TVB’s 10 Worst Dramas
For 50 years, TVB led the Hong Kong entertainment scene to global success, making it one of the most prolific and well-known TV broadcasters in the Asian entertainment scene. Despite having its fair share of critically successful productions, TVB is definitely no stranger when it comes to making questionable, incompetent, and quite frankly—“plastic”—dramas. Here are 10 TVB dramas deemed to be some of TVB’s worst in its 50-year history.
- Devil’s Disciple <強劍>
Filmed in 2005 and released in 2007, the wuxia drama starred Kevin Cheng (鄭嘉穎), Bosco Wong (黃宗澤), and Bernice Liu (廖碧兒), and was one of TVB’s first dramas to be promoted with a CGI gimmick. The show receive generally positive reviews during its first week of broadcast, with Wayne Lai’s (黎耀祥) early death scene taking near-unanimous praise around the block. However, the series took a strange turn as the story progressed, and the characters started to exhibit strange abilities that didn’t fit well with the story’s theme. To be fair, Devil’s Disciple was a trial run, TVB’s attempt at trying something different. Unfortunately, the new style didn’t sit well with viewers, and the latter half of the show completely ruined the series’ commendable beginning.
- The King of Snooker <桌球天王>
Released in 2009, The King of Snooker was a highly-anticipated show when it was first announced, due to it being Adam Cheng’s (鄭少秋) first TVB drama in three years Unfortunately, The King of Snooker did not meet expectations, despite Adam’s near-perfect track record of starring in critically-successful TVB dramas. The King of Snooker had ridiculous exaggerations of the cue sport, with viewers calling it a slightly worse version of the teen drama Aqua Heroes <戀愛自由式>.
- Bullet Brain <神探高倫布>
2013’s Bullet Brain was widely regarded as one of the breaking points in Lee Tim-shing’s (李添勝) career, who is best known for creating the critically-successful Rosy Business <巾幗梟雄> franchise. Despite being marketed as a period mystery drama, Bullet Brain was everything else but a crime mystery, and viewers were upset by its misleading promotions and title. Bullet Brain was neither an interesting drama nor a funny comedy, and many viewers found the storyline to be boring. Despite its prime time broadcast slot, Bullet Brain failed to draw in stable viewers, hitting as low as 20 rating points.
- Super Snoops <荃加福祿壽探案>
The 2011 TVB anniversary drama was a sister-production to the critically-successful variety show Fun with Liza and Gods <荃加福祿壽>, a talent show where artists got to show off their impersonation talents. The variety show pushed stars like Wong Cho-lam (王祖藍), Louis Yuen (阮兆祥), and Johnson Lee (李思捷) to fame, and once again solidified Liza Wang as TVB’s #1 sister. To take advantage of their popularity, TVB gave the green light to Super Snoops in hopes to rake in more viewers, but despite its high production costs and star-studded cast, Super Snoops was plagued with old jokes and an ending that satisfied no one.
- My Lover from the Planet Meow <來自喵喵星的妳>
The 2016 romantic comedy was the sister production to 2015’s Ghost of Relativity <鬼同你OT>, the drama that earned Nancy Wu (胡定欣) her first Best Actress win. My Lover from the Planet Meow was expected to answer the popularity of Ghost of Relativity, but instead Planet Meow’s rating dropped to new lows, pulling in an average of only 21 points. Despite being promoted as a “sci-fi” romantic comedy, none of the science on the show was even close to accurate, and viewers found Kristal Tin’s (田蕊妮) portrayal of an alien cat to be quite uncomfortable for someone her age.
- A Bride for a Ride <王老虎搶親>
2009’s A Bride for a Ride is a Cantonese opera parody, and a spin-off of the classical play Three Smiles of Fate <三笑姻緣>. The show had its funny moments, but its jokes tended to be more inconsistent than genuinely funny. The series, however, did leave behind a memorable performance by Sammul Chan (陳鍵鋒), who played a cross-dressing character.
- Sniper Standoff <神鎗狙擊>
Not only was 2013’s Sniper Standoff Michael Tse’s (謝天華) last TVB drama before leaving, it was also a low point in Michael Tse’s otherwise fruitful career. The action drama showcased unrealistic expectations of gravity on earth—even Mission: Impossible’s Ethan Hunt or Uncharted’s Nathan Drake could talk on the phone and climb rocks at the same time. Kate Tsui (徐子珊) showcased her immortality by surviving through bombings and shootouts, but then a single bullet killed her in the final episode. Unrealistic.
- Tiger Cubs II <飛虎II>
2012’s Tiger Cubs <飛虎> was a breakout success, and it would have been the start of a solid action franchise for TVB, but with its underwhelming 2014 sequel, it is highly unlikely that TVB would continue it. Tiger Cubs II had an interesting start with some interesting developments, but its exaggerated action scenes toward the end ruined the viewers’ mood of watching another TV show about Hong Kong’s Special Duties Unit. Oscar Leung’s (梁烈唯) usage of a plastic bubble gun to distract opponents was “plastic” and unrealistic. The final episode—where the main characters turned off a ticking bomb with a switch—was absolutely laughable.
- Ten Brothers <十兄弟>
The 2007 TVB drama was based on a classic 1959 Hong Kong film about ten brothers with special powers. The adaptation was a strange success. Due to its weak cast and the show’s history of having stayed in TVB’s warehouse for a few years, critics initially did not think it was a good move on TVB’s part to release the show on prime time. However, Ten Brothers surpassed all obstacles and drew in solid ratings, even bringing more relevance to Lai Lok-yi’s (黎諾懿) career. It was a rare “plastic” drama that Hong Kong viewers enjoyed.
- The Winter Melon Tale <大冬瓜>
Like Ten Brothers, The Winter Melon Tale is a period fantasy drama burdened with poor computer graphics. However unlike Ten Brothers, which was not all that bad, The Winter Melon was actually plastic from beginning to end. The Winter Melon may have been Liu Kai-chi’s (廖啟智) first TVB drama in years, but the story was a mess from the start, with broken storytelling and random Pokémon inspirations. None of it made sense.
Do you agree with the list?
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.
I actually like half of the series in this list with my favourite being ‘Devil’s Disciple’, ‘Bullet Brain’ and ‘Super Snoops. These series are not without their problems and I can see their weakness. But, I enjoy them nonetheless.
I especially like case acted by Linda Chung and the child actor Lawrence Ng Lok Wang. You can see some great acting there by these two actors.
As for ‘Bullet Brain’, the only really bad part of the series is Sire Ma’s character. The plot involving her is quite a waste of time and the character itself is nonsensical and unlikable. Nothing the do with the actress’ acting. Sire did the best she could with the script. Other than that, the overall premise and plot is quite interesting.
I don’t agree with the list. There are worst dramas.
Huh.. I actually liked Ten Brothers. Can’t believe it’s been ten years lol.
dont agreed! definitely lots of other shows are way crap than the list. out of those 10 series i don’t like My Lover from the Planet Meow or bullet brain.
@hannah hi-5…these 2 dramas are so ridiculous…getting a 40+ woman to act cute…i realize dramas with wayne lai tend to make him so invincible. that drama with louisa where wayne acts as her driver is irritating. oh yes, Bet hur sucks terribly. the other one with sniper theme which has linda chung is horrible too. she looked like a bull dog.
@janet72 yahhh haha couldn’t agree more!!
This list is missing Bet Hur. This has got to be one of the worst TVB series ever. This series is dull, the plot and storyline sucked, and that ending was so infuriating to watch! Seriously horrible! TVB needs to stop working with Wong Jing.
I had read the original feature that HK01 did (in Chinese) and the above article is actually part 2 (part 1 was the top 10 best series in 50 years). One important thing to note (which is a caveat that HK01 had put in at the beginning of part 1) is that both lists are purely the opinion of the particular reporter who wrote the feature and does not represent all HK audiences opinion nor is it backed up by any particular data (i.e. ratings). So basically, take the above article with a grain of salt….
Personally, I’m a bit indifferent towards the “worst series” list, as I didn’t care for any of the above series anyway. I actually found more to “disagree” with on the top 10 best series list (more than half the series I didn’t agree with and there were some glaring “snubs” in that list)…but again, not going to get too worked up about it, since it’s the personal opinion of that particular reporter.
Also, I find doing these types of top 10 lists really pointless (unless there is indisputable data to back it up, such as top 10 highest rated series or something like that), since at the end of the day, it really boils down to personal opinion. My choices for top 10 and worst 10 will probably differ from someone else’s depending on which series were watched. We could argue until we’re blue in the face about which series deserve to be on which lists and it would still be different…
The greed of man starring Adam Cheng is IMO the best tvb drama . At the threshold of an era is one of my favourites too … I hope tvb can produce such quality dramas in the future
@karina thought I’m the only one who enjoyed Ten Brothers lol
@hellome exactly. Bet Hur deserved to be in this list with the very first rank. Tvb keeps producing shitty series recent years.
At least 3 of the top 10 best ever TVB series had Deric Wan in.
@jimmyszeto LOL…yes, I have to agree! Check out the list I posted below that TVB had put together during their 28th Anniversary Gala in 1995 — you will probably be as estatic about that list as I was back then.
Here’s my list of Top TVB series. Sorry can’t leave these out so more than 10. Not decided on the order and should be plenty I have missed out
1. Legend of the Condor Heroes
2. Looking Backing In Anger
3.The Breaking Point
4.Return of the Condor Heroes
5. The Bund
6. War and Beauty
7. When Heavens Burn
8.Blood of Good and Evil
9. The Greed of Man
10.Secret of the Heart
11. Final Verdict
12. Cold Blood Warm Heart
13. A Step in the Past
14. Chor Lau Heung (Michael Miu Version)
15. King of Yesterday and Tomorrow
@jimmyszeto Definitely some great choices in there! I’m not even going to attempt to list out 10 though because it’s impossible given the amount of series I’ve seen and the enormous list of favorites I have (mostly from the 70s, 80s, and 90s). With that said though, no doubt that LBIA and BOGAE would definitely be at the top of my list somewhere (I still consider both series 2 of the best series that TVB has ever produced). To me, any list that doesn’t have LBIA on it (the HK01 list doesn’t) as one of the top ten best TVB series pretty much has zero credibility in my book. LBIA is one of the few series – ok, probably the only series – where the ending is still debated and talked about throughout the 30 years after the series was made (btw, I did a post about this on my blog a few years back)….also, the series is credited with single-handedly propping up the “lucky star” phenomenon back when it aired, turning so many sellers of “lucky star” stuff into very wealthy people (on a personal note, I learned to make “lucky stars” because of that series and still have jars of them at home from that time). LOTCH and ROTCH are on my list too but with so many awesome wuxia series in the 80s (which was known as the era of the wuxia series), it’s kind of hard not to include a bunch of others as well. Oh and all of Chow Yun Fat and Dodo Cheng’s series from the 70s/early 80s – they are my all-time favorite TVB onscreen couple so anything they were both in automatically goes on my list, lol.
I spend my childhood rewatching Legend of Condor Heroes, Return of the Condor Heroes, Heaven Sword Dragons Sabre, Tuk Ku Kau Bai. Must have seen each one dozens of times if not hundreds. Blood of Good and Evil was the first TVB series to bring the warmth of our England scenes and includes my favourite series actor of all time Deric Wan just ahead of Felix so will always have a soft spot for it. Looking back in Anger had all the leads performing top notch and very balanced series.Even Carina Lau turned up with a career best performance and Deric Wan a relatively new actor to be acting at that level seems incredible. Probably the shortest rise to stardom for an actor in TVB over the years. The ending will have to go down as the best ending ever due to the way the villain met his end and the mysterious debated ending which was unheard of at the time to end on a cliffhanger.. back in those days the endings there were some great endings. The Bund must be another great one. Damn. I missed ‘On the Edge’ as another top series with one of the the best endings. That makes it 4 for Deric but this one is all about Francis Ng. ‘On the Edge’ shows why Francis is one of the top actors in Hong Kong right now. If there are more great endings, please remind me!
@jimmyszeto You are absolutely right about On the Edge (yes, that’s on my favorites list as well). Such a sad and depressing series, yet SO GOOD! And yes, that series was more about Francis than Deric, though both put in wonderful performances (oh and of course, Sheren — what can I say? Excellent performance as usual! Supporting cast was also very good.). I watched practically all of Francis’ series from the 80s era but it wasn’t really until On the Edge (early 90s) that I really fell in love with him as an actor…oh and yes, THAT ENDING – memorable, poignant, and absolutely had me bawling like a baby (especially given how much I loved Francis’ character in that series)….I remember after the way that series ended, there was a period of time where I hated Michael Tao, lol (having watched the series, I’m sure you’ll understand why)…but of course, that also shows how convincing a villain character Michael was in that series.
There were plenty of series that had great endings back then: in addition to the 2 mentioned above (LBIA and On the Edge), there were also Blood of Good and Evil (I’ve re-watched that series a zillion times yet the ending never fails to make me cry each time I watch), The Bund (which goes down in history books as one of the most imitated endings of all time, lol), The Greed of Man, Feud Between Two Brothers, The Fearless Duo, War of the Dragon, Police Cadet ’84, The Good the Bad and the Ugly (1970s era), all had great / memorable / famous / much talked about endings (I’m sure there are more but those are the ones that come to mind off the top of my head) .
@llwy12 LBIA is airing in my country now. I remembered watching it when i was a kid and got so confused about its ending. It had the perfect cast and every actors and actresses gave the mind-blowing performance, especially Deric, imo its too cringeworthy to watch him in protagonist bcoz he was born to play villain roles lol. Carina never failed to impress me, her role was like the piece of cake to her. About the ending, u r right, after 30 years still people are discussing about it. I read somewhere that Felix said the woman with red skirt was the sister of Kin. Im more convinced if it was Carina’s bcoz the sister wasnt not supposed to touch ur bro like that. It must be Carina, she still loves Kin but she cant forgive him, thats how she left the note….the whole series is kinda dramatic therefore i want it to have a HE but Tvb never gives u what u want lol
@alicesky The truth is, it was actually both — if you answered the sister or Carina, you are technically correct. Oh and there’s a reason why she left the note (and it’s not because of the reason you stated). Let me go dig up the blog post I wrote about it years ago, as I explain it better in there, lol (Felix and LBIA’s producer Wai Ka Fai actually put the issue to rest a few years ago by explaining the ending in an interview with Mingpao magazine…)
@alicesky Found it…the article was quite lengthy, as it was a 2 part special tribute to veteran actress So Hang Suen (she played Felix and Deric’s adoptive mother Auntie Wan in LBIA), who had passed away earlier that year. I would recommend reading the entire article, as there is alot of information about Suen Jeh’s most famous series (i.e. Legend of the Condor Heroes, Police Cadet franchise, Files of Justice franchise, etc.) but if you just want to read the part about LBIA’s ending, look for this subheading (in bold): “Almost did not get the part of ‘Ting Yau Kin’; the truth about Looking Back in Anger’s ‘mystery’ ending”.
Of course, if you haven’t finished watching LBIA yet, don’t read this until you finish due to the major spoiler with the ending….
@llwy12 thanks a lot. I will check it asap.
@jimmyszeto What happened to Deric Wan? Kinda miss not seeing him in today’s TVB drama series.
Due to Deric’s scandals, his popularity in Hong Kong declined and the likes of Gallen Lo who would not have been good enough to be mentioned in the same sentence as him back in the later 80s and early 90s have overtaken him. Since he has moved to China for business and occasional appearances in mainland series. He has been very vocal in his patriotic support of China. It is safe to say that he will not appear or not allowed to act in a Hong Kong series ever again. It is a shame. He at one stage looked to become the biggest star of them all.
@jimmyszeto Yup…not to mention Deric’s “hate/hate” relationship with the HK media…at one point, he even swore that he would never let an HK media outlet interview him again. Definitely a shame, as he was one of the few truly versatile lead actors TVB had who could actually take whatever type of role thrown at him and handle it convincingly — good guy, evil villain, ordinary grassroots every man type role, silly comedic type, handicapped person, etc….basically the whole gamut and everything in between.
Devils disciple was passable because the humour and sorrow parts were quite balanced from the 2 make leads.I agree that the series in the list were mainly terrible but it is written by an unqualified article writer. All the series were recent and there are no mentions of series from the 80s and 90s.
@jimmyszeto Yup, agreed! The top 10 best series list actually does have 80s/90s series in it, but some of the choices were still a bit baffling. And the “justification” they gave on why those deserve to be “best series” was a bit weak, as I could think of many more that fit their “criteria”. Also, looking at both lists, it’s kind of obvious that the person who wrote the feature is from the later generation and didn’t really watch all the series nor are they familiar with TVB history. Honestly, if they are going to do a “best” and “worst” list like this, they need to include ALL series from the past 50 years. There were no series from the 1970s on either list but there SHOULD be, as some of those series were iconic and actually set the path for TVB to become the successful production house they are today.
When looking at best and worst TVB series, I usually defer back to the 3 lists that were put together over the years based purely on ratings. Though I don’t necessarily agree with some of those series being “good” or “bad” either (mostly because I personally don’t use ratings to determine the “worthiness” of a series), at least those lists are objective in that they are based purely on numbers rather than someone’s personal opinion. If anyone is interested, here are the lists based on ratings (not 100% inclusive of course, since it only counts series produced up through the year the lists came out and also 2 of the lists don’t go back far enough – but definitely more objective than HK01’s lists):
Top 10 based on ratings (put together by Singpao in 2013)
Worst 10 based on ratings (put together by Singpao in 2013)
TVB’s own list of Top 10 highest rated series (1995 and prior) **This is my FAVORITE list out of all of them, lol!**
While I love Ada Choi, I’d definitely put “Fly With Me” on this list. It was SO terrible!
@Huynh I actually enjoyed “Fly With Me.” There were doses of witticism and laughable humor in it.
With that said, TVB’s list of poor dramas exceed 10. I would place it at least over 100 so far. If you think about it, every year there is only 4-5 productions that are really worth the time to watch. That means, out of 12+ dramas produced each year, only about 30% is watchable. The 70% left is either trash or not worthwhile.
With such an egregious track record, the fact there’s only a list of “Top 10 Worst Dramas” is already complimentary enough. There should be a Top 100 Worst Dramas list made.
@coralie Your numbers are actually very generous – for me nowadays, I consider it a miracle if I’m even able to find 2 decent TVB series to watch in a year (2017 so far is ZERO series worth watching, which in itself is a record for me). Agreed about top 100 worst list, lol…should be an easy feat though – just take everything from this year all the way back 10 to 15 years and there are more than enough series to fill the list.
@huynh Yup, I agree. Tvb wasted Ada’s talent and time with this terrible drama.
Agree with the list but should add in recent few ones, last 2 years itself can fill the list.
I am kind of disappointed that “Cat Poop Mommy” did not made this distinguished list. Just the title itself should worth something.
@aiya Thats because there is not one one tvb drama that got this title.lol.
A lot of “supernatural” themes on here. From the list, I actually enjoyed Super Snoops, Ten Brothers, and King of Snooker a lot. Either skipped out on some of the other dramas or thought they were pretty meh, but not horrible. I would say the worst I’ve seen from TVB in recent years has to be Bet Hur. With such a grand cast, I was appalled by how horrible the plot was. First TVB drama that I was insulted by just from watching.
@minhee Bet hur was rubbish ! A huge waste of the cast! Did you know wong jing has another drama coming with another grand cast?
I’m looking for high-budget TVB dramas.
Line Walker 2 was meh, but it had mainland production money so the lighting, cinematography, and stunts were great. Hence I really enjoyed it.
Now do top 10 best dramas ! 😀
Oh tvb what r u doing? U r makin me enjoy your shows again. My ages apart is funny and well acted although i wish i see more of the young man speaking bobbys line and tonight exorcist metre made me gasp and cry. I didnt expect that story with the liks.
Come on, is that really the worst list? haha… I actually find Ten Brothers bearable and was able to finish. Didn’t see a lot of them up there so can’t really compare. Recently, there was that recent Ben Hur series, that definitely should be up there? Horrible cast except for that porno cute guy hahaha lol…all the rest are just so boring to watch. Not even one likable character in that series. It was not that bad in the beginning but downright ridiculous towards the middle and the end.
The worst worst worst tvb drama gotta be Recipes to Live By 《味想天開》 with Tony Hung as the lead. I still cant believe this Tvb put this drama during Chinese New Year slot…”Tai kat Lei Si”!
Then the second worst drama is Bullet Brain .
No doubt about it.
The third rubbish drama I would have to pick, it must be Bet Hur (澳門群英會).
3 words to describe these dramas – stupid, boring and pointless.
Oh wait, I also need to include Officer Geomancer (八卦神探) 2014, Lady Sour (2014), Slow Boat Home (2013), Beauty at War (2013) The Beauty of the Game, Biter Bitten, Sunshine Heartbeat,Hearts of Fencing, Master of Destiny (2015), Not Just a Pretty Face and maybe Yummy Yummy too to the list.
Why is Ten Brothers on the list when it says it was a success and pulled some solid ratings? I enjoyed that series too 🙂
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