Will Serial Killer Theme in “Master of Play” Kill TVB Ratings?

The upcoming May 21st broadcast of TVB drama, Master of Play <心戰> has already stirred debate over its controversial subject matter: a psychotic and cannibalistic serial killer. Portraying affable characters in recent years, Moses Chan’s role as a serial killer will no doubt arouse debate in Hong Kong, in which moral judgments were still strong among the middle-aged population that held the power in swaying television ratings’ results.

TVB’s most daring duo, producer Jonathan Chik (戚其義) and scriptwriter Zhou Xuming (周旭明), incorporated cannibalism from When Heaven Burns <天與地> in new drama, Master of Play. Although When Heaven Burns was a critical success, the ratings failed to deliver. With its extreme content that was not family friendly, it was widely speculated that Master of Play may also suffer in ratings. It was questioned whether Master of Play will axe the current positive trend in drama ratings that TVB was experiencing.

Moses’ character was a magician on the surface, but was in fact a serial killer who even ate the flesh of one of his victims. Moses engaged in a battle of wits with neurotic theater master, Adam Cheng (鄭少秋). Obsessed with searching for the whereabouts of his kidnapped daughter for the last twenty-five years, Adam was uncertain whether his daughter was still alive. Adam became the critical link for the police in getting inside the mindset and methods of Moses’ serial killer character.

TVB Deputy Director of External Affairs, Tsang Sing Ming (曾醒明), admitted that the theme of Master of Play was quite extreme. However, the company wished to give a refreshing feeling to audiences and thus decided to air it in May.

Source: Apple Daily

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Jayne: No doubt the complaints will pour into the Broadcasting Authority when Master of Play airs in two weeks! Will Moses Chan be able to pull it off as a serial killer? No doubt Adam Cheng will succeed as the neurotic theater master. Perhaps he would have been even better as the serial killer himself.

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  1. I doubt it. In fact it may be high ratings if it is not as ploddingly slow or unnecessarily pretentious like that of WHB.

    1. I agree with comment that WHB was not ploddingly slow or pretentious. It was one of very very few series that demanded your full attention or the audience would be completely lost.

    2. I think it really depends on your interest. I gave up after watching 10 episodes of WHB and just skipped to the last five episodes. No doubt the show was very well-written, but if it was 10 episodes shorter I’d enjoy it a lot more.

    3. Cannot agree with you more that it’s “ploddingly slow or unnecessarily pretentious.”

      They need to stop recycling this cannibalism idea. Looking forward to another TVB fail so they’ll refrain from producing anymore of these kind of series.

    1. Yeah, I find the storyline interesting too. I think they can pull it off if it’s like Bowie as the detective who reads the minds of the criminals by psycho-analysis.

      If done slickly, it will be like Japanese detective series but i do not have hope that TVB will be able to do that so Bowie’s serial standard will be good enough for me.

    2. Yea, it does sound like a good theme and plot. Lets hope that everyone will perform well…

  2. The plot and theme sounds good. I’m in too. The series might be popular.

  3. I’m 100% supporting this drama series…..

    If TVB dramas every time on air are all family themes with sister cursing brother or son betraying father, I’ll be bored to death!!

    I want something fresh and bold with a little bit of sex/raping elements built into the screen play….. In reality, this is what all things about. We don’t expect things are 99.9% of the times beautiful, sweet and pleasant to our hearts and eyes…

  4. We should be able to find out whether it is acceptable or not after the airing of “Master of Play” in May.

  5. I foresee news of 100 complaints from see lais of this drama. Lol. But it’s somewhat great to see something new.

  6. I will give this a try solely bc of the theme. Couldn’t care less about Ah Mo actually I think he will drag this down.

    If only Raymond Wong or Ruco played Ah Mo’s role it would’ve been perfect.

  7. I agree that it will be more convincing to let Chan Chin Pang act this role in “Master of Play” as Chin Pang looks more villainous than Moses, and Chin Pang has done so many villainous roles in the past.

  8. ” Moses Chan’s role as a serial killer will no doubt arouse debate in Hong Kong, in which moral judgments were still strong among the middle-aged population that held the power in swaying television ratings’ results.”

    Hmm. Were these middle-aged population part of the audience during the early 90s when Ding Hai threw his sons off the rooftop in ‘Greed of Man’?

    1. Kidd,
      When Greed of Man was broadcast, I believe that the drama incited many complaints for the violence as well. However the overall drama was well done and there were enough righteous characters in the drama to balance things out.

      I’m sure they will give some redeeming factors to Moses’ character. Perhaps he kills those who manage to escape the justice system? I don’t think Tvb is ready to priduce a show where a central character kills for the joy of killing or eat flesh for pleasure. They will apologize with some psycological disorder (maybe split personality) or perverted justice. Otherwise it will be very difficult matter to handle on moral grounds.

      In Men With No Shadows, Raymond was the demon driven by revenge with elaborate background bio. The characters in When Heaven Burns are given chance to redeem themselves.

      1. Characters in TVB series are never full evil! The villains all must have at least one human being he/she truly loves in the series ROFL!

      2. Yup, Txb never can have a real villains. They are more of anti-hero villain. I want to see a true heartless big villain (maybe with an angel face) in Txb, who can blind everyone but actually very bad. The closest to this concept is Roger in Last one standing.

  9. Will watch this for Jonathan Chik and Chow Yuk Ming duo.

    1. Same here. Will watch this series for Jonathan Chik and Chow Yuk Ming.

  10. Sounds refreshing. Who are the female leads?

    1. Grace,
      Maggie Shiu and Aimee Chan will be in Master of Play.

    2. Great plot! Creative producer and scriptwriter! Adam=okay male lead! but weak female leads!

  11. not interested in adam cheng nor moses chan – will not watch

  12. I’m actually quite interest in this new drama. It’s different and sounds… thrilling. I hope it’ll be a success!

  13. The stars of this series aren’t overly interesting for me, but given that this is a Jonathan Chik production, I will definitely watch!

    In my opinion, there is room in TVB’s schedule for a multitude of different types of series. From the edgy, controversial plotlines that Chik brings, to the heartwarming stories from Lee Tim Shing, there is entertainment and value in them all.

    With increased competition from the new TV stations, I hope that TVB will not succumb to housewife complaints, and instead be motivated to bring out new and interesting offerings.

  14. This sounds amazing. However, how long is this? I don’t have a very long attention span.

    1. Checked it. 30 episodes. That’s way too long for a thriller theme like this one.

  15. Chik’s topic can be new all the time but why cast is the same? Whenever I see Chik, I see Moses =.=.

  16. its going to fail..Hk house wives wont buy it

  17. Sounds interesting… I’m not a huge fan of the cast but I might actually watch for the plot. Crazy thought, right?

  18. I will watch it for Maggie, Jonathan, and Yuk Ming.

  19. Hope that have a good scriptwriter for this, it’s gotta be interesting and an intelligent drama… which TVB has not done for a very long time. It’s especially difficult to make a serial killer likeable… like Dexter.

  20. I was gonna say, I feel like they are trying to copy Dexter with this one. Can TVB come up with anything original?

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