[Review] “Eye in the Sky” (By VCN)

By on March 29, 2015 in Hot Gossip!, REVIEWS, TV Dramas

pic

Eye in the Sky <天眼>
TVB Drama 2015

Executive Producer: Catherine Tsang
Genre: Crime Thriller
Number of Episodes: 20

Cast: Kevin Cheng, Ruco Chan, Tavia Yeung, Tony Hung, Vivien Yeo, Lau Kong, Rosina Lam

Rating: stars1

Synopsis

Eye in the Sky is a 20-episode serial drama for Hong Kong broadcast television about Szeto Shun (Kevin Cheng), a promising police investigator turned security supervisor after an unresolved and mysterious arson. During his tenure as a security supervisor, he encounters Cheung Lik Hang (Ruco Chan), an aspiring security guard with a secret past. As they become more than just close friends, their adventures collide with the investigations of Jenny “Jan” Ng (Tavia Yeung), an unsuccessful private detective. Kong Wui Hoi (Lau Kong) plays a criminal mastermind with seductive secret agent Hon San (Vivian Yeo) as his assistant. Romance, mystery and comedy abound in this drama series.

Title 

The English title, Eye in the Sky, lacks as much originality as its content. Does the eye in the sky refer to the surveillance cameras and CCTV or does it proselytize didactic values? The title inevitably leads one to consider if something greater than humanity is monitoring human behavior. With TVB, the ending always closes with justice and morality, so perhaps it is a promotion of didactic values. On the flip side, this title actually rhymes. Are the producers trying to compose a nursery rhyme or a clever and memorable title? More effective titles could include the Szeto Files or even Inspector CCTV or very simply CCTV. At least, the Chinese title fares slightly better as it adequately points to surveillance cameras.

Content

Eye in the Sky is essentially a hack job of two popular British television series, Broadchurch (2013) and Sherlock (2010 – present). The overly emphasized use of CCTV in Eye in the Sky is obviously borrowed from Broadchurch while the characters are copies of those from Sherlock. Not only did they copy the major players in Sherlock, they even invented their own versions of practically every Sherlock case from “the woman” to the taxi driver serial killer. Even Szeto’s mistaken arrest and trial as the suspected arsonist is a rendition of Sherlock’s identification and subsequent arrest for kidnapping a pair of siblings. I can name more scenarios but will refrain from assembling a tirade of obvious associations. Did the producers think no one would notice the similarities or were they just so brazen that they equate plagiarism to poetic license?

Eye in the Sky Kevin Cheng Ruco Chan 2As an investigative drama, Eye in the Sky moves relatively slowly. The early plot focuses on the identity of Szeto Shun’s mysterious twin and unravels into a series of bland/insipid detective stories relying on the use of CCTV and hidden cameras to solve mysteries. The core of the series should be a battle of wits between their Moriarty-like rival, Kong Wui Hoi, and their Sherlock copy, Szeto Shun, but the storyline opts for the overused and unoriginal plot about a separated and lost at birth twin, who very naturally turns evil while seeking recompense for his early suffering. Since the producers have plagiarized everything else, they should have just adopted the flirtatious rivalry between “the woman” and Sherlock for Hon San and Szeto. At least, that would have made a better story than their mediocre plot involving another tragic victim of circumstance and an unlikely and impossible romance between Szeto and Jan.

Logical deductions are the best part of every good detective story, but the scriptwriters of Eye in the Sky chose to intermingle CCTV evidence with super sleuths, thus relegating deductions to an inferior back seat position. Suddenly, super sleuths, such as Szeto, loses investigative prowess because his detective work now relies heavily on recorded evidence and entrapment. Anyone can be a good detective if irrefutable proof of crime is readily available on camera and entrapment is considered viable or even admissible evidence in a court of law.

Because this is a drama series about surveillance, every type of camera or recording device has been thrown into this production. This is a true festival for all electronics advertisers while viewers are bombarded with camera phones, video cameras, espionage spyware and even the bulky SLR camera that every investigator carries during their stakeouts. Even worse, nonexistent technology, such as cameras embedded into a human being, seamless mirrors and holograms that generate shadows, have been included in this real-time drama. The fictional technology presented in this series is not only unrealistic but also insulting to viewers. This is not a science fiction fantasy where any type of technology exists. Rather, this is a series about modern day crime investigation, so please use real technology and clever crime solving skills to impress the audience.

Acting/ Character Inconsistencies

Eye in the Sky Kevin Cheng 2As Szeto Shun, Kevin Cheng performs a poor impersonation of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock. The familiar prayer-like hand pose and the theory that eating hinders brainwork are only some of the borrowed traits from the character of Sherlock. Although this shameless act of imitation is largely the fault of producers, I would have expected more integrity from a two-time award winning best actor such as Kevin Cheng. I think he should have declined the role of Szeto Shun just to preserve his own artistic merit.

Like Sherlock, the character Szeto insists on not understanding romantic love. Not only does Sherlock lack this understanding, he literally has no consideration for anyone regardless of age, gender or relation while Szeto is completely cognizant of compassion as demonstrated by his affection for his parents and his sympathy for Ho Ye Gu. By incorporating compassion into Szeto’s character, the producers try to mold Szeto into a more amiable character that is palatably acceptable for the Asian audience. But by default, the producers create a dichotomy in this character, leading to an inconsistent gap in the character of Szeto. How can an individual understand compassion without comprehending passion! And suddenly, Szeto miraculously develops feelings of love in the end just to suit the producers’ needs for a romance.

Eye in the Sky Ruco ChanRuco Chan is definitely a miscast for the role of Cheung Lik Hang. Imagine an identical twin with such similar traits that no one can differentiate one twin from the other. How can one twin grow three inches taller after a series of cosmetic surgeries? That physical change clearly defies logic and character consistency. Fortunately for Ruco, he performs adequately well for all of his sinister roles despite the poor character development and weak plot line.

Eye in the Sky Tavia Yeung 1Tavia Yeung’s Jenny “Jan” Ng is simply ridiculous. Her character defines the illogical. Overly emotional in all aspects of life from her romantic interests to her investigations, she eclipses her own action and judgement with her lack of reason. These traits do not befit an investigator of any calibre, so her character is not only unrealistic but also highly unwatchable. No level of acting could have saved this character from these scripting flaws.

Samantha Ko’s Agatha Lam needs a wardrobe adjustment. Flashing audiences with her legs will do little for her acting career. Pouting on camera also does not help. To attract cinematic attention, Samantha Ko needs to explore new roles outside of her comfort zone as a bimbo. Likewise, Tony Hung needs to learn facial expressions. Nothing about him as Tai Fu Lung convinces me that he is a world-class criminal with a high profile repertoire. Perhaps, he should continue to pursue a career in travelogues instead of drama.

Lau Kong’s criminal persona is largely dwarfed by his handicap of being blind. He has little opportunity to use his eyes and thus, fewer expressions of anything can be conveyed to the audience. Furthermore, there is no real advantage for his character to be blind or seeing. The storyline could have continued without him being blind.

Moderately sultry, Vivian Yeo succeeds where Samantha Ko fails. The short tight outfits suit her well as the naked yogi (yoga practitioner). She is moderately acceptable as this mock version of “the woman,” but her character lacks the necessary intelligence to completely fulfill this role. Fortunately for her, that is a character flaw not of her doing.

Conclusion

As a drama series, Eye in the Sky demonstrates a genuine lack of imagination. Everything is borrowed. Without a doubt, Eye in the Sky is plagiarism at its best. If “brainy is [meant to be be] the new sexy,” then Eye in the Sky certainly falls short on both ends. From the poor detective stories to the lack of creativity, Eye in the Sky can only be awarded 1 star. And, the 1 star is for being gutsy enough to insult the intelligence of its audience. In terms of artistic merit, there is unfortunately very little to applaud.

The review is written by VCN, a Contributing Writer at JayneStars.com.

43 comments to [Review] “Eye in the Sky” (By VCN)

  1. Funn Lim says:

    The series never said the twins were of same height. Nor were they at any time seen nect to one another orior to face change. There are identical twins with difference in height. I believe the title originally refers to survellance cameras but later changed to the big guy up there which is the big guy. I got to say this; at least you go right to ghe point although i disagree on some nit picking. But i agree with the rating. Fault lies mostly with writing.

    Login or Register before you can reply to Funn Lim
    • Eric replied:

      Yeah I was hoping for more police cases, didn’t really care for the private detective part of the series.

      After episode 1, I expected a big showdown towards the end, like the mastermind crook that evades surveillance, finally meets his match or something. Nope, was just constant battle of the twins, and TVB decides to right an unrepentant character for Ruco, and then karma logs kill him.

      Login or Register before you can reply to Eric
  2. Jake says:

    Kevin and Ruco really saved this series with good acting

    Login or Register before you can reply to Jake
    • Rainbow replied:

      Agree. They actually made my eyes watery watching the scene Kevin forgave Ruco. Imagine Him Law and Sammy Shum acting this scene. LOL. TVB should value those who can act (plus good-looking) more instead of those because of their age. Casting people such as Tony Hung in an important and challenging role is painful to watch. He acts like a dumb naïve kid who is not that capable as his role should be.

      Login or Register before you can reply to Rainbow
      • jake replied:

        And tony playing a pirate replacing bosco ,a role that needed bosco acting skills oh boy now tony playing it

        Login or Register before you can reply to jake
  3. Rain_nie says:

    The first episode was very promising. Too bad it gone downwards after every episode. I like Kevin’s performance as the flirty “Chong Lee”. Sure reminds me of Getto Justice. I do welcome back Kevin after a long break of tvb dramas. He’s is very handsome as Szeto Shun.

    Tavia and the whole detective agency was a waist of time. Her ability is quite interesting, but the writers just didn’t do much with it. I wonder why Tavia is given those uninteresting leading lady roles lately. (Just like the series with Kenneth, where her part was just a supporting role until the last episodes) I miss her roles like in The Other Truth & On call 36 hours.

    Ruco gives his find performamce as always.

    Tony Hung needs improvement in acting. His role is probably too much for Tony to handle. I do wish he will improve in the future.

    Vivien has the most interesting role out of every one. I actually was shocked she was killed. I wished Tavia was in this role like in the presentation. That would be much better !

    Login or Register before you can reply to Rain_nie
    • Janet replied:

      Episode 1 was GREAT!!! I enjoyed watching Kevin Cheng as flirty ‘Johnny’. Then when flirty Johnny disappeared, I missed watching Kevin’s tender looks.
      Ruco did a great job as a sicko man who took jabs to stay awake. In the end, he never turned good.

      Login or Register before you can reply to Janet
    • Eric replied:

      Yeah this series could’ve been so much better, way off from what it was advertised to us.

      Login or Register before you can reply to Eric
  4. passingby says:

    Didn’t know that watching a drama requires so much brainwork. I just want to be entertained so that requires me to suspend my disbeliefs and cynicisms. Overall i thought it was enjoyable save for the irrelevant side plots and rushed ending.

    Login or Register before you can reply to passingby
    • says me replied:

      I didnt want to waste time reading thru yr whole review. Seeing a one star rating shows a personal lop-sided review. Agree with passingby that we shdnt need so much brainwork. I enjoyed the drama. Intrigue mixed with some light hearted humor. Was entertained. KC was good. His acting matured. His emotions amidst his coolness was touching. Ruco was dramatic. Tavia showed her versatility in a nerdy role. This wasnt meant to be a completely heavy drama & overall it met the purpose. There were irrelevant parts & characters. Didnt know what the writer was thinking abt having those added in. Overall tho, many enjoyed EITS. I rate it a 3. I dont know why EITS comes under such close & critical scrutiny. There were commentaries bias at most, for every episode. And now this critical review. I dont read such episode by episode for other dramas. As an audience, i suggest that you stop reviews & commentaries. Let us enjoy the dramas without bias & critical reviews. Let each audience watch & judge for ourselves. EITS is a pretty good drama but you are just too negative in yr reviews. Who asks for yr opinions anyway? Are you all professional reviewers/commentators? Otherwise dont flaunt yr views as tho you are…i personally find it irritating that views are rather negative/lop sided. You dont enjoy it, doesnt mean others dont. Its better if you keep yr opinions to yr self and let others enjoy the drama.

      Login or Register before you can reply to says me
  5. deutcheland dangler says:

    If you ignore the plot, the acting from the three leads (Kevin, Ruco, and Tavia) was stellar. From the looks of things, Ruco is at least a top 5 nominee for TV king.

    Login or Register before you can reply to deutcheland dangler
    • jake replied:

      Hope ruco and Kevin both win tv king this year they can there’s so many tv king awards around

      Login or Register before you can reply to jake
    • lml1977 replied:

      @ deutcheland dangler: totally agree re the stellar performance of Kevin and Ruco. Tavia, to me, was forgetable. Ruco was great…as usual. He gives his best in every single performance each time. He should be nominated for TV King. He’s not the blue-eye boy of TVB, so let’s see what happens at year end.

      Login or Register before you can reply to lml1977
  6. choco-bunny says:

    This deserves more than one star for sure. I’ll give it a three, discounting one for all the irrelevant story arcs and feet dragging and another for the inconsistent character development of Cheng Lik Hang and poorly thought out ending.

    Login or Register before you can reply to choco-bunny
    • Rainbow replied:

      Agree. This deserves more than one star for sure. The reviewer is too nitpicking I think. This is already one of a better TVB series nowadays. If this series only worths one star, some other TVB series should worth a big fat zero.

      “Furthermore, there is no real advantage for his character to be blind or seeing. The storyline could have continued without him being blind.”

      LOL. The reviewer should be a scriptwriter then. Please write more flawless, logical, and interesting series or movies that worth 3-5 stars for us to watch. LOL

      Login or Register before you can reply to Rainbow
    • llwy12 replied:

      Nope… one star is actually very generous. I would’ve given half a star at most — and mostly for the acting, which was only decent at best, but definitely better than the horribly written script. I definitely agree with the reviewer’s sentiment that the series was an insult to our (the audiences’) intelligence — though I would also add that the series tried my patience big time as well…I haven’t been so frustrated with a series in a long time (I knew I should’ve dropped the series after the first few episodes!).

      And what’s wrong with other TVB series getting “big fat zeros” when that’s the rating they’re worth? Actually, I would give “negative stars” for certain series if there was such a thing (for instance, Tiger Cubs 2 is one that would fit into the “negative stars” category for me…honestly, TVB should give ME stars for wasting my precious time sitting through 4 episodes of that sorry excuse for a series!).

      Login or Register before you can reply to llwy12
      • choco-bunny replied:

        To each his own. No wrong or right.

        Login or Register before you can reply to choco-bunny
  7. Krolxl says:

    Is it me or Kevin acted a little weird. Ruco acted really good.

    Login or Register before you can reply to Krolxl
    • Rainbow replied:

      Kevin is not weird. He acted well. Ruco’s role is completely different from Kevin’s and Ruco’s role has more opportunities to show his good (or bad) acting.

      Login or Register before you can reply to Rainbow
      • orchid123 replied:

        Absolutely right. It is always easier to show off in villainous (or semi-villainous) roles.

        Login or Register before you can reply to orchid123
  8. abba says:

    i thought tavia did not enjoy working on this series at times. don’t know if she was sick or have a diva attitude, there was something up.

    in ep 2 when she kissed samantha on the cheek to pretend to be a lesbian that’s when i thought the quality of this series was low and is for kids. how hard is it to do a quick peck on the lips for realism. at least cut the scene out if that’s something you’re not willing to do. it was also unneeded.

    the drowning cpr scene in ep 8 – she wasn’t drowning. the water level was below her shoulder. does she still need cpr for that? the other girl that was with her would have needed the cpr more than her. the water level was close to her neck. at least try to look like you’re drowning for the cpr.

    Login or Register before you can reply to abba
  9. SD says:

    The Sherlock part clicked but glad you caught on with Broadchurch. How could I have forgotten the Tenth!

    Largely agreed except for a few nitpicks, an overall waste of time and talent. By the end, I was glad it was over more than anything, could’ve slashed off a decent amount of episodes from the bloat and the series would’ve at least come off leaner and meaner.

    Login or Register before you can reply to SD
  10. Janet says:

    The irritating thing which Szeto does is clasping his hands as though in prayer.

    Login or Register before you can reply to Janet
  11. Mt says:

    Hit the nail on the head!

    Login or Register before you can reply to Mt
    • janet replied:

      I really enjoyed watching Kevin as flirty ‘Johnny’ than that boring Szeto ‘praying’ all the time.

      Login or Register before you can reply to janet
  12. anoninhk says:

    i haven’t seen broadchurch or sherlock so i did think it was weird that i liked a tvb series so much. seems like tvb can’t do a decent drama without plagiarising some, if not most, of the material.

    Login or Register before you can reply to anoninhk
  13. Prettysup says:

    At least this writer tried to give a more balanced review rather than the other one which was more of Ruco-fangirl article disguised as s review.

    Login or Register before you can reply to Prettysup
  14. saysme says:

    I replied to @passingby to agree that we shdn’t need such brainwork to enjoy a drama. Overall EITS was enjoyable and I would rate it 3 stars. I had reviewed this review but as before, my review was deleted…so much for freedom of comments in this site 🙂 nvrmind, objectivity doesn’t seem to be welcomed, so I shan’t waste my time retyping my comments. Just a word to reviewer/commentators, avoid being so negative and lopsided. Just because you don’t enjoy EITS or its character(s) doesn’t mean it is 1 star or its is bad, and doesn’t mean others don’t/can’t. It irks me to read such negative reviews cos I don’t see how EITS was that bad. It wasn’t meant to be entirely SH or heavy. That’s why you find intrigue and humor. Yes, there are shortcomings but overall it can’t be just 1 star. Well, each to our own opinions. Be more open to others comments too.

    Login or Register before you can reply to saysme
    • minyveg replied:

      If everyone is entitled to their own opinions then why can’t the reviewer give this series a 1 star? How is that lop-sided or unfair? A review is obviously based on personal taste and opinions, if you disagree you can always submit your own review to Jayne.

      Login or Register before you can reply to minyveg
  15. tobyy says:

    I think this review is too harsh on the stars. EITS isn’t perfect for its script but it’s still the better and most enjoyable series this year thanks to Ruco’s fantastic acting and Kevin’s improvement!

    I’m waiting for Funn’s review.

    Login or Register before you can reply to tobyy
  16. chocobunny says:

    Just want to say that i finally managed to register after many many frustrating attempts.

    Login or Register before you can reply to chocobunny
    • jayne replied:

      @chocobunny
      Can you describe why your user registration process was frustrating so we can fix any problems?

      Login or Register before you can reply to jayne
      • funnlim replied:

        Jayne

        Thanks for the new great features and in friendly text size and colour too! Was wondering where to PM you and found a twitter like feature but it is just 140 words so doesn’t help much in me trying to express all in one single post. I am sure a bit of tweaking will be needed but thus far looking great except can de twitter it and make it like 280 words? If not will be spammed in email or in unrelated posts! BUt thus far great looking! Let me try the whole features first. @funnlim #features Hmmmm…

        Login or Register before you can reply to funnlim
  17. jayne says:

    @funnlim

    We are still fine-tuning user features. No private messaging for now… but you can always mention me @jayne so I can see your messages in my “Activity” page.

    We can increase word limit to something more user friendly.

    Login or Register before you can reply to jayne
  18. chocobunny says:

    @Jayne, i can’t seem to be able to reply under your thread.

    I tried to register numerous times with the name choco-bunny but didn’t manage to do so cos it keeps popping back to the same page after i clicked submit (even though i checked to make sure all details were filled in and all boxes were checked). Then I had to fill in my particulars all over again!So frustrating! Finally i decided to drop the hyphen.

    Login or Register before you can reply to chocobunny
    • jayne replied:

      @chocobunny
      Usernames cannot contain hyphens. Our screen should have prompted you to tell you the exact error. We will have to fix later.

      As to replying under the thread, let us look into this too. For now just use the @username if replying so users can see your msg directly

      Login or Register before you can reply to jayne
  19. sds says:

    I will say this for the record, Kevin Cheng, worse TVB best actor winner to date.

    Login or Register before you can reply to sds
  20. dramadrama says:

    Ruco deserves to be TV king!!! Tavia role is just too irritating and senseless. How would a clear headed Kevin role be in love with that lady???!!! I would prefer if he be with madam or his junior in the series!!!! (Sorry but I can’t remember their role names)…….

    Tony is just very bad in acting…….

    Login or Register before you can reply to dramadrama
  21. jimmyszeto says:

    Brilliant acting, likeable characters, terrible series. enough said!

    Login or Register before you can reply to jimmyszeto
  22. freedalas says:

    VCN is trying very hard to impress us how sophisticated his taste is . Well, if he’s really has that much class, he wouldn’t be watching TVB dramas in the first place and instead stick to his Sherlock and Broadchurch.

    Yes, TVB had plagiarized ideas and characters from Sherlock and Broadchurch for this drama (TVB has been doing this for years and so have many other Asian television producers). And so it scores low for originality. But that does not automatically mean that the drama can not be entertaining. It is also ridiculous that just because the drama had copied certain aspects from Broadchurch and Sherlock, we are to expect that it can attain the high standards of these 2 dramas. TVB is simply not in the same league as the Western TV producers. So it is meaningless for VCN to keep comparing EITS to these two dramas and based his criticisms largely on such a comparison. It is like comparing a local band’s cover of a song by renowned bands such as Maroon 5 or Cold Play with the original version.

    The correct premise for a meaningful review is to keep it within the context of TVB’s capabilities and thereby compare it to TVB dramas or at most with those from Korea or China.

    In any case I would not even call it a review because it’s nothing but an all-out rant and one-dimensional perspective. If there is a rating to be awarded for reviews, this one by VCN can attain only a minus One Star.

    Login or Register before you can reply to freedalas
    • gmrax replied:

      @freedalas

      Murder has been around for a long time. Does that make it legal or OK?

      Login or Register before you can reply to gmrax
  23. gmrax says:

    VCN’s review is only intended for people with vision to see the truth and integrity to uphold what is right. The truth is that TVB has promoted didactic values through their broadcasts over the years. With this good-will intent, they have captured audiences, monopolized the industry in Hong Kong and prevented the birth of new television broadcast stations. But at the same time, they have relentlessly plagiarized other televised broadcasts to suit their own purposes. By encroaching on the intellectual property of others, they contradict their self-declared value system about educating and inspiring audience members with their broadcasts. That is corruption at its finest! TVB should be challenged to answer for their transgressions, so that they will hopefully change for the better.

    Login or Register before you can reply to gmrax
  24. hannah says:

    I quite enjoy the series. Kevin and Ruco is so handsome!

    Login or Register before you can reply to hannah