Info If You Buy TVB Series

How do you watch your TVB series? On the internet, rent discs, or buy copies either online, at stores or from the rental place? I rent from the tvb rental stores but I also like the feeling of keeping and having my own copy (since I am obsessed with TVB.. haha). For those of you guys living in the U.S., TVB seems to be releasing more series for sale at a more rapid pace than before. About 2 years ago, they started to sell series that were a few years old such as Golden Faith, Triumph In the Skies, and Witness to a Prosecution to name a few. Now, they seem to selling really new series such as Tai Chi and Life Made Simple, so for those that want to have a copy of your favorite series, you might get a chance soon. The selection shown on YesAsia and other internet sites actually differ than ones sold in asian dvd stores since the stores actually have more for sale though!

From what I heard from my local store, they might be changing around the formats on how they sell some series because of different licensing issues so let me describe some of them to you in case you're wondering about the quality.

The slighter older series that were released in the past few years were packaged in a hard cardboard with another plastic dvd case in the inside. Each disc has 4 episodes and quality is really good since they seem to transfer it from originals. English subtitles depend on if the original had them (when they were rented) unless the older series was super popular, then they added it later such as Greed of Man.

The most recent series that was released was Tai Chi but it only came in a smaller plastic dvd case. The episodes are more compressed with 6 episodes per disc but the quality is still really good. I didn't really notice anything different but maybe it could be because the background is more muted in the series. I heard that future series will be released in these type of cases with the next releases listed are The Four (that's super recent!) and Under the Canopy of Love. I also looked at Yesasia just now and they're on sale for $16! That's pretty cheap! I actually like the older casing but at least this will save me space. An older series that will also be released soon is the popular The Bund, but I'm not sure what kind of case they will be using. It does look like it will be compressed since part 1, 2, and 3 which is comprised of 65 episodes will be on only 8 discs! They better do some digital enhancements to clean up the quality!

At the stores, there are more older releases that are now on sale. I believe they started about a month or 2 ago but so far they have 16-20 series out. These have 2 episodes per disc and it looks like it's basically the same set as the rental discs. If the original series was rented out in dvd format (approx. 2002 and beyond), it looks like they might release a lot of them in this format. In case you were wondering, the series that were released in this format is: Dreams of Colours, Scavengers Paradise, The Gateau Affairs, An Herbalist Affair, A Case of Misadventure, Family Man, My Family, Lost in the Chamber of Love, Placebo Cure, Guts of Man, Real Kung Fu, A Handful of Love, To Get Unstuck in Time, In The Realm of Fancy, The Prince's Shadow, Strike at Heart, Into Thin Air, and Misleading Track. I might be missing a series or two but that's about it. There's also a version of Guts of Man that I see that they are releasing on YesAsia that I see in the compressed format since it's only 3 discs, so I wonder it's 2 different companies licensing and selling these series. These are also cheaper since I see that they are selling them for around $13-16.

From the looks of it, most TVB series from 2002-2007 will actually be released soon! I think it's good for them since it's another way for them to make money and employ their actors (even though they're probably not getting a cut of it!). I just hope that this doesn't affect the rental companies any because mine are super nice and I don't want to see another place close down in this bad economy! I'm thinking it shouldn't since most people rent really current series as they come out right? On the other hand, I am really, really excited for Survivor's Law to come out on DVD!!! Even though there are a lot of ways to watch tvb series online (and for free), I like watching mine on a big screen, and with english subtitles!

Weirdly Handsome

There are some people that you see and automatically think that they are handsome or cute, such as Kevin Cheng or Raymond Lam. There are others that start of in the entertainment industry at a young age and after a few years, they get rid of the awkward stage and look better with age. However, there are some guys who basically look the same through out the years, but when I see them in more dramas and in interviews, they start to appear more handsome! Here are some guys that I think that might not be typically good looking, but in my opinion (since beauty is in the eye of the beholder), are weirdly, quite handsome! As a side note, I also love their personalities more and more as I see them in more interviews and see how they interact with their fellow actors.

Michael Tse (one of my favorite roles for him: La Femme Desperado)

Wayne Lai (one of my favorite roles for him: Gentle Crackdown 2)

Bobby Au Yeung (I love almost everything he's in!)

Johnson Lee (I started to notice him more in Welcome to the House)

Wong Cho Lam (singer, songwriter, composer, director, actor, host- is there anything he can't do?!)

Future Stars of TVB?

Who do you think will be the future stars of TVB in the next 10 years or so?
Everyone can tell that TVB is currently promoting Raymond, Ron, Bosco, and Kenneth to be the future Big Brother Siu Sangs while Myolie, Linda, Tavia, Bernice, and Kate will be the future Big Sister Fadans, but who will they promote as the next tier? The people I list are based on the type of roles they are given, promotions and opportunites that are given to them, and my own personal opinion. This does not reflect who I like or think deserve a chance, but more of who I think TVB want to push up. I'm also only listing TVB contracted artists since you know others won't really get as big of a chance!

Future Siu Sangs?
There are a lot less guys that seem to be promoted compared to the ladies. For one, there is an over abundance of females that TVB seems to contract just because of all the pageants, while Mr. Hong Kongs do not really seem to gain as much attention (especially since most of them just seem like beefcakes with no personality- Sorry Rocky!). There's also a lot less guys since they usually pair up the older guys with younger females. That's why you see Myolie pairing up with Sunny Chan and Linda and Tavia pairing up with Steven Ma and etc. It's not as hard to promote guys even if they are older; for example, Michael Tse is 41 but he only recently started to be really promoted and receive lead roles.

Matthew Ko

Of all the Mr. Hong Kongs, I think he is the only one who has a chance of making it. The others have heavy thick accents, that unlike Miss Hong Kongs, they aren't even given a chance to do any hosting. Though Matthew is still stiff in his acting, he is making (really) small improvements with each role that he is given. I've never heard him sing but I remember watching a clip of him playing the piano and he seems really talented in that aspect.

Jason Chan

I think Jason is really cute when you see him acting but he seems to take really bad pictures. In them, he always reminded me of an uglier version of Raymond Lam! Other than that, I've only seen him act in Pages of Treasures but I think he started off as hosting. His acting is only okay but it should be easier to work on his fluidity of his speech since he doesn't have an accent that would get in the way. After seeing him act, I think that he has a lot of charm and potential!

Wong Cho Lam

He is easily one of the better actors and a favorite of TVB audiences, but the only thing holding him back is his height. I think he's really cute and quirky but I don't think he would ever achieve leading man status unless there are roles specifically written for him. Despite this, he is very cherished by TVB and I can see him following in the path of Eric Tsang to be one of the main hosts for all of TVB's big events.

Edwin Siu

I don't know if he was ever signed to TVB before since he acted in Aqua Heroes a long time ago, but ever since acting in TVB series again, it seems like TVB is already on the fast track of promoting him. He already had a big role in When Easterly Showers Fall on the Sunny West and was cast in the ratings-guaranteed DIE2. Also, in his first year, he already has a spot on the TVB calendar! I think he's handsome, a good actor, and has the built of a leading man. He's also in his early 30s which can mean that he can be paired up with both the young and more established fadans without look ridiculous. I wouldn't be suprised to see him a leading role within the next 2 years.

Lai Lok Yi

I wasn't sure if I should put him in this list since he's been around for a long time and has been promoted before, but he still has not established himself as a leading man. His acting is pretty good, even though I know other people may disagree, but he just has not had a good breakthrough role. He's still young so he has a lot of time but hopefully he gets the recognition he deserves soon.

Future Fadans?
There are a lot more in this category since most of them come from beauty pageants as I mentioned earlier. That's why it's hard to narrow it down because at different points, it seems like certain younger actresses might be getting a chance just to go back to tiny roles in the next series. TVB also seems to want to push their ladies when they are still young so that when they reach closer to 30, they would be more established and begin to take leading roles. That's why I'll only put newer actresses- ones that have only been around the last 5 years or so. Otherwise, there would be an even longer list. Because of this, I decided to leave Nancy Wu out since she's been acting for a long time and I think with her recent Most Improved award, I would not be suprised to see her in a leading role soon!

Aimee Chan

She's actually one of the Miss Hongs that I really like, instead of having to warm up to. It might seem silly but I admired her that she willingly cut her hair so short! For girls, I would say that's a big deal just because it's a vanity issue and a lot of people don't look good in short hair. I like actresses who sacrifice their looks for a role, even though she still looks good in the short hair. I think she looks very pretty with the long hair and the new hairdo makes her look both mature and still young at the same time. Her acting is a little exaggerated with her voice and actions but as I watch her more in Off Pedder, I can see that she is working on toning it down. It's also obvious that TVB sees her as more than just a pretty face since she was put in with more established actors in the TVB calendar and not put be put to be blended in with the other girls in swimsuits. She's also paired up with Bosco Wong in Burning Flames 3 and that's a lot of exposure and a big jump since she's the second female lead behind Myolie!

Yoyo Chen

If you read my blog, you can tell I'm already a fan, but I'm optimistic that TVB will promote her in the upcoming years. They have to promote a girl that doesn't come from beauty pageants right? Her acting is really good, her crying skills are good, and she's pretty. Too bad that there is just so much competition for female roles so I hope that one she will get a breakthrough role. She's supposed to take on an evil role in Palace Scheme but it's going to be hard to shine since everyone on that series, other than Charmaine, will get an evil role!

Fala Chen

Fala currently gets a lot of good roles and is greatly supported by Stephen Chan since she has already won Best Supporting Actress. I see a lot of success in her future since she is gorgeous and will bring in a lot of advertisements which translates into money. I do like her but I can't really imagine her really being the lead to carry a series, but more in main supporting roles. I think what gets in her way, as well as a lot of other actors and actresses, is that she does have an accent which also affects how her lines are read. I think her acting is okay, with having a breathrough in Moonlight Resonance, but that's only because she didn't have to speak. I think that role was good for her since she had to work on showing her emotions through her face than her words.

Selena Li

Selena already gets a lot of big roles so my prediction is that she will get the Most Improved award next year. She will also be in Palace Scheme in an evil role so the exposure would be good for it but she doesn't even need it. I would say that she is more of a mini-fadan right now since she hasn't been in the business as long but her acting is already pretty good and she doesn't need that much help in getting lead roles.

Grace Wong

Yes, I know we haven't seen how her acting is since her first role is in The Grand Entrepreneur, but there are signs that TVB will be promoting her. Even though she was the second choice for the role since it was first offered to Bernice Liu, it's still a big move since all the big stars are in it! Ever since winning Strictly Come Dancing, her popularity has improved and is seen in a lot of TVB events as one of their main headline dancers. A bigger sign is that she recently paired up with Ron Ng to dance AND sing with him in the Miss Chinese International Pageant and the recent Chinese New Year special and her singing is not bad! If you are paired up with any of the younger siu sangs, it probably means that they might soon be paired up with them on the tv screen as well. If that prediction comes true, you know that means she will get bigger roles!

Tracy Ip/ Queenie Chu

These are 2 that are very questionable to me. For one, these are 2 of the "actresses" that I really don't like and hope that they don't succeed. It might seem like there are others I don't like such as Kate since I don't like her singing but I acutally still support her since she seems like a hard worker. Tracy is a horrible host and her acting is just as bad. Any time I see her act, no matter what role it is, it just seems like a whine any time she starts to talk. Queenie will have her first big role in Superwoman along Ada Choi but her acting is only average at best too. She is pretty though. Why do I dislike them? Even though I know I shouldn't believe everything I read, I believe the negative things I read about them. Tracy recently made news by supposedly making a lot of money in the stock market to buy herself a few mansions. I don't believe any of it since it takes either a lot of brains or luck to win big in the stock market, but I don't think she has either. Sadly, there is an ugly side to the entertainment business where actresses hook up with wealthy guys for their money and that's probably how she got all that money. When reporters would ask other tvb artists, most seem reluctant to comment and none would stick up for her, meaning that she doesn't have that many friends in the entertainment circle. Also, with the recent financial crisis, shouldn't it mean that she would have lost a lot of money? Queenie was actually the third party in a relationship with Joey Leung and breaking up his relationship with Margret Chung. She blamed it on recently moving to Hong Kong and not being current with Hong Kong news. I blame it on her being naive and stupid. She's also currently rumored to have gotten the 2nd female lead in Superwoman because she flirted with the director or producer of this series. I'll give her the benefit of the doubt in that one but I can't really say she deserves big roles based upon her acting.

What do you think? Who would you add or remove from the list? There might be some that I left out by mistake or intentionally but there are just too many "actors" out there.

Singers on TVB (Part 2)

In a continuing evaluation of how singers acting in TVB dramas did, here are some more of my opinions.

Ella Koon
She was so lucky that Elaine Yiu did such a horrible job as a villian in this series that it probably overlooked how well or bad she did in Revolving Doors of Vengeance. Her debut was actually not bad. She's a very pretty girl who matched well with Ron in her first series, but that's all I remember of her in that series. She did a lot better as the spoiled princess type in Survivor's Law 2 and had cute chemistry with Kenneth Ma. She seemed to have a lot more confidence in her second series and I think she has more potential in acting than in singing because nothing seems to stand out with her voice either. I never really hear anything about her singing career and it seems like TVB brought in more attention for her. I actually think she can have a pretty decent career with TVB because she has charisma.

Toby Leung
I actually did not know that she started out in a girl group with Macy Chan before she went solo! She's more well known for being the daughter of the TVB producer/executive Tommy Leung. I actually don't mind that she got her start because of her connections since I think it's harder for people to take her seriously, so I'll just judge her on her acting and singing. She has a pretty pleasant voice, but nothing memorable. I think she did have a slightly successful debut solo album since she won a few awards. Looks wise, she looks pretty in kind of a plain way because the first time I saw her in Men In Pain, she was very plain, but when I see her at different awards ceremonies, she can look pretty elegant. As for her acting, she does need a lot of improvement but I do see potential. I'm not sure if she studied overseas but her speech sounds like chinese is not her main language. Her crying skills are pretty bad because it's more of a scream and not so believable. Even though I'm listing her faults, I do see improvements from Men In Pain to her more recent series: The Money Maker Recipe in a more fluid speech and more natural reactions. I'm interested in seeing how she acts in an ancient series because that would really test her acting. When I see her in clips, I see her as someone really friendly, so that might affect how I think of her! On the other hand, I think Macy Chan is a pretty good actress!

Vincent Wong
Vocally, I think he has a pleasant voice and I like his duets with Myolie. Other than that, I do not like this guy! I don't know what made TVB cast him in his first role in War Of In Laws as someone who's good looking enough to be a model, because he is not. This might sound mean but he is not cute at all and his facial features seem like they are all smushed in the middle. I thought maybe he had to be annoying since his role was to be a cocky rich guy but his acting is the same when he's playing a different character in Your Class or Mine. Some people's acting seem effortless, his seems like he doesn't give any effort.

*Note: In this picture, he doesn't look that bad, but I just don't like this guy!

His True Father (Blessing Ceremony)

I love Sunny Chan! Doesn't he seem like such a nice and friendly guy?

Find The Light (ending revealed)

*Spoiler: Ending Revealed*

After delaying to watch this series (since it looked boring), I finally finished watching the whole series! I wanted to watch it since it has the very young Bosco, Ron, Tavia, Shirley, and Leila Tong. It's kinda weird to watch how their acting was before they blew up and became as popular as they are now. I have to say Ron has greatly improved from that series to now. A lot of people say that he has "dead eyes" when acting and I never really thought so until I saw this series. Either way, he does look studly and has an "it" factor that other better actors may not have. Bosco has also improved since his speech was a slight mumble back then and he makes use of his voice and inflections much better now. I actually don't think Tavia has ever acted badly in an ancient series because she plays the lady-like roles well. Shirley looks so young in this series- is it possible that she currently looks better and younger now than before? I think it's the dimples but her current shorter hair cut does make her look more mature, which I think she's going for to try out different roles. Leila had a smaller role here so there's not much to comment on.

I liked the first half of the series more than the second half because I like how they were building the relationships between Bosco and Ron, Bosco and Tavia, Ron and Shirley, and Ron and Damien who played his master. I also liked Maggie in this series even though I don't get why they cast her in such an older role since she plays Ron's mom here! It's very cute how she cares for her son and does favors for Damien so that he can treat her son better as well. The last few episodes were kinda anticlimatic though. I was expecting some big battle scene with their kung fu but that never happened. I didn't mind that as much as the last 2 minutes of the series! It was just Ron flipping a coin to see if he's going to stay in his transporting business or follow Bosco to work at the capital, and the last image you see is of the coin in the air. Then, some guy makes some commentary about what happens to them as you see Chinese scrolling. Mind you, I can't read Chinese, and even though I can understand Chinese well, it's a little difficult in ancient series because of the way they speak. So it ends for me with not knowing what happens at the end! I had to search through the internet before I finally figured it out. I think it's basically saying that Bosco gets jailed for trying to stop the opium business, Ron rescues him out, their great friendship is known, but they are never seen again? Please let me know if that's wrong!

His True Father

The costume fitting for His True Father was today and Myolie and Sunny are paired up again to play Ron's parents! Of course, from what I know, Ron's dad gets into an accident and somehow Ron goes back in time to see how his parents met. Myolie plays a very flirtatious and materialistic person while Sunny is poor so it'll be interesting to see how they end up together. Myolie's hair is super big and I'm thinking that this is going to be more comedy than drama. I did wish that her and Ron would pair up but I guess he's with Shirley. I liked Myolie and Sunny in War and Destiny so I'm still happy. By the way, doesn't it look like Sunny never ages?! He's 42!

Tips For Home Decoration

I love this show! I know it's basically a big ad for IKEA, but the show is really cute and informative. It's hosted by Shirley Yeung and Chin Ka Lok and they make a small comedic storyline while redecorating an apartment. I think they're both funny here!

My Favorite TVB Duet

There are a lot of duets by different TVB artists for either theme or sub-theme songs, and for the most part, a lot of them are pretty good. There is one that is my favorite of all time, but that's not to say it's because it's by the best singers, best lyrics, or from the best series. However, this song is very good to me because the 2 voices used in this mesh very well in this song. That theme song is by Myolie Wu and Ron Ng from Lost in The Chamber of Love.

It might seem like a weird choice but one of the reasons I love this song is because of how they arranged their voices and how the song is layered. I like how they interchange lyrics, blend well towards the chorus, and it builds at the end with them both singing a different set of lyrics at the end. To me, it just sounds very beautiful when their voices are but together and of all the younger fadans and siu sungs, I think that this is the best match. I hope for their next series together (His True Father), they get to sing the theme song together!

What the???

So, I've recently heard that the next TVB artist to release a CD will be... Kate Tsui? OMG, that is horrible! I actually enjoy TVB artists releasing cds since those are basically the only asian artists that I know and I want to support them. Raymond has a very nice soothing voice, Linda is more sweet, Wong Cho Lam is a very talented singer and composer, and of course, Myolie has a great voice that can sing very difficult songs. Bosco, as much as I love him, does not have a great voice but I can see that they're trying to fill the hip/hop quota for TVB. haha. Also, I think it's easier for guys to sell cds because of the "idol" mentality. That's how they suckered me into buying his cd.

I think Kate is really overreaching with trying to have a singing career. I think she needs to improve her acting and gain some more fans before she tries to venture off into something else. Worst of all, her singing is horrible! I can see the record company and/or TVB will try to push her into more of the dancer/singer since her dancing is pretty good. I don't see why they don't just give Bernice Liu a record deal because she's a great dancer as well, and she can actually sing! Suprisingly, she has a very beautiful voice and can sing more fluently than when she is reciting her lines. Instead of me going on and on about what a bad singer Kate Tsui is, watch the clip below and form your own opinions. This is from a Miss Hong Kong where Kate and Raymond Lam did a singing and dancing duet. Their voices do not blend well together at all. I really think they're lipsyncing even though I hope they're not because if Kate's voice sounds like that in a recording, I'm afraid of what her live voice sounds like. At least she looks good here.

(starts at around 1:20 mark)

Pages of Treasures

This is the series that Wayne Lai finally gets to play first lead! How did it live up? The series itself was really good but it didn't require any extraordinary acting. If you want to see some truly excellent acting by this year's Best Supporting Actor, then you should watch The Gentle Crackdown 2 or Safeguards, or for something more modern, I would suggest When Rules Turn Loose. It does seem that Wayne excels more in ancient series and that's why I'm having great hopes for The Rouge Merchant w/ Sheren Tang, who is another good actor. I'm actually also watching Off Pedder and he actually looks quite "ying" in a suit. He looks good with the short cropped hair and his character is interesting so far as Joyce's brother, even though he's only been a few episodes so far.

If you want to watch a relaxing series to warm your heart, you should watch this series though. There's nothing truly unique about this series since it's a typical TVB family drama, but I always love it when Paul Chan plays the dad. The only thing I wish it had more of was more romance between Sonjia and Wayne.

Raymond Wong

I have currently finished watching the first 2 episodes of Sweetness in Salt and I am totally loving Raymond Wong. It's too bad that Easterly Showers had low ratings and his current series is being warehoused so Hong Kong viewers won't be able to recognize the rising talent that is Raymond Wong. Though he is not new to acting, it is only recently that my views of him have changed. I first saw him in Central Affairs and I thought that he was just a really cute actor with above average acting skills. He seems really competent but nothing ever stood out, other than the last scene he had with Michelle Ye. I don't want to ruin the ending but I think that was one of the best and emotional scenes of that series. I was really excited to hear that he was going to start filming for TVB but he just had flat supporting roles in When A Dog Loves a Cat and A Marriage of Inconvience. However, his recent roles have been suprising because he portrays his characters in a multifaceted way- not just the good guy, but one with depth. I actually think he can move up to 1st lead roles very soon because of 2 important traits: he's handsome and can really act! In the first 2 episodes, he actually has more screen time than Steven Ma and he has already captured my heart. He plays a very smart, but also very sick since he has diabetes, son of a salt trader who wants to end his life because he doesn't feel like he has a reason to live. That changes when Tavia changes his mind telling him that he should never give up, and so begins the development between the 2 characters and Raymond starting to have feelings for her. They have very good chemistry so far and I can't wait to see more of Raymond in 2009!

Here's a summary about what Sweetness in the Salt is about from the actors themselves:

Ancient Look

Some artists can pull off the look in ancient series quite well while others look a little ridiculous. I believe one of the reasons that Kevin Cheng had a modern hairdo in Devil's Disciple was because he couldn't pull off the long hair. I listed the 3 that automatically come to mind when I think they are best fit for filming ancient series.

Female: Tavia Yeung

When I first started watching TVB series, I didn't really like her acting since I saw a lot of her modern series first such as Golden Faith. Then a funny thing happened, any time I see her in any of the ancient series (Twin of Brothers, Face to Fate, A Pillowcase of Mystery), I automatically change my mind and like her. Everything from her look to her acting works for her, but maybe it's also that I think she looks prettiest with long hair. In modern series, I thought she looked pretty plain and her acting didn't really stand out, but when she's in ancient series, she looks a lot prettier (graceful and more refined... even when playing a funny role). It was only when watching Yummy Yummy that one scene stood out that made me like her in modern series as well: it was when she was crying because she felt bad for liking Kevin.

Male: Bosco Wong

I don't know what dynasty this is considered but Bosco stands out as the one guy who doesn't look horrible when filming these type of series. I usually hate this genre mainly because the half-bald look does not look flattering on any guy. However, Bosco stands out and that's probably why they have him film so many of these series: Find The Light, Wong Fei Hung, War of In Laws.

Male: Raymond Lam

The other guy that looks good in ancient roles is Raymond Lam when he films ancient series that revolves around fighting. He still looks handsome with the long hair and his fighting scenes look pretty realistic. His major breakthrough roles was as the future king in A Step Into The Past and after that, he was cast as male lead in a LOT of ancient series: Eternal Happiness, Lofty Waters Verdant Bow, Blade Heart, Twin of Brothers, Lethal Weapons of Love and Passion, Face to Fate, and The Four. I think that's probably why he's so popular in China since they are more receptive of those type of series than in Hong Kong.

Who do you think looks the best in ancient roles?