Monday, June 25, 2012

A.E. Insights: Current and Rising Siu Sangs of TVB

It's been many years since TVB raised and promoted their last group of siu sangs (Raymond Lam, Bosco Wong, Ron Ng, and Kenneth Ma). These four men all had different strengths and weaknesses, and are all now at varied peaks and lows in their careers. With many artists busy with looking for other work and money making opportunities, TVB is now left in a dilemma. So our question is...

TOPIC: What is your opinion of the previous promoted siu sangs and how are they doing so many years later? Also, with the drainage of lead actors, who should become the next siu sangs?

Iris: Raymond, Bosco, Ron, and Kenneth are all successful now, but at differing degrees.  I personally think they're all talented and handsome guys, but very different from each other and now all at different positions.

If you had asked me who was my favorite out of the four before "Moonlight Resonance" came out in 2008, I would've quickly said Raymond Lam.  Besides being good looking, he had the best acting chops out of the four and most charisma.  He delivered memorable performances that left an impact.  From 2002's "A Step into the Past" to 2006's "La Femme Desperado", there was no question: Raymond was definitely the best actor out of the new generation.  I absolutely loved him in "Survivor's Law".  He shined as the kind, witty, passionate, yet slightly gullible lawyer.  Unfortunately, his career made a turn for the worst following the hugely successful "Moonlight Resonance". His popularity skyrocketed, and he received characters that capitalized on his success as an idol/pretty face instead of the talented actor he truly is. All of his roles since MR have been boring and fail to show his versatility and charm.  Nowadays though, I wouldn't say I have a favorite out of the four.  What about you, Niki?

Niki: Now I'm desperately trying to remember some of the older series I've seen them in and drawing a blank, hehe > u <; I did remember Raymond in "La Femme Desperado", Raymond did have a very likable character. His acting was natural and playful and he carried the emotions well. Yeah, his characters now emphasize on his looks and the characters themselves had nothing much to them. But I don't think I had a favorite, just because I didn't really know or bother to pay attention to the actors back then. Now, I think I would choose Kenneth as my favorite. He's a pretty good actor and his sweet and innocent personality outside just makes me favor him a bit more.  

Iris: Kenneth would probably be my current choice in terms of solely acting and personality.  He's shown acting skills and vast improvements.  I also really like his offscreen personality as well, as he is a modest, humble, shy, yet playful and youthful person.  However, like many people have noted, Kenneth lacks the charisma.  He has the likability and sincerity, but not the "X-Factor" that some people are just born with, which affects how memorable he can or can not be in his performances.

As for Bosco and Ron, they were more of the "heart throbs" back when they first started with mainly teenage fan bases.  In contrast to Kenneth, they have the charisma, but are not as skilled in the acting department.  In recent years, they've been demoted to second lead roles.  In Bosco's case, this has actually come to benefit him.  Not quite ready to take on lead roles, being demoted allow him to take on different roles and develop his acting more in a smaller capacity.  This setback paid off for him as he received critical acclaim for his supporting role in "Lives of Omission".

Unfortunately, things have only gotten worse for Ron.  He gave the most memorable performance of his career when reprising the role of "Chung Lap Man" in "E.U." in 2009, and was the most natural and emotive he had ever been.  He continued giving solid performances in "A Chip Off the Old Block" and "OL Supreme", successfully shedding his "impulsive hothead" typecast.  However, with his vast improvements, he became demoted to second lead and 2011 became the worst year for him so far in terms of roles and performances.  They all either lacked a dynamic, were underdeveloped, or just plain unlikable, not allowing him to show his acting skill.  Even in "L'Escargot", he was only able to show his acting in his one crying scene.  Real life girlfriend Viann Zhang has only caused the actor more trouble and career bumpiness.  What is your opinion on Bosco and Ron?

Niki: Yeah, I get what you mean. Kenneth is sincere, but when it comes to charisma, he's beaten. For Bosco, I did take notice that he has a broader range of characters to work with. He turned from a witty and playful cop in "7 Days in Life" to the sly and manipulative gangster in "Lives of Omission" and managed to portray the characters well. Bosco can definitely take advantage of the demotion as his chance to improve his acting skills and he also has Myolie supporting him mentally (and also perhaps through the very expensive gifts they like to give each other). As for Ron, I really feel sorry for him. When he finally improves, his characters couldn't get more boring. I hope he gets better characters soon and also that his girlfriend won't keep making trouble for him to fix. Speaking of "OL Supreme" though, I really liked his dorky character "Ah K"; he was so cute there. This year, I would say his character in "Forensic Heroes" was likable and had potential. But in the end, he didn't have enough screen time and the character ended up being under developed. If it wasn't for that, maybe that character could have been a pick up for Ron this year. For "L' Escargot" though, I remember you mentioning that even though his acting was solid during that emotive scene he was still over shadowed by Linda?

So, Ron's heart breaking tale aside and moving on from our old siu sangs, who do you think will be the up and coming ones?

Iris: Yes, Linda received praise for her crying scene when all she did was scrunch up her face and force out a couple tears. Meanwhile, Ron fully emoted and even had snot coming out of his nose. I hope in the future, Ron will get better roles before I completely forget he's a decent actor.

And now to discuss the next siu sangs of TVB.  Ruco Chan and Raymond Wong are the latest to have been promoted to lead actor, and both came with over a decade of experience.  This makes it hard for the young and newer actors to catch up.  Most recently, Jason Chan has been given the chance to lead in an upcoming series with Linda, so that will be interesting to watch.  Jason's handsome and friendly exterior, coupled with his educated and modest personality make him very likable.  However, his acting is still green and could use a lot of work.

Niki: Ah yes, Jason. I heard that he was being promoted lately. What is his drama with Linda? His acting should improve as he goes along.

There's also Matthew Ko, who was recently in "Sergeant Tabloid". I don't know if he's going to be a siu sang in the future, since his acting still needs work. But his character in "Sergeant Tabloid" was cute and likable, and he was able to garner some attention. It was a good improvement from when he was in "Man in Charge", where he was still unnatural and quite wooden in front of the camera. His handsome and charming looks makes him a good candidate to promote though. I also appreciate his straightforward personality.  It's quite refreshing.

Iris: Jason and Linda are starring in "Ferris Wheel of Happiness", which is a romance drama I think.  It is a smaller production, so it'll allow Jason to improve without having such a large weight on his shoulders.

I agree with what you said about Matthew.  He showed significant improvements in "Sergeant Tabloid", but I'm unsure as to if his acting truly improved or if it was the character.  Whatever it is, he shows potential.  He has the looks and charm, and is starting to improve.  I also like his straightforward and honest personality, which is hard to come by in the entertainment industry.  He's not ready to be lead yet, but I hope TVB gives him good supporting roles and potentially groom him into a siu sang in the future.

The one I have the most confidence in being the next siu sang though, is Edwin Siu.  He has been in the industry since 2002 and starred in "Aqua Heroes" in 2004, where his acting was mediocre.  However, since returning to TVB in 2008 and restarting his whole career, his acting has improved by heaps and bounds.  He's worked very hard, and it shows.  This year, he surprised and impressed everyone with his comedic talent in "Daddy Good Deeds" and made a complete 360 in "Gloves Come Off" as a semi-villain.  He has the hardworking and modest personality, charm, talent, and handsome yet cute looks.  He definitely has what it takes, and has the most range of all the rising actors right now.  All I'm saying is, he better get the recognition and promotion he deserves!

Niki: Edwin definitely has what it takes to become a siu sang. If TVB would open its eyes and promote him better I would be so happy. He was adorable in "Daddy Good Deeds"; he and Steven were the best part of the show. He really surprised me with his role in "Gloves Come Off". I didn't expect it, but he was actually able to scare me. His character didn't get that much screen time, being a minor role, but Edwin really shined and made the most out of it.

But speaking of recognition, Him Law is getting a lot of attention lately and all for the wrong things. All we've been hearing lately is rumors and scandals of Him, from him dating Tavia to the photo shoot case, as opposed to his acting. However, he is a pretty good actor, and his popularity is growing right now. So what do you think of him as a future siu sang?

Out of the younger guys, Him is the most natural actor. He has a lot of potential and has improved. However, he is definitely getting recognized for all the wrong things and has become a regular tabloid target. His real life personality is probably the worst out of everyone's with a history of domestic violence and several scandals, which makes it hard for me to look beyond it and truly enjoy his acting nowadays. Him is probably TVB's first choice to promote right now, but I hope Edwin gets the recognition he deserves too and that Him matures. In general, Him is an actor who I like as an actor, but not as a person.

In contrast to Him, Vincent Wong is someone whose real life personality is very likable but his acting leaves much to be desired. I have heard good things about Vincent being a friendly
and down to earth person, and something about him makes him seem approachable, unlike Him. His acting though is only acceptable. He presents likability in his performances, but doesn't possess a lot of charm and his acting still needs work. He is most likely not becoming a siu sang anytime soon too, as he is a new father and he and wife Yoyo Chen are taking off time from acting.

Niki: Him really does have the worse personality out of the potential stars right now. He should change that soon or it could be what ruins him. And I agree with what you said about Vincent. His acting is nothing special, but his personality is very likable. Even though he's not going to become a siu sang anytime soon, it's nice that he's spending some time with his family.

Another rising star seems to be Benjamin Yuen. He has been getting praises lately for his acting in the sitcom "Til Love Do Us Lie" and in "Hippocratic Crush". After watching these two series, I can say that Benjamin has good acting skills. He's natural in his performance and is likable, but his roles are still limited. Looks wise, he's not extremely handsome but still possesses a good amount of charisma. While he's a good actor and has the charisma, I still don't see him in a lead role yet. Perhaps it's because he hasn't gotten too many significant roles yet, but he's someone to look out for.

Iris: I didn't watch either series, but I have heard many good things about Benjamin's performance and character. I actually first noticed him back when he debuted in "Your Class or Mine", which was also where I first noticed Him. It's nice to see that he's showing more potential and talent. He's far from being lead actor material right now, but it's nice to see him getting praise and more major roles.

One last notable actor is Oscar Leung, who has consistently given solid and memorable performances despite portraying minor roles. His popularity and recognition level has increased since "L'Escargot", which makes me happy. For some reason, I can't seem to see him in a lead role though. He's probably not very favored by TVB executives. Perhaps second male lead?

With the drainage of artists and amount of artists that are still relatively green, it's hard to choose who has what it takes to be the next few siu sangs. I think just having the guys experiment with different and increasingly major roles will tell. If I were to pick a few that could potentially be the next group of siu sangs though, I'd say promote and invest in Edwin Siu and Him Law, then train Jason Chan, Matthew Ko, and Benjamin Yuen to eventually fill the void. The one with the most popularity is definitely Him, but I think Edwin will have the most successful long time career. All these guys have their individual charms, strengths, and weaknesses, and I'm interested in seeing where their careers take them the next few years.

Niki: I can't see Oscar in a leading role either, but he does definitely deserves bigger roles. Second lead should be appropriate, he'll be able to expand his abilities further.

The next couple of years will surely be interesting. The artists drainage will provide a great opportunities for these new batch of artists to rise. Their career roads should be bright if they take this chance to improve themselves. With so many artists leaving now hopefully TVB will take good advantage of these potential stars. In time, with some polishing, training, and investment Edwin Siu, Him Law, Jason Chan, Matthew Ko, and Benjamin Yuen will be ready to make up for the lack in leads.


  1. A very enjoyable post to read!! I am so happy that you guys wrote this, since I've also been thinking about this subject myself...about the uprising siusangs with the recent series ft. them :)

    Edwin is definitely my favourite among them and I also like Vincent alot too. Him law...his acting is very natural...but over-promoting his body :P is not my thing. Bias there..I like him as long as he keep his shirts on. As for his negative news...I never followed them so no opinion there.

    Oscar Leung. I agree that he'll make a dependable second leading actor.

    There are also some others that I like. Example, Eric far, he doesn't seem like the first leading type yet, but he'd be a very dependable second line actor just like Oscar. I love him!!

    Then some more rising stars includes: Matt Yeung and Sammy Shum. well...I wouldn't count Sammy b/c he's still quite new, but I like him :) Matt Yeung...after being promoted but then disappearing before, he's finally back. I personally really like him since Shades of truth and see potential in him.

    thanks for this post guys ;D

    1. Thanks Lynne! Haha, what nice timing. :)

      Edwin is definitely the best out of all of them in terms of acting, personality, and charm. I really like Vincent, but hope he improves on his acting. Yes, Him is definitely over-promoting his body. I actually had trouble finding a decent picture of him with a shirt on that wasn't really I settled on his profile shot. :P

      I'd love for Eric to be promoted to second lead or first supporting, but don't think that's going to happen. :/

      Sammy is likable, but I've only seem him in FH3 so far. Haha, I was just talking to Niki about Matt this morning! I read that he admitted in an interview he didn't take his job seriously when he first started, but is cherishing his opportunities now. Sounds like he's matured a lot! He used to be a bit of a troublemaker before. He's very likable in Be Home for Dinner!

      You're welcome, and thanks for reading and commenting. :D

  2. While Ron has most definitely been demoted, I would hesitate to say the same for Bosco. He was not supporting in LOO but co-lead. He was the lead in Grace Under Fire as well, which aired before LOO last year. And now, in Witness Insecurity, he's leading again. And Bosco's acting has always been better than Ron's - quite unfair to consider them in the same breath.