Monday, December 31, 2018

Year in Review

Whew, made it through another year!
2018 was a big year for me personally. I graduated from law school, passed the bar exam and moved to New York City to start a new job. I also did a lot of travelling, which I hope to write about at some point. But for now, here is a look-back at the TV and movies that I watched!

TVB Series

The list of TVB series that I have watched this year is a short one:


  • Threesome - A gem that TVB did not know how to appreciate. Mandy Wong is the true Best Actress in my mind for playing three vastly different characters and switch effortlessly between them.
  • Flying Tiger - A run-of-the-mill police procedural with familiar elements - undercover agents, black cops, a brotherly showdown and a hot-headed Ron Ng.
  • Deep in the Realm of Conscience - A messy, overpopulated series that tried to use extravagance to compensate for its lack of substance.
  • Succession War - The better historical drama of the summer. The story was well-written, coherent and enticing, even if history books were thrown out the window.
  • Life on the Line - A mundane series with too many convenient coincidences and miracles. I watched the majority of this, but never bothered to finish the last week of episodes.
    • The Learning Curve of a Warlord - Without Dicky Cheung, this series would have easily been left in the skip column.


    American TV

    In the absence of good TVB dramas, I have turned to American TV. The first show I watched was Timeless. It is a history lover's dream show. It is well-researched and seamlessly incorporates historical details into the story. And it covered all sorts of historical events and characters. I loved tuning it each week to find out which historical time period the Time Time would travel to next. The second show I watched was Billions, a fast-paced, clever battle of the wits with unpredictable turns. The best thing about it is watching how far the characters are willing to go to win this fight.


      Movies


      I got to see a lot of movies this year because of Moviepass. Sadly, good things don't last forever.
      • Jumanji
      • The Shape of Water
      • The Post
      • I, Tonya
      • All the Money in the World
      • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
      • Black Panther
      • Annihilation
      • Kingsman: Golden Circle
      • Marshall
      • Avengers: Infinity War
      • Guardians of the Galaxy I and II
      • Game Night
      • Chappaquiddick
      • RBG
      • Mission Impossible: Fallout
      • Antman and the Wasp
      • Agent Mr. Chan
      • Searching


      Books

      Now that I don't have to read for school anymore, I am rediscovering the joys of reading for leisure. The first book that I finished in a long time is The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne. It was an unexpected emotional experience as I followed the life of an adopted Irish boy who struggles to understand his identity. The book was captivating, eye-opening, at times shocking, and deeply emotional. Highly recommend!


      What reflections do you have on 2018? What do you hope for in 2019?


      Saturday, December 29, 2018

      TVB Calendar 2019

      January: The Offliners


      February: The Ghetto-Fabulous Lady


      March: The Defected


      April: Big White Duel


      June: Our Unwinding Ethos


      August: Finding Her Voice


      October: Airport Security Unit


      December: Killer



      Thursday, December 27, 2018

      TVB Inventory Levels 2018

      The number of series outstanding for each artist
      As of December 27, 2018

      Legend
      Purple = Ancient
      Green = Pre-modern
      Yellow = Modern
      Blue = Professional/Crime
      White = Unconfirmed
      Italics = Shaw Brothers production



      Sunday, December 23, 2018

      Overview - Guardian Angel

      Casual TVB's 700th post!



      Northern Lights Insurance Company has a team of insurance investigators that is led by Benz Hui, who loves to make impromptu jokes, and includes wealthy heiress Annie Liu, the affectionate Bosco Wong and retired police officer Michael Miu. They each have their own talents and form a legendary team in the insurance industry. They manage to thoroughly investigate and uncover the truth in all the thorny, dangerous or strange cases that are passed to them. Although 9 out of 10 cases end up with the insurance company paying out money, their mission is to discover the truth. Fairness, impartiality and righteousness are their guiding principles. The three investigators are like special agents, conducting cross-border investigations, searching for clues, following targets and gathering evidence. At the same time, they unintentionally become involved many people's stories and become their guardian angel.


      Guardian Angel is a collaboration between Shaw Brothers and iQiyi. It was released online earlier and will air on TVB beginning December 24.

      Sunday, December 02, 2018

      Overview - The Learning Curve of a Warlord



      Dicky Cheung is an unambitious, low-ranking corporal in the Warlord Era. Relying on his savvy mind and silver tongue, he made it through the last twenty years. One time, he saves Generalissimo Choi Kwok Hing and is promoted seven ranks, becoming the local tyrant of a town. Three warlords (Max Cheung, Eddie Pang and Koo Ming Wah) who had established their territory near the town are seething in anger and waiting for an opportunity to deal with him. Luckily, Dicky has three sworn brothers (Tony Hung, Tsui Wing and Oscar Li) who are united against the enemy. They even manage to coerce weapons expert Raymond Cho to join them, allowing them to establish their footing in the town. Dicky has three wives (Zoie Tam, Vivien Yeo and Sisley Choi) who are always competing for his favour. Sisley is a member of the Revolutionary Party. Although Dicky knows of her identity, he still keeps her by his side, which could stir up trouble at any time. The throbbing ambition of someone within the barracks, along with having the other warlords and the Japanese watching him like a hawk, puts Dicky in a desperate situation.


      The Learning Curve of a Warlord Theme Song

      Dicky Cheung sings the theme song, "Utterly Fearless" (大無畏), for The Learning Curve of a Warlord. 



      The sub-theme song, "Honeymoon" (蜜運), is also performed by Dicky.




      Sunday, November 25, 2018

      Predictions for TVB Anniversary Awards 2018

      Here are my thoughts and picks for TVB Anniversary Awards 2018. The full nomination list is here.

      Best Actor


      Prediction: Dicky Cheung (The Learning Curve of a Warlord)
      My Pick: Dicky Cheung (The Learning Curve of a Warlord)

      Yes, The Learning Curve of a Warlord hasn't aired yet. No, it doesn't matter because (1) fans will vote for who they want anyways, and (2) it's adorable that you think TVB hasn't already decided who will win. I think TVB will pull a Dayo here and give this to Dicky because there really isn't much choice. They completely snubbed Steven Ma from a nomination and Benjamin Yuen - the other hot favourite - was nominated for Another Era instead of Stealing Seconds (his winning role in Malaysia and Singapore).


      Best Actress


      Prediction: Mandy Wong (Threesome)
      My Pick: Mandy Wong (Threesome)

      Can Mandy pull a three-peat? Yes. I'm not convinced that TVB will give it to Alice Chan over Mandy, and Ali Lee is not ready for the TV Queen mantle. Plus, Mandy truly is deserving of Best Actress for an extraordinary performance in Threesome. Selena Li is a dark horse candidate and did well in Succession War, but she will have to wait at least one more year.


      Favourite Male Character


      Prediction: Benjamin Yuen (Stealing Seconds)
      My Pick: Ruco Chan (Succession War)

      The fact that Benjamin was nominated for Stealing Seconds in this category, but not in Best Actor, is all the more telling that TVB wants to give him this award and not Best Actor. If he wins, Benjamin will join Kenneth Ma and Raymond Lam as two-time winners of this award and zero-time winners of Best Actor.


      Favourite Female Character


      Prediction: Ali Lee (Who Wants a Baby?)
      My Pick: Mandy Wong (Threesome)

      Ali's character was undeniably well-liked by audiences and this would be an appropriate award for her. Mandy could take home this award too, but there isn't much marginal benefit of giving her another award on top of three TV Queen titles. Unfortunately for Alice Chan, her drama aired too early and her momentum appears to have faded.


      Best Supporting Actor


      Prediction: Tsui Wing (Who Wants a Baby?)
      My Pick: Jonathan Cheung (Succession War)

      This category is usually a toss-up among several deserving candidates. There hasn't been a two-time winner in this category, so that could knock out past winners (Louis Yuen, Willie Wai, Joel Chan, Raymond Cho). I don't really know who to pick, but if it's anyone's "turn", it should be Tsui Wing. He's been a solid supporting actor for years and it would be great if he got some recognition.


      Best Supporting Actress
      林淑敏

      Prediction: Mandy Lam (Come Home Love: Lo and Behold)
      My Pick: Stephanie Ho (Succession War)

      If Best Supporting Actor was a struggle for me to make a pick, I'm just throwing darts for Best Supporting Actress. Mandy was a favourite last year and even made it to the top five. The competition is virtually non-existent this year, so this is her best chance to win.


      Most Improved Actor


      Prediction: Matthew Ho
      My Pick: Matthew Ho

      Matthew is riding high from his popularity from the recently aired Life on the Line. I think he will edge out Owen Cheung, who didn't have any dramas air this year.


      Most Improved Actress


      Prediction: Roxanne Tong
      My Pick: Gloria Tang

      This award should be renamed "Most Improved from Absolute Crap" for this group of nominees. Roxanne is the most established of the bunch. TVB wants to give this to Louisa Mak so badly (they even gave her a Best Actress nomination), but she's only been acting since last year, so it seems too soon to give it her. I still remember the absolutely unwatchable debut of Gloria Tang in The Ultimate Addiction. She has come a long way since then and would actually fit the definition of "Most Improved".


      Favourite TV Partnership


      Prediction: Matthew Ho, Joey Law, Arnold Kwok, Bob Cheung (Life on the Line)
      My Pick: Edwin Siu and Raymond Cho (Two Men in a Kitchen).

      My second pick to win would be Edwin and Raymond, but they already won last year and there isn't any reason why TVB needs to give a pork award to either of them. The Life on the Line "F4" was well-liked by audiences and this would give TVB a chance to promote them, like the former "S4".


      Best Series


      Prediction: Deep in the Realm of Conscience
      My Pick: Succession War

      Deep in the Realm of Conscience tied with Life on the Line for highest viewership among TVB productions, but Deep was the bigger production with the bigger cast and a "golden" producer. I think Succession War was one of the best written series this year, but it got poor ratings, so it will hardly even be considered for Best Series.


      Best Theme Song
      Image result for HANA菊梓喬

      Prediction: A Hana Kuk song
      My Pick: "Unique" by Miriam Yeung (Threesome)

      Hana Kuk is the new Jinny Ng, so she will probably win, but I honestly can't tell which song is which. Miriam Yeung's song for Threesome was my favourite because, well, she's Miriam. And there's no denying that she is leagues above those Voice "singers". Nancy Wu's theme song for Deep in the Realm of Conscience was also on repeat a lot for me. I was impressed by how Nancy was able to carry the power of the song, considering how she's not even a singer.


      Wife Interrupted Theme Song

      The theme song for Wife Interrupted is "Take Risk for Love" (為愛冒險),by Hubert Wu.



      Hubert also sings the ending theme song, "Too Hard to Begin" (太難開始).



      Kayee Tam delivers a rendition of "Amazing Grace" as the sub-theme song.




      Overview - Wife Interrupted



      This is a story about an ordinary person who will go through fire and water to save his beloved wife. Computer engineer Hubert Wu and his wife Moon Lau have an ordinary, blissful life. One morning, Hubert and Moon are suddenly kidnapped by the triads. They claim that Hubert embezzled $100 million from them and demands that he return the money within 72 hours, or else they will kill Moon! While reporting the incident to the police, the perplexed Hubert encounters his old friends, passionate detective Alvin Ng and his high-school crush Ashley Chu. Ashley accompanies Hubert on his journey to save his wife. After investigating, they find out that this is related to a youth hostel that Hubert once stayed at. The online trading platform that he had operated with his friends at the hostel has turned into a money-laundering platform. To find the person behind the scheme, the pair investigate each of the former guests who stayed at the hostel. The process brings up events from the past and they hone in on Telford Wong as their target. The deadline to save his wife is approaching. As Hubert gets closer to the truth, he discovers that Ashley, Alvin, Telford and even Moon has a side that no one knows about...


      Friday, November 23, 2018

      TVB Anniversary Awards 2018 - Nomination List

      The nomination list for TVB Anniversary Awards 2018, which will take place on December 16.

      I will post my thoughts and reactions about the nomination list later. In the meantime, feel free to left a comment with your thoughts below!

      Best Actor
      Lau Kong - The Forgotten Valley
      Raymond Wong - Apple-colada
      Wayne Lai - Daddy Cool
      Carlos Chan - Daddy Cool
      Kenneth Ma - Deep in the Realm of Conscience
      Edwin Siu - Deep in the Realm of Conscience
      Ruco Chan - Succession War
      Chris Lai - Who Wants a Baby?
      Shaun Tam - The Stunt
      Roger Kwok - Another Era
      Benjamin Yuen - Another Era
      Pakho Chau - Another Era
      Joe Ma - Life on the Line
      Matthew Ho - Life on the Line
      Ben Wong - OMG, Your Honour
      Eddie Kwan - OMG, Your Honour
      Vincent Wong - Fist Fight
      Matt Yeung - Fist Fight
      Dicky Cheung - The Learning Curve of a Warlord
      Tony Hung - The Learning Curve of a Warlord

      Best Actress
      Louisa So - The Forgotten Valley
      Grace Chan - The Forgotten Valley
      Mandy Wong - Threesome
      Eliza Sam - Apple-colada
      Rosina Lam - Daddy Cool
      Natalie Tong - Stealing Seconds
      Nancy Wu - Deep in the Realm of Conscience
      Alice Chan - Deep in the Realm of Conscience
      Selena Li - Succession War
      Elaine Yiu - Succession War
      Ali Lee - Who Wants a Baby?
      Tavia Yeung - Another Era
      Niki Chow - Another Era
      Moon Lau - Life on the Line
      Grace Wong - OMG, Your Honour
      Louisa Mak - OMG, Your Honour
      Rebecca Zhu - Fist Fight
      Sisley Choi - The Learning Curve of a Warlord

      Favourite Male Character
      Wayne Lai - Daddy Cool
      Carlos Chan - Daddy Cool
      Benjamin Yuen - Stealing Seconds
      Kenneth Ma - Deep in the Realm of Conscience
      Edwin Siu - Deep in the Realm of Conscience
      Ruco Chan - Succession War
      Shaun Tam - Succession War
      Chris Lai - Who Wants a Baby?
      Pakho Chau - Another Era
      Joe Ma - Life on the Line
      Matthew Ho - Life on the Line
      Ben Wong - OMG, Your Honour
      Eddie Kwan - OMG, Your Honour
      Oscar Leung - OMG, Your Honour
      Hugo Wong - OMG, Your Honour
      Vincent Wong - Fist Fight
      Matt Yeung - Fist Fight
      Hubert Wu - Wife Interrupted
      Dicky Cheung - The Learning Curve of a Warlord
      Tony Hung - The Learning Curve of a Warlord

      Favourite Female Character
      Joyce Tang - Come Home Love: Lo and Behold
      Rebecca Zhu - The Forgotten Valley
      Mandy Wong - Threesome
      Grace Chan - Birth of a Hero
      Crystal Fung - Apple-colada
      Rosina Lam - Daddy Cool
      Natalie Tong - Stealing Seconds
      Nancy Wu - Deep in the Realm of Conscience
      Alice Chan - Deep in the Realm of Conscience
      Selena Li - Succession War
      Elaine Yiu - Succession War
      Ali Lee - Who Wants a Baby?
      Samantha Ko - Who Wants a Baby?
      Gloria Tang - Another Era
      Kelly Cheung - Life on the Line
      Grace Wong - OMG, Your Honour
      Kamen Kong - Fist Fight
      Moon Lau - Wife Interrupted
      Sisley Choi - The Learning Curve of a Warlord

      Best Supporting Actor
      Jimmy Au - Come Home Love: Lo and Behold
      Louis Yuen - The Forgotten Valley
      John Chiang - Birth of a Hero
      Jazz Lam - Apple-colada
      Andrew Yuen - Apple-colada
      Willie Wai - Deep in the Realm of Conscience
      Savio Tsang - Deep in the Realm of Conscience
      Joel Chan - Succession War
      Jonathan Cheung - Succession War
      Tsui Wing - Who Wants a Baby?
      Wu Fung - Another Era
      Karl Ting - Another Era
      Joey Law - Life on the Line
      Arnold Kwok - Life on the Line
      Bob Cheung - Life on the Line
      Oscar Leung - OMG, Your Honour
      Hugo Wong - OMG, Your Honour
      Jackson Lai - OMG, Your Honour
      Telford Wong - Wife Interrupted
      Raymond Cho - The Learning Curve of a Warlord

      Best Supporting Actress
      Joyce Tang - Come Home Love: Lo and Behold
      Mandy Lam - Come Home Love: Lo and Behold
      Zoie Tam - The Forgotten Valley
      Crystal Fung - Apple-colada
      Kamen Kong - Apple-colada
      Elvina Kong - Daddy Cool
      Jacqueline Wong - Deep in the Realm of Conscience
      Susan Tse - Deep in the Realm of Conscience
      Akina Hong - Deep in the Realm of Conscience
      Stephanie Ho - Succession War
      Angelina Lo - Who Wants a Baby?
      Samantha Ko - Who Wants a Baby?
      Gloria Tang - Another Era
      Jeannie Chan - Life on the Line
      Kelly Cheung - Life on the Line
      Pinky Cheung - Life on the Line
      Kirby Lam - OMG, Your Honour
      Tiffany Lau - Fist Fight
      Toby Chan - Fist Fight
      Vivien Yeo - The Learning Curve of a Warlord

      Most Improved Actor
      Owen Cheung, Matthew Ho, Luk Ho Ming, Karl Ting, Hubert Wu

      Most Improved Actress
      Kelly Cheung, Crystal Fung, Louisa Mak, Gloria Tang, Roxanne Tong

      Favourite TV Partnership
      Jimmy Au, Kim Li - Come Home Love: Lo and Behold
      Mandy Lam, Jack Hui - Come Home Love: Lo and Behold
      Benjamin Yuen, Pakho Chau, Gloria Tang - Another Era
      Matthew Ho, Joey Law, Arnold Kwok, Bob Cheung - Life on the Line
      Bob Lam, Oscar Leung, Ricky Fan, Jonathan Wong, Penny Chan - Big Boys Club
      Nancy Sit, Michael Lai, Sharon Chan, Jack Wu - Cantopop at 50
      Luk Ho Ming, Crystal Fung, Louisa Mak - Young and Restless
      Maria Cordero, Luk Ho Ming - Good Cheap Eats 7
      Sisley Choi, Dickson Yu - Fantastic Myanmar
      Edwin Siu, Raymond Cho - Two Men in a Kitchen

      Best Series
      All TVB produced series that aired this year from The Forgotten Valley to The Learning Curve of a Warlord, including Come Hone Love: Lo and Behold, Threesome, and Wife Interrupted. It does not include Flying Tiger or Mainland productions.

      Best Theme Song
      Come Home Love: Lo and Behold - "In My Heart" (Jacqueline Wong)
      The Forgotten Valley - "Half the Sky" (Bianca Wu)
      Watch Out Boss - "Finding a Reason to Leave You" (Jinny Ng)
      Threesome - "Unique" (Miriam Yeung)
      Birth of a Hero - "Love is Endless" (Auston Lam)
      Apple-colada - "Wandering Adventures With You" (Kayee Tam)
      Daddy Cool - "Defying Heaven" (Fred Cheng)
      Stealing Seconds - "Most Unforgettable Day" (Hubert Wu), "Back to the Past" (Hana Kuk)
      The Taxorcist Sidequel - "Flower Forest" (Kayee Tam), "Predestined" (Yeung Chiu Hoi)
      Fire of Eternal Love - "Listen to Snow Weep" (Hana Kuk)
      Deep in the Realm of Conscience - "No Regrets, No Qualms" (Nancy Wu), "Moths Pounce on Fire" (Hana Kuk), "Bright Moon and Ocean" (Steven Ma/Nancy Wu)
      Cooking Beauties - "You are Forever Young" (Jessica Law)
      Succession War - "Regretful Separation" (Ruco Chan)
      Who Wants a Baby? - "Having You" (Kayee Tam)
      No Love Left in Tainan - "Story that Has Not Begun" (Joey Thye)
      Story of Yanxi Palace - "Impermanent Year" (Jinny Ng)
      The Stunt - "Belief" (Fred Cheng), "Lonely" (Kayee Tam)
      The Secret Dragon in the Abyss - "No Regrets in This Life" (Hubert Wu)
      Another Era - "Utopia" (Hubert Wu), "Only Want to Be With You Again" (Hana Kuk), "Why Did You Betray Me" (Jinny Ng)
      Life on the Line - "Fearless Shoulder" (Fred Cheng), "Never Spoken About" (Hana Kuk), "WIshing We Live Forever" (Hana Kuk)
      OMG, Your Honour - "Rationality and Sensibility" (Hubert Wu), "Naive in Love" (Grace Wong), "Nocturne Chapter 17" (Jonathan Wong)
      Fist Fight - "Extraordinary" (Vincent Wong), "Don't Be Afraid" (Hana Kuk)
      Wife Interrupted - "Take Risk for Love" (Hubert Wu), "Too Hard to Begin" (Hubert Wu), "Repeat Love Once" (Alvin Ng)
      The Learning Curve of a Warlord - "Utterly Fearless" (Dicky Cheung), "Honeymoon" (Dicky Cheung)

      Best Host
      Luk Ho Ming, Crystal Fung, Louisa Mak - Young and Restless
      Jarvis Chow - Think You Know Tokyo?
      Dodo Cheng, Fama - Do Did Eat
      Maria Cordero, Luk Ho Ming - Good Cheap Eats 7
      Edwin Siu, Bob Lam, Owen Cheung - Cooking Beauties
      Edwin Siu, Raymond Cho - Two Men in a Kitchen
      Sammy Leung, Mayanne Mak, Jinny Ng, Karl Ting - Sammy On The Go
      Gigi Wong - Eating Well with Madam Wong 4
      Janis Chan - Faraway Brides 2
      Kristal Tin - Pretty Forty

      Best Non-Drama Programme
      Sidewalk Scientist, Fun Abroad, Cantopop at 50, Young and Restless, CNY Shopping List, Better Be Right, Miss Chinese International Pageant 2018, Feng Shui for the New Year, New Year is a Game, Through Thick and Thin, Midnight Banquets, Big Big Beauty, Homegrown Flavours, Think You Know Tokyo?, Do Did Eat, Leo Ku Special, Battle for the Exorcist's Meter, Nano Abode, The Taxorcist Sidequel, Planet Earth II, Homemade Therapy, Good Cheap Eats 7, Fantastic Myanmar, Cooking Beauties, Once Upon a Time in Tiny Hong Kong, A Father's Confession, Sir Ben Prop Guide, Scene of the Accident, Bazaar Carnivals 4, What's Up Taipei?, Big Big Channel 1st Anniversary All Star Gala, Two Men in a Kitchen, No Love Left in Tainan, Sammy On The Go, Miss Hong Kong Pageant 2018, Love Travel With High Speed Rail, Eating Well with Madam Wong 4, Neighborhood Gourmet 5, Nancy & Friends at 60, Big Big Bay, Story of Yanxi Palace Special, Faraway Brides 2, Du Du Shoryudo, Eat Well Mom, The X Factor of Joy, TVB Anniversary Gala, Pretty Forty, Roaming Siblings, Age No More


      Saturday, November 17, 2018

      TVB Sales Presentation 2019 - Series Briefs

      Wonder Women


      Miriam Yeung is a fashionable “multi-functional” housewife. She lives happily with her husband. Raymond Wong. She has two good friends: the career-oriented Alice Chan and the beautiful, wealthy wife Rebecca Zhu. The three ladies have very different views on love. Raymond, who is focused in building his career, leaves for China after he is caught cheating. Divorced, Miriam raises her son on her own. She rents out part of her apartment to the tall, handsome and rich Pakho Chau. Their squabbles with each other generate a lot of laughter. Women may wither because of one man's heartlessness, but can bloom again because of another man's affection. Pakho helps Miriam establish her career. Just as she regains her self-confidence, Raymond returns, seeking to remarry. See who Miriam loves the most!

      Interest level: 5/5. Do I really need to explain why? The trailer gives me the feeling of a classic Miriam movie. Can’t wait to see Miriam, Raymond and Benz Hui reunited on-screen. Not thrilled to see Jinny Ng in this, but hopefully I can just forward her scenes. AND SHE BETTER NOT SING ANY SONGS FOR THIS SERIES WITH MIRIAM HERE!


      The Defected


      Police inspector Benjamin Yuen is shot in the head while trying to save a colleague. He miraculously survives and earns the nickname “Iron Detective”, but the residual effects are ongoing… The person who shot Benjamin turns out to be Philip Keung, an undercover agent for Chief Superintendent Kara Hui. Kara betrayed Philip due to a power struggle with another senior officer, Shek Sau. Enraged, Philip opened fire and accidentally injured Benjamin. The shot forced Philip to become a defector, but his aspirations as a police officer never changed. Benjamin becomes a pawn in the power struggle. Luckily, he receives help from Chief Superintendent Ben Wong and vows to end the power struggle. Philip sacrifices himself to obtain evidence of Kara’s misconduct as an ultimate penance to Benjamin. Benjamin angrily accuses Kara, but the judge rules that he only had himself to blame. Defying the authority of the police force, Benjamin appeals and finally wins justice! Unfortunately, the residual effects put him on the verge of death, but he insists on investigating cases until the last day. Two “iron detectives” have no regrets about their lives.

      Interest level: 4.5/5. Stellar cast and strong story. As long as TVB doesn't pull some Bullet Brain ridiculousness with being shot in the head.


      Eighteen Years Later: Ultimate Confession


      Eighteen years ago, on an ordinary night, a group of seven youths, including Shaun Tam, Joel Chan and Anthony Yuen, get into a fight with local gangster Oman Lam. After brawling and chasing in the dark, Oman laid dead in a pool of blood. Having made a huge mistake, the group decided to bury the body and pray that no one will ever discover the secret.

      Eighteen years later, they each have their own careers and lives. Suddenly, someone discovers Oman's body, digging up the secret from many years ago. CID Inspector Mandy Wong takes over the investigation and slowly unravels the truth. Mandy's father, Dominic Lam, turns out to be Oman's biological father. He vows to make the murderers bear the responsibility of their crimes. Shaun, Joel and Anthony face severe pressure. Facing the choice of their lives, will they take responsibility and admit their wrongdoing, or will they continue to hide the truth and fall into a deep, dark hole? When Shaun falls in love with Mandy, he gets caught in a complex web of relationships. Meanwhile, the real killer is hiding in the dark and eliminates all those that reveal the truth.

      Interest level: 4/5. I like a nice whodunit series. 


      Big White Duel


      The cost of Hong Kong’s public health care system has increased exponentially year after year. It is like a ticking bomb that can explode at any time. Roger Kwok, the vice president of the leading public hospital, is determined to push for health care reform and conduct "major surgery" on the system. But his plan is questioned by his colleague, genius doctor Kenneth Ma. Kenneth is worried that if health care reform is implemented, there will be people who die because they cannot afford the medical costs. Although their differing philosophies spark a series of conflicts, they both have a benevolent heart of a doctor who wants to save lives. Along with a group of elite medical professionals, they care for each patient at the hospital, creating moving stories with their benevolent hearts and skillful execution.

      Interest level: 4/5. The premise is interesting, but will need to see if TVB can pull off thoughtful commentary on health care policy.


      Agent C9


      After an explosion at the Hong Kong branch of a secret organization, Agent C9 (Samantha Ko) loses contact with headquarters. She marries an honest vegetable vendor, Kenneth Ma. Every day, she is busy taking care of Kenneth's troublesome, but warm family members. She enjoys four years of an ordinary, blissful life as a housewife. Unexpectedly, her former partner, Agent B3, appears and asks her to investigate the reason for the explosion at the branch, as well as to recover a nerve agent that went missing after the explosion.

      Samantha begins a double-life as a housewife and a secret agent. Kenneth inadvertently learns about Samantha's identity and cannot accept it in the moment. During the cooling-off period, Kenneth realizes his feelings for Samantha and genuinely accepts her. Soon, Samantha discovers that B3 was actually the traitor that blew up the branch and is using her to find the nerve agent in order to sell it for profit. Samantha and Kenneth, who has no skills as a secret agent, work together as a couple with one heart against B3 to ensure world peace!

      Interest level: 2/5. Seems like a cute drama. Samantha Ko as the leading lady gives me pause. Plot-wise, halfway through reading the synopsis, I already guessed that B3 would be the culprit in the explosion. Can TVB at least make the synopsis not so predictable?


      Golden Building


      By chance, Joel Chan became the security guard for Golden Building. In this building with an old physical appearance, people of all kinds, and widely-known ghost rumours, Joel encounters a cool and beautiful air stewardess, Selena Li. He is shocked to see Selena, who looks exactly like the qipao-wearing girl in his dreams! He naturally wants to get closer to Selena and learn about about his connection to her. Their relationship gradually grows.

      At the same time, there are many stories happening within the building, like the weird young woman who pushes around a sealed stroller, the single mother whose son goes mysterious missing, the pretty female accountant whose sexual fortunes take a turn, the male homebody who is addicted to peeping on teenage girls, and the odd bookstore owner. Each seems unable to escape their own fate. Meanwhile, strange things keep occurring. As Joel investigates, he finds out that he and Selena did not come to this building coincidentally. They are inextricably linked to the building itself. Joel and Selena's complicated relationship today can be traced back to a love affair that happened in the building in the 1960s. Destiny guided Joel to the Golden Building...

      Interest level: 1/5. Not into the supernatural genre. 


      Wife Interrupted


      This is a story about an ordinary person who will go through fire and water to save his beloved wife. Hubert Wu is a homebody who follows a regular routine. Every day, he goes to work, then goes home. Some people would think it is dry and dull, but Hubert and his wife, Moon Lau, are content.

      On Christmas Eve, Hubert and Moon go shopping. When they step into the mall, they are kidnapped by Santa Claus and his elves! They accuse Hubert of embezzling money from them and demands that he return the money within 72 hours, or else they will kill Moon. Except Hubert did not take the money. He is scared. Who are these people and what is happening? He must find out before the deadline. The only clue he has is that the Santa Claus seems to have a connection with a youth hostel that Hubert once stayed at. Starting with his old friends from the hostel, Hubert embarks on a journey to save his wife!

      Interest level: 1/5. Lame holiday special.


      Neighbourhood Fortune Man


      Loan-shark king Kent Chang has always used underworld tactics to run his loan-shark business and employs improper methods to collect debts. Although his wife Maggie Siu has urged him to wash his hands of the business, he is unrepentant. As Kent operates his business and collects debts, he attracts the attention of detective Chris Lai. Chris, who is righteous and abhors evil, vows to fight against evil forces.

      One day, lightning strikes down from the sky and Kent is moved by the heavens. Since then, he has laid down the butcher's knife and used his fortune to give back to the community. The "Neighbourhood Fortune Man" hands out money and love. But it is hard to be a good person. Can a super bad guy suddenly turn good? This impossible task inevitably concerns the finances and grievances of the underworld and affects people from the both sides of the law, drawing the police and Interpol to participate in the fight against crime.

      Interest level: 2/5. Could be good for a few laughs, but the producer isn't even trying here. The plot sounds exactly the same as his previous drama, My Dangerous Mafia Retirement Plan. Have never been particularly impressed with Kent's acting. 


      Justice Bao: The First Year


      During the reign of Emperor Renzong of Song, things appear to be peaceful, but there are actually many hidden internal and external threats. The Emperor appoints Shaun Tam as the magistrate of Kaifeng and grants him the power to execute someone before reporting it. Shaun and his adviser (Raymond Cho), bodyguard (Owen Cheung) and four bailiffs oversee Kaifeng and fight against corrupt officials. But the tyrannical and corrupt Henry Li creates many roadblocks to their investigations. The fierce Nancy Wu is an eloquent speaker and receives training from Raymond to become the first female lawyer of the Song Dynasty. Maid Elaine Yiu, the daughter of a coroner, is skilled in autopsies and promoted by Shaun to be Kaifeng's coroner. The two women help the seven men see through and solve strange cases.

      Shaun and Elaine go through life and death situations together and have a deep relationship. Just before they get married, Shaun discovers that Elaine's real identity is a spy from the Liao Empire and is hiding a huge conspiracy. Nancy's father, KK Cheung, reveals that the Emperor is not the rightful emperor and plans to rebel! Shaun faces a very difficult problem. If the Emperor is not of imperial descent, the Song Dynasty will fall into KK's hands and become a puppet of the Liao Empire. If the Emperor is deposed, the country will lose a virtuous monarch and is bound to face disaster. Will Shaun twist the truth for the sake of society? Or will he enter the tiger's den to investigate the truth and reveal whether the rumour about the Emperor's ancestry is true or false?

      Interest level: 4/5. The detective and historical aspects should be good. This is also the only ancient drama in the pipeline. 


      The Solvers


      A young Vincent Wong witnessed his father beat his mother to death. He grabbed a knife and avenged her. Ever since then, he followed members of the Chinese-Australian triad, learning to use horrific tactics to solve problems that even the triads couldn't resolve and becoming a fixer. During one mission, Vincent is accused of being a traitor. He fakes his own death and escapes from Australia. Travelling to Hong Kong, he becomes a high school gym teacher. He changes his name and hopes to start a new life where he can spend simple, happy days in the pure school environment. But he encounters a music teacher, Natalie Tong, who is the daughter of a triad leader. When Natalie's father retires from the triads, there is a period of unrest and Natalie is repeatedly in danger. In order to protect her, Vincent once again connects with the triads. At the same time, Vincent meets OCTB Senior Inspector Jonathan Cheung. Unexpectedly, this honourable officer ultimately goes down the path of a black cop. Who is white and who is black? In Vincent and Jonathan's ultimate faceoff, who will resolve who?

      Interest level: 4.5/5. This dark synopsis practically has me salivating already. For some reason, Vincent in the trailer reminds me of Stone Sir (Felix Wong) in Gun Metal Grey. Hoping that this will be a similarly dark thriller. Glad to see Jonathan Cheung being given a meaty role. I think he is one of the most underrated young actors in TVB.


      Finding Her Voice


      It is said that the memory of sound is not as good as the memory of sight or touch. But for Principal Chung King Fei, the sound of a soprano from forty years ago still feels new and is always on his mind. Because of this voice, he decides to return to Hong Kong from Canada by himself, hoping to reunite with his former students.

      Back then, his elementary school in Ngau Tau Kok defeated many competitors to win first place at a music competition. It was not only a meaningful award for Chung King Fei's career, but also, for some students, the only honour that they got in their lives. In the blink of an eye, the children have become average middle-aged adults. They have gone their separate ways and have been working hard for their livelihoods, giving up on their interest for singing a long time ago. With the hard work of Chung King Fei's divorced granddaughter Jacqueline Wong, her investigator friend Owen Cheung, the enthusiastic school senior Hugo Ng and his capable but always full of suspicion wife Mimi Kung, they find the former members of the choir one by one - Joe Cheng, Savio Tsang, Jimmy Au, Ram Chiang, Willie Wai and Sam Tsang. They revive the choir and shine on stage once again. Despite the brief reunion, everyone finds their second spring in life.

      Interest level: 1/5. Kudos to TVB for finally putting their veteran actors in the spotlight, but it's not a very interesting drama.


      Airport Security Unit


      Hong Kong's Airport Security Unit (ASU) is a paramilitary special police unit. Their main responsibilities include maintaining public and aviation safety, anti-terrorism, VIP protection and crisis response. The story begins with a robbery at the airport. The suspect causes a serious traffic accident as he is escaping. Off-duty police officers Owen Cheung, Matt Yeung, Hugo Wong and Sisley Choi happen to be at the airport and join in helping people and apprehending the suspect. A year later, the four of them, from different police departments, apply to join the ASU at the same time.

      Through four days and three nights of a grueling selection process, and twelve weeks of rigorous training under the strict guidance of Eddie Kwan, the four of them establish a deep friendship and successfully join the ASU. The four new members create sparks with the veteran members. The new exchange with the old and both learn from each other. While on-duty, they each encounter different stories and situations, seeing the joys and sorrows and lingering near life and death. They each reflect on their own life, leading to improvement and establishing their sense of purpose as a ASU member.

      Interest level: 3.5/5. Another formulaic police procedural. TVB generally does a decent job of these, but it will all be very familiar. Okay picks for male leads, but Sisley Choi is just bad. 


      Killer


      Wayne Lai is targeted by someone, causing his wife to be killed and his daughter to become blind. The former "King of Assassins" becomes a downcast, low-end assassin. Meanwhile, Moses Chan is a legendary assassin with an unparalleled reputation. But behind the glory, he carries the burden of avenging his sworn brother.

      Fate brings the high-end and the low-end assassin together. Wayne's enemy turns out to be the same person who killed Moses's sworn brother - Taiwanese triad leader Hung. The two of them join forces to kill Hung. Influential Hong Kong figure "Buddha" tries to recruit Moses but is rejected. He is outraged and repeatedly threatens Moses, eventually forcing Moses to kill him with the help of Wayne. One crisis has just been settled and another is raised. Several assassins have mysteriously been killed. The name "Assassin Hunter" is spreading like wildfire. The Assassin Hunter turns out to be intricately linked to Wayne. Moses vows to eliminate the Assassin Hunter, forcing him and Wayne into a life or death confrontation.

      Interest level: 3/5. Very disappointed that this is a comedy. I don't think Wayne or Moses are the strongest in comedies and the topic seems unsuited as a comedy. Will still give it a try because of the cast and novel topic. 

      Thursday, November 15, 2018

      Fist Fight Theme Song

      Vincent Wong sings the theme song "Extraordinary" (非凡) for Fist Fight.



      Hana Kuk sings the ending theme song, "Don't Be Afraid" (別再怕).




      Saturday, November 10, 2018

      TVB Sales Presentation 2019

      Wonder Women


      Big White Duel


      The Defected


      Killer


      Eighteen Years Later: Ultimate Confession


      The Solvers


      Airport Security Unit


      Agent C9


      Neighbourhood Fortune Man


      Finding Her Voice


      Golden Building


      Justice Bao: The First Year



      Overview - Fist Fight



      Matt Yeung, a bodyguard from the UK, arrives in Hong Kong on an assignment to protect Internet celebrity Vincent Wong. Matt takes the opportunity to look for clues about his past. Vincent, who is arrogant and brash, organizes a boxing tournament as a cover for hackers to come to Hong Kong. Throughout the process, he gets into many troublesome situations, but luckily, Matt is able to resolve them. The incident attracts the attention of hot-headed police officer, Philip Ng, who is determined to investigate. It turns out that Philip once impulsively made a mistake that he cannot speak about, which led to him becoming more radical. The boxing match evokes the naturally competitive nature of the three men. They eventually discover that they share a telepathic connection, allowing them to rescue each other. The secret behind their bond is connected to the financial crisis twenty years ago...


      Sunday, October 28, 2018

      OMG, Your Honour Theme Song

      The theme song for OMG, Your Honour is sung by Hubert Wu, entitled "Rationality and Sensibility" (理性感性). Does the intro sound familiar?



      The sub-theme song is "Naive in Love" (戀愛幼稚), by Grace Wong.




      Overview - OMG, Your Honour



      Ben Wong and Eddie Kwan are both well-known barristers for handling criminal cases in Hong Kong. They have known each other for thirty years, as classmates and pupils under the same mentor, but have been feuding since the first day of law school. Ben suspects that Eddie played tricks to win their first case against each other, which caused their grudge to deepen. During a rough time in his romantic life, Ben met TV anchor Grace Wong. They had a shotgun wedding, but it only lasted a few months before they separated. By chance, Grace meets Eddie, whom she hits it off with. This causes the rivalry between Eddie and Ben to become even more muddled. Although they cannot get along, their pupils are good friends. But a lawyer's life is not as glamorous as it seems. Along with their mentors, six young lawyers - Louisa Mak, Oscar Leung, Jonathan Wong, Jackson Lai, Kirby Lam and King Lam - must work to defend the law, while stumbling along as they grow...


      Monday, October 08, 2018

      Life on the Line Theme Song

      The theme song for Life on the Line is "Fearless Shoulder" (無畏的肩膊), by Fred Cheng.



      Hana Kuk performs two songs for the series. The first one is the ending theme song, "Never Spoken About" (從未說起).



      The second song is the sub-theme song - a rendition of "但願人長久" (Wishing We Last Forever), originally by Lowell Lo. Leslie Cheung also recorded a version of the song.




      Overview - Life on the Line



      After his wife Ali Lee was killed by a drunk driver, Principal Ambulanceman Joe Ma has lived with his only daughter, sister (Pinky Cheung) and sister-in-law (Moon Lau). Because of his wife's death, Joe hates people who do not abide by the rules and who act recklessly. At work, Joe is strict and impartial. His new subordinate Matthew Ho is impulsive and frequently has conflicts with Joe. Meanwhile, the new Probationary Ambulance Officer Joey Law is a perfectionist and always picks on Matthew, causing the team members to feel pressured. As the intermediary, Joe works hard to maintain the team's cohesiveness and collaborative spirit. At the same time, he hopes to train a group of elite paramedics that can save more lives under different, challenging circumstances.


      Wednesday, September 12, 2018

      Another Era Theme Song

      The theme song for Another Era is "Utopia" (烏托邦), by Pakho Chau.



      The ending theme song is "Only Want to Be With You Again" (只想與你再一起), by Hana Kuk.




      Monday, September 03, 2018

      Overview - Another Era



      The 2008 financial crisis swept the whole world. Ambitious businessman Roger Kwok seizes the opportunity to take over the corporation of Hong Kong's wealthiest man (Wu Fung), but is blocked by businessman Pat Poon. Roger holds a grudge and looks for an opportunity to get revenge.

      Ten years later, Pat has become the richest person in Hong Kong, yet encounters unfortunate circumstances. When his son is killed in an accident, Pat suffers a heart attack and falls into a coma. To manage the family business, his inexperienced daughter Niki Chow, with the help of private equity fund manager Frankie Lam, engages in a corporate war with Roger. When Pat awakens, he, along with Roger's wife (Tavia Yeung), Wu Fung's grandson (Benjamin Yuen), and a young entrepreneur (Pakho Chau) all join the battle. Everyone's fate become entangled as they stir up another battle of the century...

      Thursday, August 16, 2018

      Story of Yanxi Palace Connection

      I am not watching Story of Yanxi Palace, but found that it had some interesting connections to Succession War.

      Story of Yanxi Palace takes place during the Qianlong era, which directly precedes the time period of Succession War.

      The Emperor in Story of Yanxi Palace is the Qianlong Emperor (乾隆帝). He is the younger version of KK Cheung's character from Succession War.

      The initial Empress in the series is Qianlong's first Empress. She was a virtuous queen whom Qianlong loved dearly. Unfortunately, she died of illness during the thirteenth year of his reign.
      • The brother of the Empress is Feheng (傅恆). He is the father of Fuk'anggan (福康安) (Kenneth Fok in Succession War) and Fu Changan (福長安) (Joel Chan in Succession War).

      After the first Empress died, Charmaine Sheh's character becomes the second Empress. However, she later abruptly falls out of favour with the emperor for unknown reasons.

      The main actress in Story of Yanxi Palace will become Qianlong's concubine, reaching the rank of Imperial Noble Consort (皇貴妃). When the second Empress died, Qianlong did not name another empress and she served as the de facto empress.
      • She is the mother of the Jiaqing Emperor (嘉慶帝) (Shaun Tam in Succession War) and was posthumously honoured as Empress when he was named crown prince.
      • She is also the mother of Qianlong's 17th son (Jonathan Cheung in Succession War) and 7th daughter. The 7th princess was married to Mongol nobleman, Lavan Dorji (拉旺多爾濟) (Andrew Yuen in Succession War).

      The younger version of Angelina Lo's character in Succession War appears in Story of Yanxi Palace as Noble Lady Ying (穎貴人).




      Monday, August 06, 2018

      The Stunt Theme Song

      The theme song for The Stunt is "Belief" (信念), by Fred Cheng.



      Kayee Tam sings the English sub-theme song, entitled "Lonely".




      Saturday, August 04, 2018

      Overview - The Stunt



      "Peak" was a famous car stunt team in the film industry, but after an accident two years ago, team leader Shaun Tam decided to disband the team. In order to fulfill her father's dying wish, team member Rebecca Zhu works as a stunt double in films, while actively trying to convince the team to regroup. Through hard work, she is finally successful. Rookie director Kelvin Kwan wants to work with the Peak team to film a movie about stunt doubles, but is rejected by Shaun. Rebecca has had a crush on Shaun for many years. Meanwhile, Kelvin is developing feelings for Rebecca. In addition to "flower vase" actress Kelly Fu, the relationship between the four people becomes tangled. When Rebecca unveils a long-kept secret, she is unable to continue her path as a stunt double. How will Shaun resolve this?


      Saturday, July 28, 2018

      Historical Context: Heshen


      Heshen (和珅) was a prominent Qing official during the Qianlong era. He is known as the most corrupt official in Chinese history, accumulating a personal wealth that was equivalent to 15 years of the government's revenue.

      Heshen was born to a Manchu military official. Both his parents died when he was young, leaving him and his brother, Helin (和琳), to be raised by their family's housekeeper, Liu Quan (劉全). Heshen attended a school for Manchu aristocrats, where he was an impressive student. By the age of 18, he was fluent in four languages and well-versed in the classical texts.

      At the age of 22, Heshen entered the palace to serve as a palace guard. Shortly afterwards, he caught the attention of the Qianlong Emperor, and thereafter, began a meteoric rise through the ranks. Within a few years, he held high-ranking positions in all of the key departments, including the Imperial Household Departments, Ministry of Revenue, and Grand Council. He further secured power by marrying his son, Fengshen Yinde (豐紳殷德), to the Qianlong Emperor's youngest princess.

      Initially, Heshen was an honest official who rejected gifts from people who wanted to bribe him. This was until he got his first taste of wealth when he was put in charge of investigating the corrupt official, Li Shiyao (李侍堯). After Li was arrested, Heshen secretly kept much of the confiscated assets for himself.

      Henry Lo plays Heshen in Word Twisters' Adventure.
      After the Li Shiyao case, Heshen's greed and ambitions grew. He began to accept bribes and form his own clique. Because he held so many high-ranking positions, he was able to eliminate his political opponents and insert his cronies into key positions. His corrupt network expanded throughout the bureaucracy and across the nation. They routinely siphoned money from public funds, including military and emergency relief funds. Heshen demanded bribes from government officials and turned the imperial examination system into an auction for government jobs. He also established a system where officials who were found guilty of corruption could buy their way out of punishment. It caused systematic, widespread corruption at all levels of government that lasted well past Heshen's time in power and contributed to the Qing Dynasty's decline.

      Heshen lived a luxurious lifestyle. He had hundreds of women and servants living in his home. His mansion was comparable to the imperial palace, constructed using materials stolen from the palace and replicating its designs. He frequently hosted banquets and dined on delicacies with golden utensils. He owned a large amount of furniture, vases, art pieces, silk, clothing, animal hide, and other valuable possessions.



      The Qianlong Emperor was well-aware of Heshen's corruption, but never sought to punish him. The emperor acquiesced to Heshen’s corrupt conduct because Heshen filled the palace’s coffers to pay for Qianlong’s extravagant spending and southern expeditions. Heshen was also good at flattery, attentive and knew how to cater to the elderly emperor’s tastes. For example, he spent time studying Qianlong’s poetic style and frequently discussed poetry with the emperor. Qianlong was very fond of Heshen’s literary talents.

      A Connection With Nancy Wu?


      As the Qianlong Emperor grew older, he often was not able to speak clearly and only Heshen could understand what he was saying. Thus, whenever he held court, he would order Heshen to stand next to him. Heshen would "listen" to what the emperor said and then issue edicts on his behalf. This earned Heshen the nickname as the "Second Emperor".


      Upon Qianlong's death, the Jiaqing Emperor quickly stripped Heshen of his official titles and ordered for him to be arrested. He was declared guilty of 20 great sins and was sentenced to death by slow slicing. However, his daughter-in-law, the Tenth Princess, pleaded with Jiaqing to allow him to commit suicide. Jiaqing granted the request and Heshen hung himself at his home. His family was spared on account of their relationship with the Tenth Princess.

      After his death, it was discovered that Heshen's personal wealth was worth between 800 to 1100 million taels of silver (compared to the government's annual revenue of only 70 million taels of silver). His net worth is estimated to be about $132 billion USD in today's dollars, putting him among the richest individuals in history.

      Heshen's former mansion was granted to Jiaqing's 17th brother, Yonglin (Jonathan Cheung in Succession War), while the gardens were given to his 11th brother, Yongsing (David Do in Succession War). Later, the residence was given the Daoguang Emperor's sixth son, Prince Gong (KK Cheung in The Confidant). The mansion is now a museum in Beijing.


      Wednesday, July 18, 2018

      Historical Context: Li Chengqi


      Li Chengqi (李成器) was the eldest son of Emperor Ruizong. At the age of six, he was named crown prince when his father became emperor, but he was demoted from that position when his grandmother, Wu Zetian, became emperor.

      Later, his brother, the future Emperor Xuanzong, staged a successful coup and restored their father, Ruizong, to the throne. As the eldest son, Li Chengqi was expected to be renamed as crown prince. However, he voluntarily yielded the position to Xuanzong. Initially, Ruizong was hesitant about this decision because under Confucian principles, the eldest son was the proper heir to the throne. However, Li pleaded with Ruizong, saying "During times of peace, the eldest son should come first, but during times of difficulties, those with merit should be chosen." Ruizong finally relented and named Xuanzong as crown prince. Li accepted a position as adviser to Xuanzong.

      Li had a close relationship with Xuanzong, despite constant rumours that he could threaten Xuanzong's claim to the throne. For his part, Li remained humble and stayed out of political matters. Instead, he enjoyed studying music and the arts. He was known for his proficiency with music from different cultures and was particularly skilled at playing the flute and drums. As emperor, Xuanzong treated Li and their other brothers very well. He built mansions for them near the palace and often invited them to enjoy food, drinks and music together. As the years went on, their other brothers passed away one by one, and Li was Xuanzong's only surviving brother. Thus, Xuanzong valued him even more. He often sent gifts and food to Li and personally visited him on his birthdays.

      Li died at the age of 63. Xuanzong greatly mourned him and posthumously named him as Emperor Rang (讓皇帝), meaning the "emperor who yielded", in recognition of his status as the proper heir.

      Watch this clip from Deep in the Realm of Conscience which shows Li Chengqi's affinity for the arts and the yielding of the crown prince position to his brother.