“Come Home Love 2” Creators Defend TVB Dramas

By on July 21, 2015 in NEWS

“Come Home Love 2” Creators Defend TVB Dramas

It has been two weeks since the premiere of Come Home Love 2 <愛.回家>, and it’s not getting as much netizen love as one would expect. With a complete change in characters and plot, many fans of the original Come Home Love series have lost interest to continue the sitcom.

Although the sitcom spin-off received many disappointing reactions, Come Home Love 2 producer Lo Jan Ok (羅鎮岳) said he is confident that the audience will eventually accept the new series with a warm heart. “The Ma family are old friends. Now, it’s time to introduce some new friends to everybody.”

In recent years, TVB dramas have been accused for looking cheap, unoriginal, and “plastic.” Facing with these criticisms, Come Home Love 2’s acclaimed chief writers Siu Long (蕭朗), Tsui Dat Chor (徐達初), and Tong Kin Ping (湯健萍) said these accusations made them feel uncomfortable.

“Sometimes, netizens’ criticisms on the drama don’t even make sense,” said chief scriptwriter Tsui. “If the argument is logical, then it is a good thing because that would make us reflect and improve. If it’s just a ridiculous complaint, then all we can do is laugh it off. We shouldn’t get upset over something that is not worthwhile.”

Producer Lo said, “When I enter a movie theater as an audience member, regardless of how big the film production is, I am allowed to exit that theater with many vulgar complaints. Not all productions will be liked by everyone. As a producer, I do not mind criticism. Before we start a production, we will always hold a meeting where we read online comments together. I hope those who criticize these productions only started criticizing after they watched the whole thing.”

Former TVB chief scriptwriter Poon Man Hung (潘漫紅) criticized that many scriptwriters under TVB lacked creative control. They are often restrained by the demands of the producers, and writers are encouraged to not step over their line of framework. After crossing over to HKTV, Poon was allowed much more room for her own creative thoughts, which inspired her to write the drama The Menu <導火新聞線>, a drama about the newspaper industry.

Asked if it was true that TVB scriptwriters have limited control in the creative process, chief scriptwriter Tong explained, “Chief scriptwriters plan the topics discussed in dramas for the upcoming year. We then all get together in a workshop to discuss and brainstorm some more. The company requires diversity in dramas every year, and we cannot have our topics clash. We hold many meetings, and after the producer makes the decision, the chief scriptwriters will discuss the series’ details with the producer. We actually have a lot of creative freedom; it’s just that everything is planned beforehand.”

Tong added that she finds it unfair for many writers when their dramas get criticized for plagiarizing other television series. “We want to create something that is relatable to society, and that’s why there are similarities with foreign dramas. They just manage to write about the topic before us! As scriptwriters, we are just using drama as a tool to reflect what’s happening in society. Some scriptwriters can create stories that can inspire the audience. So should scriptwriters write stories according to what people already love, or should scriptwriters write stories that would make people love?”

The Benefits of Hong Kong Sitcoms

When it comes to writing a hundred-episode long sitcom like Come Home Love, the challenge of story-writing is taken to the next level. Not only has the workload increased, scriptwriters are also asked to be a lot more efficient, and are constantly tried by time.

Producer Lo said, “A typical sitcom usually has two chief scriptwriters. We have to come up with five stories within seven days a week. We have three scriptwriters for Come Home Love.”

The three scriptwriters for Come Home Love—Siu, Tsui, and Tong—take turns managing a week’s worth of story output. “It allows us to take turn resting,” said Lo.

Lo, who co-produced previous sitcoms Best Selling Series <同事三分親> and Off Pedder <畢打自己人>, said he prefers making sitcoms because these productions usually send positive messages to the audience.

Siu, who was the chief scriptwriter for acclaimed series Gilded Chopsticks <食為奴>, agreed with Lo. “The characters in a sitcom are family and friends. You can see them every night, and they’re easily likable.”

Sitcom characters are usually very easy to distinguish and easier for the audience to grasp. In Tong’s opinion, writing a character for a sitcom is much easier than writing for a character in a typical prime-time serial drama, “In a typical 20-episode series, the characters can have many changes, so it’s harder to control them. It’s also much easier to create characters based on the actors for sitcoms. In Come Home Love 2, Ng Yip Kwan’s (吳業坤) character is completely based on himself.”

Tsui, who has worked on well-known dramas such as 1999’s Happy Ever After <金玉滿堂> and Witness to a Prosecution <洗冤錄>, praised the uniqueness of Hong Kong sitcoms, and added that they are incompatible to the sitcoms from other countries. “Foreign sitcoms aim to be funny, while Hong Kong-style sitcoms are more philosophical. They’re completely different.”

Come Home Love 2’s ratings dropped from 25 points in the first week to 21 points in the second week, but Tsui said, “It’s in the nature of a sitcom to take a while before it gains acceptance. That’s why when the sitcom is first released, the ratings are not impressive.”

Source: Mingpao.com

This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.

 

10 comments to “Come Home Love 2” Creators Defend TVB Dramas

  1. mike says:

    Its their fault for choosing to do a spin off of one of the best series in TVB. Its not up to expectation at all with its boring script and boring characters. They’re going to have to quickly find a new replacement series because the audience are not going to watch this.

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  2. funnlim says:

    I won’t doubt their earnestness. But to wait until watching the whole thing especially a sitcom means you have to wait a few years before you can pass judgment? That’s unfair.

    “Tong added that she finds it unfair for many writers when their dramas get criticized for plagiarizing other television series. ”

    I don’t get this., Is it fair for the plagiarised dramas to have their work blatantly plagriarised and not even some recognition? They have writers too, at least they were first or original. Borrowing ideas is ok but when you have something like Mysteries Of Love that so blatantly plagiarises another work BASED on a written novel and not even the decency to pay royalty or give credit where credit is due and made the entire adaptation worse off, you deserve to be kicked into the gutter.

    TVB has decent writers. Perhaps executives should just run the business and let the writers have free flow of artistic license.

    As for criticisms of their recent work, there was a time I said Singapore series are all about family dramas. Guess what? So is TVB. TVB needs a huge shake up in terms of script writing. Their so called daring and change are limited to adding gay characters or graphic rape scenes which isn’t even graphic but mere publicity. They need fresh stories. Maybe it is time to open some competition to local writers (amateurs) to come up with story ideas and check out internet for authors and pay them royalties and adapt their books. Stop with remakes or similar concept. And time to find the next superstar. TVB is not dying, but without any decent competition within HK, it is losing its market grip.

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  3. kangaroo says:

    I believe that we all know that it is not really the scriptwriter alone but the production team (include the scriptwriter & management)(we don’t know the inside story though and who exactly) who are responsible for that …..that saw the many lovable characters disappear as if on a “hey presto” basis. Whoever in the production team who is responsible should bravely step out and admit and be hanged.

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  4. kangaroo says:

    Btw, I thought the viewership is very good and the ratings too. I personally have lost my interest to watch. If I do, I watch out only for the old gang. Btw, I do not particularly go for the ma family. They are kind of boring. What I like is the cha li ze law firm and 2 of the newer lawyers. Do not like the lawyer-secretary pair. Like the other pair.

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  5. jjwong says:

    What a bunch of rubbish. Their answers are the illogical thing. Just a bunch of excuses. Oh TVB, the greatest asset you have is the government, who seems to be in love with you guys!

    “If the argument is logical, then it is a good thing because that would make us reflect and improve.”
    -How is saying the drama looking cheap, unoriginal and plastic not logical? They’re all true. Their sets do look cheap. Their stories lack originality, keep recycling evil/good twins, bickering couple turns romantic, a lazy yet naturally talented good for nothing gets a break, so forth.

    “We want to create something that is relatable to society, and that’s why there are similarities with foreign dramas. They just manage to write about the topic before us!”
    -I call BS! Which drama that’s “relatable to society?” Do we really have that many long lost twins, awaken coma patients, ghost haunting OLs, hundred years old vampire love story? You can be ‘inspired’ by the same principal, but when everything is to the Ts then it’s just plain plagiarism!

    “Some scriptwriters can create stories that can inspire the audience. So should scriptwriters write stories according to what people already love, or should scriptwriters write stories that would make people love?”
    -What stories that had inspired us lately? O_o?! The scriptwriters should write something entertaining! I didn’t, still don’t, give a crap or know much about journalism, but I was highly entertained by The Menu.

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    • llwy12 replied:

      @jjwong Actually, these scriptwriters technically skirted the question rather than answered it. I don’t think they truly understand what “creative freedom” means (probably because there is NO SUCH THING at TVB).

      The “creative freedom” that Poon Man Hung was referring to is the ability to write whatever you want without worrying about whether the topic is ‘taboo’ or could incur complaint/controversy (other former TVB scriptwriters who went to HKTV, such as Alex Pau and Benny Wong for example, have said similar things). For example, writing a script about HK’s politcal landscape, which HKTV did but TVB will never do (politics is one of the ‘taboo’ topics within TVB — there’s an unwritten rule that the scriptwriters are not allowed to write about).

      Ironically, TVB actually had the chance to produce a series similar to The Menu, as one of their scriptwriters had presented similar idea to management — but the execs turned it down because of the possibility it would paint the media in a negative light and possibly damage their relationship with certain media outlets. This is the kind of decision-making that ‘kills’ creative freedom (and is exactly the type of stuff the scriptwriters who left TVB were talking about).

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  6. jlau421 says:

    I think its because everyone was just so used to the original cast and they already attached to the original storyline. They should have just changed the name of the sitcom to something new so its more refreshing. Now it just feels like a continuation dragging on.

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  7. hkeni says:

    I would have gladly accepted a new sitcom if it was 100% new cast and new name. this limbo between CHL1 and CHL2 is so confusing and i just can’t watch it. it’s too messy.

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  8. siro12345 says:

    Lucky for me i didn’t watch CHL 1. So i Will watch CHL 2.

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  9. carmen says:

    CHL 1 had become part of me and I followed dutily every night for each new episodes. The storyline of the family was remarkable and I have smile in my face whilst watching the episodes. Somehow I felt the warmness of the family bond and that is something that I can’t see in CHL 2. CHL 2 is like other drama that you usually see in TVB. Perhaps it could be due to the new actors/actresses in CHL 2. I don’t feel the same bond anymore and it is the typical TVB series that you see. I am not surprised that the ratings dropped from 25pts to 21pts. It may dropped even further..

    I am no longer impressed with CHL 2. Thus I will only watch the episodes if I have nothing else to watch. It is no longer my favourite past time series. Sad….

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