Review: Sergeant Tabloid (TVB, 2012)

Sergeant Tabloid (女警愛作戰)
Genre: Romantic Comedy, Action, Crime Thriller
Length: 21 episodes
Producer: Nelson Cheung

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

The Cast

Michael Tse as Lam Yat-Yat aka A1
Niki Chow as Lui Fei-Hap
Mandy Wong as Szeto Kiu aka Madam Kill
Matthew Ko as Wong Chi Chuen aka “Prince”
Oceane Chu as Lam Oi-Oi
William Chak as “Delay Gor”
Koni Lui as Long Leg
Grace Wong as Goldie
Queenie Chu as Mai Ka-Bo
Candice Chiu as Tong Mei-Kei

and Angelina Lo, Benz Hui, Vincent Wong, Jason Pai, Elaine Yiu, etc.

Review in Brief: The Expectations

I didn’t understand one of the highly anticipated series, at least TVB claimed it was going to be one of their more “epic” series of the year, be warehoused. Niki does a fine job of pulling in ratings with her previous history of filming for TVB in Under the Canopy of Love and Bottled Passion. And I still believe TVB was still trying to milk Laughing Gor’s “chok” image with this female undercover (or so claimed, but which part of this series was really undercover?) cop series. He was no cop this time, but an equally sharp news writer.

So in both The Hippocratic Crush and Sergeant Tabloid, they claimed to want to promote new stars in hope of filling in the slots of artists who has either fired themselves to work for the upcoming City Telecom or resigned gracefully and would still return to film a series every like Steven Ma and Charmaine Sheh. I say in both series, they failed their goal to promote young stars. Mandy and Him were already popular among the audience before Crush while Matthew has been in the industry since 2005. Must say Matthew has improved with a more meaty role as the fun dude with the hedonistic attitude here, but he still has a long way to go. Tabloid, however, was a good chance to take a glimpse into who, what, and why TVB wants to promote William. He does seems to be the most natural and has the most potential amongst the Mr. Hong Kong’s too.

The Characters and Performances

Since this was a series on female cops, I would believe that they actually focus more on the females, their relationships, and sisterhood. The end result seemed to favor Michael most, in that he was not only a real human being with flaws and emotional setbacks, but was also a “hero” in his way of being a writer. The good thing here is Michael seems to be able to detach himself from his Laughing Gor chokness and actually “play” another character. Thumbs up for losing that arrogance.

Niki’s female cop role seemed bland, cliched, and as flat as her voice. Even though she was righteous and kind at heart, she wasn’t interesting in enough to keep the series rolling. Even Madam Kill who was known for having little social skills and was strict towards her subordinates generated some feeling in me. Perhaps not any good feelings, but not bad ones either. We saw her change coming when she befriended Niki’s group. Overall, Madam Kill didn’t give me the best impression, but she did leave some kind of impression. Leaving some kind of impression meant she wasn’t boring all the way.

Unfortunately, the other girls in Niki’s group did not have heavyweight screen time. Oceane had her brother and sister reunification arc with Michael and her “walking on the street” talks with William. The scene where she yells at William for being a lazy cop showcased some emotional madness potential. Queenie had her share of scenes with her husband, whom she realized she did not love enough at the end. But lots of these stories were hit and run and has a long way to leave a lasting impression on the audience who has seen a dozen of similar plot-lines elsewhere.

I supported Grace during her Miss Hong Kong days and through her Strictly Coming Dancing months, but it doesn’t seem like she’ll ever win the audience’s favor. It’s not the looks, not that short hair, but the voice. It’s very cute and funny while she answers to Eric Tsang’s questions during the MSHK interviews, but on the screen, she needs to change that. She tries hard to emote, but its too deliberate.

Candice is your average girl, nothing spectacular in either looks or acting.

Koni Lui seems to be known as “Long Leg” in quite a few series. What other impression did she leave you?

Overall Appraisal

I can’t really say this is really a cop series, but more of a sisterhood series, which I find more interesting if TVB really made the relationships that deep.

It’ll take a little more if TVB wanted to a genius cop drama since they are manufactured like… well, every year.

That said, I have trouble remembering what really happened as I write this, because the series is really too bland. It’s not great, it’s not terrible, I do not love it, I do not hate it, but somehow somewhere it sits on a seesaw and wouldn’t settle on either spectrum of the grass.

The Verdict

Fans of Michael and those who are still desperately waiting for TVB to milk another Laughing Gor drama or movie should watch this one. Others can skip it.


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