Overseas Releases Rotten Series
The Lost Gems.
The broadcasting platform for tvb series, besides the traditional 830 channel and 930 channel, also includes the readily overlooked ‘hoi fatt’ outlet. Series released through this kind of “outlet” are often snubbed by viewers. Nevertheless, it is undeniable that in that cache of overseas releases, there are many series of good quality that are worthy of viewing. Together, let us go through these so-called “surplus series” to pick out the quality series and restore the previously ------ lost gems.
‘Hoi fatt’, meaning overseas release, is a set phrase peculiar to Hong Kong TVB, moreover, it carries with it a strongly distinctive connotative TVB style of labeling. These so-called ‘hoi fatt’ series are TVB’s finished products that are not scheduled for local broadcast in Hong Kong, and that their broadcasting platform is not that of TVB Jade 830 or 930 channels. Instead they are either scheduled to premiere on overseas tv or being released directly on dvds and/or through other mediums. Incidentally, Malaysia’s Astro on Demand is a special broadcasting platform for TVB series. Besides broadcasting the latest tvb series concurrently with TVB, Astro also airs new ‘hoi fatt’ series whenever TVB Jade airs a procured series or a previously ‘hoi fatt’ series.
‘Hoi fatt’ series are a unique TVB feature. As to the cause(s) for this particular phenomenon occurrence, firstly, it is due to TVB’s excessive inventory of finished products. The availability of its yearly preset time slots is simply unable to accommodate the broadcasting of its stock of finished products. Therefore, duly constrained by limited time slots stock surplus happens, and overseas release is an expedient means of alleviating the stockpiling pressure. Secondly, TVB occasionally procures outside series for broadcasting, inevitably creating a vacant time slot for overseas outlets that normally air series concurrently with TVB. Thus, TVB needs to provide them with another new series to maintain their collaboration, at the same time, scoops up a deal. In 2001, the concept of overseas release took a brighter aspect. Overseas released series are no longer in a situation that was once commonly dubbed as “never see daylight again”, but that they could be restored at any time soon. Besides being slotted in TVB late night time slot, pay channel and the likes, some series may even be given special attention. Following a long interval after their overseas release, they can be once again aired either on TVB Jade 830 or 930 channels. Because most overseas releases are products of years ago that have yet to air locally, plus the fact that they cannot participate in the annual TVB awards nominations, they are deemed unimportant to TVB. As such, whenever ‘hoi fatt’ is mentioned, what most viewers associate with it is rotten series. Given cumulative effect, the overseas releases were soon tagged with this label, ‘warehouse clearance stock’. In actuality, overseas releases are really not as bad as implicated. They not only test the prevailing trends in overseas markets, their viewers’ tastes and preferences as well as solidifying TVB’s overseas market share, they can also provide objective observations to tvb production team for brainstorming future series based on these 'test' market(s). Furthermore, if weighed by profitability aspect, overseas releases are an excellent means to generate income for TVB. Therefore, ‘hoi fatt’ series do not equate rotten series. In fact, there are some gems in them such as ‘The Price of Greed’, ‘Phoenix Rising’ etc which received pretty good reviews during their overseas premieres.
Since 2001, the 5 Hoi Fatt Most.
1) Less popular series genre and subject matter – wuxia, legends/myths, serious subject matter, problematic artistes (contracts etc)
2) Inferior quality production – where quantity matters over quality
3) Series by producers – Lee Tim Sing, Wong Wai Sing, Chong Wai Kin
4) Good start, bad ending; new concepts but sloppy story development - The Price of Greed, Cupid Stupid, the Greatness of a Hero
5) Steven Ma and Tavia Yeung pair collaboration - what netizens labeled as the most ‘bei ju’ (tragic) pairing after Stupid Cupid.
AF magscan post 386
China tvb weekly issue 227 [电视剧 第227期]盘点TVB历年海发剧 遗失的美好]