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Good Old Days, The
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The Good Old Days
* reviewed by chilamania

CASTS
Amy Chan ~ Tse Sau Hau
Steven Ma Jing Tao ~ Fong Ho Sang
Sharon Tang ~ Cheung Man Fung
Gilbert Lam ~ Fong Ho Man
Lam Wai ~ Wai Sai Bong
Maggie Siu ~ Ding Man
Wong Jung Kwan ~ Lok Ping
Chun Pui ~ Fong Sai Faan
Seung Tin Ngoh ~ Sek Pui Pui
Lee Heung Kam ~ Gam Fung Ji
Bau Hei Jing ~ Fa Yihm Ha
Yeung Ga Nok ~ Jiu Saam
Wong So Fun ~ Ho Siu
Gam Saan ~ Tse Cheung
Yiu Ji Wahn ~ Yeung Giu
Jiu Hoi Yee ~ Tse Sau Lai
Mo Kei ~ Yeung Hok Hin

 

SUPER BRIEF SUMMARY
A story about families, traditional ideals, love, friendship, jealousy, war, and patriotism. A woman (Amy) is the oldest daughter of a poor but loving family in a farming town. She is pretty, gentle, caring, considerate, hard working, filial, kind-hearted, and very traditional in her thinking. After some incidents, she was accepted into the richest family in town as a maid and with her sweet nature, she won the heart of the oldest Mistress. When her family was burdened with debts due to bad harvesting, she agreed to marry the Mistress' son
(Steven) so that she could use her wedding money to help her family. The son, however, was modern and did not like the idea of arranged marriage. Plus, he was already having a relationship with a girl (Sheren) he met in the city.  Still, he wanted to please his mother so he went through with the wedding ceremony but never considered Amy his wife. After some interactions, he realized how great a woman he has married and actually fell in love with her.
Despite his love for his wife, he was also a patriotic man and left his home to join the army. After he left, Sheren came back to the house and demanded a legal status as Steven's wife. This sets the scene for what becomes the greatest classic that ATV (and possibly TVB) has ever produced.

 

THE GOOD:
Amy Chan I think that Amy Chan is arguably one of the best, if the not THE BEST, actresses that ever walked the face of Earth. If after watching this series and you don't become Amy's fan, it's got to be life's greatest mystery.  Her performance left no room for critique as she was breathing her character's breadth. Every expression, every movement, every walk, every smile, every stare, every frown, every tear was so full of emotions that it makes you wonder how she does it. And fortunately for her, Tse Sau Hau is a very lovable
character; complex and has depth. Tse Sau Hau is not the typical female character you see on TVB these days (such is the type that I'm most fed up with. They're so annoying in their women-must-be-stubborn-hard-headed-spoiled-brats who yell and scream when and wherever they want), she is the old-fashioned girl that all women want to marry for their sons. Once she marries a man, she'll devote her whole life in pleasing him and his family. And even when a third
woman walks into the family, she would be forgiving and understanding. Yet, she is not stupid. She is jealous, bitter, and greedy when it comes to love, but she, being raised as a "good" woman, is able to contain her feelings. And lastly, Amy looks great in a Qui Po. Honestly, Amy is so great that she can just stand there and it'd be a pleasant to watch.

Sheren Tang Sheren follows Amy closely in terms of acting abilities. I think this series gathered two of the most talented actresses there is to find.  Sheren, being raised in a harsh environment, is opinionated, loud, stubborn, and somewhat selfish. She, like Amy, is willing to give all that she has for the man she loves. However, unlike Amy, Sheren cannot accept the idea of sharing a
man and neither is she able to control her dissatisfaction. Sounds like an unpleasant character? Not at all! Sheren is able to portray the character with such depth that you would come to understand her suffering and even her unreasonable reasoning.

Chemistry between Amy and Sheren these two women have more chemistry than most of the lover-couples in TVB series combined. They go through thick and thin and come to love one another as true sisters. However, you can tell that there
exists a thorn that lies in both of their hearts and whenever Steven, their husband, is mentioned, this thorn comes poking through their minds and make them do/speak unpleasant words.


Chemistry between Amy and Steven I've never liked Steven Ma but in this series, he shares great chemistry with Amy. Considering the fact that they only spent about 30 minutes in lovey-dovey scenes, they extracted so much affection for each other that even to the end, you'd want them to end up together. This is even more amazing since it is known that these two actors don't get along well in real life.

The veterans all of the veteran actors were great, especially Paul Chun and Bau Hei Jing were great. It's a shame to see Paul in the dull and shallow roles that he's been given lately in TVB because you know that he is capable of doing so much more.

The plot this is one series where all aspects of life are covered. The series is filled with poignant dialogs, scenes, and most of the time, will leave you thinking. Unlike the recent flow of TVB series where you watch and curse at the pointlessness of the characters and plots, this series will leave you with thoughts. Now that's an idea!

 

THE BAD:
Length The quote "too much of a good thing can be bad" applies to this series.  Even with this classic, the latter part seemed to drag and is filled with many unnecessary details, causing harm to the quality of the entire series.

Steven Ma this is undoubtedly Steven's greatest work to date. In his past Taiwan series, he overacts so much that it became annoying to watch him; he screamed and threw objects around every other line. Here, however, he turned down his acting by about 90% and so he was much more likable. Still, he has to act with Amy, and that alone makes his inferior acting ability more noticeable.

Wong Jung Kwan this guy needs to take some acting class with Steven. Both men tend to overact their scenes and makes viewers tense just to see their expressions. Plus, his character is too rigid, and Wong was not able to save it from being one-dimensional and boring.

 

THE UGLY:
Paul's third marriage an old man marrying a woman of his daughter's age is a little sick if you ask me. Why can't he accept her as a goddaughter???

Maggie's story Maggie's story after she left Steven was so boring that I ended up fast-forwarding all of her parts. It was clear that this part was an addition and the whole story felt so out of place, having no connection with the rest of the plot. This is no fault of Maggie, as she was pretty good in playing a character with high risk of being hated since she is the third person between Amy and Steven.

 

FAVORITE SCENES:
Too many to list but here are some that shines:
- When Maggie, Sheren and Amy were sitting together in a restaurant talking about marriage. Maggie doesn't know that Sheren and Amy are Steven's wives and vice versa. Sheren said, "My husband joined the war and died in combat." Maggie asked, "Oh? Then that's similar to Amy's husband." Sheren responded, "My husband is her husband." Maggie looked a bit surprised and confused. But us viewers know that Maggie should be saying, "That's my husband too!!!" How funny is this scene?
- When Steven leaves for the military and his father comes out to say good-bye.  Seeing his father, Steven immediately becomes teary and gave a small grin that shows his happiness in seeing his father's approval. Great acting! Steven shocked me with his acting in this scene that now I think he can be good if he tried.
- All scenes with Amy and Sheren that show their developing relationship.
- All scenes of Amy and Steven.

OVERALL COMMENTS:
Go grab this series and prepare yourself for some insightful entertainment. If only ATV produced more of these meaningful series, I wouldn't have to watch the painful garbage that TVB has been churning out lately. This series is by far the best of its countryside genre. Plus, it gathers many talented actors who share so much chemistry with each other and together, they pulled the audience into their stories. After watching Amy and Sheren, it seemed like I'm unable to watch the fresh class of actresses Charmaine, Sonja, and the likes because they lack emotion. They smile and cry with no meanings. I'm very concerned about the future of television series when I'm forced to watch such meaningless plots accompanied by hollow actors. Lastly, where is Amy Chan lately???? I miss her acting dearly.

Rating (scale of 1-5, the higest is 5):5 - Excellent

 

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