Chinese Title: "Tam Ching Suet On" (roughly translates to of love and cases)
Theme song: Until You Stop Looking For Me by Raymond Lam
No. of episodes: 25
Raymond Lam as Kingsley
Tavia Yeung as Sai Lei Mui
Kenneth Ma as Gordon
Bernice Liu as Nickole
Lee Kwok Lun
Not as bad as its title, but still pretty bad. Starring some guy named Raymond Lam.
I am one of the many who watched Japan's Galileo before this series and I can tell you without a doubt that no matter what TVB says, The Mysteries of Love definitely copied / loosely based / is inspired by its Japanese counterpart. I can also tell you without a doubt that TVB butchered everything that was great about Galileo and put its own horrendous spin on the plot and characters.
The Mysteries of Love began badly. Very badly... so badly, in fact, that I thought at first that I was watching the wrong series. You have to watch the beginning for yourself but I am fairly confident in saying that it is probably the cheesiest introduction of a family feud between two lovers in recent history. What a dumb plot gimmick.
And so we think – it's only uphill from here, right?
The cases were boring and predictable. I watched this series only a few weeks ago and if you ask me about the cases, I can tell you I don't remember a single one. Give me Detective Investigation Files over this any day. I'm also tired of how the villains always get a long confessional soliloquy in TVB series. Isn't there a more refreshing way to explain how cases got solved?
The ending was one of the worst anti-climax endings I've ever watched. First off, Sai Lei Mui tells Kingsley she tried to commit suicide after he broke up with her. If the subject wasn't so serious I think I would have laughed at how anti-climax this revelation was. This was so out of character for Sai Lei Mui and a lame attempt at last-minute drama. After that, she forgives him after watching him declare his love on national television, followed by a proposal scene where everyone and their mother encourages her to forgive him and accept his proposal. I don't know about you, but I won't go accepting an ex's proposal days after I tell him I attempted suicide because of him. This was lazy writing to the core.
I am a shameless Raymond Lam fan so it pains me to tell you that I did not like his performance here. For one thing, the casting is all wrong. Ray is too young for the role. While he looks intelligent in that very academic way, he is not convincing age-wise as an assistant professor even though he's supposed to be an accomplished genius.
And what's with the vests? Can't he just hang out in a lab coat, please? And the name - Kingsley King?! I thought they were joking. Why does TVB insist on giving Ray's characters horrible English names? Alfred in Heart of Greed, for one... but seriously, Kingsley? The name was so bad and laughable that my friends and I started referring to this series as "Kingsley". We would ask each other things like "What episode of Kingsley are you on?" or "Have you finished watching Kingsley yet?" TVB, please give the poor guy a decent English name next time. Hell, just call him Raymond Lam.
The absolute worst part of his character was that he was pretentious – as – hell. TVB has got to stop thinking it's portraying a realistic professional just because he has a ridiculous English name, texts his girlfriend in English (and she doesn't speak English, btw), and is referred to by his English name by his blue-blood parents. And while it may not be Ray's fault, I was annoyed out of my mind by the constant English phrases he uses in his dialogue. At least Ray speaks decent English, unlike the other actors TVB forces to speak the language in so-called ‘profession series'...like here, where they kept calling Nickole "Nickel".
Casting and pretentiousness aside (which is mostly the scriptwriters' fault), I didn't quite like Ray's interpretation of his character either. Kingsley is supposed to be a genius driven by logic and scientific explanations. These people are usually a) loners or social outcasts b) not very in tune with their emotions c) not very expressive or a combination of the three. While again, most of this is the writers' fault for giving him a best friend in Gordon and a quick girlfriend in Sai Lei Mui, Ray was not deadpan enough in the role. He smiles, his eyes sparkle, he's polite and even charming in the role. The one exception would be the confession scene in the restaurant when he tried to explain how he fell in love with Sai Lai Mui. So formulaic, so logical, and very in character for Kingsley. I was laughing! Ray actually looked deadpan in that scene, which was good. Overall though, Ray fans won't be too well served with The Mysteries of Love.
If Ray's performance was a surprise, so was Kenneth Ma's, but in a good way. In series, Kenneth usually bores me to tears but in interviews he seems chatty, interesting and even silly at times. I think with this series as well as his performance in Survivor's Law II, Kenneth has found his "golden character" - the ones who are bright but goofy, not very polished, even a bit crass. He's got chemistry with Bernice Liu and their friends-with-benefits relationship was more interesting to watch than the Ray-Tavia overused storyline. Kenneth's performance is both entertaining and brave here, what with his very intimate scenes with several actresses.
Bernice Liu was reduced to a cameo here, so I don't have much comment on her performance other than the fact that she has improved in the dramatic scenes. A decent performance.
Tavia Yeung was a question mark for me. She looks a lot like the actress in the Japanese version, and though her character is kind of annoying in here (she is all over Kingsley all the time), Tavia can act. Her best scene was the scene with her father, when she broke down in tears after breaking up with Kingsley. It reminded me of a similar scene in Love Bond with Kenix Kwok and Paul Chun. I also liked Tavia's bantering scenes with her co-workers here and the scenes with the actor who plays her nephew. I felt nothing for her scenes with Ray, though. Anyone feeling overexposed to these two actors may need alcohol and/or a fast-forward button to get through their scenes. In fact, they behave almost like siblings. While I have no complaints about Tavia's acting in this series, I have to say she lacks charisma. I really think she should stick to the secondary characters. However, I will take her as a female lead any day over Charmaine or Shirley.
With the exception of the veteran who portrayed Sai Lai Mui's father, no supporting cast member was especially memorable. Casting missed the mark again with Mary Hon and Lee Kwok Lun as Kingsley's parents. They were almost cartoon versions of snobby old-money people, and from the way they behaved and talked, were beyond pretentious – the antithesis of class. I was happy to see Evergreen Mak again, although this role didn't make much of his acting skills.
To Watch or Not to Watch, That is the Question
Strictly for Kenneth, Bernice, Raymond, and Tavia fans...and even then, I make no promises. A miss.