Thursday, October 30, 2014

Overview - Overachievers

Wayne Lai is determined to make his own name in the business world and triumph over his father (Elliot Ngok), as a way of getting back for the many years of having to live under his tight control. Despite previous failures, Wayne is ready for another comeback with the help of Raymond Wong, Nancy Wu and Edwin Siu. They start up a mobile application company, with the intention of waging an all-out business war against Elliot. Ever since Wayne left home, his brother (Raymond Cho) has been cast aside by Elliot. His stepmother (Susanna Kwan) uses this opportunity to promote her son (Jason Chan) as the successor of the corporation and secretly works out a takeover plan. Facing repeated attacks from Susanna, Wayne fortunately receives the emotional support of his ex-girlfriend Maggie Siu and her autistic son (Fred Cheng). He also reconsiders his relationship with his father. Seeing Susanna's plot to take over Elliot's business empire, Wayne joins with his brother Raymond and step-uncle Power Chan to fight back. Unexpectedly, friends turn into rivals, while former foes become allies, making it difficult to distinguish the enemy in this dangerous dilemma.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

TVB Calendar 2015

This year, TVB is using its dramas as the theme for their calendar.


January - Young Charioteers
Sisley Choi, Him Law, Lin Xia Wei

Feburary - Come Home Love
Chris Lai, Joey Law, Tsui Wing, Lau Dan, Yvonne Lam, Florence Kwok, Kenny Wong

March - Rogue Emperor
Benjamin Yuen, Kenneth Ma, Mandy Wong, Brian Tse

April - Madam Cutie On Duty
Edwin Siu, Priscilla Wong, Raymond Cho, Mandy Wong

May - Smooth Talker
Kate Tsui, Joe Ma, Elena Kong, Johnson Lee

June - Limelight Years
Liza Wang, Damian Lau, Alex Fong, Linda Chung

July - Eye in the Sky
Ruco Chan, Tavia Yeung, Kevin Cheng

August - Under the Veil
Kristal Tin, Bosco Wong, Sonija Kwok, Eliza Sam, Wayne Lai

September - With or Without You
Joey Meng, Bobby-Au-Yeung, Alice Chan, Vincent Wong, Jacqueline Wong

October - Captain of Destiny
Tony Hung, Ruco Chan, Grace Chan

November - Lord of Shanghai
Anthony Wong, Kent Tong, Wayne Lai, Helen Ma, Louisa So, Pierre Ngo, Ron Ng, Alice Chan, Kenneth Ma, Myolie Wu, Jade Leung, Natalie Tong, Eddie Kwan, Lau Kong

December - Ghost of Relativity
Kristal Tin, Moses Chan, Nancy Wu

See last year's calendar

Sunday, October 26, 2014

HKTV Launch

Visit the Casual HKTV blog!

Which series do you want to see first? Vote here (Link).

The Borderline (警界線)
Cast: Liu Kai-chi, Dominic Lam, Leila Tong

A clear conscience and discipline are important boundaries for police officers. But if these boundaries are crossed and detectives work together with criminals, the ability to crack cases becomes infinitely larger. A marginalized undercover; a hot-tempered detective who was once framed and lived as a fugitive; a thief who steals from other criminals and was once wrongfully convicted; a female officer who has never fired a gun and uses her intelligence to deconstruct the minds of criminals; a top fugitive with a loyal character and in love with a policewoman; a female inspector who is the encyclopedia of the Forensic Firearms Examination Bureau. They participate in a battle of wits and force. Not only do they produce love, hate and sparks, they also break through boundaries, working together to undo cases of injustice and find the real perpetrator. Through blood, tears, life and death, these cops and bandits highlight the glory of humanity and leave behind an extraordinary story.

Interest level: 4.5/5. The first episode ended with a cliff-hanger. 

The Menu (導火新聞線)
Cast: Noel Leung, Catherine Chau, Kate Yeung

Monitoring society has always been a responsibility of the media, but violence, porn and blood have become the norm for modern media. The story follows three female reporters with different ideals, working for a free newspaper. They have daily conflicts over news reporting. The profit-motivated chief editor is willing to abandon ethical responsibility and make exaggerated reports. The assignment editor and a reporter are passionate about helping disadvantaged groups voice out social injustices. Facing a commercial reality, a newspaper that is disrespected by its peers chooses each day whether to reveal or hide the truth for different purposes. How can reporters highlight justice and use their pen to defend their ideals?

Interest level: 4.5/5. Would love to see the ugly side of the media business.

The Election (選戰)
Cast: Angelica Lee, Liu Kai-chi, Samuel Kwok

Every level of society has their struggles and battles. Human nature, power and benefits are tangled together. Angelica Lee enters the Chief Executive election with her husband's ideology of fairness and peace. Unfortunately, she gets caught in the complicated reality in which she has to deal with internal competition, as well as external attacks from her rival Liu Kai-chi. Experiencing major challenges, she cannot differentiate between friend and enemy. The love-hate relationships and the struggle between humanity and self-interest are a reflection of social reality. Through this political game, the ugly and glorious side of human nature is pushed to the extremes.

Interest level: 5/5. This will surely be popular considering the current political situation in Hong Kong. 

Paranormal Mind (開腦儆探)
Cast: Felix Wong, Sam Lee, Lo Hoi Pang

Felix Wong is initially a police inspector. The trauma of his son’s mysterious death triggers his ability to read other people’s consciousness, but also causes him to have multiple personalities. His wife and friends think that he has a mental disorder, but Felix firmly believes his son was killed in the subconscious dimension. Felix begins to develop his potential of reading other people’s consciousness. Working as a private investigator, he helps the police solve supernatural cases, while still hoping to find his son’s killer.

Interest level: 4.5/5. Reminds me of TVB's D.I.E. but still has interesting premise.

To Be or Not to Be (來生不做香港人)
Cast: Maggie Cheung, Prudence Liew, Poon Chan Leung, Savio Tsang

The reunion of two sisters and the quarrels between them are used to examine the changing relationship between China and Hong Kong in the past 30 years. The blood relationship cannot be denied. As China becomes more powerful, how do Hong Kong people position themselves? Would you still want to be a Hong Konger in the next life? Can the current social conflicts be solved with money? With the emerging integration of China and Hong Kong, what core values can Hong Kong people still defend?

Interest level: 3.5/5. It's got a mix of politics in it. 

Second Life (第二人生)
Cast: Wilfred Lau, Terence Yin, Bondy Chiu

People who reach middle-age will often complain about the pressures and setbacks of life. They will only regret about missed opportunities, but a dreamless life is akin to a salty fish; what use can it have? At a low point in his life, the main character gets a chance to change history, but even after history is rewritten, his life does not turn out better. He finally understands that rather than being upset over the past, he should live well in the present.

Interest level: 2.5/5. Not keen on seeing Wilfred. 

Hidden Faces (三面形醫)
Cast: Frankie Lam, John Chiang, Wilson Tsui

Humans naturally like beauty. Many people will use makeup, beauty products or even plastic surgery. But there are few who can look into a mirror, peel open their outer shell and expose their most naked, hidden side. That is why doctors can heal one’s body, but rarely their hearts. At the root of many illnesses tends to be “human nature”. In the series, a plastic surgeon joins a large medical corporation, spurring discussion of many hot topics that will evaluate modern values and allow people to reflect on their self-worth and the definition of “beauty”. At the same time, the series voices the views of different people in society.

Interest level: 3.5/5. I'm not sure I want to see a real plastic surgery being performed on-screen.

Love In Time (還來得及再愛你)
Cast: Danson Tang, Michelle Wai, Terence Yin, Sherming Yiu

The 224 year old male character has held onto a lost love for 200 years. Growing up as a young man in a village, he has experienced drastic change. The whole village, including his beloved, were killed by demons. Only he survived after being rescued by a vampire. Now he lives, but his heart is frozen; heartbroken, but cannot cry out. This is until he meets a lively and positive girl whose passionate love unconsciously melts his heart. The man is immortal, but the girl may have perhaps 80 years. Is this relationship a cruel joke played by fate or a match made in heaven?

Interest level: 1/5. Sounds a lot like Twilight.

Once Upon A Song (童話戀曲201314)
Cast: William So, Bernice Liu, Kelvin Kwan

As a child, everyone dreamed of being the prince or princess in a fairy tale, but when we grow up, we only become HK men and women. The qualities of a girlfriend include her outer appearance, while a boyfriend must have a house, car and career. Thinking deeper, does everyone still have a dream in their hearts? The first musical in the history of Hong Kong television, with young faces, beautiful voices and youthful dancing to present a touching love story. The story revolves around young CEO Kelvin Kwan in a love triangle with Kate Yeung and Evelyn Choi. It is accompanied by singer William So’s voice and other actors. A single series that combines singing, dancing and acting is worthy of anticipation.

Interest level: 1/5. Not a fan of musicals.

Karma (驚異世紀)
Cast: Dominic Lam, Noel Leung, Leila Tong

Fear comes from the heart. The eight separate stories will be about a hospital, a mansion, a university professor, a psychologist and hypnotist, a mysterious senior, a serial killer, an old camera lens and a luxurious hotel. Each of these stories will be connected by an overarching story. Filmed with movie-style cameras to produce shocking images that will challenge the audience’s courage. More importantly, behind this horrific world, there is a cautionary message to reflect on.

Interest level: 0/5. Too scared to watch horror films.

Doom + 5 (末日+5)
Cast: Sunny Chan, Philip Keung, Poon Chan Leung, Mimi Kung, Alan Luk, Gregory Wong

On January 23, 2015, the eight million citizens of Hong Kong are still revelling in whether the stock market will set new high records, still working to make their love come to fruition and still labouring over their jobs. Only five citizens, who do not know each other or are otherwise related, learn about a secret hidden by the government. That night, at 11:45 pm, the end of the world will come and no one will be spared. As life enters its countdown, with only 15 hours left, will they turn hopeless or become even more crazy?

Interest level: 2/5. Don't like the "cherish life because you never know what will happen" stories.

Night Shift (夜班)
Cast: Frankie Lam, Dominic Lam, Kathy Tong

A series entirely filmed at night. The story follows several emergency unit officers as they encounter different people and events on the night shift. They are met with unimaginable dangers and challenges. The countless temptations during the night weaken their resolve, leaving their self-defence mechanisms vulnerable to attack. The night is mysterious and beautiful, yet dangerous. Without self-discipline and control, one can easily step into forbidden territory with dire consequences.

Interest level: 3.5/5. Police dramas are always exciting. 

Class 4B (四年B班)
Cast: Sam Chan, Joman Chiang, Samuel Kwok, Crystal Leung

Silly little things in the eyes of adults can be important things to children. This series uses a child’s perspective to view how large the world can be and how children use their simple, yet determined minds to accomplish those little things. It will make adults realize that they should not impose their own way of thinking on children and instead allow their dreams to flourish. The story depicts a class of fourth-grade students at a subsidized school. Although they have just advanced to a higher grade, they have yet to truly develop independent thinking. It is easy for many funny and embarrassing moments to occur, but people will also be touched by their innocence.

Interest level: 1.5/5. "Simple" dramas are a bore.

Sexpedia (大眾情性)
Cast: Jason Chan, Joman Chiang, Alan Luk, Maggie Wong

Sex is a complicated subject. It includes communication between people, small pleasures between couples, love within a family and some of life’s philosophies. Thus, do not underestimate how important and influential sex can be. Real-life cases were used as a blueprint to create three distinct characters with unusual experiences. One is a virgin male who has been oppressed throughout his whole life and believes he only has one chance to make love. Another is a girl with a sexual disability who thinks she is unworthy of love. The third is a divorced man who prides himself on his experiences, yet does not know how to please women. Together, they make up a romantic comedy that will examine the topic of sex and love.

Interest level: 3/5. Definitely refreshing since TVB would never touch this topic.

Beyond the Rainbow (歲月樓情)
Cast: Ha Yu, Paw Hee Ching, Felix Wong, Leila Tong

A story spanning 30 years, with public housing as a backdrop. It shows how the “little guy” relies on a persistent, never giving up spirit to withstand challenges and establish a stable home. For millions of families living under the same sky, as long as their starting point is a happy and healthy home, they can all lead a fulfilling life. As time passes by, each person will leave their mark and time will bear witness to the stories of many different people.

Interest level: 3/5. From the trailer, there seems to be a mysterious aspect as well. 

The Wicked League (惡毒老人同盟)
Cast: John Chiang, Samuel Kwok, Yuen Wah, Jason Pai

As the saying goes, "a senior in the family is like a treasure". But many seniors face discrimination in their lives. The five main characters are all seniors who have been discriminated by their family, friends and colleagues. By chance, they meet each other and decide to get revenge on the people who have treated them poorly, creating the "Vicious Senior Alliance". This black comedy brings out the problems and difficulties faced by seniors in today's society, with a hope that the audience can understand and treat seniors better.

Interest level: 2/5. Nothing too exciting here.

Incredible Mama (我阿媽係黑玫瑰)
Cast: Kara Hui, John Chiang, Sam Chan

The legendary heroine "Black Rose" gives up on practising chivalry and becomes a housewife for her family, taking care of her husband and children. But her children do not know that their mother was once a heroine; they see her as timid woman who doesn't care about justice. When they finally find out about her past, that is when they truly begin to understand their mother.

Interest level: 3/5. Seems like a decent comedy. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Wynners @ Toronto

The Wynners are in Toronto for a charity concert in support of World Vision. They were a popular band during the 1970s, which is way before my time, but I went to their autograph session anyways (because of my mom). There were a lot of older fans, but they were just as enthusiastic to meet the stars as some of the younger fans that I've seen at other autograph sessions.

Band members (from left to right in the first picture): Anthony Chan, Alan Tam, Bennett Pang, Kenny Bee and Danny Yip.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Come On, Cousin Theme Song

The theme song for Come On, Cousin is "World Boy" (世界仔), by Louis Yuen. This song was originally used as the theme song for Louis' concert last year.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Tiger Cubs II - Preview of Cases

Case #1: When a triad leader dies suddenly, all fingers point toward Linda Chung, who has been exposed as an undercover. Johnson Lee, the triad leader's right-hand man, has Linda thrown into the ocean with heavy weights, yet she manages to survive. Johnson designs a nearly perfect hostage situation at the High Court, challenging the police and demanding for Linda's life.

Case #2: International drug dealer Pal Sinn and his personal doctor Sam Tsang are being escorted back to Hong Kong by Interpol to face trial. The SDU team prevents terrorists from attacking those two and inadvertently discovers a case within a case.

Case #3: A mysterious group has been robbing the rich and giving to the poor. The SDU have identified the suspects and take action to arrest them. Oscar Leung, with an extremely accurate shot, confirms that he has shot one of the suspects, yet they cannot find any evidence that someone had been injured.

Case #4: A popular Japanese game show has to come to Hong Kong. The SDU team pose as contestants to carry out their mission. Him Law falls into a dangerous trap. Meanwhile, Mandy Wong notices an unusual relationship between a contestant (Jonathan Wong) and the show's host (Ali Lee). They are shocked to discover that part of the competition involves biochemical weapons.

Case #5: The bar owned by retired SDU member Koo Ming Wah is a popular hangout spot for Joe and his team. Although Koo Ming Wah is no longer a law enforcement officer, he will use his own ways to help the police capture wanted criminals and collect the reward money. Joe is concerned about Koo Ming Wah's intelligence source, as well as his safety.

Case #6: Wai Ka-hung has committed all sorts of bad deeds. He is shot by a SDU member even though he has already surrendered. Surviving the injury, he files a complaint against the police and surprisingly, Linda helps him with exposing the SDU for firing at him illegally.

Case #7: Eric Chung, Li Ka-sing, Jack Wu and Jimmy Au met each other in Vietnam and became sworn brothers. Linda secretly investigates when she finds out that the rival of those four was involved in the earlier attempt to kill her. As the four open fire with the SDU, Joe and Him have a disagreement about the mission.

Case #8: Wealthy heir Alan Wan invests along with Him's friend, Stephen Huynh, and ends up losing his fortune. His sister Grace Wong asks Him to help and it is discovered that a money laundering operation is involved. For work and for personal reasons, the SDU team want to help Alan, but at the most critical moment, Timmy's appearance changes the whole situation.

Case #9: Linda sends her informant, Nathan Ngai, to monitor Timmy. Oscar reports that Linda has continued to take psychiatric mediation since resuming her duties, but Joe stands on her side, causing the brothers to become enemies. Afterwards, Oscar discovers a series of shocking secrets behind Vincent Lam's corporation, but all is too late...

Case #10: American CIA analyst Nancy Wu is invited to tour the SDU facilities to allow for better cooperation in the future. But it turns out that Nancy has a hidden identity, and Joe witnesses Linda fatally shooting Timmy...

Monday, October 13, 2014

Corinna Chamberlain @ Toronto

Corinna Chamberlain was in Toronto for her "Lost in Translation" tour. First of all, thank you to a kind lady named Becky who offered me a ticket to the show.

Corinna shared her story about growing up as a Caucasian in Hong Kong and how religion helped her find her identity. She also talked about how religion helped her in her career and personal life. Of course, she sang a few songs as well, much to the delight of the audience.

I don't necessarily share in all her religious views, but if there was one message I resonated with, it's that there is a right timing for everything. Corinna talked about how her record company closed down just as she was preparing to release her first album. However, it turned out that she later got the opportunity to join TVB. She gained recognition after starring in Inbound Troubles and competing in The Voice of Stars. Then, when she finally got to release her album, she was able to do it amid much greater fanfare and popularity. Moral of the story: If things don't happen when you want or expect it to, it doesn't mean it will never happen for you.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Line Walker Review

Producer: Man Wai-hung
Genre: Police
Cast: Michael Miu, Raymond Lam, Charmaine Sheh, Elena Kong, Sammy Sum, Sharon Chan, Benz Hui

Move aside, Lives of Omission. Line Walker is taking the title as the ultimate undercover series. With the 10000000 UCs, I’m wondering why it took so long for the police to catch up to the bad guys. Oh, that’s because all the bad guys are cops and all the good guys are with the triads. Yikes!

Line Walker does a better job than Lives of Omission at exploring the life of an undercover. Their sacrifices and hardships are played out on-screen and can be felt by the audience. Line Walker also wins with its thick plot, which is laid out nicely with the way it keeps the suspense, from the 5th UC to the black cops to the final big boss. (insert momentum-killing comedic moment). Characters come and go, making up an insanely high death toll. (insert slow-motion action scene with sub song). Yes, there are logic flaws, but don’t you know you’re watching a TVB series?

Charmaine Sheh puts in a lively performance. I love her during the comedic moments. Even though I hated how the comedy ruined the serious atmosphere at the wrong times, Charmaine is cute during those moments. However, I did not enjoy her crying and screaming scenes. I did not feel sad for her, just annoyed. Is this a TV Queen performance? I concur Charmaine may be the most suitable candidate to take it, but I do not agree that her performance was the best of the year.

Raymond Lam can be a good actor when he’s not hiding behind his chok image. His character in Line Walker reminds me of Highs and Lows. He’s playful in the beginning, which is fun to watch, but then he starts losing control as his character becomes more serious. He sways his body too much when he’s talking and when he’s screaming, his eyes grow infinitely larger.

Next we have our lovebirds, Sammy Sum and Sharon Chan. It would have been so lovely if they had realized their love for each other earlier and eloped together, far, far away from this series. Actually, I didn’t mind Sammy too much. Handsome man and has the poise of a finance whiz when he's not being so lovesick. Sharon is the real problem here. Her character is supposed to be an intelligent madam-turned-unofficial UC who ends up saving the day.  But Sharon does not fit into this type of role. Watch The Ultimate Addiction and watch this and you will know what I mean. She doesn’t carry that brilliance on her and she only ends up looking pretentious.

Michael Miu and Elena Kong’s story was the truly touching love story. Not overbearing, not dumb, but a mature relationship, portrayed by two fantastic veterans. Michael, ever so fit at his age, is perfect for this type of good cop perhaps turned bad cop role. Michael can do what Raymond cannot, that is, look chok while still not forgetting to act. Elena also does a fine, fine job. Completely believable as an abused woman and then finding her strength as a lawyer standing up against injustice.

Never imagined Benz Hui could pull off this kind of role. Samantha Ko succeeds at being icy, but not much else. Her face looks really plastic in HD. Oscar Leung was trying too hard to act cool with the way he walks and holds out his arms. All Patrick Tang had to do was perpetually squint his eyes in anger until he died. Same old Toby Leung, whose status at TVB seems to be falling rapidly. They could have cut her out completely and no one would have noticed. Ankie Beilke appears to have taken the role as TVB’s new seductive heiress.

Rating: 4/5. That’s the number of UCs in a room at any given time.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Leaked Undercover Files

Uh-oh, the identities of over 1000 undercover agents have been exposed! Casual TVB has been able to obtain a partial list of the leaked files...

Name: 梁笑棠 (Laughing)
Operation Code: E.U.; Lives of Omission; Turning Point

Profile: An experienced undercover. Spent at least 9 years infiltrating various Hong Kong triads, resulting in the dissolution of three major triads. Has also undertaken missions in China and in prison. Trained a new generation of undercover agents at the CIB.

Name: 鄧國彬 (Spicy Ginger)
Operation Code: Lives of Omission

Profile: Initially sent to the triads by the CIB, but lost grip on his identity after spending too much time as an undercover. Attempted to murder fellow undercover agent Laughing. Sentenced to 4 years of prison on charges of arson. Killed in police crossfire after escaping from jail.

Other agents in Operation Lives of Omission:


Name: 鍾立文
Operation Code: E.U.

Profile: Top graduate at the Police Training School. Picked for undercover mission due to his close association with the triad leader and his daughter. Successfully gains the trust of the triad leader after helping to fake Laughing Gor's death. Joins the OCTB upon return to police force.

Name: 莊有正 (Carson)
Operation Code: Ruse of Engagement

Profile: Helps avert a terrorist bombing in his first undercover mission. Recruited into the Anti-Terrorist Force (ATF) as a result of his superb performance. Takes on a second undercover mission into a secret organization to root out the mole within the police force.

Name: 張立勳 (Funny)
Operation Code: Black Heart White Soul

Profile: Marries his girlfriend to collect evidence against her father for stock market fraud. Also investigates his best friend, whom he had crippled in an accident five years ago. Maintains his identity as a police officer while undergoing mission and receives promotion of two ranks.

Name: 林頌恩 (Apple)
Operation Code: A Great Way to Care II

Profile: Poses as a prostitute to collect information about a drug ring. During her mission, encounters a murder case involving a religious cult and obtains key piece of evidence. Transfers from the Narcotics Bureau to the CID after her mission.

Name: 羅耀華 (Law Sir)
Operation Code: Yes Sir Sorry Sir

Profile: A former school teacher. Sent back to his old high school to investigate the source of drugs entering the school network. Uses his relationship with the school's bowling instructor, who happens to be the sister-in-law of a triad leader.

Name: 吳仲明
Operation Code: Suspects in Love

Profile: Accepts an undercover mission in hopes of receiving a promotion and marrying his girlfriend. Obtains a job at a herbal tea shop to investigate the tea shop's boss, who had an ambiguous relationship with a missing triad leader.

Name: 余家昇
Operation Code: Off Pedder

Profile: Takes a position at a magazine company owned by Kam Bor Corporation. Later becomes personal assistant to the CEO, allowing him to look into white-collar crimes committed by senior executives of the corporation. Becomes an instructor at the Police Training School after his mission.

Other agents in Operation Off Pedder:

Name: 鍾韋恩
Operation Code: Tiger Cubs II

Profile: Sent on a mission with unknown objectives, only to mysteriously disappear. Resumes duties at the CIB upon her return, but suffers from emotional problems. According to sources, may have been tortured when her undercover identity was exposed.

Name: 花蘋 & 羅大樹
Operation Code: Madam Cutie on Duty

Profile: The two agents pose as a couple to mix into a public housing estate. Their targets are three suspicious housewives who may be linked to a criminal organization involved with loansharking, prostitution and smuggling.

The top secret file: multiple agents in Operation Line Walker...

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