At the Threshold of an Era I

Reviewed by: spcnet

May 25, 2004

Rating: two

There are several reasons not to watch "At the Threshold of an Era": you'll go broke renting it because it is a 100 episodes, your eyes would get very tired after watching it, most of it you can (and should) fast-forward, the plot is quite ludicrous and the characters are rather poorly written up. One would think that with such a huge cast that has some of TVB's most popular stars, including Gallen Lo Ka Leung, Kenix Kwok Ho Ying, Sunny Chan Kam Hong, Roger Kwok Chun On, Flora Chan Wai San, Maggie Siu Mei Kei, and Nicky Wu Kei Lung, the series would be somewhat decent but a poor script dashes all such hopes.


The series is supposed to be situated in the architectural/building scenario, with stock games added along into it. The beginning of "Threshold" is carelessly thrown together as the viewer is introduced into the lives of three childhood friends--played by Gallen Lo, Sunny Chan, and Roger Kwok respectively, who have quite some different personalities. The series desperately tries to convey to the viewer that the friendship between these three is quite deep but only manages to portray a shallow relationship. Especially at the beginning episodes, the actors just do not seem to fit into their roles and are still trying to grasp the character. Taking for granted that it's the entertainment business, "Threshold" must think that the audience will take anything that they're willing to dish out (well, at least some of us won't). Too many convenient plot events are used--for instance, Kenix Kwok's role meets up with the roles of Gallen and Roger and suddenly, her whole social hemisphere revolves around, and only around, these people--TVB always makes it seem as if the characters have no other friends or a life for that matter. After the death of her mother, Kenix appears to be a strong woman who can take care of herself but into the series, it becomes apparent that her character is a weak, emotional, and naive female.

Speaking of females, the woman characters in the series are almost all somewhat weak and dumb. Especially Flora Chan's and Kenix Kwok's roles who appear to have no self-identity except helplessly follow the men around. The only women in "Threshold" worth mentioning are those played by Maggie Siu and Lisa Wang Ming Chuen who seem to have a mind of their own--and use it too. I can't help but contemplate though, did TVB assign Lisa Wang a "safe" role to play?

By the latter part of these 50 episodes, some excitement is added when Sunny Chan's character becomes evil--the role that Lawrence Ng Kai Wah had refused to partake in. Most would agree that Roger Kwok's role is the most acceptable and comfortable to watch. Gallen Lo's role is quite dislikeable. With the theory that his "way" can change another's path, he goes about butting into everyone's life and acts like a puppet-master/God. "Threshold" has him holding a ridiculous idea--that a murderer can get a second chance if he so lets him. Despite being the villain, Sunny's role is actually more likeable than that of Gallen's--perhaps because Gallen's role is more aloof and contains a bunch of flaws. "Threshold" has to be credited though for bringing up some of these complaints in the series toward the end of the first half but is it due to outrageous audience response?

One also gets the sense that "Threshold" is trying to be "big" all the time because it's such a "big" series--throw in some murders, car explosions, and big corporate battles. Why is it always about two families who have some past generation vengeance? I probably have a dozen (and some) more criticisms of this series but it would be too long and some die-hard fans of the series would most likely want to bash me! To sum it up, "Threshold" would be worth a watch if you wanted to see some of your favorite stars just up on any screen. Pray that ATV's upcoming big production "Greed of Man 2000" would not be a flop and would pay more attention to detail!

Screenshots:(TVB Copyrighted)

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