What we liked about Channel 8 dramas in 2016

All the good things (and our favourites) that happened to local dramas last year

What we liked about Channel 8 dramas in 2016
What we liked about Channel 8 dramas in 2016
05 Jan 2017

What we liked about Channel 8 dramas in 2016

Photos: Channel 8

With 2016 year-end blockbuster series Hero coming to an end in a couple of days’ time, it’s time to take stock and look back on all the Channel 8 dramas that aired in 2016. What did we truly enjoy from the shows that we invested hundreds of hours in? What are the most memorable and noteworthy acting performances or theme songs performed? We list our favourites in this gallery – read on for more!

Peace and Prosperity
Peace and Prosperity
05 Jan 2017

Peace and Prosperity

We know how good some of our veteran actors are – and how there aren’t enough roles specifically written for them. But thanks to long-form series Peace and Prosperity, seniors like Xiang Yun and Zhang Wei were finally given a chance to showcase their maturity as actors, delivering in roles that couldn’t be filled by just anyone. Old is gold. Not that we ever doubted their acting abilities.

The show also gives its non-veterans plenty of room to shine. We particularly enjoyed Yao Wenlong’s hilarious performance as a wishy-washy manicure shop owner nursing a big crush on his BFF (played by Belinda Lee) and Jayley Woo’s turn as a nonchalant heiress. To quote the drama’s producer, Wong Kuang Yong, Jayley grew into her character and made visible improvements on set. At the end of the drama, she owned Megan – and that, to us, is a job well done.

Watch past episodes of Peace and Prosperity on Toggle.

House of Fortune
House of Fortune
05 Jan 2017

House of Fortune

It has been close to a year since House of Fortune aired during Chinese New Year last year but we haven’t forgotten the hilarious squabbles and witty retorts between Kym Ng’s “traffic light” and Tong Bing Yu’s “broomstick” characters. House of Fortune may be your typical Channel 8 family drama series, but it was entertaining thanks to these colourful characters. To Kym’s credit, it takes a certain caliber of actress make such a quarrelsome character cute and appealing. Kym is a natural in such roles and a real hoot to watch.

Watch past episodes of House of Fortune on Toggle.

The Queen
The Queen
05 Jan 2017

The Queen

Female representation! It’s not every day we have a posse of masked and leather-clad female vigilantes avenging the weak and bullied on local television. It was painful and grueling for these actresses to train and film their fight scenes, but their efforts paid off handsomely. We finally got to see Priscelia Chan and Jesseca Liu in a different light (and roles): one played an unfeeling cab driver with an abusive past and the other played a girly lawyer by day and femme fatale avenger by night, and both put up equally gratifying performances.

And if our “watch history” on YouTube is anything to go by, too, we are definitely guilty of contributing countless hits to The Freshman’s theme song for this drama, ‘Fang Bu Xia De Huo Zhe’. We love this emotional ballad so much we even bought the song on iTunes. ‘nuff said.

Watch past episodes of The Queen on Toggle. Read our drama review on The Queen.

The Truth Seekers
The Truth Seekers
05 Jan 2017

The Truth Seekers

Okay, Desmond Tan and Rebecca Lim aren’t super duper chummy right now (they’re no longer “BFFs” at least ) so, like everyone else, we wondered how their chemistry would translate to TV – is it going to be awkward or one-sided? Will the jokes fall flat? Thankfully, our worries were unfounded.

Although their characters locked horns at every opportunity, their riotous bantering helped alleviate the somber effect of the show’s gruesome “cold cases”. We will never forget the way Desmond danced in his striped red bikini.  

Watch past episodes of The Truth Seekers on Toggle. Read our drama review on The Truth Seekers.

If Only I Could…
If Only I Could…
05 Jan 2017

If Only I Could…

On the surface, If Only I Could chronicles the trials and tribulations of its two female leads, played by Rui En and Paige Chua. But the show’s time-travelling plot device enabled it to explore the deeper themes of fate and destiny – something we’d never expect to encounter in a local TV series, and a welcome change from the typical ‘family stories’.

Some of this drama’s best aspects include the simple yet emotive theme song by Alfred Sim, the mother-in-law (played by Hong Hui Fang) and daughter-in-law squabbles that are painful (in a heart-wrenching sense) to watch, and Andie’s palpable chemistry with Rui En. Speaking of Rui En, this is the actress like you’ve never seen her before – chubby and chor lor in all manners of ways expected of a middle-aged aunty, and a defining role in her acting resume.

Watch past episodes of If Only I Could… on Toggle. Read our drama review on If Only I Could…

The Dream Job
The Dream Job
05 Jan 2017

The Dream Job

While it could have easily been a half-baked melodrama about a wealthy man’s reunion with his long-lost kids—who are mothered by different women—The Dream Job went all out with its makjang tendencies (hello crazy twists, secret siblings, and revenge plots). The story lines are so convoluted, one has to leave his or her logic at the door to truly enjoy what the show has to offer – and by that we mean Hugo Ng’s stellar performance as the desperate father trying to make amends with his children before he dies. The erstwhile TV idol had the necessary charms to play a philandering character while making him likable AND relatable (we know, we feel like one of his many lovers now).

Watch past episodes of The Dream Job on Toggle. Read our drama review on The Dream Job.

C.L.I.F. 4
C.L.I.F. 4
05 Jan 2017

C.L.I.F. 4

Our favourite local police TV series may have changed gears this season to focus on the personal lives of the men and women in blue, but—thankfully—it still has a fair share of crime-fighting scenes to satiate our desire for action. Save for the heart-thumping car chases, a few of the most memorable scenes that we still vividly remember are the high-speed bike chase scene featuring Elvin Ng, the smartly-choreographed fight scene between Grace Teo and Rui En’s characters in the second half of the show, and the bus hostage scene between Zhang Yaodong and Rui En’s characters. It’s been a long time since we last had an action or martial arts-centric drama series, so we’ll take whatever ‘action’ we can get.

Watch past episodes of C.L.I.F. 4 on Toggle. Read our drama review on C.L.I.F. 4.

Fire Up
Fire Up
05 Jan 2017

Fire Up

Fire Up is a drama iteration of the Yellow Ribbon Project, which aims to raise awareness of the needs of ex-convicts, and in turn help them re-assimilate into society. In this case, we have a female protagonist played by Huang Biren, who starts afresh by setting up an eatery, and gives fellow ex-convicts a second chance in life by hiring them as help for her business.

While we appreciated the societal topics tackled by this heartwarming drama series and Biren and Thomas Ong’s relatable performances, it was Constance Song who floored us with her turn as the ditzy bar girl named ‘Eva’. The actress underwent a successful transformation and shed her usual career woman image by embracing her inner ah lian and speaking two octaves higher than usual.

Watch past episodes of Fire Up on Toggle.

You Can Be An Angel Too
You Can Be An Angel Too
05 Jan 2017

You Can Be An Angel Too

You Can Be An Angel Too’s brisk story pace makes it an easy watch, but what really stood out was two key story arcs: Wang Ruojun (Zoe Tay)’s battle with breast cancer and the heartbreaking loss of Xie Yaozong (Bryan Wong) and Guan Xinni (Rebecca Lim)’s only child, Bu Cuo (Perez Tay).

We particularly enjoyed a few things in this drama series: the theme song performed by Kelly Poon, the adorable ‘Bu Cuo’ (Green Apple award, anyone?) and the laidback romantic vibes portrayed between Zoe and Thomas’s characters—there is unspoken familiarity between the duo that makes their pairing so comfortable to watch (did you know their last collaboration was in 1997 for Love In A Foreign City?)

There’s also something different about Xu Bin this season. Maybe it’s his character’s maturity that’s showing or that his acting chops have improved. Not bad.

Watch past episodes of You Can Be An Angel Too on Toggle.

Hero
Hero
05 Jan 2017

Hero

This is probably our ‘Hero’ drama series of the year, as there’s plenty to rave about in this show, from its standout characters, to its on-point portrayals of heartlanders, to its cheery storyline. 

It had a solid, yet breezily-paced plot fueled by strong character development from both the leads and the supporting cast – something lesser seen and done in local shows. We also loved how the show delved into the lives of families and individuals from the lower rungs of society, as well as the undeniable onscreen chemistry between its three leads (played by Shaun Chen, Chen Hanwei and Jesseca), and strong performances by secondary cast members such as Pan Ling Ling, Bonnie Loo, Zhu Xiufeng and Peter Yu.

The best part? The drama’s setting in the soon-to-be redeveloped Dakota estate. Admittedly, we are losing memories (of old spaces, in this sense) faster than we can save them, and this drama’s a perfect example of how we can capture and recreate them to look back on someday.

Stay tuned for our full drama review of Hero next week!

Catch the final episode of Hero next Monday, 9 pm on Channel 8. Watch past episodes of Hero on Toggle.

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