Quality Acting in TV Drama: Why It Matters A Lot

Well this is a broad topic but I thought I was inspired to write this entry from this entry by Fantasy Leader on why Tokusatsu acting matters.  Just my thought- it SHOULD also matter in TV Drama as well not only to Oriental drama but to all sorts regardless of country.  Like it or not, TV Drama requires a lot of emotions.

I'll just use some examples relevant to this blog and plus, I may soon update this blog a lot more:


While I was watching Romance in the Rain, I really had my rather bland review on Leo Ku's performance as Shuhuan.  While I am a huge fan of his singing but I'll just say, he wasn't my type to be Shuhuan.  Buckets of tears type drama need strong performers if you ask me.  Average acting isn't annoying but it doesn't make anything memorable.  In fact, I felt like I wanted to face palm at times whenever Leo Ku needed to display a lot of emotions but wasn't able to pull it off.  In Kamen Rider, some the seasons I thought had weaker acting were Kiva, OOO, Fourze and Wizard- not that it was overacting nor do I hate the acting but still, the performances are just not memorable.  What saved Leo Ku was that he could fight rather well but still, I didn't find his acting memorable compared to Qin Han's version of Shuhuan.


Passionate actors like Jerry Yan manage to bring out great emotions in the leading guy.  I really admire Jerry Yan's non-zombie acting.  His acting skills really made me think he was the best actor to play out a live version of Tsukasa Doumyoji (Dao Ming Si) in Meteor Garden.  For me, this guy makes almost every role he has special and convincing from the jerk with a heart of gold to super dramatic characters.  Others may include why Kamen Rider Kuuga and Kamen Rider Agito are very memorable- aside from the great storylines and mysteries, the acting was pretty much well done which added a great amount of flavor.  Sometimes a confusing script like Kamen Rider Den-O can get popular with great acting- think of Takeru Sato as the leading character and in fact, he really made a good Kenshin Himura for the live films that he became a success.  Tori Matsuzaka's really good acting in later series after Shinkenger made him an award winning actor as well.

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One reason why I love Vicki Zhao because of her quality acting.  I'll just admit that from all the younger casts in Romance in the Rain, she really knows how to act the part of Lu Yiping pretty well.  Her emotions are so acted out and she delivers a punch of emotion in every scene.  Yup, that's why she really is another of those legendary actresses.  In J-Drama although I don't consider Mao Inoue to be that great an actress compared to Barbie Xu, her good acting makes her very memorable.


Having a strong leading guy/lady can help the weaker leading guy/lady.  In my case, I'd like to credit how 100% Senorita helped Wallace Huo (who had some disappointing moments) improve overtime.  Another one I could credit is Mars with Barbie Xu being Vic Chou's leading lady helped the latter improve his acting.  Wallace Huo managed to be more passionate and emotional after some working closely with Penny Lin (Dolphin Bay and 100% Senorita) and Ambrose Xu (Dolphin Bay).  I also thought that Liu Yi Fei's acting had improved with her working with actors like Huang Xiao Ming (Dolphin Bay) and Jimmy Lin (they were also paired a couple of times).  Song Hye Kyo's quality acting also usually covers up the weaker leading guy as well.


One of the reasons why a couple clicks is not only because of the beautiful story behind it but also because of quality acting on both the leading guy and the leading lady.  Qin Han and Liu Xue Hua were both really good that any series they had together became a classic.  In Meteor Garden, the Jerry Yan x Barbie Xu pairing had a very good reception but too bad they didn't become the next Qin Han and Liu Xue Hua.


In the area of comedy, you need good actors and actresses.  Like my favorite example right now is Rin Takanashi.  While she's not a silly character in Shinkenger (who had a few comedy moments), her acting managed to make her go from bitchy (in Love for Beginners as Arisa Yamauchi) to her J-Drama role as a physical education teacher.  Her otherwise improved acting qualifies her to play more silly roles which I hope she will do. She also proves that eye candy is just a bonus, acting is what matters.

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Having a legendary senior can really help a lot.  For example, Liu Xue Hua has acted many leading lady roles in the past and later she has acted as either the protagonist parent, silly character, antagonist parent, wicked mother-in-law, main villain, etc. and she does it all with a charm.  In fact, I dare compare her to the likes of legends like Soga Machiko when it comes to acting performances.  In Meteor Garden, Zhen Xiu Zhen's presence as the main villain I believe really made the F4 act better in future roles.  As of late for Shogeki Gouraigan, I think having senior actor Toshihide Wakamatsu can help everyone improve their performances along the way.


Zombified acting tends to make you feel bad in some way.  I would like to say that Tetsuji Tamayama was like a zombie in Gaoranger which made me think it's much worse than Leo Ku's average acting, fortunately he improved overtime with his acting in J-Drama.  My problem with Vic Chou before Mars was that he was basically a freaking zombie in his roles as if he forgot he was no longer Hanazawa Rui in those other roles before Mars.  Fortunately from Mars up to present, Vic Chou has managed to improve his acting quality at a greater mile giving a much better impression than he had in the past.


Overacting destroys quality more than underacting.  Yup I'll admit that was what went wrong with Love Storm.  Vivian Hsu's bad acting really destroyed it aside from Vic Chou's zombie. My issue with Boys Over Flows was that the actress playing Jan Di was having the kind of acting similar to Miley Cyrus, I really didn't bother to continue watching.  Any film with Vivian Hsu I usually tend to avoid because she really irritates me.


Plus we may want to remember eye candy won't save a show from bad reviews from critics, leave it to the superficial ones.  Take it from me.  I was a fan of Pace Wu for some time but her blank acting can make me go blank faced a lot.  Yup, in fact a film critic website called Love HK Film even called her "pretty blank".  Compared to Rin Takanashi, Liu Yi Fei, Esther Liu, Penny Lin, Liu Xue Hua, Zhen Xiu Zhen, Brigitte Lin... Pace Wu is just eye candy while the other pretty actresses I've mentioned are more appreciated for their quality acting than their good looks which is what acting should be about... not drooling over girls you'll never have.



On the other hand, you could lack certain physical attractiveness but get yourself some real credit.  Angela Zhang for one isn't pretty but I really love her performances.  In fact, her lack of attractiveness is always made up for her great performances.  Michelle Chen is also another- while she's not attractive but I do get excited about her because she REALLY can act.

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