Fortnightly Roundup

Irregular Roundup No 21 – Lord of Shanghai, Love me if you dare, Love or Spend plus others

Gosh it has been way over a year since my last roundup post, which used to be fortnightly, but then… hrm. Now I’m just being lazy efficient by consolidating some thoughts on different dramas I’m watching at the moment. 🙂

Lord of Shanghai 梟雄 (HK) – up to episode 20

To be honest I was coerced persuaded into watching this. The 1920s era dramas aren’t usually my cup of tea and  the cast (Anthony Wong, Wayne Lai, Kent Tong) is impressive on paper but still… I don’t have much expectations for it. However, I think it’s a decent series with a logical storyline. It sounds pretty crazy to praise a series just for having a logical storyline but there it is. This is the low low expectation we’ve come to expect from TVB dramas.

 

I guess my only major gripe with it at the moment is the jumping between different timelines. My memory is not all that great so if we’re going to have a bunch of episodes talking about the past then suddenly jump back into the present, I ain’t going to remember all the details. Is it really necessary to do it? I don’t feel like it enhances the story? Plus the eerie thing of having Kenneth Ma play the younger version of Anthony Wong. So everyone else looks the same but Kenneth aged to become Anthony?! No offence but that’s a pretty big mind shift. Kenneth’s dubbing of course was a point of contention also, but I’m used to it now and I guess with time, it’s getting less ‘Shanghaiese’ and sounds more like Kenneth’s real voice?!? Is it just my imagination?

 

The standout performances for me is Alice Chan’s Gwai Sang. I love her character! Too bad her husband is such a scumbag. She worked so hard for him and how does he repay her? By having an affair. I want to slap him! As for the male leads which are the drawcards to this series – Wayne Lai is probably a bit ‘over’ with his performance, Kent Tong – meh, I just dislike his character and Anthony Wong doesn’t disappoint. Although one can argue whether he really needs to put on that accent. I know he’s serious about his work and wants as much authenticity as possible but noone else around him is doing it. It kinda loses the impact.

 

Another surprise here is Kenneth Ma. You know I mentioned in the past how I always thought of him as pervy LOL, but somewhere along of the way I stopped thinking about it! HA! He’s pretty good in this drama! Despite my initial skepticism some of Kenneth’s mannerisms do look like Anthony’s. Too bad Kenneth’s performance will be overshadowed by the 3 leads. Oh well, at least he’s given a lot more to do than say, Ron Ng LOL.

 

Overall, I would recommend this if you like stories set in the 20s. Although I’m not 100% sure where this story is headed, I just hope it doesn’t tank at the end?

 

Love me, if you dare 他来了, 请闭眼 (CN) – up to episode 13

I was going to write a separate post about this, but after the latest episode I don’t think I’m in the right mindset to do it. Fangirls will probably shoot me for being so negative. Why? Frustrations. How? Three words. Bait and switch.

 

Let me explain. It was probably my own fault for thinking this drama focuses more on the crime thriller side than the romance side. So I was rather excited when I saw the opening theme – the crazy serial killer, that ‘psycho’ look on Wallace Huo’s eyes. Yes! I love crime dramas! But gosh somewhere along the way there’s this overdose of romance. You know it was cute at first, how Professor Bo has no idea about love / romance etc.. but once you think about it, I feel like I’m just watching another rich guy/poor girl scenario (or any other variation where you have the guy so haughty and unattainable but *SOMEHOW* falls in love with the female lead for some arbitrary reason, usually at first sight or in this case, by episode 2). Maybe I’m too allergic to these storylines now or simply too old to appreciate it. It doesn’t help that they slept together on their first proper date and those cheesy lines Bo Jin Yan utters afterwards:

如果早知道,與你靈肉合一會帶來如此極致的愉悅——在遇到你的第一天,我就會向你求愛
If I knew much earlier, being linked to you in body and soul will bring such complete happiness – I would’ve seeked your love the first day I met you.

I know this is different from the novel (in terms of timeframe, I believe in the novel it happens about a week later LOL) but they don’t expect all drama viewers to have read the source material right? I can only judge based on what I see in the drama…

 

Instead of exclaiming how cute they are and giggling (which is what 99% of the comments on Viki seems to be) I am gagging. I may have lost all respect for him. Is this a fanfic written by a 15 year old? Do 26 year old genius professors talk like that? I don’t know. Do they even exist? Maybe. The only other comparable character I can remember is Professor King from The Mysteries of Love and he never had such cringeworthy lines, did he?

 

*Sigh* You know I do think the overarching plot about the flower cannibal is a good one. But it’s being overshadowed by all these cheesiness for me to take it seriously. Plus, the pacing of the other cases are incredibly slow. There had only been 3 cases in the first 12 eps. The first case was probably the best one so far and the other 2 didn’t create that much suspense. As a crime drama, it’s not up to par and as a romance drama, it’s fun at times but I didn’t sign up for this. Hence, the bait and switch. Maybe I only have myself to blame for my misconceptions.

 

However, I am having a dose of second lead syndrome in the form of Wang Kai’s Li Xun Ran. Can I have him instead? My heart was breaking in that scene where he was about to leave and he hugs her.

Love or Spend 戀愛鄰距離 (TW) – up to episode 14

Looking at the list of dramas I finished in the past few months it doesn’t seem like I’m in the mood for romance dramas for a while. As a 70-ep daily drama, Love or Spend is ok at the moment although I’m not really enjoying the ‘best friends in denial they love each other’ storyline. Kingone Wang and Jennifer Hong are both enjoyable leads but it is frustrating to watch them hiding their feelings for each other. Although their meddling parents don’t help. Especially Kingone’s mum who gets all bothered about Jennifer getting a boyfriend. Like, your son had 9 girlfriends before!

 

I’m not sure why the YouTube comments are hating on He Li Yang (Lawrence Liu) who is trying to win Mo Cheng Zhen (Jennifer Hong)’s heart right now. He’s such a sweetie! The other couple, or at least I think they’re going to be a couple right (?) Pei You Ting (Da Yuan aka Kingone’s sister) and Victor (David Chiu) doesn’t have much to do right now but there’s potential. Although I’m not sure whether You Ting is supposed to pair up with Jolin’s character instead because they saw each other naked already? (HAHA you know that old drama cliché.)

 

Special mention to Jolin Chien though – he rocks in this comedic role. He doesn’t appear very often but he’s hilarious every time. I wish they will give him more to do.

Marry me, or not 必娶女人 (TW) – up to episode 1

Only saw the first episode so far and despite having totally exaggerated set ups – it’s a fun watch. I’m not sure how long I can last though with such an annoying female lead. She is so dislikeable! This rivalry between Alice and Joanne’s characters – girls, you belong in the 3rd grade with this kind of behaviour. Sadly, there are people in real life who behaves this way. Maybe in a less exaggerated way but that’s the irony of it. Will Alice change throughout the drama? We’ll have to see.

 

I’m not familiar with Roy Qiu’s work so I don’t have a lot to comment on there. I do like this voice though… hrmmmmmmmm.

Nirvana in Fire 瑯琊榜 (CN) – up to episode 3

Because of all the frustrations I was having with Love me, if you dare, I decided to give this a try. Some of the comments around the web make very bold claims – eg. BEST DRAMA EVER! And you know what, even in such early days I don’t think they’re unjustified.

 

The scene where I got sucked in was when the Grand Empress mistakes Su Zhe for Lin Shu, and she puts his hand over Princess Nihuang’s. When she was about to pull away, he grabs her hand… oh gosh that look on Su Zhe’s eyes. You can really feel the pain he’s trying so hard to conceal.

 

The sheer number of episodes is normally a turn off for me, but I guess I’ll just take a long time to finish it.  Plus Wang Kai is in it! That helps a lot HAHA.

 

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Anna
    December 1, 2015 at 8:37 am

    Lord of Shanghai was probably my most anticipated TVB drama of the year, mainly because of the cast and I love the 1920s era haha.

    I actually don’t mind the timeline jumping, but it probably would have made more sense to just do all those Kenneth episodes in the beginning and then progress into the Anthony Wong ones. Totally agree that it’s weird to only see Anthony Wong with someone else playing his younger self…but I guess the other 2 guys just had to put on a wig and mustache to look younger. I’m actually kinda pulling for Kenneth to win the Best Actor award, but probably not gunna happen. Shoulda put him in the supporting category!

    And lol Ron. I love the guy, but he just can’t do these “see mun” roles very well…

    • Reply
      kat
      December 5, 2015 at 11:38 pm

      I guess if they started off with 10+ eps of Kenneth, that might turn people off since Anthony was such a huge drawcard. But all the time jumping also killed the suspense, since we know they all end up fine anyway lol. Yeah Kenneth for supporting! He deserves it.

      Ron…gees his role could’ve been played by any random actor.

  • Reply
    anastassia
    December 25, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    i have to agree with you in love me if u dare. i cant feel the chemistry and i thought the drama is overdone. i stopped watching that drama. i felt the chemistry and intensity with second lead feel more real and deep. never watch wang kai before. now i have marathoned nirvana on fiee for almost 5 days and now left just few episodes. i didnt want to let this drama go and i want to savour every episode possible. nirvana in fire is the first longest drama that i manage to complete. super talented cast and genius directing.

    • Reply
      kat
      December 26, 2015 at 11:11 pm

      Yeah, I did get a bit of second lead syndrome from LMIYD, surely now that I’ve watched NIF it’s going to get worse. 😀 NIF is such a great series you just want more of it!!!!

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