Friday, January 23, 2015

Guessing Game #4

Who are these TVB stars from their childhood photos?

Answers from previous game:

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Overview - The Virtuous Queen of Han

"She" is a common courtesan, without a flirtatious approach or noble family background, only relying on her wisdom, kind heart and a determination to establish a harmonious harem. Yet "she" was able to accompany the great Emperor Wu of Han for 48 years, gain the trust of concubines and servants alike within the competitive harem and make friends with high-ranking officials who were willing to sacrifice themselves to protect her. "She" is the first Chinese empress to receive her own posthumous title and is also the second longest-serving empress - Wei Zifu.

From a commoner to an empress, Wei Zifu's legend not only changed her own fate, but also made her family's achievements possible. Her brother, Wei Qing, was a brave, unbeatable general, while her nephew, Huo Qubing, led the military at age 18 and earned the honorary title "Marquess of Champion". Their remarkable military accomplishments deterred enemies from attacking and brought peace to the citizens.

Wei Zifu is not like a beautiful peony, but she carries a quiet gracefulness like an orchid, not contending, not showing off, not revealing. She ruled the country with optimism, perseverance and humility, winning the heart of Emperor Wu and the respect of the imperial court and harem. Her virtuous conduct has also won her praise and a good reputation in the eyes of future generations.

The Virtuous Queen of Han will air in Cantonese on Now TV starting January 19.

After watching the first episode in Mandarin and reading the synopsis, this series feels a lot like Beyond the Realm of Conscience with the super-goody two-shoes female lead. Not surprising since Miu Siu Ching is the producer, but I don't think I'm interested anymore because I can't stand all the goodiness.

Promo #1

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Promo #6

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Overview - Raising the Bar

A group of barristers and trainee lawyers vow to pursue justice and ideals, but the process is fraught with difficulties. Regarded as the "Condor Heroes" of the legal world, barrister Ben Wong and his wife Elaine Yiu have taught many students. Among them, Grace Chan, Jeannie Chan and Louis Cheung are Ben's favourites. Grace's classmate, Moon Lau, is a trainee solicitor at Elaine's law firm, while Stephanie Ho trains under barrister Timothy Cheng. Jeannie's half-sister, Natalie Tong, has an affair with the married Timothy and later switches over to work for Ben. With each of them using their own methods, how do these rookies become qualified legal practitioners, in a journey that is full of struggle, doubt and tough choices about their future? Theory turns into practice as they handle tricky cases and experience success and failures, while also dealing with love, family and friendship problems every day. Their biggest test arrives when legal standards challenge their personal orientations...

Raising the Bar Promo Clips

Monday, January 12, 2015

Tiger Cubs II Review

Producer: Lam Chi Wah
Genre: Police, action
Cast: Joe Ma, Linda Chung, Him Law, Oscar Leung, Mandy Wong

If Tiger Cubs II proved anything, it is that TVB cannot make a good sequel. Everything that made the first series enjoyable - the action, the adrenaline rush, the brotherhood and the brilliance of the SDU - is gone. It is replaced with immaturity and incompetence. The bad guys (including a group of handicapped people) ran circles around this supposed "best of the best" squad. In the first series, the SDU always came back with mission accomplished. In the sequel, I can't remember a case where they didn't fail in some way. Even the guest stars paled in comparison to the original, with only Nancy Wu and Johnson Lee as the biggest names.

The cases themselves had potential, but the ideas were poorly executed. The criminals could do whatever they wanted against the ineffective SDU team. But the SDU would always manage to take them out in the end with ridiculously convenient ways. The plot holes turned the whole series into a big joke. The punch line is of course the finale with the SDU getting run down at their own headquarters until they receive divine intervention by way of a bubble. The overarching case about Linda's blown undercover identity was muddled among all the other things that were happening.

Unlike the original series, which focused mainly on the action, the sequel tried to incorporate more conflict and emotion. That turned out to be the biggest undoing because every single character became annoying to watch. Ah Lai (Him Law) was immature, with his stubborn defence of his colleague and the poor handling of his relationships. Chin Sir (Joe Ma) was too laid-back as his team was falling apart and never even tried to explain himself. Ah Yuen (Oscar Leung) spends far too much time grieving. Ah Keung (Mandy Wong) was weak. And Madam Chung (Linda Chung)... she was in a league on her own. It is beyond me how someone of her mental fitness could pass the test to become a police officer again.

The acting from the cast makes the series twice as difficult to watch. Linda's performance can only be described as torture for the audience. It was a nightmare seeing those bulging eyes and clenched jaw. Her acting was as fake as the scars on her body. Joe was majorly lacking on the emotional scenes and had zero chemistry with Linda. Oscar lost his charm from the original series and was trying too much to force his signature winks in. Him and Mandy are relatively better than the rest, although they need to lighten up. Benjamin Yuen was unnoticeable except in one early episode. Timmy Hung does not leave much of an impression either. It says a lot when the best performances actually came from the guest stars, including Pal Sinn, Jade Leung and Nancy Wu.

Rating: 2.5/5. Flying Tigers? More like Tiger Prey.