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Tiger Cubs Season 1 Review

Tiger Cubs is a TV series from Hong Kong that was broadcast between June and August of 2012.

Background

Tiger CubsThe 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.

Actors

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.

Review

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.

Summary

This is an absolute must-see Hong Kong drama, especially if you’ve never seen any others before.

Marks out of 5:

2020-05-20T05:11:43+00:0020 May 2020|Television|0 Comments

Pegasus Market Review

Pegasus MarketPegasus 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.

The Story

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.

The Cast

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.

Review

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.

2020-05-12T22:39:29+00:0012 May 2020|Television|0 Comments

Maison De Police Review

Maison De Police

Story Summary

Maison De Police (メゾン・ド・ポリス) Twitter 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.

Review

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.

Actors

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.

Summary

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.

2020-04-21T05:28:45+00:0021 April 2020|Television|0 Comments

Rise of Phoenixes Review

Ni NiThe 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.

Story Summary

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.

Review

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.

Actors

Bai JingtingThe 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.

Summary

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.

Technical Issues

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.

2020-04-20T05:12:04+00:0015 April 2020|Television|0 Comments

Lost in Space Season 2 Review

Netflix released season two of it’s version of Lost in Space and here is my review.

I won’t go into any details of the story line just in case there are people who haven’t seen it but I will dive into my good and bad points about this season.

The Good

  • More special effects.
  • More action sequences.
  • Characters developed a little more with clips into the past back on Earth.
  • More emotion in the characters.
  • Return of some beloved actors, who have been promoting the series a little.

The Bad

  • Too many other characters.
  • First they aren’t a cohesive family, then they are. Didn’t quite get that one.
  • The Maureen and Dr Smith characters are just too annoying
  • No, not more of those robots, please!
  • No time going into space exploring different planets and meeting different aliens/cultures.
  • All one long continuing story and no separate episodic scifi that I enjoyed in the 1960s.
  • Not a lot of humour with exception to the Don West character.
  • Get rid of the stupid chicken.

So, a third and final season has been approved. Will I watch it? I might do, I am curious with how they will end it and I would like to see the return of Bill Mumy in a bigger roll.

I am in the minority of Lost in Space fans who weren’t keen on the series and there are many who are extremely grateful Netflix made this series.

2020-03-21T05:04:29+00:0021 March 2020|Television|0 Comments

Mob Psycho 100 Review

Mob Psycho 100Mob Psycho 100 is a TV Tokyo and Netflix co-production from 2018 based on the Anime series of the same name.

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.

Cast

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.

Trailer

Review

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.

I would recommend this show.

2020-03-05T22:17:59+00:005 March 2020|Review, Television|0 Comments

Bromance

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.

BromanceThe main stars of the show were:

    • Baron Chen
      Lead character Du Zi Feng
    • Megan Lai
      Lead character Pi Ya Nuo
    • Bii
      Lead Character Wei Qing Yang
    • Sean Lee
      Lead Character Chu Zhe Rui
    • Katie Chen
      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?

Review

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.

Summary 5/5!

2020-02-29T06:14:34+00:0029 February 2020|Taiwan, Television|0 Comments

Yolk Man

Yolk Man (蛋黄人) is a Chinese television serial that was produced by iQiyi and broadcast between 16 August 2019 through 30 August 2019. It consists of 12 x 20-minute episodes.

Yolk ManWhat is it about?

Note: Spoilers Ahead
Yolk Man center’s around the main character of Li Zhi Yuan, a dysfunctional college student who not only loses the love of his life but is then diagnosed with cancer and has 3 months to live. An alien life form then inhabits his body, suppresses the cancer and gives him super human abilities. However, while the good alien inhabits Li Zhi Yuan an evil alien takes over another body that is controlled by a hive.

Main Character

Austin Lin plays Li Zhi Yuan. Austin is a Taiwanese actor whose career started on the singing competition “One Million Star” from 2007 and has appeared a quite a few TV and Movie productions since then. You don’t have to look to far on YouTube to find many shows that Austin has appeared in.

Review

Out of the box iQiyi provide English translation for the show embedded on the video. The translation text was very clear. However, I notice that the network gave English names to all the characters. For example, the main character of Li Zhi Yuan is now Jim.

Each of the actors gave brilliant performances and each character had their own form of “kick ass” opportunities.

China has marked this series as age group 15+. I’m not sure if it would have received the same rating in Canada, UK or US. Maybe lower.

The show is absolutely brilliant scifi with very high production values and some comedy thrown in. The special effects are excellent especially of the good alien who looks like an egg yolk, hence it being named Yolk Man. There is a decent amount of action so each episode is exciting, you are not likely to fall asleep during the show. The show is structured like an episodic scifi from the west with a brief intro, the theme music, a cliffhanger and closing theme. The final 2-3 episodes were the best with a showdown of the alien entity.

Like numerous Chinese shows right now there is a hint of a gay relationship. I notice networks are pushing the limits and including themes like these which, to me, gives a lot of hope that China is joining the rest of world. I really respect the producers for including this content.

There isn’t a particularly happy ending but there was a surprise after the closing theme of the last episode. This made me curious about the potential of a 2nd season although I haven’t seen any hints of one online. I hope so.

Score: 9/10

Where can I see this show?

Easy, the full 12 episodes are on YouTube, thanks to the network for putting it there.

2020-05-12T14:44:19+00:0025 January 2020|Television|0 Comments

MSNBC vs CNN vs BBC vs SkyNews vs France24 vs CBC

We now live in a technical age where we all have access to many news channels from around the world. This should give us a better perspective of what is happening globally.

Much of these news sources are commercial and often their main aim is to sell advertising space in order to survive, and that might give them a certain political slant. My preference is for these channels to present the news, not opinion, so I can make my own decisions. Few channels actually meet that bill.

These reviews are based on my opinion alone.

Tabloids

Firstly, the US cable networks which I class as “tabloid” journalism, more sensational and gossipy in style.

MSNBC

Out of all the channels I have access to this is the worst:

  • Not much news, focuses on US politics, mainly Trump.
  • Liberal-leaning content, don’t really relay the news from both sides.
  • Sensationalises the “news”, mainly speculation and editorialisation
  • Presenters either shout or the decibels on the broadcast is set to very high
  • Very repetitive repeating the same “news” time and time again
  • “Breaking News” can last for days when I consider it to be an old story
  • As they focus on the worst-case scenario for the world it’s very grim to watch the channel in the morning but any other time
  • Many of the hosts or guests have a Trump book to sell. Love him or loathe him, they are making money from him.

CNN

I don’t watch this channel much as the remit is very similar to MSNBC:

  • Sensationalism, speculation, editorialisation
  • Like MSNBC coverage is politically one-sided.
  • When there is real “breaking news” in the US, non-political, they have better coverage than MSNBC. I would prefer to watch PBS for this but they don’t have a 24/7 format.
  • Too many dancing graphics on the screen.
  • CNN is available globally whereas MSNBC isn’t.

Broadsheets

The following channels I class as more “broadsheet” in style; more real news and analysis, therefore, better-respected organizations.

BBC

The station has come under a lot of criticism in the past few years due to politically slanted news when the expectation of taxpayers, who partially fund the channel, expect more analysis of how both sides of the political spectrum.

  • Good coverage of “breaking news” from a UK perspective. Didn’t really care for their election coverage. Their Brexit news isn’t too bad
  • Presenters are generally calm, don’t shout, and intelligent. This is with possible exception to Aaron Heslehurst who I find loud, confusing and obnoxious
  • Often I find they cover less news in a half an hour slot than some other broadsheet style TV news channels

CBC

Even though CBC is classified as a public broadcaster it’s not the same as the BBC. It is commercial and feels like other channels. However, I do like its news presentation on both radio and TV.

  • Good balance of news and analysis. The analysis comes in the form of its program called The National.
  • Doesn’t appear to sensationalise the news too much
  • Not too many flying graphics during the broadcast
  • CBC Radio 1 has no commercials and the analysis type programming is very good
  • The other news channels in Canada are a bit more American in style and CBC News feels like a cross between BBC and ITN news in the UK

SkyNews

A UK news channel that is owned by Comcast in the US and is currently the Royal Television Society’s News Channel of the Year, as I write this, the 12th time it has held this award.

  • Appear to compress more news into their broadcasts than the BBC
  • Available on YouTube so the world can tune in to watch it
  • Pretty good on UK related news but often BBC has the edge on this
  • Sometimes sways into tabloid format but generally good all-round news presentation
  • Been watching SkyNews more than I have BBC News recently.

France24

Broadcasting English language news internationally over YouTube.

  • Excellent for world news and analysis
  • Of course, best from France related news, but don’t have access to any other English language French news channels
  • Good coverage of Africa and the Middle East, better than the BBC
  • Calm presenters providing a different perspective on the news
  • Good selection of 20 and 30-minute analysis type programming
  • Their app isn’t that great but I do get a good balance of breaking news from around the world, and they often beat many other news service providers.

Other News Outlets

There are other news outlets available here in Canada from home and around the world but don’t really watch them enough to assess them in too much detail but will give a quick overview:

  • Good Morning Britain is available in Canada but the show is tabloid garbage.
  • Fox News is the same but even worse than MSNBC, from a right-wing perspective.
  • Local stations from the US for CBS, NBC and ABC are available but feel their news shows showing what is happening in Seattle is not at all relevant to me.
  • PBS from the US is available here, they have a 6 pm news show, Newshour, which is very good.
  • We will sometimes watch Global News early in the morning, due to lack of CBC at that time of day, however, there are so many adverts splashed all over the screen they make it impossible to watch for any length greater than 10 minutes.
2020-05-12T14:44:57+00:0018 January 2020|Television|0 Comments

Asian Shows Currently Watching

There are so many Asian shows we are watching at the moment, all of them fantastic, so I thought I would compile a list of my recommendations for everyone.

Yolk Man
China

A student is dying of Cancer but an alien arrives on Earth, forming a symbiotic relationship with him, which saves his life. However, an evil alien soon follows to cause damage. Show is so well put together, special effects are brilliant, 12 x 25 minute episodes

Bromance
Taiwan

Pi Ya Nuo is a female but has to disguise herself as a male until her 26th birthday due to a superstitious omen. Then she meets Du Zi Feng, he thinks he is entering a same sex relationship with her little knowing that he is really a she. Will he still love her when the truth is revealed? Very funny yet touching series.

The Thunder
China

A more action-orientated police series from China that is pretty good, 48 x 45 minute episodes that aired Monday to Sunday in China. It has some notable stars inc Johnny Huang who is in 6 TV series in 2020, not sure how he has the time for them all. iQiyi produce some great series and I will watch out for anything that comes out of this studio.

Ossan’s Love
Japan

This series is one of my favourite so far. Set in a real estate office everyone seems to be falling in love with Haruta, except they are all people of the same sex and he is “supposedely” straight. This is a well acted comedy and I can see why this was so popular in Japan. Tanaka Kei and Yoshida Kotaro are brilliant in this. A must see. Preview is the movie of the show, DVD to be released Spring 2020.

The Untamed
China

We have just started watching this and it’s unexpectedly very good, some fans have described this as a masterpiece. Don’t watch the Netflix version, they often get the subtitles wrong or timing they appear is not working properly. This drama is by Tencent Video who have produced other dramas we have enjoyed too, worth discovering what else they have on offer.

Let’s Eat
South Korea

We are currently on the 2nd Season of Let’s Eat, three seasons produced. Each season has a different story has the same main actor appearing in all them, the popular Yoon Doo Joon. Apart from the drama/comedy theme they also eat a lot, and I mean a lot.  I’m not sure if they are going to make a third season, Yoon is currently doing his military service due to be released April 2020.

This is just a sample of what we are watching, we have many favourites that we have watched and a ton more that the plan to watch in the future.

2020-05-12T14:45:41+00:005 January 2020|Television|0 Comments