple. i laughed so much watching this series! Paul Chun and Wayne Lai were really amazing :)

worth watching! :)

yayy! done! finally! :D please tell me what you think!

look out for my 2009 year in review post coming soon!!!! :)

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The Four 少年四大名捕

January 1, 2010

info:

official TVB series site (Chinese)

Wiki
DramaWiki

*note: i watched this drama in Mandarin with English subtitles.

as mine is an overseas release, there were 25 episodes. i understand that in Hong Kong, it only had 24?

*all the text in blue are my thoughts!

background:

this series is based on popular wuxia novel by Wen Ruian.

i watched the 1st episode of this drama 3 times – the 1st 2 times in Cantonese on free preview! it was pretty engaging i couldn’t wait for it to finally air on TV! :) i was quite excited as it has my 2 faves, Raymond and Sammul inside!

i was puzzled, though, on why Bosco Wong was excluded from this cast – to have Raymond, Sammul, Ron and Bosco would be the ideal, i guess? but i must say that i really enjoyed Kenneth’s character and his performance :)

the female cast was far from satisfactory. out of the 4 females for The Four guys, only Kate and Selena are known. i didn’t know the other 2 girls, Vivi and Cilla. Cilla’s character was so irritating i really couldn’t stand her! i thought Vivi was pretty sweet and liked her character :) – i later realised that she played the awful girl in “Pages of Treasures”! what a big difference!

plot:

this series was basically about how Dominic Lam, previously the head of the Royal Constabulary and formally a celebrated hero, manages to get the Emperor to reopen the Constabulary. he hires 4 constables – Heartless (Raymond Lam), Iron Fist (Kenneth Ma), Chaser (Sammul Chan) and Cold Blood (Ron Ng) – and aims to solve crimes and rid the city of injustice.

however, the evil prime minister, played by Lau Kong, is against the idea of reopening the Constabulary and takes every opportunity to put Dominic down in the Emperor’s presence. away from the Royal Court, Lau Kong and Dominic are at logger-heads.

it is later revealed that the bad guy in the martial arts world, Chief Ling played by Felix Lok, is the Prime Minister’s lacky. the Prime Minister uses Chief Ling to pressure all the martial arts sects to join the Federation. by doing this, the Prime Minister then suggests a competition where the winner has the power to rule the entire martial arts world. Chief Ling is assisted by his equally evil son, played by Joel Chan.

i’ve not read the original novel, so i’m unable to compare the dramatization to how the original novel’s plot progresses.

in the 1st few episodes, the drama focused on 1 case at a time. however, as the story went on, it got complicating; Dominic and The Four all split and were investigating different cases and occurences. ultimately, the plot progressed to an ultra suspenseful climax when it was finally revealed that Kate was Lau Kong’s mole, and the insurgency was in full swing!

Murder(s) at the Villa

this case started as a gathering; influential figures in the martial arts world were invited to Prince Qi’s (Savio Tsang) villa, where he could appreciate their talents. this event introduced Dominic and his prodigy, Heartless. Chaser, who was a swindler also made his appearance. Iron Fist appeared to arrest one of Prince Qi’s guests – Iron Fist was the only one who was a constable from the start of the drama. Selena and her father, played by Gordon Liu, were present, representing the Blue Sky Sect. Dominic and Prince Qi’s wife, played by Crystal Tin, past is revealed… the case had many twists and turns, but finally, the murderer was found. this was the start of Dominic’s quest to reopen the Constabulary :)

i was really waiting the the 4th constable, Cold Blood, to appear!

this case was the case which got me really addicted to this series! the constant twists and turns, and how the case seemed like it was solved but there were more secrets that were revealed afterwards… really exciting!

from the murder case at the villa onwards, Dominic aims to reopen the Constabulary.

Dominic manages to get the Emperor’s approval to reopen the Constabulary on one condition – that they find the long lost treasures left behind by Zhao Kuanyin (focused on in “A Change of Destiny”), the founder of the Song dynasty. and they do that. i enjoyed the episode where Heartless, Iron Fist and Chaser were inside the vault and had to overcome the numerous traps – the chess game formation to open the door was cool! at this point, Cold Blood was still not officially with the Constabulary.

Dominic finds means and ways to get 4 constables to work under him. Heartless and Iron Fist join him willingly; Chaser is blackmailed into joining the Constabulary, and Cold Blood joins the Constabulary to repay Dominic for saving his life. all 4 men have their strengths, and it takes many episodes and many incidences to get them to work together as a team.


Heartless: one has no conscience (Cold Blood); the other is useless (Chaser)…

  1. murder(s) at the villa (mentioned above!)
  2. seeking the treasure (mentioned above!)
  3. the mining village with missing men
    gave us the insight to Cold Blood’s parentage; brought Kenneth and Selena closer. i was not too interested by this case – it was pretty creepy but otherwise, it was quite bland. and of course the Prime Minister came to create trouble – evil guy!
  4. the zombie village
    this is the case in which Raymond almost died! Kate and Raymond’s relationship starts blossoming… Kenneth and Selena’s relationship starts to progress after they found the source of the virus.
  5. the “beheader”i can’t really remember the details, other than this was connected to Raymond’s past and his parentage.
  6. the Federation vs Blue Sky Sectthis feud was started by Chief Ling, who killed Pierre Ngo (in a 5min cameo as the son of some prominent sect leader) and used this incident to frame a small fry of the Blue Sky Sect, creating chaos in the martial arts world. Chief Ling promises to avenge Pierre Ngo’s death if Pierre Ngo’s father’s (Chief Hong 洪飛虎) sect joins the Federation. of course, this is part of a bigger plan; this case relates directly to the ‘grand showdown’…
  7. the grand showdown to determine the ruler of the martial arts world this was exciting!
    The Four were split into 2 so-called teams.

    Kenneth and Sammul were at the showdown venue, with Selena and Chief Ling, Joel Chan, the Prime Minister and Prince Qi and his wife; Raymond and Ron were with Kate, Selena’s father played by Gordon Liu, leader of the Blue Sky Sect, and some other sect leaders on the boat to the showdown venue. however, the boat was blown up, and Gordon Liu, who was the strongest contender, ended up stranded on an island, which was plagued by some monster. this monster was a hoax, and it turned out to be a member of the Sand Sect, a member of the Federation, who was supposedly one of the casualties of the blast.

    meanwhile, with Gordon’s absence in the competition, Selena took his place, much to Kenneth’s worry. she blamed Chief Ling for her father’s supposed death, and with Kenneth’s encouragement, she pulled herself together to compete. by pure sheer luck, she made it to the finals (with some techniques from Sammul and Kenneth, of course). Raymond, Ron, Kate and Gordon made it back in time. Gordon was in the finals with Chief Ling, after Chief Ling killed Pierre Ngo’s father (Chief Hong 洪飛虎) intentionally, claiming it was in self-defence – what nonsense! i was so upset when that happened!

    just when Chief Ling was about to be defeated by Gordon, something drastic happened to Gordon, and he just collapsed. his heart has ruptured and on his deathbed, he asked Kenneth to look after Selena…

  8. the illegal gold minesfocused on Sammul’s relationship with Kenneth’s sister, played by Vivi Lee. the illegal gold mines were run by the Prime Minister’s son, played by Eric Li. this was also the case in which Chief Ling and the Prime Minister were after Ron’s blood. Chief Ling realised that his daughter, played by Cilla Kung, was hopelessly in love with Ron. the Prime Minister purposely made Ron perform swordplay in front of the Emperor and overseas officials, and used that opportunity to dig up Ron’s past, revealing him as the assassin who killed the foreign country’s best swordsman. the foreign dignitaries demand an explanation from the Emperor. with the Prime Minister’s persuasion, the Emperor wants to put Ron to death. however, when the overseas official’s son (the Prince) disappears, Dominic tries to plead for leniency for Ron by guaranteeing that the Constabulary, in particular Ron, who has an excellent sense of smell, would be able to find the Prince and bring him back safely.

    it turns out that the Prince has been abducted by the illegal gold mining people, and he meets Vivi there. Vivi had been abducted while on the way to buy some food for Sammul, who was not even serious about it – but Vivi was in love with him, and so she went. Vivi helped the weak Prince escape, only to be captured again, and when The Four finally arrived, the Prince was unscathed, but Vivi had been raped, making her suicidal. –
    OMG it was so sad to see Vivi in this miserable state! i was really really sad. the super sad but quite touching part was when Sammul allowed Kenneth to beat him up and he didn’t fight back; if Selena hadn’t stopped Kenneth, he might really have killed Sammul. it was really sad to see everyone so sad; especially the 2 guys when they showed how much they loved and cared for Vivi.

    at the end of this case, the Constabulary managed to get the Emperor to banish Eric Li to the border, but the Prime Minister paid the guards off, and Eric escaped. at least he thought so. he was killed by a mysterious man, whose punches were as deadly as Kenneth’s… the Prime Minister thought it was Kenneth (he had the motive with his sister’s condition) and was out to take revenge…

  9. framing Iron Fist; the return of Iron Fist’s biological brother
    this case was extremely exciting! i was especially pleased when i guessed the mysterious killer was Kenneth’s long-lost biological older brother!! hahahahhh i was so pleased that my guess was right!
    this case involved the Prime Minister and Kate. he instructed Kate to frame Kenneth as he thought Kenneth killed his son. this led to a lot a problems, as Kate killed 2 people to frame Kenneth… but the case was finally solved! however, the major problem occurred when Kenneth’s brother was running from Kate, who’d attempted to kill him; when Kate saw Raymond, she pretended to be the victim, and fought with Kenneth’s brother. Kenneth’s brother died and Kenneth thought Raymond was the culprit – the real culprit was Kate, who’d given him the ‘bull hair needles’, and he died in the same way Gordon did.
    taking into account Raymond and Kenneth’s family feuds, bad blood formed between the once good friends…
  10. insurgency —

these insurgency episodes were rather exciting, but it got really complicating. these episodes weren’t particularly interesting, just rather suspenseful.

smuggling sulphur —
this was when the Constabulary found out about the Prime Minister’s grand plan. the Prime Minister was constructing tons of weapons, in particular, the Invincible Arms.

Dominic ‘betrays’ them and joins the evil prime minister —
the Constabulary was in a mess. it was up to The Four to be united and try to save the day. it was also here that Dominic pretends to join the Prime Minister, who’d got Prince Qi into his plan too. Dominic was also working with Chief Ling, who didn’t want to be used by the Prime Minister anymore. furthermore, Ron had abducted Cilla to blackmail Chief Ling. in the end, Joel betrayed his father and killed him to win the Prime Minister’s trust.
Chief Ling didn’t die, but managed to crawl a distance and was found by Cilla. on his deathbed, Chief Ling handed Cilla over to Ron – again?! this was the same with Kenneth and Selena!

the Prime Minister realised that Dominic was bluffing and locked him up. Halina and Selena were also locked up. Vivi joined them later when she returned to the city to retrieve a pair of shoes she’d made for Sammul – Sammul and Kenneth’s family had run to a safer place.

the ultimate invincible arms —
with the General’s help, The Four attempt to make their way to the altar, where the insurgency will take place. one of Sammul’s foster fathers sacrifices his life to stop Joel’s Invincible Arms which had wiped out the General’s troops and threatened to kill Sammul, the General and Kenneth. The Four finally make their way to the altar, where the Prime Minister had frightened the Emperor to hand over his headgear.

the final battle was against the Invincible Arms. Raymond manages to shoot a blade into the Invincible Arms’ heart, and that stops it from destructing. the Prime Minister, highly skilled in martial arts, fights The Four. but in a twist, his heart ruptures, as Kate had betrayed him and given him the ‘bull hair needles’; The Four manage to defeat him easily and he dies – finally!! :)

in the end, everything is well in the Constabulary. everything except everyone’s love lives, which were empty. Kate used her internal energy to purge the poison from Dominic, Halina, Selena and Vivi; she kinda redeemed herself by saving their lives, and killing the Prime Minister. as a result, she was on the verge of death and she had really fallen for Raymond… she left Raymond as she didn’t want him to see her dying. she didn’t die, but spent her life curing people, wearing a veil, as one side of her face was disfigured…

as for Sammul, he wanted to confess to Vivi, but through those usual misunderstandings where he thought she knew what he was thinking when she was talking about something else, she figured he agreed to let her go to another city to learn some craft or something. that’s the end of their relationship.

Ron and Cilla’s relationship ended even more strangely. first, Joel came back, and he even threatened to throw his sister off the city wall. at that moment, he saw his father, and was so scared by that so-called apparition that he backed off and fell to his death. with his death, Cilla had no more family on earth, and was lamenting on how miserable she was. Ron had already fallen for her, but whenever he wanted to confess, they got interrupted. in the end, Cilla decided to become a nun – OMG! the look on Ron’s face was so disappointed and dejected! it was sad, but since her character really annoyed me, i was glad for Ron hahahahh :D

Kenneth and Selena’s relationship was by far my favourite – they were so cute together! as Selena was blinded by Kate earlier on, she finally could see, and that was when she agreed to marry Kenneth. but things weren’t that simple. all the Blue Sky Sect guys came back and begged her to be their leader again; she ended up postponing her wedding with Kenneth…

as for Dominic, he wanted Crystal to stay, since Prince Qi had died already. however, she decided to leave. guess they weren’t meant to be together. blah, i didn’t feel anything for them actually.

The Four become legendary. the ending scene is pretty cool, where the four of them are fighting against thousands. Raymond says “Brothers, we’ll fight to the end. if we don’t make it, we’ll see each other in the next life”. classic! :)

characters & acting:

THE GOOD GUYS

Raymond Lam as Heartless 無情 (Wu Qing/ Mo Ching)

he was so cold! wheelchair-bound (caused by Iron Fist’s older brother when Heartless was just a baby), he was nonetheless well-versed in martial arts, and his wheelchair hid various weapons. i felt it was pretty sweet when he first fell for Zhiyan, ‘cos he actually smiled and looked really blissful. being the brains of The Four, he was also really observant and could draw really well – haha, multi-talented!

yes, like in real life, hehehehehh :D Raymond did pretty well here. i disliked his character for most of the show, ‘cos i find it hard to like a character who was basically devoid of feelings. but it was really painful to see Heartless heartbroken when he realised Zhiyan was using them; Zhiyan was his weak spot – no matter how ‘heartless’ he was, he always trusted her despite his brain telling him not to. it proved he had a heart.

Kenneth Ma as Iron Fist 鐵手 (Tie Shou/ Tit Sau)

he was the Mr. Nice Guy. he tried to keep the peace, and was on good terms (or at least tried his very best) with the other 3. his Iron Fists were really powerful. i thought it’d get quite interesting ‘cos it seemed Iron Fist was also fond of Zhiyan. but i guess the romance element in this series was quite clear-cut, and although i didn’t like Ruofei much when the series began, i grew to love their pairing.

Iron Fist was one of my favourite characters – he was filial and cared so much for his family; he cared for his friends, he was loyal and trustworthy; those episodes where he was framed were the most painful. it was so sad to see him convicted for something he didn’t do, and for the lovers to be parted :(

although this role was probably not a breakthrough role, Kenneth did a great job! i really enjoyed watching Iron Fist :)

Sammul Chan as Chaser 追命 (Zhui Ming/ Jui Ming)

the joker and lazy bum of the group. he was equip with elevation skills, which made him very swift. previously a swindler and a flirt, he was a member of The Four who was least likely to be a hero. he didn’t know when to shut his mouth and just blabbed at the wrong moments. but he added life to the show, as his nonsense lightened the atmosphere!

i found his pairing with Youdong really sweet, but it seemed that he was just playing and was not serious. after Youdong was abducted, in the scene where he let Iron Fist beat him up without retaliating – it was such a touching scene. Chaser’s tears at the end of the scene made us realise exactly how much he really cared for Youdong…

this is not an iconic role for Sammul. nevertheless, he did well; his expressions were really great! along with Iron Fist, he was one of my favourite characters :)

Ron Ng as Cold Blood 冷血 (Leng Xue/ Lang Huet)

the quiet one of The Four. he was previously an assassin, with no conscience at all. he was an expert at swordplay. his love story was the most awful of the lot! Xiaodao was so irritating! i can’t believe how he could’ve fallen for her in the last episode. she was such a weak character who was so naive.

Ron never smiled as Cold Blood. that was pretty amazing. he was really really ’emo’ and spoke so little. i think this role made me see Ron in yet another light. his acting has really improved by leaps and bounds! :)

Dominic Lam as Zhuge Zhengwo 諸葛正我 (Chu Kot Ching Ngo)

the mentor. most of Zhuge’s scenes are shared with The Four or the Prime Minister. under his heroic and somewhat nonchalant facade, he hid many secrets, namely his past with Yanhong and about Heartless and Iron Fist’s births. what irritated me was his sudden downfall – that was really disappointing.

i thought Dominic looked really funny in his Constable uniform! the role wasn’t very challenging, as Dominic looked pretty much the same when battling whatever crisis. the only notable mention is when Dominic pretended to betray The Four and join the Prime Minister’s insurgency plan – the part where he stabbed Sammul – i was really afraid that he had turned evil!

Ram Tseung as General Shu 舒無戲 (Sue Mo Hei)

he was one of the good guys in the Royal Court, and Zhuge’s good friend. he lasted till the end, but did not make much of an impact… i wasn’t convinced he was a powerful general though. he just doesn’t look it.

Gordon Liu as Chief Lan Po Tian 藍破天 (Lam Po Tin)

he was the only one who could’ve beaten Chief Ling to become the ruler of the martial arts world; his death was due to foul-play – part of the Prime Minister’s plan. his untimely death in the series made me so mad! i was actually quite surprised they wrote Gordon off so quickly!

THE WOMEN

Kate Tsui as Sang Zhiyan 桑芷妍 (Song Tze Yeen)

the doctor and spy. i didn’t know she was the spy when the series began! Zhiyan the doctor was really sweet; she was knowledgeable, clever, caring. when she was reporting to her ‘master’ the Prime Minister, she was cold and mechanical. she killed without batting an eyelid – that was pretty creepy.

this is a great character; it’s very well-written – there were 2 sides of her, and we could see the conflict between performing her duties, and listening to her heart, which was with Heartless already. i really hated the parts where she was acting all innocent – oh gosh, i really wanted to slap her!

Kate did a great job! i loved her as Zhiyan the doctor, and i hated her when she killed ruthlessly and towards the end when she was about to be exposed; and after she was exposed.

Selena Li as Lan Ruofei 藍若飛 (Lam Yeut Fei)

she was a really rash spoilt girl in the beginning. she did everything for her father’s Blue Sky Sect. her guts in the competition were commendable; and her expressions when she actually won 2 of her matches were really cute!

i enjoyed how her relationship with Iron Fist grew; she couldn’t stand him at first, but they both grew to care a lot for each other. she changed and grew up after her father died, and was ready to put down the hatred and pick herself up.

Selena was really likable after her father died, but unfortunately, scenes focusing on her decreased from that point onwards. nevertheless, she was enjoyable to watch :)

Vivi Lee as Tie Youdong 鐵游冬 (Tit Yau Dung)

she’s Iron Fist’s younger sister and a carpenter! she liked Chaser and although her brother warned her about not getting too close to Chaser, she still did.

the sad part was when she helped the foreign prince escape only to be re-captured and raped. it was really really sad :( after that, she was in the most miserable condition, suicidal and almost died! i was so glad when she finally came to her senses – with Chaser’s dying stunt which was real! he almost drowned! i guess that strengthened their relationship… but it was not to be in the end. i was really sad. their blossoming relationship just ended there – anti-climax!

Vivi’s not an actress who has played very notable roles; when i saw her Wiki, i realised that she was in “Pages of Treasures” as this really awful girl! and Vivi was so likable and sweet here!

Cilla Kung as Ling Xiaodao 凌小刀 (Ling Siu Do)

she’s Chief Ling’s daughter who is naive and annoying. Xiaodao really got on my nerves! she was hopelessly in love with Cold Blood, and kept pestering him.

i was really really surprised – i mean, my jaw dropped – when she decided to become a nun! yet another anti-climax ending of a relationship! but i guess Ron was better off without her. hahahhh :D

i’m not a fan of Cilla’s at all. especially not after this awful role! i don’t know if the role made her unlikable, or she is just unlikable. she really needs another role to change this impression i have of her now!

Crystal Tin as Qu Yanhong 曲嫣紅 (Kuk Yin Hung)

the Prince’s wife. she is a very clever woman, well-versed in martial arts, as she was Zhuge’s fellow disciple years ago. she was also Zhuge’s ex-lover, but she blames Zhuge for her father’s suicide and hates him to the core now.

when she finds out the truth about her father’s death, she is grateful to him and tries to help him by putting in a good word with her husband, the Prince. she is hurt when Zhuge uses her as a stepping stone to enter the Prime Minister’s insurgency plan; when Zhuge urges her to stay in the end, she decides to leave, stating that they have no affinity in this life.

i don’t find Crystal particularly good in ancient series. she doesn’t look like she fits. however, i must say that her character was well-written and her performance was very convincing :)

Halina Tam as Piao Xue 飄雪 (Piu Seut)
[unable to find a photo]

the Constabulary’s housekeeper. she was Zhuge’s confidant, and at one point, she was under suspicion for being the mole. her role was nothing special at all; other than 1 point where The Four were all being punished and she made them do chores :)

THE BAD GUYS

Lau Kong as Cai Jing 蔡京 (Choi Jing)

the ultimate evil guy. this ambitious Prime Minister is at odds with Zhuge and General Shu, and attempts to put them down in front of the Emperor at every chance he has. the Emperor listens to him and this makes his insurgency plan possible. his pawn is Chief Ling, who helps him control the martial arts world.

his secret agent and spy is Zhiyan, whom he saved when she was a child. she owes him a huge debt because of this and listens and acts on his every instruction. he is well-versed in martial arts, and wants the crown for himself. he almost succeeds in the insurgency with his Invincible Arms and Zhiyan’s methods; however, it appears he goes mad on the altar when the Emperor hands his headgear over to him in fear. of course, The Four save the day and manage to kill him; with Zhiyan’s help no less.

Lau Kong is brilliant! i hated Cai Jing so much i really really really wanted him to die! i couldn’t believe the extent of his evilness and his wicked heart. wow. amazing performance!

Felix Lok as Ling Luoshi 凌落石 (Ling Lok Sek)

yet again, Felix Lok plays an evil character. and does it well again :)

i was so infuriated when he killed Chief Hong 洪飛虎 (Pierre Ngo’s father) when he was already so badly injured and obviously could not fight back already!

however, his character had another side to him – he cared a lot of his children, and attempted to send them away so they would not be implicated in the Prime Minister’s insurgency plan. unlike the Prime Minister, he was not an entirely ruthless and heartless character. his last appearance as an apparition sent his son to his death – good riddance.

Joel Chan as Ling Xiaogu 凌小骨 (Ling Siu Kwat)

Joel Chan is one of my favourite baddies. he does evil roles so well… but he’s also so versatile!

my my, he even killed his father! Ling Xiaogu was such a stupid character; he was a stupid baddie. he even killed his father to gain the Prime Minister’s trust! i really couldn’t believe that! Ling Xiaogu seemed like just a potato-print of his father; he was just well… going with the flow. he didn’t do anything notable – other than killing his father, which was really surprising!

THE STUPID GUYS

Savio Tsang as Prince Qi 趙昌 (Chiu Cheung)

the Emperor’s younger brother: he was used by the Prime Minister to stage the insurgency; he was a pawn who was killed. what a miserable character!

as usual, Savio is really versatile. i really really detested this stupid Prince!

Henry Yue as Emperor Huizong 宋徽宗 of the Song Dynasty

oh mann. i can’t believe how stupid the Emperor was! and did you all notice, but Henry had a swollen eye for the entire series?

final thoughts:

this series was great! i enjoyed it a lot; i was really addicted to it. i guess it has to do with the complexity of the plot and the interesting cases. there were enough evil people, and the characters were really diverse and had their own very distinct personalities.

the acting was up to par, and although i wasn’t too sure of the 2 unknown females – Vivi and Cilla – only Cilla disappointed.

The Four leads were really enjoyable to watch – i liked it especially when they became good brothers :)

oh wow! i’m finally done! i think i didn’t succeed in making this a shorter review, and i put too many pictures inside again! argh!

please tell me what you all think! thanks!! :D

i hope you guys enjoyed reading!! :)

*4.0/5.0*

**ALL PHOTOS ARE PROPERTY OF TVB (screencaps by me)**

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Happy New Year! :)

January 1, 2010

heyy everyone!!!

2010 has arrived!

here’s wishing everyone a great year ahead!

let’s hope that they’ll be yet another year of great dramas from TVB :)

yet another year of great friendships in the TVB blogging community :D

yet another year where everything goes smoothly for all of us!

let’s make the start of this new decade a great one!!

best wishes,
kRysTaL~