Wednesday, November 27, 2013

My Predictions for TVB Awards 2013

The nomination list for the TVB Anniversary Awards are out (see the list here). Let the predictions begins!

How voting will work:
- Best Actor, Actress and Series will be voted by public and committee (each 50%). Voting closes before the awards ceremony.
- My Favourite Character awards will be voted 100% by public. Voting closes during the show.
- All other awards will be chosen by committee and TVB artists.

Best Actor: Julian Cheung (Triumph in the Skies II). No Holiday for Captain Cool if he wins.
Winner: Dayo Wong

Best Actress: Kate Tsui (Bounty Lady). TVB sneaked in Bounty Lady before the awards.
Winner: Kristal Tin

My Favourite Male Character: Kenneth Ma (The Hippocratic Crush II). He said he wouldn't mind getting this award every year. Well, here ya go!
Winner: Julian Cheung

My Favourite Female Character: Kristal Tin (Brother's Keeper). She clinched the fan-voted award for most popular character in Brother's Keeper.
Winner: Kristal Tin

Best Supporting Actor: Edwin Siu (A Great Way to Care II). Is there be an off-chance Kenneth gets this as consolation?
Winner: Benz Hui

Best Supporting Actress: Elena Kong (Triumph in the Skies II). About time she should get some recognition.
Winner: Elena Kong

Most Improved Actor: Vincent Wong. 23 slaps should count for something.
Winner: Vincent Wong

Most Improved Actress: Eliza Sam. Oh, TVB is just aching to hand her the award. Unless Sandy Yu steals it for Priscilla Wong.
Winner: Eliza Sam

Best Series: Triumph in the Skies II. No contest.
Winner: Triumph in the Skies II

Success Rate: 5/9 (55%)

My prediction success from last year: 4/9 (44%).

Monday, November 25, 2013

Will Power Review

Producer: Tsui Ching Hong
Genre: Modern, legal
Cast: Wayne Lai, Moses Chan, Fala Chen, Christine Ng, Jason Chan, Sire Ma, Vincent Wong

I was worried that Will Power would be another terrible legal drama, but to my surprise, it turned out better than I expected. I appreciate that there are more court scenes than I can count on one hand (looking at you, Awfully Lawful). I like that there are not one-sided arguments and that the arguments have at least some legal basis (ahem, Friendly Fire). Of course, it’s not perfect by any means, but if you wanted 100% accuracy, you should probably go to the local courthouse. That being said, if this series is used as any measure, there are about six lawyers and one judge in Hong Kong. Conflict of interest laws? What is that?

Will Power is different from most legal dramas in that the majority of cases are integrated into a bigger storyline. There aren't random characters running around, which gives the leads more screen time and opportunity for development. The story is appropriately paced, such that 32 episodes does not feel like too much for once. The series builds nicely towards the climax, where there are a few good twists. I was disappointed, however, that the writers took the easy way out in the finale.

I’m glad that the romance did not detract from the legal cases. The relationships were mature, with no crazy geometric shapes or unnecessary drama. In fact, it had some humorous moments, as the two big lawyers turned into petty men in front of their girlfriends.

With 2 TV Kings, their acting was a joy to watch. I like Moses a lot better in serious dramas than comedies. Wayne does not look as tired as his previous dramas. Both were great acting as professionals. The ladies didn’t have a big role. Fala had better emotional scenes than in Triumph in the Skies II, but after her break-up with Vincent, she was regulated to a “be supportive/worried-looking” role. Christine didn’t have a chance to shine either. All she had to do was sit and be judge-like. I noticed an odd twitch to her eyebrow sometimes, which made me feel like she’s about pull out a Beauty at War scheme.

Arguably the best actor in this series is Chung King-fai. It’s great that he’s not in a preachy-grandfather role. He is devious and manipulative with a perfected smirk. Elliot Ngok, which I usually find overdramatic, has thankfully toned it down. Another convincing performance by Power Chan as a mentally challenged character; he deserves consideration for Best Supporting Actor again. Poor Vincent Wong for taking 23 slaps. He may have gone a tad overboard in some scenes, but generally did well. Susan Tse and Mary Hon are veterans at doing the “keeping a secret for 20 years” thing.

The worst acting goes to Jason Chan. He seemed perpetually at lost about where to position himself and what to do with his hands. Compared to Bullet Brain, Sire Ma actually did better and part of the reason is because she’s up against Jason. Still, she was an unconvincing rape victim, alternating between too composed and too hysterical. But no worries, Jason was an even worse boyfriend of a rape victim. He also lays claim to the title of most unconvincing defendant facing murder charges.

Conclusion: How much willpower does it take to finish this series? Surprisingly, it carries itself.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Guessing Game #3

Name the commonality between the 3 dramas in each row.
(Play the other guessing games #1, #2)

No hints, otherwise it'll be too easy :)

Answers are posted here.

Answers from previous game:

Sunday, November 17, 2013

TVB Inventory Levels 2013

The number of series each artist has on hand.
As at November 17, 2013.

Purple = Ancient
Orange = Pre-modern
Yellow = Modern
Blue = Professional
White = Unconfirmed

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Overview - Return of the Silver Tongue

Roger Kwok has opened a school to educate others. His student Priscilla Wong is naturally gifted, but struggles in school, frequently mixing up vocabulary words. Roger is a righteous man, but seeing the corruption in society, he understands that education cannot change things. At this time, he meets the sharp-witted Kristal Tin. They quickly become a dynamic force as lawyers in court. The notorious KK Cheung and his son, Jerry Lamb, view the duo as their bitter rivals. Roger’s career change disappoints his good friend Evergreen Mak, whose father had been framed by a lawyer, Lee Sing Cheung, many years ago. Although Evergreen understands Roger’s intentions, he is suspicious of Kristal’s background. As he investigates, a 20-year old case is brought back to court and a cold-blooded lawyer killer suddenly appears. Rumours are flying everywhere and fear is swirling all around the city…

Friday, November 08, 2013

Sales Presentation 2014 - Series Briefs

As promised, TVB will have more comedies and light-hearted dramas in the upcoming year. Personally, I still anticipate the police/action series more. I have translated the series briefs for 14 dramas in the Sales Presentation 2014 booklet (except Bounty Lady, for which the overview is here).

Apostle Walker – CIB Chief Inspector Michael Miu’s good friend and colleague has died under mysterious circumstances. Michael discovers that the five undercover cops under his colleague’s portfolio have gone missing. The secret information held by the five undercovers span every sector and represent a ticking bomb for the police and society!

Michael must find the missing undercover cops. He successfully contacts with one of them – Charmaine Sheh, the greedy owner of a foot message shop. Charmaine agrees to help Michael find the other missing undercover cops by infiltrating the triads. She runs into the vicious, gamble-addict triad leader Raymond Lam. In order to obtain intelligence, Charmaine tries every way to get near Raymond, thereby starting a relationship built on lies. But as Charmaine’s investigation gets closer to the truth, Michael suddenly intervenes to stop her. Raymond’s identity also becomes a mystery. Each person has their own motives and all proclaim to be fighting for justice, but who can truly claim they are upholding justice?

Anticipation Level: 4.5/5. I can feel the action from just looking at the poster.

Good Bad Person – Coming from a grassroots background, Kristal Tin’s ethical sense is weak. She lands herself in jail while trying to protect her boyfriend who has run afoul of the law. Luckily, her defence lawyer Roger Kwok lends her a hand after she is released from jail by giving her a job in his law firm.

Roger is a kind-hearted lawyer and a bright star in the legal profession. Unfortunately, he is injured by rookie cop Ron Ng during a police operation, restricting him to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. But Roger does not blame Ron; instead they become good friends. However, as more and more secrets are exposed, it is discovered that Roger is hiding a great scheme. Ron faces a crisis as he is burdened with feelings of indebtedness to Roger. In the end, can Kristal leave aside love to make the correct decision?

Anticipation Level: 3/5. Hidden schemes are cool.

Sky Eye – The genius software engineer Ruco Chan has created the “sky eye” system for the police, allowing them to use public surveillance cameras to track the movements of criminals. Detective Kenny Wong is ruthless and will use extreme methods to solve a case. Because of this, he is frequently in conflict with Ruco, who provides technical support. Fortunately, their principled boss steps in to resolve their disputes. At this time, a highly brilliant and secretive female criminal (Tavia Yeung) appears. Kenny feels she is innocent, while Ruco believes she is guilty. In order to prove themselves correct, the two take the risk to challenge privacy laws. Their boss soon discovers that one of them has a mysterious relationship with the female suspect. In between the private relationships, can the police discover the real criminal and uphold justice?

Anticipation Level: 4.5/5. High-witted criminals are my favourite. 

Eunuch Five Tigers – The story begins with Empress Dowager Cixi’s death and covers the Wuchang Uprising and Revolution of 1911, causing the Forbidden City to change winds!

Wayne Lai is unfazed by the turmoil as he has amassed enough wealth to live comfortably for the rest of his life. He is preparing to move to a small town where no one would know him. But even before he has stepped out of the capital, he faces assassination attempts. He was last seen in a suite, where only a headless corpse exists now. The four eunuchs that are sent to look for him – Raymond Cho, Raymond Wong, Power Chan and Edwin Siu – each have their own motives. To search for Wayne’s treasure, they all act according to the plan and arrive at a small northeastern town.

Facing off against two-faced town chief, a bandit dressed as a soldier and a powerful warlord, how can the eunuchs use their knowledge from the palace to defuse this situation? Will they act according to their selfish motives or help each other in the face of danger? A surprising result is revealed with the “resurrection” of Wayne!

Anticipation Level: 3.5/5. From the palace to treasure hunting?

Mr. & Mrs. Bean – The divorce rate nowadays is high, creating a variety of different family dynamics. The two sisters in the series have divorced parents. Their biological and step-mothers are constantly arguing over how to properly raise them. The sisters are stuck between their two moms, which causes Eliza Sam to develop an indecisive characteristic.

Relationships in modern society come and go quickly, leaving many single-parent families. Bosco Wong needs to take care of his seven year-old son, forcing him to sacrifice his career.

When Bosco and Eliza meet, it meant the possibility of Eliza becoming a step-mother. Of course, her two moms would have differing opinions on this. Just as Eliza is struggling with how to proceed in this relationship, Bosco feels equally helpless against these three women.

Anticipation Level: 1/5. No thanks to romantic stories. Double no thanks to Eliza.

Battle Again Tomorrow – Senior correctional officer Lawrence Ng is stationed at the Stanley Prison. He is responsible for maintaining the discipline of the prisoners. He uses his wit and bravery to handle even the most troublesome prisoners. On the other hand, his subordinate KK Cheung is caring towards the prisoners, but is too lenient on the rules, putting him at odds with Lawrence. KK is later transferred to train new correctional officers, giving him an opportunity to utilize his talents. Kate Tsui works at the Lo Wu Correctional Institution and is unambitious, but gradually finds the meaning to life through her work. Female prisoner Joyce Tang has had a difficult life, but with Kate’s help, she finally realizes her wrongdoings. Workers at the rehabilitation centre try their hardest to help offenders start a new life.

Lawrence is much older than Kate; KK and Joyce, one is a correctional officer, one is a prisoner; both relationships depart with the norm. After going through many challenges, will they have a happy ending? Dangerous criminals are always stirring up trouble, putting the lives of correctional officers at risk, can they complete their mission?

Anticipation Level: 4/5. Correctional Services is unventured territory.

Property Protector – In the years after the Chinese Revolution, the political situation was very unstable. In a village in China, a silk factory was the main industry. The family operating the factory appear harmonious, but beneath the surface, they are each greedy and selfish.

The patriarch of the family, Elliot Ngok, is getting old and has entrusted his eldest son Evergreen Mak and daughter Akina Hong to run the business. Evergreen’s characteristic is not one to make big decisions. Akina is smart and strong-willed, but commits suicide due to love. Elliot can only ask his third son, Steven Ma, to return home from his job as a military medic. In these uncertain times, Steven manages to defend the family business. When he discovers there is more to Akina’s death, he carefully plots to capture the murderer. But just as the truth is about to come out, it also brings trouble to himself! The truth is hidden amongst the friendships, romance and family bonds…

Anticipation Level: 2/5. All too familiar sounding plot + unappealing time period.

Water Hair and Powder - On the stage, Joyce Koi is a talented opera performer with many fans. But because she has been so focused on mastering the art form, she has missed the golden age for dating. Off the stage, she is only a “leftover” woman. Meanwhile, her sister Katy Kung is a lively youth born after the ‘80s. She is surrounded by many pursuers and is growing tired of love. She finds it difficult to truly fall in love with someone.

Joyce’s perspective on love is restricted to the fated lovers model found in her plays. Even when she encounters the successful Wayne Lai, who actively persuades her, she does not have the courage to begin a relationship. Katy is trapped in a world of rapid romance, until she meets the romantic Jason Chan, but she cannot differentiate whether it is true love or not. Two extreme views on love from two sisters, who go from disliking each other to being mutually supportive. Can the on-stage romances that always leave an impression on the audience happen in real life?

Anticipation Level: 1/5. Chinese opera's not for me. 

Tiger Cubs II – The SDU A Team, led by Joe Ma, along with members Oscar Leung and Him Law, have impeccable chemistry. They act impartially and courageously while putting their lives at risk to take down dangerous criminals. The series starts with the case of a group of off-duty officers being held hostage. The terrorists are demanding to meet with the undercover agent Linda Chung, but the problem is Linda has not been seen for two years since the completion of her mission. With the safety of the hostages at risk, Joe decides to forcibly enter the area, but the complex environment makes it difficult to navigate and the SDU assault fails. At this vital moment, Linda suddenly appears. With her cooperation, Joe and the SDU team successfully rescue the hostages and capture the terrorists. After this, the SDU is faced with a variety of other cases. Joe, Oscar and Him clash with one another, nearly breaking their brotherly bond. Can the brothers mend their relationship and work together to fight against their rivals?

Anticipation Level: 4.5/5. A bunch of hot guys running around with guns. 

Business Battle – Wayne Lai and Ron Ng are childhood friends. Though they are not well-educated, they are experts at computers and make a living in the Golden Shopping Centre. They recruit Edwin Siu, a well-educated young man, to be their business partner. They create many popular apps and are bought by a telecommunications company. Joining the company, Wayne meets Johnson Lee and Kenny Wong. They join together to challenge the evil powers within the company. Eventually, the five friends are able to turn the company around from a nearly bankrupt business to a multi-national corporation.

With success comes fame and power, but with fame and power, humanity is diminished. The team becomes divided and the members turn on each other, even becoming corporate spies for money. With their deteriorating relationship, Wayne’s new app Free Talk becomes the ultimate catalyst in triggering an all-out battle between the former friends. They each use a variety of tactics to try to snatch the rights to Free Talk. Wayne is in a position where he cannot differentiate between friend and enemy. Will he choose to bring everyone down along with himself, join in with them or turn against them? The test of humanity, the choice between life and death is all within the business battle!

Anticipation Level: 4/5. I'm always up for a good office politics battle. 

Vinegar Lady – Myolie Wu and Gigi Wong travel under the pretense of being healers, but in actuality, they are looking for their father/husband. Ron Ng seeks their help for a skin disease, but is scammed. He joins with other victims looking to capture Myolie and her mother, but they are saved by Him Law. Myolie instantly falls in love with Him. It turns out that she and Him have a marriage contract as babies, but now Him’s family oppose the marriage. Myolie and Gigi accidentally heal Ron’s skin disease; to repay the favour, he helps Myolie marry Him.

Although Myolie has a sweet relationship with Him after their marriage, she has to deal with the rest of his family, particularly his sister, Alice Chan. Myolie learns a variety of tactics to handle these problems. Ron also stays by her side to help her. Many comical moments will result. As Ron and Myolie go through the challenges together, love starts to develop, but it is mistaken for friendship and loyalty.

Eliza Sam has been Him’s maid since they were children, thus, they share a special connection. This frequently makes Myolie jealous. She tries to play matchmaker for Ron and Eliza, but it does not work. She has an argument with Him over this, which causes Him and Eliza to accidentally have a relationship. Him takes Eliza as his second wife, forcing Myolie to share her husband.

A recently discovered skeleton is believed to be Myolie’s missing father. A reoccurring nightmare of Ron’s proves to be the scenario of when Gigi killed her husband! With Gigi subjected to execution, Him’s family is fearful that they would be implicated. They demand that Myolie break off her relationship with her mother, otherwise, they would force Him to divorce her. Myolie asks Him for help, but he does not want to depart from his family’s wishes. Myolie is also disappointed with Ron and rejects his help, so she is left to face the difficult situation alone…

Anticipation Level: 2/5. Sounds like a series of petty jealousy.

Big Pharmacy – Du Yange is a famed Chinese medicine practitioner with his own shop, Sheung Chun Tong. His only daughter, Lina Chung, is intelligent and has a great interest in Chinese medicine. But because she is female, Du Yange does not believe she will be able to carry on his legacy.

On the day of Linda’s marriage, her husband Raymond Wong dies unexpectedly from illness. His father (Pat Poon), who is a government official, is extremely angry and orders Sheung Chun Tong to be closed down. Natalie Tong, who had a crush on Raymond, also views Linda as an enemy.

Du Yange is jailed and Linda is left without a home. All of the family’s assets are bought by the businessman Ruco Chan. Luckily, Linda meets a retired doctor, who is willing to pass on his knowledge to her. Linda and Ruco also become friends. Meanwhile, Raymond’s twin brother (also Raymond) rejects Natalie’s love and develops feelings for his former sister-in-law. As Linda is struggling with this love rectangle, an epidemic suddenly breaks out in the town. Although it is very dangerous, this is the best time for her to revive the name of Sheung Chun Tong!

Anticipation Level: 3/5. Decent plot, but iffy on the cast (except Ruco!).

M Club – In the mid-1980s, six young girls who loved aerobic dancing formed the “M Club”. They were very close friends and promised to stick with each other through the thick and thin. But twenty years later, the friends have moved on with their lives. No longer in their youth, they look back on their dreams with a sigh, comparing it with the realities of life. This is with the exception of one member, who remained dedicated to aerobic dancing through all these years. Before she is sent to a psychiatric facility, she makes all the other M Club members promise to defend their dance studio. The former leader of M Club, Carman Lee, is now an obedient daughter-in-law. Taking on this challenge, her ordinary life is about to see some waves…

Anticipation Level: 1/5. I don't know who these old-timers are.

Inbound Troubles II – An old apartment building in Yau Ma Tei symbolizes Hong Kong’s transformation in the past few decades. At the ground level, there are a variety of traditional industries, while the residents living in the building have differing backgrounds and status. Everything new and old is here and unique bonds have formed between the neighbours, much like a mini-Hong Kong. The characters include a foreign-educated middle-aged man, a troublesome wealthy heir, a fierce middle-aged woman and other loveable characters. They all have complex relationships with the old apartment building. Rich or poor, the same principle applies like any other Hong Kong citizen: each household has their own unspeakable problems. There are many problems each day, but life goes on, so they must hold on tight to their love and keep chasing their dreams.

Anticipation Level: 1/5. Didn't even watch the original.

Walk with You – The ambitious and strong-willed Myolie Wu feels that her down-to-earth boyfriend Moses Chan is unable to catch up to her pace, so decides to break up with him. An accident suddenly causes Myolie to go blind. Alone in the darkness, she is depressed for a long time. But this also gives her a good opportunity to think about what is most important to her. Fortunately, Moses returns to her side and helps her to stand up again. He encourages her to participate in marathon so that she can rediscover the feeling of victory on the track. Constantly supporting her, Moses naturally becomes Myolie’s guide in the race and her life partner.

Blindness does not need to make life lose its colours. As long as you open up and look for another way, there will be a road to continue forward. An extraordinary love story told in an honest way to touch people’s hearts.

Anticipation Level: 1.5/5. Not a fan of those heart-felt, inspiring stories.

See full list of series in Sales Presentation 2014

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

"Bounty Lady" Theme Song

The theme song for Bounty Lady is sung by Dayo Wong.

The sub-theme song is "Want One Day" (想一天) by Sharon Chan

The other sub-theme song is "This Song" (這首歌) by Sharon Chan

Overview - Bounty Lady

Golden PR manager Dayo Wong is said to be the saviour of the city’s “leftover” ladies. He often uses creative tactics to help single women find a blissful relationship. Meanwhile he prefers short-term relationships for himself. The new customer relations manager Kate Tsui does not have a good impression of the group collectively known as “Super Senior”, consisting of Dayo, his brother Benz Hui and their colleagues Louis Yuen and Jazz Lam. She is disgusted by their nightclubbing lifestyle and thinks they use their work as an excuse to cozy up to girls, especially when she sees Dayo trying to pursue Sharon Chan by helping her become an online singer. Sharon’s sister Elena Kong also despises of Dayo and frequently criticizes him in her newspaper column. But Dayo could care less and continues living his own lifestyle, until his ex-girlfriend appears to trigger an unprecedented battle between the HK men and women. 
"Bounty Lady" Theme Song