Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12
Results 21 to 36 of 36

Thread: Chinese TV Serials (TVB, ATV, Taiwanese, Mainland) Tropes and Cliches

  1. #21
    Senior Member MysticDust's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    967

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Nannaia View Post
    Ancient
    Falling from cliffs
    A wuxia series is not a wuxia series if someone does not fall from a cliff. Survival rates are always immensely high.
    My sister and I used to joke that a wuxia series is no good if it doesn't have a cliff scene...after all, this is when characters fall in love or stumble onto a grand encounter that will heightened their martial arts ability

    Some others:
    Using drops of blood to identify lost long children

    Magical pills that looks like whoppers milk chocolate

    Long lost twins: most annoying moments is when the hero falls for a girl early on, who died. Later on he would meet and fall in love w/ her twin

    Crazy psycho mothers who forces her son or daughter to seek vengeance

    Main character having a bunch of girls who fall for him

    Usually, if a character is poisoned or injured and the only person that can save him or her is of the opposite sex, then magical transfer of energy requires removing of clothes (never happens if the savior is of the same gender)

    Characters being fed a poison that can only be saved thru sexual intercourse

    If someone is bitten by a snake, instead of magical energy transfer, someone has to suck the poison out...that other person will most likely be poisoned in turn but he/she will not die from it

    When someone gets his arms severed, his shirts suddenly has an extra long sleeve or he wears a cape when he didn't before (why don't they think to dress ppl that way prior so it's more believable later on?)

    Heroes who wander JiangHu never seem to need money. The only time when they do need money, it's for comic relief, but it only happens in an episode or two. Later on, they don't have to do odd jobs to get money any more...they fall in the group of heroes that either don't worry about it or magically have an endless supply up their sleeves
    Last edited by MysticDust; 11-07-11 at 04:01 AM.
    How come most 江湖 (jiāngh) wanderers never worry about money? I wonder how a 大俠 (dxi) make a living...does meddling in people's business and righting wrongs pay well?

  2. #22
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    22,641

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MysticDust View Post
    My sister and I used to joke that a wuxia series is no good if it doesn't have a cliff scene...after all, this is when characters fall in love or stumble onto a grand encounter that will heightened their martial arts ability
    TVB did a nice twist on this in THE RETURN OF LUK SIU FUNG (1986). In the scene that introduces the new Luk Siu Fung (Alex Man) for the 1980s, the title character quite deliberately jumped off a sheer cliff and used his superior hing gung skills to glide to the bottom of the canyon to confront his foe, who was hiding in a cave below.

    I thought this was a cool twist to the usual "cliff" motif because the hero's fall was deliberate and controlled, and he went down there not to accidentally and fortuitously come into possession of a martial arts manual, but to fight an enemy.

  3. #23
    Senior Member MysticDust's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    967

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    TVB did a nice twist on this in THE RETURN OF LUK SIU FUNG (1986). In the scene that introduces the new Luk Siu Fung (Alex Man) for the 1980s, the title character quite deliberately jumped off a sheer cliff and used his superior hing gung skills to glide to the bottom of the canyon to confront his foe, who was hiding in a cave below.

    I thought this was a cool twist to the usual "cliff" motif because the hero's fall was deliberate and controlled, and he went down there not to accidentally and fortuitously come into possession of a martial arts manual, but to fight an enemy.
    But he didnt really have to do all that work. If he is the main character, he will not die from falling down a cliff. He can just close his eyes cuz he will survive. lol
    How come most 江湖 (jiāngh) wanderers never worry about money? I wonder how a 大俠 (dxi) make a living...does meddling in people's business and righting wrongs pay well?

  4. #24
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    22,641

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MysticDust View Post
    But he didnt really have to do all that work. If he is the main character, he will not die from falling down a cliff. He can just close his eyes cuz he will survive. lol
    It was cool to watch, though, and it actually made sense in the story because that was the fastest way down the cliff and he's freaking Luk Siu Fung, the best practitioner of hing gung in his generation!

    So for once, there was a reason for it all instead of it just being random.

  5. #25
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    22,641

    Default

    One visual trope from TVB wuxia (at least during the 1970s and 1980s):

    Wears a hat: NOT a member of wulin (exceptions: people's whose social positions/jobs required them to wear some kind of headgear)

    Does not wear a hat: most likely a member of wulin

  6. #26
    Senior Member smurf120's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    1,201

    Default

    I've always wondered where people do their business when its a rich family or the palace and the ladie's chamber pot is in the bedroom. Since the bed always faced the door, why is no hilarious sequence that someone rushes in the room unannounced while the chamber pot is in use.

    Also how do they empty the enormous tubs of bathwater without any drainage? You always see the sequence of pouring water in the tub - which I imagine rich people to own at least 15 kettles to boil water simultaneously - and the copious use of rose petals even in the dead of winter - that's some indoor gardening skills!

  7. #27
    Senior Member MysticDust's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    967

    Default

    Payment from a damsel: when a guy saves her, she never has anything to repay him w/ but her body

    Old wuxia couples tend to always bicker...if they are destined to die in the sequence of the story, they will attempt to hold each others hands to indicate that in death they have reconcile their differences

    Really good doctors are always eccentric...they only save people who are worthy and their hobbies is poisoning people (or they have a neighbor who excel in poison) so they can save them
    How come most 江湖 (jiāngh) wanderers never worry about money? I wonder how a 大俠 (dxi) make a living...does meddling in people's business and righting wrongs pay well?

  8. #28
    Senior Member goggle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    301

    Default

    2 "goodies" characters shot/stabbed on the same spot on the chest in the same drama(different scenes)

    Main character: Survived
    Supporting Character: Died on the spot...

  9. #29
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    511

    Default

    Falling in love with the enemy's daughter, or son, or someone on the other side. In a way it makes for interesting love story, with challenges and obstacles to overcome.

    I think this is more common in wuxia than in modern series: "all men are jerks/pigs." Usually there is a woman who's been dumped or jilted and becomes extremely bitter and grumpy, and tells daughter(s) to distrust men.

  10. #30
    Senior Member smurf120's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    1,201

    Default

    Throwing up is 95% indicator woman is pregnant. And pregnant women always faint at some point of the show.

  11. #31
    Junior Member Nannaia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    11

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MysticDust View Post
    My sister and I used to joke that a wuxia series is no good if it doesn't have a cliff scene...after all, this is when characters fall in love or stumble onto a grand encounter that will heightened their martial arts ability
    Can anyone (perhaps Ken with his infinite wisdom) shed a light why falling off cliffs is such a prevalent trope in Wuxia series?

    I'm really curious to know which TVB series has the most falling off the cliff scenes as well. The most I've seen is 5 instances in "Rage and Passion" and the main character (Ekin Cheung) falls off the cliff 3 times! Lol! At least one character (Wayne Lai) in that series is genre savvy enough to know falling off the cliff =/= doom.

    Are there any series that parody this trope in any way?

  12. #32
    Junior Member Nannaia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    11

    Default

    Winter Cape
    All a character needs is a cape when it's winter or if they travel to a snowy terrain. Bonus points if it's got a bit of fur trim.

    Army made of 20-30 extras
    In years past audiences had to use their imagination due to TVB's lack of budget and lack of extras to fill up the screen.

    Beautiful Young Maiden with White Hair
    A character, usually female, is in so much despair (usually over love) that her hair turns white/gray. This seems to crop in a lot of series that has nothing to do with Liang YuSheng's Romance of the White Haired Maiden. Ex. Noel Leung in Dark Tales II, Fiona Leung in Rage and Passion. Also with Sharla Cheung in Handsome Siblings where a horrible secret is revealed and her hair goes white instantly.

    Really of "Han" ethnic after all
    An anti-Han character finds out that they are actually of Han ethnicity and much angsting is sure to follow. A variant has a character finding that they are not of Han descent.

  13. #33
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    22,641

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Nannaia View Post
    Can anyone (perhaps Ken with his infinite wisdom) shed a light why falling off cliffs is such a prevalent trope in Wuxia series?
    Probably because there were no skyscrapers to fall from in those days. ARTS

    In all seriousness, though, powerful wuxia McGuffins need to be hidden in obscure places where not just any Tom, Dick, or Harry will find them, but where your Gwok Jings, Yeung Gors, and Cheung Mo Geis likely will. It has to be just accessible enough, but not accessible...and few places fit that better than a cave at the bottom of a cliff.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nannaia View Post
    Winter Cape
    All a character needs is a cape when it's winter or if they travel to a snowy terrain. Bonus points if it's got a bit of fur trim.
    Looks cool, though (no pun intended). Easy to whip off during a fight too, and can even be used as an auxiliary weapon.

    I think an overcoat like Mafioso and 1920s Shanghai gangster lords would be more practical for this, but such coats were not available in wulin (honestly, with all that advanced civilization, the ancient Chinese couldn't come up with the idea of a heavy coat with sleeves?).

    Army made of 20-30 extras
    In years past audiences had to use their imagination due to TVB's lack of budget and lack of extras to fill up the screen.
    Yeah...my dad and I joke about that all the time. Good luck trying to conquer the Central Plains with two dozen extras.

    CGI *should* be able to fix this today. It's not hard for today's computers to SPAM extras.

    Beautiful Young Maiden with White Hair
    A character, usually female, is in so much despair (usually over love) that her hair turns white/gray. This seems to crop in a lot of series that has nothing to do with Liang YuSheng's Romance of the White Haired Maiden. Ex. Noel Leung in Dark Tales II, Fiona Leung in Rage and Passion. Also with Sharla Cheung in Handsome Siblings where a horrible secret is revealed and her hair goes white instantly.
    All-white hair on a young Asian woman is just fugly. How the hell do people think this is sexy, anyway?

    Really of "Han" ethnic after all
    An anti-Han character finds out that they are actually of Han ethnicity and much angsting is sure to follow. A variant has a character finding that they are not of Han descent.
    It's like the "Occupy" movement in reverse...they're the 1% that's unhappy that they aren't the 99%.

  14. #34
    Senior Member smurf120's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    1,201

    Default

    Explosions
    One of the most well known modern cop series trope (disproven by Mythbusters) - the burning building will explode because there is always a gas tank to be found (even if the building is abandoned) and explosion will occur just as the main characters stand about 8 ft from the building causing them to "fly" through the air for a moment. This scene will always make it to the trailer or theme song intro.

    All car crashes resulting from a chase will cause gas leak which will cause minor explosion (also disproven by Mythbusters). You wonder if the cars in all tv shows are made by crappy engineers.

    Ancient series - people can always cause a distraction to escape by using smoke bombs - makes you wonder why people don't carry those things around more frequently

  15. #35
    Junior Member Nannaia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    11

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    Probably because there were no skyscrapers to fall from in those days. ARTS

    In all seriousness, though, powerful wuxia McGuffins need to be hidden in obscure places where not just any Tom, Dick, or Harry will find them, but where your Gwok Jings, Yeung Gors, and Cheung Mo Geis likely will. It has to be just accessible enough, but not accessible...and few places fit that better than a cave at the bottom of a cliff.
    Thanks Ken, your explanation makes so much sense!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    Looks cool, though (no pun intended). Easy to whip off during a fight too, and can even be used as an auxiliary weapon.

    I think an overcoat like Mafioso and 1920s Shanghai gangster lords would be more practical for this, but such coats were not available in wulin (honestly, with all that advanced civilization, the ancient Chinese couldn't come up with the idea of a heavy coat with sleeves?).
    Yeah, the cloak does look more stylish than having the actor padded with loads of layers. Actually the beizi looks like it could make a good winter coat with the right tailoring... Eh, but then again it's not as dramatic looking as a cloak.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    Yeah...my dad and I joke about that all the time. Good luck trying to conquer the Central Plains with two dozen extras.

    CGI *should* be able to fix this today. It's not hard for today's computers to SPAM extras.
    If the other alternative was war scenes in creative disco lights, I'd much rather watch the less than epic battles with 2 dozen extras any time. Lol.


    Quote Originally Posted by smurf120 View Post
    Ancient series - people can always cause a distraction to escape by using smoke bombs - makes you wonder why people don't carry those things around more frequently
    Not to mention that smoke bombs can also come in aphrodisiacs as well. Those are very dangerous in the wrong hands!

  16. #36
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    22,641

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Nannaia View Post
    If the other alternative was war scenes in creative disco lights, I'd much rather watch the less than epic battles with 2 dozen extras any time. Lol.
    I have a theory about what happened with ROCH '83's finale and the disco lights. If someone could produce an almanac with a detailed record of the weather for each day in Hong Kong during 1983, and a copy of TVB's production schedule for that same year, it could be proven.

    ROCH '83 was shot in Hong Kong during the spring/summer months of 1983. During the summers, Hong Kong is subject to typhoons. The worst typhoons shut the city down and keep people indoors. Naturally, location shooting for television and movies is impossible under such conditions, but studio shots can be done.

    Recall that not ALL of the ROCH '83 final battle was indoor with disco lights. About half of it was done outdoors in broad daylight (well, maybe it was overcast, but it was definitely daytime). TV series and movies aren't shot in sequence, but according to various logistical and budgetary considerations.

    I think the outdoor scenes were done first, on a day when the weather was no worse than tolerable/acceptable for shooting. When the day came to shoot the remainder of the scenes, however, there *might* have been a typhoon passing through Hong Kong, rendering outdoor shooting impossible and likely wrecking some of the set pieces. TVB was probably pressed for time because as I understand it, sometimes, hardly a week passes between the time that an episode is taped and the time that it's broadcast (that might be an exaggeration, but it's pretty close...TVB certainly didn't have the luxury of giving itself six or three months before broadcast to actually have an episode "in the can," as they say in industry parlance). Under the gun, TVB probably decided to move the remaining shooting for the final battle into the studio. Problem is, you can't really do a scene such as the ROCH '83 finale inside a studio...unless you get *really* creative. In came the disco lights...

    That's my theory, anyway. As weird as those disco lights looked, they were probably there to obscure the fact that all those actors were inside a film studio that was *not* set up for "outdoor" mass battle scenes.

    Again, this is something that 2011 technology could have fixed fairly easily.

Similar Threads

  1. Is ATV still making TV serials?
    By Suet Seung in forum ATV TV Series
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 04-10-11, 05:27 PM
  2. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 03-17-09, 12:11 AM
  3. Taiwanese serials take on Japanese mangas -oh the problems with it!
    By Suet Seung in forum Taiwanese TV Series
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 11-27-07, 02:12 PM
  4. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 07-14-07, 01:09 AM
  5. Pitiful villains in tvb serials
    By cherrie in forum TVB Series
    Replies: 40
    Last Post: 08-16-05, 09:01 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •