Original Sin (Cdrama 2018, 24 Episodes, ongoing)
This series is not a bromance cop drama as it was sold to be. In fact, these two have a strange tolerance relationship that destroys all my attempt to ship them together as a couple. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have chemistry. They do, like two reluctant cat and mouse being forced to co-exist, Zhai Tianlin and Yin Zheng characters are forever tied from their past to their present. Still, it also helps that the two mains leads are buddies BTS. Zhai Tianlin even went as far as carrying his partner’s cut-out-figure to the promotional events, so Yin Zheng won’t feel left out.
What makes this cop cdrama preferable to watch, is like SCI Mystery, there are only 24 episodes. Trust me; I give up on Caught in a Heartbeat(40 Episodes) by episode 14, because it was going nowhere, with two lead lacking chemistry from day one. However, unlike SCI, where each case is weave within an interconnected web, the cases within the world of Original Sin are their very own. From lust, greed to wrath, the motivation for crime runs parallel with the title of the drama. Making viewers to take a step back and ask....was it worth it?
Return of the Condor Heroes (TVB 1995, 35 Episodes)
Because of Louis Koo from a Step Into the Past, I attempted this 1995 version once it was available on youtube with Vietnamese dubbed. Oh boy, it was not good. Maybe because I am matured with my drama experience, or perhaps because I adore the 1983 classic. From costumes to mediocre newbies, I have a hard time getting into the story, which I memorized by heart. This version is shorter than the original by 18 episodes and follows the novel faithfully, but it lacks all the magic of the past.
I don’t mind that it was low production, I don’t even care the setting and props did not improve. I also don’t mind they are promoting half a cast of unknown or the reduction of character development through lack of storytelling. But this is part of a classic martial art trilogy of the Condor Heroes, which means there should be a great showcase of great martial arts battles between prominent characters. With my great disappointment, there were either none of those scenes, reduced, or hardly shown. This drama was made a decade after the original classic, and somehow the quality was worst? How is that even possible? The actors back in the day gave it their all and trained well to provide colorful world of Wuxia martial arts. This is why classics of the 80s are still well loved today.
Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 1 & 2 (Hong Kong Films)
Love him for his flaws, love him for his efforts. Or love him for what he’s not? One has to wonder what kind of romance the director wanted to tell. For the romantic drama to make any sense, you do need to watch part 1 and part 2. Yes, I was still on Louis Koo binge, and as it so happened, there were a good number of his films on Netflix. Line Walker was one of them, the film premiere two years after the TVB drama was broadcasted.
This romtom was helmed by Director Johnnie To, who was known for his works in Triad Election Trilogy and Mad Detective, was a bit choppy at first. There is, of course, a perfect SLS play by Daniel Wu, and in the second film, we have Vic Zhou. How all these perfect men are still available and love women(Gao Yuanyuan and Miriam Yeung) who are into a douchebag like Louis Koo’s character, is a bit far fetched. But it’s a chick flick, so of course, these women are often stupid when it comes to love.
Royal Nirvana (2019)
This unknown production was recently wrapped up, but what did catch my interest is the casting! There’s Luo Jin, Liu Yijun, Wang Jin Song, Zheng Yecheng, Xin Peng, and Li Yitong !!! A random mixture of actors who don’t usually work together, but they’re all still memorable from their works. Hopefully, this would be a sleeper hit, unlike the anticipated Phoenixes that put us all to sleep.
The Untamed (2019)
A loose adaptation of Moxiang Tongxiu’s BL novel, The Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation, starring Xiao Zhan as Wei Wuxian and Wang Yibo as Lan Wangji. Be warned, the casts are full of unknown, which may be what this drama needed. With low anticipation, there is no expectation. Directed by Zheng Weiwen(Secrets of the Three Kingdoms) and Chen Jialin(Above the Clouds), this live-action will probably be compared to the popular anime version. Even if they have to butcher the original story as Guardian did to pass censorship. If they manage to keep the essence of the characters intact, like what Guardian manages to do, then these newbies will make a name for themselves.