They Are Flying


Reviewed by: sukting

May 18, 2014

Rating: three

Year produced
2008

How long
25 episodes

Foreword
Kids from broken homes, who suffer from emotional or physical abuse, are temporarily placed in FHL Academy. The teachers and social workers at the academy strive hard to provide these kids a safe environment to grow up. Conflict arises with the introduction of two new social workers: Chen Zhi Jie, an ex-convict who is there to fulfill his sister's dying wish, and Xie Wei Lian, a man from a rich family who wants to break free from his mother's control. Their presence causes tensions among the students and threatens to destabilize the academy.

Story/Introduction on characters
1. Wang Shao Wei as Chen Zhi Jie
He is like a lonely wolf as he is just released from prison. After attending his sister's wedding, she dies of cancer. He has wanted to work in Ding's hotel as a manager when he discovers his sister's last letter to get him to be a social worker at the academy. He sees his shadows on them and uses an iron arm to discipline them. That causes conflicts instead as he hardly explains himself.

They later discover that he knows the harsh facts of life well to cast a boundary for them. Once they cross over, it is a point of no return. They slowly respect him and treat him as their teacher. He is touched by En Hui's concern and grows to like her. Both are together in the end. His acting is quite natural.

2. Tseng Pei Ci as Fu En Hui
She is a 25 year old social worker and keeps encouraging herself after graduating from the sociology faculty. Even though she is tired, she never gives up on any student. I find her interpretation too childish – she doesn't behave like a mature teacher to the pupils.

3. Wang You Sheng as Xie Wei Lian
The pupils call him Prince William as he is different from the proud Zhi Jie. He is a man in the sunshine as he is too well protected by his mother. He is very innocent and is troubled when Xiao Li doesn't accept him. He knows Pastor Wang when he is in US so he decides to go a different route that his mother has planned for him to work in the academy.

He is handsome and is popular with the housewives. He is easily discouraged by setbacks and can be reckless to be like his mother to use money to resolve matters. There is tension between his mother and him for a while when he is forced to return to the hotel to work for a while but they resolve the issue. I think You Sheng is too loud and overacts for this role.

4. Liao Pei Ling as Zhuang Xiao Li
She is abandoned by her father and her mother remarries. She lives with her grandmother till she passes away. She is about to quit her studies when Mei Nu uses Wei Lian's name to sponsor her. to repay her, she works as her special assistant and intends to marry Wei Lian. Slowly, she finds herself falling for him and feels inferior. When knowing that Mei Nu prefers a richer daughter-in-law, she resigns and works in a small café near the academy. Wei Lian looks for her and finally moves her. I find her acting just like what Mei Nu says – boring and keeps too much to herself to look super restless.

5. Lin Jun Yong as Yan Ji Xiang
He is Ming Yue's brother who is 15 years younger. He is a trained chef and cooks for all. When he is a teenager, he dreams of being a gangster like the movies but Ming Yue is very fierce to him. he has thought that he has no chance to be a leader as Ming Yue forces him to be a chef. He has a bad temper and often quarrels with the children and all think that he needs counseling too.

6. Yi Ling as Yan Ming Yue
She is 38 years old and is the administrative manager. She is strong and is only fierce to Ji Xiang but she is a mother to the children. Sometimes, the others find her overly protective but are supportive of her spending her own money to use monetary rewards to improve their studies.

7. Ban Tie Xiang as Xu Jing Chang
He is Ming Yue's 50 year old husband and teaches PE in the academy. He is very sensitive and doesn't show his emotions easily. He looks strict but is actually soft with the children. With Ming Yue, they solve many problems.

8. Zheng Wei Ming as Ma Yao
He is 43 years old and is a policeman. He is very cheerful and maintains good relationship with the kids. When the kids do something wrong or they flee from the academy, Yao will look for them and punish them to stand outside the police station to serve as a warning.

9. Gao Lei Ya as Ha Na
She is the 25 year old nurse in the academy. She is En Hui's best friend and treats all equally. She knows some children pretend to be sick to avoid going for classes and she lies that she is going to send them to hospital for detailed checkups. This scares them to make them return to their classes.

10. Li Bo Xiang as Zhou Zhi Hao
He is only 16 and is in high school one. He is handsome and polite on the outside but he is very scheming. He is very bitter towards life and he can betray anyone despite his smiles.

11. Ge Lei as Niu Chun Hua
She is En Hui's mother who opens a karaoke for the villagers to pass their time. She has a good memory and remembers all the pupils' contact numbers. She helps them to save their money to prevent their parents from squandering it away. She is like a mother to them.

12. Wang Jian Min as Zhang Ding
He is 38 years old and is a underworld boss. He returns to the underworld after being released from jail. He owns a hotel and has many followers. Many have thought of him to be a normal businessman but he can doublecross them anytime if they overstep his bottom line. He knows that Zhi Jie's sister is dying of cancer but he still marries her on her deathbed.

She is his only weakness and that is why he vows to protect Zhi Jie beside him to pass over his entire business to him but it will take time to become a normal businessman. He is cool! Even more cool than Shao Wei! All of you must watch his splendid performance.

13. Ke Ya Xin as Zhang Qiang
She is Ding's 26 year old younger sister who uses Ding's identity to manipulate others. She will use whatever she has to seize what she wants. She woos Zhi Jie all the way from Taipei to Hua Lian. She only cares for herself and keeps interfering between Zhi Jie and En Jie.

14. Xiu Qin as Xie Mei Nu
She is Wei Lian's mother who has many restaurants under her name. She is always elegant with jewels. Money is most important to her and she plans everything for Wei Lian but he is a disappointment. She keeps wanting to pull him near to her but things get out of hand. She tries to separate the couple but later gives her approval. The other children also manage to move her too.

15. Lin Meng Jin as Zhou Pei Shan
She is only 32 years old but is already 16 year old Zi Hao's mother. She is a gold-digger and is debt-ridden after being cheated by a handsome boyfriend. She hides in the academy and finds out that Wei Lian is rich. She fails to seduce him but later likes Ding in the end. After Ding is caught, she gives birth to his daughter and takes care of the siblings.

16. Wang Bi De as Huang Ming Zhen
He is the financial manager of the academy. He will allocate funds suitable for the kids' learning. He is also a pastor who prays for others.

17. Wu Huai Zhong as Lu Su Wei
He is the guardian of the kids as he is sent by the youth court to assist them. He has helped many but also visits many in jail when they defy orders by breaking the law. He tries to find a way to raise their confidence. He surfs the net and encourages through the Japanese unicycle exercise to make them tour around Taiwan to raise funds for the needy too.

18. Liu Yu Jing as Gao Zhen Zhen
She is En Hui's junior who works in the school – but only for a while. Her aim is to score better than En Hui and often frames her. She seduces almost all the male students (also including Ji Xiang) to write her thesis. Zhi Jie is pissed off with this and complains to the university. She is expelled and later repents to continue her studies overseas.

19. Zhu Fan Gang as Zhuang Zhong Xun
He is the instructor to teach the kids how to learn the unicycle skills. He notices that Zhi Jie has an old knee injury and advises him not to over exert himself.

20. Zhang Pei Ying as Maggie
She grows up with Wei Lian so Mei Nu wants her to be Wei Lian's wife as her family is rich. Wei Lian deliberately removes her father's wig and that causes their union to be destroyed for good.

Interesting facts
It is an adaption of 2008 Golden Horse award winning documentary of the same title. Taiwan news centre assisted in the filming of this drama. It was shot in Hua Lian, Rui Sui Village and Feng Lin Town. The school chosen was Guang Fu town Xin Wang Ai Youth Academy.

All sighed in despair when they learned that Fan Gang returned to taking drugs again to get arrested. They hoped that he would be able to over it this time.

Most favourite character
Zhi Jie, he cares for the kids and a close second is Ding – he means well although his way of protecting Zhi Jie and Qiang are wrong.

Most hated character
Mei Nu – she is a true snob – the way she talks or behaves simply irritates me.

Songs
The main theme is Rainbow's End by Yang Pei An and the subtheme is I will try hard by Liao. I like Yang's singing as Liao's song is too easily forgettable.

Conclusion
The unicycle training is a tough one. Some youths simply boycott it as they find it childish while others do not see the need. Those who bravely take up the challenge find it an uphill task and do contempt to give up easily if not for the teachers. It is surprising that the first who masters the skill is actually an introvert. All cheer for him and he bursts into tears.

There is also a story of two boys who are often beaten up by their father and have nightmares of him. Zhi Jie feels sorry for them and makes a shelf for them to place their books. Wei Lian brings the two to see their father who is dying of cancer. Despite their fear, they forgive him. Ming Yue does oppose to the meeting but later discover that she is overly protective and has to let go.

Unlike other usual idol dramas, this drama gives insight into troubled youths' lives. They struggle with battering and betrayal from parents. That is why it is hard for them to trust others anymore. Teachers from the academy try their best to look into their needs and shower them with the love and concern that they long to have. The cases are very realistic and the producer must be complimented for making such a brave attempt to come up with the ugly facts of life.

Sukting's ratings :

On acting : *** (Scale of 5)
On story : *** (Scale of 5)
On song : *** (Scale of 5)


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