Monday, June 21, 2010

Devil Beside You (恶魔在身边)

Devil Beside You
恶魔在身边 (E Mo Zai Shen Bian)

A girl is desperately in love with a guy in one of her classes, and one day, she finally finds the nerve to give him a letter. She tries to give it to him as he passes by, but when she looks up, she finds herself handing the letter to the wrong person. Qi Yue (Rainie Yang) finds herself face-to-face with Jiang Meng (Mike He), whom she later finds out is a trouble making freshman. Not only that, Qi Yue later finds out that her widowed mother is dating and is engaged to Jiang Meng's dad, who is the chairman at their university!

As the four of them try to live as one family in one house, Qi Yue and Jiang Meng constantly find themselves at odds, but later realize that they have feelings for each other. What makes it more complicated is that the guy whom Qi Yue previously liked also has feelings for her. And later on, it is also revealed that her best friend has feelings for Qi Yue's former crush. To add to that, it is also revealed that Jiang Meng's good friend is crushing on a girl who has a crush on him. Ai-ya, everything seems so complicated!

As the story progresses and it seems the main love pair are doing well, other complicated things get in the way like people who are trying to ruin their relationship, or personal problems between the couple or as an individual. It's a secret that only a few know, and the couple find it hard to reveal their feelings to their so-much-in-love parents.

This drama series is definitely a funny but also highly dramatic one as the characters in the story are involved with so many personal problems in the family, but who also try to act as if nothing is wrong on the outside with their humor-filled quirks. An interesting theme tackled throughout the story is the importance of the family. From the very beginning, the problem is underlined, will a relationship between step-siblings be allowed by society? The characters in the story try to get around that problem as they live life with their friends in their youth-filled world. But of course, this problem needs people who will look at the issue maturely, and will tackle the problem as wise adults who've considered the consequences of their action.

If there is one thing I think is wrong with the series, that would probably be the consistency of the depth of the characters. It seems as if most characters are just shallow parts within the story. There is no real consistency to their personality. At times, it's frustrating to watch how they act with each other. Though the story does underline an important issue, the characters could do better. Some of the episodes in the story seem so unrealistic and it makes it difficult to compare oneself to the story or the situations. Also, for the most part, the drama leaves you hanging, as if there could have been more.

Dialogue and story could have been expanded even more and given more detail, but for a short series like this, it was generally okay.

Episodes: 14

Sunday, May 10, 2009

They Kiss Again (恶作剧2吻)

They Kiss Again
恶作剧2吻 (E Zuo Ju 2 Wen)

They Kiss Again is the continuing story of It Started With a Kiss. The story starts off with the honeymoon of Jiang Zhi Shu (Joe Cheng) and Xiang Qin (Ariel Lin) in Guam. It begins on a bumpy road with their honeymoon not being the romantic and perfect getaway they both dreamed it would be. On their honeymoon, they meet a couple who is about to get married, yet it seems that the bride-to-be has a small thing for Zhi Shu which of course makes Xiang Qin jealous. With her patient nature, she slowly endures the advances of this interceptor while trying to make the most of her own honeymoon. Eventually she is able to solve her dilemma and she finds out how much Zhi Shu truly loves her.

This conflict continues throughout the story. Xiang Qin and Zhi Shu end up going to the same medical school, she studying to be a nurse and he studying to be a doctor. They don't parade their marriage and to the class, she is seen as single, especially by a fellow nurse of Xiang Qin who starts to have a thing for her. Even when people find out that the couple are married, it still instigates problems for the couple because the nurse objectifies their relationship and confronts Zhi Shu about his not being a good husband to Xiang Qin. This of course angers Zhi Shu who then confronts inner conflicts about his own feelings. Later on, when both start work at a real hospital, the story becomes much more comedic with confrontations between the married couple and their patients. Even later on, when Zhi Shu gets sent to a small island off of Taiwan for a year, the complications don't end there are Xiang Qin goes to visit and meets some uncomfortable situations.

The season not only focuses on Xiang Qin and Zhi Shu, but also focuses on Ah Feng and his budding relationship with a girl from abroad who comes to Taiwan, Christine (Rui Sha). It also focuses on Zhi Shu's younger brother Yu Shu (Zhang Bo Han and later on Cong Yang) and his eventual relationship with a girl at his school. There are also inclusions of High School friends of Xiang Qin and Zhi Shu, who pop up in parts of the series.

In similarity to the first season, the second season is just as interesting with much more drama involved, an introduction of new characters which makes the lives of Xiang Qin and Zhi Shu even more interesting. Of course, Xiang Qin and Zhi Shu's family are still there to support the two through their trials and are great additions to humor input within the story. The season however ends on a sadder note as compared to the first season when Xiang Qin finds herself pregnant (it is real this time, as compared to a previous mistaken pregnancy) and in conflict with a slowly-progressing sickness.

For me, this series is really something worth continuing. Though there are of course some things one may not like in the second season as compared to the original season, one can how both main characters grow within the story, not only as students or people in a profession, but as married couples and simply, as children to their parents. With funny dialogues between characters, interesting scenes which evolve from school to work to home, to the inclusion of different kinds of characters, this series is definitely worth watching.

Episodes: 20

Drama Wiki Version

Saturday, March 21, 2009

It Started With a Kiss (恶作剧之吻)

It Started With a Kiss
恶作剧之吻 (E Zuo Ju Zhi Wen)

The main character of the story, Xiang Qin (Ariel Lin) is a clumsy and naive high school teenager who is in love with the genius of an IQ of 200 in Taiwan, who also happens to be in Class A of her high school. Sadly, Xiang Qin is very stupid and is in the lowest class in her school, so when she gives Jiang Zhi Shu (Joe Cheng) a letter proclaiming her love, she is ignored and even made fun of by her school mates. An earthquake in Taiwan causes Xiang Qin's newly built house (by her father) to collapse and the two have nowhere else to go. When their sad story appears on the news, Xiang Qin's father's childhood friend lends a hand and offers his house. They accept, but Xiang Qin finds out after she proudly proclaims at school that she will never accept Zhi Shu's help, that her father's friend is actually Zhi Shu's father!

As the two live together under the same roof, Zhi Shu sees Xiang Qin's constant determination of proving her worth to him, eventually softening him up. Her constant honesty and good will, despite showing many times how stupid and without thought she acts, is something he learns to treasure later on. Zhi Shu refuses to admit to his feelings until the better end of the show though people around them have constanly noticed his affections for Xiang Qin (of which she is entirely ignorant). Ah Jin (Jiro Wang), who is also deeply in love with Xiang Qin, refuses to give up and constantly seeks out her feelings, which she does not reciprocate. Zhi Shu of course is the eye of interest of many women on campus and off campus, despite his cool personality, which he only drops when he is around Xiang Qin, which many people consider to be his true self.

Throughout the episodes, many different situations test the affections that each of them have for each other, making it a very amusing drama to watch. One of my favorite dramas of all time, It Started With A Kiss is a drama that I recommend whole-heartedly, because I believe it brings out the best in people, and sometimes even the sides which we may sometimes refuse to see.

Episodes: 30

Drama Wiki version.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Fated to Love You (命中注定我爱你)

Fated to Love You
sometimes known as
Sticky Note Girl
命中注定我爱你 (Ming Zhong Zhu Ding Wo Ai Ni)

A Taiwanese drama about a very wealthy guy (Ethan Ruan) who accidentally sleeps with (and eventually impregnates) a total stranger (Joe Chen) while on a cruise ship. In both their drunken stupors, they didn’t realize that they had accidentally slept with the wrong person. It should have ended there, but fate has a weird way of dealing destiny. The girl’s pregnancy leads them both to get married for the sake of their future. The thing is, the guy has a girlfriend (Bianca Bai) who’s a ballet dancer on tour. When she unexpectedly comes back, it leads to a lot of confusion. Also, the guy starts falling for the girl, though he doesn’t seem to realize it.

There’s a lot of hullaballoo when a miscarriage happens and the girl goes to Shanghai through the recommendation and insistence of her good friend Dylan (Baron Chen) and eventually changes herself, leaving the guy behind without a word. 2 years later, fate deals another hand and the two unexpectedly meet again, because of the girl’s artistic talent. It leads to more confusion and more drama as lies and truths unfold.

A hilarious Taiwanese drama that incorporates both of course, dramatic, but also comedic parts into the story. Many parts of the story are so obvious that it's frustrating when the characters don't do the obvious, but many parts also remain mysterious to the audience, giving it that interesting flair that makes one come back for more.

One of the more recent Taiwanese dramas that I have been addicted to. I have just recently finished watching the entire season, and I wholly recommend this to everyone. Many times, I almost fell off my chair laughing at the really cheesy and funny scenes presented throughout the series. A must-watch, either alone or in the company of friends.

Episodes: 24

Drama Wiki version

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Meteor Garden (流行花园)

Meteor Garden
流行花园 (Liu Xing Hua Yuan)

Meteor Garden is a well-known Taiwanese drama that was based on a Japanese Manga called Hana Yori Dango (Boys Before Flowers). The story includes 2 sets of characters, Shan Cai and the group called F4. Shan Cai (Barbie Xu) comes from a not-so wealthy lower middle-class family. Because of her parents dreams for her to marry someone rich, she is sent to Ying De University, a private school for the wealthy and rich. Many of the students at Ying De University are sons and daughters of CEO's, large company owners and investors, and the like. There is a group of students who basically run the school, they are called the Flower 4(F4), composed of Dao Ming Si (Jerry Yan), Hua Ze Lei (Vic Zhou), Xi Men (Ken Zhu), and Mei Zuo (Vanness Wu). Their parents are the founders of the Ying De University, which is why they are able to bully teachers and students alike, into doing whatever they want.

One day, while defending a childhood friend of hers from some pranks, Shan Cai meets the F4. Instead of cowering to them, and especially to their leader Dao Ming Si, Shan Cai stands up to them and this catches the group's attention. A few days after, Shan Cai receives a red note in her locker, which is a sign that everyone must begin bullying poor Shan Cai. Despite everything that is done to her however, Shan Cai does not give up and continues to fight till the very end. Eventually, Dao Ming Si's interest begins to change into love, at the same time that Shan Cai begins to fall in love with Hua Ze Lei.

The story basically talks about the struggles Shan Cai becomes involved in, as she involves herself more with the group F4. It includes how people around Shan Cai and F4 react to their friendship, the jealousies involved, the plots, schemes, struggles, confusions and such. The clashing of the wealthy and the less privileged, together with the clashing of friendships over love and over family. In the end, will love and friendship and trust triumph over social pressures?

One of the first Taiwanese dramas that I had the pleasure of watching, and eventually falling in love with. Despite the many cheesy lines and parts with obvious turn-of-events, Meteor Garden was one of the factors that pushed me into taking my Chinese seriously in my youth.

Episodes: 20

Drama Wiki version.