Only Side by Side with You – Final Impressions

I’m not sure what it is with Chinese contemporary dramas, but so many of them start off pretty well and then lose their way at about the midpoint – this is one of those, for me.

This was a nice PR piece about how China’s really into building drones – they must be because someone wrote a drama all about them! It’s nice that you’ve got a female lead (Bai Baihe) who’s all geeky over the science of building and flying drones, but they toss in the meet/angst angle of her having gotten key data from a swain (Li Xian, trying to impress her/woo her but she really only has eyes on the tech plans) who stole/borrowed them from his buddy/main rival (William Chan) at an elite military unit. The papers are missing and Chan’s character is drummed out and Li’s gets off pretty much scot-free. Chan’s guy lives a hard life, yadda yadda… He does buff and broody pretty well, and makes a good attempt at trying to build chemistry with Bai, even though she’s often a lot more interested in things with motors.

For me, Li’s the disappointment in this one, which is a shame since I enjoyed his work in the cheesy Dr Qin Medical Examiner as the eager detective and the wanna-be X-Files(ish) Tientsin Mystic. He just comes across as less mature when compared to William Chan. There’s a little character subplot about Bai’s disapproving army dad that was kind of a snoozer too.

I confess, after about episode 20 I started skimming and skipping just to call it a day. If you’re a big fan of William Chan, give it a try, and if you’re lukewarm about him or any of the cast or the premise, skip it.

Oh, I’ll leave you with one very funny (unintentionally) bit in the final episode (after the jump)…

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#bai-baihe, #li-xian, #only-side-by-side-with-you, #william-chan

Surgeons – Final impressions

Of course, I’ll avoid anything spoilery…

I was surprised at how much I got into both the main plot (Jin Dong’s nurse mother accused of a medical error causing in family tragedies) and the secondary plots in this series, especially as I was not impressed with the “surgical” scenes featuring the same “incision” surrounded by layers of gauze with a fairly hot pinkish-colored “blood” stain. Note: they do include a few shots of what looks like real medical work done, e.g., stitching up a wound — not that I’d want anyone who sutures like that working on me!

They keep the issue going right through the whole drama, rather than fixing it early, and my feelings as they worked through it all were engaged — and I wanted to reach thru the screen and slap the perpetrator(s) more than once — so yes, I cared!

What I especially liked though, and I’ve mentioned it already, is that Jin Dong and his costar Bai Baihe have a nice chemistry as actors, but more than that there characters offer a really fresh ‘opposites attract’ take — yes, they’re both excellent surgeons and share a passion for medicine and science, etc., but she’s really outspoken and forthright and he’s one to play things much closer to the vest. She’s been raised as the darling of the hospital and he’s felt more the pains of the past. I loved how very direct she was in her approach to her relationship with him and the way she takes the initiative when he is more reserved (because he has secrets).

I also enjoyed some of the interactions with her goofy pal, an ER doctor, who moves into her 3-bedroom apartment to balance things out. He’s a character and has some very entertaining lines.

Yes, there are Meaningful Messages about the Noble Work done by medical professionals, but it’s also a look into the crazy working conditions that they endure. Much like the way Divorce Lawyers was a picture into the customs of marriages and divorces in China today, this one is a strangely fascinating look into how… oh, how can I say this diplomatically…? I can’t, so I’ll just say it — how ignorant and backwards and shouty and even violent the patients and their families often are. It’s almost as if they see doctors as performing voodoo and can’t figure it all out, and then have to yell whenever they damn well feel like it. Kind of like a Western ER on a full-moon Friday payday night… times 2.

I enjoyed watching a lot of Jin Dong too — not the little bits and pieces we’d get of him in The Disguisers or Ode to Joy, but lots of him. And there ain’t nothing wrong with that!

#bai-baihe, #jin-dong, #surgeons

Making the surgical nonsense worthwhile


Yep, watching Jin Dong being a standup kind of guy and Bai Baihe being a talented surgeon with an ego but not a lack of humility.

#bai-baihe, #jin-dong, #surgeons