I debated whether I’m qualified to write a ‘2013 Year End’ post because – I didn’t finish a lot of dramas, I only watch CN/HK/TW dramas (Western ones don’t count) and a lot of the dramas I watched this year were from prior years. I think 2013 was the year I really started exploring Mainland Chinese dramas since the amount of HK dramas I had watched decreased quite a lot. (Looking back in 2011 I finished 7 or 8 TVB dramas while in 2012 and 2013 only about 2 or 3?) More importantly, I just ‘returned’ to TW dramas this year after a 1.5 year (?) absence… I think prior to 2013, the last TW drama I watched was Will Pan / Sandrine Pinna’s Endless Love! But since I’m writing a roundup post anyway, I figured it would be a good opportunity to actually keep a tab on all those dramas I keep saying I will finish, but after like six months I still haven’t. >< There’re always newer and shinier dramas appearing!!! Seriously, to everyone who watches dramas from a range of countries (whether it’s a mix or K/J/TW/C/HK/US….), I salute you! I can’t even keep up with just three countries.
I’ve used the ratings I put down over at MyDramaList.com just to keep things consistent.
Miss No Good (Rewatch-2008): I put this on top of the list because this was the reason I started to watch TW dramas again. I don’t even remember why one day in February I decided to rewatch this? Maybe I was in a bad mood and wanted something fluffy to cheer me up? I know Miss No Good is pretty silly, Rainie Yang’s character can also be annoying, but if you can get over that hurdle her chemistry with Wilber Pan is just perfect. Actually, I can just watch the Behind the scenes because they’re hilarious! <- Might even be better than certain episodes! LOL. Rating – 8/10
Borrow Your Love (2013): I was strangely addicted to this, twiddling my fingers in anticipation of it EVERY WEEK and stayed up till late just to find out the ending. But was it a good drama? Hrm, it’s… okay? Like, I was really invested in the OTP, but the other two leads got quite tedious towards the end. It was surprising though because this drama sold itself as another ‘romance / comedy’ but in reality it’s more family oriented. A lot of the story focused on a mother’s love for her daughter. This drama revived the Dylan Kuo fangirl in me. [recaps – episodes 4 to 14] Rating – 8/10
Dragon Gate (2013): So much potential, so little of it realised. I gave this a 5/10 (passable!) because of what the producers *tried* to do. Kudos to the production team to try to make something different and the concept sounded so great. But then, the execution was pretty poor. The acting was weak (except for Tammy Chen), the story was confusing and the action scenes were unintentionally funny. Don’t ask me why I finished this. Guess we need some cheesiness in our lives every now and then. Cannot recommend it to anyone. Rating – 5/10
In Time with You (2011): I regret not watching this earlier because argh, I loved it to bits. So it’s not perfect, especially the second half but it accumulated so much goodwill in the first few episodes I’m willing to overlook those flaws. I cried so much watching it. Even in the scene where Da Ren suddenly appeared in Taichung and especially the scene at the airport when Ding Li Wei proposed. I’m sure my heart broke the first few times I heard Da Ren’s song. I bought the DVD in preparation of random rewatching of certain scenes. (I do that occasionally!) Of course this was the drama I found Bolin Chen which was a grand adventure in itself. 2013 would’ve been so dull without him! [review] Rating – 9/10
Love SOS (2013): I don’t know which was worse, this or Dragon Gate. I think I’ve made some bad drama choices this year and this was one of them. Not even Daniel Chan could save it. [review] Rating – 3/10
Ring Ring Bell (2011): Well, this one was a bit of a miss. The first half was decent but the story went all WTF from then on. Way too many kidnappings? Best thing about it was Peter Ho and Janine Chang’s chemistry (oh, not to mention Peter’s hotness in general) . I wish they were in a better drama together. [mid-point thoughts / review] Rating – 7/10
DROPPED & NEVER LOOKED BACK
Love Around (2013): Dropped after 10 episodes – I only have one word to describe this, boring. Not even George Hu and Annie Chen could save this. George was nice to look at though. [thoughts: eps 1-2, eps 3-6]
ON HOLD & MIGHT PICK UP AGAIN
Amour et Patisserie (2013): Up to episode 3 – It looks great and all but the reason I haven’t continued was because the story seemed disjointed? It feels like a procedural where the first hour or so has like a ‘case of the week’ (the resolution would always be Tian Tian making a special dessert for them) and then at the end we find out a bit more about our characters’ background etc. I have a post in my drafts box about this drama but it’s been so long since I saw it I don’t know whether it will ever be posted.
Just You (2013): Up to episode 11 – it’s quite harmless so I might finish it, IF I can find the time! Story is fairly generic but Aaron Yan and Puff Kuo are so cute together which saved this drama. I do want to finish recapping this, but other dramas keep popping up on my watch list. 😛 [recaps]
IN PROGRESS & HOPE TO ACTUALLY COMPLETE
A Good Wife (2013): Up to episode 6 – I’m slowly easing my way back to this drama lol. It feels different. In the beginning I really wanted Yi Zhen and Shao Wen to stay together because they genuinely seemed to love each other but lately all their mistrust, lack of communication and family issues just seem like a downward spiral. It is slow in some parts, but seemingly everyday happenings suddenly have this sense of urgency when they use the right music. I think I’ve been slow watching this because I need to get into the right ‘mood’ for it.
Home (2012): Up to episode 5 – I’ve been saying I want to finish this but it’s been what, six months already? Time has just gotten away from me. I am ashamed to admit I completed dramas like Dragon Gate and Love SOS but still haven’t finished this one. But seriously, this is GOOD. Depressing, but good. I don’t know much about the history behind this drama so it’s been interesting in that regard. Zai Zai deserves his Golden Bell for this. Funny though Lego Li is all the hype now because of In a Good Way but I didn’t really like his character here. But he has quite a lot of screentime plus I liked his ending theme.
Marry or Not? (2013): Up to episode 12 – I held off watching more episodes because I really wanted to write a post on it but just never happened. >< Really love the Tian Xin x Xiu Jie Kai pair and a even bigger surprise – I actually like the other couples as well. Must continue soon otherwise it’ll get away from me like the others!!!!
The Pursuit of Happiness (2013): Up to episode 12 – Sadly after a great start I never really ‘fell in love’ with it as the story progressed. It looks great, love the music, Sonia & Tony are good together but the story is so heavily focused on the one couple it lacks the realism (I thought) they were trying to convey. I keep thinking we know nothing about Wang Yi Kang from this drama apart from ‘the guy who is always there for Ji An Lei’. One more ep to go now! Just don’t trash Simon COMPLETELY would you writers? You’ve already done enough!
Le Jun Kai / Unconditional Love (2013): At least it was short… and Peter / Janine on screen together? I’ve yet to watch the ‘movie’ version since I thought maybe watching it all in one go might make it less disjointed? The story of these abusive / revenge type relationships is just not my cup of tea. [posts on the drama] Rating – 6/10
Love Ah / Ai Ya Ai Ya / Ia Ia I Do (2012): Rich guy, poor girl, misunderstandings, whacky illnesses… what’s new? Nothing from the story but the Dylan Kuo x Tammy Chen pairing is cute and I love them together! I watched this to feed my Dylan fangirlness and it did the job. [posts on the drama] Rating – 7/10
Loved in the Purple / The Purple Hairpin (2013): I can’t say this was completely bad but it wasn’t that good either. The Chinese name of this drama suggests some ‘grand adventure’ which revolves around that purple hairpin but in reality the story has been fairly flat throughout the drama. When they tried to create some conflicts it just seemed completely WTF and out of nowhere. Since there is a post full of rants about the ending you can tell how I felt about it. Overall, it was fairly forgettable. [posts on the drama] Rating – 6/10
IN PROGRESS & HOPE TO ACTUALLY COMPLETE
Shining Days (2013): Up to episode 10 – WHAT HAVE I DONE? I said I wasn’t going to watch this because of the ridiculous number of episodes (80+?) but I ended up live watching it since it’s currently airing in Taiwan. As a sign that I’m getting sucked in, one ep a day is not enough so I started skipping forward and watched some more on YouTube. I didn’t realise they also had Peter’s original voice in the Chinese version? But gees, the guy who dubbed Michael Zhang just doesn’t suit him at all. If anything, I prefer the TW version for the original voices of the TW actors lol. Back to the story itself… sisters switched at birth, revenge, Peter playing the rich guy… bickering / misunderstandings between the ‘main’ couple but possibly turn into love later… I know this is like junk food. It’s not good for you but you can’t help but watch it. When I say I hope to ‘complete’ this, I meant skipping episodes here and there because I’m sure that’s what will happen later.
The Story of Mulan / Legend of Hua Mulan (2013): Up to episode 15 – OK, so I watched this to feed my Dylan-fangirlness but it really was surprisingly good. It hasn’t been dragging at all and the plot delivered heaps of surprises. However, I’m not sure how Mulan fans will think about it since it’s 15 episodes already and we still haven’t gotten to the main plot everyone is familiar with. As a newbie actress, Hou Meng Yao is good and even though the story is more focused on her than Dylan, it’s still very watchable. It’s been 3 or 4 months since I last watched this but I am aiming to get back to it soon!!!!
HONG KONG DRAMAS
Friendly Fire (2012-13): I have a lot of grudge against this drama. It looks decent on the outside, strong cast, TVB’s tried and trusted legal genre… but when writers can make simple mistakes like quoting common law as if it’s a written statue? Anyone who has studied social studies would know this. Plus they love introducing new evidence during closing arguments. ARRRGGGHHH What is this? Oh, and those legal trainees are supposed to be the ‘brightest graduates’ out of law school. I worry for the future of the legal profession if that’s the case. Did I mention how unrealistic the ending was? (The part involving Benz.) Well, I did like the Sammy x Sharon couple? Otherwise, just no. Rating – 6/10
Master of Play (2012): Out of the three TVB dramas I completed this year, surprisingly I enjoyed this one the most. On paper, it’s not something I normally watch (Adam Cheng – Boring! Moses Chan – not a fan! Aimee Chan – not a fan either! Maggie Siu and Moses Chan – again?) but after the first few episodes I was quite intrigued by it. There are episodes here and there which are slower but there’re always twists and turns lurking. I liked this more than When Heaven Burns because the story itself was more entertaining. Sure, it can be preachy and you can go into a long analysis of the darker side of human nature, what’s right or wrong etc etc but if you don’t want to think too much, it’s still entertaining enough to hold your interest. You can get as much or as little out of it as you prefer. Will try to write a proper review of this soon-ish. Rating – 7/10
Triumph in the Skies 2 (2013): I put this under ‘completed’ even though I skipped about 10 episodes in between! Can’t say I felt like I missed anything though. Shooting overseas did add to its charms but the huge number of characters / plotlines mean there were a few unnecessary and boring subplots. I wrote a fairly short review here so I won’t repeat everything I said previously. Rating – 6/10
DROPPED & NEVER LOOKED BACK
A Change of Heart (2013): Dropped after 4 episodes – You know, the beginning episodes were actually quite good. I had every intention to keep watching but then I went on holidays, came back and by the time I was ready to restart, reviews start coming in about what a train wreck it was as the story progressed. So I didn’t pick it up again! But Bosco and Niki made a cute couple though, I’ve always liked Niki and it’s been a while since I’ve seen her in a series.
IN PROGRESS & HOPE TO ACTUALLY COMPLETE
Bounty Lady (2013): Up to episode 8 – Usually, TVB dramas start off strongly and then they gradually die off. But I didn’t really enjoy the beginning of Bounty Lady at all. The first story involving Siu Bo / May Chan just felt like one long unfunny fat joke. I do wonder though, whether there is a line in the sand with comedies. Is it ok to laugh at “HK girls” (aka the girls who have ‘princess syndrome’) but it’s not ok to laugh at fat people? Or is everything fair game? I don’t know the answer to that. I’ve just been thinking why I loved the jokes on the ‘HK girls’ while not so much on the fat girls. But after it moved onto the next story with Grace Wong things got better and I hope to pick this up again in the new year.
So this post took much longer than I originally thought! Personally, 2013 was just an average year for me. I think I was still recovering from 2012 – a few bad things happened in real life but this was compensated by some good things in fandom life. Looking back though, I can’t believe I started this blog in February and it’s already December! It’s been such a fun ride watching more Asian dramas again. Watching dramas is such a solitary activity for me so in reading other blogs and writing this one, it gave me the opportunity to discuss and fangirl with people from all over the world! I’m so glad I found this ‘drama world’ out there – constantly surprised by the diversity of Asian drama viewers.
For the past couple of months it feels like I haven’t actually written any ‘proper’ posts on a drama. >< I hope to rectify this in 2014! Although I said so many times I wasn’t going to start another web project, but I am taking the plunge!! Will try to keep it small to start with and see how it goes. Better to have tried and failed than to never have tried at all right?
Well, YOU KNOW this post is not complete without something Bolin related rightttttttt? I *could* post this picture… because it’s awesomesauce.
Since 2013 was just an average year in real life, he singlehandedly saved my fandom life because I didn’t think I had the fangirl in me anymore. I thought I was too old for this. But I guess not. To make things worse (?) or better? I have declared myself ‘fangirl forever’ because of this. As I’ve already spazzed enough on Tumblr I shall just copy & paste here.
It’s been a few days but I’m still spazzzzzzzzzzing.
Whenever I sent gifts / cards / whatever I never expect anything in return. You never know whether they actually read your letter or see whatever you sent them. I normally just forget about it and move on….
On the 10th December I sent a Christmas card and the bow tie in the first pic to him… was so worried it wouldn’t even make it there before Christmas since Australia Post sucks and the ‘standard’ postage time is 3 to 10 working days. That’s huge difference! But then, 9 days later when he posted it on Instagram I was just… speechless. I couldn’t believe my eyes! I was shaking!!!!!
A few months ago there was an interview which talked about what a typical day is like for him:
“18:00, open letters: At a corner of his office, there’re letters from fans all over the world. Bolin reads and keeps every one of them.”
Normally, I just read interviews as a form of entertainment. You can’t believe everything they say in it.
But he posted that photo on weibo at 18:03. It’s so silly but I feel like crying!!!!!!!
Safe to say I’m a fangirl forever. 🙂
HAHAHAHAHA *skips off into the sunset*
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!!!!!