Watched up to eps 7 and have to say that I am thoroughly impressed with Wei Da Xun! He is acting two roles and making them both believable – one is Zhang Zhi Gang, a French cuisine chef living in Shanghai, 1936 who is an all-round Mr Nice Guy (Michelin-level cooking, loves kids,etc) who looks regal in a changshan and has merciful killer kungfu moves and the other is Sun Qi Long, a third-generation-rich party boy in Shanghai, 2016 with sublime taste buds, impeccable fashion sense and wads of money.
He manages to create two distinct characters by customizing speech pattern, swagger, micro-expressions, gait – quite a feat as they both have quite different personalities but he manages to make both of them relatable and rootable. Not easy as Zhang Zhi Gang is Mr Perfect to Sun Qi Long’s spoilt, idle rich boy (and everyone in the show apparently thinks so too!) but he has managed to portray Qi Long as an indulged man-child never really expected to grow but if needed, can do so and is essentially an intelligent decent man never been asked to reach his potential and actually more street smart than Zhang Zhi Gang in times of adversity.
My issue with the show is with Janice Man, who is the female lead in 2016. I can’t help but sigh every time she is on screen and wonder why Janice Wu wasn’t cast instead. Janice Man is from the HK TVB school of acting who thinks that posed pouting, exaggerated deer-in-headlights look and making cutesy unintelligible moans equate to adorable and cute. Zhao Li Ying and Janice Wu manage to achieve adorable sweet in Shan Shan Lai Le and My Amazing Boyfriend without any of these and I just cringe everytime Janice Man appears!
Puff Kuo who plays the female lead in 1936 is okay so far and looks fetching in her qipao but she has that woe-is-me look which I can’t quite relate to. She hasn’t appeared much prior to Ep 6 so keeping an open mind still. The role was meant to be played by Yoona I read but substituted with Puff when the Hallyu ban was initiated.
Will definitely continue watching (it’s also subbed on Viki and loaded on many websites) and hopefully Wei Da Xun will continue to outweigh my eeek of Janice Man. So far the show is still within the range of plausibility and am interested to see where the storyline leads. Note that I didn’t watch the first installment with Jing Bo Ran and Zheng Shuang so have no comparison but I understand that the shows are completely different aside from the continued timetravel element.