Ever Night is a popular Chinese television series made by Tencent. The first season aired towards the end of 2018 and the second season started airing in January 2020. I understand it is a three-part book called Nightfall.
Note this review contains spoilers.
A family is massacred and Ning Que escapes managing to survive on the run and then one day discovers a young girl called Sang Sang who he swears to protect no matter what. Later on, it is discovered that Sang Sang is actually the reincarnation of mysterious Yong Ye who, upon her return, is supposed to wreak havoc on the world ie nightfall.
About The Series
The first series contained a total of 60 episodes, not unusual for a Chinese drama, but series two much less, 43 episodes. Numerous actors did not sign up for series two as they went on to star in other productions, most notably Arthur Chen who played Ning Que. In season two Dylan Wang played the character much to the excitement of his fans, he is a well-known actor, singer and model. Dylan Wang became most famous internationally for his role in Meteor Garden (this can be seen on Netflix). Yang Chaoyue reprised her role as Sang Sang in season two.
For us, Arthur Chen was more suitable for the role of Ning Que than Dylan Wang. Dylan did a fantastic job, it’s really difficult to take over a role that another actor had started. Arthur went onto do Legend of Awakening which we are currently watching. Some of the other replacement actors included the Emporer and his daughter, both characters had changed significantly as a result. The show was still watchable though and we tried not to let it bother us too much.
Season Two was much more fast-paced than the previous one, I wonder if this was because they condensed the show into 43 episodes only. However, the action sequences and special effects were top-notch.
There were many shocks during the series and many of the characters in the Tang Dynasty were killed. This seems to be the case with Chinese television and cinema, the characters you fall in love with the most they are not frightened of knocking off.
If I was in charge of making the series I would want to explore some of the relationships and characters that didn’t have enough attention in the first season, such as those in the Academy.
I’m not sure who did the translation for the series but there were quite a few discrepancies, luckily I can speak some Mandarin to notice what they are. That seems to be the case in many Chinese series, in Mandarin they refer to the character by their title ie Teacher but it’s translated as Sage or their name.
The final 2-3 episodes were a bit odd, in parts I didn’t really understand what was going on until it suddenly twigged then I am doubting myself if I got it right. I’ve seen some other chat online about how confused they were. Maybe we’ll find out in season three.
Just prior to COVID they were at the stage of choosing cast members for season three but I’ve heard nothing since. I’m not sure what they are filming in China right now, lots of companies were affected by the virus and some smaller ones went bankrupt. So, we’ll continue to hope for it’s return soon.
For the past 26 weeks, we’ve been watching the TV series Salvation on Netflix, actually, I quite enjoyed it.
A rich technology genius, Darius Tanz, joined forces with an MIT graduate, Liam Cole, to try and stop an asteroid that is due to hit the Earth in 60 days time. The intense story line is interspersed with relationships between the central characters.
About The Series
The series ran between 2017 to 2018 over 2 seasons and 26 episodes. The first season was made in Toronto and the second season in Vancouver. The series was commissioned by CBS but they cancelled it in November 2018.
The series had a mix of Canadian and British actors in the series with the odd American thrown in. The main cast over the two seasons were:
Santiago Cabrera – known for his role in The Musketeers as Aramis now in Star Trek Picard
The second season was better than the first mainly because it was fast-moving and action-packed from each episode to the next. They had obviously put a lot of effort into the series with regard to sets, some special effects and a challenging storyline thrown in.
I wouldn’t have classed it as 100% science fiction as it had a general drama, espionage, strange cult and soap opera quality to it as well. There were technology and some special effects on the show but it was more in the background.
Some of the soap opera type content seemed a bit much, who is having an affair with who, whose baby is it, broken relationships that get back together then break up again.
I thought Santiago Cabrera was much better in this series than he is in Star Trek Picard, I guess he is the lead actor in Salvation as he should be at this stage in his career. The only other actor I knew was Ian Anthony Dale who played Adam Noshimuri in Hawaii Five-0 – he was also better in Salvation although both his characters had a certain borderline evil trait about them.
All in all they did a grand job with the series and I would definitely recommend it.
I’ve always wanted to create a Dallas TV Show parody of the British TV Soap Opera Crossroads. Being in lockdown due to COVID19 and wanting to learn video editing software created some time for me to do this. This is the final product:
How It Was Made
The most challenging thing to me was creating a parody, keeping to the original feel of the show, and I, of course, felt a sense of responsibility not to upset the many fans out there.
I used two video software programs to make this video, Aimersoft and Adobe Premiere Pro.
In Aimersoft I cut out chunks of clips from episodes that I would use in the parody. I had to transfer them from 4:3 to 16:9 aspect ratio format so it would have a modern feel about them. Many of the episodes didn’t really pass the quality check so I had to abandon them.
In Adobe Premiere Pro I performed most of the editing. I hadn’t really used the software before, apart from very basic stuff, and I had never been on a training course, so it was fairly challenging. Parts of Premiere Pro was easy to learn, some weren’t as there are so many options all over the place.
Deciding what clips from the shows I should use were extremely challenging. There were over 4,800 episodes to choose from. I had to decide what were the most prominent moments in the soap opera’s history:
The Motel fire
Nutty Rosemary trying to kill David Hunter
The Christmas sing-a-long
Farewell to Meg
Then I wanted to include as many true actors that were loved by the fans. Crossroads was prominently linked to Noelle Gordon and Jane Rossington to me, they were the show, so they feature heavily in my parody.
I didn’t just want to include the actual edited Dallas theme in itself, I thought about some extras. So I included the ATV logo to start off, modifying it from 4:3 to 16:9 worked out really well.
In many episodes of American soap operas, prior to the intro theme, there is a “what’s going to happen in this weeks show” teaser, at least there was back in the early days of Dallas, Knots Landing and Falcon Crest. So, I decided to include my own mash of moments from particular episodes, mainly to the events that led up to the Motel fire.
How Long Did It Take?
It took roughly 30 hours to make. Most of that time was taken up by finding and editing clips from the shows and learning Premiere Pro. Luckily, YouTube is a good resource for mini-training videos, I totally couldn’t have completed the end product as quickly as I did.
I am totally not happy with the video. I think I’m a total perfectionist and could have done so much better in various spots. But, I did learn so much and this has given me the inspiration to produce other videos.
Tiger Cubs is a TV series from Hong Kong that was broadcast between June and August of 2012.
The show follows the lives of the Special Duties Unit (SDU) branch of the Hong Kong police department, as known as The Flying Tigers. Although the main focus is on solving high profile crimes the show also covers the love life and other drama around the characters.
Oscar Leung: The reason why we watched this show was because of Oscar as we have followed some other shows he has been in, such as K9 Cop. He was born in Hong Kong on 26 March 1979 and appears to have been in demand since his TV career started in 2004. He seems to be more of a character actor as his personality is quite adaptable to numerous rolls; serious, comical, evil, camp and so on.
Other significant cast members include:
Joe Ma: Joe was a member of the G4 prior to his acting job. The G4 is the Hong Kong VIP protection police. Following a modelling gig, at the suggestion of G4 colleagues, his acting career began in 1994 and seems to have been busy ever since. Joe plays the trainer and leader of the SDU team.
Jessica Hsuan: Like Joe Ma she played a significant role in Tiger Cubs with much of the storyline centred around the troubles of her character. As she a very sought after actress in Hong Kong, and moved on from her contract with TVB, she only appears in one season of Tiger Cubs.
The first season was very well produced with lots of action done in the typical Hong Kong fashion. The production company must have put a lot of effort into the action sequences as they were very exciting and on-the-edge-of-your-seat with a gripping music score to boot. Most of the characters were developed really well and there wasn’t any of them to dislike. Even some of the criminals one felt sorry for. The continuing storyline of Jessica Hsuan’s character, and how it interacted with the sub-plots, was very well outlined from the start to the penultimate episode ending the season on an interesting yet comical note.
This is an absolute must-see Hong Kong drama, especially if you’ve never seen any others before.
Pegasus Market is a South Korean TV show made by tvN which aired between 20 Sep thru 6 Dec 2019. Excluding the advertising breaks the length of each episode was about 1 hour 5 minutes.
A shabby supermarket where employees normally go to if they have misbehaved and as seen as their next step to being fired. The manager, Moon Suk Goo, continues to make the store a success but a new Director arrives, demoted from headquarters, intend on destroying it along with the whole corporation. Luckily, the Director continues to experience failures where each opportunity to destroy the place ends up in being a huge success. To try and make matters worse the Director hires many misfits who turn out to be really appreciative of the job and throw themselves into their career to ensure success for the company.
What an amazing cast, I had never heard of these actors before but each of them was so perfect for the role especially the Director and Manager.
Kim Byung Chul played Jung Bok Dong, the Director. He is a character actor with a long successful career and amazingly talented. His character went from serious to hilarious to dancing the next, I can’t imagine anyone else who could handle this role. I must find out what other shows he is in.
Lee Dong Hwi plays Moon Suk Goo, the long-suffering Manager. Also, a very good performance calling for a variety of skills. Towards the second half of the season there is a twist in the story for Mr Moon calling for a very emotional performance and this was one of the most memorable of any South Korean drama’s I have seen.
All the cast were brilliant.
Anything can happen in Pegasus Market, and it did, each episode continued to entertain from start to finish. I was so looking forward to seeing this show and it felt it was made especially for my taste.
It had a good consistent story line throughout the series keeping the viewers hooked on what might happen next. Each character was lovable in the own way, there wasn’t anyone I really disliked, even those playing the evil people. From the drama one minute, to humour the next, and then to a scene where you would need several boxes of tissues to get through it.
I would absolutely recommend this show, it’s in my top South Korean drama’s list along with Rooftop Prince and Circle.
Maison De Police (メゾン・ド・ポリス) is a Japanese TV show broadcast in 2019 about how rookie detective Makino Hiyori, while investigating a crime, becomes involved with a “share house” of ex-police officers. The 10 part series is adapted from the novel of the same name, “Maison de Police”, by Katō Miaki.
As the series develops the story focuses more on the suspected murder of Makino Hiyori’s father who worked at a construction company and somehow some ex-officers in the share house are involved in the previous investigation of the crime.
The show aired between 11 January to 15 March 2019 every Friday night on the TBS network. I understand a DVD is now available.
I really enjoyed this series, it has some light comedy, the actors of the share house were a little eccentric adding to the charm of the show, and quite a bit of drama with unexpected plot twists.
The first 7 episodes were more stand-alone than the last 3. The first episode was so-so, could have been improved, but after that, we were hooked.
Certainly, the last 3 episodes were the best of the series and were very well done, linking all elements of the story to a dramatic conclusion.
Other reviewers appeared to be familiar with the cast, however not watched many Japanese TV shows myself I didn’t know them at all. It’s difficult to focus on any 1 or 2 actors being the lead but I would say the main focus was on:
Takahata Mitsuki who played the main character rookie detective Makino Hiyori. She was absolutely perfect for this show, she is a great actress who bought a little shyness, clumsiness, yet determined trait to the character that improved her policing skills over time.
Nishijima Hidetoshi who played main character ex-detective Natsume Souichirou. A brilliant actor playing what seems like a private person in the share house but turns out to be the action man of the show. Looking through his biography the actor has had quite an impressive career, I must look out for other shows he’s been in.
I give this show a 5 out of 5, loved it, must watch if you love Japanese dramas and a great introduction if you’ve never watched any before.
The Rise of Phoenixes (天盛长歌) is a 70 episode Chinese television series that aired on Hunan television between 14 August and 17 September 2018. Each episode was about 45 minutes in duration and was loosely adapted from the novel “Huang Quan” by Tianxia Guiyuan. The show was placed on Netflix on 14 September 2018.
The story is fairly complex but revolves around two main characters which pretty much sums up series:
Fing Zhi Wei (pictured right) – the illegitimate daughter of the Qiu Family who is banished from the clan after being falsely accused of a crime. She cross-dresses as a man to attend the prestigious Quingming Academy when she stuns the world with her talent and becomes loyal to the reigning Emperor. Zhi Wei wants to take revenge on her enemies including her lover Ning Yi.
Ning Yi – the intelligent sixth prince of the ruling Tiansheng kingdom who hides his personality behind a carefree attitude to calculate a strike on his enemies in order to overturn the evil within the Empire.
The first few episodes felt really slow moving and wondered how I would ever get to the end of the series.
A few more episodes in and we were hooked. We watched 2 episodes per week so the series lasted quite some time for us.
The best episodes were the last 10 with bigger budget special effects and twists in the plot.
The last episode was a bit of a suprise and many fans of the series were quite dissappointed. I read comments online which said “I will only watch the show if it’s a happy ending”, well, not all shows are like that unfortunately. Thinking about it now, the ending did make sense given the events that had happened throughout the series.
The star of the show was Ni Ni who played Fing Zhi Wei, she gave a great performance. I notice from her bio she has plenty of work going on right now, which is great news.
Chen Kun, who played Ning Yi, played his character well. The Royal Family were certainly a band of psycho misfits and this character was played well giving it a creepy, sneaky yet loveable persona.
The Emporer was played by Ni Da Hong who I immediately recognized from the first series of Ever Night. I actually preferred him in Ever Night but I think he was more loveable in that series than he was in Rise of the Phoenixes.
My favourite character absolutely has to be Gu Nan Yi played by Bai Jingting. Very quiet character, strong, yet got into quite humorous situations. Pictured right.
It was a good series that was quite well made. The acting carried it more than the story line which anyone watching need to give it time to develop. I would give it a 8/10, this is pretty much the same rating others have given it, that I’ve seen anyhow.
We had problems viewing the subtitles for a good portion of the series. The customer service at Netflix was pretty much non-existant. However, we found out that the when accessing Netflix via our cable provider Shaw it affected 50% of the subtitles in any given show. I moved Netflix from Shaw to a regular SmartTV app and everything was fine. I sent feedback to Shaw but they never responded, obviously weren’t interested.
The series is about a middle school boy named Kageyama Shigeo, nicknamed Mobu (or Mob), who is extremely shy and has very low self-esteem. Mob has extremely powerful psychic abilities which he doesn’t like to use due to hurting people with them in the past. He also thinks using these abilities will not win him a girlfriend. Mob isn’t the only person with these special abilities and he is manipulated by those who want to harness them for good and bad.
The main actor in this series is Hamada Tatsuomi who is known most recently for being Ultraman Geed and other Ultraman related movies. He is absolutely perfect for this part as he comes across as very sweet and innocent, just like the actual character itself.
It was a pretty good show, I enjoyed it a lot.
I checked out a couple of episodes of the original anime before reviewing the show. The anime was fast and busy for me, whereas the live-action was slower.
The show might be more suitable to a younger audience but definitely over 18 since some of the content wasn’t children appropriate. The story was pretty much secure but very cartoonish. Some of the humour in the show was very unique, especially from the Arataka Reigen and Takane Tsubomi characters whose performances I enjoyed very much. The structure of the show was unique too, quite a different feel to it and very cute in parts, I love the closing theme and how they had different versions of it. I was quite impressed by the dramatic scenes and acting from Mochizuki Ayumu who played Mob’s brother Ritsu.
The special effects were of a much higher standard than I expected but some were a little old school compared to what we see in the US, Canada and UK. The physical effects, where people were thrown around the room crashing into furniture I thought was of a very high standard, they much have been very highly trained stunt people.
Bromance is a television series that was made in Taiwan, broadcast between 18th October 2015 and 21 February 2016. The series consists of 18 episodes with an additional 19th episode summarizing the story with some behind-the-scenes clips. It was made by TTV.
The main stars of the show were:
Lead character Du Zi Feng
Lead character Pi Ya Nuo
Lead Character Wei Qing Yang
Lead Character Chu Zhe Rui
Lead Character Yang Na Na
A soothsayer advised a family that a female must pretend to be a male until her 26th birthday. Everything seems to go well until she (Pi Ya Nuo) meets Du Zi Feng and falls in love with him. How will he react when she reveals that the man he loves is really a female?
Bromance can be found on Netflix but unfortunately they broke it down into 30 minute episodes. I recommend the original non-edited Taiwanese version of 1 hour 15 minutes each episode. Often Netflix doesn’t get the translations right and will chop it up into chunks that aren’t helpful.
Every now and again there is a TV show that you know will leave a lasting impressions on you. The Taiwanese show Two Fathers was one of them, Bromance is another.
“So Beautiful Is My Life”, a line in the theme song, and the show reflects that statement. It is jolly, positive and bubbly. When there is a lot of negative things happening in the world this is the show to lift your spritis. There is something about the combination of talent they gathered for the show, behind the scenes clips I found on YouTube suggests the cast and crew had a lot of fun with all of them getting on so well. This attitude spilled over into the program.
It is another Asian crossdressing type of show but addresses same sex relationships in a very positive light, this is typical of how I view Taiwan, very open minded and accepting of people.
There may have been some improvement in the storyline but if you just appreciate the show for what it is, a bubbly adventure on the road to accepting people, I’m sure everyone would enjoy it.