To Get Unstuck In Time

Reviewed by: tvb#1fan

September 07, 2004

Rating: five

English Title:To Get Unstuck In Time
# of Episodes: 22(Chinese) - 32(Viet)
Themesong/Subtheme:Patrick Tang/Flora Chan


Roger Kwok - Ho Tin Gwong (Morning Sir)
Flora Chan - Go San (Carol/Nicole)
Patrick Tang - Yuen Chee Go (Hugo)
Cherie Kong - Lee Sze Ching (See Hing)
Shek Sau - Hoh Jing Nam (Herman)
Hui Siu Hung - Ho Dai Hor (Roger's dad)
Kiki Sheung - Mon Jer (Roger's mom)
Matt Yeung - Go Ming (Issac) Flora's brother
Cheung Chi Kwong
Lau Koon Lan - Leung Siu Lan
Lee Sing Cheong - Go Ging Cheong (Flora's dad)
Lok Ying Kwan
Robert Siu
Johnson Lee
Jenny Yan
Shum Ho Yan - Fong Siu Ling

Time-travel has always been appealing, and the fact that there is a series incorporating the idea of communicating to the past is very refreshing. TVB has come up with a series that can make the impossible come true, which is why this series is a must-see of the year.

Before you read on, don't think that I am being biased or anything as I am giving too many good remarks on this series. Seriously, I wasn't really anticipating on this series, but as I watched the trailers and everything, it looked quite appealing so I thought I'll give it a try. To my surprise, this series was just simply brilliant as I watched it from beginning to end.

My thoughts:
This series was a very refreshing story, based on an 80s mobile phone that was the soul of the whole show. It put the whole story together, connecting the years 2004 and 1984. Although this show was criticized of copying the American movie "Frequency," it just borrowed the idea. The story was completely different, leaving it refreshing with alot of twists and turns.

I must say that this series is almost flawless. The plot was very entertaining and gripping, with so much suspense put into it. It is one of those series where you're "dying-to-see-the-next-episode." It had a mixture of suspense, mystery, drama, and a little bit of comedy.

This series can be split into two parts. The first part is episodes 1-14, and the second part is episodes 15-22. Here’s a brief summary:

Morning Sir (Roger Kwok) was a CID Inspector. He solved many cases, and in one case, he met Go San (Flora), who was a disabled crime novelist/detective fiction writer. The two were enemies at first, and tried to race and find out the real killer of the case. One night, when Morning Sir was out of clues, his late dad Ho’s (Hui Siu Hung) old 80’s cell phone rang (after getting charged from the lightning storm outside), and that was when Morning Sir found out that his dad had called him accidently. Apparently, Ho had died in disgrace, so that was why Morning Sir did not tell him of their real relationship. Morning Sir then used his dad (who was still existing in 1984), to help him solve many difficult cases. Eventually, after many big cases that Morning Sir and Go San solved together (as Go San was involved in most of them), both of them developed feelings for each other and became lovers. With Go San’s help, Morning Sir was able to make up with his dad, as he found he was not a cheater after all, but had gone undercover and helping people.

When Go San was young, she was disabled in a traffic accident. Morning Sir then asked Ho to help her avoid the accident in the past. However, her fate changed immensely afterwards. This is where the second reality begins. Everything was changed, and Go San became a gangster’s adopted daughter, and also became bad. Her name became Nicole, and she did not even know Morning Sir. Morning Sir’s life had changed completely, including all the cases that he and Go San had solved all back to the beginning, and having the innocent suspects in jail. Morning Sir must somehow bring back things as it was before, but he found out that it was easier said than done. This change of fate also leds to the true reason behind Ho’s death...

The Cases:
The cases were well done, each having a different aspect in them. It was refreshing to see that these cases were connected to 20 years ago, where two people could communicate with each other in different time periods, solving the same case. The Chinese title fits in perfectly in this aspect, in that they are "Chasing Murderers Through Time." The cases were pretty unpredictable, and it was fun to watch Roger, Hui Siu Hung and Flora solve the case, and come up with an outcome. I liked how Kiki Sheung (who was a forensic scientist) would do the DNA stuff. It seemed very high-tech. It was cool to see Hui Siu Hung pass information from his period (1984) to two decades later (2004), and give useful evidence to Roger as well. This is an advantage, and an example that commonly occurs in this series is if a building is destroyed presently, two decades ago that building might not have been destroyed yet, so evidence could be passed easily to the future that way. The way how Hui Siu Hung just buried the evidence under a tree to give to his son in the future was quite neat.

- The first big case dealt with a serial homicide that involved a criminal from twenty years ago. This case was about women who had two boyfriends (in other words, they were two-timers), and the criminal tried to kill these women and chop off their legs, because they were cheating/using their original boyfriend. This case involved Shek Sau, who was Flora's boss and good friend. There was a very big twist in this case.

- The second case dealt with a man who asked Flora to write a story about his late wife (who had just died). There’s a twist to how the wife had died, and involved Roger’s late father, who was part of the reason why the wife had died.

- The third case dealt with Flora’s mom and her true identity. It was about a man who was in a coma for 20 years, and woke up suddenly stating that he has been pushed off a building by Flora’s mom. This case had a big twist to it, and was pretty ironic, dealing with Flora’s cousin Cherie, who lived with her (Flora’s) family.

- The fourth case dealt with a precious diamond that the CID had to secure. This precious diamond determined if two lovers have destiny together. The owner of it was a young women who had her secrets, and she was actually seeking revenge. This case was where Roger and Flora discovered they were fated to be together. The true reason why this woman wanted revenge was because of Roger’s dad. Roger was accused of stealing the precious diamond one night while on duty, and it was all part of the plan to break his family. It also turned out that the women’s father was the best friend of Roger’s dad.

- The fifth case was in the second reality world, and it is one huge case broken down to little ones. It involved Flora mostly, and the secrets of her and her adopted father, the triad leader, and the triads. Roger tried his best to make Nicole (Flora) remember that she used to be Go San, and bring her back to normal, including risking his life for it. He soon realized that the events that had happened to Go San had never happened to Nicole.

The Other Stuff...

The action sequences were decent (not the best), which included the stunts done by Roger and Flora themselves. I was very impressed with Flora’s fighting when she was the evil Nicole. The stunts done by Roger were quite good, especially in the first episode, when he jumped off a building to a truck to chase a murderer.

The background music and the song that Roger’s mom liked to listen to (“Someone There For Me”) were just excellent, and I also liked the themesong and the subtheme. The themesong (sung by Patrick Tang) is one of my favourites, since it had a detective/mysterious feel to it that reflected the series mood/theme. The subtheme (sung by Flora Chan) was also good, especially the chorus part. I found that song very touching, but it was a pity they don't have a full version of it. The song near the end of the show was very sad and touching. I liked the sort of lullaby song played when Morning Sir talked to his father, and when he recalled past memories with him when he was a child.

Opinions on the Cast:
Roger Kwok
Roger did great as always, and he never disappoints me. He delivered his role as the hot-tempered but kind-hearted Morning Sir quite well. His emotional scenes were well done and very adequate for his role. I really liked his look in here, with his new hairstyle and clothes, which really made him look very refreshing. His smile and his gestures, including the “tapping his fingers on his legs” when he was thinking of something, brought out his character’s personality. Roger had great chemistry with Hui Siu Hung, and it is amazing that they didn’t have any scenes together (their scenes were limited to just talking on the phone, showing them talking side-by-side). He shared many touching scenes with Hui Siu Hung. Roger also had good chemistry with Flora, and they were a very cute couple. Some minor flaws were some overacting and minor stiffness on his part, but overall, he did well. I think Roger should be nominated as best actor, and also get the Top 10 Favourite Characters Award.

Performance rating: 4.75/5

Flora Chan
Flora portrayed her role relatively well, with much improvement here than from “Hard Fate.” It was very refreshing to see her portray a different kind of character than her usual independent, strong-career women. She delivered the role of the optimistic, quick-thinking Go San very well, and she was very convincing as a disabled person. Although she did not appear very pretty in this show, mainly due to her ugly hairstyle, she was still very cute because of her personality, funny gestures and expressions. It was great to see her double-personality, and this showed her versatile skills. Her evil Nicole was acted well, but I preferred her Go San more as she acted better there. I was fairly impressed when she acted tough and rough, and I also enjoyed her fighting scenes. Thumbs up for her for doing a great job portraying two completely different characters. Flora did a decent job in her emotional scenes, in which she was more of a convincing crier here than in her previous series. Overall, not a breathtaking performance, but still a very good one.

Performance rating: 4.25/5

Patrick Tang
Patrick Tang showed a lot of improvement, and his Hugo was very amusing. He should be given more roles in the future, as he is a promising actor. His character brought a lot of limelight in the show, although in the first half of the show, his character was fairly unreasonable to Morning Sir. But overall, I liked his character.

Performance rating: 3.5/5

Cherie Kong
Cherie did okay as Sze Ching. She still has room for improvement, especially in her crying and sad scenes. She tended to overact sometimes, and her acting was a bit stiff. Her acting was still above average, though. However, I found her doing better in “Placebo Cure.” I still liked her character in this show, although it was quite annoying at times.

Performance rating: 2.75/5

Veterans Hui Siu Hung, Kiki Sheung, and Shek Sau did a wonderful job. Hui Siu Hung deserves some sort of award for his amazing performance. His emotional scenes were well done, especially when he found out he would die. A 5/5 for him. Kiki Sheung did great as Morning Sir’s mom, and I really like her Mon Jer, as you could really feel for her character. You could feel her troubles, her sympathy, and her sadness over her husband’s death. She delivered a good amount of versatility in her performance. Overall, great performance. I'll give her a 4.75/5. Shek Sau delivered a relatively good performance, but not a breaktaking one. For his performance, I'll give him a 4/5. Shek Sau’s dad in the show is worth mentioning as a good veteran actor. I also liked Flora's mom in this series, as her acting was very good and versatile as well.

The other characters such as Cheung Chi Kwong and Matt Yeung gave above average performances, and I wish they got more screen time. I really pitied Matt's character (Flora's younger brother), as he didn't even exist at all in the second reality!

Overall, both the casting and the acting were good.

Best Scenes (these are in no particular order):
1.) Everything that happened in the first episode. There was just so much that happened in that episode, including a Jackie Chan-style stunt done by Roger.
2.) All the cases. They were really unpredictable, and I liked how they solved it.
3.) When Roger found out that the person that was talking to him on the other side of the old cell phone was his father.
4.) The father-son relationship. I liked the way they talked on the phone to each other. It was very touching! It was fun to watch Hui Siu Hung pass evidence over to the future.
5.) When Roger told Hui Siu Hung that he was his son. That scene was very emotional, and I liked how they did the morse code thing that represented their love.
6.) When Roger recalled old memories with his dad.
7.) When Hui Siu Hung and Kiki were together (back in 1984), especially the scenes when they were listening to the song “Someone There For Me.” It was emotional when they were dancing, and Hui Siu Hung, knowing he would die, would never be able to take care of Kiki again, but she said that he won’t go away from her. He was crying, and was thanking her for such a good moment.
8.) When Shek Sau played the piano for Kiki, and started singing “Someone There For Me.” That scene was both funny and emotional.
9.) When Hui Siu Hung said “Mamma mia!!” (This is more of a favourite phrase).
10.) The high-tech stuff that happened when they were solving the case. Mon Jer (Kiki) would test out DNA and stuff. It was very educational.
11.) The scenes between Roger and Flora. It was very amusing to watch Roger always throw temper tantrums to Flora in the beginning. I liked it when they solved the cases together. Roger and Flora shared many memorable, funny, emotional scenes together. I especially liked their scene when they both saw the angel (Cupid) from the precious diamond that determined if two lovers were fated to be with each other. The wheelchair dance between Roger and Flora was one of the best scenes.
12.) The rainbow scene between Roger and Flora was well done. It was cute to see Flora peck Roger’s cheek. I love the scenes when they first started dating.
13.) I liked the crying scene when Flora said that she was not good enough for Roger, since she was in a wheelchair and was too dependent on him. So she called for a break-up with Roger, and said that they should remain as friends.
14.) The scene (in the second reality), when Roger realized that everything had changed. You could really feel for his character in this scene.
15.) All the fighting scenes. I especially like the ones between Roger and Flora.
16.) When the evil Flora kissed Roger. She realized she had loved him very much.
17.) Everything that happened in the last episode. It was really exciting.
18.) The scene when Roger and Flora were pointing guns at each other.
19.) When Hui Siu Hung was saved from the prostitute's bed from a monk. The monk explained to him that fate was not meant to be changed. We should just keep it as it and not change things, or else things will screw up in the future. So that was why Hui Siu Hung just became a monk and did not want to interfere and change things. He just secretly looked after Roger and Kiki.
20.) The scene in the airport when Roger finally found his father. He made the morse code thing with kids clapping the pattern. The scene was very emotional.
21.) The scene when Roger and Hui Siu Hung were at their tree. Hui Siu Hung explained everything to Roger, and they also planted a new tree together. After that, he said goodbye. That scene was one of the best, especially the background music for it.
22.) The last scene, when Roger said he would wait for Flora (she was sweeping outside) after she went to prison. Roger said he dreamt of seeing Flora in his dream, and Flora said that was not her. Then suddenly, a rainbow appeared, and Flora said that it was beautiful. Roger said that he knew it was her, and they just stared at the rainbow.

There were a lot of other scenes that were good ones, but these are the ones that I could remember

Last Comments:
This series is one of the "must-see's" of the year. It had a good plot, with an excellent cast. The acting and music were great. If I had to name some flaws, it would have to be that they used the time-portal thing too much (when Roger called his dad or vice-versa on the old cell-phone). Also, the second part of the series was not as good as the first part, so I wouldn't call the plot 100% perfect. I personally liked the first part more since it was more exciting, but the second part was still relatively good. A sequel will be highly welcomed if there was one. That way, vieweres would see if Roger and Flora actually end up together, since the ending was a cliffhanger. This series got good viewership ratings, with an average of 31 points, and a peak of 36 points, which I thought was really deserving.

Also, this series led you to believe that there are multiple parallel universes out there, and if you change something about your life, everything else will change, which would lead to a different reality. In the case of the show, when Roger changed Flora’s destiny, her fate changed completely. Everything turned out bad. That is one of the valuable lessons that will be learnt after watching this show. It was not completely Roger’s fault for changing Flora’s life, as it was meant to happen. It was meant for Hui Siu Hung to go to the prostitute's bed as he was trying to get young Flora back, so she wouldn’t become evil.

To end my review, if you are a fan of detective serials, or a person looking for a really good mystery/suspenseful series with some time-travel involved in it, this is the series for you! Even if you are not a fan of any of these genres, just give it a try. It is definitely worth your time and money. A very memorable series.

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