Saturday, January 9, 2010
Autumn's Concerto Sets New Ratings Record
Autumn's Concerto (下一站,幸福, pinyin: Xià Yī Zhān, Xìng Fú), a drama series that has been showing on Taiwan’s TTV and SETTV channels for the past few months, last week set a new Taiwanese ratings record for the year. It reached a score of 7.76 on January 3, well ahead of the previous record (7.35) held by My Queen, a romantic comedy which aired in the first half of 2009. Autumn's Concerto which, like My Queen, runs in the key Sunday evening timeslot, stars Vanness Wu (吴建豪, pinyin: Wú Jiànháo), the American-born singer from the boy band F4, and Ady An (安以轩, pinyin: Ān Yí Xuàn), who first came to prominence in the 2003 TV series The Outsiders and has been a regular in Taiwanese dramas ever since.
The story is about a rich but ultimately unfulfilled law student (Wu) who meets a poor street vendor (An) and an unlikely romance develops. Tragedy strikes however when the rich boy suffers a brain tumour and that old soap opera staple - memory loss - and the two are separated. The story picks up six years later when Wu's character, haunted by memories of his lost love, goes in search of the street vendor. However some serious obstacles are placed in the path of their love - Wu is now engaged to a very nice young woman, while An is a mother to, you guessed it, Wu's child.
The series, which belongs to a genre known as “idol drama” (because its lead actors are usually heartthrob pop/TV idols) took a while to find viewers, struggling to break 4 in the ratings. However from mid-November its popularity began to soar, coinciding with the arrival of 4 year old Xiao Xiao Bin’s (小小彬) character. The precocious young actor has become an instant celebrity, winning audiences over with a mixture of cuteness and surprisingly good acting skills. Already, according to his manager, companies are lining up with advertising and endorsement deals for the young prodigy. In the upcoming months he will appear in another two series, albeit in short supporting roles. However, going on the massive impact he has had with Autumn's Concerto, a starring role cannot be too far away.
Xiao Xiao Bin is of course not the only one to benefit from the show’s success. Vanness Wu, already the most popular of the four F4 band members, has seen his popularity jump to an even higher level. Ady An too has received a boost to her career from the series. Previously regarded as an attractive but relatively anonymous Zhao Wei lookalike, she has now become a star in her own right. Both Wu and An are likely to figure prominently when the TV acting awards are handed out later this year.
Autumn's Concerto, which runs for 20 episodes in total, will finish, fittingly enough, on Valentine's Day.