This series is exactly like the wealthy family that it is depicting – glamorous on the outside, but rotten on the inside. As an anniversary series, Overachievers has a grand appearance: an all-star cast, extravagant sets, glamorous clothing... okay, maybe not so nice hairstyles... but the plot was a disaster.
It's easy to understand why the Chinese title was changed from "Business Wars", because business was certainly the least of the worries in here. The first two episodes feature a seemingly intense war between father and son. But after that, it is almost forgotten and replaced with pointless drama between irrelevant characters. The Raymond-Nancy love-sickness was a drag. Power Chan and Maggie Siu, while both are entertaining, add almost nothing to the overall plot. The entire Edwin-Sisley line was neither entertaining nor necessary. After twenty episodes, you will realize you've gotten nowhere. Then in the last week or so, the plot takes a turn for the worse and we suddenly have a few wackos at our hands. Until finally, everything is wrapped up in a ridiculous ending.
The biggest problem was certainly the dramatic character changes. Elliot Ngok's character suddenly decides he's going to push away all his children with his unreasonableness and Raymond Wong's character becomes an insane serial killer. I get that these two characters drive the series to its climax, but it is really hard to watch when everything stems from such illogicialness. The character that was actually the most interesting, but ultimately wasted, was Susanna Kwan. From the way she handled her husband's infidelity, she was made to seem like a smart, calculating lady who patiently awaits her chance for revenge. Yet in the end, she proves incapable of managing the corporation or getting revenge on her son's true killer.
Wayne Lai seems to have lost his touch and now only acts as various versions of Chai Gau in his dramas. Raymond Wong has too much "force" in his acting, like the way he pushes his dialogue out or the way he grabs his female co-stars. Edwin Siu is over-exaggerative in his attempt to deliver comedy. Raymond Cho is good as the useless son, but this is not a break-through for him. Power Chan is the best of the "Five Tigers", as he always finds a way to make his characters stand out. Elliot Ngok acting is just right as the patriarch and is also convincing in the scenes after his stroke. Amazingly, Jason Chan's acting was not cringe-worthy in this series. There was only about one scene where I noticed his hands gesturing randomly. Fred Cheng is cute in his performance.
Nancy Wu is a capable actress, but she never attracts attention on the screen. In contrast, Maggie Siu can grab attention with her expressions or movements even when she is not talking. Susanna Kwan was the perfect choice for the semi-villainous step-mother. Unfortunately, her character didn't use all of her potential. Grace Chan was impressive in her debut. She is natural and at ease next to the veterans, and her crying scenes can already beat out some actresses with more experience. Sisley Choi also made a good debut, but she has a weaker screen presence compared to Grace. Ali Lee was quite noticeable too.
Rating: 3/5. Overachievers underachieved.
Written by miriamfanz @ Casual TVB