Deep In The Realm Of Conscience

Hello everyone!Today we’re going to be writing a reviews on Deep in the Realm of Conscience, one of TVB’s most anticipated dramas of the year which was produced in cooperation with Tencent Penguin Pictures.

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With its big budget for new costumes and set designs, producer Mui Siu-ching’s return, along with new ‘big name’ actresses Annie Liu & Chrissie Chau, this was supposed lớn wow audiences.

We’re gonna give some general thoughts và then move into the performances of the cast. Warning that there are spoilers ahead!General thoughts:As expected, the sequel was not as good as the first series, Beyond the Realm of Conscience, but it was not a terrible series that made us want khổng lồ shut off the tv right away. If anything, it was not at all associated with BTROC và would have been better if it was made a separate entity so there would be no need lớn meet the expectations created by the success of BTROC. The main problem of the show was it tried khổng lồ emulate bits and pieces of BTROC and was so reliant on the what they perceived the audience used lớn enjoy watching that it could not be labelled anything better than its prequel’s mere “replicate”.The first episode had us pretty confused because usually in historical dramas, the name and title of the character are provided as they appear in the drama, like in Succession War. This was not the case for DITROC & because we were out of touch with our Chinese history, we were left pretty confused. As the drama progressed & with aid of Wikipedia, we soon learnt the role everyone played.As well, for a drama focused on selling its grandeur to the audience, we found the small amount of characters and lack of extras as palace maids và guards made the drama seem much less impressive. It was dry seeing only 10 or so characters in an episode including Steven, Kenneth, Edwin, Nancy, Annie, Alice, and whoever else lượt thích the Emperor, Chrissie in the last half, Jacqueline Wong, or the 4 department heads. Near the kết thúc of its airing when Succession War was starting to lớn air, the juxtaposition of the two ancient dramas proved Succession War to lớn be altogether more serious with plenty of extras & more intense pacing of events, as opposed khổng lồ the repetitive and rather sluggish scenes in DITROC.DITROC focused too much on extravagant costumes và sets that consequently led khổng lồ an under-developed plot và use of characters. In fact, the costumes & accessories felt too excessive - though they were undeniably beautiful - that it detracted the audience’s focus at times. We expected some great, deep schemes as it was called 深宮計, but we didn’t feel there was too much plotting against one another within the palace, & it was mainly Wang Zhen (Nancy Wu) who had a few schemes, but none of them were too brilliant & people could guess right away that it was her doing. With the main villain of the drama being Princess Taiping (Alice Chan), in the end it got quite boring between her competition with the Emperor.An issue we had with this drama was the Emperor/ Li Longji(Steven Ma) only had two buddies: Yum Sam-shu (Kenneth Ma) and Ho Lei (Edwin Siu) who acted as the Emperor’s best friends, confidants, personal assistants, etc. Really, Kenneth playing this all-inclusive role would have sufficed, & instead, we would have liked to seen Ho Lei acting as a foil to lớn Sam-shu’s loyal part by continuing in his revenge plot against the royal family. That would have added an interesting element, seeing that it was quite drab with the repeated brotherly scenes working together khổng lồ solve mysteries or fight against Taiping’s plots against the Emperor. It would have been better if other noblemen were included in the running of the country.The same sisterly triangle was paralleled on the female side with Yuen Yuet (Annie Liu), Concubine Zheng Chunxi (Chrissie Chau), & Kam Yeuk-chin (Jacqueline Wong) & hence, the same unrelieved friendship scenes were frequent. Not khổng lồ mention, Annie was paired with Edwin, Chrissie with Steven (as his concubine), & Jacqueline with Kenneth, so what mainly dominated the screen were lãng mạn scenes of these pairs as long as Steven and Nancy’s initial lovey-dovey scenes which soon become quite cheesy and greatly degraded the maturity of the drama as a whole. If that isn’t enough, the heads of the Imperial Household Bureau had very tedious lines with the rhyming và petty arguing that slowed down the pace even more, và those scenes can hardly be considered as comic relief. Upon reflection of the drama, it felt like nothing really happened: the mystery cases were unimaginative và did little to showroom suspense to the story và the plot fell into a cycle of failed attempts lớn overthrow the Emperor. The plot was poorly balanced with 2 sudden deaths of Chrissie & Jacqueline at the over in one episode. These deaths did not hold much significance either, and the fact that we were not too bothered by them shows that the characters were not well-written enough lớn stir distraught in the viewers.Something that we wish we saw were the designs of the 4 departments for the Empress, Concubine và when Annie Liu became Princess Ling Long. We remember the last one showed the actual drawings. This is just picky but it would have added more depth to lớn the departments. Whereas BTROC got into the details of the bureau’s inner workings such as their duties và how people rose to different ranks, we did not see it here with all these details being skimmed over. At times, Jay forgot whose department represented what (jewelry, attire, furnishing, food) because the heads mainly quarreled about their personal issues or gossiped about the palace rumours. We got so confused with Jacqueline because we thought she belonged in the Department of Furnishings but she kept making meat buns, so we were like: “Wait she"s’ in Department of Food?” which just shows how dissociated the palace maid characters were from their departments. We remember clearly in BTROC that Charmaine Sheh’s character was placed in the Department of Attire but really skilled at making jewelry. The same small traits which made characters more rich were absent here. Apologies for always bringing up BTROC, but if TVB decides to make a sequel to a show, they should be prepared for side-by-side comparisons of the two.Generally, the characters were in considerable need of depth; we felt that we could describe most of the characters with one word adjectives. Kenneth and Edwin were unyieldingly loyal, Annie, Chrissie, và Jacqueline were kind-hearted and innocent. These repeated qualities in not one, but several characters were monotonous & a waste of the actors at hand.With all those criticisms, you might ask us why we continued watching all 36 episodes of it. Well, we admit we are more prone khổng lồ pick out faults mainly because of our preconception that the drama would be lesser than BTROC. That being said, we should be fair by mentioning some of its good qualities. As mentioned, the costumes, makeup, accessories, & set were fabulous và exquisite, & we should appreciate time và effort that the background artists and designers took to ensure the palace women looked stunning.

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There was a good degree of historical accuracy khổng lồ the drama of events that took place lượt thích Princess Taiping’s conflict with Li Longji & her own suicide, & her being 48 years old when she died (so Alice was a suitable cast for the role). There was no one in particular that did a terrible job in acting their parts because it is understandably harder than modern dramas with the incredibly long scripts since palace dramas are so discussion-heavy. DITROC was a great improvement from ancient dramas that have aired these recent years as most of them were utterly horrible.Performances:
Steven Ma as Emperor Xuanzong/Li Long-ji - Steven has always been a solid actor & in recent years, he’s been focusing on other projects. With the big-budget, mainland đài loan trung quốc support & producer Mui Siu-Ching, he decided khổng lồ return to lớn TVB. In all honesty, we didn’t see amazing acting from him và it was kinda lacklustre for us. We blame this mostly on the lack of character development. The backstory of him being imprisoned by Wu Zetian after his mother was captured and died was briefly mentioned. The impact would’ve been greater if they showed him going through tough times trapped alone growing into an adult. Because we missed this important element, và were brought in the story in truyền thông media res where he killed Empress Dowager Wei, the audience was led to believe that Li Longji was always a righteous và fair prince. We also felt that he was fully in love with his only partner, Wang Zhen. But it turns out, once he had Chrissie’s character Chunxi & saw her goodness, he was just as happy. He didn’t really show particular favouritism either because the next morning, Wang Zhen would visit him and he’d be all smiles too. He knew Wang Zhen had already been the mastermind behind some incidents against Chunxi & still trusted her fully to take care of Concubine Chunxi when she was pregnant. That made no sense. Lượt thích you can’t blame anyone when you single handedly allowed your own kid to lớn be killed. Steven was adequate but it felt like he would just deliver for the scene, if he was supposed to be angry then he was angry. It felt disjointed because one minute, he knew about Wang Zhen who planned the fire at this building while Concubine Chunxi was inside. The next minute, he would still visit her. Also didn’t know why he only had two wives when Li Longji was known to lớn have the most concubines in history keeping thousands of them in the palace. The over scene where it was revealed that he killed Yuen Yuet’s older sister was perhaps aimed to lớn reveal that he was not that “righteous” and had an evil side, but we thought it was a poor choice khổng lồ achieve this goal. It was not really baffling khổng lồ see him kill a palace maid. Since he already killed Empress Dowager Wei in a coup in the first scene, it was already established that he had the capacity of evil, và thus, the reintroduction of this quality wasn’t effective at all.Nancy Wu as Wang Zhen - The double TV Queen was also alright in the drama. She didn’t really steal the spotlight or anything though. Lớn us, Nancy failed to lớn have that “evil cunning look” that Tavia in BTROC portrayed so well & fell short in making a memorable character. Her schemes were so easy to lớn see through và they were overused as well. Lượt thích climbing on a faulty ladder and falling lớn lead to lớn a miscarriage is so overdone. We were not surprised with anything & if the story writers had spent more time developing intricate schemes, it would be more fun to watch. The thing that everyone was most excited about were her costumes, we thought the best one was the one below because of the green background paired with the peonies. Some of the other ones were too extravagant with a lot of colours. We definitely see the difference between her early costumes and the ones as an Empress. The earlier ones were lighter in colour và more feminine, it made her look softer and less menacing. The high và erect necklines of the Empress costumes were more harsh to lớn us. Perhaps this helped with her growing hatred and love for drama in order to get what she wanted. It seems like Nancy has yet khổng lồ find another role for a breakthrough because we didn’t think this did it for her.