1 Sep

Wow, first time I feel like blogging about a local tv show! Singapore tv productions have followed me through the years (well, duh) and there have been many great dramas and variety/info-tainment programmes that I enjoy, but in recent years, locally produced dramas have been increasingly family-melodrama oriented with over the top acting and weak plots. There’s really been a dearth of good stories and coupled with bad acting from some newbies, it’s been a while since I tuned in to a local drama. (The last one was “Little Nonya” but then practically the entire Singapore was following it. Side note, at least the info-tainment programmes have been consistently enjoyable.)

Anyway, the show I wanted to write about is “Unriddle”! The show is not perfect and there are definitely things the audience can pick on if we wanted to but overall, it’s one of the best productions in recent memory.


The casting/acting:
Chen Li Ping is finally NOT cast as an auntie and while some complained about her not suitable as a ‘fat policewoman’, I’d like to point out that her character Da Bao is only an informant and she really brought alive her character, fat or not fat (and come on, she’s chubby, but not faaaat). CLP brought out Da Bao’s quick-wit, high EQ and her love for her ‘family’. Da Bao is a great balance to the cool Xiao Man and I love the verbal sparring they have going on. Moving on to Rui En as Xiao Man… I adore the looks Rui En sported in the show, sharp and clean-cut, befitting her role as the no-nonsense inspector and she’s absolutely stunning on the 2 occasions she wore a dress to go on a date with Yu Ze. Have Rui En and Tay Ping Hui paired up in a drama before?? I can’t remember but after “Unriddle”, they look like a nice pair to me! Rui En’s acting didn’t wow me, not that it was bad, just that I’ve seen her in similar roles e.g. in Metamorphosis so not much of a surprise here. Tay Ping Hui was very manly and he was charismatic as the tough policeman with a few secrets. I hope there’ll be a “Unriddle 2” because judging from the final episode, Zhang Yu Ze has a few more skeletons in his closet not yet discovered and hopefully this time Tay Ping Hui will get more screen time! Other manly men… Zheng Ge Ping was super manly as Savage, the gang leader. I read that he was really happy to take on the role which was refreshingly different from the ‘uncle’ roles he’d been getting and he gets to put his Taekwando black belt into action! Well, I’m as glad as he is because I sure am appreciative of the 6-pack and the lean-mean arms he showed off on the show. Savage was only featured in the first case for a few episodes, but he sure made me go ‘wow’. Rayson Tan as Andrew didn’t impress me much initially but as the secret started to unravel, he gave a nice layered portrayal of the struggles that simmered within Andrew. The other veteran actors were all great as usual so I won’t ramble on them further. Newbie Zhou Ying has made a good impression on me with her natural acting in previous dramas and she continues to be a comfortable presence on-screen in “Unriddle”. I was quite touched by her performance in the few episodes where her character Ani was involved in a case. This is the first time I’ve seen Andie Chen in such a prominent and pivotal role, and he did ok for it… some scenes could’ve been better but at least there weren’t any face-palm moments. Oh yes, Shen Jin Xing showed up in a cameo in the last episode as Savage’s elder brother who came back to Singapore to seek revenge! “Unriddle 2” please!!! I have got to see Shen Jin Xing as triad boss no.2!

Overall, the casting was appropriate and there was good acting from the main cast to the guest stars. The only thing 2 things I would change are 1) Ong Ai Ling as Savage’s girlfriend. It’s no fault of Ong Ai Ling, but for some reason I imagined Constance Song in the role. My personal preference here only. Haah. 2) Anyone else as Xiao Mei, one of Xiao Man’s subordinates, would be better than the current choice. I don’t know who she is but it’s painful to hear her read her lines. The way she enunciates her words bothers me and not to mention the wooden acting but thankfully she only gets a couple of lines per episode.

The story:
The individual cases were alright but not quite suspenseful enough and they felt more like ‘side dishes’ to the main story of Yu Ze’s disappearance and the subsequent killings of his former friends. But thankfully the various story lines were woven together quite well and the episodes didn’t feel cluttered despite having a few things going on at the same time. There were convenient discoveries here and there but nothing too exaggerated.
Da Bao and her ‘family’ were also nice additions to the drama, giving it a ‘warm’ factor among the sad cases. Though none of them are related by blood, they love and protect each other fiercely… and they have really cute banters. ❤

As for the ending, people are griping on twitter about the open-ended finale but it seems to me it was written that way with a sequel in mind. If the cliff hanger was only about Xiao Man choosing between Yu Ze and Dylan, then yes, it might just end here. But Asuro showed up obviously with the intent of seeking revenge for his brother so definitely more stories to tell! From Yu Ze’s brief exchange with Dylan, they seem to know each other already and I don’t think Yu Ze asked Xiao Man out for a date, but rather to warn her about Dylan. I bet Dylan has something to do with Yu Ze’s cop girlfriend who died while going undercover!
Maybe it’s just Mediacorp’s way of marketing the sequel!

2 Responses to “Unriddle”

  1. Anonymous May 27, 2011 at 5:02 PM #

    Just curious

    Hello just happen to pass by and curious after reading your comments.
    Did you ever watch Tay Ping Hui’s drama before, the ones that he played a policeman?

    • J May 28, 2011 at 1:15 PM #

      Re: Just curious

      Hi, I’m sure I’ve watched Tay Ping Hui play a policeman a few times (since he gets cast as a policeman pretty often relative to other actors) but the only one that made a deeper impression other than in ‘Unriddled’ was ‘The Reunion (Ding Tian Li Di)’.

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