“Case Unclosed” Criticized for Errors and Low Budget

Ramping up its variety show programs this year, TVB premiered its new variety show Case Unclosed <死因有可疑> last night, in the same 10:30 p.m. time slot as ViuTV’s All Suspicious <嫌疑事件簿>. As both shows are first attempts in the detective variety show genre, they displayed different weaknesses and have room for improvement.

TVB’s “Case Unclosed”

Case Unclosed is inspired by South Korea’s Crime Scene and Mainland China’s Who’s The Murderer  <明星大偵探>. Each case features a different mystery, and six guest stars play a different character. One of them is the real murderer, and will try to confuse other players in order to conceal the crime. The players are led to the crime scene and related areas to uncover evidence. Throughout the investigation, each character’s back story will be unveiled.

The first episode of Case Unclosed features Alex Fong (方力申), Sammi Cheung (張秀文), Moon Lau (劉佩玥), Matthew Ho (何廣沛), Kayan Yau (游嘉欣), and Arnold Kwok (郭子豪) as they attempt to solve a campus ghost murder.

Although this show is definitely a breakthrough for TVB, as the detective genre can be very engaging as the audience tries to hypothesize the identity of the killer, Case Unclosed is criticized for its obvious lack of budget and its many flaws. The case content is condensed into three episodes, with a large amount of evidence presented. The poor planning and errors found in the first episode made it confusing to follow, especially for viewers who have never watched this type of show.

The first episode also received criticism for the players not treating the case seriously despite the relatively simple game rules. The players were not invested in their characters enough, and did not even know which items belonged to themselves. Viewers felt they should have familiarized themselves with the props beforehand, instead of picking it up and waving it around before realizing it is theirs.

TVB seems to see Case Unclosed as an experiment, and cheekily put a disclaimer at the beginning stating that the show had few crew members and little budget, so there are definitely a lot of plot holes and errors. “We’ll have to trouble all our netizen friends to take screenshots and laugh at us. Sorry for the inconvenience!”

ViuTV’s “All Suspicious”

In comparison, ViuTV’s All Suspicious had a different set of weaknessesThe premiere episode featured a resort homicide, and there were a total of eight players. While the players were more invested in the case, there were too many players and it was difficult to digest all the characters’ backgrounds and case details within the span of such a short amount of time.

Sources: HK01, Ming Pao

This article is written by Kiki for JayneStars.com.

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  1. I was going to watch for Pakho but I guess I will pass.

    Speaking of crime shows, we need a post about murder diary! First episode came out today.

      1. @bubbles23 yes it is, watched it last night. If you watched and enjoyed Busted (Korean), drop your expectation by 100% and treat it as a comedy instead.

      2. @tt23 thanks! Hope it’s promising, it has been a long long long time since I sit through a TVB drama.

        @bubbles23 saw the promotional ad recently in TVB Jade but they haven’t started broadcasting in that channel. Not certain if it has started via others.

      3. @conan2209 know what you mean about having a second thought watching it. Mandy isn’t a bad actress but somehow she has the ability to make all her roles feel the same.

      4. @bearbear @conan2209 I can confirm that so far Mandy’s character is pretty much the same as her other roles lol not a surprise BUT Kara and Vincent are top notch so far and Phillip has yet to show up so I would definitely give this a chance.

      5. @bearbear I have a theory for that. I think she’s too rational that her acting feels very calculated (learned skill) and not from within. I always believe acting is an art, you either have it or you don’t.

        I watched two episodes and she’s does not make you feel for the character.

        Kara is really good. I understand what the show is driving and I see Vincent trying to make a distinction of the two roles but I’m probably not smart…I’m pretty lost

      6. @conan2209 Hope this series will keep me watching since I am not watching anything currently.
        Yes! Mandy doesn’t make audience (me at least) feel for the character she plays. Her most successful character in my view was On Call 36 Hours.

    1. @willister haha agree, mainlanders that’s why they suck at imagination imo… That’s why they always have to ko things because of that.
      Also regards to these types of show/contest. I never understood why they cast celebrities and not regular folks from the streets. Considering the celebrities are winning money too from those shows, should instead give it to the regular folks who could use it. Plus you never know what talent they can bring.

      1. @exodus i think they don’t cast “regular folks” because those people will not be able to garner views for the production, therefore little $$$ will be made. if you compare asian tv shows (cast celebs a lot times) vs the western tv shows (rarely cast celebs on gameshows), asian tv shows make more $$$ for this very reason; it can also be seen as a marketing strategy. by casting celebrities, the producer(s) are also winning views from the celebrities’ fans. it’s kind of like how some people like to watch drama series with their fave celeb in it, maybe not because for their acting skillls but because of their pleasing visuals on the screen or likeable personality. same with tv shows :’) example, i myself, watch the show great escape simply for deng lun and justin even though i dont particularly like yang mi (although i do enjoy watching her as an actress…if that makes any sense). besides, these celebs also bring in lots of sponsorships and stuff and it helps for the quality of the production —benefits everyone, especially the producer(s).

        great escape actually has a different edition where the producer has the lesser known celebs play the escape games that the “high profile” celebs played in the original edition. the views between that edition and the original one is very different —not hard to guess which has the higher views.

        in addition, there are some well known celebs who don’t get as much recognition as they should be in the industry or to the audience, so these tv shows help them earn a little of that spotlight. example, in season 2 of great escape, guo qilin joined the cast. people know him as the son of a famous comedian, but not really for his smartness and talents. he really proved to the audience that he is a capable artiste and that people should not “judge a book by its cover” (many people think he’s unattractive-looking) or that he should just be known as ‘that person’s’ son. by getting himself known through shows like these, he is able to attract viewers’ attention, who will then continue to follow his next work —evidently, his drama series my heroic husband secured his popularity in the industry.

        you’re right about making more discoveries for new talents, but if the “regular folks” want to do so there are the talent shows that they can audition for 🙂

  2. I love Who’s The Murderer and have been watching it since season 1. It’s ok that Case Unclosed is greatly inspired by it from the game rules, number of players right up to the first case storyline and that it is budgeted without big ad sponsor.
    However I do agree with the audiences’ feedback about the efforts put in by the players and also question the ability of detective’s (Alex Fong) to carry the investigation and discussion.
    The search of evidence is messy and lack focus, the players’ ability seem lacking. It’s true that the players do not even recognize that some of the evidence items they themselves pick up are actually their own. When questioned how they could prove their own innocence, one even resort to swearing that he is innocent.
    In Who’s The Murderer, there are two very smart regular players who are able to lead the discussion and a third who is very good in resolving how the murder took place. Another regular player has always been the weakest link in analysing but her strength is in evidence searching. The regular players have good chemistry, they are funny and smart.
    TVB version is so lacking in many areas that I am unlikely to carry on after the first case. As for ViuTV, tried and gave up after 5 min. It’s too serious to my likely.

      1. @conan2209 it’s available in YouTube for all seasons and episodes starting with Season 1 epi 1 https://youtu.be/CD-PiddcEco
        The players are still uptight in the first episode.
        There are 6 seasons now, each season with around 13 episodes. Not all episodes are good and the season quality can vary but I love the initial regular players.

  3. i think one of the faults is that they don’t have a good “leader” to lead the cast —low budget is just an excuse because i’ve seen s.korea and m.china produced low budget shows and they can still be very good because of smart casting choice and clever program script planning/writing.

    the success of who’s the murderer —really, is mainly contributed by he jiong, who is super experienced with hosting shows, so it’s his strong ability to lead a team and to also make initiatives in communicating with the other cast to make the show interesting and orderly. i rarely see him host an unsuccessful show; he’s got a good reputation in being a host for a reason and whatever show he hosts, there will always be a big following because they know the show he hosts will definitely be good and entertaining.

    in the first season of the s.korean version, the show had jun hyun moo part of the cast; he too, is a popular host in s.korea. if you’ve watched the korean version, you’ll notice that the later seasons became kind of boring after he left and they began casting younger idols —not sure if this was the reason, but obviously something was not done right so they stopped continuing the show after 3 seasons. meanwhile, the m.chinese version is still ongoing with good ratings… if jun hyun moo had stayed, i reckon the korean ver. could still be ongoing too because like he jiong, the shows that jun hyun moo is part of is usually very entertaining. (but of course, its discontinuation could also be lack of budget, idk. personally, i found the show boring after jun hyun moo left).

    also look at busted. they have yoo jae suk, who is like the king of hosting in s.korea. the producer was also very smart to cast sehun from exo, so the show really succeeded from part of his popularity as well.

    tvb and viutv should work on their artistes’ hosting skills before they do these gameshows and perhaps nurture more “talented” artistes before branching into doing anything else. i dont think they’re ready for these types of shows. the one in charge of planning the program should also have better organisation and communication skills because it’s not always the guests’ fault for being confused about their roles on the show —it was obvious that they weren’t informed about their roles very clearly, which makes everything seem very unprofessional.

    the recent tvb dubbing show was a successful one and it really gave opportunities for the audience to see “talented” artistes. maybe they should try to expand from something like that show and think of ways to improve it and to make it more entertaining than it already is. not sure if any of y’all noticed, but most of the clips chosen to be dubbed are very old shows. this kind of shows us that in recent years hong kong does not have many breakthroughs that is worthy of showcasing. if you watch the m.chinese version which is called the sound, they have a wide selection of shows from different eras that contestants can choose to dub because there were actors who have done an exceptional job with their roles that is worthy of being attempted to re-dub by the contestants —in other words, they’re iconic. some contestants on the show even attempted to dub international shows and they’ve done a brilliant job at it (for example, check out zhang hanyun on the show; she did such an amazing job that her fanbase grew. she used to be that actress that no one really cares).

    sighhhhh, i think tvb and viutv still has a long way before they can catch up with s.korean and m.chinese gameshows; they seriously make so much money from their variety and game shows these days as they also have lots of international viewers. these shows are more popular and more in-demand than drama series, so this really tells us that they are good at what they are doing to catch their audience’s interest.

    1. @chrysan other than the producers, writers, He Jiong is definitely a key contributor to the success of Who’s Who’s The Murderer but other regular players like Sai Being, Bai Jingting, etc. also deserve the credit. The tv station tried to produce a similar program “Who’s the Keyman?” With He Jiong but it wasn’t as good (in my view).

      1. @bearbear oh yes, i agree about the other regular players. didn’t mention them because my post was already long enough lol

        also agree with your opinion about who’s the keyman. i couldn’t even finish ep1….

  4. The smartest thing that Case Unclosed did was to add that disclaimer in the beginning to lower expectations. I found it pretty amusing and the actors breaking character made it funny.

    1. @hellome totally agree and you could tell lots of their conversation was unplanned and unrehearsed cos many were stifling their giggles….watch it as a comedy and one will enjoy it better

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