• Thu
  • Nov 27, 2014
  • Updated: 5:31am
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ENTERTAINMENT

More than 1,100 Hong Kong viewers complain to TVB over mainland's 'Journey to the West'

Mainland series Journey to the West receives a record number of complaints for a TVB drama, with viewers fuming over its prime-time slot

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 May, 2014, 3:30am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 May, 2014, 10:44am
 

The legendary tale of the Monkey King escorting a monk in search of a sacred sutra may be an enduring Chinese classic, but in Hong Kong, a mainland production of Journey to the West is struggling to find its way into the hearts of television viewers.

The 50-episode drama serial, now airing in an evening prime-time slot, is at the receiving end of 1,100 complaints, a number TVB admits is the highest ever lodged against any of the dramas it has offered. Some have demanded that TVB axe the show.

Critics say the record figure reflects reignited anger over free-television licensing, as the dominance of broadcaster TVB limits the programming available.

The complaints also signalled a widening cultural gap with the mainland and Hongkongers' rejection of mainlanders' taste, they said.

Watch: Trailer of Journey to the West

Scriptwriter and critic Alex Pao Wai-chung said the special effects and props were below par. As the story was so well known, the decisive factor in winning an audience lay in its aesthetics, Pao said - and yet the special effects turned Hongkongers off.

"For example, the gold colour used in the show might appeal to mainland viewers," he said. "But to us, it is the kind of gold that can only be found in 'hell money' burned at funerals."

The Communications Authority said that, as of Monday, it had received 1,100 complaints since Journey to the West started on TVB Jade on April 28. It is being screened at 8.30pm from Mondays to Fridays.

Complainants objected to appalling special effects and unsophisticated characters, the authority said. Some said the show was too violent for children, and there was anger over TVB's choice of a dated mainland series for prime-time viewing.

The 2011 serial, a work of mainland producer Zhang Jizhong, is based on the 16th-century classic novel of the same name. It also drew flak when aired on the mainland but still topped the ratings race.

TVB said it cost 100 million yuan (HK$118 million) to produce, with the special effects led by the team behind the Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

The show attracted a weekday average of 1.4 million viewers in its first week, lower than the average prime-time viewership last year of about 1.47 million as stated in TVB's annual report.

On the station's web portal myTV, each episode managed fewer than 40,000 views, while the other ongoing prime-time series, M Club, recorded nearly 100,000 views.

A TVB spokesman blamed the weak interest on the recent public holidays, while a source at the station pointed to Hong Kong-mainland tensions. But Pao said aesthetic taste stemmed from cultural differences. "It is like a person with bad fashion sense. He makes an effort to dress up, but his taste is not our cup of tea."

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This article is now closed to comments

rpasea
1100 complaints? I am shocked, SHOCKED, to learn that many people actually watch TVB!
ohyeahar
I wasn’t among the 1,100+ who complained. But that’s only because I’ve not turned on TVB Jade on “primetime” for a very long time. If I did, I would be complaining about every single minute that’s being broadcasted.
So my advice for viewers would be to complain with your remote. Just watch something else. Or perhaps switch off the TV altogether.
allan94
as a hk citizen, i am so ashamed of our free to air tv. the programmes are so bad.
the free to air radio is also so bad. The DJs are terrible. i cannot understnd why we dont have a FM radio english station. Rado is so cheap to run....some towns in canada with population of 5000 has FM radio. why cant we do it? have to rely on internet radio to get english radio from singapore, philippines, etc.....
HK's free-to-air is still operating like the 1970s..
daily
I glanced at one episode and immediately never bothered to watch anymore.............one of the worst versions ever of this story and the special effects was completely garbage.........whoever at TVB was responsible for this show should be fired.
superdx
I turned on the TV and accidentally caught a couple seconds of this. It just looked super bad, the "special effects" were so amateurish I thought I was watching a low budget Japanese tokusatsu series. It did not look high budget.
The characters are so shallow to the point where they always seem to be happy. I guess mainlanders always want to put on a good face, but it makes for extremely poor television.
Overall it was garish, shiny, and unwatchable. It was even more painful that the normal **** that TVB puts out at that timeslot.
ann.wei.121
As a Hong Kong 's TV Station, TVB is digging its own grave in pursuing a direction catering for mainlander's taste; according to the result of my inquiry, I seriously doubt the so-called 1.4 million viewers statement.
nicolas
THE CANTONESE TRANSLATION ARE SO STUPID...AND THE PRODUCTION OUTCOME ARE SIMPLY SO FAKE, BORING AND RUBBISH TO WATCH !!! I DON'T KNOW WHY "TVB" CHANNEL SPEND SO MUCH MONEY JUST TO BUY SUCH POOR AND LOW RATED PRODUCTION SHOW...EVEN SQUEEZE INTO THE PRIME TIME SHOW...JUST TO PLEASE COMMUNIST GOVERNMENT AND MAINLANDERS IN HONG KONG !!! WHAT A WASTE !!!!
syn
Heck, I'd settle for any music on the English radio station made this century. As long as they play more than 45 seconds of each song and don't have the DJ talk over most of it like they do on the Cantonese stations.
Camel
What do you expect from TVB? All good actors, directors, screenwriters and editors moved to the Mainland long ago to earn there more. All what TVB has left, are 2nd grade actors, directors, writers and editors. The shows, once very entertaining, have become dull, unlogical, stupid and boring. So, they are going to buy shows from the Mainland and even there, their taste haven't done better.
mercedes2233
I suppose it is difficult to gauge viewers' tastes. I think a lot of local TV productions and local films absolutely disgusting and corny, but they still can be box-office successes. One can't blame TVB for trying this on. Could the fact that this is a mainland production have something to do with this reaction, given HK's current China-bashing mood?

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