Eternal Love 三生三世十里桃花 Part 1

Eternal Love (三生三世十里桃花) aka Three Lives Three Words Ten Miles of Peach Blossom aka San Sheng San Shi Shi Li Tao Hua does cliché like nobody’s business. Amnesia, missing body parts, deaths, resurrections? That’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The lovey dovey pillow talks? That’s dessert with extra whip cream on top. I love every moment of it.

To say nothing about the show’s just-the-right-level melodrama, it impressed me with how well they use the special effects, costumes and makeups to create their epic universe. Those elements successfully enhanced the show instead of crippling it as they did with many of its fantasy drama peers (I am looking at you, xxx Aspiration and xxx Flower). It’s a pity they can’t maintain movie quality level for all 58 episodes. I can clearly see where they spent the big bucks and where they skimped out. The difference is a bit jarring.

Good thing the show is so good I can overlook their inability to seamlessly merge high tech with low tech effects. This drama’s world makes sense. There is internal logic to explain the outrageous things they do (finally in a Chinese fantasy drama!) And most importantly, I am 100% invested in the main couple and their many reincarnations.

Ye Hua’s behavior toward Bai Qian reminds me of a poem by Margaret Atwood: I would like to be the air that inhabits you for a moment only. I would like to be that unnoticed and that necessary.

I love Ye Hua to pieces but I blame him for most of the crapazoid things that befall on them. He is a great man. A man of few words. A man who really needs to stop sheltering his wife and keeping vital information from her. If only he had talked to her about the things that was going on around them, she wouldn’t have broken his heart the way she did.

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Close Your Eyes Before It’s Dark 天黑請閉眼 Part 4

The content of Zishuo’s time capsule recording shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. I have never considered him as a murder suspect so I only feel intense sadness that his secret is used to blackmail him into silence. Instead of a hope for the future, the message is now his shame. Yet, he is not the only one torn between wanting to believe and agonizing with doubts.

I am beginning to think Chengfang didn’t know who the killer was but is now having her suspicions. When the group turns a blind eye toward an injured enemy, she unexpected becomes the voice of compassion.
Close Your Eyes Before It's Dark Zhi Ju Chang Q Series

Spoiler ahead. Read at your own risk. Continue reading

High 5 Basketball High 5 制霸青春

To think I had dismissed High 5 Basketball (High5 制霸青春) as a testosterone-fueled, egomaniac show about an underdog basketball team (filled with super tall hunks) going all the way to the finals under the leadership of a newbie female coach. Good thing I stuck to it. I might have FF through the beginning, skip some in the middle, but I was glued to the screen from episode 9 onward. I laughed. I cried. I was so proud of them at the end, I laugh cried. I was a mess.

High 5 Basketball Wes Luo Hong Zhen Simon Lian Chen Xiang

This show tells me that, sometimes, the journey is more important than the destination. It is not weakness to accept help, nor is it ungrateful to ask for space. Knowing when to praise is just as crucial as knowing when to take out the whip. It is okay to cry, so long as we are surrounded by people who don’t judge us. Respect is what makes the world go round. And finally, it is certainly not wrong to have realistic expectation of our abilities, but nonetheless, try to better ourselves every single day.

High 5 Basketball

The love lines are very satisfying in a non-intrusive way. We are really there for the bonding moments.
Wes Luo Cheng Yu Xi High 5 High 5 Basketball Janet Hsieh Johnny Lu High 5 Comso Lin Simon High 5

I am so loving the show’s ending theme song: Janice Yan’s “The Gaze” (閻奕格 – 凝視).

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Close Your Eyes Before It’s Dark 天黑請閉眼 Part 3

I’ve never played the Mafia party game and I think I should. The rule is as follow: Get 8-20 people together, assign a player with a secret mafia identity, have the mafia kill an innocent person in the darkness of night (eyes closed). When day breaks (eyes open), the surviving innocents are to name the mafia’s true identity. The game ends when the players ID the right killer or when the mafia finishes killing all the players. It seems like alot of fun.

If only our ex-friends had finished playing the Mafia game when they were in high school, then they wouldn’t have to resume the game ten years later with Xinyi being honest-to-goodness dead and not fake dead. And now, with another friend joining her corpse rank, the need to find the killer is more urgent than ever.

Close Your Eyes Before It's Dark Zhi Ju Chang Q series
If we make it out of here alive, I’m going to make some changes to my life.

As “all-is-well” facade begins to disintegrate, paranoia takes hold. And fear tends to bring out the worse in people.

Spoiler ahead. Read at your own risk. Continue reading

Close Your Eyes Before It’s Dark 天黑請閉眼 Part 2

Okay… So the decade old high school scandal wasn’t what killed Xinyi. Her death was an accident. What a relief!

Or, is it?

While I was wrong about the killer and the motive, the intent to silence her still stands. And the cover up afterwards was anything but accidental.

Liar, liar, pants on fire. And our liar was the next to die.

Spoiler ahead. Read at your own risk. Continue reading

Close Your Eyes Before It’s Dark 天黑請閉眼 Part 1

I like my dramas light and smart. I generally avoid “human drama” because it is always depressing, upsetting, torturous, and worst of all, it makes me question why I am even born to this dirty, selfish earth. If I had to watch a drama that revels in the darkness of human nature, I choose one that is presented with black humor. In which case, I don’t know why I am watching Q series’ Close Your Eyes Before It’s Dark (天黑請閉眼). It is so heavy even their laughter seemed loaded. Except it promises a good murder mystery. At least, I hope it is.

Zhi Ju Chang

High school is a cesspool of shallow friendship filled with jealousy and lies. The problem is that time washes away the hurtful feelings and people look back on those “good old days” with rosy filter. High school reunion, therefore, is a reality check. And what better way to do so than being trapped in a mountain with a dead ex-friend?

Close Your Eyes Before It's Dark Close Your Eyes Before It's Dark

Our 8 high school classmates didn’t part ways with hugs and kisses. Their last days together was filled with accusations, tears, and bawls. Who leaked Hong Xiaotong and Lan Yicong’s intimate pictures by posting them all over the school? Who stole his phone with the pictures on it? Why hadn’t he delete those pictures when she asked him? Who was to blame for branding her the school slut? According to a secret text message, our organizer Bai Xinyi might have discovered the person behind the scandal.

Zhi Ju Chang Q Series

And that may be the reason she is stuffed in a luggage and discarded in an illegal garbage dump site. Or, maybe not.

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Candle in the Tomb 鬼吹灯之精绝古城

Candle in the Tomb (鬼吹灯之精绝古城) follows a recently retired army man on dangerous tomb raiding adventures through snowy mountain of Kunlun to desert of Xinjiang. Zombies, ghosts, critters, 80s hairstyles, quotations from Chairman Mao, you name it, we got it.

I have reasons to believe this show passed the stringent Chinese censorship unscathed solely on their strategic placement of Mao and Deng. No self-respecting CC bureaucrat would take a scissor to a show that quotes the little red book and displays a healthy respect for local officials who voluntarily surrender ancient treasures to the government. We, the audience, understand perfectly the show is in no way mocking the establishment. And, it is most definitely not doing verbal eye rolling every time the characters express their patriotism to the motherland.

Now that we got the disclaimer out of the way, we can move on to the show itself.

To truly appreciate the show, one must watch the first 5 episodes in one sitting. The first 2 episodes build up your tolerance for crime against fashion and political brainwashing. The 3rd episode introduces you to the eeriness reserved for places devoid of human activity. The 4th episode scares you into turning on all the lights. I did not scream when I watched the scene-that-shall-not-be-named. At most, I yelped then politely invited my mom to watch the rest of the episode with me. The 5th episode brings you back to the wonderful land of open space and bright sunlight.

For the scene-that-shall-not-be-named, I will not post any picture or give any description because that is the only thing in horror films that unnerves me. A survey on weibo showed most viewers chose that scene as the “most memorable” scene in the first 6 episodes. You will not miss it when you see it.

Gui Cui Deng

Moving on… Continue reading