Monday, December 02, 2019

Miriam Yeung @ Atlantic City

Last week, I took a break from Wonder Women to see Miriam Yeung in person! She performed in Atlantic City on her My Beautiful Live world tour.

This is the second time I've watched a Miriam concert. Last time, I saw her in Hong Kong and she sang many side tracks. This time, she stuck to the classics. One thing I've noticed from her two concerts is that she does not spend a lot of time talking. Instead, she prefers to sing song after song, to fit in as many songs as possible for her fans.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Wonder Women Theme Song

The theme song for Wonder Women is "Marry to Love" (嫁給愛情), by Miriam Yeung (obviously).

The ending theme song is "Allow Love to Fly High" (讓愛高飛), by Pakho Chau.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Overview - Wonder Women

Miriam Yeung is a fashionable, cheerful, "multi-functional" housewife. She has a loving architect husband (Raymond Wong) and an intelligent and lively son. Her life is happy and blissful. She also has two close friends: the career-oriented Alice Chan and the beautiful, wealthy wife Rebecca Zhu. The three ladies have very different characters and views on love, and have experienced different bumps in their love lives. Raymond is completely focused on building his career and abandons his wife and son to go to China after he is caught cheating. Miriam becomes like an angel who has fallen to the ground with broken wings. Raising her son on her own and with an unpaid mortgage, she rents out a room in her apartment. Her squabbles with the tall, handsome, rich tenant Pakho Chau causes lots of funny moments. By chance, Miriam turns from a housewife to a famous chef. Pakho turns into her wings and helps her build her chef career. Women may wither because of one man's heartlessness, but can bloom again because of another man's affection. At this time, Raymond returns, seeking to remarry, while Pakho actively makes a move. The love triangle reaches a stalemate!

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Overview - The Offliners

In Hong Kong, entering the financial, real estate or commercial industries are "down-to-earth" activities, but wealthy heiress Katy Kung likes being "off the ground." She and good friend Jason Chan open a tech start-up. A hacker incident allows Katy to witness the talents of IT genius Owen Cheung. She invites him to join the company. Owen is an "off-the-ground" homebody who disregards the world around him. With the help of nurse Moon Lau, he learns how to communicate well and starts to develop feelings for her. Katy and Owen go from having a difference of opinions to working together and complementing each other's weaknesses, and she unconsciously develops feelings for him. Katy initially believed that technoloy will bring beauty to the world, until Internet scandals successively hit her father (Joseph Lee), brother (Jonanthan Wong), and sister (Jacqueline Wong)!

Saturday, October 19, 2019

After School by Flora Chan

I recently discovered After School, a self-produced show by Flora Chan, where she invited guest stars to visit their alma maters and share their personal stories about their school days.

In this episode, Flora accompanies Carman Lee as Carman returns to her high school for the first time in thirty years. Flora has always been one of my favourite actresses and I've loved Carman since Never Dance Alone. I am thrilled to see them share the screen again. This episode is genuine, meaningful and sincere. I especially love Flora's soothing voice as narrator.

The Man Who Kills Troubles Theme Song

The theme song for The Man Who Kills Troubles is "Heaven Knows" (天知), by Andy Leung and On Chan.

Vincent Wong performs the ending theme song, named "Cannot Afford Love" (愛不起).

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Overview - The Man Who Kills Trouble

Fixers will use any means necessary to help the triads solve the most difficult problems. Vincent Wong, a fixer for a Chinese-Australian triad, wishes to leave the triads and be together with his loved one (Kelly Cheung) but she dies in an accident. At the same time, he is framed for murdering a triad leader. He fakes his death to escape from being killed and travels to Hong Kong, where he starts a new life as a high school gym teacher. Natalie Tong, a new teacher at the school, is actually the daughter of a triad leader. Her father's retirement from the triads causes waves on both the lawful and unlawful sides, and even affects the school community. Vincent is forced to take up his identity as a fixer again to protect Natalie and the students. Jonathan Cheung, a future star in the police force, has vowed to rid Hong Kong of the triads. But a truth causes him to completely lose his morality and step onto the road of evil. His subordinate Crystal Fung loves him deeply, but is unable to convince him...Vincent learns that there is more to Kelly's death. At the same time, Natalie's father is secretly killed. With the help of her father's assistant Sharon Chan, Natalie takes over as triad leader to bring control to the chaotic underworld. Vincent and Natalie are in love, so he gives his utmost support and protection to her. Facing a new realignment in the good and bad spheres, who can set things right again?

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Overview - Finding Her Voice

Retired principal Chung King Fai returned to Hong Kong from Canada in order to search for the soprano voice on his mind. He returns to the rebuilt Ngau Tau Kok estate. His granddaughter, the reclusive illustrator Jacqueline Wong, promises to help him find his former students from the elementary school choir from forty years ago. The divorced Jacqueline, with the help of her investigator friend and "fake husband" Owen Cheung, and former students Hugo Ng and Mimi Kung, finally finds the other members - Ram Chiang, Joe Cheng, Sam Tsang, Willie Wai, Jimmy Au, Savio Tsand and former music teacher Lo Koon Lan - and reunites the choir. But these middle-aged men, who have experienced life's hardships have become like oily fried sticks who have lost hope in life. In the process of searching for the soprano, Jacqueline and Owen develop a subtle relationship, while the middle-aged men rediscover their passion for life and shine on the stage once again!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Overview - Barrack O'Karma

Joel Chan becomes a security guard for the old Golden Building, where there are people of all kinds. He encounters resident and air stewardess Selena Li, who resembles the qipao-wearing woman from his dreams! Joel tries to get closer to Selena to learn about their connection to each other. At the same time, strange things keep occurring at the Golden Building, portraying the lives and fantastical stories of the residents. Joel discovers that Selena is only a mirage!

In the 1960s, a dancer (also portrayed by Selena) from the Golden Ballroom dreams that she will become an air stewardess in the future. She falls in love with a policeman (also portrayed by Joel), who resembles the man from her dreams. Her strange dream is turned into novel by bookstore owner Bob Cheung. Joel from the present keeps investigating and accidentally discovers this old novel. He is shocked to learn that he and Selena had a confusing love affair from a previous life.

Sunday, September 01, 2019

My Life as Loan Shark Theme Song

The theme song for My Life as Loan Shark is "Neighbourhood Finance Man" (街坊財爺) by James Ng.

Overview - My Life as Loan Shark

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, becoming a "Neighbourhood Fortune Man".

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Girlie Days Theme Song

The theme song for Girlie Days is "Youthful Times" (少年時代), by Daniel Chau.

The ending theme song is "Wind and Rain from that Day" (當天風雨) by Andy Ho

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Overview - Girlie Days

Reaching middle-aged and having laboured for half of her life, Kristal Tin's life is about to undergo drastic change! Divorced, unemployed, and with her daughter leaving home, Kristal feels lost. Although she tries to resist, her physical strength has deteriorated and she is out of touch with society. As someone's daughter, wife, and mother, she has forgotten about her days as a young girl, when she was a hot-blooded, brave, crazed fangirl of rock and roll! From the carefree days of twenty years ago to worrying about life's necessities twenty years later, the completely changed Kristal suddenly encounters her idol from years ago. But her idol has fallen on hard times and her relationship with her husband is on-again, off-again. The various setbacks force Kristal to face her past failures and pull herself together to motivate herself and the people around her. With inspiring songs, a group of dejected middle-aged men and women set off again, living one more time for themselves!

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Upcoming Movie: Line Walker 2: Invisible Spy

A serious traffic accident occurs in the busy city of Hong Kong. The Superintendent (Francis Ng) and Chief Inspector (Nick Cheung) of the CIB Anti-Terrorism Unit arrest a female hacker (Peiyao Jiang). Louis Koo, Superintendent of the Security Wing, believe Francis and Nick are suspicious and requests the Commissioner of Police stop them from handling the case. The investigation expands to Spain and Myanmar. Louis and Nick repeatedly get into conflicts with each other as they work together. From Francis' perspective, he cannot tell whether the two are good or evil, but the Commissioner thinks Francis is distorting the truth. The Commissioner believes a large number of black cops have been inside the police force for a long time. He needs someone to infiltrate a mysterious organization to investigate the matter. But everyone on the force is suspicious and Peiyao's testimony is misleading. The police executives are very confused and cannot tell who is righteous and who is evil.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Overview - Justice Bao: The First Year

During the reign of Emperor Renzong of Song, Shaun Tam takes office as the magistrate of Kaifeng. Shaun, his adviser Raymond Cho, bodyguard Owen Cheung, and four bailiffs work together to combat crooked trends. Nancy Wu, the daughter of a merchant, is an eloquent speaker and receives guidance from Raymond as she becomes a lawyer. Elaine Yiu, a maid from Gaochang, is skilled in autopsies. The two women help the seven men of Kaifeng solve many cases. But there are many dangers lurking within Kaifeng. The tyrannical Henry Li repeatedly tries to harm Shaun. Shaun and Elaine have common interests and slowly develop a romance, until he discovers her real identity, which is concealing a huge conspiracy... Nancy's father (KK Cheung) has unloyal ambitions and accuses the Emperor of not being the rightful emperor! Shaun faces his most difficult case. Will he bury his consciousness for the sake of society or reveal the truth?

Monday, July 15, 2019

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Overview - Our Unwinding Ethos

Urban legends, seemingly true yet seemingly fantastical, connect the past and future. Folklore professor Rosina Lam encounters locals being haunted when she is researching the legend of Bride's Pool. She discovers that someone is using the legends to commit crimes. She investigates with reporter Edwin Siu and they reveal the secret past of bride-to-be Moon Lau.

Rosina's mentor has been missing for seven years; his son turns out to be Edwin. The two of them decide to finish her mentor's unfinished paper on Hong Kong's urban legends. During their research, they encounter cases that are similar to the legends. They begin to think that her mentor's disappearance is suspicious. As they investigate, Rosina and Edwin meet police officer Jonathan Cheung, whose family happens to be the main characters in the legend of the fox spirit killing an infant. Rosina is asked to investigate the incident from years ago, which ends up leading her to her mother's pawnshop! At this time, Edwin discovers that his father is still alive.

Monday, July 08, 2019

7th Anniversary

Casual TVB turns

Wow, Casual TVB is 7! Thank you to readers who have stuck around, even though I barely post nowadays - only 44 posts this year. To be fair, TVB is not exactly inspiring a lot ideas for posts either. But as TVB trudges on, I will be here as well.

A little while ago, I tossed around the idea of starting a new blog for non-Chinese historical posts. The idea of running two blogs seems daunting, so I haven't committed to it yet. If you have any thoughts about this, let me know! I do have some ideas for more Historical Context posts, but have never found the time to do them yet.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

As Time Goes By Theme Song

The theme song for As Time Goes By is "Having You is Good" (有你多好), by Kayee Tam, Auston Lam and Alvin Ng.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Overview - As Time Goes By

Every person has a past. Some people cherish the memories, while other choose to avoid them. Max Cheung is the son of village chief Joseph Lee. Max, Ben Wong and Alice Chan were childhood friends. The two boys even had a crush on Alice at the same time. Thirty years ago, on the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival, Max, Ben and Alice did something disgraceful while they were drunk. After the incident was exposed, the three of them left the village separately. Max even moved to Australia, hoping to escape from the chains of the memory. But thirty years later, due to certain circumstances, they meet again and are forced to deal with the old incident once again.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Big White Duel Theme Song

The theme song for Big White Duel is "Choose Kindness" (選擇善良), by Fred Cheng.

Kayee Tam sings the English sub-theme song, "Can You Hear".

Hana Kuk sings the ending theme song, "Without You Beginning" (沒有你開始).

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Overview - Big White Duel

Health care reform in Hong Kong is imperative. A radical proposal is to privatize public hospitals and raise funds from the stock market to sustain their operations. The leading public hospital becomes the experiment for this reform proposal. Vice president and head of neurosurgery Roger Kwok has planned for five years to turn the hospital into a medical empire worth over $100 million and covets being its top decision-maker! The head of cardiology, Kenneth Ma, has a different philosophy from Roger. Guided by a philosophy of protecting a patient's life and putting human life ahead of the medical system, Kenneth and his mentee Matthew Ho fight side by side. Yet they are pulled into the power struggle for counter-reform by the hospital's president, John Chiang. Roger, Kenneth, cardiologist Ali Lee, emergency room doctor Natalie Tong and neurologist Kelly Cheung are strong people in white robes. Their opponent is not only disease, but human greed.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Overview - My Commissioned Lover

From jointly operating a subdivided flat to opening their real estate company; from being best partners to a married couple, Matt Yeung and Samantha Ko are partners in work and life. Samantha has had to fare on her own since she was young. For her, starting a family is more risky than starting a business because she must deal with Matt's family, including his brother (Luk Wing), who has low self-esteem, and sister (Roxanne Tong), who is in love with a playboy (Kenny Wong).

Matt loves Samantha deeply and is even willing to admit to a crime and go to jail for her. A crisis emerges at their company. Not wanting Matt to be left with nothing when he is released from jail, Samantha uses her daughter to get close to her ex-boyfriend, Kenny.  Because of her excessive greed, she and Matt ultimately break up their partnership! The deeper the love, the deeper the hate, the two become enemies from then on...

Saturday, April 06, 2019

The Defected Theme Song

The theme song for The Defected is "Stonehearted" (鐵石心腸), by Fred Cheng.

The ending theme song is "Steel Has Tears" (鋼鐵有淚), by Hana Kuk.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Overview - The Defected

CID Inspector Benjamin Yuen was originally a rising star on the police force. While trying to save a colleague, he gets shot in the head and his life changes forever. After miraculously surviving, he works harder on cases than before, earning the nickname "Iron Detective." But he is tormented by the side effects. Chief Superintendent Kara Hui is ambitious and has high hopes to become the first female Commissioner of Police. The person who shot Benjamin turns out to be Kara's undercover agent, Philip Keung. Philip has no limits when it comes to helping Kara investigate cases, yet Kara breaks her promise to him while jockeying for power against fellow Chief Superintendent Benz Hui. Enraged, Philip shoots at her and accidentally injures Benjamin. The shot forced Philip to become a defector, but he feels guilty towards Benjamin, so he secretly helps him solve cases. Benjamin and Philip become pawns in the power struggle. Luckily, they get the help of Ben Wong, Chief Superintendent of the Complaint and Internal Investigations Branch. Ben vows to use power to end the power struggle.

Friday, March 08, 2019

Historical Context - Lu Buwei

Kwok Fung played Lu Buwei in A Step into the Past.
Lu Buwei (呂不韋) was a politician during the Warring States period who served as chancellor of the Qin state for 13 years.

Lu was originally a merchant. He amassed a fortune selling goods all over the country. One time, while he was in the Zhao state, he met Yiren (嬴異人), a grandson of the Qin king. Yiren's father was the crown prince of Qin. But since Yiren was born to an unimportant concubine and was merely one of his father's many sons, he was sent to Zhao to serve as a hostage.

When Lu met Yiren, he compared Yiren to a rare piece of merchandise that could be stored for its value (leading to the Chinese saying "奇貨可居"). He decided to "invest" in Yiren. Yiren had been living in poor conditions in Zhao, so Lu gave him five hundred gold to upgrade his living conditions. He also presented Yiren with a beautiful lady from his household, Lady Zhao (趙姬). Lu spent another five hundred gold to buy gifts for Lady Huayang (華陽夫人), who was the principal consort of Yiren's father. Lu persuaded the childless Lady Huayang to adopt Yiren as her son, which made Yiren the presumptive heir to his father. As the hostilities between Qin and Zhao grew, Lu help Yiren escape from Zhao and return safely to Qin.

Yiren (Lee Lung Kei) and Lady Zhao (Eileen Yeow)
A few years later, the Qin king (Yiren's grandfather) died and Yiren's father succeeded to the throne. But his father died only three days into his reign and Yiren became the new ruler. He named Lu as his chancellor. That same year, Lu led a Qin army to crush a resistance by the remnants of the former Zhou dynasty.

Yiren died after three years on the throne and was succeeded by his thirteen year-old son, Ying Zheng (嬴政), the future Qin Shi Huang (秦始皇). Lu served as regent to the teenage king, who addressed him as "Uncle". Under Lu’s administration, the Qin state continued to expand its territory and weaken the forces of neighbouring states. Lu oversaw the construction of a large-scale canal project to improve irrigation, which provided agricultural resources to support Qin's growing army. He also recruited a lot of talent to Qin, including over 3000 scholars who stayed as guests in his household. He commissioned them to compile Lu's Spring and Autumn Annals (呂氏春秋), a comprehensive text that covered a wide range of subjects, from philosophy to military to agriculture. Famously, upon its completion, Lu displayed the text in public and offered a thousand gold pieces to anyone who could add or subtract a single word from it. No one claimed the prize.

Kwong Wah as Lao Ai
Meanwhile, Lu was having an affair with the Queen Dowager, Lady Zhao, the former lady from his household and now, mother of Ying Zheng. As Ying Zheng grew older, Lu worried that he would find out about the affair. To cover up the affair, he arranged for a well-endowed man, Lao Ai (嫪毐), to serve the Queen Dowager. Lao Ai posed as an eunuch so that he could come and go from the Queen Dowager’s bedroom without arousing suspicion. The Queen Dowager greatly favoured Lao Ai and even bore two illegitimate sons for him. When Ying Zheng discovered the Queen Dowager’s affairs, he was enraged. He ordered for Lao Ai to be executed and the illegitimate sons to be beaten to death.

Ying Zheng contemplated killing Lu as well, but ultimately decided to spare him because of Lu’s service to his father, Yiren. Lu was removed as chancellor and banished from the capital. About a year later, Ying Zheng suspected that Lu might be plotting against him and ordered Lu to move to a more remote region. Lu, fearing that he would eventually be executed, committed suicide instead.

Today, reactions to Lu are mixed. He is typically portrayed in media works as a power-hungry politician who dominated the court and oppressed his opponents. This is not untrue. But at the same time, he was a shrewd tactician who engineered the succession of Yiren to the throne. His military strategy and domestic policies while serving as chancellor helped solidify Qin’s power and enabled Ying Zheng to eventually conquer the other states.

Monday, February 25, 2019

The Ghetto-Fabulous Lady Theme Song

The theme song for The Ghetto-Fabulous Lady is "Secretly Love Me" (暗中愛我), by Jinny Ng.

Adia Chan sings the sub-theme song, "With Me, There Is You" (有我便有你).

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Overview - The Ghetto-Fabulous Lady

During the early colonial years, the first Chinese-born Lady (Adia Chan) falls into dire straits after her husband loses power and goes missing. Adia winds up in Yau Ma Tei, a complicated neighbourhood with many different kinds of people. When a prostitute is murdered with a modus operendi similar to a British serial killer, lead watchman Tsui Wing accuses Adia of being the killer! Adia is imprisoned, but luckily, her former housekeeper Ben Wong helps clear her name. Adia re-encounters her estranged younger sister (Alice Chan), adopts an orphan (Kaman Kong) and lives a commoner lifestyle alongside neighbours Jeannie Chan and Dickson Yu. The killer re-emerges and Adia uses her "Mrs. Sherlock Holmes" mind to investigate. She discovers that the case is not simple. Her husband and Ben may be suspects! The killer issues a provoking letter stating that the next target will be...

Sunday, January 13, 2019

I Bet Your Pardon Theme Song

The theme song for I Bet Your Pardon is "Hollywood Has a Big Con Artist" (荷里活有個大老千), sung by Jackson Wan.

Overview - I Bet Your Pardon

Con artist Kent Cheng is imprisoned after being set up by Chinese detective Kent Tong and his senior Paul Chun. Kent T. even steals his girlfriend, Angie Cheong. Five years later, Kent C. has become a renowned film producer. He has two assistants (Babyjohn Choi and James Ng), as well as his daughter (Ada Wong), whom he recently reunited with. When his junior Parkman Wong is murdered, Kent C. suspects that his disciple (Edward Ma) did it. The two face off on the gambling table... Ada confesses to her dancing teacher Angie that she has a crush on rookie director Dominic Ho. It leads to an unexpected reunion between Angie and Kent C. Angie steals Kent T.'s books with his illegal transactions and prepares to elope. Outraged, Kent T. tries to destroy the pair. As Kent C. is escorted to prison, he is broken free by a mysterious person. They plan a trap and vow to lure the tyrannical Kent T. inside.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

New Banner

New year, new banner! Big thank you to Jacqueline (@jnewin10), a long-time friend of this blog, for designing this banner. It includes pictures from Succession War, Deep in the Realm of Conscience and The Learning Curve of a Warlord.