Please applaud Triumph in the Skies 2, one and all. For the first time in my life, I have finished watching a drama from cover to cover, so to speak. From episode 1-41, I faithfully watched every episode, and I’ll tell you why this drama was such a great success in my book.
First, the plot. The plot had a very interesting premise: the aviation industry. This is a pretty fresh concept, in fact, I’m pretty sure no one has even tried to copy it since the first Triumph in the Skies (unlike the thousand and one cop/detective shows that have been produced) and that is still a point of fascination for us audiences. I’d wager that budget is a huge reason why no one has produced something like that but since TVB can afford it.. you are still my favourite producers! I hope this was an accurate portrayal of the industry, though. Minus points if it isn’t!
Secondly, and possibly most importantly, characterizations. I think the scriptwriter did things right with the characters. All of them come across so strongly that it’s not hard to imagine such a person actually existing. Of course, characters are close to nothing without the aid of fantastic actors, so I will commend both together. Let’s start with my three favourite, coincidentally the three main characters of the show – Francis Ng’s Sam Tong, Julian Cheung’s Jayden Koo and Fala Chen’s Holiday Ho. Let’s start with Julian Cheung. Other than that gorgeous, thin and crisp voice, he really worked his charms in this show. Usually, I dislike the flirtatious, playboy characters in dramas, but this time, he was so charismatic and irresistible that I couldn’t bring myself to hate him at all. His character, Jayden Koo, is entangled in a complicated love triangle with Chen Fala’s Holiday Ho, whom I think is the role most suited to her thus far. The free-spirited and playful individual is really brought to life by Fala (and she is still so spectacularly pretty at 31, my goodness, I thought she was not a moment past her 21st birthday) whom I really hope wins Best Actress this year. Holiday somehow comes off as having a dignified yet youthful air that I’m sure only Fala can pull off. Despite Jayden’s best attempts to win Holiday over (the only woman who can resist him), Holiday is in love with Francis Ng’s Sam Tong, a seasoned pilot whose by-the-book ways end up estranging him from the people he loves and cares about. Francis Ng and Sam-gor are completely inseparable to me. He inhabits the role so well that Francis Ng is Sam Tong. I got a bit sick of his inflexible, rigid ways toward the end, but even then, I could empathize and even love this character. Oh, who am I kidding, I love all three of these characters. Even Jayden, because he became so vulnerable at the end in the face of his love for Holiday. Oh, such skilful screenwriting. Now I’ve gotta catch Triumph in the Skies 1 just to see more of Francis Ng. Gah.
I was told that Triumph in the Skies 1 had an unhappy ending that had everything fall apart. This may have worked well for its sequel, because who doesn’t enjoy seeing the entire cast pair up (except poor Jayden) and get married etc.? TVB didn’t use the cheap “reunion dinner” trick, where they gather everyone and they throw a huge party to end the whole show, thank goodness. Nevertheless, the moments of each couples’ interactions are very poignantly interwoven and layered so that I feel like I’ve been on a journey with them. I believe this show will be one I come to remember for the characters indeed!
Lastly, on a personal note, I feel like a major part of why this drama worked for me was that it was multi-lingual. It’s no secret that I am a sucker for anything multi-lingual – plays, songs, poems, dramas etc. Although I must say that some actors (looking right at you, Ron & Francis) don’t speak English as well as others (kudos to Fala Chen and Julian Cheung) it’s only understandable and somehow makes the whole series a bit more believable.
It didn’t help that the entire cast is magnificently good looking. The god of aging clearly hasn’t laid a finger on Francis Ng (at the time of writing, he’s 52 but I think he looks 30 and not a day older) and Julian Cheung looks like he’s in his mid-20s! Such injustice. This is one standout show that managed to make it into my Hall of Fame with none of my favourite actors starring in it and more than 40 episodes. What more is there to be said?
Oh, and did I mention Julian Cheung sang a theme song with that gorgeous voice of his? I’m sold.