2009 Year-in-Review: The Redemption of Van Ness Wu

In 2008, Van Ness Wu was playing second fiddle to his headlining fellow F4 castmates in “Wish to See You Again”, a really long Taiwan tourist commercial masquerading as a Taiwanese idol drama. That same year, Ady An was still missing in action in the Taiwanese entertainment industry, as she was playing ancient fantasy heroine off in mainland China.

Fast forward to the end of 2009, and you have even the harshest of critics ranking Van Ness Wu and Ady An’s pairing in surprise hit drama “Autumn’s Concerto (Next Stop, Happiness)” up there with Joe Cheng and Ariel Lin’s casting in 2005’s “It Started with a Kiss” and Mike He and Rainie Yang’s casting in 2005's “Devil Beside You”. No one could have predicted such a turn of events, unless of course you’re the pair in question or the SETTV executive that risked giving the go-ahead to cast these two actors.

It probably didn’t help that both Van Ness and Ady were not even originally considered for this phenomenal pairing, as the intense roles of Guang Xi and Mu Cheng were originally offered to the safer choices that were idol drama prince Ming Dao and Korean success story Yoo Hana. With talks falling through with the 2005's “Prince Turned Frog” actor, and with the fresh-faced 2007's “My Lucky Star” actress choosing to bolt back to Korea to do dramas in her native country, SETTV executives must have decided that they had nothing else to lose by casting Van Ness and Ady.

Ming Dao and Yoo Hana: what could have been

It’s incredible how a drama which received little hype can become a nationwide sensation like what “Autumn’s Concerto” was able to pull off after only several episodes. Viewers of the drama were able to witness Van Ness’ coming-out party as a legitimate actor that fellow F4 Vic Chou experienced in his role in 2004’s “Mars”, while they fell in love with the acting prowess of Ady like they did with Ariel in her breakout role in 2005’s “It Started with a Kiss”. That’s no small feat for the now bankable celebrities that can command any role of their choosing.

Van Ness Wu and Ady An: a classic pairing that almost never was

As the drama wraps up its epic storyline by winter's end in February of the new year, viewers can only ask how Taiwan’s idol darlings can top their soon-to-be-classic performance. With Ming Dao trying to recapture the magic of his legendary idol drama hits in mainland Chinese productions, and with Hana’s career in Taiwanese dramas in limbo and pretty much over after contract issues, the question now is what Ming Dao and Hana were thinking in not taking the roles originally meant for them in “Autumn’s Concerto”.

Autumn's Concerto: the reason why we watch Taiwanese dramas

Van Ness and Ady roundly proved everyone wrong by becoming idol drama successes on their own accord. For the many satisfied viewers of “Autumn’s Concerto”, that’s something they’d proudly be wrong about again any time of the week.

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