Sunday, February 24, 2013

Canadian MCI Winners

Since the inception of the Miss Chinese International Pageant in 1988, Canada has had strong representation, winning 10 of 23 titles (Go Canada!) Among Canadian cities, Vancouver is the most successful, capturing 6 titles and producing recognizable names such as Bernice Liu, Linda Chung, Leanne Li and Eliza Sum.

Here are the winners (since 2002) hailing from Canada:

2001 – Bernice Liu (1st) was the first winner from Vancouver and her win would mark the beginning of Vancouver’s dominance of the MCI competition. She was immediately cast in Virtues of Harmony, earning her widespread recognition. She was put on the fast-track to stardom with a lead role in only her third drama (Survivor's Law); however, she left TVB in 2011. She is now filming for Mainland productions and HKTV.

2002 – Vancouver became the first (and so far, only) city to produce consecutive MCI winners with the crowning of Shirley Zhou (1st). Also from Canada was Christie Bartram (3rd) from Toronto. Neither went on to a career in the entertainment industry.

2004 – Linda Chung (1st) hula-hooped her way through the Vancouver and MCI pageants. Following in Bernice’s footsteps, Linda got a role in Virtues of Harmony II and took on lead roles shortly after that. Now, she has established herself as a top fadan at TVB. She has also launched a music career, releasing three major discs and a compilation.

2005 – Leanne Li (1st) became the fourth Vancouver winner in five years. She beat out favourites Fala Chen from New York and Kate Tsui from Hong Kong to take home the MCI crown. However, she has yet to attain top fadan status like Fala or Kate. She has only been playing secondary characters in dramas and is still awaiting a breakthrough role. She is currently dating fellow TVB actor Wong Cho Lam. 

2008 – Sherry Chen (3rd) from Toronto had minor roles in a handful of TVB dramas, before she changed careers to become a sales and marketing manager at Hong Kong Airlines. She has returned to TVB to film, quite fittingly, in Triumph in the Skies II. She has an impressive academic background, with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto (same school as me!) and has studied at Oxford and Hong Kong U.

2009 – I took particular notice of Christine Kuo (1st) because she took home an astounding five awards from the Toronto pageant. She easily captured the MCI crown, and is now an up-and-rising star at TVB, with notable roles in Tiger Cubs and Ghetto Justice IICici Chen (3rd) from Vancouver is currently signed with Canada’s Fairchild Television.

2010 – Eliza Sam (1st) from Vancouver has seen her stock rise rapidly ever since her role in Divas in Distress. She scored 3 nominations at the TVB awards in just her first year and is labelled as one of the new generation “goddesses”. Candy Chang (3rd) from Toronto also garnered recognition with a popular role in The Hippocratic Crush, but faces an uncertain future after being embroiled in a drug-trafficking scandal. Eliza and Candy are currently collaborating in The Hippocratic Crush II.

2013 – Congratulations to Gloria Tang (1st) from Vancouver. We will see what future awaits her.

I got a reply from Bernice Liu!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Overview - Sergeant Tabloid

Emergency Unit Sergeant Niki Chow is already 30 years old and has experienced a bumpy love life. One time, she pursued a seemingly perfect man, but his real identity turned out to be a drug lord. To make things worse, their relationship was made into headline news by paparazzi reporter Michael Tse. The incident caused Niki to greatly resent Michael. Soon, Niki fell in love with rookie police officer Matthew Ko, but Michael shows up to ruin their budding romance once again. Niki later discovers that it was her father, Benz Hui, who conspired with Michael to break up her relationship. At work, Niki cannot cooperate well with her superior, Mandy Wong. Feeling pressure from all sides, Niki goes into battle for the sake of love…

See Preview of Cases

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Character Map:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

"Inbound Troubles" Soundtracks

The theme song for Inbound Troubles is "Everyone" (大家) by Ivana Wong and Wong Cho Lam.

The subtheme song is "Brother Song" (哥歌), which was composed, written and performed all by Ivana Wong.

Selected soundtracks from Inbound Troubles:

Wong Cho Lam - "Who" (那誰) - original by William So

Oh Baby - "Messy Hair" (頭髮亂了) and "Blessings" (祝福) - originals by Jacky Cheung

Mimi Chu - "Mother I Love You" (媽媽I Love You) - original by Maria Cordero

Ivana Wong - "Your Name, My Surname" (你的名字我的姓氏) - original by Jacky Cheung

Ivana Wong, Wong Cho Lam - "I'm Really Hurt" (我真的受傷了) - original by Jacky Cheung

Wong Cho Lam - "Goodbye Kiss" (吻別) - original by Jacky Cheung

Wong Cho Lam - "Silly" (傻癡癡) - original by Leon Lai

Louis Cheung - "Clear Star" (星晴) - original by Jay Chou

Mimi Chu, Tommy Wong - "Light of Friendship" (友誼之光) - original by Maria Cordero

Ivana Wong - "Wish People Longevity" (但願人長久) - original by Teresa Tang

Source: ihktv

Monday, February 18, 2013

"Reality Check" Theme Song

The theme song for Reality Check is called "Tiny Grass" (小草), sung by Ruco Chan.

Ruco was once a singer, releasing one EP in 1998.

Full Version (with monologue by Louise Lee):

Full Version (no monologue):

Sunday, February 17, 2013

"Seasons of Love" Theme Song

The theme song for Seasons of Love is "Little Something" by Mag Lam.

I'm not a fan of Mag, but I have to admit this song sounds very nice.

The song used for the spring season (Him Law & Toby Leung) is "Onion" (洋蔥) by Taiwanese singer, Aska Yang.

Original MV:

The song sung by Myolie Wu in the winter season is "I'd Love You to Want Me", originally by American singer Lobo.

Original song:

Read Overview - Seasons of Love

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Friendly Fire Review

Producer: Man Wai Hung
Genre: Legal
Cast: Michael Tse, Tavia Yeung, Sammy Leung, Sharon Chan, Alice Chan, Derek Kwok, Samantha Ko, Oscar Leung

Plot: Crime happens and the prosecutors from the Department of Justice need to make sure justice is served. But we all know justice will always be served in the end anyways because it’s a TVB drama. (Actual overview is here)

If there’s one word to describe Friendly Fire, it’s “predictable”. From the romantic story lines to the cases, nothing ever jumps out as a surprise. Yet the way in which things were woven together breathed some life into the series. There was a right balance of cases, romance, comedy and touching scenes to keep everything moving along. It also helps to have a refreshing cast, with new faces such as Sammy Leung, Alice Chan and the trainees.

There have been a lot of legal dramas in recent memory, so what makes Friendly Fire different? Perhaps it’s all the legal flaws. Netizens actually discovered an instance where they were citing a law that didn’t exist. Although I don’t want to be nit-picky, it highlights the lack of research effort. Minor details aside, the series ignored some obvious legal procedures. For example, one cannot introduce new evidence in their closing arguments, but this drama allows that anyways. Lawyers cannot propose random theories in court (at least not without the objections of the opposition), but the prosecutors will only lament about Derek Kwok’s “dirty” tactics but never yell out "Objection" in court when he offers fabricated, unsupported theories to the jury. In certain cases, there was only flimsy evidence supporting a conviction, but the bad guy goes to jail anyways. Anyone who’s watched enough legal dramas should know that the standard of proof for criminal cases is beyond a reasonable doubt. All in all, if you want to be a lawyer, don’t rely on any of the legal advice shown here. 

There weren’t any breakout performances here. Michael’s character is witty, intelligent and driven by the sense of justice. Yep, sounds exactly like Laughing Gor, except in a three-piece suit. The only difference would probably be that he is slightly less arrogant and shows some vulnerability (like the rooftop crying scene). Tavia’s character was essentially the same as her role in The Other Truth, but there was more time devoted to her personal life, allowing her to show a more relaxed, friendly side. I actually enjoyed the relationship scenes between Michael and Tavia at the beginning when they were a sweet couple. They were loving, but not in the mushy way that would make you want to barf. They enjoyed teasing each other and pulling surprises, like when Tavia arranged for Michael’s ex to seduce him (what kind of girlfriend does that??). But then it got to the part where Tavia rejected Michael’s proposal because of the risk of a hereditary illness, and I let out a big groan. That has got to be the lamest, most overused way to break up a couple.

The second main pairing was Sammy and Sharon, which follows the typical “bickering to mutually supportive to lovers” pattern. Their scenes together often had comical results. This was Sammy’s first time in a TVB drama, and he was natural and humorous. (To be fair, it's not exactly his first acting stint either.) There was no challenge for Sharon to play the easygoing, kind-hearted girl. I felt her real purpose in the drama was to pull in audience with her body, whether it’s the wet-bra scene or flaunting her long legs. By the way, TVB tried way too hard to use sex appeal in this series. Sammy threw in his own soapy nakedness scene and there was also Alice, Grace and Samantha showing off their sexiness in various ways.

The main villains were Alice Chan and Derek Kwok. Alice performed admirably. She is the “stop-at-nothing” type that I love to watch because of the intrigue factor. Derek, on the other hand, was edging towards exaggeration with his wide hand gestures in court. Despite that, I feel he is the only good lawyer in this series, because he objects or intervenes at appropriate times and is able to point out reasonable flaws in the opposition’s arguments.

As for the other characters: Louis Yuen didn’t really add much to the story. It’s funny how his name is a play on Louis Koo’s name. The trainees didn’t get that much screen time. Their existence was just to make a greater emotional impact for the rape case. In the end, I still couldn’t put name to face, except for Oscar Leung and Samantha Ko’s characters. Half of Oscar’s screen-time was to look angry. Meanwhile, Samantha seemed too cheerful for someone who just suffered through such a traumatic event. Also, when she has a long set of dialogue, it sounds flat, as if she’s reading from a book. Her English pronunciation needs work, like when she said “Department of Jus-tick”. There were some notable guest stars for individual cases. Mandy Wong was playing a Mainland version of “Kwan Yi So” (from L’Escargot) and she is still as good. I thought Christine Kuo actually had a role in the drama, but it was only a guest appearance. Hey, I’m not complaining though. And whatever happened to Vincent Wong’s fraud case?

Final note: I still don’t understand the meaning of the English title in the context of this series.

Conclusion: Same old story with new faces.

Rating: 3.5/5

Related posts:
The Trainees - with their rendition of "Be True"
TVB's Lawyers - plus description of court system & role of legal professionals

Monday, February 04, 2013

Official Poster for Reality Check

Comment: Neat concept for the poster showing the actors in a grass maze, which links with the whole theme of the series. 

I seriously hope this series will be at least somewhat interesting, because the dramas have been lackluster so far this year. This is Ruco's first series of the year, with more to follow (see 2013 Forecast). 

Related Posts:
Overview - Reality Check
Heart Road GPS Location Filming