How long/Year produced:
30 episodes done in year 1998
Lu Dong Bin - Ma Jing Tao
He Xian Gu - Zheng Xiu Zhen
Bai Mu Dan - Guo Fei Li
Lan Cai He - Shen Yi Lin
Han Zhong Li - Mai Hao Wei
Han Xiang Zi - Chang Ru Feng
Zhang Guo Lao - Ling Xiao
Tie Guai Li - Lin Yi Sheng
Cao Guo Jiu - Li Hai Jie
Zhen Niang/Long San - Lin Xiang Ping
Chaun San Jia - Xie Shao Guang
This is a story on the eight immortals -- but not to be believed as it is just a tall story. Many viewers are not happy on how the story has been changed. Can you accept Zhang Guo Lao to be a greedy eater? Cao Guo Jiu to be a money digger? And Tie Guai Li to be Lu Dong Bin's master in his previous life? The worst is the whole story is about love!!! And believe it or not, the evil spirits have the power to create havoc in the heaven's palace!
Here's Wukong who falls for Long San, the dragon princess. But she likes Xiang Zi. But Xiang Zi at first misses his dead wife, Zheng Niang, and later becomes unmoved by any love after becoming a deity. Later, Wukong and Long San are attached.
Another attraction is this part - Dong Hua Taoist has a hard time subduing some evil spirits and needs the Queen mother's precious needle. A small fairy, Mu Dan, is secretly in love with him and steals it for his sake. Tragedy befalls when she is discovered and is sentenced to be a whore for 3 lives. She is devastated that her love is one-sided and she goes under reincarnation with sadness. Dong Hua Taoist feels bad over this and he relieves his duty to be Lu Dong Bin and tries to lead her to the right path.
It pains him to know that she has a hard time in the mortal world. She even tries to strip him and herself when he pays to see her. Dong Bin quickly throws his outer gown on her and walks away. She falls for him and that spells disaster. Dong bin has to go through a thousand year love curse before he can become an immortal again. The other immortals worry for him and they try to prevent this from happening.
But somehow, there will be evil spirits who hinder the process. And to think that the immortals are instead controlled by these evil spirits! They try all sorts of means to separate the eight immortals as their combined power is enough to kill them.
As for Xian Gu, she tries to lead Shan Jia on the right path but he falls for her instead. In order to marry her, he drugs her, but on the day of marriage she wakes up and leaves. This leads him to become a villain in the future. Xian Gu is at first only normal friends with Dong Bin. After being drugged, she falls for him.
Mu Dan gets jealous and both women have a hard time with each other. Later, Xian Gu panicks when knowing the scenerio and tells him to be wary of Mu Dan. Dong Bin is reading one night when Mu Dan suddenly ties a red string around his leg. She gets it from the moon matchmaker (who is actually Shan Jia in disguise) who tells her that Dong Bin is hers when this is tied to him. Dong Bin removes it quietly when Mu Dan leaves his room. But later, he feels a sharp pain in his body and sleeps with Mu Dan for the night. Unknown to him, the red string is actually a blood curse -- with the thousand year love curse in it as well.
From then onwards, the other 7 immortals are so helpless. They find it difficult to talk sense to him. They have tried to hide Mu Dan somewhere but are instead reprimanded by him. They have no choice but to hand her back. Later they hit him hard and finally cure him by combining forces together to force the curses out of the body. But after checking on the books of births and deaths, he knows that his presence will bring the death of Mu Dan. He is very upset and becomes a woodcutter to stay with Mu Dan.
But after knowing that the immortals have trouble dealing with San Jia, he goes out of retreat. Mu Dan is sad to see the sword that he keeps missing. She follows him quietly and indeed finds the eight of them in danger. They finally destroy San Jia but Mu Dan is sacrificed in the process. Before her death, Dong Bin sits on a raft with her and she dies in his arms. Many years later, the eight immortals are together to subdue an evil spirit. Mu Dan's reincarnation is there as a sweet lady who envies them of their powers.
I like this cast. The eight of them slip into the roles well. It is amusing to see Yi Lin act as a teenage Lan Cai He. She is so convincing that all call her 'Ah Boy'! The same cannot be said for Ru Feng, though. He is still stony and expressionless after a few serials. I don't understand how he can be the winner of the star search award. Lin Xiang Ping is better than him although she was only a contestant in the same contest. She plays the roles of a demure and spitfire role very well. But after this role, she gets so many willful roles that I get sick of her!
I must say that Xiu Zhen and Fei Li are very good as Xian Gu and Mu Dan. Xiu Zhen is born to be acting in period dramas since she has the ancient look. Her two images, one with long hair and the other with her hair tied are equally attractive.
As the fairy Mu Dan, I think Fei Li is even prettier than Xiu Zhen. She is eye-catchy in her purple gown with purple peony flowers in her hair. Her plain image as Mu Dan isn't that pretty. No wonder she gets shadowed by Xiu Zhen from the later part onwards, judging from the Singapore viewers' response. But the Taiwanese audience like her performance so much here than Xiu Zhen that they even suspect that Ma and her are a pair in real life!
Of course, we know who shines in the end. Who else but Ma Jing Tao? He has managed not to show his exaggerated style in acting Qiong Yao serials here at all. He is plain looking as the Taoist for the first 3 episodes. But later when he appears in a white gown and long hair, many are attracted by his handsome and cool appearance. Although Dong Bin's character here is meant to be a nosey person who doesn't know his limits, there is still an air of coolness around him when he doesn't smile.
In a students' poll for the popular artiste, he was at first among the top five. But after reaching the stage of Dong Bin as a villain, I guess they didn't like him to ruin his own image by yelling in pain due to the curse and damaging his once neat and nice hairstyle. And also showing the evil deeds that Dong bin has done under the curses. In the end, he only managed to obtain the 12th place in the final round. Same for me too, I think it would be better if Dong Bin is a good character from the beginning to the end.
In actual fact, he looks very cool with the sword behind him or pressing it to the ground. He looks good in another slightly purplish flowery gown specially tailored for him. He cuts an edge above the rest, with the different poises that he shows. The agility and experience already tells us that he is very good in acting period dramas. Many have said that he does look like an immortal, due to his tall built combined with his clean-cut and well placed facial features. Many has tons of praises for his performance and commented that he will win the best actor award if the tv awards is open to foreign artistes.
This is the best TCS drama that I've seen so far, besides "The Story Of Wisely". After so many disasters of choosing the wrong people for the wrong roles, TCS has finally done it right this time. To make it real, they even had it filmed in Jiu Zai Gou, which is well-known for its fairy-like scenery. No wonder it was the most watched serial in 1998. Many were nominated in the 20 popular artistes in the tv awards. Zheng Xiu Zhen and Guo Fei Li were in.
But of course, I don't like the story. It focuses too much on the love triangles/rectangles perhaps???? Most of the time, we see the deities doing nothing but talking about love. How can the deities be so free to roam around and this sets a very poor image of the deities that we know from stories. Many are unhappy as they worship them as gods. It is understandable as the imagination really ran too wild here!
Moreover, the deities are average skilled when they are left on their own. Dong bin even has to have Xian Gu to teach him the basic skills -- what a disgrace! And to think that their teachers are all among the immortals. I find it too difficult to swallow.
The main theme is sung by Wu Jia Ming, who has sung the sub-theme song for the TCS version of The Legendary Swordsman. It was so popular at one time that even little children sang it on the streets. One sub-theme song delivered by Li Ming Xun is badly done. But the other two sub-theme songs by Xiong Tian Ping, a Taiwanese singer are very worth listening. One is 'Xiang Si Wu Jie'(no reason for missing your love) and another is 'Xin You Ling Xi'(reading one's mind). Both the lyrics and songs are penned by him too. After listening them, I do feel that the second song goes along better with the two TCS made "Luk Siu Fung" serials. Why? It has Luk Siu Fung's well-known skill with the exact same name !
This serial is very worth your time. It has lots of special effects, not losing out to the two "Journey to the West" versions by TVB. The story may not be appealing but it is compensated by the good acting of the cast. Finally, it's proven that TCS can also stand on its own to produce some quality productions after all!
On acting:* * * * * (Scale of 5)
On the story: * * * *(Scale of 5)