[Review] “Raising the Bar” (By Miriamfanz)

Raising the Bar <四個女仔三個BAR>
TVB Drama 2015

Producer: Joe Chan
Genre: Legal
Number of Episodes: 25


Ben Wong, Grace Chan, Jeannie Chan, Stephanie Ho, Moon Lau, Louis Cheung, Elaine Yiu, Timothy Cheng, Natalie Tong

Raising The Bar takes a fresh angle on the oft-seen TVB legal drama. Instead of the typical case-by-case structure, this series focuses on the daily routines of a lawyer. The depiction of a lawyer’s job is fairly realistic and shows the less glamorous side of the profession. There are also little tidbits, like the call to the bar or scheduling hearings, that are rarely seen in other legal dramas. The cases cover a variety of matters before the court and do not shy away from sensitive topics. For once, legal procedures and reasoning are mostly followed. It is also shocking to know that there is actually more than one judge in Hong Kong.

I was worried about the overwhelming number of characters at the beginning, but the series quickly deals with that by regulating some characters to the background. That is not to say, however, that the focus went to the best stories. The second half of the series put an overemphasis on romantic lines that no one cared about (ie. Elaine’s affair). Further, it throws logic out the door with the sexual harassment case, which any competent lawyer should have gotten rid of a long time ago.

Raising the Bar girls 2The four girls were surprisingly capable of carrying the series. They clearly had a lot of fun filming together, which shows in their on-screen interactions. Grace Chan shows why she is perhaps deserving of her rapid climb to lead status as she looked comfortable and natural in her role. Jeannie Chan suited the role of the snobby rich girl and smoothly managed her character’s transition into a more humble person. Stephanie Ho is cute and provided comedic relief. Moon Lau fared well for her first series; though she was not particularly impressive, she was certainly not bad either.

Raising the Bar Ben WongBen Wong hits the nail with his professionalism as an experienced barrister, especially with those reading glasses. Elaine Yiu needs to stop being given these discontent wife roles. Natalie Tong has been doing a great job with her subtle performances. Louis Cheung is a really versatile actor, but his character’s odd obsession with aliens was something that I don’t get. Timothy Cheng is funny in his interactions with Stephanie and Natalie. King Lam does a good job with his clueless lawyer, while Hugo Wong is great eye candy despite limited screen-time.

So does Raising the Bar actually raise the bar for TVB productions? Maybe slightly, but it is not without its faults. What does the jury think?

The review is written by Miriamfanz, a Contributing Writer at JayneStars.com. Visit Miriamfanz’s blog!

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  1. I thought Timothy was more convincing as a lawyer than Ben. And I feel Ben’s character is made to look rather ridiculous that for a big time lawyer his cases are really not fit for him. Unless he is paid well and I don’t see his clients paying him well at all.

    Elaine is typecast and her character wastes a lot of precious time. Natalie serves a purpose but more like walk on role than anything.

    As for Louis I suppose his obssession is to show how odd he is and in a way how Giselle complements him when she accepts him for who he is as opposed to his ex gf.

    Grace Chan was wonderful even if her character became odd and annoying, her performance does not in any way indicate this was her… 2nd series? 3rd series? Loads of potential but must be nurtured and given the right role.

    1. P/S young actor as Joebee was masterful. He started out like an old man in a young man’s body but in the end he is just a young boy and I feel absolutely deserves a mention.

      Moon Lau is in a role that suits her. But frankly her performance was the worst of the 4 and sub par.

  2. i love this drama. it’s one of the best ones tvb’s had in a long time. i agree it talks about the more realistic life of lawyers not just the scenes we see them in bars and having fun like in other dramas. being a lawyer is good, but it’s takes alot of effort and work to be good at what you do just like other professions. we don’t always see the efforts of what people put in to get what they earn.

  3. Story is ok. scrip is incompleted. Writer forgot about the consequences to Elaine Yiu’s affair with the book store owner. How come Ben didn’t do anything about his wife when he suspected? This is annoying. The charactor of Grace is super annoying too toward the last few episodes.

      1. They never retouched on the subject after the affair. Either the scriptwriters are incompetent or they edit too much out.

      2. Yes, I concurred with you Michael that “Either the scriptwriters are incompetent or they edit too much out.”
        Too bad…

  4. I was actually very interested in the prison case with the inmates that was handled by Timothy – shame it was never revealed whether it was solved or not

  5. end was just horrible, like all tvb endings…so rushed, they just pack everything and end everything in one episode

  6. Grace character at the end was so freaking annoying, stupid and selfish. And through out the entire series I just kept wondering how the hell did she win Miss Chinese. The drama was pretty good but the ending was totally rushed. The ending could have totally been better if they added couple of more episode

  7. I think it is a quite fresh product. Watching it after stopping TVB series for a long while and it is surprisingly not bad. Much better than the other series airing in TVB during this period and of course, fresher. We dont have to see the same old faces on and on and on like forever on TVB. Of course, we can give the youngster a chance.

    For the young 4 girls, Jeannie Chan is the worst at acting in my opinion. She is inconsistent and unnatural when delivering her lines. Something in her fact is not natural. Moon Lau is better but I dont really like how she does with her expression. Little OTT. Grace Chan is not bad, actually pretty good for a newbie. Stephanie is the best amongst 4, maybe the most experienced actress.

    For the guys, I really dont like Louis Cheung for this series. I think he is good at acting, but the nerdy character is not well played by him. I dont like neither Hugo and his chac.

    Ben, hmm, is definitely not bad but I dont find he is too appropriate for the role. I like Elaine in here although her chac is such a disaster. No, Natalie isnt that good in my POV or her chac is too blank.

    Overall, the series is fine and fresh, as said. It just needs some more interesting cases to support the storyline. I feel all the cases are not interesting enough to keep people watching. However, the freshness is deserved a try anyway.

  8. i found the cases very boring, shoulda spent more time writing better and more interesting lawyer cases with more mystery and investigation, and the ending was just horrible

  9. I found this serial very boring compare to Survival Law 1 and 2 ,the cases are boring and majority cases are child prostitution and bad acting by those young guy ,the girl only have pretty face , survival law are much better story line with great acting of RaymOnd Lam,Kenneth Ma ,Myolie Wu,Derek Kwok etc.

  10. i enjoyed watching this drama except for the character Giselle, although it was well acted … other than Giselle i love this drama … surprisingly a good drama !!!

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