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Best Cantonese TV dramas from Hong Kong (All time best)

Most of my favourite Hong Kong shows were the ones aired between 2000 and 2010. This was during a time when most of the Hong Kong talent hadn’t expanded into Mainland China, and they had reached a golden era of talent pool and production.

Due to the limited space, Hong Kong does not have the space and production capabilities of Mainland China, so they exiled in great storytelling, excellent character development and brilliant acting.

Let me share my top 5 favourite dramas from Hong Kong with you. I have seen all these shows countless times and will happily rewatch them every few years.

《宮心計》Beyond the Realm of Conscience

Starring: Charmaine Sheh, Tavia Yeung, Moses Chan, Kevin Cheng
Genre: Historical, Palace Drama

Set during the Tang Dynasty, Beyond the Realm of Conscience tells the story of the struggle of two young palace maids in the Imperial Household Bureau. They each take their own approach to surviving in the imperial palace, leading to them both being entangled in the political and power struggles of the imperial family.

Beyond the Realm of Conscience is my favourite Hong Kong show of all time, featuring my two favourite actresses: Charmaine Sheh and Tavia Yeung.

During the early years of Charmaine Sheh’s and Tavia Young’s careers, they were often cast into lead roles where they would portray good, strong characters. In the case of Beyond the Realm of Conscience, Tavia Young actually plays a selfish and bad character, and she did an amazing job at it. Her character development was one of the highlights of the show!

This is a real classic and a favourite amongst Hong Kong fans.

《溏心風暴》Heart Of Greed &《溏心風暴之家好月圓》Moonlight Resonance

Starring: Ha Yu, Louise Lee, Raymond Lam, Linda Chung, Tavia Yeung, Tavia Yeung, Michelle Yim, Susanna Kwan
Genre: Modern, Family Drama

Both Heart Of Greed and Moonlight Resonance tell the stories of the inheritance and money struggle of a large, wealthy family with greedy family members (hence the title Heart of Greed).

After the huge success of Heart Of Greed, the same cast returned for a brand new story in Moonlight Resonance. These two drama are not linked and can be watched independently.

I prefer Moonlight Resonance over Heart of Greed because I felt the story was much more emotional and heartbreaking. Plus, the bad characters were greedier, more selfish and just worse than those in the Heart of Greed.

Watching the struggles of the good characters was extremely heartbreaking and brought too many tears to my eyes. I still cry for those characters, even during all the rewatches.

The happy ending is some of the most satisfying happy ending I’ve ever seen in Chinese TV dramas. Seeing the good characters get their happy ending and the bad characters get their end ending brought me so much joy. Those hours of tears felt so worth it.

These two shows are the epitome of greed and money struggles.

《西遊記》Journey to the West

Starring: Dicky Cheung, Kwong Wa, Wayne Lai, Evergreen Mak
Genre: Historical, Mythology, Fantasy

Based on one of the four Chinese classics, Journey to the West tells the story of a monk on a pilgrimage to obtain the sacred Buddhist sutra with his four strange but kind-hearted disciples. This monk and his four disciples are met with adventures and challenges, from meeting demons that want to eat the monk for power to being trapped in a women-only village.

Dicky Cheung, the actor who portrayed the monkey character, is famous for his ability to recite tongue twisters and long phrases very quickly, which he bought to the monkey character in The Journey to the West. I loved all the tongue twisters and long phrases used in this drama, added that extra charm to the monkey character.

Hong Kong filmed and aired a second season, but sadly, Dicky Cheung didn’t return for the role of the monkey. Instead, the role was given to Benny Chan. Unfortunately, a cast change, particularly for a main character, really changes the dynamic of the show. He did well, but I preferred season one much more.

This is, by far, my favourite adaptation of Journey to the West. An absolute classic and a must-watch for all fans of Hong Kong TV dramas.

《公主嫁到》Can’t Buy Me Love

Starring: Charmaine Sheh, Moses Chan, Linda Chung, Raymond Wong
Genre: Historical, Comedy, Family, Imperial Court, Romance

Set during the Tang dynasty, Can’t Buy Me Love tells the story of the spoiled and unreasonable third princess finding love and appreciation of others after marrying the second son of the Kam family (the capital’s largest gold manufacturer). At first, the princess disagrees with the marriage but soon comes to the conclusion that it is a far better fate than being betrothed to the unsavoury Tibetan king. The Kam family found themselves in a financial crisis; in order to save their family, the second son agreed to the marriage. Upon entering the family, the princess brings hundreds of servants, enforces palace rules on the Kam family, and eventually brings chaos to their everyday lives. Soon, the princess learns to appreciate and respect others which resulted in the blossoming love between her and her husband.

Can’t Buy Me Love doesn’t get mentioned often, but this is one of my absolute favourite Hong Kong dramas. This drama encompasses comedy, romance, family dynamics, and more. It’s uncommon to see shows involving the imperial royal family with little to no political entanglement.

This drama also stars two of my favourite Hong Kong actresses, Charmaine Sheh and Linda Chung, and I loved the characters they portrayed in Can’t Buy Me Love.

《尋秦記》A Step into the Past

Starring: Louis Koo, Raymond Lam, Sonija Kwok, Jessica Hsuan, Joyce Tang
Genre: Historical, Time Travel, Politics & War

A 21st-century police officer is selected for a time travel programme. He’s sent through the time travel machine with a mission to take a photograph of a particular event, but unfortunately, there’s an error with the machine, and he’s sent back to the wrong year. He finds himself stuck in that period, believing he must wait for the correct time to return home without altering history. In his effort to keep history intact, he finds himself entangled in the political struggles of several nations, which eventually leads to the rise of a tyrannical emperor, Qin Shi Huang.

I believe this was the first Hong Kong TV drama with time travel. Watching a modern-day person navigate the world of ancient China and try his absolute hardest to avoid alternating history was extremely enjoyable. This TV drama sparked my interest in Qin Shi Huang and that time period in ancient China. I remember spending a bit of time looking into the actual history after finishing this show.

《愛回家之開心速遞》Come Home Love: Lo and Behold

Starring: Lau Dan, Joyce Tang, Law Lok Lam, Mandy Lam, Koni Lui
Genre: Modern, Comedy, Friendship, Family, Business, Romance

Come Home Love: Lo and Behold is the 4th and longest season of this long-running series that started in 2012. Each season of Come Home Love follows a different cast, each telling a different story.

Come Home Love: Lo and Behold follows the everyday lives of many different groups, from a rich, wealthy family running their own business to a small family of 3 with a mother obsessed with idols. The range of different groups and the stories they tell vary drastically, which I feel is the charm of this particular season.

I have watched the previous seasons and followed seasons 1 and 2 religiously while the episodes were being released. I enjoyed the previous seasons, but I really like the format of the latest season. There’s also more comedy in the latest season compared to the previous seasons.

The Come Home Love series resembles a British soap opera with a much more relaxing and comedic undertone. They rarely touch on heavier topics and subject matters. These shows are the perfect form of entertainment after a long and stressful day.

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