First is the TV show Leverage. My friend V has been telling me about it for a couple of years and I finally started watching it. Actually, it's more my sister after talking to V who really wanted to watch it and I got pulled in. Leverage is about a team of 5 people who picks up where justice leaves off and offers some leverage :) I love shows that feature con artists like Ocean Eleven and White Collar, so Leverage is really perfect for me. So far, I've watched 2 seasons... 2.5 more to go LOL. I like the team chemistry and so far, the script writers have done a good job not to muddle it up too much with romance. Hey, I'm a fan of romance, but in long running TV shows, it doesn't always work out well. Script writers are really good at creating chemistry and sexual tension; however, what happens when the characters get together? Of course, they can't just get along and be happy. No, that'd be too boring, so they are stuck creating conflicts or excuses as to why they can't be together... Think Chuck, Castle and Bones! Even Grey's Anatomy. I don't know about you, but I find that very tiring after a while.
The movie posters. Actually, The Bride with White Hair was so successful, they made a sequel movie!
TVB TV adaptation in 1994 and Taiwan adaptation in 1999
Lucky for me, I found another TV show for my romance fix and that's been the real distraction. So what is it? Well it's a new Chinese kung fu TV series: New Bride with White Hair :) Why "New"? Because this is the newest adaptation of the novel White Hair Demoness by Liang Yusheng. Liang Yusheng is a renown kung fu novel author and is reputed to have very strong heroines - yay!! :) Unfortunately, I'm not as familiar with his work as I'd wish because not many has been translated in vietnamese :( One of his most popular works is White Hair Demoness and as any popular kung fu novel, it's been adapted numerous time on the big and small screen. The 1993 Hong Kong film featuring Leslie Cheung and Brigitte Lin is a classic and a must-see if you're a fan of martial arts movie of the golden era. I personally don't love it all that much... I thought it was a bit weird and some of the scenes, I really didn't like. I did watch the tv adaptation done in 1994 by TVB and featuring Ada Choi and that's when I fell in love with the story. The overall plot was solid, the love story touching and the kung fu scenes were great! Ah, that was the golden era in my opinion, before the special effects took over. I know Taiwan made another adaptation of the series in 1999 and I was excited for it, because I love the story and it featured one of my feature actors, Julian Cheung. However, after watching a couple of episodes, I just never got hooked. It was draggy, the plot silly in place and the production quality wasn't great...
But New Bride with White Hair? Oh, this production totally has me hooked!! Once again, because it's an adaptation of White Hair Demoness, but also because it features some of my favorite actors, Nicky Wu and Ma Su!! Not only that, but best of all, they are the main characters and a couple!! I just love this pairing! Actually, Ma Su first came to my attention in Hero on the Silk Road in which Nicky Wu was also the main character. I really liked the chemistry between Ma Su and Nicky in that series; however, their love story was kind of ambiguous... Actually, really ambiguous. But I liked them together and now, in New Bride with White Hair, well this is an epic love story, so wooohooo for me!
Okay, so what's the story? I mean, you've seen the posters above from the previous adaptations and you probably wonder what is up with the "White Hair" LOL. I know there's a political plot in the novel, but I'm not really familiar with it. To me, The Bride with White Hair has always been about the love story... Basically, it's kind of a Romeo and Juliet love story... perhaps even more tragic. Zhuo Yi Hang (Nicky Wu) is our hero, he is the son of an court official family and was sent to Wu Dang to study kung fu. He's very talented and smart and is expected to be the next leader of Wu Dang. Lian Ni Chang (Ma Su) is a vigilante and the leader of a gang. She steals from the rich and corrupted and redistribute the money to the poor. In her way, she upholds justice... But in the eye of the "good" side, she's seen as a bandit and a ruthless one at that. Her kung fu is very powerful and quite unorthodox and she loves challenging people to fight and doesn't hesitate to kill. So Zhuo Yi Hang and Lian Ni Chang are basically from opposite sides (good vs evil), but they are attracted to each other and fall in love. However, everyone in Zhuo Yi Hang is opposed to the match and there are eventually many misunderstandings in their relationship. One of those misunderstandings actually causes Zhuo Yi Hang to injure Lian Ni Chang. Heart broken, Lian Ni Chang's hair turn white overnight. Zhuo Yi Hang wants to atone for his action, but it's too late. Love and hate is a fine line and having lost her beauty and tired of fighting for Zhuo Yi Hang, she has given up on him... To show his sincerity, Zhuo Yi Hang vows to find the flower that will turn Lian Ni Chang's hair back to black. He finally finds the flower, but it only blooms once every 60 years and he doesn't know when it will happen, but he waits for it.
Ma Su actually looks good with white hair! Like Nicky's outfit :)
It's really been a looong, loooong time since I've been this excited for a chinese TV series. And you know what? I was soooo lucky! I found out about this series when I came back from my trip from Europe, if I remember correctly. The series had started filming earlier this year in April and I was looking for pictures of the production. I just wanted to see you know! At first, I admit, I was a bit worried because of the costumes ^_^; Some of the color choices they've made - especially for Nicky, ouch. Just a tad too showy and fluorescent. Also, the lack of pictures of Ma Su with white hair?!? Oh yeah, that got me really worried. I mean, you never know with TV adaptation. They can change anything and everything. In one tv adaption of a different novel, I've seen them turn an important secondary character, but who only appeared at the beginning and end of the story - 9 volumes long! - into the main character!! So they could take away the white hair, but that's the story. Anyway, I finally found a forum with tons of pictures, and the more I saw, the better my feelings about the series were and it just got me more excited for this series... That was probably three weeks ago. And then, I found out that New Bride with White Hair would start being broadcast on September 14!!! April to September, that's less than 6 months! Post-production for kung fu series usually takes a year! There's a TV series that Nicky has filmed after his success in Bu Bu Jing Xin, but before New Bride with White Hair that still hasn't aired yet! Really, for New Bride with White Hair to be shown now, it's pretty much a miracle and as I said, lucky for me, because I won't die waiting for it! LOL. So what have I done this past week instead of reading? Basically looked for more pictures and any video clips, trailers, etc. ^_^; Even started visiting some Chinese forum, using Google translation.. And let me tell you, the translation is not great ^_^; Yep, that's how addicted to this series I've been. And it finally started showing today!! Oh and the broadcast schedule? Two episodes per night on Friday, Saturday and Sunday! Originally, it was going to be only Friday and Saturday, but afterwards, they added Sunday. I don't know why, but I'm not complaining! This series is 36 episodes so I went from 9 weeks to 6 weeks! I'm telling you, I'm totally hooked LOL.
Possible happy ending? I'm basing myself on the costumes and hair style LOL. See how flexible they are?!
From the pictures I've seen, it looks like they've changed a lot of things to the storyline. Actually, I even suspect that in this version, Lian Ni Chang and Zhuo Yi Hang are going to get a happy ending! LOL. Usually, I'm a stickler for adaptation faithfulness. However, as I'm not really familiar with the plot of White Hair Demoness, I don't mind the changes so much. Plus, as a romance reader, I can't help but hope for a HEA ending :) Plus, I skimmed through an English translation of White Hair Demoness (ironic isn't it? Can't get my hand on the viet version, but someone has actually translated it in English!) and the original Zhuo Yi Hang sounds a bit spineless ^_^; He doesn't have the charisma which makes me wonder why Lian Ni Chang would fall in love with him. Changing some stuff might not be a bad idea. So yeah, for this one, I'm just going to sit back, watch and enjoy :) There's also been rumors at the poor quality of the production since they took only a couple of months instead of a year. They had to rush because they wanted to show a series with Nicky - his popularity since Bu Bu Jing Xin has really soared and it's been kind of a rebirth for me. Personally, from the clips and the two first episodes I've seen today, it looks really good to me. Okay, so some of the special effects look a bit cheesy and fake as well as some of the backgrounds that were added (they filmed on a green screen), but that's to be expected from Chinese production... and might depend more on the budget. Oh and another reasons why I am so excited for New Bride with White Hair is for the kung fu action!! One of the reasons why I gave up watching kung fu series was the poor fighting scenes. Too much special effects and no longer hand-to-hand fighting scenes. I'm sorry, but when two people stand 10 meters away from each other and move their swords and someone adds CGI to the scene and that's the fighting, it takes everything away. However, New Bride with White Hair has a bit of an old school feel. Obviously, there's special effects and some CGI, but so far, there's also been a lot of hand-to-hand fight scenes. And why? Because as a producer, Nicky was smart enough to choose actors that knew kung fu or who were flexible enough to perform! Seriously, it looks awesome :)
Okay, I'm going to stop here. I've probably bored you enough :) Although you'll probably here from New Bride with White Hair again :) For the meantime, I leave you with the ending credits of New Bride with White Hair. I looooove the song!! I've been re-watching the credits to hear the song over and over this evening LOL. Oh and that first scene where Ma Su walks aways and Nicky won't let go of her hand? Ahhhhhh.