The Menu

July 26, 2015

Original Title: 導火新聞缐

Country: Hong Kong

Format: TV Drama

Episodes: 24

Broadcast Year: 2015

Production Company: HKTV

Starring: Noel Leung, Catherine Chau, Kate Yeung, Gregory Wong, Shek Sau, Benji Chiang

My Rating:

Synopsis

Fong Ying and Alma Wong are passionate reporters in Hong Kong’s newspaper industry. They were originally colleagues and friends but have broken all ties after a certain incident. Due to circumstances, the two find themselves working together once again at the same newspaper, Smart Post. Alma Wong is now the ruthless Chief Editor who strives for sensationalized stories often done in an unethical manner to gain more profit and more readership. Fong Ying may have lost sight of the meaning in her work after the incident but Mallory, a new rookie reporter, reminds her of her old self and passion — to write meaningful stories that the people of Hong Kong would want to read about. Alma and Fong Ying clash continuously over making profit versus press ethics. Will the two be able to resolve their differences and truly provide the people of Hong Kong with freedom of the press?

The Good

  • Realistic acting and characterization
  • Fast-paced and suspenseful
  • Action and mystery present to make story more interesting

The Bad

  • Romantic storyline felt forced and incomplete

Review

After so many years of only having one TV company producing dramas in Hong Kong, HKTV brings much-needed competition to the industry by offering gorgeous cinematography, fresh techniques in video editing, risky topics, and a new platform for veteran and new actors. The Menu is one of their new dramas and it instantly sets itself from the rest of the industry and does so with flying colors.

The employees at Smart Post. Photo © HKTV

The employees at Smart Post. Photo © HKTV

The plot didn’t seem that interesting at first glance (who wants to read about newspapers?) but because they also threw in some mystery and action, and when paired with good acting, it was hard to stop watching. Through this drama, I was able to get a glimpse of how a newspaper runs in Hong Kong and the kind of politics that might be at play behind the scenes. I know this is purely fiction but I wouldn’t be surprised if these scenarios actually happen at a newspaper company.

Never before have I wanted to marathon a Hong Kong drama but I did with this one. The main thing I need to praise is the characterization and that is also thanks to the great cast in this drama. Particularly Alma Wong who is played by Noel Leung. She is a veteran actress and I read that she tends to be typecast in goody-two-shoes roles in historical dramas. In The Menu, Noel Leung exhibited her versatile acting skills by portraying a ruthless boss lady who does almost anything to get what she wants. And yes, that includes yelling at her employees. Lots of yelling. Her character is very complex — the drama showed her back story and how she came to become someone so demanding yet successful. Through many incidents in the show, she grew as a character and it was done very realistically. I think Alma Wong is pretty much my favorite due to the realness of her character.

Alma Wong (left) and Fong Ying (right) caught in a squabble. Photo © HKTV

Alma Wong (left) and Fong Ying (right) caught in a squabble. Photo © HKTV

That’s not to say that the other characters are not good. Fong Ying is more passive compared to Alma but it was shown that she, too, has her inner turmoils. Just like some of us, she lost her way and is struggling to find it again. She is also a character I can relate to. It was really nice to see how Alma and Fong Ying eventually understand that they have made mistakes in their lives and strive to become better people because of it.

The drama was very fast-paced and I really appreciate it because otherwise, it could’ve been a bit boring. I honestly did not like the mini romantic storyline in this drama because it felt like it came from nowhere. Because it was not the focus of the story, not much time was spent on the development of this relationship and it ended up feeling incomplete.

All in all, I really enjoyed this drama because it was really entertaining. Unfortunately, it’s currently only available in Cantonese. I don’t know of any English subtitles being available at the moment. If you have a chance to watch it, I think you should give it a try!

More Information: Wikipedia

This is my drama review and is entirely opinionated. Your opinions may differ. Any offense caused by my rants and ramblings is unintentional. Thank you for understanding.

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