TV Binge: Who’s The Murderer 明星大侦探4 (Season 4, 2018)

Who’s The Murderer (Season 4, 2018)
明星大侦探4

Cast: He Jiong, Benny Sa, Angel Wang, Bai Jing Ting, Emma Wu, Liu Haoran, Zhang Ruo Yun, Wei Da Xun, Justin, Seven Tan

No. of Episodes: 13

**With that said, instead of the poster, I added in the full playlist of the series. Its backwards to scroll to the second last video to see episode 1 and turn on the CC for English subtitles.**

Let’s start off right away that I have never seen Who’s The Murderer Season 1 to 3. Its only been since last year in July that I started getting into the TV series/dramas & variety shows from China. With that said, after watching The Chamber of Secrets Escape (Review), Who’s a Murderer was even more up my alley. The best part is that it had these twists and turns in their stories and the investigations was cool. Plus, the set and stories they always did added intrigue but also a lot of logic and problem solving and analytical sort of thinking. It relied especially in the final episode on (what I believe) an unscripted way to twist and turn throughout the situation for the murderer to not be discovered with whatever tactics they can use. Who’s the Murderer is a lot like an elaborate version of this party game called Wink Murder or Killer (whatever you call it, I’m not too sure…) but instead of a circle, it adds in these Clue elements and sometimes, escape room elements.

One great element of this is its setting. They build these fantastic sets as a backdrop for each of their things. Sure, its mostly just rooms mildly divided in some cases to show the different characters and their rooms. The structure of the game is also quite good. The first part is establishing and discovering the “body”, then introduction of the characters and their timeline, the first collective search, the first collective analysis, the detective’s solo (secret) vote on who’s the murderer, the second round of collective search, 1 on 1 with detective, final collective analysis and final vote for everyone and then the reveal whether they successfully voted the murderer to go to “jail”. Its usually the search and the analysis that makes for a lot of fun moments. The other part of this which is great especially being a variety show (and something China does particularly well) is the focus on society and how each of these stories focus on some element of society and people whether its relationships, idols, love, families in regards to revenge, trust, loyalty, etc and how a lot of these cases sprouted from an extreme negative thought or self-preservation or whatnot and they reflect on these cases at the end.

who's the murderer

As for the cast here, there are a few regulars and then every episode has some guests that only pop in to participate. He Jiong is a super popular and talented host for Happy Camp and an array of variety shows in China, prominently on Hunan TV so since that is mostly where I watch variety shows, I’ve grown to really appreciate him and in this, he is really talented especially when he is the “killer” he can almost always avoid being caught. The other is Benny Sa who I’ve never seen in anything before but he is also quite comedic and very analytical but sometimes has this silliness to his theories and guesses. The younger semi-regulars is one of the reason that I started this and that is Bai JingTing who I first saw in a TV drama (which I haven’t written up yet) and through this I’ve known a few other semi-regulars that I honestly really like a lot too.

who's the murderer 4

There is a lot of after editing on these shows and probably a lot is cut out of the whole episode but there is a great post-editing effect for it to make it very mysterious and suspicious. A lot of the mysteries have a lot of twists and the character have their own depth. It also brings up a lot of questions on right and wrong and morals and ethics. For a variety game show style, it definitely has more depth than most. Plus a lot of times, it also gives the audience watching an outlet to analyze the case with what they have found and always reveal at the end whether they found the evidence that solidifies who the “murderer” is. The first two episodes and the final episodes are the most awesome ones. Its nice to see how they incorporate some spinoff on popular movie backdrops as well as different genres such as time travel elements and whatnot. Its a very colorful show to say the least and while there are a few little stumbles and some episodes are slightly more predictable (which is a rare occasion), its one that, I would assume, has gone through  a lot of polish and it shows because its highly entertaining and really fun to get involved to make your own guesses while watching it. I like that element of it the most as it becomes very immersive.

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TV Binge: The Inn 亲爱的客栈 (Season 2, 2018)

I’ve never watched the first season. Apparently there are a few changes, prominently the location and the employees and part-time celebrity employees and guests changed. This results in different dynamics and different challenges.

I’ve attached the playlist of the entire season below. You have to open and go back to the episode 1 probably but it should be mostly subtitled.

The Inn (Season 2, 2018)

The Inn

Network: Hunan TV

Boss: Wang Ke & Liu Tao
Full-Time Employees: Dylan Wang, Kido Ma, Philip Wu, Shen Yue
Part-Time Employees: Myolie Wu, Sean Chen, Tengri, Andy Yang, Bridgette Qiao, Jiang Zi Xin, Johnny Chen, Zhang Lingzhi, Angelica Lee, Cheng Xiao, Vega Li, Mao Buyi, Ziwen Wang

The Inn is a reality TV series that centers around businessman Wang Ke and his renowned actress wife Tao Liu who goes to a rural area of China to set up an inn for 20 days which will then be passed over to the government to help with tourism and economics in the beautiful secluded area perfect for citygoers to recharge and get in touch with nature. Its all part of their slogan of “creating beautiful life”. During the stay, various guests come and share their stories while renowned celebrities will also show up as part time workers. Of course, there are also celebrities there which are full time workers. This season’s set in Bai Lang Zhen is part of northern China near the border and started with three full time workers Meteor Garden 2018’s Dylan Wang, singer Philip Wu and Kido Ma and later is joined by Meteor Garden 2018’s Shen Yue. This is all an effort to not only help build the physical inn but also to set up a working business model with some prominent people in the town there to learn to manage after the team as left.

the inn 2

With that said, The Inn Season 2 is a stellar show. On one hand, it shows the struggles of building a business and the reality that the young employees learned that no task is easy to achieve. On the other hand, it looks also at the success of what they can bring with something like this where a lot of guests and part time employees through these human interactions shared their conflicts and difficulties and dilemmas and in some ways found their solution or untangled a bit of their thoughts as well. The heartwarming aspect of the show definitely takes a front seat here. While some criticisms did suggest that perhaps some of it is staged, I don’t think a lot of it is staged but rather that the after production of adding in little comments and such make it more charming and engaging and at times, funny. Considering the hours spent there and the amount of cameras, it was more an idea of what post-editing felt like was more entertaining for its audience plus it had to play a lot on things like the current trends, such as last year’s shipping of Meteor Garden’s Dylan Wang and Shen Yue and adding in things like Season 1’s My Little One Philip Wu making a comment that his dream girl would be something like Shen Yue as well as the addition of Kido Ma who eventually becomes the one that gets paired up with Shen Yue as we see their friendship getting a lot of mentions by the end.

the inn 2

One of the most valuable traits of The Inn is how it brings together this genuine sort of feeling. It has to do with how its guests are picked with very real every people such as being pressured to marry or being afraid of getting pregnant or not having sufficient amount of time for family because of work, etc. It emphasizes that the people that we meet every day whether just a passing moment can bring something new to our lives. As much as The Inn is an escape, its also a place to contemplate life and hopefully find some positive way to change or resolve some of their own problems. Everyday problems that people have. Even with the guests that show up, they all show a part of themselves that help out. With the young stars, it gives them a chance to experience this new side of things while the more mature guests share their intellect be it about marriage or loss and so on so forth. Its because there is so much to discover that makes this show so fun to watch. It feels genuinely like watching real people going through real things and at the same time, sharing thoughts and positive ways to resolve and just open up other people’s minds about different topics. It took me on a roller coaster of feelings full of funny laughing moments and some touching moments as well. I’m desperately looking forward to the next season. In the mean time, maybe I’ll go back and watch Season 1 and see how this reality show started in the first place.

TV Binge: The Chamber of Secrets Escape 密室逃脱:暗夜古宅 (Season 1, 2018)

Moving away from movies for today, we’re taking a look at a Chinese TV game show called The Chamber of Secrets Escape.

Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxeBkIJb4qE&list=PLUM8x224JrX9wa0S9MatA4vQ-6v8Qm_x6&index=10

The Chamber of Secrets Escape (Season 1, 2018)

the chamber of secrets escape

Host: Ma Ke

Cast/Guests: Danson Tang, You Ming Huang, Yi Xuan Zhou, Zhi Yuan Xia, Xi Yue Cao, Xiao Yu Lu, Wen Han Li, Mei Ren Wang, Han Yu Gao, Amelie Xu, Bo Wen Wang

This is an ancient style chamber escaping reality show which the celebrity guests are to use their wits to pass each checkpoint and also whether they show good teamwork or working together against the opposing team. – My Drama List

***I’m going to say sorry in advance that the show is only in Chinese. I have the urge to use the Youtube translate thing and do it but I currently don’t have the time to commit to that yet. ***

With a total of 10 episodes, this season is a quick and fast one to go through. The Chamber of Secrets Escape : The Dark Night is all about pitching a group of people into different elaborately built puzzles with different back stories and different goals and twists in the escape room game. The eliminated participants have to go run this corridor of darkness which literally is a 100 metre corridor where you are being chased by a dog. Its a race between getting to the ladder at the end to salvation. The winners of the show have a donation made in their names to a pre-selected school in the country.

The Chamber of Secrets Escape

The host himself is Ma Ke who does a nice sinister feeling as he welcomes the participants and leads them on the journey as a behind the scenes sort of puppet master. I think that was the feeling this started as and even in the first or second episode, it felt that way on how the game set the tone of how it was more about the psychological aspect of it as it talks about how when people are faced with dangerous situation how their human nature would react. Granted these are actors and celebrities, I do wonder whether there is some aspect of it staged beforehand and the environments are controlled as well but they do give them leeway to be fairly exciting. Its one of the reasons that makes this so much fun to dive into.

The Chamber of Secrets Escape

The puzzles here can be fairly hard to put together. At the same time, the show has a definite focus on the game show human nature and opposing and teamwork and trust emphasis that the viewers only get glimpses of the puzzles so it isn’t one to sit down and have time to figure out. However, this is a game show so the human relationships here are put as priority to add in drama and suspense. I do love how the show defines some of its main participants like Danson Tang and You Ming Huang, who are there for 9 of the 10 since the 10th episode changed all the familiar faces from before. The dynamic of three of the most frequent participants definitely breathed life into the show.

Overall, its a fun experience. As with some of the other game shows on this channel in the same family, its one that makes me want to participate in real life in some of these maps. Maybe not the zombie ones because even if I knew it was fake, it would still be creepy. The budget behind these sets and stories and puzzles look so great and its what brings these stories to life and creates the atmosphere.

Music Obsessions – October 2018

Music Obsessions

Its October already! Halloween marathon is upon us but I’m sorry, this isn’t going to be a Halloween themed post. Before we jump back to horror content, we’re going to listen to some songs that have caught my ears this past month. As some of you know by now (even if the TV binge might not be up yet), I had quite the adventure watching the new Meteor Garden. I got sucked into this black hole where a minimum amount of work got done until I cut myself off after a few days of watching it and it invading every moment of my life. Doesn’t help the focusing for work part. Anyways, I went on a little journey to explore the Chinese TV series scene and especially the cast in this Meteor Garden and landed on some variety shows and that just opened up a lot of other stuff which leads to this very much Meteor Garden and Tangents focus!

The Love You Want (Midnight Version) – Penny Dai

One of the things about Meteor Garden in this modernized reboot is that it changes around the original soundtrack. A few of the songs at least. This one is my favorite song from Meteor Garden, in 2001 and this Midnight Version might just top that one so much. Its so relaxing to listen to and it just gets all the feels. Try 49 episodes worth of it. I tell you, this one choked me up sometimes in the different stuff with some of the other episodes. And well, the video is just one of the episodes that just murdered my tear ducts and I cried like 2 episodes in a row. Suffice to say, its got all the feels.

I Don’t Even Think About It – Dylan Wang

Dylan Wang isn’t exactly a great singer. In some shows, he admits that and that is part of the charm of him. His style and boyish charm is what makes him stand out in Meteor Garden and I think this charm shows off the style he has where he can pull off this rock sort of style while he actually is best when he raps. I’ll probably share some of that eventually, but not this time.

Never Thought Of – Dylan Wang, Guan Hong, Connor Leong, Caesar Wu (new F4)

Final choice is something like a theme song or one of them sang by this new F4 made up by Dylan Wang, Guan Hong (aka Darren Chen), Caesar Wu and Connor Leong. I won’t put too many of them as it does reveal a lot of the main plot lines and I kind of want to get more people to watch this if its something that is in your interests.

So moving onto my educating myself of these 4 young actors and landing on some cool variety shows and finding some new songs that has been my absolute obsessions.

Welcome to my Small Small World – Happy Camp hosts with guests F4 & others

I don’t follow Chinese variety shows much. I did start watching the Hunan Channel for the Come Sing With Me show but because of the whole F4 understanding these young actors, I ended up discovering Happy Camp and boy, is it a fun show! I love it so much! This is a segment this summer that ended after a series of episodes themed for a concert. This is one of the songs that came out of it and I just love how fun it is.

Sincerely Yours – A Si feat. Yoga Lin

Because of the above episode and thanks to an incredible job sang by Connor Leong, I discovered this song called Sincerely Yours which is in line for probably my favorite song this year. Its so awesome. The singing, the lyrics and the tune all works so well together.

Can you tell that while I’m a big fan of the F4? I see a different path for each of them and there’s something about Connor Leong’s very boyish charm and like the boy next door style that makes him so fun to watch, especially when he is on the show a lot too. He was part of writing this song with this lovely girl and this song is incredible. I spent a few days learning how to sing it because it takes some time to nail the lyrics.

Learn to Meow – Xiao Panpan & Xiao Fengfeng

Well, also from the Happy Camp episode mentioned before, Dylan Wang completely lost the tune in the most adorable way and sang this song, Learn to Meow. I might not be down for listening to a messed up version from Dylan Wang but the actual version is cute as heck. They have a little adorable movement/dance sequence. If some of you don’t know, I love cats and actually I act like a cat a lot when I’m around the house, like random meowing and imitating my cat and stuff. Its a little ridiculous but my husband calls me “Kitty” so that doesn’t help. Which makes this song kind of everything me, even the lyrics nail some of my personality. Guess why this made it on the list and why I sing and listen to this one a lot too.

That’s it for this month’s Music Obsessions!
I can guarantee these songs are still playing on for the next month.

How about you? What have you been listening to?