TVB Viewers Too Stupid for “Beauty at War”?

Are TVB audiences too stupid for Beauty at War <金枝慾孽貳>, or is the palace drama just unnecessarily deep? Audiences rejoiced when TVB announced that their 2004 critically-acclaimed War and Beauty <金枝慾孽> would be getting a sequel, but not only has the second installment failed to reach the popularity and success of its predecessor, viewers are also confused about the plot, expressing that the story is too difficult to follow.

TVB seemed to have gotten the message, and in episode 8 which was aired yesterday – TVB showed a quick interview clip of Moses Chan (陳豪) briefing the viewers about the upcoming episode, which aired right before the broadcast of episode 8. In the brief clip, Moses broke down the complicated relationship between Consort Yue and Consort Dowager Shun, and explained how their destinies changed after meeting Ko Lau Fei, who enters the palace to perform the kunqu classic, The Peony Pavilion, in front of the concubines.

Immediately after the broadcast of episode 8, the teaser trailer of episode 9 was aired, which featured Christine Ng(伍詠薇), who portrays Consort Dowager Shun, explaining how her character falls for Ko Lau Fei after he performs in the palace. “I have slowly fallen into love, and I am unable to pull myself out of it,” teases Christine as the trailer ends.

Many of these “briefing trailers” were actually filmed last minute. In addition to Moses and Christine, Kenny Wong(黃德斌) was also spotted in TVB Studios recording several of the features a few days ago.

TVB’s Scoop <東張西望> entertainment program also released exclusive material of Beauty at War last night to promote the series, and its teaser trailers consistently played on television all day.

Though critics gave Beauty at War positive reviews, the series garnered mixed responses from the general Hong Kong public. It was criticized for having too many characters, making it hard to keep track of all of them over the course of the convoluted plot. Some complained about the slow pace of the story, and others found the story difficult to understand because the script had too many “big words.”

In an interview with Ada Choi (蔡少芬), who stars as the nanny Sheung Ling in Beauty at War, she explained that its dialogue was written in a way so that makes it important for the audience to follow each line word for word, as each phrase could be interpreted in a “bountiful” of meanings.

A netizen remarked that he had to use too much brain power to understand the dialogue. “Watching [Beauty at War] becomes a chore! No wonder housewives say they can’t understand it!” Another netizen admitted, “I’m very close to giving up. There’s too much going on, yet nothing is really going on!”

Most netizens, nonetheless, gave the series a positive review. They noted that while the series is a bit long-winded and slow, they enjoyed hunting through the hidden messages that tied Beauty at War to the first installment. Some netizens praised the drama for being “non-housewife material” and encouraged TVB to film more “deep” dramas in the future.

Source: Apple Daily

This article is written by Addy for

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    1. she explained that its dialogue was written in a way so that makes it important for the audience to follow each line word for word, as each phrase could be interpreted in a “bountiful” of meanings.
      Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That!

      1. LOL, I couldn’t agree more with your final line.

  1. LOL at the title? Yes, I think the audience don’t take the time to try to understand it.

  2. I can’t help but giggle at those narration in the beginning/end. I guess TVB is trying to improve the rating…

    This show does take patience I must say. I am trying to wait until the story speed up. I do like the diagloues of the show and the old cast acting…

    What i do not like is that they focus too much on the servant…less time on the concubines which is a shame..I am not watching “The Great Confidant” (that focus on servant relationship) but Beauty on War ….

  3. I think these introduction trailers is a good idea (:

  4. I guess deeper meanings are good… but not too deep to the point that no one understands them anymore lol thats kinda pointless

  5. @ Andy
    You should not say ‘TVB viewers too stupid for BAW? ‘ because not all viewers but just a small number of viewers complained that BAW is so confusing; there still a lot of viewers enjoy watching BAW without complaining.

    1. I guess the title is quite attention grabbing-so it worked LOL

      Btw-the title doesn’t claim it as “ALL tvb viewers too stupid for BAW?” … does it really matter anyway.

    2. Yup, things are ALWAYS lost in translation. You should try to read the original Chinese article before you say anything.

      1. Sorry, i am a foreigner; i can not read Chinese article.

  6. Finally, they realised hk viewers are stupid!! Ive been hoping this sort of affirmation or enlightenment would come!! Bless!!

    On a serious note, its understandable ppl would complain given that this series, and other jonathan chik series of late, strays so far from tvb’s usual style of storytelling.

  7. If actors have to explain the story to the public, I think you failed hard as a TV maker. To make a sequel so different and apparently to a totally different target audience it’s another big fail. TVB=SAD

    1. I agree with you- if they have to produce clips in order to explain what their actual production work is about, what is the point of the production?? LOL. Besides entertaining, the idea behind production is to deliver messages/morals to the audience. If the audience cannot understand by watching and needs additional clips of explanation, might as well let the audience watch the cast explain the whole story in their revealing trailers instead of the drama itself.

      1. If the MAJORITY of the audience cannot understand this series with their loud complaints…. IMO, take this series out of 9:30pm timeslot and move it to Midnight or the Weekends and get the new drama in.

      2. For me, it was only the scenes between Eddie Kwan and Moses Chan that made it a bit confusing. But the scenes between Sheren and Christine are way easier to understand.

        And the producer who produced this drama just used a different approach. To expect this drama to relate directly to WAB is difficult because of the time gap given between the two dramas.

    2. After try many many times watching again and again,I still do not get the storyline.
      TVB should at least put some action combined dialogue instead of just dialogue. Viewers want to go home and watch a movie to relax. Instead we have to put our ears and brain to work overtime , so tiring! I was looking forward to the sequel but alas!

      1. Just think of it as the olden days Gossip Girls. Looks that way to me.

      2. Gossip girls?
        No, it’s not!
        Don’t be ridiculous, Funn.

  8. This series is boring as fk. Why do u need to explain for every episode. They are dumb for doing that. Its simple as that, people dislike this series.

  9. Lol I suppose HK viewers like things a bit more simple and obvious they wouldn’t understand a series like this just like they didn’t understand When Heavens Burns. These are series you really have to pay attention to.

    1. But when it is simple, they say it’s boring, plain, cliche or simply stupid.

      1. Exactly, when its simple there are too many flaws but when it gets a bit more complex than that they say they don’t get it

      2. Well I guess they are ‘too good’ for anything then lol.

  10. Extremely poor translation of the original title. The Chinese article labeled the series as 冇人明, or “no one understands what’s going on with the plot”. It’s not the same as “viewers are too stupid.”

    1. Thanks for the actual chinese characters… Yea, that does not mean that viewers are stupid.It just means no one understands(the plot). I guess the translator may have done that on purpose to capture the attention of the readers.

  11. TVB, you STILL doing it the wrong way! You expect viewers to see those small trailers and explain the behind the story just to know the story and getting the feeling. Good for promoting the series at SCOOP, very bad for viewers. TVB get with the program.

    HIRE me for Quality Control. I could prevent this series to release it out if it a stinker just to save TVB image. It is getting so pathetic….You losing viewers that the series is SO SLOW to develop, BIG chinese words, and story is not understandable to get into people’s brain. You dont need these to devlop a sequel that is complicated. They need to go back to drawing board.

    Absolutely PATHETIC. TVB stop being a JOKE for once.

      1. Hire me and TVB wont be a laughing stock.

      2. Uh.. no freaking way. You’re way too judgmental! I say, hire Funn or Sandcherry for quality control!

      3. Judgmental is a good thing for Coco Puffs.

      4. ^ Precisely why you should not be hired.

      5. You’re the only one here who thinks you are suitable. Nessa, Kennedy and some other people does not have a good impression on you! And you’re NOT qualifed at all. Get that straight.

      6. I’ll support Larry if he gets me cast into a few dramas with the rape scenes.

      7. CoCo… Why are YOU so serious? RELAX. TVB will hire me and I save TeeVeeBee being self district in 3, 2, 1….

      8. telling me to relax? o.O
        Why can’t I be serious? And NO, I do not see you saving tvb.

      9. I will save TVB. It is already on my to-do list. TVB, I will save Yoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooou.

      10. Hell, I will hire you DD, and get you an agent at a super discount. 🙂

    1. @Coco, that is exactly right. i’m sick of clicking onto TVB-related articles only to see that Larry has again made his mark on it and is putting me off this forum.

      @Larry, that is plain conceited and unnecessary. This kind of judgemental attitude is not constructive criticism, it’s demeaning and turning everyone’s attention on you in a negative way. Noone wants to come onto a public forum to see that you’ve again insulted an actor, series or even a whole established television company.

      1. Well said, Nessa. I agree with you. Similar to you, I am like you but too bad we can’t do anything>_<

      2. Is this a joke? I can not laugh at you or with you.

      3. Finally, someone who is on the same page 😀

      4. @Coco and Bubblez, thankyou for the support I’m receiving! 🙂 So glad that I’m not the only one that has been angered by Larry’s comments of late. Coco, I especially feel sorry for the attacks the Larry has made on you due to you speaking out about his behaviour.

        @Larry: This is not a joke. You running TVB? Now that’s a joke worthy of being presented at an international comedy festival. Won’t be surprised if ATV viewership ratings surpass TVB’s current ones if you’re in charge. Who would watch your dramas?

      5. You think I have experience to get TVB General Manager job? Thats so kind word you say. Last time I check for ATV ratings… they are even more pathetic then TVB.

        I think you guys need Dr. Phil.

      6. @Nessa: I agree with everything you say.
        @Larry: you’re the one who needs Dr. Phil.

      7. Isn’t it better to stop feeding the troll? If he has so much caliber per se, he would be busy managing REAL corporations instead of writing trolling remarks here. For all you know, he’s just a mediocre unemployed loser who is disillusioned by his own fantasies of being made a CEO miraculously. *rolls eyes*

      8. You guys calm down… This is just an entertainment forum and I have read Larry’s comments for awhile now and he isn’t that bad at all. I feel he was only joking about being hired by TVB. YOu have to admit that TVB has gone downhill so much to the point of no return. Even a lot of the veterans say so if you have followed news about what they say about TVB then you will know what I mean. Lets just chill and have fun on here since this is for entertainment purposes only.

      9. Cheers to you, Rika!
        Strongly agree with you!!

  12. I think most viewers could care less about how smart and beautifully written the dialogue is, they just want to be entertained.

    It’s pretty pathetic that they had to explain everything to their audience before hand. It’s not like this show was produced by David Lynch. It’s not that confusing at all, it’s just kind of boring.

    1. You don’t find it confusing but many others do.

  13. I hope Funn will do reviews for each episode for BAW just like she did for BB, although sadly, it’s just up to episode 8 because seriously, I find it more entertaining reading Funn’s reviews than watching the drama itself >.<||

    1. I am thinking whether I should or not since someone is doing for Jayne here. If ever it will be at my blog. I can still catch up since I stopped to watch something else.

      But Bullet Brain.. I officially give up when I see Dai Hei saying “I want to help you find your conscience” to Ping On and I felt like total dejavu or maybe Matrix, Asian edition.

      1. I think you should, Funn.
        It’s good to get different perspectives on a confusing series such as this 🙂

      2. Agree with Queenie!!
        Among all contributors that contribute their reviews but I really enjoy yours the most! Especially how detailed it is and also how u add your funny opinions!
        Or post me the link of your blog so I can go and read it 😉 😉

  14. There was only one line so far which I didn’t understand, and I think it was from a recent episode. I don’t see why it’s so difficult to understand.

  15. “TVB Viewers Too Stupid for “Beauty at War”?” Ouch!

    Anyways, missing 1 sec of an episode its “kaboom”!

  16. The series so boring tt I gv up aft the 3rd eps

  17. i like this show. I think it is pretty good, definitely better than Bullet Brain.

  18. the only part which i dont understand is why at the beginning of the show, they took it forward a 100 years. Is there a link?

  19. Housewives have to think of the menu of the night, students have to think of their homework, working adults have to think of their unfinished work … and when they on the TV, they would not want to crack their head thinking of the complicated drama plot! Personally, I don’t think this sequel live up to general viewers expectations. My dad keep asking me what is this story about and what this got to do with the previous drama, who are all these characters (e.g. the Queen’s palace maid acting like the Queen in front of the royal concubines!!!) I’ve to be the narrator for my parents after each episodes ends. It’s tiring!

    1. I gotta admit I chuckled when I saw the title of this article and I suspected they put it in for this very reason after watching EP 8 last night.

      Present society expects fast and instant gratification so a series like this (I agree) would not appeal to the general viewership.

      I’d compare this series to things like finer arts, opera, fine dining, etc. where it caters to smaller niche crowds with more refined tastes.

      To each his own.

      1. “I’d compare this series to things like finer arts, opera, fine dining, etc. where it caters to smaller niche crowds with more refined tastes”

        I know it is unintended but again an insult to the viewers. No one wins I tell you.

      2. Perhaps refined might sound insulting to some so I see where you’re coming from. Perhaps an acquired taste might have been better wording for what I was trying to convey.

      3. Everyone has different tastes, different life styles, different culture, and different upbringing. Age is another crucial factor. These factors would surely affect a person’s expectation and preference of a drama series. We cannot expect everyone to be same as ourselves. As a result, some people like “Beauty at War”, and some people don’t.

        Personally I liked most of Producer Chik Kee Yee’s drama series because they usually had good illustrations of their characters through well-written dialogues. However, if people want to enjoy his drama series, they have to “invest” their time in watching it. They should not skip any scenes or episodes, or they would find it hard to follow the storyline.

        When I watch a TVB drama series, I always tape or download it first. I usually don’t have the patience to watch every scene (unless it is a very good drama series, like “No Regrets”) because there are always too many boring and unnecessary scenes for me, and I still can follow the plots and developments. However, I cannot do it in Chik’s drama series. Scriptwriter Chow Yuk Ming has been using this approach of writing his characters and scripts in the last few years, such as “When Heaven Burns” and “Master of Play”. I watched “WHB” and I enjoyed it very much, but I only watched 2 episodes of “Master of Play” because I did not like the theme of the story.

        Both “When Heaven Burns” and “Master of Play” generated very low viewership ratings in Hong Kong because people did not “invest” their time in watching them. They just claimed that the drama series were too difficult for them. It does not mean that both drama series were bad. Due to the slow pace of those two drama series, acting played a super important part in them. I just enjoyed the acting thoroughly in “When Heaven Burns”. It was the best drama series of Charmaine Sheh and Moses Chan (acting wise) to me.

        As a matter of fact, “When Heaven Burns” won the Best Drama Series Award in 2012, despite its very low viewership ratings.

      4. As much as I liked When Heaven Burns (I was genuinely very excited at its potential after the first 5 episodes – a feeling no other TVB series has created in me for too long), I feel it did not develop productively, leaving the middle episodes feeling very repetitive as nobody did anything of substance or prominence. Telling an introverted story is great, but telling it in a long format of a series without salient actions to prompt and surprise viewers of the inner turmoil of the characters just gets tiring. And I feel Jonathan Chik and scriptwriter Chow have yet to find the proper balance.

      5. “I’d compare this series to things like finer arts, opera, fine dining, etc. where it caters to smaller niche crowds with more refined tastes.”

        Pretty much the reason why I moved away from watching TVB series for a long time since I belong to one of the minorities who enjoy things of finesse value.

        Chacun à son goût.

    2. i agree with sandcherry… I think this is a good drama…i enjoy watch it…of course, you need to have TIME to watch it…I agree HK people not usually have those time…too bad! well, I agree not to have ALL the drama like that…some drama need to be “no brain” drama…sometime i don’t like to use my brain too…but also, can’t just have all “no brain” dramam….i agree to balance with both…different various…if some people has no time for those deeper thinking drama…just take a break from TVB drama…no need to complaint!

  20. You can be called stupid if you have the capacity to understand BAW, ie. having learnt classical Chinese before but you still don’t understand the dialogue.

    You can’t be called stupid if you don’t have the means to understand it. since you’ve never learnt how to understand the dialogues before.

    It’s like calling a 5 year old kid stupid because he doesn’t know how to use Pythagoras’ theorem, or a high schooler stupid because he can’t do your taxes.

    This is a very ill-advised title.
    Addy, what the f*ck.

    1. I agree with your first half of your post, but I disagree with the title. I saw the title as an attention-grabber!~

  21. It’s funny because its true. TVB is in the business of reaching mass appeal, not niche markets. In that sense they have failed massively with BAW. As I’ve said in the past, I never liked the first one but I’m genuinely interested in this series. I really enjoy sitting down and immersing myself into the drama. HK is just too small to support niche series. Good thing that’s not true in America.

    1. Me too. I like this better than the first series.

  22. Now that’s a way to alienate your viewers by calling them stupid. Also a way to explain low ratings, because too stupid to get the story.

    Well TVB since you can and obviously do dumb down many stories (like modern cop series) for the viewers, why not simplify Beauty At War? Or maybe TVB also too stupid to stupidy stupidity?

    This is like When HEaven Burns all over again isn’t it?

    1. I mean take away the difficult dialogue, take away the hidden messages and useless connections to the 1st series and what nots, essentially this is a simple story to follow. It is not difficult. Just pretentious I suppose. Anyway wait for the love story to set in and you will have your typical TVB series.

      1. Not all tvb series dealt with romantics

    2. In what sentence does TVB call anyone stupid? The reporter is calling the audience stupid, not TVB. The plot is pretty simple. All you have to do is pay attention. TVB can make all the videos they want to explain things to the audience but it’s useless. They can explain things but they can’t make people comprehend. It’s up to the viewer to pay attention.

      1. When did TVB churn out rocket science sort of programs? Pay attention? No wonder viewers think it is a chore. Like you said plot is pretty simple so why need to make it hard to understand?

      2. I think TVB canteen is poisoning the workers again.

      3. Yeah viewers think its a chore to pay attention. No wonder the reporter is suggesting they are too stupid. If they don’t want to pay attention then why even watch the show? If viewers don’t even want to do the one thing that’s expected of them then they are truly too lazy.

    3. Netizens were the ones claiming that this series requires more brain power to process. It doesn’t necessarily mean lack intellingence.

      I think most viewers are lazy i.e don’t like to think and bc after years of watching brainless TVB series have poisoned their minds e.g put a person in a sterilized environment for yrs and that person will die in a free environment.

      I’m not sure if TVB actually tried to make a series that required the viewers to think, something they haven’t been required for yrs or this is just radomness in play (TVB being chaotic) therefore misconception from the netizens part.

      Perhaps TVB can just stop producing series and use their artists to tell stories (muppet play?)while at the same time explain every detail/hidden message that it might have, hahaha.

  23. TVB I got an idea! Get the actors explain the entire plot in 5 minutes and then show the episode. Or better yet, just get the actor to show up for 5 minutes explaining the plot and NOT show the episode. Save cost, save time, save headache!

    Personally I really like how TVB handled the Jewel In The Palace broadcast by having if I remember correctly Bowie to give a 5 min narration on some important facts covered by the series. It feels very intellectual to watch Jewel In The Palace. perhaps they should have done so for Beauty At War but perhaps they realise they can’t fit a factual tidbit into a wholly fabricated nonsense? Maybe?

    1. TVB.S. can not afford to over run the tv series. Losing advertising money.

    2. I personally love Jewel in the Palace. Haha, that’s the only drama that got me rewatching over 5 times. Ahh Min Jun Hooo<3

      1. I watch it 20 times… on a old copy VHS tapes

      2. As far as I am concerned, Jewel in the Palace never went on VHS tapes.

        Thanks for treating us as if we’re stupid!

      3. Yes, Im stupid for putting old COPY VHS tapes. CoCo Puffs, good for morning diet.

      4. Work?
        Is it your job to be rude to people such as Nessa and especially “Coco Puffs”?

      5. Rude. Nah. Unless its time for watching Jewel in the Palace on my old copy VHS tapes.

      6. What Coco has said is right though..
        Jewel in the Palace never came out as “old copy VHS tapes” unless you recorded it…
        You’re such a troll>_<

      7. I think you guys need a checkup with your brain.

      8. You only say that because you know we are right.

      9. You far from being right. Just go back up.

      10. Pfft.

        At least I know that Jewel in the Palace was never published as VHS tapes. They only came out as dvd:/

      11. Guess what…. My mother brought the VHS tapes from a pawn shop and it still works. Hallelujah

      12. Show me a picture of them.
        And that’s when I believe you. Until then, you’re such a troll.

        And i believe that they are VCD not VHS.

      13. It’s not FBI.
        It’s called knowing the fact that it never came out on VHS nor VCD.
        And nice try in bringing in your mother.

      14. I think of the Korean series Jewel in the Palace. I suddenly forgot which TVB series that was…

      15. You mean Beyond the Realm of Conscience (宮心計) ?

    3. Seriously Funn?
      that’s ridiculous and pathetic!

  24. I dont even see it as a sequel to WAB or anything of related even when the plot does refer back to the 1st. It’s just a whole differnt vibe and direction in the 2nd one- I wish they didn’t say it was WAB’s sequel, why couldnt they just let it be another period drama….using the 1st to publicise the 2nd really didn’t help it much T_T

    1. It is part of TVB philosophy… milk it until it dries up. Sadly, this trend that it will never be broken.

  25. Just saw the MV of the drama. A lot of dramatic scenes were shown, which makes the series much more interesting.
    Like when Yue Fei throws a piece of white clothing to cover the Guanyin statue… Does it mean she will start to do bad seeds?

  26. 《金枝貳》冇人明 無綫急救亡
    補拍主角解構劇情 (title of the original article in Chinese) does NOT mean “TVB Viewers Too Stupid for “Beauty at War” (the English title of the same article). The translator (Addy) just “made it up” incorrectly to draw it to your attention on Jayne’s website. If you believe it, then you are stupid!!

    The correct meaning should be ” No one understands the drama series and TVB has to do a rescue job by filming artistes’ interviews to brief the viewers about the upcoming episode.

    I don’t know if the translator (Addy) misunderstood the meaning of the Chinese title of the article, or he/she purposely twisted the meaning to “make” it BIG.

    1. Well if that was her purpose, it sure worked lol.

    2. I think Addy is just doing her job. I’ve never heard of the term ‘ethical tabloid entertainment journalism’ anyway.

  27. After reading all the above posts, I would like to say a few things:

    1) The dialogues in the PREQUEL were even more difficult to understand (at least to me. My classical Chinese has not improved a bit in the last 9 years as I have lived in Canada for a long long time and I don’t read any classical Chinese books. It will only get worse). I have no problem to understand “Beauty at War” except Ep. # 1 which was too widespread and not focused. It also tried to bring out too many occurrences happened throughout the storyline. I agree that it was very difficult to understand. The language and dialogues were not difficult at all, but people had to pay attention to the dialogues. A lot of details were explained via the dialogues. If people wanted to skip scenes or even episodes, then they would find hard to follow (but not understand).

    2) Hongkongers these days have too many choices in watching drama series. They can watch drama series online, cable TV, DVD, or downloading. The reason why “War & Beauty” was so famous and popular in 2004/2005 was that Internet was not popular, and Hongkongers had to rely on TVB for free TV. It was also due to the super strong cast – Sheren Tang, Gigi Lai, Charmaine Sheh and Maggie Cheung, Bowie Lam and Moses Chan. Moreover, I believe that it was the first grand Ching Dynasty palace-setting drama series filmed in the Forbidden City. Due to its popularity, a lot of big-budget Ching Dynasty palace-setting drama series were filmed by Mainland Chinese and Taiwanese producers in the last 9 years. “Beauty at War” is only a very small-budget Ching Dynasty palace-setting drama series and, therefore, is very hard to meet with those big competitions, such as “後宮甄嬛傳”.

    3) People nowadays won’t sit in front of the TV to watch TVB drama series. They may watch it on MyTV or through recording. Therefore, viewership ratings are always low. People tend to do multitasks at the same time, and “Beauty at War” requires people to pay close attention to the dialogues in order to follow the storyline. If they don’t, they may find it difficult to understand or 不明白 as reported in the above article (per Chinese title).

    4) Due to too many choices available, people will give up on a drama series very easily. In 2004, people had no choice but watched free TVB drama series. They would make their efforts to understand, accept, and enjoy it.

    5) Time is different; trend is different; and people are different nowadays. People are spoiled by having so many drama series to select from different media. When they have so many choices, they would, of course, choose something that suits their needs/tastes.

    6) “Beauty at War” has excellent acting and cast. The storyline is slow-paced and a bit not well-connected so far. If you like fast-paced and action drama series with lots of plots and developments, “Beauty at War” may not be your choice. If you like to watch an easy and straight-forward drama series, “Beauty at War” may not be your choice either. People need to think and put the scenes together through the dialogues. Due to this reason, people cannot skip any scenes or dialogues.

    7) In conclusion, “Beauty at War” is not a drama series for every person. However, if you don’t mind to pay attention to the dialogues, you will definitely enjoy it. Personally I have enjoyed it so far (up and including Ep. # 9).

    1. I agree with what you have said, Sandcherry! (:

      1. Thanks, Bubblez. You are a very good and reasonable reader and viewer of a drama series. I wish TVB could have more viewers like you.

      2. I wish there were more commenters who are like you too, Sandcherry (:

    2. Very well said! I also enjoy the series so far. The dialogue is not difficult to understand at all. In fact, I actually quite enjoy the way they were written.

      I’ve always had the impression that HK viewers do not enjoy heavy flavoured themes in their dramas. While I do find many of Chow Yuk Ming and Jonathan Chik’s dramas to be very well done, they don’t seem to garner as much success (rating wise) relative to other TVB series. I guess its understandable. After a hard day of work, why not relax with a family comedy instead?

      But to each his own, I’ll continue to be supportive of the drama 🙂

      1. I’ve always had the impression that HK viewers do not enjoy heavy flavoured themes in their dramas. While I do find many of Chow Yuk Ming and Jonathan Chik’s dramas to be very well done, they don’t seem to garner as much success (rating wise) relative to other TVB series
        Totally agree. This applied to both “When Heaven Burns” and “Master of Play”. We need to pay close attention to their dialogues in order to follow the developments of the scripts, and I guess it is hard to expect that from Hongkongers these days.

      2. HK is a place that moves. HK culture, from my view at least, is to be blunt, sharp, judgmental, boisterous, incisive, swift and most of all, effective (aka profitable, aka materialistic – not necessarily in money terms). In a sense, extroverted. Jonathan Chik’s recent series fail in meeting any of those elements. It’s more or less the same case with most of Wong Kar Wai’s films. There is just an obvious disconnect for better or worse.

      3. I’ve always enjoyed this series so far too and didn’t find the plot and dialogue difficult to understand. I like it better than WAB. 🙂

    3. ” “Beauty at War” has excellent acting and cast.”

      Including one expression Moses Chan?

      1. Personally I think that any acting (except Christine Kuo’s) in “Beauty at War” is better than the one in “Bullet Brain”.

      2. Moses Chan was able to impress me as a very proud 風流倜儻才子 opera singer in “Beauty at War”. His image made me think of the ancient Cantonese opera singer, Yam Kim-Fai. Of course, Yam Kim Fai was so much better.

        I have never watched any kungku operas and will not be able to comment on the proper image of their male opera singers. However, a 風流倜儻才子 in Cantonese ancient operas is very much the same as the image of Ko Lau-Fei in “Beauty at War”. Moses did well so far as Ko Lau-Fei who was a very proud, stubborn, and not flexible opera singer.

      3. I totally agree with Sandcherry. Beauty at War has excellent acting with the exception of Christine. Each of them would have been better than the cast of bullet brain. I do like the show, honestly did not understand the complaints. Even the heavily critiqued Tracie Ip is much better than the leads in BB.

      4. Even the heavily critiqued Tracy Ip is much better than the leads in BB.
        Absolutely agree. Moreover, it is much harder to act ancient drama series with classical Chinese dialogues. It is very hard to memorize them, digest them and say them out with proper facial expressions and emotions. Acting is great in “Beauty at War”, but the storyline is a bit dull and boring.

      5. Want to add: The pace of the storyline is a bit too slow.

      6. I don’t think you can compare beauty at war and bullet brains. Although both are historical dramas, beauty at war uses the ancient Chinese dialogue while bullet brain uses a more modern dialogue.

    4. Finally someone who makes some sense. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    5. @sandcherry:  Excellent analysis – very well thought out and well-stated!  Totally agree with all of your points, especially the ‘multi-tasking’ part (probably cuz I’m a huge multi-tasker – can’t even remember the last time that I truly ‘sat down’ and watched TV without doing anything else at the same time).  With that said though, I’m actually enjoying BAW too (and I’m not even ‘paying attention’….LOL)!


      I definitely feel that they shouldn’t have made this a sequel to War and Beauty, since it pretty much has nothing to do with the series.  Instead, they should have just said that it’s an ‘ancient’ version of When Heaven Burns (especially since the ‘look and feel’ of the series – from the dialogue to the hidden messages to the slow pace, etc. is more in the same line as WHB than WAB) .

    6. Great points Sandcherry and I agree with you as well. Even the first series, War and beauty was not everyone’s cup of tea. My mom and family did not enjoy it at all and thought it was just another typical palace series where everyone was competing to get to the top and to win the king’s affections.

      Back in the days, people were more addicted to watching series, especially TVB series since Korean series did not exist yet while there were only a few China series. Taiwanese series were not as popular, so TVB was the main source of entertainment because there was less competition and it was something more “new”. I even heard stories of people calling in and pretending to be sick just so they can sit at home to watch series. But now, times have changed… People can buy and download series unlike before where you either had to rent or watch them while they are being aired on TV. Also, back then there were not as many series to choose from but now there are SOO many series from various companies and countries that people would have more choices and thus would give on a series more easily if they found something more interesting to watch.

  28. “Beauty at War” is a sequel of “War & Beauty”, but it is a different storyline almost completely. All the lead female characters were dead in prequel, except Yu Fei. Bowie Lam’s character was also killed in the fire. It is impossible to carry on the same storyline. Producer Chik Kee Yee did not want to film any sequels in those 9 years. As per some media articles, Chik Kee Yee was pressured by TVB to film a sequel to boost the popularity of TVB drama series. As a result, “Beauty at War” was filmed, and Chow Yuk Ming (the scriptwriter) had no choice but kept Yu Fei’s character.

  29. “There’s too much going on, yet nothing is really going on!”<– this is spot on. i've always found jonathan chik's series to be lacking in plot and too focused on ambiguous dialogues. it's just about bearable in a wong kar wai movie but not a 30-episode tv series!!

  30. I like analysing dialogue and rewatching episodes so I have no problem getting the storyline.

    People have to understand that not everyone in real life screams at the top of their lungs and hyperventilate or bawl til they are blue. Real life people don’t say much and let their expressions so the talking.

    I just see BAW as a realistic series where scheming people hide their thoughts with their words and express with their body and facial expressions.

    BAW does not suit anyone. You have to be dedicated to sitting down and watching if you are to like it. Most people don’t.

    1. Agree absolutely. It is very much like “When Heaven Burns”. If you skip some scenes or episodes, you will find it hard to follow the developments. Either you watch it slowly or don’t watch it at all. It is no good to “attack” “Beauty at War” by saying that you don’t understand it because of the complex dialogues. Of course if you don’t understand Cantonese or Chinese at all, it is a different story. Any Hongkonger with Form 2 (or Grade 8) Chinese language standard should be able to understand the dialogues. Grade 9 is the free basic (or minimum) education in Hong Kong now.

    2. I am on the same page with you but I do not think Beauty At War is a good example of such a thought provoking series/dialogue. For me from what I have seen it would be Yong Zheng Wang Chao and the dialogue was not only difficult but very loaded. I find it has smart moments, and I mean genuinely smart thought provoking sort of moment. Since it is about politics and we see scenes of what is mainly the palace but whatever said was wide reaching to the entire kingdom. The scale is different.

      Series such as Beauty At War tries to be deeper, but in the end it is overblown. It is small scale story so to speak. I personally love War & Beauty because it doesn’t pretend to be otherwise. It was a bunch of women fighting with a bunch of women for a man they think worth fighting for.

      I don’t see Beauty At War as a realistic series. I do however see it as a burdened sort of series. Everybody has problems, gossips do not equate to the real person, etc etc. As for the scheming part, I do not see how they hid them well. Everybody knows who is the villain or rather the one causing the problems. It is an open secret. It is only a matter whether some will walk up to the other and just you know slap that person.

      I am sorry to say I don’t see Beauty At War as an intelligent series but yes I give it props for trying to be different but sometimes when you become too different but still essentially saying the same old thing, you alienate viewers. Such a simple story and yet made so dramatically inaccessible is to me part of the failure of this series.

      However some who likes Wong Kar Wai will always see Wong Kar Wai’s movie as work of art whilst people like myself sees them nothing more than a display of overblown ego.

      BUT I do agree that Bullet Brains is a brain riddled by bullets as in so many holes, oh so many holes it is just plain stupid.

      Beauty At War is not stupid, it is just unnecessarily complicated.

      1. “Such a simple story and yet made so dramatically inaccessible is to me part of the failure of this series.” – I think that about sums it. Very well said.

  31. I would argue that the series isn’t thought provoking only on the surface because it takes a deep(er) look. Gossip isn’t something we think about on a daily basis because it happens as naturally as we breath the air. It’s inherent in every social group even if we try to restrain ourselves from it unlike swearing in which we actively try to avoid. Why is that? Because it’s an exchange of information that we need to maintain connections. With that said though there are good gossips too but the series has focused more on the negative side with few good examples as of now.

    In terms of politics, I wouldn’t say that scale is the important issue. Personally I feel politics, love, war and other dominant themes can evoke us more easily because we can easily see and feel the changes. A political struggle and its outcome, a one-sided love, the death and destruction in a war has immediate impact in short periods of time. Gossip on the other hand can be harmless but at the same time can be a slow deadly poison. It’s interwined with everything else in life and can have equal impact.

    I would agree that the dialogue in itself wouldn’t provoke much discussion but the meaning has always been there from the start. Do I think that the script could’ve smarter in its presentation? Absolutely! So I agree with you that the series tried to be too deep but it may also have been his intention. Sometimes when you strike a balance on being thought provoking and entertaining the audience may not get the things that were meant to be passed on. As artists, they too have things they want to say to their audience through their art form.

    I see the slice of life in this series because it isn’t overly dramatic, people act as one would except obviously they have to talk outloud while most of us would do our thinking in private. But what gossip can do to a person has been presented well, we don’t mention what gossip does to people in the media much but they do wreck or save lives.

    For scheming, I’d say it wasn’t well hidden but characters who knew would know and characters who didn’t were given approriate responses. In terms of the audience though, then it was pretty obvious from the start.

    Can’t comment on intelligent series or not because it differs so much from person to person that its more of an opinion based on the actual individual.

    Beauty At War just lacks pacing and is unnecessarily deep to make it shine.

    1. I could’ve sworn I hit reply to Funn on that one =_=

  32. Wow! dis thread seems a replica of its very own BAW, mann! Ultimate solution is watch BAW from ending to d beginning hehehe

    I’m currently enjoying episode 8&9 though!

  33. This drama is starting to pick up after moses entered the forbidden city. I do agree there are many characters and it could get a bit confusing but when i watch it over again or think about it deeply i started to get attached to this drama. Now that all the characters are introduced it just makes the drama more understandable. I agree hk viewers complain and criticize about almost every drama but it doesn’t stop me from loving this drama

  34. Ok, I sense this sequal is really confusing… I personally did not even enjoy the first part so probably may skip this one as well. Unless there is nothing else to watch…

  35. I will NOT call anyone stupid! If you don’t have TIME or mood for this drama, just pass it. I enjoy this drama, just maybe i have time and mood this time…last year, i don’t have time and mood for Heavens Burns. But my friends who has time for it said it was very good. My mom who is 80 year old understand Heavens Burns and said it was good! I don’t think it is stupid!!! sometime, I have mood just for simple story, just romance story too…it is okay. But all those actor/actress work hard…just give credit for them!

  36. Ratings for Bloated at War for 2nd week: 21 Points. Last Wednesday’s episode was the LOWEST a rating of 19 points

    TVB, lets have a huge HK$3 MILLION banquet for this success.

    UN-freaken believable!!!

    1. Larry 3
      Are you so happy in learning this low viewership rating of “Beauty at War”? I am not. I am afraid that in future TVB will not try to film drama series with different themes. They will just focus on filming some small lighthearted productions or silly comedies. We will not able to watch different types of drama series. It may be okay for some people, but not for all. We need a variety.

      People in Hong Kong have just been spoiled by TVB with FREE TV for all those years and they don’t know how to cherish them.

      1. Im not happy with the recent TVB series. Especially this series. I thought the sales presentation was interesting, then when it is showtime….Plain BORING.

        I really have serious concerns for TVB in the short term. They can rebound in the later half of this year.

      2. Larry 3
        Then please don’t be that sarcastic. I feel so sorry for the cast and production crew of “Beauty at War”. They had put in their best efforts (not too sure of Chow Yuk Ming as his storyline did not seem to be that interesting) to film this drama series, and we, as TVB audience, have been waiting for 9 whole years to be able to watch its sequel. Very sad to me ……….

      3. Im not sarcastic. This is not “good” TVB is a Ancient drama standards. I hoping this week maybe the story picks up. I want all dramas to do well, but …. 🙁

      4. I think its just hk ppl watch or prefer different forms of entertainment compared to BAW, even if it happens to be silly comedies. However, it doesn’t mean there are no good silly comedies. Tvb has made plenty of good ones pre-2000. I think its jus a case of writers lethargy.

      5. I feel that TVB is really lagging in their more recent ancient series lately. No wonder most of their new series are all modern. I have not seen a good ancient series from TVB for years now.

      6. A good ancient drama series would involve big budgets and filming in Mainland China. TVB does not have the money or people (viewers due to the small population of Hong Kong vs. Mainland China) to support their big budget ancient drama series. It is pretty hard for TVB to film good and grand ancient drama series nowadays.

      7. In old days, TVB drama series were very popular in Mainland Chinese markets because Chinese filming was still pretty slow and outdated, and TVB could easily recover their productions costs by selling their drama series to China. However, there are so many grand productions filmed in China and Taiwan, they don’t have to buy TVB drama series. Moreover, people in North America used to rent tapes or buy DVDs to watch TVB drama series, but they all watch them FREE on Internet or download them FREE on some websites. All these factors will have a big impact on the production costs of TVB drama series

        If people in Hong Kong don’t appreciate “Beauty at War”, I doubt TVB would film any more good ancient drama series.

      8. Ancient costumes, hair and hair decorations, scenes, backdrops and actual scenery are all expensive in filming an ancient drama series. TVB does not have any sponsors to do it. These costs will have to be added to the already high production costs.

        Moreover, how many young fadans can act a traditional and classy ancient character? Linda Chung was badly criticized in her top dancer role in “House of Harmony and Vengeance”. Fala Chen still has accents in her Cantonese. Myolie Wu and Kate Tsui cannot handle typical classy ancient characters. Tavia Yeung may be the only fadan who is acceptable in acting traditional ancient drama series.

        Due to the heavy costs, availability of artistes and martial arts directors in TVB, I think it is pretty hard for TVB to film any traditional ancient or wuxi drama series like what they did in old days.

  37. I agree that the beginning is very confusing, but the later episodes start to show BAW’s beauty. The plot thickens, and it becomes easier for me to understand, at least.

  38. This drama is such a disappointment. War and Beauty was such a magnificent drama. The suspense in the drama engrossed you and urged you to devote your attention to each line and scene, making it nearly impossible to not understand it. Beauty at War is far more complex than War and Beauty, but its boring dialogue and storyline makes it so hard to stay interested, let alone understand. I gave up after episode 4.

    I will be waiting for the final episode to air in order to read the overall reviews (and maybe plotline) for this drama to see if it will capture my attention again.

    1. Reading the critical acclaim on Ada’s performance in episode 19 I watched it. Her performance was indeed powerful! I enjoyed episode 19 so I watched episode 20 too, I like that too. Indeed the pace was slow moving but the dialogues weren’t all that difficult or profound to follow. But gotta say, except for his scenes with Ada, I forwarded Moses’ scenes, just couldn’t bear how weird he looks with his makeover.

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