The 2018 TV Queen Dark Horses

2018 may be the year of the dark horse.

It’s still a couple of months away from TVB’s annual awards ceremony, but many netizens already have their pick for TV Queen. Maybe it’s finally time for a new queen to rise.

Alice Chan (陳煒) for Deep in the Realm of Conscience <宮心計2深宮計>

Alice is getting Best Actress buzz for portraying the villainous Princess Taiping in the Tang Dynasty drama. Although the role itself has been criticized for being poorly written, Alice’s performance as the heartbroken yet power hungry politician is rounding up netizens to be on her side for TV Queen.

Ali Lee (李佳芯) for Who Wants a Baby? <BB來了>

The rising TVB actress is not unfamiliar to the TV Queen race. In 2017, Ali won TV Queen in Singapore’s StarHub TVB Awards and was a hot contender for TV Queen in TVB Star Awards Malaysia, but ultimately lost that award to Jessica Hsuan (宣萱). With still room for improvement and development, it is unlikely that Ali would beat out Alice or other veteran actresses for TV Queen this year, but her performance as a struggling first mother in Who Wants a Baby? has been widely praised, with critics calling Ali a “strong competitor.”

Mandy Wong (黃智雯) for Threesome <三個女人一個「因」>

Hyped as TVB’s “Sunday Queen”, Mandy is a strong dark horse contender. Mandy is a solid actress, but none of her past performances came even close to being a TV Queen contender until Threesome came alone. On the show, Mandy portrays a lawyer suffering from dissociative identity disorder. Mandy had to balance three different personalities on the show, and at one point, all three in one scene. It’s a performance worthy of praise.


This article is written by Addy for

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  1. Ali is doing fantastic in Who Wants a Baby. She’s easily my favorite “new” actress. Hope she gets more opportunities for leading roles!

    1. @jimmyszeto Probably minority opinion here but I don’t feel the (lead) actresses are outshining the (lead) actors this year…it’s about the same in my book. The veteran supporting actors and actresses are the ones who really stand out for me this year (and I haven’t even been watching much of the series outside of the tidbits here and there from when my mom watches). Savio Tsang for example in Deep in the Realm of Conscience – pretty much the only actor worth watching in that entire series (oh Wai Ka Hung was good too), though both likely won’t even be in contention for any awards because they had so little screen time. Mary Hon as well – never fails to impress me each time she’s onscreen. Oh and how about Michelle Yim, in her 3 minutes of screen time in Deep, pretty much blew everyone else out of the water. As mentioned earlier, Angelina and Rebecca from that BB series were excellent as well…

      1. @llwy12

        The only drama that I’ve watched this year was the one Alice was in. I think Ali and Mandy are both competent actresses, but there isn’t anything special about their acting. They aren’t Charmaine Sheh or Sheren Tang. They aren’t leading material in the Mainland. That’s for sure.

        I agree with you totally. Alice’s acting was exaggerated in a few scenes and had issues speaking a few lines. There were a few moments when it felt cringe-worthy watching her over-the-top acting, but she settled down as the series progressed.

      2. @anon I feel like Ali & Mandy is comparable to Charmaine (the latter has the tendency of being too pretentious sometimes, my personal opinion.) Given enough time & opportunities, Ali & Mandy can definitely move upwards especially since both of them still have a passion for acting. Charmaine is bored of TVB, point blank, and you can see that when she was going through the same drivel roles a few years ago.

        None of them holds a candle to Sheren Tang right now.

        I agree with you about Alice. Her characterizations were too cartoonish and shrilly for me. Not her best work ever.

      3. @coralie
        Charmaine has proven herself time and time again in past decade. Ali and Mandy aren’t good enough to share the screen with Charmaine nevermind comparing them as equal ability….

      4. @jimmyszeto you’re describing good Charmaine a few years prior her departure from TVB. those few years before leaving were terrible. she was overly pretentious and cared too much about her image to do justice to her characters. I’m saying this even as a fan. I loved her back then, but in those 5 years, I couldn’t get over her pretentiousness. she did much better after coming back in Line Walker, but still, I haven’t seen the old Charmaine. this is true for Raymond Lam as well (huge fan back in the day.) they both cared too much about their image to make good actors/actresses. Charmaine is improving, so I have hopes for her. Raymond is a lost cause at this point.

        Mandy cares about her image too, but not to the extent Charmaine & Raymond cares. She allows herself room to explore & challenge herself. Ali is a natural & she has a passion for acting – she’s not pretentious. These two definitely have a chance against Charmaine.

      5. @coralie Come on, you cannot base on the past to judge the present. If they care that much for their image, they did not take the challenge roles. Ah Sheh recently is trying several different kinds of role especially in movie and currently a villain while Ah Fung is acting from crazy monkey with 10kg of make-up on him to a serial psycho killer to a cold-blooded murderer. When you only base on their past, you will forget a point that when they was in TVB, they have no right or limited right to choose the series they are in. Moreover, TVB in the recent years has just few good series, mostly are trash so the artists acting for them have no room to develop their performance.

      6. @alluka it’s about progression of their acting skills. And if you gotta compare Charmaine, with her decades of experience, with these newbs (Mandy & Ali), then you’re already on unleveled playing field. But Mandy & Ali has a chance to beat Charmaine if they continue on their current trajectory. Even in the new drama, “Story of Yanxi,” I still find her postures and face somewhat pretentiousness. it’s hard to break the TVB acting mode

      7. @coralie Time will give the reply but in my experience of watching TVB stuffs, TVB artists have the tendency to become very pretentious after a while, normally after 4-5 years. Moreover the TVB series now do not allow them to have room to improve, to be honest. Acting can do well partly due to a good character and plot, of which TVB is having none so far.

        I like Ali and I have hopes on her but I think she should try to expand the world out of TVB. In TVB, she will soon be faded away.

        My opinion, the quality of acting in recent TVB series are even worse than some Chinese series. It is even not to mention that Chinese series now have more topics, more young and pretty girls and guys.

        Regarding the care to image, I disagree with you, that is all.

      8. @coralie

        I totally disagree with your assessment of Charmaine. Comparing Ali & Mandy with Charmaine is an insult to her acting ability. In my opinion, she’s heads above Ali & Mandy in her past and present work.

      9. @anon it’s fine to disagree. but I think the fact that ali almost won best actress last year speaks volume about her acting abilities, esp as a relative newbie in the field. she joined tvb in 2012, but her first drama was in 2014. from 2014 to now, it’s only been 4 years. anyways, this is personal opinion.

      10. @coralie

        IMHO winning a TVB King or Queen award in the last 10-15 years mean little as there are hardly any good actors/actresses remaining to compete for the ultimate prize. Most good actors have already left TVB. The few actors that return are often given poor scripts/roles that they don’t shine to get a shot at the prize. It’s also an open secret that the award is typically given to only contracted artists. Whatever actors left at TVB are mostly mediocre actors that even if they won proves little. They win due to politics, and has little to do with their ability. Again, this is just my opinion, I know you will disagree as we’ve had similar discussions in the past.

      11. @anon yes, it’s an open secret that those who sign with TVB are usually the ones who win awards. that doesn’t mean the ones who sign aren’t good or the ones who win awards don’t deserve it. conflating their acting abilities with signing to TVB is doing them a disservice. normally i do think the awards are rigged, but last year i absolutely believed that vincent wong won fair & square. ali didn’t win because she’s still considered too green. people often don’t like newbies winning the biggest awards because it seems unfair. this is what happened to mark chao when he won the Taiwanese golden bell and he got so much flak for it.

        I actually don’t remember most of the convos I have on here haha, so if we did have this convo before, then that’s cool. we agree to disagree, no harm done.

      12. @coralie

        We have very different opinions on the term ‘good’ therefore our views of who is deserving of what differs as well.

      13. @coralie lol, I have little hope that any current (or future) TVB actress could reach Sheren’s caliber of depth and refinement.

        If I had to pick between the 3 listed, my vote goes to Mandy, as I’ve consistently enjoyed her performances and something about her (off-screen) personality appeals me. Still far from what I’d consider a quality actress, though.

        I like Alice, but as someone who has been in the industry much longer than the rest, her performance in DITROC left a lot to be desired. Good acting, to me, is having the ability to respond to human impulses with the given circumstances of the character. If an actor/ess goes into a role simply focused on character portrayal and not reality, then they can get lost and wind up as some weird caricature, which I believe to be the case for Alice.

        Charmaine at her peak was better than both Ali and Mandy at their best IMO, but I do think she’s over praised. I’d throw her in the same pool as Nancy and Tavia. Good, but not exceptional. I think the only reason she has more popularity/leverage over Nancy is because she’s more conventionally attractive & charismatic.

      14. @sugarcane Mandy tries really hard. She just lacks a very juicy role. The one thing I admired about her is that she hasn’t had one role that’s flopped yet. Charmaine doesn’t have her track record.

        I liked Charmaine when she was doing Country Spirit. She was good in Line Walker too. Everything else in between was meh for me

      15. @coralie Sheren did an interview with Mingpao yesterday and absolutely loved what she said when reporters asked her about turning against TVB by filming for ViuTV. Her response is exactly what we’ve been discussing in this thread, about people being afraid to speak up when they see things that are wrong or don’t make sense and that just because she criticizes TVB, doesn’t mean she hates them. There is such a thing as constructive criticism and if she didn’t care about TVB, she wouldn’t even bother giving them feedback in the hopes that they improve. Acting talent aside, THIS is one of the reasons why Sheren is so many levels above everyone else!!

      16. @llwy12 Rosanne Lui was a complete miscast for me. I usually find her pleasant to watch but whenever she popped on screen in DITROC, I just didn’t feel right watching her. I thought she was awesome when she started to lose her mind though.

        Agree about Mary Hon though, she’s such an impressive actress. Wish she had a bigger role though as she’s long overdue for an award.

  2. Seriously? The standard for excellence gets weaker every year.

    Alice’s performance was very average to be nominated for TV Queen. I felt like it was nothing out of the ordinary and just about any decent mainland actress could’ve portrayed her role. She’s in the discussion not because she was superb, rather there are not many competent actresses at TVB that can act. When you’re the few that can actually act at TVB, it’s not difficult to rise above the rest.

    1. @anon I actually agree with you. To be honest, I kind of felt Alice’s performance as Taiping was a little exaggerated and her voice control wasn’t that great (I had to struggle to hear her during some scenes because her voice kept going up and down – can’t pinpoint it exactly but there was something unnatural about the way she did her dialogue in some of the scenes)…but compared to everyone else in the series who did worse than her in the acting department (except for the veterans like Mary Hon and Lui Shan for example), plus the fact that her character was indeed poorly written, I consider her performance decent.

      I didn’t watch Threesome so no comment about Mandy’s performance there – overall though, she has always been a competent actress in my book, though nothing really special about her acting that would make her stand out. As for Ali – she’s also competent as an actress but for me, she lacks charisma onscreen….I’ve been watching that BB series off and on and I honestly don’t see anything special about Ali’s performance – yes, she’s handling her role well considering she’s portraying a mother when she isn’t one herself, but nothing particularly stands out about her performance to make me think “wow!” Also, in all honesty, the BB series overall has been boring except for when Angelina Lo or Rebecca Chan are on screen – for me, the 2 of them are the ones keeping the series mildly entertaining….

      1. Alice has a very weak voice which really holds her back. Her voice can go up and down but it always sounds the same, whether she’s acting angry, sad or neutral.

  3. Ali is top runnner for me. Although I wouldn’t mind if any of the three got it.
    Alice is a great actress but her role in DITROC was poorly written and ultimately flopped. I almost forgot about her character half way through.
    Didn’t watch Threesome but Mandy is a solid actress no doubt.
    Ali did well this year and last year so I hope she get a reward.

    Other actresses:
    Nancy Wu failed to capture me. She didn’t feel as evil as Tavia did in BTROC, plus the overall poor writing doesn’t do her any good.
    I heard Selena did well in SW but I haven’t watched it so I don’t know.
    Apparently Natalie has been dreadful this year but I haven’t watched any of her dramas.
    Admittedly Grace has improved, only slightly, but she’s still has a loooooooooooooooong way to go.
    Wait, Eliza was in a drama this year!? I completely forgot.

  4. my top pick is def ali, i hope she gets more opportunities in the future, way better than nancy in my opinion. and is both the starhub and malaysia awards cancelled?

  5. I’m rooting for either Mandy or Ali. Both did a superb job in their respective roles. I would, however, love to see Selena Li receive recognition of some sort as well – perhaps My Favorite Character – because she has always been a solid actress and I really like her. I saw some headlines recently where Selena talked about how she’s never received a single award from TVB in all her years, despite receiving awards overseas.

    Alice is usually a great actress, and Princess Taiping had the potential to be a fantastic role. Except whoever wrote it did an awful job, and Alice’s character just became annoying and silly (what an insult to the actual Princess Taiping, haha). She ended up just talking loudly most of the time and looking angry, so, I’m not rooting for her to win this one. Nancy was not great in this drama either.

    1. @melia880 yup agreed about alice.

      I really enjoyed Mandy’s portrayal of 3 separate personalities. Her characterizations made the drama entertaining for me. Rightfully deserved if it went to her this year.

      I started a few episodes of Who Wants A BB, but to be honest, a lot of the struggles of raising a baby discussed in the drama made me nervous & fearful of having kids. So I’ve been putting it off lol. I have no doubt Ali has done great in it though. She really was robbed of the Best Actress award last year, but seeing that she started not too long ago, there’s still many chances for her to win an award.

      1. @coralie I suggest you keep watching the baby drama! It’s probably been my favorite this year so far. I would have also preferred to win BA last year (but for My Ages Apart). Wish TVB execs would forgo the idea that they need to give these awards out based on seniority.

        Definitely agree with others that the actresses are outshining the actors this year! But this is good considering all the female roles last year sucked. Wish Louis Cheung could come back 🙁 There are very few actors left in TVB that I want to watch.

  6. Selena was excellent in SW. It would have been a typical, naive, good person role but she was able to make it interesting and gave depth to the character.

  7. I would go for Selena too . Was the “The forgotten valley” from this year? If so, Katy Kung also did a good job.

  8. My pick’s Selena but considering how poorly SW did in ratings (and how it was such a male dominated series), I doubt she’ll even get into top 5 lol. Second pick is definitely Alice as, even though she was a little exaggerated in some scenes, the range of her acting was fantastic. Really felt Taiping’s pain and regret during the episodes around Savio’s character’s death and I thought she was fantastic there.

    1. @tape Agreed about that segment with Savio’s character’s death and both of their performances in the segment. Unfortunately though, that entire moment was ruined when that exact same plot device (the guy secretly sacrificing his life for the girl) was repeated not just once but twice later in the series (basically similar scene, different couple)….that took all the luster out of the initial scene for me and instead turned it into an overused trope. As usual, TVB overdoes things and ruins what could’ve been a wonderfully memorable moment (but yes, the acting from both Savio and Alice were fantastic in that segment).

      1. @llwy12 Yeah, agreed about the recycling plots. They really stuffed up on that, multiple times as well with different plot lines. Brought down the drama a lot.

      2. @llwy12 also add to the fact that the story is incredibly predictable. I knew from the very beginning who Edwin truly is and I knew what Nancy and Tai Ping princess were going to do next… I watch too many western dramas lately and I really miss the unpredictability aspect in it (ex. Game of Thrones, Sopranos). You never really know what will happen next.

  9. Selena is a really underrated actress. She always brings her character alive.
    I didnt watch Mandy’s series but I always felt that her acting lacks depth, as in I just see her acting and not telling a complete story.
    Ali is probably the highest rated one right now because BB has got a decent plot and good supporting characters that helps to show Ali’s character.
    I don’t think anyone from BTROC2 should be on the list. It was a drama made to satisfy the lack of tang dynasty scheming dramas for tvb and had a crappy script, poor character development and everything was just predictable. No amount of good performance from Alice would have saved this nonsense of a drama.
    Natalie’s roles this year jusy shows that she did not deserve the BA. Completely flat, same expressions in every drama.
    Another forgetten one is Louisa So in Forgotten Valley. That was a nice drama.

  10. Seeing from various HK forums, Mandy Wong is the front runner instead of Alice Chan (mainly because HK audiences did not like DITROC) as a drama

  11. One name that hasn’t been mentioned is Christine Ng in Flying Tiger. There were a lot of bad parts about the series but I think her character stood out and was well written.

    1. @canadian Flying Tiger wasn’t a TVB drama. Therefore, that drama wont be nominated at all. Its a shame though. Christine did well with her role. She was good

      1. @honnip97 Thank you, I forgot. No wonder her performance was so good, it wasn’t a TVB drama. Then the TVB Queen will go to someone who needs her contract renewed. The awards are not really based on performance (see last year).

  12. im picking Selena Lee from her role in Succession War. She is fantastic in that drama and has her moments although the drama is more on conflicts between the men. A really underrated actress who should given more leading roles and is due for recognition. A Favourite Female Character for her at least if not best actress. She deserves it. Alice Chan is just seems to be trying too hard to exaggerate her acting in DROC and certainly not best actress material.

  13. Selena Li impressed me in Succession War with her super understanding super righteous super nice but not super easy to bully incumbent empress. All incumbent actress should be like her. A nomination will be a great recognition.

    Alice Chan also for the fact that her Princess Tai Ping is amazingly bad.XXX. but was she lead?

  14. part of me hopes whoever wins BA this year will deserve it and then part of me hopes it’s not one of my favorites lol.

    whoever wins BA usually gets typecasted after and has a hard time breaking through again.

  15. Certainly no Ali! Her acting is so freaking strereotype! Happy,sad, anxious…all same facial expression! Even Claire Yiu, a supporting is anytime better than Ali, anytime! Missed all the talented actresses that once grace the screen of TVB. Even the storyline sucks nowdays!

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