Friday, July 23, 2021

TVB Olympic Team

The Tokyo Summer Olympics are finally upon us! If TVB had its own Olympic team, who would be on it?


Alex Fong: Alex famously represented Hong Kong in swimming at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. He once held nine Hong Kong swimming records and his 200 m backstroke and 400 m individual medley records were only recently broken. In 2019, he set a new swimming record for fastest swim around Hong Kong Island (45 km).

Dickson Yu: Dickson was a member of the Hong Kong swimming team in high school and represented Hong Kong abroad in youth competitions, including at the 2004 Queensland Open & Age State Championship and 2005 Australian Youth Olympic Festival. He retired in 2013 after not qualifying for the Asian Games. Dickson specialized in the butterfly style. 

Susan Tse: Susan was a formidable swimmer back in the day and excelled in the backstroke. She was already swimming in competitions by the time she was 3 years old. At age 6, she was the youngest swimmer at the Hong Kong cross harbour swim. By age 12, she already had an instructor license. Susan achieved her best finish (5th) in the 1968 cross harbour swim.


Cindy Lee: Cindy was a professional tennis player. At the highest level, she played at the Federation Cup (now Billie Jean King Cup), one of the top international tournaments for women’s tennis. Cindy is also an accomplished golfer, claiming multiple awards in charity tournaments. Athletics is in her DNA, as her mother and cousin were on the Hong Kong bowling team, her father and sister were avid tennis players, and another cousin was an Asian Games bronze medalist in swimming.


Stephanie Ho: Stephanie started golfing when she was 6 and by age 10, she was part of the Hong Kong national golf team. In 2010, she represented Hong Kong at the Asian Games. She retired from competition to focus on her music career, but in 2018, she dusted off her clubs to rejoin the national team. Stephanie said she hopes to make it to the Asian Games again. 

Table Tennis

Ruco Chan: Ruco was recruited into a sports institute at the age of 13 and made it onto the Hong Kong youth table tennis team at age 15. At that time, he was the youngest table tennis player to represent Hong Kong in competition. He competed at the 1994 Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships. He quit after his coach left the team. 


Tony Chui: Tony, who plays “Andy” in Come Home Love: Lo and Behold, is a former triathlete. He represented Hong Kong in three World Triathlon Championships and in five consecutive Asian Triathlon Championships from 1992 to 1996. His best result was a silver medal in the team event and 7th overall finish individually. Tony was an all-round athlete, participating in soccer, track and field and swimming competitions as well. In 2019, Tony proved he still had in it him by representing Hong Kong at masters (age 35+) track and field competitions in Singapore and Asia.  

Rhythmic Gymnastics

Tania Chan: Tania was a member of Hong Kong rhythmic gymnastics team. Tania started learning rhythmic gymnastics at age 7 and fell in love with the sport because of its elegant movements. She represented Hong Kong in many competitions and specialized in using a ball in her performances. Tania was a 2018 Miss Hong Kong contestant and won an audience favourite award for her rhythmic gymnastics talent performance.

Sharlene Wong: Sharlene was also a member of the Hong Kong rhythmic gymnastics team and a national level athlete. She was awarded that recognition in 2009 when she placed first in the ribbon competition and fourth overall in the National Youth Competition. She retired in 2012 when she realized her body was not flexible enough anymore. Sharlene appeared on TVB even before joining the industry. She performed as a rhythmic gymnast at the TVB Anniversary Gala in 2014 alongside actresses from Never Dance Alone. She is now a host of Kids, Think Big.

Track and Field

Tiffany Tang Yi Ching: Tiffany is a rising star in high jump. She has won in intercollegiate and Hong Kong wide competitions and represented Hong Kong at the 2015 China National Youth Games. She recently recorded a personal best of 1.77 m. Tiffany had a short stint as a host of Young and Restless, but left TVB last year to focus on training for the Asian Athletics Championships. 


Last but not least, one of TVB's very own will be competing at the Tokyo Olympics!

Lawrence Ng Lok Wang: Lawrence is a former TVB child actor who has appeared in over 30 dramas. As a kid, Lawrence became interested in fencing because he thought the uniforms looked cool. Using the foil as his weapon, he is a five-time medalist in the Asian Fencing Championships and finished in fifth place at the 2016 Junior World Fencing Championships. He served as the fencing director for the fencing scenes in OMG, Your Honour before leaving TVB to become a full-time athlete. Last year, Lawrence and the Hong Kong team won bronze at the Fencing World Cup tournament in Cairo to secure a spot at the Tokyo Olympics. Look for Lawrence in the men's team foil competition at the Olympics. 

Monday, July 12, 2021

Artist Spotlight: Carman Kwan

This is a new feature where I will be highlighting some of the new and old faces at TVB. 

Carman Kwan (關嘉敏) is the captain of the girl group, Bingo. She first became known to audiences for looking like Chrissie Chau when she appeared on a ViuTV reality show. She also competed on ViuTV's King Maker III, making it to the Top 20. 

Carmen drew criticism from netizens for being a “turncoat” when she signed with TVB earlier this year, but she clarified that it was because ViuTV did not offer her a contract. After signing with TVB, Carman has appeared on a number of variety shows, including Mean Talk, Prelude to TVB All Star Games: The Ring and Dance for Life. She has also had cameos on Forensic Heroes IV and Sinister Beings.

Carman’s talents include Chinese dance and gymnastics. 

As a wedding dress model in Forensic Heroes IV (right)
As an e-sports gamer in Sinister Beings (center)

Sunday, July 11, 2021

May-June Variety Shows

It’s time for another round-up of TVB’s variety shows under the direction of Eric Tsang and Wong Cho Lam. Through May and June, it felt like TVB was producing variety shows at a breakneck pace and ended up giving short shrift to its shows. Many of the concepts have potential, but was not given enough time to develop. 
  • Dub of War (好聲好戲): The show shined a spotlight on the unseen voice actors at TVB. It was amazing to learn about how dubbing works and all the skills it takes to do a good job. I was genuinely surprised by the excellent performances from some of the participants. Rating: 9/10. 

My top five most impressive performances: 

5. Yuki Law and Marktwo Lee - For newbies, this was an impressive performance. Especially when Marktwo says his first line, I thought they were using Ron Ng’s voice.

4. Moon Lau and Tedford Wong - Moon and Tedford were better at dubbing characters outside of their age range than the three finalists. 

3. Sisley Choi and Owen Cheung - They sounded as if they were playing the original clip. The chip goes through a lot of emotions and both of them were handled it well. Owen Cheung has always been more impressive doing imitations than using his own voice. 

2. Yoyo Chen - Yoyo was able to speak in another dialect as if she was fluent and no one even taught her!

1. Joey Thye - I was most surprised by Joey’s performance. She sounds just like Grace Chan and even timed her breathing and crying perfectly with the clip. 

Bonus: Coty Wong and Tinson Lung - They are instructors for a reason. Their performance was at the next level. 

  • Case Unclosed (死因有可疑): In the first head-to-head battle with ViuTV, TVB brought a knife to a gunfight. The show looked like an amateur production next to ViuTV’s serious efforts. It is disappointing because I really like the concept of a murder-mystery show. Rating: 5/10. [Full review here]

  • Top Sales (識貨): This was essentially an advertising spot disguised as a show. Zero interest from me when I couldn’t (and wouldn’t, even if I could) buy the products they were selling. But Yoyo Chen is on a hot streak. Rating: 2/10. 

  • Prelude to TVB All Star Games: The Ring (明星運動會前哨戰: Fight盡): The show suffered from some major cutting issues. Training, interview and competition clips were haphazardly thrown together like a tossed salad. The show also makes a lacklustre effort to introduce the fighters to the audience. The audience can’t feel like they are part of the fighters’ journeys when they only see them for seconds at a time and barely know who they are. Rating: 4/10. 

  • Mean Talk: I loved the juicy gossip that was being spilled on the show! Six episodes was definitely too short. There’s plenty more tea to be spilled. Rating: 7/10.

Thursday, July 08, 2021

9th Anniversary

Casual TVB is 9 years old! Can you believe it? I missed the blog’s anniversary last year (because what was time in 2020?), so let’s see what I’ve done over the past two years. 

It’s been years since TVB has given me reason to write posts, but the recent line-up of variety shows seem to be breathing new life into both TVB and this blog. Many fans may have already changed the channel on TVB, but I'm still around and hope TVB will continue to improve.

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

TV Wars: Battle of the LARP

TVB and ViuTV recently had their first direct battle. Both stations produced a variety show that involves "live action role playing" (LARP), where players role play as characters in a scenario and solve mysteries. To intensify things, the twin shows debuted on the same day, in the same time slot. 

Let's see how the stations fared in the "Battle of the LARP"!


TVB's Case Unclosed was hosted by Alex Fong, Sammi Cheung, Arnold Kwok and Kayan Yau. Matthew Ho, Moon Lau, Pakho Chau and Stephanie Cheng appeared as guests. 

ViuTV's All Suspicious featured a rotating cast of players, headlined by Justin Cheung and Hedwig Tam, and included Yatho Wong, George Au, Tang Lai Ying, Jace Chan and others. 

Verdict: Tie. Unless you are a fan of a particular artist, it is unlikely that the line-up for either show had much effect on the average viewer. 


Case Unclosed had two cases over five episodes. Each case featured six players, led by “Detective Soap” Alex Fong. Each case began with the players introducing themselves and their timeline. It was followed by two rounds of investigation and discussion. Detective Soap also got a chance to question two players alone. Afterwards, the players made closing statements and then voted on the culprit. The truth was revealed through a narrated reenactment. 

All Suspicious had six cases over 15 episodes. Each case had between 6-8 players. A brief description of each player’s role was shown to the audience using title cards. The players then jumped straight into investigation. The players were free to talk with each other and form alliances. They may also have individual side missions to perform. There were generally two rounds of investigation and discussion before the players voted on the culprit. The truth was revealed in an epilogue. 

Verdict: Case Unclosed. The format of the game is actually pretty similar on both shows, but Case Unclosed wins by making the case and characters easier to follow. The chief complaint from netizens of All Suspicious was how it had too many characters and confusing relationships between them, which made the cases hard to follow.


Both of Case Unclosed’s cases were murder mysteries. The stories seem acceptable for this type of game, as each character had a plausible motive and opportunity to commit the crime. However, the evidence and characters were thinly developed. There was sparse evidence for each case and it only weakly supported the supposed truth. The characters lacked background besides the basics and their timelines. 

All Suspicious had more variety of cases aside from murder, such an art heist and bomb threat. Some of the cases also incorporated side missions and secondary plots. The character backgrounds were sketched out and they each had secrets or hidden relationships with other characters. There was an abundance of evidence to sort through and most had an explainable purpose to the plot. 

Verdict: All Suspicious. The cases, evidence and characters were richer and added interesting layers to the show. The show improved after the first case, as the audience became more familiar with the players and game. The players also broke the fourth wall more to explain to the audience what was going on.


Case Unclosed looked like an amateur production. The rooms were set up in a studio next to each other and labelled with paper signs. Walls and ceilings were missing. Players have to walk along a marked path on the ground to avoid walking through "walls." The set felt crowded as the players and crew moved around the space. Cameras and areas outside of the set frequently appeared in shots. 

All Suspicious looked much more professional. The show was filmed in real locations, but did not suffer from the lightning issues that seem to plague non-TVB shows. The room set-ups were more realistic and spacious. 

Verdict: All Suspicious. The production values looked better than expected and overall, looked more professional than Case Unclosed.

Overall: All Suspicious

ViuTV clearly took the more serious approach to producing their show and put together an all-around professional production. Meanwhile, TVB seems to have hastily clobbered together a show. You know you've lost the battle when you have to add a disclaimer that the show was made on a low budget to preempt criticism.