Friday, May 3, 2013

Asian TV...or as I call it - TV.

Yes, my title is a little play of humor on how even though tv shows are just tv shows, we have to somehow specify where it's from. That's a long debate for another day.

I have been watching a few TV shows lately...all Wuxia based written by some awesome authors back in the day.  I can thank Jeannie Lin's My Fair Concubine for kicking me back to the stories I have always loved.  That book totally needs to be reviewed soon and I promise, I'm totally working on it. *shifty eyes*

First thing I watched was what I call the ultimate classic:

Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio, or Liao Zhai.

This version was one of my favorite.  They combined so much together and gave really in-depth backgrounds/reasons. 

You cannot get more classic than this in terms of everything.  I also finally went out a purchased one of the many collections.  If only I could get my hands on the complete one. *sigh*

Then I moved on to the other classics.

Legend of the Condor Heroes

They made some changes...some were good, some were meh, but I love the actress so it's all good.

Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils

This was the 2003 version first episode, I couldn't find just the the opening was only so-so.  The new one is coming very conflicted between excitement and nervousness at too much change.

And of course Legend of the White Haired Demoness (my direct translation), or in this case The Bride with the White Hair
Baifa MonĂ¼ Zhuan

They changed waaaayyyyyy too much towards the end.  OMG, it would've been terrible if the story wasn't so good. O_o

For some reason, Jin Yong was the one my family followed more so than the other writers. It's awesome, but after reading some of the translations, I think I've become more of a Lian Yusheng fan.

I mean, how can you beat the Legend of the White-Haired Demoness... although, I must say the novel was way better.

After viewing all of these (and quite a few others), my conclusion was that society (especially current modern society) has become more and more lenient and forgiving of the male species whereas female redemption still follows the self sacrifice nonsense.

Which is hilarious given that the writers were male and actually was NOT as forgiving and kind to the males. Instead, they wrote awesome strong, smart and skilled females that got dimmed down more and more throughout the years...

It's like my critic of Pride and Prejudice's Mr. Bennet vs. Mrs. Bennet.  Every subsequent version always casts Mrs. Bennet as some money grubbing idiot and Mr. Bennet has having to put up with her. Which was true, but everyone seemed to forget that even Elizabeth noticed later in the novel how rude and cruel Mr. Bennet was to his wife.

Rather than lead by example or try and help his wife be more educated, he ignored her and mocked her in front of their children.  As we all know, if this type of behaviour was accepted at home, what other examples did the girls have to think different; that it was ok to spoken down to or made fun of.  At the same time, Mr. Bennet really didn't do much to educate his daughters. He just kind of hoped for the best and if they turned out good - great, if not he ignored them.  Even though Mrs. Bennet was "feather-brained" so to speak, she was actively trying to find husbands for her children, and in those times, that was the only thing she was able to do to ensure her daughters had anything of a future.  Even with all the problems of Lydia, it was Mr. Bennet that let them be.

Honestly, I always felt bad for Mrs. Bennet and really wanted to write in her perspective of how her life was under the Bennet house. Married to a man that didn't really value her and spoke down to her in front of her children, with no recourse to a better life or education.  

Eh, I could write essays on this. Lol.  My very long-winded-side-tracked point was this, the changes we see were often (in my opinion) unequal: the lack of fatherly guidance or rather lame example that was Mr. Bennet was often diminished, or completely non-existent in most versions, whereas Mrs. Bennet stayed more or less, a frivolous featherbrain that only cared about finding wealthy husbands for her daughters.

Back to my cool ancient series, I was seeing that as well among the characters.  The males get more and more reasonable (excuses) for doing what they do, whereas females get more...mushy.  Not necessarily weaker...wait, yes, they get weaker and weaker.  Bleck.

Seriously, I can write essays upon essays on these. Hmmm, maybe I should.  I wonder if someone already has...


  1. Awesome post, Alys!! Woohoo, someone who watch wuxia tv series!!

    I have to say though, I haven't watched as much recently, simply for the fact that it was such a big part of my life that I burn-out on it a little. I'm going to check out that version of Liao Zhai. Some of the cast in that one is really awesome.

    I didn't watch that version of Legend of the Condor Heroes. I don't know, I really like TVB 1994 adaptation. And this one came after the Mainland China one with Shui Ling and Li Ya Peng (think that's his name). Although in recent years, I've become a huge fan of Yuan Hong, so I might give it a try.

    Pretty much same thing with Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils. Really liked the TVB 1997 adaptation, it was so good with Felix Wong! As much as the scenery in the 2003 adaptation was pretty, I don`t know.. the costumes were so puffy. As for the new adaptation, some apprehension as well. Sigh. It's mostly the cast. I mean, Wallace Chung is okay, but as Kiu Feng? Not sure.

    I was sooo excited for the White Hair Demoness because I love Nicky Wu and Ma Su. I think Ma Su definitively did a great job and I still love her so much. And I like the pairing. The problem was the storyline. Oh gosh, they did butcher it. Especially the end!! I mean, didn't like the ending because it was so ambiguous and the title is White Hair Demoness, not the hero's name!! They totally wrote out the heroine in the last few episode which didn't make sense... and one of the important element is that in term of kung fu, the White Hair Demoness is above everyone!! (well almost equal with Hua Ming monk). The one thing that I did like about this adaptation though is that the hero was a bit less wimpy and he assumed his actions a bit more.

  2. I swear, you're like my wuxia tv buddy. :D

    That version is on youtube with subtitles. It's the 2005 version, I think. Must less of the women-sacrifice like the other versions. Lol.

    I loved the TVB version which was why I held off of so long, but Ariel Lin is one of my favorite actresses and I caved. I'm glad I did because she was awesome! Anthony Wong is also a favorite of mine, so more reason to watch. Lol.

    They added way too much for some of the other characters but whatever, I'll take it. Lol. It's not perfect compared to some of the older series, but good nonetheless.

    Yes, the TVB with Felix Wong! You totally know the good stuff. He was awesome. Just awesome. This version was pretty good as it stayed very true to the storyline. Not as visually beautiful though. And omg, you said it perfectly. Wallace Chung is ok, but he looks soooooooooooooooooo weird as Xiao Feng...I looked at the other characters too and I am just praying they don't screw up the storyline at the very least.

    Yes, Nicky Wu and Ma Su. Seriously, you and I totally think alike. The end was TERRIBLE! Just TERRIBLE. It's like, they made it all about the guy. I was like WTFH!!! They made wayyyyy to many changes. And the whole Yihang falling down the cliff and learning from the Demoness' teacher...who should've been dead to begin with. Then the weird unnecessary "triangle" with young woman. I mean, what were they thinking? AND what did they do to Tie Feilong?!!!
    I love the fact Yue Mingke and Tie FeiHu survived, but at the same time, I don't know if the ending was worth it.
    Like you said, Nishang was completely gone for like the last five episodes and she's weaker than Yihang! Are you kidding me?!!!

    Ah, that felt good. It's so fun to talk to someone that understands. I was going to write some freaking essays just venting and complaining...feel less need to now.

    And Happy Birthday! :D Lol Again!

  3. hey there :)

    sorry for the late reply, I just came back :)

    in which series is Anthony Wong in?

    LOL, wuxia tv series/novels are like romance novels. if you enjoy them, you'll end up liking a lot of the same books. I've been wanting to read The White Hair Demoness books forever! But I can't find a vietnames translation version, sigh. anyway, they did change a lot of thing and you're so right!! What did they do with Tie Fei Long?!? Why? Tell me why? It's really unfortunate because they had a great cast! And I still love Ma Su and Nicky Wu together. I hope they get to collaborate again soon! :)

    For me, the problem with the new wuxia tv series is that there is so much special effects. The reasons why the 90s tv series were so good were the fighting scenes, the hand-to-hand choreographs. You could really get into it. Nowadays, all the fighting scenes are so short and seriously, two people standing 5m apart from each other and swinging their swords just isn't doing it for me. Which is why the White Hair Demoness gets points. I really enjoyed the first fighting scene between Ma Su and Nicky Wu. Both of them and Louis Fan, the actor for Yue Mingke, can actually do real kung fu or at least, fake it really well :)

    What are you watching recently?

  4. by the way, I looooove the ending song of the White Hair Demoness!! So good!

  5. First off, yes, the ending song for the White Hair Demoness...awesome!!! I still listen to it every now and then. :D

    How was your trip? Was the destination wedding fun?

    Anthony Wong was in Legend of Condor Heroes. He's Huang Yaoshi, the main character Huang Rong's dad. I loved Hong QiGong as well.

    Let me find you the english translation for Demoness. OMG, I searched everyone and found one. A warning though, read it when you're not busy. It was so addicting. Lol.

    For Tie Fei Long, there was not twin. He was just a really cool guy and adopted the Demoness as a goddaughter and accompanied her through most of the journey. He was NOT evil at all. Just the "oh Jianhu considers him evil because he doesn't follow the orthodox ways." He was almost much stronger and cooler. I really loved the actor for Tie Fei Long and Tei Fei Hu though. :) They had a great cast.

    Louis Fan actually learned real kung fu since his was 14, so yeah, he really knew how. Oh, and I heard the Nicky Wu started training at least 3 months prior to filming. I was watching some of those behind the scene interviews and they were saying how several times, Nicky would injury himself doing the stunts and just kept acting. It wasn't until his assistant and staff was like "DOOD WE ARE TAKING YOU TO HOSPITAL" and they found out he dislocated something, popped it back in and kept acting. O_____o Dedication, I tell you.

    I really like Ma Su as well. She's so sweet and I heard she did most of her own stunts as well. Actually, according to her, it was because Nicky was doing so much himself, everyone got really motivated and were all practicing everyday together. It sounds so fun. :)

    Ah, the fight scenes. I like CGI up to an extent as long as it felt like a part of the story, but it's exactly as you said: too much CGI. I mean, a lot of the old shows really showcased beautiful locations, really cool wushu, and wonderful language. Now, I can even tell when the entire background is CGI. Guess it's cheaper that way. Booo.

  6. I know there's a fan translated version of The White Hair Demoness online, but I want a viet one. English just seems weird to read wuxia story.

    Oh, I know that Tie Fei Long was not a twin LOL. I liked the actor too, so I was hopeful. Did you ever watch the TVB 1994 version of the White Hair Demoness? It was actually pretty good :) Ada Choi was good in that one.

    Ma Su has a dancing background, so she's very flexible. So while she doesn't know real kung fu, she can actually fake it really well ;) Nicky Wu has always been quite athletic in his wuxia roles :P

    I just want more contacts during fights LOL.

    Oh and Anthony Wong looks quite cool as Huang YaoShi. They had a good cast for the 4 Greats in that version of LOCH. I might watch it now because I've become a fan of Liu Shi Shi and Yuan Hong after watching Bu Bu Jing Xin.

  7. Lol, the English translation wasn't bad. Very simplified, but I'll take it. That and I'm trying desperately to find auto books so I can listen to it in Mandarin. >_<

    I haven't watched the 1994 version, but now that you've mentioned it, I must go looking. Lol. I miss the days of rental video because that's where I'd used to go for them.

    Oh yes, real wuxu and martial arts. I miss those too... too much CGI.

    I have this great love of Anthony Wong and I try to watch anything he's in... >_< After watching LOCH, I really like Bryan Leung as Hong Qigong, but my favorite is Ariel Lin. She's just so cute and such a great actress.

  8. I'm not a fan of Ariel Lin mainly because I don't know her. I used to watch only Hong Kong tv series and am only now starting mainland chinese ones, but I tend to stick to period drama. However, she has a new series coming out with Feng Shao Feng and she looks stunning in it. She looks more mature :)

    I don't know Bryan Leung as Hong Qigong. Although he's been doing a lot of comedic roles lately.

    Try to find the 1994 version. I don't know how hard it'd be, but can't be that hard online... Ada Choi was great in it :)

    1. Lol, I watched a lot of Ariel Lin and Joe Chen since they were in a lot of TW series.

      Oh man, now I really want to see the 1994 version. :D