Channel 8 blockbuster ‘Till We Meet Again’ faces fan backlash for confusing plot & poor acting, producer responds
At least it was something different.
Channel 8 blockbuster drama, Till We Meet Again (TWMA), finally came to an end last Friday, Dec. 21.
The drama received much hype as it is the first period drama after 20 years.
It was also perhaps the last time you will get to see Jeanette Aw on local television.
However, the drama faced quite a bit of backlash.
Take a look at these comments from the Channel 8 Facebook post:
Wawa Pictures responds
Time-travelling and period dramas, such as Eternal Love and A Korean Odyssey, have proven to be hits in China and Korea.
These were genres that TWMA perhaps tried to emulate.
The prequel of TWMA was also filmed in Ning Bo, China, for three months, the same location where popular Chinese period dramas Eternal Love and Nirvana in Fire were filmed.
TWMA set out to be a fresh interpretation of Journey to the West coupled with a modern twist, similar to A Korean Odyssey.
Unfortunately, TWMA did not fare as well.
In an interview with Lianhe Zaobao, the Chief Creative Director of Wawa Pictures, Molby Low, who produced TWMA, responded to the three reasons behind the generally negative sentiment that TWMA received.
1. Confusing plot
Viewers generally commented on the plot being confusing and difficult to follow.
In response, Low said that they added a time-travelling element in hopes of attracting more viewers to follow the drama.
The initial concept was simply a girl in search of Sun Wu Kong for a thousand years to seek for his forgiveness.
He also explained that TWMA was not a remake of Journey to the West, but it tweaked the tale to create something original in the form of a 10-episode ancient prequel and a 20-episode modern romance sequel.
The team did not find the story complicated when they were producing the drama but said they will take note of this feedback.
2. Poor acting
Another reason behind the poor public reception was allegedly the poor acting chops from several inexperienced actors.
In response, Low claimed the cast had met the team’s expectations.
Everyone has their own idea of what Zhu Ba Jie or Sun Wu Kong is supposed to be, but TWMA was supposed to be a modern romance so he hoped the actors and actresses had their own interpretation and a sense of modernity.
One of the considerations was how the female audience these days would prefer their Zhu Ba Jie to be, which led to the creation of a thinner heartthrob Zhu Ba Jie.
3. Poor visual effects
TWMA also used special effects in some of their fight scenes.
However, there was some backlash on the quality of these effects.
Low agreed that the effects used in TWMA were not as good as those used in Chinese and Korean films, primarily due to limited resources.
In fact, Low told Zaobao that the whole production exceeded their initial budget.
Although Low did not dismiss the possibility of producing period dramas again, he admitted that that remake of dramas such as The Legend of the Condor Heroes would require more resources.
Despite the negative comments, he shared with Zaobao that TWMA was a good experience to learn about budgeting for such dramas and collaborating with the Chinese production crew.
The quality of visual effects was probably the least of TWMA’s worries though.
Perhaps if there had been a better cast or coherent plot, it would have been better received, like other Wawa productions.
Or even older Channel 8 dramas that are still remembered fondly today.
Another example would be the Channel 8 drama Zero to Hero back in 2005, which proved that amateur visual effects is no impediment if you have a good cast and plot.
Top photo collage of screenshots from Toggle-中文版 Facebook page.