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“Evolution? they said to themselves. Who needs it? What nature refused to do for them they simply did without until they were able to correct the gross anatomical inconveniences with surgery.”

- Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy



LIST OF ACTIVE OPINION

Series : Eye In The Sky [TVB]
Where : Here
Status : Filming so commentaries only.

Topic : Surprisingly "wow!" beautiful pictures of celebrities Where : Here
Status : Sporadically updated, only when actually "wow!".

Topic : All things Barcelona FC aka I am a Cule (to be)!
Where : Here
Status : Somewhat active.

Series : Line Walker [TVB]
Where : Here
Status : Active.

Series : All That Is Bitter Is Sweet [TVB]
Where : Here
Status : Continuation from episode 12 onwards. Episodic thoughts stopped at episode 11.


Series : Young Sherlock [China]
Where : Here
Status : Active


LIST OF ACTIVE EPISODIC THOUGHTS

None at this moment



Updates

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I have written the following for a very long time but only got the chance to post them here now. Hopefully I posted the complete version!

THE VIRTUOUS QUEEN OF HAN (got some minor mistakes & will update later)



My 2014 TVB series roundup (Updated)

Noblesse Oblige

I have updated those marked with *.

[O] Sound Of The Desert / Da Mo Yao / 大漠謠 [2014][China]

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This is a collection of various commentaries and opinions about this series under one post. If you see this at the top, this means it is updated. For more under this post, do click the Read More button. I welcome your comments and your thoughts as well so do use Post A Comment and do indicate which episode you're talking about. Since this is a threaded comment system, you can reply directly to any given comments you wish to reply to. When this is done, I will move this to Reviews Database.


Based on
A book of the same Chinese title by Tong Hua who gave you Bu Bu Jing Xin

Original English title
Ballad Of The Desert

Language
Mandarin, dubbed with English subtitles

Cast-Character
The original names were mostly changed because China prohibits portrayal of real life historical characters in fictionalised settings. My opinion will be based on the original names.

Hu Ge as Mo Xun (Meng Ximo)
Cecilia Liu as Xin Yue (Jin Yu)
Eddie Peng as Wei Wu Ji
Han Dong as Li Ji
Fala Chen as Qin Xiang
Kristal Tin as Hong Gu
Qin Hao as Wu Wei Li
Shi Xiaoqun as Princess Pingyang
Maggie Cheung Ho-yee as Wei Zifu
Lu Liang as Emperor Wu of Han
Wu Zhuohan as Wei Qing
Zhang Xiang as Li Yannian
Qin Yong as Lu Guangli
Wu Ying as Wei Shao'er
Liu Shuailiang as Wei Kang
Xu Sa as Fang Ru
Luo Mi as Xin Yan

Synopsis
The Series
The book

26.01.2015
Until Episode 9
I just realised this series is called Sound Of The Desert and I kept thinking it was Song Of The Desert since the original title is Ballad Of The Desert and music plays a big part in this series.

Anyway...

I am convinced Cecilia Liu is the luckiest actress in the world. She is not an exceptional beauty, she is at best can be considered pretty but plain, she doesn't possess the most bodacious figure, you can say she is flat, her personality is none, her acting abilities has improved from zero to passable and she manages to act the same in every character she ever plays and yet here she is, the lead in another stellar production by Tangren. What did she do to gain Tangren's favour? Why do they favour her so?

She improved a lot since Bu Bu Jing Xin but her improvement is slight. I find no difference in her interpretation of Xinyue and Ruoxi except she was worse as Ruoxi as her Ruoxi was supposed to be 25 trapped in the body of a 16 year old and she acted she was 13. She looked terrible in some scenes, maybe she was sick. She could really cry and even when she is not crying she looks like she is on the verge of tears. She can't do intimate scenes well without cringing and believe me, let's not talk about passion and sexy, because she is neither.

But why is she the lead yet again? She is like the worst in the sea of bests. I don't mean to say she is god awful but she is just perfectly ordinary. And my god, she is dull. On screen she is dull and off screen, her most sexiest and most daring moment will be marrying the sexy beast called Nicky Wu who is much older than she is. But other than that, oh lord she is so boring.

And to illustrate her inconsistency, she can read and write Chinese and yet doesn't know how to use chopsticks. I was like huh? She can compose music and choreograph a dance and play politics and yet... she doesn't know how to use chopsticks?!

Anyway so far this series is captivating me because however dull and boring and mediocre she is, Cecilia Liu has the greatest luck of being in the prettiest productions surrounded by people more competent she will ever be.

I have read the translation of the book Da Mo Yao, a fan translated book and I kinda enjoyed it. In the book I loved Meng Jiu or Jiu Yeh because he was so tragic. I disliked Huo Qubing because he came across as a stalker, a creep and a strong character.

Surprisingly in this series, at episode 9, I find myself liking Qubing.

Pause!

Let it be known Tangren need not change the historical names for international release and yet they did and so the final act is done; they have sold their soul to the devil needlessly. I am very very very annoyed. I shall still call the historical characters by their real name. I hated Qubing's name, Wei Wuji, which sounds like a ciplak name from Jinyong's Wuxia series.

Continue!

I really like this Qubing because he comes across as playful and mischievous, touchy feely and quite rude but quite endearing like a naughty man child with a hot body, not yet stalker like but is stalking our heroine. He doesn't come across as strong personality like in the book. It helps Eddie Peng is sex on legs with big doe eyes. Ahhhhh.... and yet Cecilia manages to look beyond all that and look terribly dull. Come on! Surely even Xin Yue will take another look at this demi god before her? No?

Anyway the one I really loved in the book was Jiu Yeh and the way the book described him was something like Xinyue first saw him and to her he was the most beautiful man she has ever laid eyes on, so pure, so beautiful and yet to sad, so melancholic, so troubled but by what? She was immediately drawn to his beauty which I do remember something about changing of seasons is affected by him or something to that. Can't remember much except how god smacking beautiful he was. And immediately I thought of Wallace Huo, the Emperor of HDTV. It is vital to have that contrast with Qubing because Qubing was in war and was a soldier all his life and so he was probably rough and manly looking and scarred and such and Jiu Yeh, the learned man who spent his time with books and pursuit of knowledge supposedly looked so perfectly flawless in everything must look polished and just perfect. Wallace turned down this series and Huge wanted this role and he got it. Huge is a good actor, he is also a handsome man in a weird sort of way. But he isn't Jiu Yeh. He can look sad and thoughtful and preoccupied and shy and all that but if you wanna talk about natural melancholic look if there is such a word, Wallace Huo fits the description perfectly. And Wallace is also naturally fair with flawless complexion and he is a beautiful man. So yeah, Huge, a miscast. But like I said he is a good actor. It could be because he was a miscast that I felt drawn to Eddie's Qubing who was perfectly cast.


The one I was most excited to see was Fala Chen and she didn't disappoint. She looked so elegant and pretty and aloof. TVB has never quite fully utilised her aloofness to great effect but in this series, her aloofness is her character. See Fala as TVB never knew how to present her; the morose, solemn, aloof, cold but beautiful, elegant, sophisticated future Consort Li.

Then I found out Maggie Cheung (Hor Yee) will be in this series as Wei Zifu and since I just finished another Wei Zifu series, I was happy with the connection. Her appearance was memorable. In Episode 8 or 9 I think, a few words but mostly just an introduction. Before that we are informed the Emperor is bored with his empress who to him is like a whithered flower and so Fala was being introduced as the next hot candidate by Xinyue and Princess Pingyang, both hoping to gain more favour with the emperor. Joke is Pingyang is the wife of the brother of the empress, so you can see how the husband feels. No one ever thought Fala will ever threaten the empress' position since the empress was aided by no less than 4 famous and powerful family members within the government and the emperor loved her dearly even if he doesn't find her sexually alluring anymore. Anyway Xinyue was gungho about it until the day came and in came the empress whose reputation far exceeded her even if she was very popular. She was a famous beauty once and Maggie may looked older but you can see her beautiful luminous skin even if wrinkled would have bewitched the emperor so to speak. Maggie was glowing in this scene. Anyway Xinyue saw her and she thought to herself that the Empress was like so beautiful, she understood why the emperor wanted to find another Wei Zifu and it did cross her mind the irony that Fala was being introduced in the same way in the same household by the same person to the emperor like how the empress was many years ago. And she concluded "How can the empress be described as a whithered flower? She is still the most beautiful graceful empress everyone knew" and that was when Xinyue felt immense guilt; that she may have helped to hurt the empress. Indeed the empress actually looked hurt but had to smile and here is where Maggie was simply splendid. Anyway even Qubing said if it wasn't Fala it could have been another woman so he didn't blame Xinyue.

Blame the emperor; lusty old man.

BUT WAIT! He ain't no old man! He is supposed to be 35 or 36 then, so that makes Zifu early 30s. My god, already a whithered flower? I thought the emperor met Lady Li in his late 50s? The timeline changed? Why not just say the emperor was in his 40s and Zifu is 40? That would make more sense much like how Ada Choi's empress was in Empresses In The Palace. I don't know who is the actor but I think it was deliberate to find someone with bad skin and not so good looking. That ain't Raymond Lam for sure!

Anyway so far so good. Up until ep 9, all I can say is...

1. OMG. The costumes, the hair, the head accessories... OMG.So beautiful. Made me wanna grow long hair and do the Han style with the hair accessories that didn't look like helmet hair. May I repeat the costumes again? I don't mean the car crash that is Xinyue's desert look but Princess Pingyang and Jiu Yeh's costumes, wow! 

2. OMG. The set decoration. Not sure how accurate but OMG, looks great.

3. The casting, OMG, except for Cecilia, and to some lesser extent Huge, it has been exemplary. You will see familiar faces from BBJX.

4. The dubbing, OMG. The one who benefits the most is Kristal Tin. Taking away her real voice, replacing it with a superbly dubbed voice that just fits her so perfectly, you can now appreciate how animated her performance was. It helps she delivered her lines in mandarin and the lips movement moved in perfect sync with the dubber who was simply excellent.  You will also hear familiar voices from BBJX.

5, The CGI though is not OMG since I know it is CGI BUT way better than TVB's Form 3 CGI level. Tangren's CGI is University level.

6. The wolves aren't wolves but the cutest huge dogs ever. So cute. Why not just CGI the wolves?

7. The classical music in this series is superb but the themesong is not.

8. The make up is fantastic. And if Cecilia can still look puffy eyed, red nosed and sickly, it just shows she must have looked worse before the make up. I especially like Huge's pink lip balm. So much make up on the man. Least make up may be Eddie but maybe a lot of spray tan.

Ok, just 8.

Are you watching Sound Of The Desert? What do you think, so far at episode 9?



[O] The Virtuous Queen Of Han / 大汉贤后卫子夫 [2014][China]

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This is a collection of various commentaries and opinions about this series under one post. If you see this at the top, this means it is updated. For more under this post, do click the Read More button. I welcome your comments and your thoughts as well so do use Post A Comment and do indicate which episode you're talking about. Since this is a threaded comment system, you can reply directly to any given comments you wish to reply to. When this is done, I will move this to Reviews Database.




26.01.2015
I have written a review for this series with performance evaluation of everyone noteworthy so it is kinda long. Have a look.

14.01.2015
And so it has ended. Kinda feel cheated. More thoughts coming soon...

12.01.2015
I think I have 2 more episodes before it is the end. Da Mo Yao is the next series which I am quite excited about since it is the same period of time. I am hoping the international version has Huo Qubing as Huo Qubing.

So far this series has been very very entertaining even if I can fastfoward many scenes. So many deaths in these few episodes. Qubing's death was so sudden, quite an impact since he was so playful, so young, so mischevious and then just dead. Then Wei Qing's wife greatest sacrifice which I never expected since I expected her to die by illness and the Empress Chen who died of illness and now Wei Qing. Poor poor Wei Qing who died from exertion after fighting off enemies. I suspect next to die is Princess Ping Yang since she swore to her dying husband she will protect Zifu with her life. Maybe Mr Duan himself who was a ticking timebomb anyway. So many deaths all of a sudden. This series is like Schemes Of A Beauty where you practically see the characters grow old and die before your eyes. Of course so far this series has taken a few liberties with history. For one Li Furen did give birth to a son who will become emperor. But here she died with her child. Our Liu Che, that soon to be useless husband is supposed to be in his early sixties. Here he looks at best in mid 40s. Zifu should be quite advanced in age as well, for a woman back in those times, she looks no more than 30s. Her son and daughters are missing. Qubing died of a heart ailment. But these liberties make for interesting drama. I like to see how this series will handle Zifu's eventual suicide or will it be changed and how to reconcile Liu Che from a nice guy to a stern king to a jealous misguided king to someone the viewers can forgive for his treatment for the wholly blameless Zifu.

And I don't see Zifu as wholly blameless as this series would show her, the ultimate Mary Sue without an ounce of personality except total compliance, obedience and a dash of stubborness whenever the plot needed a push from the usual boring bland personality that is our Zifu. I feel if Zifu had the guts and I mean guts as in the heart  not in fearlessness but not blinded by her very Confucian teaching on being the stepford wife, maybe she wouldn't end up the way she was. Same goes for the boring stubborn Mr Duan who basically dug his grave by being so steadfast to a love that was never meant to be. He basically sowed the seed of dissent leading to the mistrust by the emperor who is far from perfect. Of course the emperor in digging the grave for Zifu has the ultimate blame.

I am waiting for the perfect ending and I suspect my conclusion is the same; the rise of Zifu helps her brother and nephew and friends and yet she too depend on them in the end. And when the persuasive Wei Qing, forceful Qubing, loyal Mr Duan and the rest dies or leaves, Zifu is all alone and without protection. This series did not show her other familial clans so we leave it at that. In the end as a woman back in those times who depends on the continued support and power of others to stay in power, perhaps it would have been the perfect end if she were to die first and still in favour. Maybe her son and others may still be alive. Basically she outlived the emperor's affection and her usefulness. How very sad.


23.12.2014
I am watching this series called The Virtuous Queen Of Han, not knowing anyone except for Raymond Lam, one ke-le-fe HK actor turned heavy supporting actor and 9th prince from the awesome Yong Zheng Wang Chao (also the eunuch in Glamorous Imperial Concubine). So far rather entertaining and Raymond Lam did well, that sort of well that TVB could not milk from him.

My post is really about Wei Zifu. Everyone hates her. Or rather those who doesn't love her, hates her and in the end even her own husband will hate her. Poor woman. In history she was... longest serving empress? 2nd longest serving? Only to kill herself because husband went delusional. I am sure this series will show she killed herself to help her husband. I mean will they let Raymond Lam get off his white horse as the emperor Liu Che and become the manic bad guy?

Ahhhh we shall see. DON'T TELL ME!!

Anyway she is so virtuous I wonder how she can ever have babies. I mean wayyyyy  too virtuous that her best moment was when she went mad and finally said things normal human beings will.

But for fans of Raymond Lam (yeah I know you exist), come out! Come out! Watch that scene where he had battle of words with his on screen aunt and him screaming "Historians! WRITE! WRITE! THAT! DOWNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!"

I swear he wasn't OTT. It was quite right even if he seems rather... stiff at times. But way way wayyyyyy better than in that stupid Line Walker.

However I do not see him as an emperor. I don't know; doesn't strike me as one even if his errr debut (?) was the greatest emperor of all, Shih Huang Ti which was like 2 nose jobs and a chin job ago and when Karena wasn't born yet. Ok ok I digress dramatically. His voice actor is amazing though. Sounds like Raymond but isn't Raymond.

Nice series although could be better.

So far it is still everyone hates Wei Zifu and Wei Zifu doesn't understand why and the emperor not caring if everyone hates her.

And this series comes in waves, like Plants Vs Zombies.

Wave 1 : Supreme Empress Dowager (lady was awesome)
Wave 2 : Empress and aunt
Wave 3 : Empress Dowager
Wave 4 : Princess Pingyang
Wave 5 : Uncle of Emperor

So many enemies. Poor poor girl.

[O] TVB Series Roundup 2014

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I know I said I won't be doing a TVB series roundup for 2014 but when I looked at the list I realised I watched more than half so I guess why not do one since I didn't write/completed the reviews for most of the series I watched. I did a similar series roundup in 2013 but that was quite brief.

Source
The list below is taken from Wikipedia 

Which is in and which is not
All series from Dec 2013 (which was broadcast until Jan 2014 so it counts as part of 2014 calendar year) to Jan 2015 (where series originates from Dec 2014 so yeah, counts also) including China series.

Ratings
1 is lowest, 5 is highest, 3 is mid range. 

As usual
All comments are my own, my opinion is as always subjective. All Reviewed titles can be found in Reviews Database

As for you dear readers...
What's your ratings for these series and for TVB in 2014 generally? Use Post A Comment to comment!

Ok, let's start, after the jump ...

[O] Ruco Chan / 陳展鵬 [Actor] : What I discover about Ruco Chan ...[PART 2]

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VERY IMPORTANT NOTICE
This is part 2 of my post listing my (sometimes very obvious) discovery about anything Ruco Chan. Part 1 was getting too long but is still an interesting read for new or old fans. That post is still very active in terms of comments. 


Not to be confused with Ruco Chan, in pictures and Ruco Chan, in his own words.

INTRODUCTION
Part 2 of what I discover about Ruco Chan. Since 08.11.2013, I have been updating my other post about facts about Ruco, ok sometimes gossips too and until now, still so much to write about him. I must repeat the following from my first part; ever since finding myself liking him, I came across things about him that I find peculiar, interesting, fascinating, vulgar, cute or weird or all of those at the same time. So I decided to write about what I discover about Ruco Chan. I am gonna post even rumours, gossips, whatever, good or bad. If you know something interesting about him (rumoured or otherwise), do use Post A Comment and let me know. By the way, this is a post heavy with pictures and embedded videos so it will load slower than usual. To view original sized picture, click on any image and a pop up window will show the pictures in full size in slide mode.

FIRST, A BIT ABOUT RUCO CHAN
BIOGRAPHY 
Biography please read here.

MY OTHER POSTS ABOUT RUCO CHAN
What I discover about Ruco Chan ... [Part 1] (comments still active)
Ruco Chan, in pictures
Ruco Chan, in his own words

DOES RUCO HAVE WEIBO, FACEBOOK, OFFICIAL FAN CLUB?
Answer to the question "I'm a Ruco Chan fan, is he on Weibo?"


GOSSIPS, RUMOURS, PICTURES, GENERAL FAN GUSHING
Please take note if you are negative about him or has issues with fan gushing, don't go to the following links Don't spoil the parade.



Jaynestars (Eng) (see also In Depth Articles links, all in English)


IN DEPTH ARTICLES (CONSTANTLY UPDATED)

Herehereherehere (must read!!), here ... errr.. basically all here.

MY COMMENTS ABOUT HIS WORK
Check out Reviews Database and this blog by searching using his name Ruco Chan for various reviews and comments about his performances (as an actor) and his public appearances (as a celebrity). Also check here (commentary on his fashion sense), here (on ASTRO AOD and his chances) and look at the labels for Ruco Chan, Chan Chin Pang, 陈展鹏 and/or 陳展鵬.

DATING AND  RELATIONSHIPS
Last updated - 26.03.2014 (for any new updates, check out Part 2)
I read in MingPao weekly magazine's interview about his 7 dates in the past, but never mentioned whom they were. He said some were not from entertainment business. But in recent interviews, he did not mention about how many relationships he had again. Due to the many dating rumours I was googling for more information when I came across this very funny headline;

I had a good laugh, notwithstanding the contents of the article which is what everyone knows. So I thought it would be cool to keep tab of the rumoured other half and whether true or not. Feel free to share more names.

Eunis Yiu [Confirmed][Broken up]
Ankie Belkie [Confirmed][Broken up] 
Linda Chung [Rumoured][Denied][Really denied - Around 18 min 45 sec][Still persistent]
Natalie Tong [Rumoured][Denied]
Some woman having lunch with mom & best friend [Rubbish][Wife of best friend]
Teresa Lou [Rumoured][Denied]
Ma Su [Rumoured][Denied]
- Selena Li [Rumoured][Denied]
- Aimee Chan [Never rumoured][No need to deny][My guess]
- Grace Chan [Rumoured][Mo need to deny. Ruco isn't into all bones & no flesh]
- Kelly Fu [Rumoured][No need to deny, utter rubbish. He never even looked at her, look at his body langage]


13.01.2015

He likes quirky suits and hats these days! And I found one perfect for him.see Lionel Messi's Ballon D'or award ceremony suit. It is quirky but still tasteful. Iy has a respectable but standout colour and looks it kinda glitters. And it is Dolce & Gabbana. So better grab these Ruco before Bosco pairs iy with a glitter skirt! However lose the now standard stupid hat and please wear socks. Maximise your hotness please. By the way Messi looks great and a standout in the sea of black and blue.




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