What's the best way to watch 'All Is Well'?

Plus, what you need to know before you watch this ambitious dual-action drama

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After almost two years in the making, the much hyped-about Taiwan-Singapore co-production All Is Well finally debuted on local TV on Monday (Aug 26).

From the get-go, our interest was piqued when we learned that the high-budget suspense drama stems from the real-life Taiwan ATM heist in 2016 (we can’t get enough of heist stories) and packs quite a power cast - many we bet you didn’t even know were in the show (more on that later).

All Is Well is essentially two dramas with interlinked plots. The Singapore-based version revolves around a murder, while the Taiwan one focuses on the aftermath of an ATM-hacking incident. They air at 9pm and 10pm on Channel 8 and U respectively. Yes, you can watch them as independent dramas, but following both plots will provide more clarity and enhance your experience of the story.

So comes the all-important question: What is the best way to enjoy All Is Well? And which All Is Well is better?  

We buckled down to binge-watch the first five episodes of both shows to give you our recommendation.

But first, let’s start with an overview.

SG
From business partners to foes: Just what caused Wu Pin Rui (Desmond Tan, right) to turn on Guo Hao Sen (Blue Lan)?

What is the Singapore story about?

The story centres on Guo Hao Sen (Blue Lan), a Taiwanese chaebol (heir of a business conglomerate), who reluctantly takes over as CEO of Teng Sheng Bank’s Singapore branch after his older brother dies in a skiing accident. A wine merchant with little knowledge and interest in the workings of the financial system, he’s thrown in the deep end and gets caught up in a dark web of murder, mystery and power. 

Taiwan
Eric Loke (Elvin Ng) and Ye Dong Huang (Romeo Tan) set out to find out who set them up.

What is the Taiwan story about?

Computer whizz Eric Loke (Elvin Ng) and his BFF Ye Dong Huang (Romeo Tan) get embroiled in a Taipei ATM heist after a hacker uses the former’s programme to commit the crime. Pursued by the police, the two guys go on the run while trying to prove their innocence.

cast
Clockwise from top left: Zhang Yaodong, Paige Chua, Denise Camillia Tan, Lynn Poh and Rayson Tan

Who’s in the cast of All is Well?

Elvin, Romeo and Blue are joined by an impressive ensemble cast that includes Desmond Tan, Ian Fang, Sheila Sim, ah jies Fann Wong and Zoe Tay, Taiwan’s Pauline Lan, Joanne Tseng and Pets Tseng. Familiar faces such as Zhang Yaodong, Chen Hanwei, Paige Chua, Denise Camillia Tan, Rayson Tan, and former actress Lynn Poh also pop up in bit parts in the drama.

Are any actors exclusive to either storyline?

From what we understand, Sheila only appears in the Singapore story, while most actors are featured in both storylines, albeit some in the form of flashbacks or backstories. Fans of Elvin and Romeo would probably be more excited about Taiwan-All Is Well as they have majority of their scenes there.

What is the best way to watch All is Well?

Each drama can be watched on its own as all the pieces of the puzzle come together for the final episodes of both shows. Alternating between the episodes of both plots (i.e. watching Episode 1 on Ch 8, followed by Episode 1 on Ch U, then episode 2 on Ch 8, then Taiwan's episode 2 on Ch U and so on and so forth) however, offers viewers more insight and opportunities to uncover Easter eggs of information revealing the intricate links between the shows. Basically, toggling evenly between ‘Singapore’ and ‘Taiwan’ will give you a more satisfying viewing experience than loyally bingeing all the ‘Singapore’ episodes before starting on the ‘Taiwan’ storyline.

For example, in episode 1 of the Singapore-based series, Zhang Yaodong is suddenly seen going on the run on board a vessel after he discovers a dead body. Wait. What? Why? How? The answers are, ta-da, found in episode 1 of the Taiwan story.

Don’t be mistaken: we love twists and suspense, but when you’re overloaded with so many characters and side stories, zigzagging between events taking place in two cities, it can be challenging to keep up with all the information being thrown at you and picking up on what exactly is happening.

You might feel a sense of déjà vu as some scenes are repeated, but repetition is definitely better than confusion. Just think of All Is Well as one is fine, but two is better.

And maybe because we’re partial to heist dramas, we find ourselves more drawn to the Taiwan All Is Well. The pacing is faster, story and characters more light-hearted (it will be interesting to see how the May-December romance between Romeo and Pauline Lan’s characters unfolds), whereas Singapore All Is Well’s Blue Lan just mopes around looking, well, blue…

elvin-romeo-blue

The Singapore storyline of All Is Well airs weeknights at 9pm on Channel 8, followed immediately by the Taiwan storyline on Channel U at 10pm the same night. The series is also be available on Toggle.

Related:
Meet the cast and characters of ‘All Is Well’
Blue Lan, Liu Kuan-Ting and their biggest worries about filming in Singapore
Sheila Sim, Chen Hanwei got goosebumps when they found out who they were playing in ‘All is Well’
Chicken rice reunites Zoe Tay, Fann Wong on screen after 10 years

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