Sunday, September 8, 2013

Triumph in the Skies II Review (2013)

Drama Rating: **
Personal Rating: Enjoyable

Triumph in the Skies II continues to follow the events of its prequel with many returning key characters. We start off with Sam being devastated by the death of his wife Zoe and consequently taking some time off in London to recuperate. He happens to meet Holiday, a girl facing a similar situation to his own with her deceased boyfriend. Incidentally, Holiday also happens to meet Captain Jayden Koo, a hotshot pilot with Skylette Airways.  What does fate have in store for the threesome and how have the rest of the Skylette family been doing?

*Spoiler warning*

The script for this sequel felt very blase and uninspired. Vapid and sappy 'romantic' storylines were used repeatedly to keep the drama running for most of its lengthy 40-episode run and it was truly running on fumes before the grand finale. There was a surprising lack of substance overall (considering its aviation theme) with many shallow scenes that exemplified the severe lack of direction for the series. In contrast to the first series, this sequel clearly had nothing of real value to add beyond milking the franchise for some guaranteed viewership and ratings. Overall, the writing felt amateurish and shallow though I must admit the finale was generally better constructed than the bulk of the series.

Despite the issues with the script, the cast generally did a decent job portraying the characters given to them. This sequel featured many returning cast members including Francis Ng, Ron Ng, Kenneth Ma, Patrick Dunn, Nancy Wu and Myolie Wu (returning as Summer Koo). They put in fairly decent performances for their characters although they were definitely not something to write home about. In the beginning episodes, Julian Cheung playing Captain Koo felt like a snappy addition to the cast but the development of his character further on felt rather inconsistent, although this was more of an issue with the script than with the acting. Fala Chen as Holiday on the other hand was a disaster. Her 'acting' was non-existent and more often than not, her actions felt very amateurish, as though she was acting in a high school play rather than a headliner drama.

The soundtrack and musical song selection for this series was a dismal failure. Many song selections were clearly sought out for their lyrics despite the fact that their melodies and rhythms did not jive at all with the corresponding scenes. While scene appropriate lyrics do give the drama some added depth, the style and tone of the music itself should also be considered to at least make the experience less jarring. In some cases, the soundtrack made no emotional connection to the events taking place whatsoever thus affecting the overall viewing experience. Its somewhat like sitting in a classy French restaurant and hearing them play Psy's Gangnam Style in the background (OK, maybe not that bad, but same idea). Fortunately, instrumental pieces were better selected and more appropriately chosen.

Despite trying not to be so critical, I simply could not find many redeeming points for this drama as it failed on too many levels. The directionless script with its numerous sappy storylines was a total turn off for most of the second half especially when paired with the distasteful selection of music used for the soundtrack. The acting in this series, while certainly far from the best I've seen, was sufficiently decent and enhanced by the rapport among the cast to save the drama from being completely unwatchable. So unless you just want to indulge in some mindless, feel-good romance (which some of us do crave from time to time), I'd steer well clear of this (pardon the pun).

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