Sunday, 31 July 2016

Presumed Accidents - 纯熟意外TVB Review

Hello everyone,

Hope you have been enjoying the summer so far wherever you are! It has again been a while since we have done a review because we just haven't had much to write about. The dramas these days are watch-able but nothing too interesting. With that said, we have recently opened a MyDramaList account here so click the link and see what we are watching lately and tell us if you've got any suggestions!

Today, we are bringing you a post of the TVB drama, Presumed Accidents, which finished airing on July 3rd. It is about a month late and House of Spirits and Between Love and Desire is done its broadcast as well! Oh well! This review will include our thoughts and opinions of the drama as usual.




Basic Overview: Presumed Accidents is a modern mystery and suspense drama starring Lawrence Ng (吳啟華), Sisley Choi (蔡思貝), Selena Li (李施嬅) Lai Lok-yi (黎諾懿), Raymond Cho (曹永廉 ) and Joyce Tang (滕麗名). George Kiu (Lawrence Ng) has a mysterious life and runs a Cafe while selling antiques. It turns out that he is from the Yuan Dynasty where he ate a life elixir pill and is living until present day. He then meets Eunice Yan (Sisley Choi) and together they solve a lot of insurance cases and Sisley has hopes that they may one day be together romantically. Then she finds out that he turns out to be her real father and that the parents she knew were planned and put by her side because of George. She starts to hold a grudge on George and goes to Mantus Cheuk (Chris Lai) for help and develops a romantic relationship with him. However, more mysterious cases are coming up and they seem to be from the same mastermind. Later on, a woman that resembles George's late wife (Selena Li) comes into the scene and adds to the complications between George and Eunice's relationship.

Character/Acting Reviews:

Lawrence Ng as George Kiu (for the most part): Well it has sure been a while since we have seen Lawrence on screen ever since THC 2! Both of us haven't seen his old dramas either so we actually don't really have an opinion of Lawrence to begin with. We have heard about his villain roles back then and how he looks a lot better nowadays. This role was an interesting one because we are introduced to him first dreaming about himself in ancient attire being on top of a pile of corpses. Having just seen Blue Veins, we were looking at each other thinking... OH NO, not the immortal people again. What's with this recurring theme at TVB? SPOILER ALERT: yup... he is an immortal who apparently ate a ball that allowed him to live forever... wow.
At first his relationship with Brian (B zai) played by Chow Chung resembled the relationship between Batman and his butler Alfred in The Dark Knight movies. What else could we suspect when he has self healing powers and an old man waiting for him at home that knows everything about him. George is also mysteriously rich like Batman so we couldn't help but draw that connection. However... much to our surprise, B Zai turns out to be George's adopted son that keeps aging while George never grew old. This was one of the best relationships in the drama thanks to Chow Chung's quirky acting as B Zai and as for Lawrence Ng, he just played his part well and reserved. Yes, reserved is what we think of his performance this time. While he went all out when protecting Sisley Choi's character Eunice Yan, with other characters he said what needed to be said and listened when he should have. It was nothing more and nothing less and in that way, we have no complaints of his performance. In fact, if he had chosen to go any more with his facial expressions, it would have been too fake for someone who has seen the centuries of hardships that many in Hong Kong will not experience today. In saying that, we mean that he must have weathered through many wars and conflicts without the use of modern technology. This experience helps him a lot in the insurance cases that happen in the drama and he often looks at cases with a quizzical eye. Overall the character and the performance are pretty good for the standards these days if you ignore all the technical aspects of how he's self healing and all that. Also if you ignore the slight errors and the sheer impossibility of some things (in which TVB scriptwriters always have), his character is well written for the most part for conveying his difficulties as an immortal. Well done to Lawrence for pulling off another one of TVB's cliché characters with an immortal twist.

Sisley Choi as Eunice Yan: Not going to lie, Sisley was the main reason why we were skeptical about watching this drama because we have seen her lacklusture and screeching performances way too many times to be bothered again by her overboard acting. However, this time she really surprised us. Like many netizens who have complimented her improvement in this drama, we also think that she has improved lots. She has learned to control her voice and although some may think letting go of your voice means emotion and passion, Sisley shows that you can tone it down and bring more feeling to the character. The background story of Eunice is a tragic one, with her parents being taken away from her on the day of her convocation in England. Later we find out that the whole thing was a plan of George's and it makes Eunice even more confused and angry as to what she should do with her awkward relationship with George now. We had no complaints or any cringe moments for Sisley throughout this rocky part of the drama. Sometimes it would get annoying in the office when they were both given the same case. Quick note about Sisley and the cases, we do have a growing concern that these TVB actors are soon taking over the job of superheroes as their characters solve all cases with a iron shielded body to protect them from car crashes and near fatal gunshots. Anyways, her relationship with Chris Lai's Mantus is somewhat missing though. TVB has never been great at creating romantic storylines or relationships because the two main leads or whatever usually just learn about each other's feelings towards the last two episodes... no development whatsoever, gotta go over to kdramas if you are looking for a good romance. We both found that they were not giving their fullest or something was missing even in their sweet uni days. Of course, afterwards we find out that he was just using her the whole time but they didn't have much chemistry. Overall this was her best performance to date but she still has a long way to go.

Chris Lai as Mantus (Praying Mantis? What name is Mantus? We have never heard of it and don't think it's a popular name...) Cheuk: This is his first major role since his break from Come Home Love which has been airing since 2011 or something! We were very excited to see him in a different role after being stuck with Ma Zhong for many years however, we were a little disappointed with this role. It provided very little development as to why he got so evil to create so many false accidents and he just suddenly turned super, super evil in the end. This is a recurring flaw in TVB's scriptwriting for endings. They always have dramatic and unrealistic endings that are caused by the least likely character who suddenly becomes murderous or something like that. An example of this is Short End of the Stick with some weird rebel group ruining the family and stuff like that! TVB needs to learn to write better endings! This one was not one bit better with the late addition of Selena Li's Faye character being entangled with Mantus and how she suddenly turns good and goes against her. The ending with Mantus was way too rushed because he only came in around episode 9. Chris Lai aced with what was in the script so maybe it isn't all his fault but since he's out of CHL, TVB should really create some better roles for him with a legitimate character and female counterparts that can spark some chemistry with him. Overall, he was wasted in a bad role.

Selena Li as the Princess Yuet Ngai, Chong Wing-Yi, and Faye Lin: As much as we wanted to love Selena Li's three roles, we had a hard time seeing them enough to know the characters on screen. The Princess role we thought was played by Sisley until they finally revealed who she was. There wasn't much to her story so no comments there. For Selena as Chong Wing-Yi, her performance was adequate but there isn't much to say either. But her role, Faye Lin is where we have some comments! We thought her storyline was a bit forced and that it was hard watching her act as the tragic Faye because she was just being used by Mantus and her background story also detracted from the main insurance cases that needed to be handled. Her story slowed down the pace of the cases that were somewhat interesting and brought us to slowly dislike George Kiu who has always been down to earth until he starts seeing her. Selena is of course experienced and a better emotional actress than Sisley but it was her character Faye that made us lean towards Eunice whenever there were differences between the two characters. Whenever she was suffering, we suffered with her because it was really hard to watch and it didn't feel like it worked that well with the drama. Overall the marketing of her as a guest artist with three roles did not work because all the characters were too shallow and Faye particularly ruined the momentum of the series.

Joyce Tang as Jessie Hui: We definitely haven't seen Joyce on screen for while and she does not disappoint in this drama. There is a whole story about her failing marriage while raising her son but again it detracts from the suspense of the crime-thriller drama. But after seeing so many tvb dramas, we know their usual formula now. Just have a bunch of related characters and split up each episode to have a shot to develop each of those character's storylines and in the end get a little bit further until a super dramatic end comes to bring everyone together. The last episode will finally bring the two leads together romantically and all the side characters get married or have kids or something and of course, we can't forget about the few deaths that are a given in dramas! So Jessie's storyline with her husband and Raymond Cho's Lai Yat-Ming fulfills the on and off side story that ends happily. We like her performance here but her character in House of Spirits is better and has more development.

Raymond Cho as Lai Yat-Ming: Again, Raymond Cho delivers his character well and we have nothing to complain about. After an awesome role in Short End of the Stick, it's hard to beat that especially being the third male lead in this one. So here, this character could have been played by another actor to help them get promoted as Raymond was kind of wasted. He had his own story with being an ex-CIB but most of the time, he was just a comic relief. His interactions with the two newly-hired workers are funny but other than that, we don't have much comments. Raymond just did well once again haha.

Other characters:

Winki Lai as Madam Mok: After seeing her rowdy character in Blue Veins, this is certainly a change and it shows that she has some acting chops so we are excited to see some more of her.

Snow Suen as I.I: We haven't seen much of her until now and after looking at her filmography, we are taken aback by how many dramas she's been in! Too bad she is getting recognition now when she is already 34... Doesn't look like it but like Zoie Tam, these girls need to be promoted faster! She was a nice surprise.

People in the Insurance Fraud Association: Max Cheung as Blue, Rachel Kan as Chan Ka-Kei, Hoi Yeung as Tung Cheuk-Kiu were all good. We have noticed that Hoi Yeung has been getting more prominent roles, both in Over Run Over and this one so we are happy to see that!

Plot:

We are just gonna write a paragraph for this because we have forgotten most of the cases because none of them really stick out to us. The main theme of the accidents was a relatively new idea for TVB and the trailer proved to be exciting. However, when watching the drama, there were many times when the accident and insurance theme was lost and all we got to see what the relationships between the characters. Therefore, this isn't totally a crime/mystery/thriller drama and only a normal TVB drama with a different background story. There were many cases that were planned according to the fraud company run by Mantus and Blue and crew and we knew the head was Mantus right from the beginning so there was no suspense that way. The only case we really remember is the blind girl case who sculpted because the accuracy and precision of the timing of the truck driver reflecting the light into the worker's eyes was a little far-fetched. With police dramas these days, a lot of things go out of hand and it is like the police can share every single detail to the public and the public are have super high IQ's and physical strength. The overlapping and cutting of storylines is not that refined and that is why we don't remember many of the cases and overall, while we kept watching the drama, it wasn't suspenseful at all. Overall the plot is alright but falters at times.

Final Verdict:

This drama was interesting enough to keep us watching but there were a lot of missing elements for it to be a real thriller. There were many wasted actors playing unnecessary or overly dramatic roles that were severely under-developed.

7/10

Let us know what you think of the drama :)

-Cee and Jay



2 comments:

llwy12 said...

I watched a bit more of this drama than I intended to (mostly because my mom was watching it and I happened to be in the room) so for once, I’m able to comment, lol.  Thanks for the plot summary, as I only saw a few episodes here and there so reading your summary helped piece the rest of it together.  Overall, I feel that this series was ‘watchable’ but not because of the performances from the main leads or the supposedly complicated storyline/script – I mostly watched because of the insurance cases, a few of which were interesting, but also it was a nice ‘distraction’ from having to watch the main characters (specifically Lawrence and Sisley), both of whom I found annoying in this series.  With that said,  the typical TVB formula of focusing on complicated yet underdeveloped character relationships instead of the main theme was way too obvious in this series, as the insurance thing basically took the back burner, which perhaps is why some of the cases weren’t developed and totally made no sense.  Even so, I did enjoy watching a few of the cases play out, albeit I do agree that the cases overall weren’t that memorable.

In terms of the performances – while I agree that Sisley did improve in terms of controlling her voice and therefore making herself less annoying, from an acting perspective, she’s still too raw to be leading a series.  I actually didn’t feel much emotion from her (granted I didn’t watch the entire series, but I did watch a few of the ‘heavy emotional’ parts – including the ‘big reveal’ where George tells Eunice that he is her father – and I honestly wasn’t impressed at all)…I think part of it is that Sisley’s facial expressions still need a lot of work, plus in some of the emotional scenes it was kind of obvious that she was trying too hard.  I do applaud her for making the effort though it wasn’t tremendously successful….(and for the record – I still dislike her, lol!)

As for Lawrence – I am just going to come right out and say it:  he was BORING!  Yes, some of it has to do with the role itself, which I kind of felt was written too reserved to the point of being boring, but having watched almost all of Lawrence’s older dramas (including the ones from the 80s where he played villains as well as good guys), I know he is way more capable an actor than what we’ve been seeing.   Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like ever since his super popular Healing Hands role (which single-handedly revived his career), most of his performances after returning to TVB have been along the same lines.  I know I’ve said it before, but this once again reminds me why it’s not necessarily a good thing to become popular first male lead and then stop doing villain roles (because the series’ main lead can’t be an antagonist, right?) – after years of watching TVB series, I found that most of the male TVB lead actors gave their best, career-defining performances as villains but when they became leads, they stopped doing villain roles and in my opinion, their versatility started to wane due to being typecast in one similar role after another…in addition to Lawrence, a few other examples include Deric Wan, Gallen Lo, Michael Tao, Wayne Lai, Bobby Au Yeung, etc.

I didn’t watch the ending to the series so can’t comment on it but from what you described, I’m not surprised that TVB once again botched the ending.  They’ve been doing that a lot in recent years and even with series that I’ve enjoyed watching (yes, despite my criticism of post-2000 era series, there WERE a few gems that I felt were worthwhile series), most of the endings have sucked.  It’s a shame that TVB is incapable of making good memorable endings anymore….

CeeJay said...

Hello llwy12,

Sorry for the super late response!!! Thank you for providing your thoughts on this drama. It has been a couple months since this drama has aired and quite frankly, only 2 dramas have been better than this one, including the ones airing now. Which of course leads to another rant altogether.......... (we are not happy with what's on TV right now AT ALL and heck, Brother's Keeper 2 is 40 episodes... dragging on for 2 MONTHS? please give us a break!)

The backdrop of the insurance cases was appealing as it had never been done before at TVB, in our experience with it at least. We knew that some things won't be worked out and the ending would be slapped together sloppily but we did not expect such extreme evil from Mantus (Chris Lai). Now that we reply a couple months later, we are thinking more leniently for this drama because the two on right now are just horrible and it seems like we were saved when we saw something like Presumed Accidents. This is ironic because PA was never that great to begin with. The only three dramas that we like so far are, Over Run Over, House of Spirits, and A Fist Within Four Walls. That is quite sad considering the variety and the number of dramas that aired with the new air time of 9:30-10:30 everyday including weekends.

Sisley is lacking of course, especially for the leading role. But at least she has improved. Grace Chan on the other hand, has gotten worse. Worse than Captain of Destiny, worse than Blue Veins. Actually, we have not even heard her utter a word in BK2 (we're on ep6? don't even care anymore) and her actions and body positions are all too wrong. We do not want to be overly critical but she is supposed to play a beautiful, attractive young girl and we unfortunately, cringed at her dancing and supposed "I'm so hot" moment when Edwin first sees her.

Let us know what you think of these two dramas. BK2 and Inspector Gourmet (we aren't even gonna rant about this one, it's just beyond sad) if you are watching them and thanks for stopping by again!

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