Hi everyone, Chibi here with a TVB drama guest review! I’ve recently finished watching TVB [Sisters of Pearl] and put this review together in hopes it will be an interesting and insightful look into the story and characters (along with my thoughts). Though TVB consistently pumps out drama after drama, there are usually only a handful really worth chasing. Read on to see if [Sisters of Pearl] makes the cut, and whether or not this unlikely cast is a make or break deal (Surely I wasn’t the only one who raised an eyebrow upon seeing this image? XD)
Warning: May contain some spoilers, though minimal

Sisters of Pearl review

The Story

Basic Plot
A pre-modern drama series about a rich (and somewhat twisted) family who runs a pearl family business. The whole story revolves around the family members, consisting of the three sisters Kiki, Jessica and Macy along with Bowie (Kiki’s husband) and their cousin, Michael. Most (if not all) of the members are eyeing on the family fortune and will take extreme measures to get their ‘fair’ share. To complicate matters; Joyce, a mysterious woman claims to be  their late father’s mistress, pregnant with his child. With another threat in their way, who will come out on top? With so much bitterness, grudges and hatred, you almost forget they’re actually a family.

Well paced and leaving you wanting for more, [Sisters of Pearl] does a brilliant job in keeping the audience hanging. Often quite witty, the power-play between all the characters was remarkably interesting and amusing. Within an episode, within minutes- a character’s alliance shifts as they each make a move for the own selfish gains. It can be rather unpredictable at times as the winner varies from case to case, making the audience switch sides with the characters too. There’s a load of backstabbing and plotting, to the point where I find myself constantly frowning while watching the show. It definitely has a serious mood, and watching all these characters lose their minds with their extreme actions leaves me in disbelief at times.  Can someone be this evil?

The Characters

Jessica Hsuan as Chu Pik-Ha

Portrayed as the most intelligent character at first, Jessica’s scheme and wit shows there’s much more than meets the eye. Not pure, nor innocent, Jessica is often labelled as the villain in the series, though I digress as her character is lacking the hatred factor. Although her greedy nature and morals are questionable, the audience is always rooting for her and often wanting her to succeed. However, I find part of her charisma and appeal is lost after she loses her son, when she too has her eyes set on revenge. Jessica is a headstrong and determined character, often going to great lengths and even seducing her brother-in-law to get what she wants (pretty shameless if you ask me)

Kiki Sheung as Chu Pik-Wan

Kiki played out her role in a very convincing manner, to the point where I felt it reflected her real personality! A character with many flaws, she annoyed me too much for my liking. She is the irrational, temperamental older sister who is easy persuaded by her husband played by Bowie. Unintelligent and worrying more about her face more than anything else, Kiki is a possessive bully. There isn’t much to like about her as she is ‘stupid’ and immature- though we occasionally see some soft-sides, until Bowie fuels her again with hatred and jealousy. If there’s any character you’ll be annoyed by, it will be her. It would be nice to see Kiki play some different roles as her character’s personalities are usually the about the same.

Bowie Lam as Ho Cheung-Hing

The pitiful antagonist of [Sisters of Pearl], Bowie is the matrilocal husband of Kiki. The first time I cried in this drama was when Bowie held onto his kind beloved father who was unrighteously accused of stealing and dying in shame. What I found interesting about Bowie was that there were times I liked him, hated him, felt sorry for him and feared him. He can be a rather complex character and it was interesting wondering what was going through his mind. Bowie did an outstanding job in this role as he was able to convincingly play out his character with so many facets. He is one of the characters who became the way he did because of the way he was treated. Seeing how little respect he has in the family, I’m really not surprised why he became so ruthless. However, this multi-dimensional quality is lost after he simply becomes plain evil and turns into a complete monster. Never taking responsibility for his own actions, nor accepting any mistakes, Bowie loses all conscience and becomes quite a psycho.  Bowie is definitely one of the most evil villains of 2010.

Michael Tao as Hung Yiu-Sang

Witty, sarcastic and cocky, Michael is the older cousin of the Chu sisters. Never short of ideas and with his eyes always on the money, Michael is a central character and driving force in the story.  His character started off arrogant and rather pathetic, but quickly grew on me by what was below the surface. There’s so much substance in his character that makes him very human and three-dimensional. He’s not the goody two-shoe who is just and righteous, nor is he the plain out flat villain you want to burn to death from his very presence. He’s simply a man who loves his money and does everything in his best interest so his mother can live a comfortable life. I didn’t think someone so greedy and shameless could turn out to be so compassionate and humble. Becoming extremely selfless in the name of love, Michael put his heart into everything without wanting acknowledgement or credit. His character becomes quite likeable, though the occasional back stab keeps you on your toes. Kudos to Michael for his outstanding performance. I enjoyed his chemistry and interaction with both Jessica and Joyce. Michael is by the far the most interesting and unpredictable character in the drama. Also the most lovable.

Joyce Tang as So Lai-Sheung

Appearing as a rather mysterious character, Joyce’s role was a nice addition to the various personalities in the drama. Her interaction with Michael was both amusing and enjoyable, as  there is obviously a large power imbalance between the two, with Michael giving orders and Joyce obeying his every word. There is just something really nice about the mutual understanding and trust they have for one another and Joyce always manages to pulls off a really cute, ‘losty’ face.  Joyce did a great job playing the rather cowardly little woman hungry for money. However, her 180 degree character change came across quite as a surprise and I’m not sure if I buy the “I’ll do anything for my baby” mind-frame. It was a good change for her character, though it was perhaps a bit too drastic. She soon takes on a much more motherly role not only for her child, but also of the three pearl sisters. Likeable though selfish at times, Joyce’s character has enough sugar and spice to keep us interested, even though she faded in the background during the middle of the drama.

Macy Chan as Chu Pik-Lam

The youngest spoilt sister of the Chu family, Macy isn’t too interested in the company but is often manipulated by her sisters because of her shares. Macy doesn’t understand much of the politics that go around the house, which makes me wonder how she feels towards her sisters when they both constantly bite each other. A very passive character, Macy doesn’t drive the story much but is instead often the victim and chess piece used by others. Even now, I don’t understand how much faith she has in her sisters; she is inconsistent and constantly shifts sides between Jessica and Kiki, which is often frustrating. She is rather was annoying at first with her princess attitude, but later on when we see her missing her grandmother and when she starts falling for Joel, she becomes bearable. Possibly due to her lack of experience, I found Macy’s acting to be very mediocre and there’s definitely lot of room for improvement. Her acting seems exaggerated at times and it feels like she’s reading out a script instead of really expressing her character’s emotions.

Joel Chan as Chow Yuk-Tsai

Joel has always been cast in the typical evil roles, so it was a refreshing and nice change seeing him play a ‘good’ character. Although his role isn’t as demanding, I feel Joel did a great job and his character was quite likeable. His character is a huge contrast to the many major characters as he trusts and helps others unconditionally. A man with a big heart and true to his words, it was only a matter of time before he was accepted by Macy. I enjoyed watching him or perhaps I missed seeing some good people with a heart, something lacking severely in this drama.

Final Thoughts

Overall, a solid performance from the [Sisters of Pearl] cast. The actors had great chemistry, particularly between Jessica and Michael. The script was brilliantly put together though at times the plain evil things that occur can make it feel exaggerated. It can also feel tiresome hearing the sisters argue and bickering on a daily basis. It’s all about greed, selfishness, vengeance, and money. However, this is one of the better TVB drama of 2010 and definitely one to check out. The most impressive aspect of this drama is the characterisations and how each of them changed and developed through the story. Each character had a mind of their own and the actors played it out in a believable manner. The back-stories for each character was a nice addition, giving them depth and substance. Intriguing from the first episode, it’s an addictive series. If you like something humorous and light-heartened, this drama probably isn’t for you.

Never judge a drama by its cover, you’ll be surprised 🙂

Overall Rating 3.8/5

15 Responses to “[Sisters of Pearl] Review”

  • An Pham says:

    nice review and thnx god u didnt give much spoiller in this review since i didnt finish it yet. but i think ur rating for this drama for what i’ve seen so fair which is up to episode 16 is pretty acurate

    • chibi says:

      Thanks for reading! =) I’m glad I didn’t get much spoiled for you since I know it’s always a bit of a shame to get something spoiled sometimes. I tried to be a little vague but not too vague to the point I don’t say much XD

      I’m sure you’ll enjoy the rest of the drama.

  • Aly says:

    I agree that Sisters of Pearl is one of the best series so far for 2010 (along with my other favorite this year-Fistful of Stances). I’m glad the producer used veteran actors for casting this series because what msde this series the most interesting are the dynamic characters and the changes in their characters and actions. I don’t think new actors can portray the depth of the characters that these actors did. Michael, Bowie, and Jessica had the best performances. I do agree that Macy Chan’s acting was mediocre and any actress can probably have portrayed the role. Kiki’s character was tailor-made for her. Overall, great series except I was disappointed with the ending. I just kept saying “Why!!???”

    • chibi says:

      Hi Aly, thanks for dropping a comment and sharing your thoughts 🙂 I haven’t seen the entire FOS series, but you’re probably right in that SOP stands out along with FOS. There’s simply been too many drama released this year that has been dull and unappealing.

      The main cast is pretty strong here and I’m glad the veterans were used too 🙂 It’s a shame that most people look at the cover and get turned off by the hair/costumes of pre-modern drama and simply don’t give it a go. I had hoped that anyone who hasn’t seen this drama might consider it after reading the review.

      (And yes, I’m slightly disappointed with the ending too…)

  • jicks says:

    Hey, thanks for the review!

    I personally didn’t LOVE “Sister of Pearl” but it was overall still pretty watchable, because of the old-school cast.

    Although I did find that, like most TVB series nowadays, the character development & the writing was pretty average & all over the place.

    ******BTW: POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!!!******

    I think the plot was a little inconsistent & pieced together. One minute it was the sisters’ internal warship, next minute it was Bowie’s revenge scheme, next minute it was Michael’s undercover motives. Then all of a sudden, Joyce was working it! THEN! It would start all over again!

    And I have no problem w/ characters being perceived as bad at first but we learn later on that deep down they’re actually good people but in this series it seemed like the characters were just switching back & forth- I felt like the writers couldn’t decide where they wanted their characters to be.

    I actually found myself rooting for Bowie because he had that back story to explain why he was doing all the bad things that he was doing & he was committed.

    It wasn’t until the end when I decided I actually did like Michael’s character (after all the bloody drama lol) because we realised his love for Jessica’s character. I wish they there were more traces of his love shown throughout the series.

    Couldn’t stand Macy’s character the most. OMG, I was like, grow a backbone already. This girl flipped sides quicker than a coin. And she would always open her mouth when it wasn’t even really her position to opinionate ><"

    • chibi says:

      Hi there, thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂 I thought the inconsistencies of the plot (how it jumped from focussing on one thing to another) to actually be an interesting thing. Because there’s just so many character involved I think it plays on the idea that everyone always has to watch out for everyone else, and not solely focus their attention on one person. Essentially, they’re all threats to one another, it was just a matter of time (which is why we have people joining forces for a little but eg when Joyce was helping Jessica “against” Kiki, only to have told her she’s not interested in Kiki out.) If the story, say solely focused on Bowie getting back at the girls, the story would be more flat and feel like a planned script. Surely every character has their own things to do and take care of.

      And I have no problem w/ characters being perceived as bad at first but we learn later on that deep down they’re actually good people but in this series it seemed like the characters were just switching back & forth- I felt like the writers couldn’t decide where they wanted their characters to be.

      haha I felt torn at times too, but I think the essence of the character pretty much remained the same. Like, once I saw Michael starting to have feelings for Jessica, I knew he was the ‘good’ guy- and no matter what he did afterwards I understood why he did the things he did. It made sense to me, for example- at some later stage, Michael betrays Jessica by helping Kiki hide the stolen money. That’s quit a betrayal for someone you ‘love’ but at this point, Michael still loves his money. He needs to stay in the game in order to advance and if it meant using Jessica to do it, he will. He saw that in the bigger picture of things, no one was really going to get hurt in this case. It was just one moment of opportunity he couldn’t miss, but it didn’t make him a bad person, nor did it mean he didn’t care for Jessica.

      I actually found myself rooting for Bowie because he had that back story to explain why he was doing all the bad things that he was doing & he was committed.

      haha at times I really wanted him to succeed too..but then towards the end I disliked how he used and killed innocent people for his own means…to cover up for what he has done. If he valued family so much, how could he bare having his brother be in jail for him and then ASKING HIM TO DIE. What the heck?? That’s so insane, inhumane…I’m sure his father would be heartbroken knowing that had happened 🙁

      • jicks says:

        Michael’s role & Bowie’s role were the best developed in the way that the flow of their actions made the most sense but I def think the sisters character transitions lacked logical coherency. For instance, the way that Kiki turned all “I only want to be your wife” for Bowie in the end- there was little or no indication of that part of her character in the story up until then. I’m not sure if this was bad editing, bad writing or sub-par (I don’t want to use the term “bad” for her lol) acting from Kiki.

        I understand what you mean about the way the plot would always change focus helped to keep things interesting for us & show the different sides to the characters but I think there is a fine line btwn “making the viewers think” & “losing sight of the big picture.” I don’t think there is anything wrong w/ a simpler, more tried & tested script, if it is done well it will not fall flat at all. I think there is a point when you can over-convolute the plot.

        For me, the inconsistencies inn Sisters of Pearl didn’t add up because the chopping & changing was too abrupt & often lacked any backup reasoning, other than to attempt to make us believe all these characters had a zillion different motives at all times. I think someone can change but not so suddenly & in such a short span of time.

        And I’m not saying that Bowie should’ve been the only bad guy, I was perfectly happy for everyone to be backstabbing ea other but it would’ve been much better had there been one clear hero to root for, regardless of whether or not they were doing good or bad things. This is one of the fundamental elements to the success of all the doramas I have watched & enjoyed over the years. To me, Sisters Of Pearl was simply trying too hard to be complex ^^;;

        I know alot of things are always v. subjective when it comes to dramas & movies, so we can agree to disagree ^_^

        P.S. Bowie forcing his brother to take his life moment. OMG. That was the most-touching scene of the entire series & that was when I decided the brother was the best dude in the entire series. And no doubt, his father would’ve been heartbroken for BOTH of his sons. But in terms of Bowie’s character, I think this marked the point where he had clearly lost sight of why he was taking revenge on behalf of his father. Now it was more like he just didn’t want to lose for himself.

        • chibi says:

          haha that’s okay, everyone has their different views on things 🙂 Plus, it’s interesting to hear what others have to say which sheds light onto the drama so I’m all good with people not agreeing.

          Kiki was pretty inconsistent (very true), especially towards the end where she suddenly fell head over heels madly in love with Bowie, when clearly, at least in the beginning, she just didn’t want to lose someone “standing on her side” This is when Bowie first suggested they get a divorce, and she starts sulking that “no one is on my side” and “everyone is picking on me”. Again, I find that’s simply part of personality and character to be childish and immature. She was always a bit thick in the head, which made her even more annoying towards then end when she was drugged by Bowie.. Now, I couldn’t figure out if it was the drugs making her dumb, or she just is dumb..making her sisters give up on their shares, and was happy to go to jail too- when she was NEVER a responsible person. She never showed any care or respect for Bowie’s father and knowing he died because of her fault, she turned hopeless. Really? Does she actually care?

          And now that you mention Bowie’s brother, I thought HE was actually a bit inconsistent. I mean, up until the point he decided to help Bowie (OMG I kept thinking don’t do it!) he was so firm and righteous. But then in the end he became part of Bowie, helping him and willingly died for him.. It’s kinda sad to think that he end up succumbing and helping him fall deeper in the hole, when he was so clear before he would not support his actions, because it’s not what their father wanted.

  • jicks says:

    I’m so pleased that you’ve allowed me to express my thoughts so graciously. Mutually respectful discussions is what I enjoy ^_^

    Re Bowie’s brother. I don’t think he became a part of Bowie in the end per se, his train of thought was, my life belongs to this family, so whatever it takes to help their blood live on, he would do. I think he sacrificed in a way hoping that this would atone for Bowie’s sins.

    Now, I couldn’t figure out if it was the drugs making her dumb, or she just is dumb..
    ^^lmao. I def don’t think she was the most intelligent character. She was the v. in-your-face type who thought she knew everything but in truth, in terms of knowing the character of people & understanding people relations, she was the most clueless of them all.

    Random question (you can ignore me if I’m just being too nosy lol), where abouts are you from?

    • KTVB says:

      @ Chibi: Great review chibi!! Doesn’t have too many spoilers and fun to read!
      You share very similar thoughts to mine – hopefully I’ll have my review up soon!

      To jicks: Yea..his sacrifice was supposed to help Bowie have a chance to start a new life. it was also the key selling point to Bowie’s request- that he’ll promise to be a “good guy” again. I actually thought he wasn’t gong to hang himself when he hesitated just before he hangs himself..

    • chibi says:

      I’m so pleased that you’ve allowed me to express my thoughts so graciously. Mutually respectful discussions is what I enjoy ^_^

      I enjoy them too ^__^

      Re Bowie’s brother. I don’t think he became a part of Bowie in the end per se, his train of thought was, my life belongs to this family, so whatever it takes to help their blood live on, he would do. I think he sacrificed in a way hoping that this would atone for Bowie’s sins.

      I could kind of see where his thoughts came from, but it’s still not logical :/ Helping him carry out his plan, then taking the blame for everything just isn’t really helping him at all. But I suppose he did try to convince him throughout most of the drama, and even sneakily helped out the innocent just so Bowie doesn’t commit these awful sins (or he felt guilty).. But still, in the end I couldn’t help but feel so disappointed for him. Did he really honestly believe Bowie was going to stop? Bowie never spoke about stopping, he was always going on about revenge and to make them all pay. I think his downfall is trusting his brother’s words, when Bowie told him in prison he will start afresh..and put down his revenge (but asking him to die???)

      lol, I’m going in circles…

      Random question (you can ignore me if I’m just being too nosy lol), where abouts are you from?

      I’m from Sydney 🙂

  • Engsamnang says:

    Hey chibi, come back. I rather find you job in this post further great. In my view, the sister of pearl completely the best series in the half of 2010 for tvb, i think the earlier part that jump from scene to scene to depict the charactor is surely interesting and did well to tie the scene between. However, some viewer can’t be able to grap the idea well or keep the track no. And it’s okay. Very happy for you. Miss you much.

  • 'muff says:

    YAY I liked Sisters of Pearl XD I was pretty hooked. 😀 (spoiler warning!)

    I don’t quite agree with the bit about Jessica being ‘greedy’ 😀 And I don’t know why she would be labelled as a villain LOL unless the synopsis of SoP made her look bad. (can’t remember XD)

    I don’t think Joyce’s transition was too drastic; she was learning more about the company and the business throughout the series, and she was getting less dependent. And she was asking Michael she could possibly have both the money as well as her son XD So it showed she was growing attached to her child. So when Bowie suggested that she stay in the family for her son, it sort of clicked in her head 😀 So she sort of was growing more intelligent/less simple throughout the series 😀

    As for Bowie’s character, I found myself being on his side, to feeling scared of his character, to feeling sorry for him, to hating him for what he was doing, to understanding him… yeah. XD It was his love for Jessica and his fondness of the baby that made him more human and feel-sorry-for-able. Like that part when he took a bullet, I sort of admired how much he felt for Jessica. So I’m glad he overheard Jessica talking to Michael in the hospital room, because it showed he sort of became more ‘pure’ evil – he lost a vulnerable side. And gained an enemy. So then I could concentrate on not liking his character and rooting for the others 😀

    Michael’s character was so awesome haha. 😀 And whenever it appeared he ‘betrayed’, he had good reason for doing so. Like at the end when he lied to them so that he could lure Bowie to sell the company. And stuff. 😀

    Omg Joel! His honesty and niceness and kindness and simplicity was so refreshing to watch XD

    I felt sorry for Bowie’s brother :\

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