2009 Year-in-Review: The Highlights in Dramas

Mark Chao and Black & White

One of the biggest highlights of 2009 dramas is in no doubt, Black & White. Preparation that took 5 years and another 8 months to film, Black and White is the drama of the year that is not to be missed. Apart from its over-budget grand production, the series also brought us the surprise breakout star and Golden Bell Award winner, Mark Chao. As one gets popular, he is also accompanied by bad press. Amongst the many gossips, Mark was rumored to be in bad terms with his father and veteran actor, Zhao Shu Hai, as well as being criticized as crying in fake when he received his award. Mark quickly returned to Canada to avoid the media and to keep a low profile. Despite many controversies for his win, Mark is a highly anticipated actor for 2010 in his upcoming movie with Ethan Ruan, Monga. Commercials, spokesperson for multiple products, and even concerts (Mark was singing at New Year countdown shows); Mark has been keeping himself busy. We will have to wait and see how well Mark will fair on his next project.

Police Et Vous

Although its thunder was stolen by Black & White in the end, Police Et Vous is worth mentioning. The drama, which began airing in late 2008 and ended in March 2009, opened the Friday 10pm timeslot for its following “Quality dramas” on TTV. The original 2-hour long prime time dramas were supposed to go from Mondays to Fridays. After SETTV plead TTV to give its high production drama, Police Et Vous an earlier timeslot on Fridays, TTV decided to pull out its prime time drama on Fridays and make way for Police Et Vous at 10pm while filling in the rest with the variety show Bai Wan Xiao Xue Tang.

Unlike the glamorous portrayal of the police force from Black & White, Police Et Vous goes in depth and local by starting their story with its characters first entering the police academy. Starring Lin You Wei and Blue Lan, we watch how these two best friends turn into enemies. Although widely appraised, living up to its label as a “quality drama,” it became a forgotten drama at the Golden Bell Awards. Nonetheless, because of SETTV’s persistence to air Police Et Vous at the Friday 10pm timeslot, it created opportunities for the dramas that followed (Play Ball, The Happy Times of That Year).

Stars from The Hospital make a comeback

Since the 2006 hit series, The Hospital, both Cheryl Yang and Janine Chang made a comeback this year. Janine Chang had a supporting role as a forensic officer in Black & White, winning many praises from the audience and director. In addition to Black & White, Janine also took part in the blockbuster movie, “Murderer,” which starred Aaron Kwok.

Cheryl Yang is the female breakout star of the year. My Queen original wanted to cast Miriam Yeung in the lead role, which was later turned down. After several auditions with other female stars which included Sonia Sui, Cheryl won the role. With Cheryl’s solid acting, accompanied with popular co-star, Ethan Ruan, who rose to fame after Fated to Love You, My Queen became one of the biggest hit dramas of the year with an average rating of 5.69%. Like its ratings, Cheryl’s popularity also sky-rocketed, obtaining her many spokespersons contracts and appearances on special events. She was also invited as a special guest in ELVA Hsiao’s concert, as well as David Tao's comeback music video, Adoration.

My Queen's "senior", James Wen

Speaking of My Queen, James Wen Sheng Hao, everyone’s favorite “senior,” is also one of the major breakout stars of 2009. Already nominated several times in Golden Bell Awards, many of us didn’t start knowing his name until My Queen. James Wen was invited to act in My Queen by Cheryl Yang as they had been an on-screen couple in a previous hit Hakka movie. Never before, James Wen was followed by the paparazzi for the first time, which he was caught making out with his girlfriend in the car although he previously claimed to be single. Not used to his new-found fame, James Wen had to start learning to be careful of his words and actions in public. Although James was overwhelmed by a series of bad press, he proved his acting ability in a new series, The Happy Times of That Year, which is doing extremely well in ratings, winning its timeslot for five-weeks in a row.

Sonia Sui making multiple appearances

Successful model turned actress, Sonia Sui, was definitely a hot pick of 2009. Some of you might remember her from The Magicians of Love, where she played a supporting character that was similar to herself (Ye Ke Lan, the model). After much improvement in her acting, Sonia surprised the viewers with her role as Ying Xiong’s (Mark Chao) love interest, Lei Mu Sha, a spy from a terrorist organization. Not long after, she appeared in front of our eyes again as Huang Guo Fen in The Happy Times of That Year. It is apparent that Sonia has secured her place as an actress. But aside from dramas, Sonia has also been a popular pick for commercials, spokespersons, and music videos. Once a full time model, Sonia has transitioned into acting quite well.

Source: drama-wiki, UDN news, NOWnews, iset blog, wikipedia

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