TVB’s “Barrack O’Karma” Is Keeping Everyone On Their Toes

TVB’s new horror drama Barrack O’Karma <金宵大廈> is on it way to be TVB’s best drama for 2019, but only time will tell if it would be able to keep up with its own pace.

Starring Joel Chan (陳山聰) and Selena Lee (李施嬅), the 20-episode serial is set in an old apartment building that is haunted by supernatural forces. It is written by Ruby Law (羅佩清), Yeung Suet-yee (楊雪兒), and Yeung Yan-wing (楊欣穎), the same writers who helmed the 2017 hit series The Exorcist’s Meter <降魔的>.

The first episode, which aired on September 16th, received near unanimous praise by critics and netizens alike, praising the drama’s good execution of horror and thrill. The first four minutes of the premiere, which featured Joel Chan surveying the halls of the haunted building, was touted by critics as one of TVB’s scariest moments since 2005’s The Zone <奇幻潮>. The drama’s second story arc “Infant” <>, in which the villain had a good ending, was unpredictable and quite unexpected for a typical TVB serial. But the villain’s true ending, which may reveal at the end of the 20-episode arc, is still unknown.

“Barrack O’Karma” also stars an interracial couple in the lead, a big step towards diversity and inclusion.

The main romance arc in the series, carried by Joel and Selena, has also been receiving praise for its subtlety. Many viewers have found themselves already invested in their relationship two episodes in. Joel and Selena have a star-crossed romance that spans different generations and lifetimes.

Among online polls, Barrack O’Karma is heading its way to de-throne ViuTV’s Limited Education <教束>, a series about Hong Kong’s education system, as Hong Kong’s best “legendary drama” of the year. But whether or not Barrack O’Karma will hold that title in the end will all depend on how the next 15 episodes will play out. Will the series fall under the same “plastic” fate as other TVB dramas? Only time will tell.

“Barrack O’Karma” Trailer


This article is written by Addy for

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  1. I love this drama so far! It has probably been years since there was a TVB drama that I wanted to keep watching. I think Selena is definitely good lead material and I wish her more success.

  2. I love this drama so far! The genre and premise is definitely up my alley. I’ve always loved Selena and enjoyed Joel so I’m happy with this drama. Hopefully it keeps up in quality!

  3. I haven’t been so excited for a TVB drama in such a long time. I started watching episode 1 online at 1am thinking, eh, it’s TVB, how scary could it be? I closed my browser 5 minutes in lol.

    The cases are unpredictable and the horror part is mostly psychological. Not much jump scare which is great news for me.

    I can’t wait until they dig further into Selena and Joe’s story. Since it’s Selena’s last series, I don’t think TVB will give her the TV queen award, but she might become one of the top choices for fans.

    1. @iciel Lol, I agree that TVB oftentimes is not scary but with Barrack O’Karma I think writers have done a decent job thus far with the horror element. And I too anticipate more of Selena and Joel’s story!

      I think Selena will end up a fan favorite for the award, but I doubt she’ll win since she’s no longer contracted. She still has Forensic Heroes 4, but that’s to be aired next year probably … so if she doesn’t win this year, perhaps with FH4 haha.

  4. I like this genre but the stories are pretty predictable. Also I dont think Joel suits this role of the rather naive easy going secu. He has a cunning look that doesn’t match the character he’s trying to portray. I cringed at Selena trying to pretend to be a “chicken” seducing Joel. So exaggerated.

    1. @passingby2 This series is nothing but predictable lol. Infant arc, the wacko actually won against the wife. Crow hag arc, kid actually got kidnapped and disappeared from the world for real. Doll arc also tackled the racism issue pretty nicely. Again, this series is anything but predictable.

  5. will check out the drama this week. just from reading about it, sounds like the drama with cathy chou ho mei from the 90s. that drama was an absolute classic.

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