2009 Year-in-Review: The Dramas that Flopped

Rachel Liang's disappointing acting debut

Actor Tender Huang got his breakout role in the hit prime-time series Story of Time in late 2008. The former hair stylist assistant and model was given the lead role along side singer Rachel Liang in the idol drama Roseate-Love. Followers of idol dramas might remember that popular actress Ariel Lin was supposed to play the female lead. After numerous production delays, the drama superstitiously changed its Chinese name from “Paper-Rose” to “Purple Rose”. Rachel Liang, who was the runner-up in season 2 of the “Million Star” singing contest, was cast to replace Ariel Lin after she dropped out of the production.

In addition to the time-tested story of a girl chasing her dreams to become a star, the fresh pairing of Huang and Liang sounded like a potential hit. However, if rating is the measure of a drama's success, then Roseate-Love is quite a failure in that category. Roseate-Love averaged 0.36% after debuting at 0.57% on CTS in May of 2009. Considering that it was up against some of the weaker performers of the year, Boys Before Flowers (avg. 2.04) and Easy Fortune Happy Life (avg. 4.02), Roseate-Love still never managed to find its audience or was able to build one.

Many things could have been blamed for Roseate-Love’s dismal ratings, but one obvious factor was the casting of a first-time actress to play its lead role. Rachel Liang is more known for her accomplished singing skills rather than her acting talent. While Tender Huang had just come off a hit series, he probably lacked the star power that would have brought in big ratings in the early episodes.

Korean stars Gu Hye-Sun and Lee Min-Ho visited Taiwan to promote Boys Before Flowers.

Interestingly, the rival network, CTV, took some heat for airing the Korean drama Boys Before Flowers in the Sunday night time slot that is traditionally reserved for Taiwanese idol dramas. The network has been suffering from a string of disappointments with “Love or Bread” (1.67) in late 2008, followed by “ToGetHer” (0.95) in 2009. Boys Before Flowers lifted the network back to the number 2 spot for awhile, but the currently-airing “Momo Love” continues its struggle with last week's episode (11) at 0.67%.

Not all dramas are created equal: FTV’s new weeknight-drama Night Market Life (夜市人生) already hit 6.84% in its first week of broadcast.

Although Boys Before Flowers didn't capture the kind of audience it did in its home country, the foreign drama still performed decently compared to the network's other dramas. FTV, a network better known for its highly rated weeknight-dramas (spoken in the Taiwanese-dialect), will return to the Sunday idol drama battle this year. They are a taking a page from CTV and plan to air series of dramas starring Japanese superstar Takuya Kimura, beginning with 2007 “Karei-naru Ichizoku” (華麗一族). It will be interesting to see if other networks pull a similar move when they become desperate for ratings.

A Down Year for Jiro Wang’s Acting Career

What went wrong with Fahrenheit’s Jiro Wang and his acting stints in 2009? It looks like the curse that’s affecting Jiro’s streak as a lead actor of idol dramas has reared its ugly head once again with devastating consequence. Ever since his role as the bumbling chef Michelin in 2008’s ratings bomb “Rolling Love”, the lovable Fahrenheit member has yet to recover.

It surely can’t be blamed on Jiro’s acting in general though. All one has to do is take a look at his role as the goofball in 2005’s mega-hit “It Started with a Kiss”, 2007’s follow-up sequel “They Kissed Again”, and 2006’s ratings overachiever “Hana Kimi”. Perhaps those very roles that typecast him as the zany side character is responsible for his downfall as a legitimate lead actor in his 2009 idol dramas, as can be seen in his more serious roles as Mars in “ToGetHer” and Shi Lang in “Momo Love”.

The reality is that Jiro has not had clean finishes with the two completed dramas that can credit him as its lead actor, as the final ratings of both “Rolling Love” (0.75) and “ToGether” (0.80) wrapped up their seasons way below the embarrassing 1.0 rating . With currently-airing disappointment “Momo Love” achieving a similar fate on its most recent eleventh episode at an abysmal 0.67 rating, nothing short of a miracle would redeem it from its sad ratings ending.

It looks like the gagman of the mega-popular Taiwanese boy band will have to wait until at least 2010 to land an acclaimed lead actor role on a hit idol drama, because 2009 just wasn’t that kind to him acting-wise. Or perhaps he’s just not cut out for a sole lead actor role after already being typecast for so long as the comic relief sidekick in his earlier idol drama roles. It’s not entirely impossible for Jiro to break his already established typecasting though, as Rainie had qualified success in breaking her valley girl persona with her controversial role in the 2007 movie “Spider Lillies”.

Jiro better hurry and find better luck in 2010 though. Otherwise, he’ll forever be labeled as “that funny supporting actor guy“.

Source: UDN, Chinatimes, Nownews, Drama-wiki, Wikipedia
Written by PA and Pauli

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