*Written by spcnet
TVB's golden period in martial arts dramas is considered by many to be during the wake of the 1980s into the early 1990s. With a huge talent pool of artistes to choose from, and a trend in ancient, period dramas, some of the best TVB dramas were made during this time. Popular male actors included the 5 Tigers (Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Michael Miu Kiu Wai, Felix Wong Yat Wah, Kent Tong Chun Yip, and Andy Lau Duk Wah) who made their debuts as leads for the first time. On the female actresses front, competition was also fierce with artistes such as Idy Chan Yuk Lin, Barbara Yung Mei Ling, Carina Lau, and Cecilia Wong to name a few. This is a list of our favorites.
It's not true that Chow Yun Fat first acted as a swords master in the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon movie. He starred as Ling Wu Chong in Smiling Proud Wanderer, and while the pacing and swordplay were not comparable to the excitement of the novel, this series was memorable for its time.
With a cast made up of mostly supporting actors and actresses in lead roles, The Blood Stained Intrigue more than made up for it with its intriguing (excuse the pun) story. Jimmy Au Sui Wai steps up as one of the leads too and it proves that even B-list TVB actors of the past were very talented.
You can't really go wrong with Jin Yong adaptations and Flying Fox of Snowy Mountain is up to par with Ray Liu as Wu Fei. Patrick Tse also makes a cool Miu Yun Fung. The fighting here is good and the story is mostly faithful. This is probably the only Flying Fox adaptation I have liked.
The Grand Canal is an anniversary series of TVB's and it gathers a huge cast to create a historic tale. Starring Tony Leung, Idy Chan, Lau Ching Wan, and Tsang Wah Sin, the story pans many years of the fall of a dynasty and the founding of another.
Wai Siu Bo is the anti-hero culmination of Jin Yong's works. He cheats, lies, and doesn't know martial arts. However, his redeeming quality is his loyalty to his friends. Tony Leung is great as Wai Siu Bo, and this role probably typecasted him into a comedic character for a while. While the martial arts scenes are not prominent, the story about his friendship with the Emperor played by Andy Lau is not to be missed.
With three main hero characters to choose from and a huge range of talented actors, Demi Gods doesn't fail. Though the special effects look cheesy by today's standards and we have the occasional slow-mo fight scenes, this is a classic story of a hero's tragedy. The huge cast includes Leung Kar Yun, Kent Tong Zhen Yip, Idy Chan Yuk Lin, Cecilia Wong Hung Sau, Felix Wong Yat Wah, Sak Sau, and Yeung Pan Pan.
The third part of the Condor Trilogy is pretty much a completely new story without any of the familiar characters in Legend and Return of the Condor Heroes. The story touches deeply on revenge, brotherhood, and honor and introduces just as many new martial arts, including Tai Chi, into the pugilistic world. Tony Leung fits the bill as the
kind but indecisive Cheung Mo Kei while the lady leads with Sheren Tsang and Kitty Lai shine through.
Andy Lau catapulted to fame with his role as Yeung Gor, the student of Siu Lung Liu who was played by the fair Idy Chan. The adventure continues from Legend of the Condor Heroes, this time exploring societal taboos, and of course, the timeless story of love.
Gu Long's popular character Chor Lau Heung is played by Michael Miu and was well-done indeed. The story is intriguing as were the many fight scenes. The mysteries and unraveling of the story were scripted very well as we find out the story of the Bat Prince. Barbara Yung's pairing with Micheal Miu worked its chemistry as always.
This is an all-time favorite drama for many and started a Jin Yong craze. With a fantastic cast of leads (Felix Wong, Barbara Yung, Michael Miu, and Yeung Pan Pan) and supporting actors carried by veteran actors, this is one of the most, if not the most, popular martial arts dramas that TVB has ever put together. The many creative fight scenes were choreographed well and the storyline was epic. This also made Barbara Yung a household name with her mischievous portrayal of Wong Yung. Also unforgettable were the three themesongs sung by Roman Law and Jenny Tsang.
Agree/disagree with this list? What's your favorite 80's drama? Tell us below!
See our best of the 90s list!
Bu Bu Jing Xinstarring Cecilia Liu Shi Shi, Kevin Cheng, Nicky Wu, Yuan Hong
The New Adventure Of Chor Lau Heung (DVD, English subs)starring Miu Kiu Wai, Barbara Yung