“Raising the Bar” Aims to Introduce New Stars

TVB is often criticized for using a similar lead cast over and over again in its television dramas, but producer Joe Chan (陳維冠) hopes that his new legal drama Raising the Bar <四個女仔三個BAR> will dismiss these criticisms.

Raising the Bar stars 2013 Miss Hong Kong winner Grace Chan (陳凱琳), Never Dance Alone<女人俱樂部> star Jeannie Chan (陳瀅), The Voice‘s <超級巨聲> Stephanie Ho (何雁詩), and 2013 Miss Hong Kong second runner-up Moon Lau (劉佩玥) as four law graduates who face life-changing challenges in their legal profession.

“People always say [TVB dramas] use the same cast,” said producer Joe Chan. “The company actually has many actors with great potential. We should let them develop.”

Joe Chan praised the rookie cast of Raising the Bar, expressing that the girls are very hard-working and they all have great chemistry with their senior costars Ben Wong(黃智賢), Ram Chiang (蔣志光), and Timothy Cheng (鄭子誠). “I’ve watched the girls slowly improve with each performance. I am especially proud of the scene where Louis Cheung (張繼聰) confesses his love for Grace, and Grace’s expression of wanting to both accept and refuse him was done very well.”

Moon Lau gave a very tear-jerking performance in a scene where she rejected a marriage proposal. The tomboyish Stephanie Ho did an excellent crying scene when she finally forgave her inmate father. Jeannie Chan had a very heartbreaking scene which involved her crying in front of her father’s grave.

Joe Chan also shared that the girls got along really well behind-the-scenes, and that they often chatted in English.

Besides the rookie actresses, TVB artistes Elaine Yiu (姚子羚) and Natalie Tong (唐詩詠) also had eye-catching performances. Joe praised Elaine, “Her acting was much more mature and she was able to share her experiences with [the rookie actresses]. Whether it was their characters or in real life, their relationship was like that of a mentor and students.”

Natalie Tong portrays Jeannie Chan’s older half-sister who has an extramarital affair with Timothy Cheng. Joe Chan said, “Natalie Tong was a big help, because I wanted someone who has the acting skills but appears very youthful. As for Timothy, he is always playing villains. This time, his character is very humorous. An actor can have many faces, and I want to give the audiences a fresh [cast].”

“Raising the Bar” Trailer

[vsw id=”eG-trA9umzU” source=”youtube” width=”500″ height=”375″ autoplay=”no”]

Source: Ming Pao

This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.

Related Articles


  1. I like Timothy’s role already! Finally they give him a chance!

      1. Me too! I’m liking this series so far. The girls are ok, but I’m looking forward to the Tim + Nat line the most. And I like “his” pupil the most too. She’s funny.

    1. Makes sense of balanced well. So far very great. Am happy timothy given a good and heavy role.

    2. Seriously? Have you seen western shows? They have a lot of main characters too.

    3. I wonder if you would say the same thing if this cast contained the 6 young ladies from M club.

      This series has 4 potential lawyers… 3 of them are main protagonists while the other 3 are supporting characters.

      While M Club contained 6 main female characters.

      my point is: you are such a hypocrite.

      1. Yeah i agree with her. would you say that it was too many people if the cast was the 6 young ladies from M Club? probs not.

      2. There are the 4 girls, plus Ben, Elaine, Natalie, Louis and Timothy. That’s 9 peeps and only 25 episodes. I’m just saying it’s a potential problem. It is by the same producer as M Club, so who knows, it might work if the story is written well.

      3. Did you say the same thing with Friendly Fire except FF used a more established cast and has the SAME amount of episodes? Both Friendly Fire and this drama has a similar amount of characters.

        in FF, You have: the trainees, the judges, and the police force + family.

        In FF, there was Sharon, Benz, Tavia, Michael + CID officers (Hoff, Patrick, Otto) + the pupil prosecutors (Bella, James, Cindy, Oscar and Samanatha Ko).

        The only difference is this drama has 4 lawyer trainees + Ben, Elaine, Natalie, Timothy

      4. I remember Hanzawa Naoki had 1 lead, surrounded by at least 4 main characters and in each episode faces probably 3 to 5 new characters and it was only 12 episodes, 45 min each. It went well. It is about storytelling. No point so few actors and long episodes when it goes around the same bush. But I understand your concern. Let’s see how it goes. So far, looks ok to me.

  2. i actually like stephanie ho’s acting. esp on her first drama with wong cho lam (i think). she was hilarious.

    1. Me too! Out of all the girl leads, she stands out by far imo. She’s very natural onscreen. Watched her first drama with wong cho lam and she does have comedy skills xD I hope TVB will promote her more since she has obvious potential.

  3. I would like to see nathalie tong as the lead. Its sad that shes been in the industry so long but still playes the 2nd lead roles. Beside that i think shes a better actress than most leads of nowadays dramas. She just didnt have luck.

  4. My take away from this is: “if you can cry, your acting is classified ‘good'”.

    1. Yes, it is just silly. TVB’s good acting is all about crying

    2. haha that’s exactly what I got out of this article too! If you can play a heartbroken scene and cry = good =”(

      Anyone watched the first few eps? Is the plot too over the top cheesy again…

    1. I only started to watch this drama because of Elaine and Natalie. They have the experience and skills, yet they never get a good chance to lead, instead, have newcomers leading over them…is that a stab in the back or what.

      1. Elaine is a MAIN character, which means we can expect that she will have equal screen time as Grace. Grace’s character is also another main character.

        The other newcomers and Natalie are mostly supporting characters but may have equal or similar amount of screen time.

      2. Is she the main character? My impression is she will probably later divorce her husband and go with another man. Hardly main character.

        Is it so hard to understand the concept of this series which is about 4 young lawyers and obviously Grace IS the lead? Does it matter if Elaine is the lead and if she is, this is the wrong series? With or without new actresses Elaine was never ever going to be an A-lister.

      3. how is it wrong series? we havent even went through the first five series yet.

  5. So far the series is ok, kind of slow not much going on, need to bring back fala

    1. fala is past tense,tvb have enough promising female newbies which they want to promote in the coming years.

    1. not necessarily. m club’s young actresses was also 1st time, aside from eliza sam..

      1. I was extremely impressed with the M club young leads, I would watch them over fresh out of the oven pageant winners any time.

      2. @ Clementine

        Well, you get to watch one of them again here. Jeannie Chan was young Flora Chan in M Club. 🙂

  6. This series has loads potential, 1st episode is great, good cast mix of newbies and experience…legal drama normally dont dissappoint.

    about time something decent on TVB been pretty boring since anniversary series..

  7. I like ben wong most…it’s about time tvb promotes him. his role as 辣姜 is memorable.

  8. Can’t help but laughing at such stupid and outdated colonial relics as attorneys wearing wigs at trials. Blond ones at that. LOL!!

  9. 4 girls 3 Bars looks fresh due to the girls as the main focus. All the girls look like they’re having fun filming together and they’re all cute. I might look into this when I have time.

  10. i like this series. rather refreshing for a change. and yes i like the understudy and sifu relationship of Timothy cheng and the short girl.. vry funny indeed!

  11. Well, the producer has a point. Refreshing cast! I don’t mind new people as long as they act okay.

  12. this is a good series after only 2 episodes.

    Stephanie Ho is really funny

  13. the young girls make this drama on law a joke. I like the veteran artistes, not this group of girls.

    1. Go watch all the old tvb series then? No one is forcing you to watch this.

      If people dimsissed Maggie Cheung Man Yuk based on her first two series then Hong Kong would never had one of its greatest actresses. Or any actress/actor for all that matter.

      1. I enjoy watching the seniors in this drama…they did a great job. tvb should promote ben, Elaine, natalie…they are good.

    2. But, this series is about young trainee lawyers. So, the young girls appropriate casting. Plus, the young girls actually at well in the series.

      There are many other lawyer dramas headed by veterans already.

  14. Its time TVB graces the young, pretty and talented actresses. The present fadans are getting old.

  15. I don’t like that actress who portrayed Flora chan when she was younger in M club. I like the veterans, not this group of young girls.

  16. Watched 2 episodes, pretty boring. There’s no storyline and the “cases” or “court trials” they go to have no details (it’s like court in session, you win), overall pretty sloppy and messy.

    Grace was horrible in the scene when she confronted Stephen Huynh in English. TVB needs to provided her proper training off screen before stuffing her face to the audience in every upcoming drama.

    1. I thought she did so much better compared to Overachievers…

  17. So far, so good. It’s refreshing to see new faces. Most of them still need some polishing but I can see great potential coming from them.

  18. TVB should’ve made the newbies supporting first instead of letting them lead over seniors like Elaine, Natalie, Ben, Louis. Grace looks like a malnourished Indian girl.

    1. Elaine is leading though. She’s one of the main protagonists. Only Grace’s character is one of the female main characters. The other three are supporting characters but with a lot of screen time.

  19. This serial look boring compare to Survivor’s Law,the young girl are pretty but the acting skill are poor compare to Myolie wu when she promote to first lead ,and the serial lack of male lead only Ben Wong as lead,they shall hire Kevin Cheng ,Moses Chan or Kenneth Ma as the main lead

    1. Exactly. The young girls Grace Chan , Jeannie, Stephanie and Moon are so lacking compared to Myolie and Bernice in Survivors Law. Their acting too cheesy and the storyline is boring! The court cases are too bland.

      1. Tbh, did you really expect them to be exceeding myolie and Bernice in this series with their experience ? They are newcomers, the “so lacking” performances should be understandable given the fact that tvb has launched them to lead roles already. Altgough this is the company’s decision, i don’t find it fair (if there is even such a thing now lol) or wise.

      2. Wow. I liked survivor’s law but Bernice’s acting in there was the EPITOME of cheesy and annoying!

  20. Not sure if I like this yet but I see a lot of new talents in this! I especially like Stephanie Ho, grace chan and the M club actress I don’t know the name of. Even though they tend to overact sometimes. I recently watched one of charmaine’s old drama again and dare I say she was quite bad as a newbie compared to these three girls (of course improved to a dependable actress after all these years) so really, people should give new actresses more chance. TVB desperately needs new talent, it’s harsh but true: veterans may be good but it’s television and people always need some young and attractive leads.

    1. Yes, I agree. I think these 4 newcomers are quite good actually. Better than some of the fa dans when they first started (eg Charmaine sheh like you mentioned, Elaine Yiu, Natalie Tong, Shirley Yeung etc)
      Btw, the girl from M Club is called Jeannie Chan.

  21. Not much of a challenging role for Jeannie since she played a similar character in MClub.

  22. Barrister trainees? interns? for no money and yet they are able to support themselves for two years? I can see the rich one going home to her parents for monetary support but the others? I have to say some plots are believable while others are not. The veterans like Ben, Ram, Natalie and others carry the show while the young ones are struggling to make relevance as up and coming barristers while going through the episodes to get their training. 2 years of internship compressed into 25 episodes??? definitely overly optimistic to show their development.

  23. Watched 5 episodes and the new girls are not that exciting and the drama can’t compare to the legendary Survivor Law.

    Timothy Cheng surprisingly carried the show. Grace is overrated, her speech is not that smooth and she’s a pain to look at. Ben Wong has great style but his character is not as awesome lawyer as what every chracter in the series keep saying.

    1. I miss the time when there great newbies like Myolie and Tavia.

  24. Somehow, I don’t fancy Louis Cheung’s acting, not natural.

  25. So glad that Timothy Cheng has more screen time. Really love his acting. Like Ram Chiang & Ben Wong too. Why so little screen for Natalie ;0(

  26. Just started watching this, so far it has exceeded my expectations! Let’s see how things unfold and whether they can keep up the decent quality.

Comments are closed.