Seeing Vanness Wu in Peach Girl (2002) caught my attention - definite pretty, seriously flexible and with a certain charm (the pic on his wiki entry doesn't do him justice really). I never really paid attention to him when he was in F4 (Meteor Garden/Meteor Rain) and I'm betting most people dismissed him as eyecandy that probably couldn't act. Still, was curious and checked out his recent work.
It was then that I found Autumn Concerto which just finished airing in Feb and since it was a ratings hit, I decided to give it a try (the poster probably convinced me though XD). There was something about the drama that had me watching it from start to end, and I really got hooked by the interaction between family (father/son, grandma/son etc.) and the leads.
While I tend to prefer more humor than angst in my dramas and am not sure about whether I could rewatch it apart from the kid Xie Le's scenes which were adorable, I still found the story more solid and generally satisfying than the majority of Taiwanese dramas tried so far.
Usually I get distracted by the actors themselves (Mike He, Ariel, Rainie etc.) but in this case, I was surprised how hooked I was by Van Ness Wu's performance and his portrayal of Guang Xi. While the heroine held her own, she didn't really click with me on an emotional level per se. On the other hand, was empathizing with Vanness even when I probably was supposed to side with the heroine haha. His performance was very human during many moments, even considering the melodrama inherent in this genre.
There was something about Autumn Concerto that reminded me a lot more of Korean dramas than Taiwanese ones TBH (which is a definite compliment since I <3 Kdramas) And things tied together better in a lot of ways than standard TV fare too for the genre. I liked how the writers ran with certain tropes and averted others pretty neatly. Not to mention, a lot of Taiwanese dramas seem to lose plot threads and have gratuitous fanservice without content a lot of the time, which didn't happen anywhere as often here (thank goodness!)
And the kid playing Xie Le was SO ADORABLE :D :D And Xie Le and Tang Tang...OMGOMG SO CUTE. Chris Wu as the secondary male did a great job as well - and I just discovered his performance in Fragile in Love (boy on boy hotness yay!).
I think the only thing that was a real peeve was that it took till the final episode for the leads to really be seen happy together again *facepalms*
Vanness Wu's acting abilities have definitely improved a hell of a lot though I generally found the cast performed really well so maybe it was due to the script and directorial direction of Chen Hui Ling too?
Do want to check out Vic Zhou's recent Black & White and rewatch Mars since I can't remember it TBH and he's the only other one from F4 I could stand remotely.
But Vanness has made me a complete fangirl - eyecandy and he can act well and he just *clicks* (which isn't always a guarantee) His physique makes me drool too, as opposed to the majority of teen/early 20s east asian actors who are just insanely skinny usually.
But anyway, the search for a decent Taiwanese drama over the weekend was a success \o/ More about the general viewing tomorrow though XD