Saturday, January 8, 2011

TVB's Most Watched TV series in 2010: Can't Buy Me Love

2010's top ten most watched TV series on Hong Kong's number one network, TVB, were released at the end of December. In a year in which there were no real stand-out series, the historical romantic comedy Can't Buy Me Love (公主嫁到) just edged out No Regrets (巾帼枭雄之义海豪情) for the number one spot.

Hong Kong viewers TV might well be forgiven if last year they experienced an overwhelming feeling of deja vu. Can't Buy Me Love was very similar to the number one show of 2009, Beyond the Realm of Conscience - same historical period, and featuring many of the same cast members, just with more laughs and less dramatic moments than the 2009 show. And No Regret was the spin-off series from 2009's number 2 ranked show, Rosy Business, again with both shows starring much the same cast members.

Can't Buy Me Love is set in the Tang Dynasty and contains several tried and true elements familiar to Hong Kong TV series. There are lavish costumes and sets, bickering couples, a plotline involving the ups and downs of a family business, some palace intrigue, and an evil female villain. It stars Charmaine Sheh (佘诗曼, pinyin: Shé Shīmàn), Moses Chan (陈豪, pinyin: Chén Háo), Louis Yuen (阮兆祥, pinyin: Ruǎn Zhàoxiáng), Susanna Kwan (关菊英, pinyin: Guān Júyīng), and a host of other stars from the TVB stables. The series ran for 31 episodes from August to October, and had an average rating of 34 points, equivalent to 2,150,000 viewers). It peaked at 45 points in the final episode of the series.

Last month it won Best Drama series at the 2010 TVB Anniversary Awards. However its stars missed out on the acting awards, although Charmaine Sheh picked up the My Favourite Female Character award for her portrayal of Princess Chiu Yeung. Instead the acting awards were swept by the cast of No Regrets. Wayne Lai (黎耀祥: Lí Yàoxiáng) and Sheren Tang (邓萃雯, pinyin: Dèng Cuìwén) repeated their 2009 success with Rosy Business - that deja vu feeling again - to win Best Actor and Actress. Evergreen Mak (麦长青, pinyin: Mài Chángqīng) and Fala Chen (陈法拉, pinyin: Chén Fǎlā) were named Best Supporting Actor and Actress respectively.

No Regrets is set in 1930s Guangdong on the eve of the Japanese occupation of the city. The series combined elements of a war drama and police/triad thriller, and averaged 33 points (2,110,000 viewers) over the course of its 31 episodes. The show's final episode peaked at 47 points or 3 million viewers, making it the most watched TVB episode of the year.

The full top 10 TVB series in 2010 are (courtesy of the Hyn5@FortunateCity blog):
1. Can't Buy Me Love, 34 points (2,150,000 viewers)
2. No Regrets, 33 points (2,110,000 viewers)
3. The Mysteries of Love, 32 points (2,040,000 viewers)
4. A Pillow Case of Mystery II, 31 points (1,990,000 viewers)
5. A Watchdog's Tale, 31 points (1,970,000 viewers)
6. When Lanes Merge, 31 points (1,960,000 viewers)
7. Every Move You Make, 31 points (1,950,000 viewers)
8. Gun Metal Grey, 30 points (1,920,000 viewers)
9. Ghost Writer, 30 points (1,910,000 viewers)
10. A Fistful of Stances, 29 points (1,820,000 viewers)

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