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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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4 comments

  1. Hey Krystal! You finally posted up your review! I’ve read it earlier actually but didn’t have the time to make a comment until now.

    I love your idea of using food/taste to categorize the dramas. “I have nothing against winter melons” lols I love that. Winter Melon was such a random series, I wouldn’t have watched it if it wasn’t for Liu Kai Chi and Nancy.

    Ah, I can’t complain enough about Matthew being second lead in Man in Charge. I rather they casted him in a modern drama for a bigger role than to be in an evil role in an ancient drama. His acting was so exaggerated it made me cringe.

    You’re giving up on Burning Flame? That’s so sad to hear even though it wasn’t that great of a series. If you decided to continue, I suggest you skip the middle ten episodes unless you like romancing haha.

    You should definitely watch A Great Way to Care and Chip! They both surprised me as I thought they would turn out bad.


    • Vivien — thanks for commenting! :)

      haha thanks! it took me a while to come up with that idea! it’s really a pity Nancy did such a forgettable series – she really needs better roles!

      Matthew isn’t a good actor to begin with – i have no idea why TVB insists on promoting him and giving him challenging roles which end up disastrously! if they should promote anyone (being bias here), it should be Benjamin Yuen – at least he can really act. it isn’t really good, but i think he’s better than Matthew and Stephen Wong (not to mention that i think he looks better XD).

      well… let’s just say BF3 isn’t on the top of my list at the moment even though i’m about 8 episodes into it. haha ok, i shall consider fast-forwarding eps so i can complete it quicker :)

      haha ok! i’ve heard enough praises of Care to make me really want to give it a try and see what’s so special about it; haha it took a lot of praises to get me to get over the main cast! Chip appeals to me, and i’m not averse to watching it, ‘cos the cast are people i like :D

      kRysTaL~


  2. I really like Nancy in those evil spirit roles but not the one in Melon. I think by far, my favourite role of Nancy’s is still the one in Twins of Brother. Did you watch that series?

    Haha, I think any big role is too challenging for Matthew right now. He was okay as one of those random guys in BF3 though. I don’t recall seeing Benjamin Yuen in many dramas, the one I remember is Your Class or Mine which was quite a good drama. Well, Stephen and Matthew aren’t bad looking either, they are pretty decent.

    I didn’t like the main cast for Care either! When I saw that Alex Fong was leading it I got worried. The Building Blocks of Life was one bad drama. It was so pointless and a waste of time. Is it because of Kate? She’s actually very likable in Care. Oh, who do you like in Chip? Sunny?


    • Vivien —

      Nancy in those evil spirit roles huh? hmmm… she was kinda evil in Legend of the Demigods, where she was Halina Tam’s assistant. but her role was so small there! didn’t make much impact at all~ oh i haven’t seen Twins of Brothers – that’s the Raymond and Ron series right?

      haha yeaa, he was totally ok as a random guy in BF3… haha i loved Your Class or Mine! :) sadly, Benjamin plays these really small roles as a criminal in FH2, D.I.E. Again etc. actually Stephen and Matthew were pretty ok in Steps; they didn’t make me cringe. hehe :D

      haha Alex Fong -_- The Building Blocks of Life wasn’t too bad… i guess the supporting cast saved the series from disaster – i enjoyed Tavia in it, and Power was amazing; Chris Lai was cute and funny and i loved Anne Heung! oh nice to hear that Kate’s likable in Care! haha, if her role was anything like it was in Speech of Silence, i’m ok with it :)
      Sunny doesn’t disappoint, Ron has improved so much i kinda like seeing him onscreen (even though i wasn’t a fan of his before and i kept saying he was over-rated), heard that Myolie’s role is super cute and funny, also nice to see Shirley return, and Nancy of course :)

      kRysTaL~ :)



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