Rokkoís Top Ten
OK people , Iím going to list my top 10 Chinese serials , ones worthy of mention and those that are absolute stinkers . I will also give a commentary on each .
I donít expect you to agree , the spectrum of tastes on this board makes that virtually impossible , so before you get steamed up, remember this is just MY view and I am not trying to change anyoneís mind .
The lists will change when I add and subtract as I view more series.
Feel free to comment and ask questions.
Top 10 ( in order of preference )
- The Bund
The classic of all classics , no need to say anymore , a must watch . Witness the superb storyline and terrific acting by Chow Yunfatt and Angie Chiew.
- The Shell Game
No.2 only to the above , but with a gambling theme , graced by veteran stars Sek Qin and Lisa Wang.
- Plain Love 1
A great tale of a simple woman in feudal pre-war China , as she triumphs through trial and tragedy . Kathy Chow Hoi Mei puts in a signature performance . Strong performances by Eddy Cheng and Gallen Loh. But slightly marred by one of TVBís typical badly thought out endings.
- Blade Heart
Another sword and sorcery classic, a tale of 2 rival families in the arms making business and of the complicated blood relations between them . Beautiful sets, costumes and scenerydo not compromise a good story.
Watch as Lisa and Adam are consumed by revenge which leads them to lose all they cherish and thos they love.
Adam & Lisa were lovers and married 20 years ago , they were arms manufacturers , so were the Sima family . The Simas and a corrupt but powerful eunuch conspire to destroy their home and bsusiness , whilst framing Adam up with false charges.
20 years past and Adam is now a leader of the special forces in the palace after maikng a deal with the eunuch . Adam is the no2 swordsman in the land and they both have need for each other. he also secretly plans to use the positions till he can bring his wrath on the Simas.
Mean while Lisa has believed Adam dead and vice versa , She is remarried with a daughter ( Shelly yeung ) , her 2nd husband recently dead . She uses the family to restart the arms business , also in the hope of seeking favour at the palace and getting rev the Simas who are now no1 arms maker in the land.
Other characters : Sima Ye - no1 swordsman in the whole kingdom , Sima ping ting , nice of of Sima Ye , soon to be a central figure - clever but bitter , Mang Tai kor - a young commoner , skilled swordsman but naiive , carries a surprising secret with him, Chung koo leong - a young medicine woman , who stuggles nobly to be with the man she loves ( mang tai kor ) , will they make it in the end ?
Follow the story , as twist and turns , mixed in with some powerful traditional themes lead the exiciting plot to bitter sweet end .
Great series , a classic , never thought TVB would do it again.
Veterans Adam Cheng and Lisa Wang lead .
- War & Beauty
Another tremendous classic set late Ching era .
3 concubines and the empress battle each other and all for influence in the palace.
See what happens as they go hammer and thongs to get their way , and see the losses they suffer , as they lose virtually all they hold dear and make some surprising discoveries along the way .
Thrown in this mix are the inveitable romance plots , with Bowie Lam as a the Royal doctor who wins the heart of many of the ladies but the one he really wants . See what happens to him and Gigi lai .
Moses chan plays a senior roayl guard who also falls for Maggie cheung , but they are thratwed as her prioirites suddely change.
the start is a bit slow , especially for us guys since the thme is very feminine , but it really gets going halfway through .
Stunning sets , great locations , fantastic cotumes , lovely score , well worth perservering with. Multiple award winnner and justifiably in my view.
Outstanding performance by Maggie and Sherene.
All Star cast : Bowie Lam , Gigi Lai , Magiie Cheung Hor yee , Sherene Teng , Charmaine Seh , Moses Chan , jade Leung .
- Dark tales 2
A must see for all Chinese sword and sorcery fans . Lau Sei Yue uses classic Chinese legend and myth to direct a cast talented but underrated actors in this very unique and well made series of 8 tales .
Appearances by : Mak Bow , Angie Cheung , Florence Kwok , Benny Chan
- Down memory lane
Totally underrated and forgotten but nonetheless superb . The much underused and underrated Alex Man stars as a coolie in Indonesia who loses his family and finally manages against the odds to re-unite with them .
Alex is a manís man , what a manís mannerisms should be like : manly , stout and solid.
- Happy ever after
Set in late Ching China , Bobby Au-yeung is a talented cook that gets embroiled in the affairs of state with hilarious consequences. Nnadia Chan plays a double role of empress and lady .A surprisingly good story .
- Against the blade of honour
Join Louis Koo as a young, talented, ambitious but slightly misguided swordsman in this sword and sorcery tale of a manís quest for destiny, immortality and fame, and the price he pays.
Great atmospherics as the viewer is taken back to a time in Chinaís mysterious medival past and to the legend of magic indestructible blades which can defeat any weapon. Watch as Louis calls on this power and the consequences of his choice.
NB. As I said before, when dealing with Chinese history and classical subjects the language can be VERY deep indeed, so the viewing gets pretty heavy at times.
- King of yesterday and tomorrow
Much documented comedy with both Kong Wah and Maggie Cheung Hor Yee in their best roles as an emperor lost in time and would be assassin .
- Realm of Success
A simple but highly effective story of love in a corporate environment . TVB should stick to this type of formulae nowadays. Nnadia Chan , Steven Ma and Michael Tong star.
- Secret of the heart
One of TVBís turn of the centuryís mega all star marathon series , itís drags a bit in parts but essentially still very good , especially the ending . Stars Gallen Loh , Sunny Chan , Ada Choi , Melissa Ng
With potential and currently watching
- Blade Heart
Another sword and sorcery classic in the making , a tale of 2 rival families in the arms making business and of the complicated blood relations between them . Beautiful sets, costumes and scenery ( NZ ? ) do not compromise a good story so far.Veterans Adam Cheng and Lisa Wang lead .
- Country Spirit
Spinning of the success of the Plain Love franchise , CS is set in the same time period and concentrates this time on the wine making business and the trials and tribulations the family faces. So far very good. Stars Gordon Lam , Charmaine Sheh .
- Love is beautiful
2 long time friends get their faces swapped by a devious wizard , one of them already engaged to the emperor . It questions the idea of how deep true love is and how much we judge people on face value . Stars Anne Heung , Marianne Chan ,Eddie Cheng .
The romantic Swordsman
Another SAS tale . this time the 2 Kwans Eddie and Emily battle against the dark side as they try to take over the Shiolin temple.
Debts of a lifetime
No big stars , one of those where TVB throws it in as a space filler but ends up being very good.
A rich but degenerate man loses his memory and his identity , he takes on a new life with his saviours and becomes a better man who finds true love . But trouble happens when he regains his memory. Stars : Marco Ngai & others.
Return of the vampire
Again no big stars and potential space fillers which turn out really good . 2 entertaining and fast moving vampire tales with all the cute music that we know and love .
Eddie Kwan returns to TV to face off with Wong Hei in this modern computer hacking thriller . Also has Myolie Chen , Tiffany Lam
Riches and Stitches
This was one of TVB's occasional attempts at recreating a Bund type story , set yet again in pre war Shanghai amidst a gangster setting , with a not dissimilar stroryline . Kong Wah stars as the Mafia boss , who changes his views on life when as he trys to woo Anne heung away from her love Moses Chan the tailor.
the story down a bit when it tries a bridge too far when the story and acting becomes fake and unrealistic in the last 3rd.
Healing hands 1
HH has no real theme to it , but it succeeds because of the quality of the cast and of the sub plots . one of which explores the relationshiop between Jackie , a yuppie doctor with a slightly wild past and a working class ex con . This rare and intriguing occurence in Chinese society ( usually it's the other way round - rich guy , working class girl ) was short lived and should have been given more time
the other was between Nick Cheung a cop and a cute Karoake girl ( tong tong ?), again was not developed enough.
But the main successes to HH are great chemistry and comraderie within the cast especially among the guys . Usually , Chinese men are seen *****ing and backstabbing each other , so from a social view this was very positive. They were real friends respecting and supporting each other. Lawrence Ng , Ada Choi , Bowie Lam and Flora Chan.
Burning flame 1
Nothing too exotic here , and has some similarities to HH 1 . Watch Wong Hei and his 2 lifelong buddies adventures in the fire brigade , where they meet Louis Koo .
Good action , decent plot , some intense moments.
Once upon a time in Shanghai
An attempted all star barn burner in this '96 recreation of the Bund .
Of course nowhere as good as the original but it had it's good points and is worth watching . TVB tried to make this more appealing by adding a number of different characters , which I think saved it from being just another badly made clone . Chief among the new additions is Adam's Cheng's character - Yee Lohpan , a gambling king connected to Fung king yiu as his love ( Maggie Cheung Hor Yee ) is taken as Fung's 2nd wife.
Cast : the 2 Chans Sunny and Nnadia in the leads , Adam Cheng , Maggie Cheung , Bowie Lam , Dodo Cheng.
Stupid series about a ghost seeking redemption from her ex lover . could have been a good story had they focussed on the ghost part and and not given so much time to a squaking , skreeching Charmaine Sheh as her very worst.
This was hyped by a lot of people but ended up a damp squib . terribly slow , acting was contrieved and the whole thing could have been shortened to the last 3rd .
Nnadia Chan's TVB debut about an orphan of a prostitue who becomes a famous singer , who then finds out about her past . potentially good but the vital bits were downplayed so much that the story never really took off. Leon lai co stars.
Dream of colours
Silly show about fashion designers . OK for teens and early 20s I guess but not for mature guys like me.
Point of no return
Waste of talented cast in Damien lau and Angie Chiew , in yet another attempted recreation of the feel of The Bund . unreal script further spolied by another Charmaine squaking performance . Man , does this woman have the worst voice or what ?!
Looked good at the start but despite an interesting subject never really took off.