Sunday, January 27, 2013

Overview - Reality Check

Ruco Chan is a senior director at a television station and is preparing to film a new reality show which follows a Hong Kong youth, Hero Yuen, as he makes a move from the city to the farm. Due to staffing shortages, Ruco hires rookie Priscilla Wong as his assistant and good friend Evergreen Mak as cameraman. Throughout the filming process, they witness how Hero handles cultural clash and characteristic change. Meanwhile, their own blind spots are also unravelled. The normally subjective and stubborn Ruco re-evaluates the relationship between his adoptive (Louise Lee) and birth (Rebecca Chan) mothers. The hard-working and sincere Priscilla is actually trying to regain her dignity and lost paternal love. As for Evergreen, his male chauvinist attitude causes his family to break apart… How can their spiritual guide lead them through these challenges?

Comment: I'll watch this just to see this scene, which I watched being filmed. Hope it made the final cut. I'm also interested to see the inner workings of a TV station. Reminds me of The Beauty of the Game.

Character Map:

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Overview - Seasons of Love

The emotions experienced during love are different for every person, but there are still some natural laws, just like the climate of the four seasons, where there’s a time for cool, hot, moist and dry…

On an off-chance, Toby Leung becomes the assistant for popular idol Him Law. Toby had always thought of Him as the playboy that tabloids portray him to be. As they spend more time together, she begins to understand his character and inner world. They fall in love during a filming session, until Toby discovers that everything was set up by Him’s manager. A first-love suddenly vanishes…

Famed television producer Kate Tsui faces heavy criticism over a female programme that she produced. In order to salvage her reputation, she personally hosts a new reality show in which many men chase after her. As a result, she meets her ex-lover Ron Ng again, who had suddenly disappeared years ago. Kate wants to use this chance to take revenge, but as the marriage date nears, her relationship with Ron unexpectedly becomes closer and closer…

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Hair-stylist Nancy Wu and barrister Vincent Wong work in the same building. Because of a small incident, she misses the opportunity to begin a relationship with him.  While in a lost and depressed state, she unwittingly accepts her co-worker Oscar Leung’s proposal. After their marriage, they frequently argue over little things and she even suspects that he is cheating on her. Suddenly, time warps and Nancy returns to the place where she met Vincent. After going through distinct experiences, the result is only grief and regret…

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Private investigator Kenneth Ma is hired by Myolie Wu to find out about the source of a receipt from over ten years ago. During the course of investigation, Kenneth learns that random fragments of Myolie and another man will often appear in her mind. It is discovered that Myolie has suffered from a traumatic event and her lost memory is possibly related to a past relationship. Kenneth works to help Myolie reconstruct her past, while at the same time, he rediscovers a lost family connection for himself…

Character Map:

Thursday, January 17, 2013

TVB's Lawyers

To all aspiring lawyers: Do you know what it takes to be a lawyer? Don’t worry, TVB has your back. There is no shortage of legal dramas, with more to come.

(scroll down for descriptions of the court system and the roles of different legal professionals)

Ghetto Justice I & II
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The Other Truth

Friendly Fire

*See Friendly Fire Trainees

Survivor's Law I & II

When Rules Turn Loose

Bar Bender

Legal Entanglement


Will Power

Arrogant Man of Justice

Lawyers in Non-Legal Dramas

Moses Chan - (advertisement) & Back to Square One

Kate Tsui - Lives of Omission

Nancy Wu - Forensic Heroes III

Linda Chung & Raymond Lam - Heart of Greed

Steven Ma - Brink of Law & Links to Temptation

Damien Lau & Kenneth Ma - Silver Spoon Sterling Shackles
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Types of Legal Professionals

A solicitor’s job is not primarily focused on litigation. They oversee the transfer of assets, inheritances, employment, marriage, contracts and establishment of corporations, among many other things. In terms of litigation, they deal most directly with the client. In general, a solicitor’s job can be divided into four categories:

a)      Litigation
Solicitors have the right of audience (ie. they may speak on behalf of their client) in the lower courts, such as the District or Magistrates’ courts. However, in the higher courts, such as the High Court or Court of Final Appeal, solicitors must retain the services of a barrister to represent their client. The solicitor is still responsible for making trial preparations, such as sorting through the evidence, contacting witnesses, drafting statements and conducting preliminary hearings.
b)   Transfer of Assets
Whenever a house or other property is sold, a solicitor will need to draft the relevant documents and then have it signed and sealed before the transfer of ownership is complete.
c)   Consultation
Solicitors spend the majority of their time providing legal guidance for their clients. Almost any matter can become a subject of inquiry. The solicitor’s job is to acquaint the client with the legal issues of that particular subject area.  
d)   Other Legal Matters
Solicitors are involved in everything from corporations, products and trademarks to wills, trusts and inheritances to divorces, alimony, and other walks of life.

A barrister’s main job is to represent their client in court. In their representation, they are expected to consider only their client’s best interests and ignore personal interests or consequences to other people. Barristers will also advise solicitors on complex cases or legal perspectives, thus they are often regarded as legal consultants. Their work includes:

a)   Consultation
Once they have been retained by a solicitor for a civil or criminal case, the barrister will give their opinion on whether to proceed with litigation or persuade alternative resolutions. They will make an evaluation based on their knowledge of legal procedures and remedies.
b)   Preparation
For civil cases, barristers must outline the arguments in the claim or defence statement. They will also need to instruct the solicitor on what evidence to bring to court. For criminal cases, barristers will prepare in advance the arguments, questions and tactics for the trial.
c)   Trial
The barrister will appear in court and make statements on behalf of the client. They will analyze the validity of the evidence and cross-examine witnesses in order to bring out the truth. Finally, they will summarize the case in the closing statements. After the trial, the barrister may have to represent the client in bail or sentencing hearings and guide them through the remaining legal procedures.

Legal Executives
Legal executives can be found in law firms, corporations and various government agencies, such as the Department of Justice and Correctional Services. Their job is to provide assistance to solicitors and barristers. They handle many different tasks for the lawyers, such as meeting with clients and witnesses, drafting documents, attending basic hearings and doing the preparatory work. They may also advise clients while giving police statements and assist them in applying for bail.

Legal Clerk
Legal clerks are responsible for the secretarial functions. Their main duties usually include handling the paperwork, such as mail, forms, court filings and other documents. They may also need to make inquiries to the Companies or Land Registries. Within government agencies, legal clerks will act as law enforcement in cases with set fines, which sometimes requires them to appear before the Small Claims Tribunal. 

(Adapted from source)

Court System

In accordance to British tradition, judges will wigs and robes. Symbolically, it is to disguise the judge’s own identity so that the judge can make impartial decisions.

Hong Kong’s court system is divided into four levels:

The Magistrates’ Court and special tribunals
There are currently seven Magistrates’ courts in different regions, presided over by magistrates (not judges). Magistrates are qualified lawyers or experienced legal personnel. They hear ~90% of criminal cases and can impose a maximum sentence of 2 years imprisonment or $100,000 fine. (In some circumstances, the limit can be increased to 3 years imprisonment and $5 million fine.)

There are special Tribunals for Lands, Labour, Small Claims and Obscene Articles, as well as the Coroner’s Court and Juvenile Court. Each tribunal is set up to quickly and effectively deal with a particular type of case. They are usually presided over by a magistrate or adjudicator. In some instances, legal representation is not allowed and the disputing parties must personally appear at the hearing.

The District Court
There is one amalgamated District Court in Hong Kong, presided over by judges (with no jury). They hear criminal cases passed on from the Magistrates’ Court, with a maximum sentence of 7 years imprisonment. They also hear civil cases with claims of up to $1 million. The District Court houses the Family Court, which handles divorce, alimony and child custody.

The High Court
The High Court is made up of the Court of First Instance and Court of Appeal. The Court of First Instance will hear the most serious criminal cases, such as murder or rape, as well as appeals from the Magistrates’ courts and tribunals. They have unlimited jurisdiction on criminal and civil cases. Criminal cases will be heard by a judge and 7 or 9 jurors.

The Court of Appeal will hear appeals from the District Courts, Lands Tribunal and Court of First Instance. Cases are generally tried by a panel of three judges (with no jury).

The Court of Final Appeal
The Court of Final Appeal is the highest court in Hong Kong. It will only hear cases that have be granted leave to appeal (ie. permission to appeal) by the Court of Appeal. Cases are decided by a five-judge panel. The court is headed by the Chief Justice of Hong Kong.

Related article: Inaccuracies in Legal Dramas

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Friendly Fire Trainees


Samantha Ko was a Miss HK contestant in 2008. She has mostly hosted food & living variety shows, while having a few guest appearances in dramas. Recently, she is spending more time in the drama department with heavier supporting roles. Of the trainees in Friendly Fire, she's the one that gets time to shine with a much talked about rape scene.

Oscar Leung is on the rise after many years of being a kelefe. He used to play useless little brother roles or the younger version of actors. He had a breakout year in 2012 with memorable roles in L’Escargot, Tiger Cubs and The Confidant, allowing him to capture the Most Improved Award. He is also making a strong move into the movie industry after being cast in Young and Dangerous: Reloaded.

Bella Lam (on left, with glasses) actually entered the industry as a child star at age 11 in ATV’s Light of Million Hopes. Since joining TVB, she has participated in some large productions such as Lives of Omission (as a CIB trainee) and Silver Spoon Sterling Shackles (as Rebecca Zhu’s younger sister), giving the audience opportunities to recognize her.

Cindy Lee (on right) was formerly golf and tennis champion, even representing Hong Kong in competitions. She joined TVB after participating in the Miss HK Pageant 2005 and was given hosting gigs for sporting-related shows.

James Ng was a contestant of The Voice 2, which he finished fifth in. He is pursuing a music career in hopes of becoming a singer and songwriter. He is one of the hosts of the music programme 360°. Meanwhile, he has also expanded into acting with some small roles in dramas, such as Kenneth Ma’s nerdy brother in Three Kingdoms RPG.

Joey Law was the winner of the youth category in Mr. HK 2008. He is a talented dancer and fittingly, his first television role was of a shy dancer in Steps (watch his scene here). He had numerous walk-on roles until recently, where he was cast as a regular member in the sitcom Come Home Love.

The trainees sing "Be True" (originally sung by Joey Yung):

Source: Official TVB YouTube Channel

Monday, January 07, 2013

"Friendly Fire" Theme Song

The theme song is called 疑幻人生 (Imaginary Life), sung by the male leads of the series, Michael Tse and Sammy Leung.

See Overview and Preview of Cases

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Overview - The Day of Days

Triad leader Raymond Wong operates a coolie (ie. labourer) business, but runs into financial trouble. Believing that the simple-minded Sunny Chan was a member of an affluent family, Raymond pampers him in order to obtain a contract to build the new docks. But Sunny is actually only an idler in the family and the person with the real power is the family’s eldest daughter, Sonija Kwok. Sonija is a talented dancer with astonishing beauty and courage, but sacrifices her youthfulness for the family business. Her younger sister, Lin Xia Wei, is spoiled and rebellious, who purposely mixes with Raymond to anger Sonija. While the family is oblivious to reality, the Guangzhou mayor Law Lok Lam is shot, shocking the entire city. More surprisingly, Sunny, with a mysterious identity, is appointed as the next mayor of Guangzhou. The hidden troublemakers await the inauguration ceremony on the fifth day of the first lunar month to take action…

Comment: Can't decide whether this one or Inbound Troubles sounds more boring... Another skip.

Character Map:

Friday, January 04, 2013

Results of Casual TVB Awards 2012

First of all, I'd like to wish everyone a Happy New Year! It's a new year, new beginning. May 2013 be prosperous and fulfilling to everyone.

After voting all throughout December, the results are in for the Casual TVB Awards 2012!

Favourite Couple

It's been a fruitful year for both Kenneth Ma and Tavia Yeung. After 13 years in the industry, Tavia was finally rewarded with the Best Actress title, while her partner, Kenneth, took home the Favourite Male Character award. The pair collaborated in three dramas this year, most memorably winning the hearts of the audience in The Hippocratic Crush. They were met with a tragic ending in Three Kingdoms RPG and many fans wished they were together in Silver Spoon, Sterling Shackles.

Best Theme Song

Having "Cantopop Queen" Joey Yung perform the theme song for The Hippocratic Crush adds a beautiful touch to the series. I, for one, fell in love with the song as soon as I heard Joey's powerful voice along with the captivating melody. A fine composition by Tang Chi Wai.

Most Surprising Success

Before, most people did not know who Koo Ming Wah was, but "So Gay" shot to fame with Divas in Distress to be the most surprising success story of the year. Almost giving up his acting career at one point, Koo Ming Wah finally achieved recognition after 18 years at TVB and earned the Best Supporting Actor award.

Favourite Portrayal of Historical Character

Despite history's often negative depiction of the eunuch Li Lianying, Wayne Lai demonstrated a more favourable side of this famed historical figure. Wayne showed the character's compassionate side and unwavering loyalty to his master, successfully cementing his own place in TVB history by capturing his third TV King title.

Most Improved Cantonese

Since winning Miss Hong Kong Pageant in 2006, Aimee Chan quickly gained heavy supporting roles and is now on the fast track to popularity with several series scheduled to be released in 2013. While her language skills still leaves much to be desired, fans see her Cantonese as the most improved among a number of linguistically-challenged artists. Perhaps Moses Chan can help her improve her Chinese even further.

Worst Ending

In a year where fans are frustrated by the questionable endings of several series, Three Kingdoms RPG proved to be the worst offender of all. The abrupt, tragic ending was completely unexpected from the comedic series and leaves many unanswered questions about the fate of the rest of the characters. Luckily, there's this article.

Best Villain

Taking a departure from his good guy roles, Kenneth Ma shaved his head and transformed into a sneering, throat-cutting, red-head loving "King of Thieves" with a neck tattoo. Guest-starring as a cold-blooded killer in Tiger Cubs, fans loved him as much as they despised of his deeds. Kenneth was a formidable opponent to the SDU team and added lots of action and excitement to the series.

Funniest Villain

Despite being a bitchy, pain-in-the-backside superior in No Good Either Way, it was hard to hate Florence Kwok's character. Although she rarely cracked a smile and tried to make life miserable for her workers, her antics brought plenty of laughter to the audience.

Best Comedy

Daddy Good Deeds is a heart-warming family drama that exceeded expectations. There were a few pleasant surprises from the cast and many pop culture references that gave the audience a good laugh. Most viewers found it to be an enjoyable break from serious dramas.

Most Interesting Historical Context Post

The historical backdrop for The Confidant was the late-Qing Dynasty during the beginning of Empress Dowager Cixi's reign. I compiled a brief profile of all the true historical figures in the series  to give readers a sense of who these people were and what they did. "The Confidant Characters" proved to be quite a popular post with 1600+ page views, ranking an all-time third in my blog's short history.

See full results.

Thank you to everyone for participating in the Casual TVB Awards 2012 and I hope you will continue to find interest in my posts in 2013!