Sunday, July 8, 2012

[TVB2012] House of Harmony and Vengeance 《耀舞長安》 Review


Genre: Ancient, comedy
# of Episodes: 30
Producer: Nelson Cheung
- Bobby Au Yeung as Tai Ming Bat / Kiu Bo Lung
- Myolie Wu as Lei Choi Shan
- Linda Chung as Bin Yuk Yin
- Evergreen Mak as Kiu Bo Lung / Ko Yan
- Angela Tong as Chu Lam Yuet
- Oscar Leung as Bin Yuk Long
- JJ Jia as Lau Cheuk Lo
- Sire Ma as Kuk Yuen Yuen
- Yoyo Chen as Kuk Wan Wan
- William Chak as Ngo Suet Chung

What's It About? To escape prosecution, a street entertainer took the identity of a Music Bureau official, who unfortunately lost his memory in an accident. With this new identity, he helped a peasant girl become a lead dancer while dealing with his jealous 'fiancée'.

- Spoilers Alert -

The fact that this series is 30 eps long is quite shocking to me!! I never knew about this until I started watching. Was there such need for 30 eps? The story went extremely slow in the middle and just BANG... gazillions of things happened within the last 3 eps!! This series was just as hard to get through as Queens of Diamonds and Hearts, nevertheless, I finished it. For me, HOHAV is more or less a group of miscasts getting together trying too hard to act out an uninspiring, lazily scripted story. Even the dancing, which I believe is the selling point of this series, was poorly choreographed.

The casts were either too old or too 'modern-looking' for their roles. Although I like Bobby, I think he has way passed the age for his role. The same goes for Evergreen. You may also say that even Myolie and Linda were too old for their roles, but comparing to Bobby and Evergreen, their ages were more reasonable, and I accept that. But now, both Myolie and Linda seemed really out of place in the palace settings. In fact, a lot of the casts seemed out of place too, especially with the costumes they wore. Take William Chak for example, he looked like someone who traveled back there from 1000 years later. Linda's face doesn't suit ancient drama, and her height doesn't help either. When she wore the costume and performed that 'flag' dance, she looked like a giant next to everyone else.

This is one lazily scripted story. It technically told you everything, and I mean EVERYTHING the characters were about to do, how they would do it and what the results would be beforehand. Where's the suspense then?! Every time someone was about to do something, he/she just have to announce it first or simply hint it in an overly obvious way. Take one scene for example, Sire's character was asking Stephen Wong where the 'lingzhi' was because she wanted to get it for her sister Yoyo. A second later, Sire disappeared and they were running around wondering where she had disappeared to?! (Are you kidding me??) And the next scene they showed.... Sire was standing in front of the forest, getting ready to go in and look for the 'lingzhi'!! O_o What I'm trying to say here is that it seems like they were telling the story to a 3-year-old. It's just like in those picture books where they tell the story at the top and have a picture at the bottom to illustrate what happen. I started to think that the intended audience for this series are probably 3-year-olds and younger!! Even QODAH was better scripted than this. At least it managed to urge me to continue watching.

The story begins when Tai Ming Bat accidentally killed an official's son. To save himself and his family, he took the identity of Kiu Bo Lung, a Music Bureau official. The real Kiu Bo Lung and his dad unfortunately caught in a fire. His dad died while he survived but lost his memory. The fake Kiu Bo Lung now became the official while the real one had to live under a different name, Ko Yan. The poor Ko Yan met a village girl named Lei Choi Shan. She helped him find a shelter, a job, and soon the two became good friends. I really enjoyed Choi Shan and Ko Yan's scenes together. And I also really like how their friendship persisted throughout the series, despite everything that happened.

I felt sorry for Ko Yan at first. He lost everything, his father, his identity, his memory and even his fiancée. However, as he slowly regained his memory, he realized that all this time he was fooled by the fake Kiu Bo Lung. He swore to take revenge on Bobby's character for causing his father's death and for making Yuk Yin b*tchy (lol... I think that's her own problem, can't really blame anyone :P). Ko Yan slowly became a bit unreasonable in his way of doing things, though I still respected him for not handing Choi Shan over to the Empress. However, the most unreasonable thing got to be how Ko Yan easily forgave Kiu Bo Lung after how long he had been holding grudges against him. He acted so tough at first, but when Kiu Bo Lung grabbed Ko Yan's hand to stab himself, Ko Yan just suddenly got all wimpy and was like "No, no... I don't want to kill you. I realize that I don't want you to die..." o.O Seriously?? This is what I call pointless!! And why did Bobby look like he's dying or something? That stab wasn't even deep!! I doubt that knife even got past his belly fat!! See it for yourself...

How bad can this be? They just had to over-dramatize everything!!

Bobby for once isn't such a good person. His character wasn't good or bad all the way but somewhere in between. He was the cause of everything, including the rivalry between Lei Choi Shan and Bin Yuk Yin. Yuk Yin was the real Kiu Bo Lung's fiancée and she didn't know about this change in identity. Whenever Kiu Bo Lung treated Choi Shan nicely, Yuk Yin got jealous and thought that Choi Shan wanted to steal her fiance. This is also how the rivalry began. Yuk Yin was actually a pain to watch because her jealousy just got out of control, though I admit that sometimes I did feel sorry for her. Everything she did was for her family reputation and her own pride. Unfortunately, she let them manipulated her and this eventually led to her wrong doings. I think Yuk Yin is a very weak and vulnerable character. She was easily influenced by what others said to her. She was unable to judge for herself and let her jealousy blinded her. It's good to see that she was able to let go of everything and even helped Choi Shan at the end. However, I still don't understand how she can accept Ko Yan that fast. Just after he revealed that he was the real Kiu Bo Lung, she accepted him?! So her love life was pretty much a joke then. It wasn't really about love, but about fulfilling the engagement?!

Choi Shan was just the opposite. She was strong both physically and mentally. She was cheerful, optimistic, selfless and would do anything for her mother. Let's just say she is the nicest character in HOHAV. But what I don't like is how TVB just had to make her a princess. Why can't she just stay the way she was? I can't imagine her doing all the princess stuff in the future. I like the uncouth Choi Shan better. I also like her gang at her home place. They all have some imperfections in their appearance but they were all so nice.

Bobby was funny in his role but Evergreen seemed bored. Evergreen is another actor who I think is better off with supporting roles. Although his acting is good, he doesn't have that aura of a lead actor. Since comedy is Myolie's forte, I don't have much to say about her acting. She can easily win the audience heart given that her character was quite likeable (I still love the unibrow!!). Now Linda... I think Linda was somewhat unnatural in her role. She can act b*tchy when she's required to, but when she delivered her lines, she sounded kinda awkward. It seemed like she cared too much about reciting them correctly and neglected the intonation. JJ Jia and Sire Ma had the same problem. JJ was not as bad as some people claimed her to be. Her biggest problem was just her voice. Acting wise, she was better than Sire. The supporting casts were only ok in general. Some were good, some were ok, and some were unbelievably bad. Stephen Wong, for example, was disappointing. He has been acting for such a long time but he was still bad.

The saviors of this series for me were Oscar and Yoyo. At first I thought it would be William Chak since I was impressed by his acting in Sergeant Tabloid, but no, Oscar and Yoyo stole the limelight in HOHAV. If not for them, I would have abandoned this series a long time ago. But sadly, their story wasn't emphasized and was pretty much ignored towards the end to make ways for those whom TVB wants to promote. I gotta say Oscar and Yoyo made a pretty good couple. And both Oscar and Yoyo made more convincing dancers than a lot of the so-called 'professional' dancers in the series. I really like their storyline. They supported each other to pursue their dream of becoming a dancer despite how others thought of them. I especially like the parts where Oscar dressed up as a woman and danced along with Yoyo. So far this year, Oscar has impressed me with all the roles he was in. To me, he is the strongest contender for this year Most Improved award, if not Best Supporting.

I still can't see Bobby and Myolie or Evergreen and Linda as a couple. What was TVB thinking when they decided to pair them up?! And is it just me or were Angela and Kwok Fung together just gross?! I like watching them separately but when they were together, it just gave me goose-bumps. And finally, TVB really needs to stop referencing Raymond Lam in Linda's series. First it was Twilight Investigation, then it's Daddy Good Deeds, now it's HOHAV, and later it's Witness Insecurity!! It's getting annoying.

My Rating: 5.9/10

Worth watching? No. Don't waste your time on this.

**Credit: The pictures are taken from and just for illustration purpose**

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