2013 had been a pretty great year for tw-dramas as there are some hidden gems and more variety in terms of drama selections. I gotta give some credits to SETTV for creating the daily and friday drama time-slot as it definitely succeeded in attracting more viewers and motivating other networks to extend their drama selections too! That made me a very happy audience. If only they could butcher less good dramas, I’ll be even happier….
So… will the Taiwanese Tv dramas next year be as great as this year?
You Light Up My Star (你照亮我星球) – 2014 @ FTV
Starring: Joe Cheng, Janine Chang, Teresa Meng
You Light Up My Star (你照亮我星球) have the highest profile cast among the upcoming dramas and probably the strongest competitor to In A Good Way (我的自由年代) in terms of ratings. Starring Joe Cheng (Channel-X, Love or Bread), Janine Chang (Le Jun Kai, The Best Times), Teresa Meng (Sweet Sweet Bodyguard) and a cameo from A-List Japanese star Fukuyama Masaharu (Galileo 2), You Light Up My Star will be the new FTV Friday-drama, slating to air after the long-running drama, Independent Heroes (廉政英雄). It is a story that centers around the entertainment industry as two rookies overcome obstacles and hardships to become A-list stars. It will start shooting soon this year and is planned for a broadcast in 2014.
Independent Heroes had been airing on FTV since 2010 and had about 100+ episodes running up till now. It’s been competing against In A Good Way and The Pursuit of Happiness (愛的生存之道) for ratings but as it’s not really an idol drama so we don’t usually count it as an “official” drama competition. However, this will change with the addition Joe Cheng and Janine Chang joining the idol-drama competition.
But it’s the producers that caught my attention. It’s produced by Winnie, the director of It started with A Kiss (惡作劇之吻) and In Time With You (我可能不會愛你) and a team of screenwriters that penned They Kiss Again (惡作劇2吻), Sweet Relationship (美味關係), What is Love (花是愛), A Good Wife (親愛的，我愛上別人了), Ex-boyfriend (前男友) and more.
What is this ridiculous loooong list of credits behind the team? Definitely a perfect mix of hit-makers and the critically acclaimed screenwriters. If it’s done right, FTV scores a jackpot!
Plus, this marks a comeback for Joe Cheng to dramaland ever since his discharge from the army and as reported, he will be playing a role with multiple personalities as he overcomes the darkest side of entertainment industry. Also, it’s been quite a while since Janine Chang shoot a Tw-drama so this will definitely rake up a lot of interest and buzz. Still, I’m not too sure what to think about the drama premise, it sounds like a bit like Skip-Beat! doesn’t it? Hopefully, the talented bunch of producers impress me with an amazing drama. The funniest part is both Janine and Joe co-starred in Honey and Clover (蜂蜜四葉草) with Lego Li but now, they will be competing against each other in the same time-slot.
Frankly, I’m not too worried for In A Good Way because not only they’ve managed to take first place and garner 2.39 in ratings for the latest episode, I also don’t think their growing popularity will be stopping anytime soon unless they suddenly suck so bad (PLEASE NOOOO!!). I guess Chocolat (流氓蛋糕店), the drama airing after The Pursuit of Happiness that will be the sacrificial lamb in this rating competition. My Poor Blue Lan and Nagasawa Masami…. Ooof!!
Chocolat (流氓蛋糕店) – 2014, Jan 10 @ TTV/GTV
Starring: Blue Lan, Nagasawa Masami
Chocolat (流氓蛋糕店) is a drama-adaptation of a Japanese manga with the same title and have an interesting mix of Taiwanese and Japanese cast. Starring Blue Lan (Happy Mitchelin Kitchen, I Love You So Much) and Nagasawa Masami (Koukou Nyushi, GOLD), Chocolat will be a story about an ex-mafia boss opening a pastry shop and hijinks ensues when the protagonist, a member of the mafia group who just came out from the prison discovers the big change of his bad-ass boss. It’s slated to air after The Pursuit of Happiness and premiers at TTV in 10th Jan, 2014.
I’ve seen reports about this drama since last year’s September when they had their first filming-session and Masami insisted to not use dubbing and use her own voice to speak in Mandarin which she had practiced for months. I applaud her for the effort and dedication but I can predict the strain on my ears as I’m sure that her Mandarin will not be very accurate but I guess it works for her character who is supposed to come from Japan. Blue Lan’s drama selections for the recent years had been a big miss for me but he still holds a special spot in my heart for his drama The Outsiders (鬥魚), I still can’t forget Shan Zi!!
Trailer for Chocolat is out and I think it is a reminisce of many older manga-adapted Tw-dramas with its exaggerated comedy style and ridiculous characters, it looks fun but I’m not sure whether I’ll be watching it live since I’ve so much stuffs on my plate. Masami’s Mandarin is as expected but I can see how much effort she put in it. I just hope that the ratings for this drama won’t be too bad, considering that it’s competing against the hit drama In A Good Way and the upcoming buzz-filled drama You Light Up My Star. Plus, this is Masami’s first challenge in Taiwan-dramaland so I hope that she won’t be facing too much setbacks in ratings.
Notice From A Bachelorette (徵婚啟事) – 2014, Oct @ TTV/GTV
Starring: Christopher Lee, Sonia Sui, Michael Chang, Jerry Huang, Kuo Shu Yao
Notice From A Bachelorette (徵婚啟事) is a drama adaptation of a novel by the same title, the heroine will be entangled with many eligible bachelor in search for marriage. Starring Christopher Lee (A Good Wife), Sonia Sui (The Pursuit of Happiness), Kuo Shu-Yao (King Flower, Office Girls), Michael Chang (Falling, Amour et Pâtisserie) and Jerry Huang (True Love 365), the drama have just held its first press conference and is planned for an October broadcast next year in the friday-drama time slot of TTV/GTV.
Sonia Sui and Christopher Lee in a drama? YAY!! They’re both pretty versatile and emotes very well so I’ll be anticipating strong sparks from them. As an audience who grew up watching Christopher Lee’s dramas in Singapore (I’m studying abroad in Singapore), I’m glad that he’s getting all the recognition he deserves internationally. He definitely proved himself to be a charismatic male lead material through the critically acclaimed drama A Good Wife (親愛的，我愛上別人了) so I’m pretty excited to see him in a more light-hearted role (this drama sounds like a rom-com no?). Sonia will be playing as a single career-woman again this time round as an editor-in-chief of a small publication company.
Lian Yi-Qi, the director of the movie Sweet Alibis (甜蜜殺機) starring Alec Su and Ariel Lin will be the director for Notice From A Bachelorette and this will be his debut as a drama-director.
Press Conference Video
Fabulous 30 (女人三十) – 2014, Feb @ SETTV
Starring: Darren, Vivi Lee, Jennifer Hong, Albee Huang
Fabulous 30 (女人三十) is slated to air after Love Family (有愛一家人) and premiers in February through SETTV in a daily-drama time slot. Starring Darren (A Good Wife), Vivi Lee (Love, Now), Jennifer Hong (Inborn Pair) and Albee Huang (Love Me Or Leave Me). Not much detail of the story are revealed yet but it’s reported to be a story about modern women in 30s who face different family, society, love issues. SETTV is trying to continue the success of Defeated Queen (敗犬女王) by recycling the story of mature career-women.
This will be Darren’s first leading role and also the first participation in a SETTV production so I’m quite happy that SETTV is trying their best to bring in new talents. He’ll be romancing Vivi Lee in the drama and I think they’ll make an interesting couple. It’s been a long time since I saw Jennifer Hong and I always remember her to be an actress with a strong screen presence so I think there will be more chance for her to shine through this production. Out of the upcoming dramas I reported so far, this is the premise that interests me the most, career-women romance and friendship story is a perfect mix for me. Since this will be a daily-drama and it will probably be over 50 episodes, I’ll be watching casually. And….. I have another drama to add to my plate…. Le sigh! Time is truly not enough for me!
Lovestore At The Corner (巷弄裡的那家書店) – TBA
Starring: Lee Wei, Nikki Hsieh, Chloe Wang, Lin Bo Hong
Lovestore At The Corner is produced by DreamLand Productions (Big Red Riding Hood, Ring Ring Bell) and there’s no confirmed broadcasting network yet. Starring Lee Wei (Man-Boy), Nikki Hsieh (King Flower), Chloe Wang (IUUI) and Lin Bo-Hong (The Pursuit of Happiness), it is a romance story centered around a bookstore.
It started shooting in October and reportedly to change its leading lady from Huang Pei-Jia (Cha Cha For Twins) to Nikki Hsieh, I guess it’s a good change since the public is more familiar with Nikki than Huang Pei-Jia. Huang is a rising fresh-faced actress that got her first break-out role through the movie Cha Cha For Twins (寶米恰恰) playing as a twin but is still unknown to the mainstream audience. It seems that she’s slowly venturing to the small screen as she made a cameo in Amour et Pâtisserie (沒有名字的甜點店) earlier this year. Not much is being said about the story so I’m guessing it will be similar in vibe as Amour et Pâtisserie except that the story is happening in a bookstore instead. Dreamland productions had produced some decent dramas so I’m hopeful that this will be a good drama.