War and Remembrance


Reviewed by: sukting

April 10, 2004

Rating: three

How long
20 episodes

Foreword
This is said to be the continuation of ATV's "Dynasty" but I doubt it. There isn’t any romantic element between Yung Jing and Sei Niong in here. The main lure is Tin Lok who was still fair before his transition for a dark tan. Wish to know whether he did well in this drama? The result is seen below. I am sorry that I can’t remember the story in detail so this review is a short one, with some additions of my guesses/comments.

Story

It tells of 2 princes, Wang Jau and Wang Lek. Wang Jau is aided by his 17th uncle, Yuen Tai, and eyeing to be the king. Wang Lek is already named the successor as Yung Jing has already named him in his will. No one knows where it is hidden. Wang Lek kills Yung Jing’s favourite monkey in order to save a maid. Wang Lek is unafraid and cites that it is more important to save a life. Although Yung Jing says nothing, he is impressed by his ability to weigh the importance before making a decision.

Yung Jing killed many in order to get the throne. Now, he is sickly and often has nightmares. He worries that history will repeat itself and thus meets his officials. He decides to follow his father’s example and places his will at the top of the ceiling again (how unoriginal, as I have seen it in "Dynasty" before).

Yuen Tai is worried although he doesn’t see the will with his own eyes. From the strokes of the brush, he knows that Wang Lek is the successor. Yung Jing has 10 sons but 3 died young. The remaining 5 are incompetent. The remaining are Wang Lek and Wang Jau. He has Wang Jau in mind instead to get the power of controlling the troops.

Wang Jau persuades Wang Lek to tour the capital with him. Both visit the brothel and Wang Jau is interested in a courtesan. She sets an upper couplet and Wang Lek comes up with the answer. Wang Jau thinks that Wang Lek will be interested in the woman but he walks away instead!

Wang Lek is attracted by a street performer. He is kidnapped by them –- who are the Han dissidents. One of them is Siu Yuk. Yung Jing has wanted to make the announcement when the bad news arrives. He has wanted to command his troops but his officials disagree as they are afraid that Wang Lek will be hurt.

Wang Lek is abducted but Yung Jing refuses to give in to the rebels. Under his official Yee Yee Tai (Bao Fong)’s advice, he visits Tsang Jing three times personally at his home. He lies to him that Wang Lek is his and Tsang Jing’s first love, Sei Niong’s son. Sei Niong has died many years ago. At first, Tsang Jing doesn’t believe him and Yung Jing says that Sei Niong still leaves a letter at Official Chan’s home. Tsang Jing decides to read it. Wang Jau and Yuen Tai learn about it too.

Wang Lek is trapped but can’t change his philandering ways. He flirts openly with Siu Yuk and Kam Fong, making the two embarrassed. He is sure that his father will save him. Tsang Jing rushes to Official Chan’s home with Luk Chu and a masked man snatches the letter away. The person is Wang Jau. But Yuen Tai sees that the letter is forged. If the letter had landed in Tsang Jing’s hands, he would've seen that it is fake. Now they have done Yung Jing a favour instead. Sure enough, Tsang Jing loves Sei Niong deeply and agrees to accede to this request to save Wang Lek. In reality, Wang Lek is the dowager’s son.

Siu Yuk can’t read and write because her whole family members, who were great scholars, were beheaded because of jealous officials. So her master refuses to teach her any of this. Our dear 4th prince likes her because he is flirtatious. He teaches her how to read and write. They turn from enemies to lovers. This is much to Tang Gau Gong’s son, Mun Tak (by Chan Wing Chun)’s annoyance as Siu Yuk is his future wife. His sister, Kam Fung, is also enraged as she loves Wang Lek too.

Jing On is Wang Jau’s spy and persuades Kam Fung to cast an evil spell on Wang Lek using black magic. This will ensure that Wang Lek loves her. But it turns out to kill him as blood flows out from his 7 inner organs. She is so frightened that she frames Siu Yuk for it. Siu Yuk can’t maintain her innocence and the rest are troubled on how to answer since the 4th prince is dead.

Wang Lek is later rescued by Tsang Jing who comes at this time. Tsang Jing discovers that he is still breathing weakly and manages to save him with Mrs Tong’s help. Wang Lek is grateful to him and Tang agrees to give in. He wants Tsang Jing to give 3 palace items for Wang Lek’s release. Siu Yuk then gives Tsang Jing the secret palace map to help him. Tsang Jing then knows that she is the only descendent of the Cha family. Her other members were killed after being framed by the late Ching emperor.

Being in love with Wang Lek, she helps the two men to escape. Yung Jing dies after an illness –- or rather in remorse over how he is going to face Sei Niong in the other world. Yee Yee Tai finally shows the will to all -– he has kept it a secret so that no one can threaten Wang Lek’s chances. After Wang Lek becomes the emperor with Tsang Jing’s aid, he makes Siu Yuk his concubine.

The dowager forces her to eat a poison so that she can’t harm him. On their marriage night, Wang Lek happens to touch her wound and is touched by the big sacrifice she has made. He promises to treat her well. His empress, who he married when he was still a prince, is jealous and complains to the dowager. Siu Yuk tries to apologise to her but she doesn’t accept it.

Yung Jing had caused bloodshed but Wang Lek tries to keep his promise to the dissidents. But it is still too late as Tang and his son are already dead. Kam Fong is jealous of Siu Yuk for having a good life now and is also bent on seeking revenge. Her love for Wang Lek has turned to hatred.

Tsang Jing tries to persuade the Han dissidents to work with Wang Lek to combine the Hans and Manchus together. They are willing to listen to him. Kam Fong is angry and takes the white dragon sword into her hands. She wants all to listen to her and not to Wang Lek. Tsang Jing knows of her move and snatches it away from her to put it in front of Tang’s altar. He promises to find a good successor for him.

Kam Fong is so furious that she buys wine from a raven. Later, she vents her anger on the waiter by beating him up. Mou Dong’s Taoist Cheung sees this and tries to tell her off in vain. He finds her young but is very vicious in her strokes. In order to prevent the pugilistic world from being harmed, he destroys her skills. Kam Fong is so upset that she gets drunk.

Tsang Jing visits Mrs Tong and finds her dying. Tsang Jing was poisoned by a villain, Chun Siu Tien, earlier on. In order to save him, she manages to get the antidote from him by agreeing to marry him. Coincidentally, this is the same man who makes the poison for Siu Yuk to swallow.

On the fateful night, Mrs Tong is poisoned by the ‘red flower poison’. She will feel the pain whenever flowers bloom. Chun has wanted her to beg him to save her but she makes him an eunuch instead! Now the poison is reaching her heart and she wants him to accompany her to the mountains to see how the flowers blossom. And indeed, she dies after seeing them in full bloom.

Tsang Jing gets drunk after her death but picks himself up later. Kam Fong is saved by Yuen Tai’s son, Wang Jim. She is interested in him and Wang Jim drugs her to rape her in one night. This is Yuen Tai’s arrangement to make use of the feud between her and Siu Yuk to destroy the closeness between Tsang Jing and Wang Lek. Kam Fong is not stupid either. She also wishes to make use of their authority to walk freely in the palace to seek revenge on Siu Yuk.

Wang Lek decides to tour Jiang Nan to monitor the famine situation. Kam Fong pretends to look pitiful to win Siu Yuk’s sympathy. Siu Yuk forgives her for her wrongdoings and even recommends her a post. Wang Lek is unwilling but reluctantly gives her a title of a female dictator so that she can move freely in the palace. Kam Fong is overjoyed.

Wang Lek visits Official Chan and sees a pair of earrings. These are made by Yung Jing to please Sei Niong to fit her golden bracelet. But when they are ready, she is no longer here. He gives them to Wang Lek. Wang Lek is happy as he has given the bracelet to Siu Yuk and now she is going to have a complete set. The dowager has nightmares and is worried that she may die soon. Yuen Tai suggests her to visit a temple and Kam Fong secretly bribes the lammas there.

The dowager agrees to build a big temple for the lammas but this is Yuen Tai’s plot. He has deliberately chosen a plot of land where the Hans have to move out. Moreover the land has the Yue temple on it. This will offend the Hans. Tsang Jing and Siu Yuk will not let the matter rest. Siu Yuk informs Yee Yee Tai about it and he prevents the dowager from entering politics.

Kam Fong tries to create discord among the dowager and Siu Yuk. Kam Fong sees Siu Yuk reading the court documents and gets the dowager to capture her. Siu Yuk is banished to stay in the cold palace. Wang Lek quarrels with someone and is caught by the constables. He takes out his emperor seal but the magistrate thinks that he is an imposter. But later, his expression changes and releases him.

Why? He accidentally drops the jade command piece that Tsang Jing has given him. The magistrate thinks that he is the head of the Han rebels. Wang Lek is furious that his sesal is nothing as compared to Tsang Jing’s piece and breaks the jade into pieces. Yuen Tai gets Kam Fong to notify Tsang Jing to save Siu Yuk who is poisoned by a snake. She is dying when he arrives.

Luk Chu finds her finger moving and Tsang Jing knows that she is saved. When the snakes bite her, she unconsciously uses her inner strength and the poison she has eaten earlier spreads all over her body. This not only controls the snake poison but also kills the other snakes.

Tsang Jing sees the bracelet she wears and this reminds him of Sei Niong. Seeing that he is upset, Siu Yuk gives it to him. Wang Lek wants to bring Siu Yuk back to the palace but she refuses. She knows that the dowager will never accept her. Wang Lek seeks help from Tsang Jing. Tsang Jing wants her to put the country in priority. She is also informed that she is pregnant.

Siu Yuk is happy and troubled. She knows Wang Lek treats her well but is wary of how the empress and the dowager will react. Tsang Jing agrees to stay at a temple near the palace so that he can always protect her. She finally gives in. Wang Lek clears her name and builds new homes for the Hans. The temple project is cancelled for good. The dowager is angry with his decision and threatens to kill herself. Wang Lek doesn’t show her concern and she hates Siu Yuk even more.

Yuen Tai bribes Chun to lie that Siu Yuk is only 2 months pregnant. He thinks that she is having Tsang Jing’s child. He then asks where the bracelet is. She has no choice but to write a letter to ask Tsang Jing for it. But she sends the wrong messenger –- Kam Fong. Kam Fong reveals it to Wang Lek. After reading the letter, he is affirmed that there is something between them. He is so angry that he even forces her to drink the abortion medicine. Luckily Tsang Jing stops him on time.

Wang Jau still makes use of Siu Yuk’s parentage to influence Wang Lek. He accuses her of trying to restore the Han state and says that she has an affair with Tsang Jing. He then becomes ambitious and forgets his past promises to the Hans. He is then forced to make a choice –- to choose a Han to take over or to preserve his own throne. This serial shows how desperate he was to save his own skin.

Wang Lek discovers Yuen Tai’s ill intentions. So he kills him and Kam Fong. No emperor will want his empire to be ruined by a group of rebels so it is understandable that he kills all. Tsang Jing regrets his decision to assist Wang Lek and tries to shield the people who were getting killed.

The firing squad against the rebels is the idea given to Wang Lek by Yuen Tai. Yet many of these people had help Wang Lek gain his throne from Yuen Tai. What a big mistake! Siu Yuk is unhappy when she is unable to save them on time upon coming to the destination. So she jumps into the fire and burns herself to death with them. He is helpless to see her killed and regrets his decision.

Introduction on characters

1. Wang Lek – Koo Tin Lok
He is the fourth prince. He is chosen as the future emperor as his mother is of Manchu royalty blood. At first, he is an innocent young man who knows no danger and is unware of the smiling tigers around. But after his ordeal with the Hans, he becomes mature -– or rather evil. He is forgiving to Wang Jau at first but later sentences him to death when Yuen Tai warns that he might make a comeback.

He also becomes suspicious when Tsang Jing often rescues Siu Yuk from danger. Or rather he is also jealous of Tsang Jing’s abilities. Can you believe that he even suspects that she is pregnant with Tsang Jing’s child? Does he also doubt the undying love of him towards Sei Niong too? I really feel like cursing him for being so stupid. Can’t he see that she only loves him?

Tin Lok is excellent here. He shows the love for Siu Yuk well. I can remember one scene where Siu Yuk nearly gets drowned in a lake after getting involved in a fight with Wang Jau’s men. She is unconscious for days and he becomes very worried and stays by her bedside.

Out of desperation, he even kneels and begs heaven to let her live. He doesn’t even mind to live a few years less to let her survive. Siu Yuk awakens at this time and is touched by his words. Before that, she has thought of him to be a womanizer and she decides to marry him then. This scene is very touching.

Unlike Tsang Jing’s Dai Hup who is quiet, Tin Lok shows all his feelings openly. He is tall and thin and does look like Cheng Siu Chau. I describe him as having the air 气质 and the presence 气度. Whenever he opens his mouth, he talks using all the air in his lungs. His fiery eyes to express anger is amazing. Especially when he questions Wang Jau in the prison. He is a total different person from the start.

His way of presenting is more of an impulsive and personal approach. The similar scene of losing his loved one as compared to Tsang. Tsang’s presentation includes 30% of unwillingness and 70% of resigning to fate. Tin Lok’s presentation has 30% of anger and 70% of sadness –- even his voice sounds like he is crying. Dai Wai and Tin Lok are completely different but they have shown different interpretations of different era. No one can replace them.

2. Wang Jau – Ho Bo Sang
He is the second prince but has no chance to be the emperor because his mother is a humble Han maid. One minute he tries so hard to get the throne, then in the next minute, he fears death as Tsang Jing is around. So he treats him better by face value. He is forgiven initially but is still killed in prison finally. However, I will like to say that Yuen Tai is the cause of his downfall.

I like the scene when the box containing the will is opened but only half the will is there. Wang Jau looks everywhere for it with Yuen Tai. It comes as a surprise to all that it is still in the same box. That is why he is totally crushed in the defeat for power.

Bo Sang shows that he can act. He shines here as the villain versus his previous flops, despite him being the lead. Please give this man a chance –- he may not necessarily be giving poor performances all the time.

3. Yee Yee Tai – Bao Fong
He is a senior court official who is the only one who supports Wang Lek to marry Siu Yuk. He also believes that the Hans and the Manchus can live in harmony. So he tries to persuade Wang Lek to come up with fair laws every now and then. But I don’t like how he gets Yung Jing to trick Tsang Jing to work for them. This is sure a low act.

4. Tsang Jing – Chiang Da Wai
Tsang Jing’s job here is to endure sadness and loneliness. He comes out at the right moment to save the right people. But he still gets a horrible ending that he doesn’t deserve. I don’t understand –- why is the result the same as in "Dynasty"? They can change the whole cast but why preserve the sad ending?

Once Dai Wai is there, you will know why he is the Dai Hup. Because he is the natural Dai Hup! He speaks without ‘fire’ and is not angered by anything at all. Please allow me to borrow a Chinese saying -- it is as if he will still be there even if Tai mountain collapses in front of him.

He has acted as Tsang Jing in "Dynasty". Even though he looks older and has gained weight, the air is still there. He uses the same usual reserved way to act. When he speaks, you can hardly see his lips move but yet the lines come out clearly. I am curious –- how does he do that? He is so steady even in the emotional scenes. Even when Mrs Tong dies, he only frowns and only has a tear in his eye.

Some will say that he is unfeeling or he is too lazy to use energy to talk with emotion. But I believe the highest level is how to conceal feelings at all times. This is similar to Wong Yuen Sang’s presentation too. Even at his angriest moment, he can still be scholar like. I have to admire him for that!

5. Yung Jing – Lo Lok Lum
He chooses Wang Lek over Wang Jau as the successor as he knows how evil his second son is. But as scheming as always, he tricks Tsang Jing to do the dirty job for him. He should be the one to save his own son, isn’t he? This emperor is utterly selfish. He also causes Sei Niong’s death –- killing the love element between them. He deserves to die with his eyes open as he doesn’t have the face to meet Sei Niong again.

6. Yuen Tai – Lok Ying Kwan
He wants the throne for himself but he wants to trick Wang Jau to pave the road for him. When he knows that he can’t be the emperor, he doesn’t mind having the military power instead. And indeed when he is half successful, he doesn’t help him when he is jailed and continues to influence Wang Lek to kill him.

7. Tang Gau Gong – Kong Hon
He is the leader among the rebels. He brings Siu Yuk up as his own. He is righteous and demands Yung Jing to acknowledge Taiwan’s presence after capturing Wang Lek. A pity he dies as his wish remains unaccomplished.

8. Chow Jing On – Ha Siu Shing
He is Wang Jau’s spy among the rebels. That is why they are crushed in the end and he is the only one who becomes an official. Wang Lek will not let him survive upon knowing that he is Wang Jau’s accomplice.

9. Cha Siu Yuk – Yung Hung
She is kind, forgiving and gives unconditional love to Wang Lek. The old dowager wants her to swallow a pill if she wants to stay with him. If she uses her skills, she will die of poisoning. She has no hesitance to do that and wins his complete love. But she makes a wrong choice. She can’t endure the pain of seeing her close ones killed. Feeling remorseful, she kills herself.

Yung Hung is a bad choice for this role. She is mismatched with Tin Lok. She looks like her older sister –- much older than a teenaged girl. It is torture to see her portraying Siu Yuk’s naïve ways. And trying to look pitiful and demure. I don’t feel sympathy or was moved at all. I have heard that she can be a nasty person in real life and I don’t know whether this has affected my judgment.

It is painful for me to see how she cries. She doesn’t look pitiful to move me. Some say that she is too thin that she is like a leaf going to be dried up. I have no idea how she can act in category 3 movies too.

10. Empress Yin – Fung Hiu Mun
She is of royal blood and is annoyed when Wang Lek ignores her. She lodges a complaint to the dowager to get her way. Yes, Wang Lek gives in to her but he only looks at the court documents when with her. She tries to attract him to no avail. When she harasses him, he finally leaves. She then tries to make Siu Yuk’s life difficult -– which is partly successful when she leaves the palace for a period of time.

11. Tang Kam Fong – Mak Kar Kei
She is very annoying. Kam Fong has bullied Siu Yuk since young and is jealous over her good fortune. She is in love with Wang Lek and is unable to win his heart. She then tries to destroy Siu Yuk. I really like the part when her skills are being destroyed for being ruthless to others. It really serves her right. Even so, Wang Lek still doubts her intentions when she wants to serve Siu Yuk.

In contrast to Yung Hung, she is too round and fat. I doubt you can find her waistline. Her bosom is big but that is unacceptable as a period maiden. She is better in Taiwan's ‘A Chinese Ghost Story’.

12. Mrs Tong – Ngai Chau Wah
She is the widow of the famous Tong healing family. So Wang Lek is completely cured under her care. She falls in love with Tsang Jing and is disappointed when he doesn’t love her. Still, she risks her life to suck out the poison from his body and dies on his behalf.

13. Luk Chu – Lam Ying Fai
She is Yung Jing’s maid who is very loyal to her master. She has good foresight on the tragedies which might happen but unfortunately, Tsang Jing doesn’t believe her. She wanders the world after his death.

14. The dowager – Lau Gwai Ying
She wants to protect her son so you can’t blame her for doing nasty things to Siu Yuk as she questions her intentions. However, Wang Lek hates her for it and both drift apart after the torturing incidents.

15. Lui Sei Niong – Shuet Lei
Yung Jing was in love with Sei Niong but after he became the emperor, he needed time to attend to state affairs. Thus he was not able to bring Sei Niong into the palace. He lies to Tsang Jing that Sei Niong has his child and was discovered by her father, Lui Lau Leung. Sei Niong doesn’t wish this to affect Yung Jing so she doesn’t reveal who is the culprit.

Lui drives her away from home and she stays at Official Chan’s home. Yung Jing is angry over her misfortune and thus sentences her whole family to death. The 300 people are killed in a night. Sei Niong seeks revenge but is unable to kill him. In the end, she dies in his arms by killing herself. Yung Jing is very upset and gives her a grand burial.

The truth is Sei Niong does love him. But upon seeing him betraying his promise to give the Hans a better life and killing her family, she tries to assassinate him. She fails in her attempt and gets killed by his guards. It is not as romantic as Yung Jing sounded it to be (I hope I have remembered it clearly as I watched this serial a long time ago. If there are mistakes, please let me know.)

We only get to see a younger Sei Niong (Actually not that young as we know how old Shuet Lei is.) She had a sad life. Maybe she would've have a better life with Tsang Jing. As compared to Yung Hung or Kar Kei, she really pales slightly as we can see that she is much older than them.

Shuet Lei’s acting is only passable here. Her period outlook is not as stunning as I expect. TVB doesn’t really make her look noticeable as a reputed beauty. Maybe she was too pressurized by Mai Shuet’s success and can’t do well in here.

Most favourite character
Wang Lek for his wits and also humour. It is still hard to hate him in the end.

Most hated character
Kam Fong for being so vicious and selfish. Please trust me -- she is really bad to the core and is not worth saving and definitely not pardonable.

Song
It is sung by Lau Tak Wah. We know that Tak Wah is used to sing heroic songs well so there is no exception for this one too.

Interesting facts
Some fans who have watched "Dynasty II" emailed me to tell me how presentable it was. It is an ATV production which has Man Tse Leung as Yung Jing’s son, Hong Lek. Other stars include Mun Shuet Yee as Tsang Jing’s disciple, the late Cheung Kok Wing, Mah Mun Yee (as Lun Yuen Yee in "Reincarnated") and also Chan Mun Nah (as Henry’s mother in "Healing Hands II"). The story fell short of their expectations of "Dynasty" but they still find it acceptable.

Despite the different cast involved, I believe it is not that bad as these were the acting pillars of ATV during the 80s era. Unfortunately, it was not on VCDs and these fans had watched them on tape more than 10 years ago. We were angry with ATV for letting go of the good chance -– do we have a chance to see it??

TVB has wanted to get Man Tse Leung and Mai Sheut back to act in the 2 roles again. But they had to decline because they were busy. What a chance wasted as many wished to see both with Chiang Da Wai again. They managed to get Lo Lok Lum (as Mou Ming in Dynasty) and Ngai Chau Wah (as Yuk Yin in Dynasty). So to Chiang, it was still a consolation to work with other ex-colleagues.

TVB got Mai Shuet’s sister, Shuet Lei to act as Lui Sei Niong. She agreed willingly but her role was so limited in here. Many fans grumbled. Moreover, there is no love between her and Yung Jing. Just revenge and hatred because she is all out to kill him and this disturbs his sleep continuously because he is guilty of killing her. Shuet Lei asked for Mai Shuet’s opinion before acting. She only says ‘Be steady’.

The serial comes after a 16 year old gap for Da Wai to act as Tsang Jing. Many asked him how he felt. He confessed that all are no longer young and they have changed in their looks. It would be refreshing to work with newcomers. Still, he found it a good experience to work with Mai Shuet’s sister. Although the role was the same, the script was completely different from "Dynasty".

At first, the producer told him that he would try to get the original cast from Dynasty. Da Wai was quite surprised by the major change. When reporters asked him whether he felt that he was being duped to act in here (this was how I felt), he said it might not be good to dream in the past (our Dai Hup is simply too accommodating). Even if the original cast was there, it might not turn out well. He replied that even acting the same role didn’t give him special feelings. It was still acting (maybe he was just disillusioned by the switch but he doesn’t wish to make harsh comments).

Yung Hung liked the script and also her counterparts so she accepted the job. The producer said that he had seen her acting in Qing dramas before and found her stunning (Do you think so too?) That was why he looked out only for her (I still feel that other actresses are better choices). She liked that righteous swordswoman role and felt that it was like her in real life. She is loyal to friends, value past relationships and also devoted in love too.

Before this, Yung Hung has not acted in serials for 4 years. After the debut make-up session, she became very nervous. She was a martial arts expert in the serial but she had not practised her skills for a long time. She would ask the stuntsmen to take over if her face wasn’t required in the scenes (I don’t think this gesture is professional unless the stunt is life threatening). She was most overjoyed to work with her idol, Dai Wai, and veteran actor, Bao Fong. Bao Fong resembled her father in looks and she felt close to him.

When Tin Lok was a newcomer, many have referred him to a block of wood. But many are amazed by his big change in here. He has the emperor look and most of the time, he can show the commanding air. Without looking angry, he can give a threatening look. Tin Lok was overjoyed with the praises.

Tin Lok was troubled on how to act as a womanizer. Moreover, he was pressurized by shiny performances of Cheng Siu Chau (in ‘79 The Book and the Sword’), Lau Tak Wah (in ‘Take Care, Your Highness’) and Yam Tak Wah (in ‘86 The Book and the Sword). Can he maintain their high standards?

He tried to learn from experienced colleagues so as to make the role convincing. Many colleagues said that he looked like a younger Cheng Siu Chau, Some who were not used to watching period dramas even watched out for this handsome emperor and broke their rule or habit. Some also commented that Dai Wai is indeed the best Dai Hup in his mannerism. He is in his 50s but he doesn’t look old to them!

Yung Hung rejected the role of ‘Chun Qing’ in ‘A Step in the Past’, citing health reasons. When the media questioned about the real reason, she said Tin Lok failed to woo her during the shooting of this drama. Thus he scolded her in vulgar language for 20 minutes. Tin Lok’s reaction was the usual ‘no comment’. There weren’t witnesses and concrete evidence to prove who was right. But many felt that by revealing this now, she only puts herself in bad light because she looked very unforgiving and petty.

Conclusion

This serial allows you to think of what emperors must do to preserve their power. Tragedies and bloodshed are caused by these emperors just for one throne. But still I must say that ATV is the BEST station to produce these imperial struggle stories. Those who watch Empress Wu, Emperor Qin, The Young Dowager or Dynasty will have their impression imprinted forever. They never fail you with the interwining plots or marvelous acting from evil empresses/princes/royal uncles.

Many shun away from period dramas for 3 reasons. No. 1 – the period is too far away from now and people might find it difficult to adjust. No.2 – the dialogues can be too difficult to understand. No.3 – people during that era will speak very slowly and can be longwinded. Impatient people are unable to take it.

ATV managed to overcome the above problems and did a wonderful job. This serial is different –- it is only an average serial. It doesn’t tell that much on the history but more on the 2 Dai Hups –- one from the 80s while another from the 90s.

The story is fine but it is very normal. It is not that entertaining as there is no anti-climax at all. Moreover, it is more dramatic and we can’t treat it as a historic drama. I don’t really fancy the way that it is being shot. It is too predictable. It is also nonsensical to have an old Wai Siu Bo to be around. I really can’t accept it.

There are too few scenes of Yung Jing, Tsang Jing, and Sei Niong together. I know the importance is on Wang Lek but doesn’t the poor Sei Niong deserve more exposure? Otherwise, how will we know how she managed to make two men be so obsessed over her for so long?

With Tin Lok as the emperor, most women wish to be his Siu Yuk. Who doesn’t desire to get his love when he focuses all his attention on her and neglects his empress totally? One Tin Lok’s fan said that if she is a Han and Tin Lok happens to be the emperor, she will betray her own people to stay with him in the palace.

The producer has chosen the wrong women for the roles. They are supposed to be beauties but they really don’t have the look although they may be ex-Miss Asia or Miss Hong Kongs. Is TVB running out of suitable people? This is so sad and depressing! No wonder we see fewer period dramas these days.

It is a must watch drama for all Tin Lok and Dai Wai’s fans. You will be impressed on how much Tin Lok improves and how Dai Wai retains his glamour. But if you treasure the past and love serious dramas with exciting plots, "Dynasty" is the right choice for you. I was completely glued to the set when watching it. The story here will make you feel bored despite the fewer number of episodes. Although I have not watched "Dynasty II", I am confident that it is also of high standard and I look forward to watch it one day.

Sukting’s ratings :

On acting : ***1/2(Scale of 5) ( so sorry that I have to cut ½* because the actresses are really bad although almost all the actors are good.)

On story : ***(Scale of 5)


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