Review: “River of Wine” (TVB 2011)

By on October 8, 2011 in NEWS, REVIEWS

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River of Wine  <九江十二坊>
TVB 2011
Producer: Wong Wai Sing
Genre: Ancient Series
Number of episodes: 25

Rating:

Who’s In It?

Cast in no particular order:

Bowie Lam as “Sung Ching Yiu” or “Leung Ching Yiu”
Sunny Chan as “Leung Ching Hong”
Nancy Sit as “Kwan Wai Lan” or “Leung Dai Ma”
Linda Chung as “Sung Chi Ching”
Pierre Ngo as “Sung Chi Tsun”
Elena Kong as “Ting Ka Pik”
Sire Ma as “Tsang Yuk Fong”
Lau Kong as “Tsang Kin Leung” or “Magistrate Tsang”
and other miscellaneous characters not worthy of mention (the joke continues!)

What’s This About?

Once upon a time there was boy, Ching Yiu, who had a mom, Wai Lan, a younger brother, Ching Hong, and two sisters that shall remain nameless. One day Ching Yiu resolves to disown his own bloodline to adopt the Sung surname. Years later, Ching Yiu, now a grown man of uncertain age, runs the Sung family wine business, the most prosperous of the wine businesses in town. However, Chi Tsun, the rightful heir of the Sung family, who was believed to have perished with most of his family after a shipwreck years ago, now returns and wishes to reclaim all that he had lost.

Review Begins Here

First, I want to congratulate those of you who finished watching this series and got to this review. You indeed have patience of the tortoise, tolerance of the hippopotamus, and the unwavering ability to focus like the ostrich. Second, I want to show my utmost approval to those who didn’t finish watching this series and got to this review, because either way you got here right? No! The reason I approve, is because you lot did the right thing. You lot have good foresight, much like the mantis or whatever animal that has good foresight.

Now there are several reasons for my negativity, and it’s not because being negative is trendy when writing an alleged “review.” If you ever wondered whether TVB’s ratings were indicative of anything greater than one city’s esoteric attitudes, then the answer is a resounding “yes” here. If you realize the story premise, you will have realized two things about this series: a plot that is done to death,csome heir returns from somewhere and wants some thing(s) and another plot that is not unfamiliar, but not yet infinitely abused – a person who had disowned his family that wishes to be redeemed. Why TVB decided to emphasize the first plot over the second is a mystery. A mystery so stupid and costly, that even TVB did not bother making excuses for the dismal ratings.

What is the major flaw in the series? It is just not very entertaining. It is flat. It is not suspenseful. It is not even funny. And it is near impossible to empathize with any of the characters which, I think, is one way to produce a series that weakens its lasting appeal. If you watch the first 10 episodes in marathon, it may produce a warm fuzzy feeling. This is produced largely by the wonderful location the series is shot (especially at the end of episode 6), the soothing music and the ability of the cast to act on target (minus two offenders I will mention later). Watch this series episode by episode daily, I guarantee, you will not remember what happened in episode 14 when three-quarters the way through episode 15. Try it. You won’t be disappointed.

Good or Bad?

The series is, in fact, somehow, executed quite solidly. The narrative is structured, coherent and easily consumed with little plot holes you could stick a foot in, at least if you didn’t do any research on the medicinal properties of Chinese wine. Besides the appropriate pacing, there is also the sub-themes in this series. One of these is Linda, who plays a woman with unequal leg lengths, having difficulty finding a suitor in a society that is overzealous on appearances and proper walking. Another of these is Bowie and Elena, who have a deep platonic love towards one another despite being non-biological son and mother. Then there’s returning heir Pierre, who has a shady past and may have been involved in crimes ranging from fraud to murder. All these sub-themes are only treated in passing, a means to arrive at the done-to-death plot of the series, the greedy-jealous heir. Throw in a corrupt government official and we are ready to fill the next 15 episodes. Splendid.

What I don’t understand is why, when such a nice story could have been centered on Ching Yiu’s conflict between honouring his duty to the Sung family and his longing to return home, did the writers believe making Chi Tsun the focal point was wise. It definitely is easier to write about, but it also feels like a definite waste to superimpose the plot devices of a million other TVB series onto such nice scenery. It is like throwing clay onto water color artwork. Any other story about the characters struggling to be honourable to both others and oneself would have matched the languid and generally melancholy mood of the series perfectly. Stories about competing wine brewers, conspiring heirs and how to expand a business, are stories better left for Rosy Business. In fact, towards the end of this series, I began to see the ghost of Wax and Wane in many thematic and narrative aspects, and not just the ratings.

The Performances

In a bit of relief, Linda gives quite an endearing and charming performance, the only performance I cannot fault, whether from angles of emoting, characterization and interaction with other cast members. It should be mentioned, her role was not difficult, for her, to convey. After all Linda has  been playing and replaying such characters over and under, again and again. That said, she is still the most pleasant character in the entire series because the rest of the series is just that lacklustre. However, she isn’t entirely charming. Some of that charm begins to deteriorate over time, much like the rest of the cast and plot.

Then there’s Bowie, who is serious, mellow and earnest rolled into one. His character is so flatly characterized, a fault of the scriptwriters, that he appears more to be part of the serene environment then a living breathing human being. His character also becomes extremely annoying, because he is shown none other than someone who is blinded by his own righteousness, to the extent his displays of virtue become repulsive. Altruistic people are likeable, but there comes a point where you have to say no, you are not God, you cannot rescue everyone, and not in the least, an ignorant and arrogant heir who likes cutting people’s hair when drunk. Ewww.

And so we get to Pierre, who should be considered the female version of Linda. Why? I cannot recall how many times Pierre has played these types of roles: the ignorant-arrogant or the kind-dumbfounded. But wait, wait! This time Pierre is better than before. He has rolled his previous characterizations all into one. He has done the impossible and begun acting in Rosy Business 3, ahead of both Wayne Lai and Sheren Tang! Scheduling conflicts? No way. Demands for higher salary after getting multiple best actors awards? No way. Pierre has somehow been given a role that requires him recall his characters from Rosy Business and No Regrets. Wonderful! This, of course, is not a critique of his acting abilities. Pierre himself is fine. Fine, but boring.

But when we are in the realm of “fine and boring,” there must be Sunny. You say that only because of Wax and Wane. In fact, Sunny is the most consistent performer and character here. Bowie is also consistent, but he is consistently mellow, and I don’t like mellow. I’ve seen Bowie in many more masculine, energetic and charming characters to really enjoy his performance here. Here, he just seems to be permanently on Valium. Sunny, on the other hand, as I have little to no expectation of, seems to have proven this time, that he can act. There’s no overacting, no underacting, he simply portrays his character as how audiences would expect his character to react. You may whine that this is expected, but no, that is not the case.

The two principal offenders of the “acting as expected” rule in this series are Nancy Sit and Cilla Kung. The latter plays, and it literally took me 4 to 6 episodes in to figure out, the younger sister of Bowie and Sunny. Why are these two characters so annoying? Why do they both overact? Why are the majority of their facial expressions the same frustrated, constipated look? Why are they even in this series? The last question may be more relevant to Cilla, since Nancy does, admittedly, play her part in “bringing Ching Yiu home.” However, Nancy’s overemphasis on her dialogue, her tendency to cause harm to the quiet ambience with her voice, and her seemingly endless aura of agitation, all combines to an agitating performance. Cilla squarely commits these crimes. I suspect she took from Nancy, and now the pupil has truly exceeded her mentor.

Notable Mentions

Elena Kong alone deserves to be especially mentioned. After filling in the role of an entirely redundant character in Lives of Omission, she has now filled the role of a character that is seemingly important to the series, but who is in all practical respects, another dud role. Her character is nearly a female carbon copy of Ching Yiu, which may account for why they both are having feelings for each other. However, she has successfully played the love interest of two rather mellow slow-talking male characters. The third time is a charm.

How long did it take viewers to realize that there are actually four siblings in the Leung family? I for one only suspected there were three maybe 4 to 5 episodes in. I don’t know when I realized there were actually four, but I did by episode 25. My question is, why were there four? I can understand having Cilla Kung to round out the Leung family, and to give Nancy a “maid” because she needs someone to hold her hand. But why fourth sister Leung X Y – I still haven’t totally figured out her name, and if I resorted to searching it, that would take the force out of this paragraph. Unnecessary.

Overall Appraisal

This series is not for everyone. I would say it is not for anyone, but given the otherwise solid acting and execution, coupled with an attractive setting, there are redeeming qualities that make it worthy for watching by those with too much time on their hands. I cannot stress this enough, but there is absolutely nothing novel on display here. This is truly an amalgamation of TVB’s recycled plots. I’ve said there is nice scenery, but we could easily go watch many mainland Chinese productions if we really wanted to see a dramatized version of National Geographic. Even if you are a fan of any of the actors here, you will have a hard time convincing anyone else that you felt that actor or actress turned this series around.

Verdict

Those of you with trouble getting to sleep may find this series a wonderful TVB entry. All others who prefer to watch their TV dramas awake may need to go elsewhere, fast.

   

Obligatory Disclaimer: The writer of this article openly acknowledges there were several  scenes and sequences which the writer was unable to view in its entirety due to reasons  mostly within the writers’ control, but this acknowledgment is not to be taken to be any admission of incredibility, inaccuracy or other liability on the writer because you should try sitting through this entire series before you speak!

This review was written by SDS, a Contributing Writer at JayneStars.com.

83 comments to Review: “River of Wine” (TVB 2011)

  1. Xuelx says:

    First, I must say that I did quite like this series. And even though I loved the series, I agree with you on many counts, even though I do believe it deserved better ratings.

    I do think the acting was solid for the most part (except Cilia and Nancy). I do think the plot was reasonable, though definitely not the best. I do think that there were alot of unnecessary characters (think Elena’s family + Casper + Cilia + Sung’s relations).

    Which ultimately gives you this: I was watching the show solely for the relationship between Elena and Bowie.
    Not the most common view to take I gather, but I absolutely adored them. Their romantic subplot alone is more interesting than the rest of the plot. Obviously it helped that both Elena and Bowie are wonderful actors and they did have plot development.

    I didn’t feel it was boring, since I didn’t sit through the entire show. I only intentionally watched the portions with Elena or Bowie inside. ^^ The rest, if i came across it and it was reasonably interesting then okay. 😛

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    • Addy replied:

      Which ultimately gives you this: I was watching the show solely for the relationship between Elena and Bowie.
      Not the most common view to take I gather, but I absolutely adored them. Their romantic subplot alone is more interesting than the rest of the plot. Obviously it helped that both Elena and Bowie are wonderful actors and they did have plot development.

      You absolutely spoke my mind. I agree to all of that.

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      • Jo replied:

        +1 to that too. I ‘chased’ the series rather closely, but only to watch the 20 minutes or so of each episode episode that had Bowie or Elena. I found their characters brilliantly restrained and the relationship was so touching. Pity the series didn’t rate well becaues Elena should get recognition for the sheer amount of crying she had to do alone.

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      • Xuelx replied:

        There are people who agree with me on this! It seems there are a few who appreciate their wonderfully touching relationship after all! ^^
        I know exactly what you mean by Elena deserving recognition. Although not many actresses can cry as much as she did, it was not how much she cried, but how she cried. Even when she wasn’t the main focus, she would be crying so bitterly in the background. And in the process stealing the scene from the person who suddenly looks very superfluous in the foreground.
        I thought she gave a fantastic performance.

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    • Tami replied:

      I’m in agreement with all of you. I watched it coz I was impressed by the acting talents of Elena Kong. She is really outstanding and as mentioned, steals the scenes that she is in. I hope TVB will give her more meaty roles to take on. She certainly can carry any show.

      Is it only me or do people find that most of them tend to speak at a harmful decibel level. Is there really a need for them to speak as if they swallowed a microphone? I mean, we do have volume controls on our TV set. They do not need to shout. Perhaps it’s because both Bowie and Elena speaks in such low tones that everyone else seems like they are shrieking away all the time.

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  2. Joanne says:

    In my opinion, after watching “Lives of Omission” & “Wax and Wane”, River of Wine is actually quite good. And Linda Chung’s acting in this series is her best performance.
    I would rate 2.5 too..

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  3. Funn Lim says:

    You’re absolutely right that this series is not for everyone. It is for those who appreciate a slowly developed story based on well developed characters (well most of them anyway). This is a good series, not great but better than a lot put out by TVB recently because for once, this series makes sense. It has a beginning, it has a middle and it has an end. Not the best paced series with the most original storyline, but at least it is not in your face. I enjoyed this series very much, and most of the acting is good, particularly Linda and Pierre. Yes, Pierre. has he done such a role to death? Not so. One scene became my most memorable scene, that scene of utter and total shock look, and Pierre did so well, I clapped. It was a magnificent performance. A pity the ending is rushed. A pity Bowie seems to be half asleep except for some majorly good scenes. I disagree with this review. I believe you have to be patient with this series, put a bit of effort and concentration into it and whilst some storylines are just there for drama or shock, the main story that is the love and hate between the 2 families is particularly engrossing to watch. It has great dialogue, it has beautiful costumes and lovely scenery. It is a pity TVB sees nothing in this to give it a promotion boost and pity fans did not even bother to go beyond the crucial few episodes. And I find it rather funny that same set of fans could sit through 20 episodes of Men With No Shadows and some may hate it, many liked it, and I find it utter and total rubbish.

    River of Wine is worth the attention. Of course, as I am watching Bu Bu Jing Xin right now, it is nothing compared to that. China is making progress in telling a good story, well told and TVB is still… stuck in trying to find an identity of their own. River of Wine is as close to that identity found. This is what TVB is best at; good old story of feuding families, brotherhood, dialogue, relationships rather than borrowing here, lending there, taking here, copying there to create a series I can’t even identify what the hell it is trying to say.

    At least River of Wine is consistent.

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    • SDS replied:

      I can agree that it is a likeable series because it is well told, but I cannot agree that the plot is something that is equally likeable. I actually liked the first 10 episodes. I thought as you said. But after that it became just too predictable and repetitious. I hate overly righteous characters.

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        Is there overly righteous character in here?

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    • lol replied:

      I agree with Funn. Bu Bu Jing Xin for example is excellent in its story telling and scripts while TVB still suffers in this part. It’s time for TVB to improve since the mainland are getting better and better.

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      • HeTieShou replied:

        TVB is going downhill while Mainland and other companies are getting better and better. I feel that this has been going on for a long while now… But TVB is lucky to still have so many faithful fans that will only watch them and them only.

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    • Kidd replied:

      “This is what TVB is best at; good old story of feuding families, brotherhood, dialogue, relationships rather than borrowing here, lending there, taking here, copying there to create a series I can’t even identify what the hell it is trying to say.”

      Although TVB is good at family feud and relationship series, they cannot make on this kind of series. It will be very boring then. TVB series need variety. So, even though they are not very good at other genres, I support TVB trying them out.

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    • Kidd replied:

      “River of Wine is worth the attention. Of course, as I am watching Bu Bu Jing Xin right now, it is nothing compared to that. China is making progress in telling a good story, “

      They have the source novel to thank for in this case.

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      • HeTieShou replied:

        It is true that Bu Bu Jing Xin is a good story and has a novel as the source and all, but that doesn’t mean that they have to follow it. It’s not like TVB doesn’t but it’s just that they may choose not to follow the actual novel. In Bu Bu Jing Xin’s case, the novel may be good and all, but I also give credit to all of the staff and cast for their hard work as well.

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      • HeTieShou replied:

        I also wanted to add that even though TVB can’t adapt from JY novels anymore, they have still many other novels to adapt from. Having a good novel doesn’t guarantee a good adaption/series and vice versa. I think we have all seen a good novel get butchered before right??

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      • lol replied:

        TVB has tried to adapt many novels, but TVB still fails because it’s hard to translate a novel into a 30-40 episodes series. BBJX deserves the praises.

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      • Kidd replied:

        @ HTS

        So, choosing to follow the novel more faithfully means the scripwriters are better storytellers?

        If the series followed the novel strictly, who is actually telling a good story, the novelist scriptwriters?

        Talking about the staff and cast, is the costume in TVB series bad? No. Does then cast in ROW act badly? Is the direction bad? No.

        Bu Bu Jing Xin story is good because it has a good source material. That’s what I’m trying to say.

        Is my statement ‘They have the source novel to thank for in this case.’ wrong?

        @ lol

        If TVB has a suitable material and they stick to it, I’m sure they will succeed too.

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      • HeTieShou replied:

        @Kidd,
        Well generally, it would depend on the novel as well. If the novel was bad, then I wonder how good it is to follow it. A good example is Fei Dao You Jian Fei Dao which was a horrible novel and the series was horrible too. I don’t think it was accurate to the novel either…
        But anyways, my point is that just because you have a good novel to adapt from does not mean that you will necessarily produce a good series. I have not seen ROW yet so I can’t comment. I do agree that Bu Bu Jing Xin is good due to the good novel, but a lot of credit goes to the staff and cast as well. I don’t think that they should thank the good novel only because like I have said, just because you have a good novel does not mean that a good series/adaption will come from it. They do partially have to thank the good novel, but I don’t think that is only thing that made the series good.

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      • HeTieShou replied:

        @Lol,
        Well back in the days, TVB did manage to have some pretty good adaptions… But I guess times have changed…

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      • Kidd replied:

        @ HTS

        ” I don’t think that they should thank the good novel only because like I have said, just because you have a good novel does not mean that a good series/adaption will come from it. “

        Did I say ‘they have only the source novel to thank for in this case’?

        Now the complain of TVB is their plot sux, their plot is repetitive, their ending is rush, their plot doesn’t make sense, they recycled old plots. The point in contention is the storyline. Funn China is making progress in telling a good story based on her viewing of BBJX. So, I said they have the source novel to thank for, which is true since most of the storyline comes from the source novel.

        What is wrong with that statement mine? Did I bash the casts? Did I say the costume is bad? Did I say the direction sux?

        “Well generally, it would depend on the novel as well. If the novel was bad, then I wonder how good it is to follow it. A good example is Fei Dao You Jian Fei Dao which was a horrible novel and the series was horrible too. “

        You do admit that the BBJX novel is good. So, this example is moot for this particular argument.

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      • Vivien replied:

        ROFL comparing BBJX with sucky TVB series is a disgrace to BBJX and the crew and the cast. TVB series mostly sux

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      • Vivien replied:

        @Kidd

        @lol is right. TVB in the past have taken great novels but make bad series out of it. BBJX take a great novel and make a great series.

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      • Kidd replied:

        Yeap. Bu Bu Jing Xin is the epitome of fine film making. Best thing since sliced bread. More perfect than God’s creation. BBJX should be made the standard of good series making that all future series should base on.

        I can see that the BBJX craze has not died down yet.

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      • Fox replied:

        I think BBJX has to thank Gong a little. Because Gong is also an adaption from the same novel with BBJX and this adaption makes a noisy scandal, BBJX is noticed.

        Dunno how ppl think, I first feel interested in BBJX a lot and think it’s so beautiful, so good. But from the middle to the end, I start to be bored with it. Then I find its novel to read because I always prefer reading over watching, and its novel, surprisingly, very so-so. Nothing different to other 言情小说 that you can see everywhere online, like the Ming Xiao Xi’s. Nope, I think Ming Xiao Xi has a better writing skill than Deng Wah. Ming Xiao Xi has a character that I really love: 雪 in 烈火如歌

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      • Vivien replied:

        @Fox

        Then the more BBJX the series did a great job if the novel is so so only

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      • Fox replied:

        Do you think Twilight is a good novel, Vivien?

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      • Vivien replied:

        @Fox

        but Twilight is a bad, overrated teenage and tweenage movie while BBJX is a well made mainland series. That’s different

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      • Fox replied:

        Wat I mean is a so-so stuff in a bunch ppl’s opinion still can be liked and watched by a lot of other ppl. Gong is also popular in China and it is utmost so-so.

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        “So, choosing to follow the novel more faithfully means the scripwriters are better storytellers?”

        No. It shows integrity to the source novel but doesn’t mean it is good.

        “If the series followed the novel strictly, who is actually telling a good story, the novelist scriptwriters?”

        A novel is different from a script. A scriptwriter must know which part to take and which to delete, which to adapt and which to change to make sure there is a flow to the story. A very good example is LOTR vx the Harry potter movies. Nobody should ever pit a novelist and a scriptwriter since their function is to tell a story in a different way. A novelist may not make a good scriptwriter, and vice versa because what works in a novel may not work in a 3 hour movie or 20 episodes series. Another good example is the book The Devotion of Suspect X and the movie, which is very very faithful but I still prefer the book’s ending.

        “Talking about the staff and cast, is the costume in TVB series bad? No.”

        Depends. BBJX’s costumes is amazing, no doubt. The threads, the images, the silk, simply gorgeous. ROW also has gorgeous costumes. Different era so difficult to compare but ROW didn’t lose on this point at all.

        “Does then cast in ROW act badly? Is the direction bad? No.”

        Of course not! ROW’s acting is comparable, direction is ok, except for the rushed ending. But BBJX wins points for intrigue and with 14 princes and 1 ailing emperor, how can anyone not make a decent story out of that?? It doesn’t insult intelligence though, ROW also didn’t.

        “Bu Bu Jing Xin story is good because it has a good source material. That’s what I’m trying to say.
        Is my statement ‘They have the source novel to thank for in this case.’ wrong?”

        No, you’re right but however good source material, the writer must know how to adapt, the director must know when to stop, the actors must know how to bring the character to life. A good source material is only the beginning. Most often than not. scriptwriters may not take dialogue wholesale from the book, they adapt. The question is how to concise a 500 page novel into a decent 3 hour movie or stretch a 200 page novel into 30 episodes.

        One excellent example is the movie The Green Mile for long to short (novel was very long, movie was long but slightly shorter, few pivotal but unnecessary scenes taken out, the movie retains the integrity of the source material) and Shawshank Redemption (the story is much shorter, movie much longer and yet again the story in source material is there).

        The novel will act as a guide but more often than not novelists will see their novels shredded into pieces when adapted.

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      • lol replied:

        I agree with Funn. A novel is different from a script. A scriptwriter must know which part to take and which to delete, which to adapt and which to change to make sure there is a flow to the story.

        This is what may make or break adaptations even from the best novels. A great scriptwriter per say may take a mediocre novel and made it into a beautifully woven series or movie, but a mediocre or lousy scriptwriter may make an amazing novel look lousy onscreen.

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      • HeTieShou replied:

        @Funn,
        Thanks for saying what I was trying to say to Kidd. Just because a novel is good doesn’t mean that a good adaption will be made from it.

        @Fox,
        Totally agree with you. There are way better novels than BBJX which was why I was trying to say that the series BBJX was good not just because of the novel, but because of the staff and cast and everyone else that worked on it as well. Also, there are many many other great series from China that Kidd and others have not seen so they think that BBJX is the best thing ever. Not really… I have seen series better than BBJX in my opinion so I am a bit shocked that others only think that BBJX is the main thing that is making people like China series. I also agree that it partially has Gong to thank for as well since Gong was pretty popular too.

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      • Kidd replied:

        “Also, there are many many other great series from China that Kidd and others have not seen so they think that BBJX is the best thing ever.”

        Correction. I do not think BBJX is the best thing ever. In fact, for now, you have higher opinion of BBJX than me.

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        Me correction also. I also don’t think BBJX best thing ever, I just thing it is d*mn good. That’s all. Usually I wouldn’t be bothered with China series. This one is more intimate, more viewer friendly. Still hate the dubbing.

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      • HeTieShou replied:

        @Funn and Kidd,
        Well, you both did not bother with China series before so the fact that you actually like BBJX does show that you both may sort of think it is the best thing for “China series”. As for me, I have always liked China series so of course I would have a higher opinion of it than people that don’t like China series at all.

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      • jayne replied:

        HTS, Kidd, Funn,
        “Well, you both did not bother with China series before so the fact that you actually like BBJX does show that you both may sort of think it is the best thing for “China series”

        All this good word-of-mouth makes me want to watch BBJX too. In the past, I found the pacing of mainland series to be too slow. All the good reviews do make me curious though. How was Kevin Cheng’s performance in here?

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      • Kidd replied:

        @ HTS

        “Well, you both did not bother with China series before so the fact that you actually like BBJX does show that you both may sort of think it is the best thing for “China series”.”

        We already clarified that we did not think is the best thing for “China series”.

        I’m not fond of China series doesn’t mean I have not watch any.

        Funn likes BBJX. But, I’ve not stated my personal opinion of it.

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      • Kidd replied:

        Damn my fake dyslexia. Too many errors. Repost comment.

        @ HTS

        “Well, you both did not bother with China series before so the fact that you actually like BBJX does show that you both may sort of think it is the best thing for “China series”.”

        We already clarified that we did not think BBJX is the best thing from “China series”.

        I’m not fond of China series doesn’t mean I have not watch any.

        Funn likes BBJX. But, I’ve not stated my personal opinion of it.

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      • jayne replied:

        Kidd,
        “Damn my fake dyslexia. Too many errors. Repost comment.”

        Hehe no need to be so frustrated. We all understand you fine. 🙂

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      • Masaharu replied:

        I haven’t watched yet too, but I might jump into the tide since there are excellent reviews about this drama.

        Jayne, from the reviews that I’ve read, there are no faults for Kevin’s acting(nor for the other casts too) and some said this is his best work in his entire career. Bu Bu Jing Xin is said the have one of the best casting for recent China dramas.

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      • jayne replied:

        Masaharu,
        “Jayne, from the reviews that I’ve read, there are no faults for Kevin’s acting(nor for the other casts too) and some said this is his best work in his entire career. ”

        Thanks for the additional good word-of-mouth. I’ve always felt that Kevin has a very modern face and demeanor. I thought that he put in a career-defining performance as Law Ba…hehe so BBJX is even better? Ok, I will watch just for this statement alone.

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      • Masaharu replied:

        Jayne, just to remind that it does not come from me haha. It comes from various sources in weibo and other discussion forums such as spcnet(where I lurk maybe once a year :P).

        I admit though that my female hormones feel quite giddy just by looking at the long ensemble princes. Yummy. Nicky Wu used to be my childhood crush too along with Alec Su 😛

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      • Masaharu replied:

        More Jayne, haha..

        Perhaps for closer and more dear assessment it’s better to hear what Fox, Kidd, Funn and HTS reviews. I myself only admiring the beautiful screencaptures so far and haven’t got the chance to watch a single episode. If I got extra money I might go for the DVD to admire the beautiful pictures and those princes clearer 😀

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      • Fox replied:

        Did I say about BBJX the series? Ah a little. I’m concerned on the novel more.

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      • Kidd replied:

        @ Jayne

        “In the past, I found the pacing of mainland series to be too slow.”

        In the past, maybe this is the case. Now, it’s not anymore. Not only actors go to China to earn money. Directors and scriptwriters too. So, some Mainland series now are helmed by HK directors and their HK style show in the series.

        Now, Mainland series have a lot of variety. Some are slow pace, some are fast. Some are heavy duty drama, some, are light and fluffy.

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      • Masaharu replied:

        Kidd, sarcasm or real? 😛

        Yeap. Bu Bu Jing Xin is the epitome of fine film making. Best thing since sliced bread. More perfect than God’s creation. BBJX should be made the standard of good series making that all future series should base on.

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      • jayne replied:

        Masaharu, Kidd,

        Whenever Kidd uses her “sliced bread” analogy, she is sarcastic. 🙂

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      • jayne replied:

        Kidd,
        No doubt, with the amount of financing available in mainland projects, it was a matter of time that mainland series improve in quality. I’m glad to hear that there is more variety now and the pacing is faster.

        I have always loved the scenery in mainland series, just a little irked by the dubbing and how the camera would stall and linger for no reason sometimes.

        My dad is a big fan of the mainland war dramas btw.

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      • Masaharu replied:

        Jayne, one of the main reason I want to jump into BBJX(besides the story and lineup of yummy princes) is the scenery and cinematography – as per what I’ve seen in screenshot and spoilers.

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        Masaharu, I was fooled in one scene, the scene where the leading lady was learning how to ride a horse. That was CG and rather badly done. Why can’t they just go to an open space??

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        Jayne, I wonder did Kevin ever play Qing role before BBJX? I can’t recall. He is too thin but layers upon layers of clothing gives us an illusion he is not as thin. Look wise, he was handsome. Acting wise, maybe because his voice was dubbed, he looked ok. But honestly speaking, I see the same acting as he has always done. The only reason why he is seen as so much better is because the role suits him.

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      • Masaharu replied:

        Funn, no comment about that. Perhaps until I got my DVD.

        What I saw was some beautiful cinematography of Ruoxi’s silhouttes, some snowy scenes(I have soft spot for white snows :P), and a lily pond.

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      • claimine replied:

        @ Funn Lin re: But honestly speaking, I see the same acting as he has always done.

        Kevin Cheng in BBJX – I’ve never thought KC handsome; he lacks that 靈气 aura for me. Besides his Law Ba which I enjoyed very much, I find his acting wooden including his 8th prince. And KC looks so much in modern series than in Qing series.

        I’m now at episode 14. I’d been enjoying the series until it got heavily into the love entanglements of Rouxi with her princes. Now the series starts to drag a bit for me, especially so since Rouxi seems to have lose her initial spark.

        I definitely prefer another mainland tv series 贞观长歌. The princes in there are so much more handsomer esp.聂远 who shone for me. And the cast except for that nosy princess were perfectly casted for their roles. Beautiful and handsome cast, beautiful sets and costumes and magnificent scenery. And of course it helps that I’m a big fan of 唐国强 who was simply brilliant as Li Shi Ming. And I found the palace intrigues and scheming among the princes and among the ministers intriguing and fascinating to watch. Now if only the princess’ scenes were shortened, it would be perfect series for me.

        If the love entanglement scenes drag on I might just skip BBJX.

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      • HeTieShou replied:

        @Jayne,
        You really should give BBJX a try since I think you may like it. Also, many China series are very good so it is not only BBJX. Kevin’s acting as well as the rest of the cast is very good. Nicky, Han Dong, Liu Shi Shi, etc.. all did a good job. But whether you like it or not, will be up to you.

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        Clamine,

        I rather enjoy the love entanglements, since right now it is just 4 vs 8 but then 8 lost so basically back to basic. I don’t feel Kevin is too modern for Qing look. He actually looked gentlemanly, kinda suited the role of 8th. I am not sure what is too modern, although I will understand if it is Jess you’re talking about. Kevin is ok, a bit too thin though.

        The love parts are rather romantic. I am rather surprised at how passionate things can be. However I have problems with the main character that is the character of Ruoxi herself. I find her too ancient you know? Lacking those modern traits. In modern times she can be said to be quite a flirt since she was flirting with most of the princes. Ep 14 onwards has some political intrigue which I really love watching. LOve relationships is justified. Drag a bit yes, but not too much. It can’t always move in high gear.

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      • claimine replied:

        @Funn Lim I don’t feel Kevin is too modern for Qing look..I am not sure what is too modern…

        Missing word in my previous post: “better”. I meant to say KC looks better in modern series than in Qing.

        However I have problems with the main character that is the character of Ruoxi herself. I find her too ancient you know? Lacking those modern traits.

        The title of the series is right on where false move and your head and maybe that of your clan roll on the ground. When Ruoxi was at her sister’s home she could afford to exhibit some modern traits but once in the minefield like palace,self preservation instinct kicks in and spontaneity curbed. And initial adjustments to life in palace some become habits, especially if these habits can prolong your life.

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      • claimine replied:

        corrections to above post:
        .. one false move…
        … life in palace soon become habits..

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        That didn’t stop her from throwing snows at 4th prince or talk back to the emperor. I find the actress or rather the character inconsistent. If I didn’t watch ep 1 I wouldn’t have known she was from the future.

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    • HeTieShou replied:

      @Funn,
      I am glad that you are giving more China series a chance. I knew that many would like Bu Bu Jing Xin. I personally love it and know a number of the cast already as well. China has many many other great series as well…

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      • lol replied:

        I have yet to see a Bu Bu Jing Xin hater. This proves that it’s an excellently made series and shows that mainland series are getting stronger and stronger, but TVB never improves.

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      • HeTieShou replied:

        Well every series will have some haters, but the majority will still like it. Those that really like Gong may not like it, who knows?? But regardless of how popular a series is, there is going to be someone that will not like it.

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      • Fox replied:

        @HTS: I think there are many better writers than Deng Wah (Authour of BBJX novel). BBJX even isn’t something tat can present for 言情小说. The writing is so-so only. Ok, it’s about the novel.

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        Yes I love BBJX but probably not for the same reasons as the rest. I am always intrigued by stories of palace feuds and all, and especially one well told. I haven’t read the novel but I read the series follows the novel closely, so I suppose the source novel is good. However the novel weaves into it actual history, and they’re pretty faithful at that so I must say must thanks the writer’s ability to weave actual history surrounding a fictional character. However I have my complaints. Again nothing to do with novel since I haven’t read it. The series however is flawed when it comes to the main protaganist. At episode 9 she now seems more manchurian than any manchurian. She has lost all traces of her modernity which I find inconsistent. And I was hoping more scenes of her present life is showed because the way she could so easily adapt to that world suggests to me she is like a Qing historian or a tea maker or whatever. And I find her lack of awe of the actual historical figures such as Kangxi which jumps straight to fear is irritating.

        I however find the princes’ struggle rather clever and I applaud the series showing how flawed and biased Kangxi is. He may have been a great ruler but as a father he was biased. 4th is well written; however rather surprised how bold he is with Ruoxi. Which shows he is a man who at the right time is willing to take dangerous risks. A man such as this should be king.

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      • HeTieShou replied:

        @Fox,
        I agree with you that there are way better writers than Deng Wah. There are also a lot better stories than BBJX as well.

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        Wasn’t she an amateur writer who got published? If yes, despite the differing opinion on the quality of the writing, it is quite an achievement. I will say that also to Stephanie Meyer even if i think her books are rubbish.

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      • Fox replied:

        Deng Wah is an online author but she learned writing at uni, if I read right about her. She is a journalist.

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    • Kidd replied:

      Ok, I can see now that BBJX is off limit for comments unless the comment is filled with praises. A simple

      ‘They have the source novel to thank for in this case.’

      get 3 BBJX’s fans (one of them a HUGE Mainland drama fan/defender/promoter) jumping in to their defense.

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        Come on Kidd, be fair. Each explained his or her position in this whole adaptation thing. I am at ep 11, things slow down a tiny bit but still fantastic show. I just wish for this modern woman to be a bit more passionate. Grab that No. 8 and just kiss woman, kiss!

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      • HeTieShou replied:

        @Kidd,
        That is NOT true at all that the comments for BBJX have to be praises only. I may like the series BUT, I am not bias and think that you should only praise and not criticize. I always believe that everything has flaws. Also, you seem to only give the novel all of the credit and not any to the series itself. It is true that I am a big fan of China series, however, I am open as long as people are fair. As far as I am concerned, I personally don’t think that the novel itself is that good based on what I have read. I have read better novels. But like I have said many times, a good novel doesn’t necessarily yield a good adaption and vice versa.

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      • Canto replied:

        @ HeTieShou

        Now, you’ve got me interested in BBJX. I shall give it a go after I finished my Korean drama The Princess Man.

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      • HeTieShou replied:

        @Canto,
        Yea, you definately should give BBJX a try but whether you like it or not, it will depend on you. I have noticed that when I hear overpraises of any series, my expectations get too high and then I get disappointed. But I think BBJX is one of the beter recent China series. I know most of the cast and like them all as well, but then again, you should not watch a series just for the cast.

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  4. exoidus says:

    I like the opening theme very i gives me a feel of the old times.

    The storyline is boring and didn’t surprise me at all. i could almost predict the general outcome so most of the times i just fast forward to the interesting scenes.

    just don’t get why they almost make wine, tea related series maybe it was big business back then.

    overall a ok series since the story is nice but not always reliable in my opinion.

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  5. Jo says:

    i dont exactly agree with too much uve said in this review, imo i believe linda’s character was done many times before and she was a bit boring to watch to be honest. Sunny’s acting is quite subpar and i agree the entire story overall was a bit borinng as well. What i did like was Sire Ma’s acting, for a newcomer i think she is quite nice to look at, and portrayed the role very well. I actually only continued watching the series for her… lol

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    • SDS replied:

      Yes, I think sire ma was quite likeable too, and a pretty big foil for her dad. And yes linda has done this to death, but she is the only character that actually seems to smile a little more amidst all the frowning going on. hence why I said she is the more pleasant character. Of course that changes towards the end when there is communion crying.

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  6. Chriselle says:

    @SDS,

    Your sense of humor is simply amazing! I didn’t watch the drama, but I did finish reading this review in its entirety. 😛

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    • SDS replied:

      You must therefore bring too thee second category of ppl I must congratulate. Congratulations!

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      • SDS replied:

        Bring should be read as belong. The smartphone keypad its not listening to my commands… Sad

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  7. Judy says:

    I liked the first half… the last half just went down hill. Especially with Pierre’s character. He did a complete 180 at the very end that just didn’t go in sync with how he was portray for 98% of the drama. Dislike how TVB’s characters are either 100% good or 100% bad… there are no shades of gray.

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  8. picklehead says:

    Does anyone know what is the name of the background music used in many of the emotional scenes? The violin is prevelent in these parts.

    The background music has been used in many tvb series but I don’t know if it is inhouse composed or if it is from a composer. anyone know?

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  9. HeTieShou says:

    Is this series that bad?? It looks like a good series…

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  10. loungegirl says:

    Nothing about this series looks appealing – I am not even going to give it a chance. BLAH castings except for Bowie.

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  11. Joan says:

    Yawn, everytime I put this on I would fall asleep.

    Can TVB stop pushing Sire Ma on the audience, she is a horrible actor & quite annoying. I had enough of her between this drama & the Raymond Lam one.

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  12. cinsin says:

    I just finished this and didn’t really enjoy it. I basically just fast forwarded the last 3 episodes leading to the end.

    I personally thought this was going to be more of a show describing how wine was made, like I quite enjoyed the parts where Nancy was teaching Pierre how to differentiate wine and what water makes good wine.

    I would’ve loved to have seen more of that, like previous shows where they showed how tea was made.

    I have to agree that Nancy did have terrible over exaggerated facial expressions when pushing out her emotional lines, but I’ve found that she does that all the time. Makes me wonder how the hell she is still an actor….

    So sad that Bowie had to leave TVB with a dud of a show 🙁

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  13. philip says:

    this is one of the best show from TVB period. for those so-called reviewers that disliked or hated this show i can only say u don’t know the meaning of entertainment

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