TVB’s new second line prime-time drama, Inbound Troubles <老表，你好嘢！>, has been receiving mixed to positive reception since its premiere on January 14, 2013. Touted as one TVB’s most controversial dramas in recent years, the plot of Inbound Troubles touches upon the growing social rift and cultural division between mainland China and Hong Kong. Since the first week of broadcast, 230 complaints were filed to TVB and Hong Kong’s Broadcasting Authority, complaining that the drama is demeaning to both mainland China and Hong Kong.
Negative reception is better than no reception. Inbound Troubles premiered to 31 points on 14 January, averaging to 30 points by the fourth episode. It currently has the highest-rated drama debut for TVB’s 2013 television season.
Despite the sensitive plot line, Inbound Troubles has been generating positive critical reviews. The fresh cast, for example, was one aspect of the drama that garnered the most praise.
Wong Cho Lam and Ivana Wong Show Musical Talent
Inbound Troubles is Ivana Wong’s (王菀之) television drama debut. The singer stars as Ng Chi Ching, a twenty-something year old master’s student who drops out of law school to pursue a degree in music. Also serving as the drama’s scriptwriter, Wong Cho Lam (王祖藍) stars in the drama as rich but innocent mainland Chinese heir Choi Sum, who aims to fulfill his singing dreams in Hong Kong. The first-time collaborators are praised for their refreshing chemistry.
Both Ivana and Cho Lam share a love for music. As a result, a major side plot in Inbound Troubles involves the pair’s struggle to reach prominence in the Hong Kong music scene. Ivana composed several of the musical numbers in Inbound Troubles.
“I used to have a stage fright, but I have conquered it now. TVB City has become a very amiable place for me,” said Ivana.
Cho Lam was all praises for his costar, “[Ivana]’s sparks fly in all directions! Her acting is not like the typical TVB actress. She performs like she is on the theater stage.”
Cho Lam and Ivana are not newcomers in the industry. Cho Lam, a graduate from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, has been acting since 1998. Ivana released her first single in 2004.
Would the pair consider leaving the entertainment industry if they never reached fame? Cho Lam exclaimed, “I will not waste my time. We still have a family to take care of. In the past, I’ve considered working backstage. During the five years of my student life in college, I only acted once, which is why at the time, I considered studying directing.”
Ivana had a different take. “The reason I am here is because I love making music. It is my enjoyment. Even if I do not become a singer, I don’t think I would pursue careers other than my art. I would immigrate to foreign countries and perform on the streets if I had to.”
Having a plot that is entirely based on the cultural differences between mainland China and Hong Kong, Inbound Troubles received strong reactions from both regional audiences after its premiere. Sensitive viewers deemed the drama offensive for both mainland China and Hong Kong, and demanded TVB to cancel the show.
Cho Lam, who also serves as the scriptwriter, laughed, “We just want to provide a good platform for healthy discussion. We want to put some of the hottest topics in Hong Kong onthe small screen. If you attentively watch the show, you will discover that love does exist amidst the many contradicting relationships between the characters.”
Ivana jumped in, “Even if contradictions still exist between the Hong Kong people, I don’t think they are due to regional differences, but due to the fact that our lifestyles are forced to break into each other. Actually, this drama is all about positivism and love. If you remove the top coat, your understanding of the issue may be changed entirely.”
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.