The Gem of Life is Tvb’s anniversary series, which usually translates into major blockbuster series. Big cast, big budget, heavy promotion. Of course, this may mean that the production is top-notch, but script-wise, Tvb has not been known to produce much high quality material in recent years.
Gem of Life is a big flashy drama about the high society businesspeople of Hong Kong. From the previews it seemed a bit like the Drive of Life, which despite being a big production, was also a big flop. Anyway, for me, I decided to watch this drama purely based on the cast. I’m sure the script would not be good enough for me, as this should be typical HK-dramaish stuff, but it’s good enough to see Maggie Siu, Ada Choi, Rebecca Chan, Louise Lee showing off their acting skills onscreen.
First off, Louise Lee. She’s the mother of three lovely girls in this series. But if you compare her character with the motherly character from Moonlight Resonance or Heart of Greed, you’d be surprised how she exerts her motherly love in here. At the beginning, you’d think she was just an ordinary mother with three amazing daughters. Slowly she starts to show her true self, which is a conniving, manipulative, ambitious woman. She aims to get her daughters married to rich and powerful men, so she grabs at any opportunity for her girls to get close to these type of men. Remember me complaining about how I disliked her oh-so-perfect Hor Ma in Moonlight Resonance? She does a 180-degree turn in here. Here she schemes her way into setting her daughters up with rich men, while intimidating and manipulating them and the guys not worthy of them. She knows each of her daughters so well that she exerts control over each of them differently. Sometimes it’s really very delightful to see what she has in store for them. Very good entertainment indeed.
The main reason for me to watch this series is Maggie Siu. The previous series I watched of her was CIB Files, where she delighted me with her wavy hair and sassy attitude. Maggie is a very headstrong and successful career woman in here, but her marriage suffers as a result. She meets Bowie, a scrupulous businessman who doesn’t always play by the rules. They hit it off immediately – quite literally, as she hits him on the head with her high heels. But they do end up together briefly (so far anyway). Bowie is a businessman who built his wealth upon mothing. He studied to be a chef, but he turned to the business world for the money. He has a dark past, of course, which makes him more complex and more interesting. His chemistry with Maggie is really interesting, I love watching scenes with them together. Whether they’re a couple or not, it’s nice to see their interactions, because they just bring a smile to my face. I simply love Maggie, and her steady performance here just further justifies watching this series, even if I’m only watching for her.
The second sister is Gigi Lai. She’s the innocent, trusting one among the three sisters. She’s not as strong and clear-headed like her elder sister, not as sneaky and ambitious as her younger one. She eloped with her husband when she was young, and she returns home to her family at the start of the series to try and salvage her marriage which has gone cold. However, it turns out that her husband is seeing someone else, and her mother finds out first. Her scheming mum then places Gigi in a position to see the reality of the situation with her husband, who was just trying to get money off her. Later on, she dates this good-for-nothing guy, who creeps me out. Her mum obviously stops at nothing to break them apart, and deservedly so, I must say. Gigi then hooks up with Moses Chan, who is the son of a rich businessman. Moses and Bowie are somewhat like competitors, straight from the start. Moses is an egotistic man, and he looks much better in here than in Moonlight Resonance. His hair is neater and he dresses more smartly, mostly in suits, which increases the drool factor. His relationship with Gigi is of course turbulent, but I’d describe it more along the lines of corny. The two of them are like a typical couple in a romantic drama, as compared to Maggie-Bowie, who are more rom-com. Nevertheless, Moses and Gigi provide another type of relationship to diversify the drama. I’m a bit disappointed for Gigi actually, I thought they’d give her something more meaty than just an innocent girl who cries buckets of tears. Hopefully her character would change a little in future episodes, since only half of the series has aired. (Yes, they’re crazy – 82 episodes, who are they kidding?)
The youngest sister is played by Ada Choi. She’s this spoilt, materialistic woman. Her first husband is a businessman, not a big-time one, but rather rich. Some troubles come upon her husband, and soon he has a belly full of debt and runs away, leaving Ada alone. (Actually the first few episodes of the series focuses on how the 3 sisters’ marriage fall apart, so…something happens with their husband one way or another.) Ada soon picks herself up and looks for the next big shark in the ocean. She does have a long-term admirer in the form of Wong Hei though, the sisters’ childhood friend. He’s a shy, bashful young man who works with her father, but obviously he’s just a middle class man, nowhere near her requirements for a husband. Poor thing. Ada is a lot like her mother, ambitious and scheming. She does her fair share of scheming to end up with her husband, who is coincidentally Moses’ father. (Eww) Her flamboyance and materialistic attitude allows her to mix with the upper class with ease. Her character does depict many young girls around HK (and probably everywhere in the world) who dream of marrying the rich and try so hard to. Anyhow, I like Ada fairly well here, and she doesn’t come off too badly as the spoilt baby of the family.
That’s about all the spoilerfication I’m going to do for now. There are many other characters, which I will cover in more detail (probably) after the series is done. Hopefully, because this is such a big production, the cast is awfully huge. Since the series is only half through, lots of things could change. And perhaps improve my impression of the show in general. Because 82 episodes is such a long long time. It’s even longer than the Drive of Life, so I guess Tvb must have their pockets full of cash from all the sponsorships and product placements, which are aplenty in the series. Just looking at how well-dressed the main characters are, it’s pretty easy to tell that this series is a big production compared to the regular Tvb fare. Gigi’s bags change so often, and they’re all designer bags. Maggie’s bag is a designer bag too. The coolest product placement would be the Lamborghinis the men drive. Whoa. Ultimate coolness. That’s about as much as I’ll rove over product placement, because I’m not really a fan of it, but looking at all these frivolous things does help to make us believe that these people are rich. (Although it is weird how Gigi gets all the nicer bags, she is just an OL/sales assistant) Anyway, till next time.