I’m so glad TVB decided to go through with making this series since it’s the one I’ve been looking forward to the most from last year’s Sales Presentation. The concept of it is simple enough: Hong Kong government regulations state that in event of an H1N1 outbreak, everyone in contact with the source must be quarantined, as a precaution, for a minimum of 7 days and thus begins this highly amusing story.
To some, this may be a dream come true (how often does one get a chance to spend a week at a 5 star hotel for free with unlimited access to all its facilites?) while for other, it’s a complete nightmare (do employees of the hotel get paid for overtime; there must be some compensation for working 24/7, right?). For a whole week a group of people with very distinct backgrounds must learn to live together and are forced to make some pretty life altering decisions concerning their relationships, career, family, friends, personal code of ethics and whatever ugly psychological baggage that they’re in denial of.
The Actors in Character
Given the complexity of the story, I can’t comment too much on the characters without spoiling the plot but I will tell you this: the best part about this series is that it never dwells on a character for too long because so many things are happening simultaneously inside and outside of the hotel. It’s almost like reading a mystery novel or watching a game of Clue unravel before your eyes. The interactions between the characters are highly amusing especially since they come from all walks of life.
- Steven Ma – Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that this is the first TVB series where he plays a villain so that in itself is pretty refreshing. He pulls off the suave, flirtatious Casanova really well.
- Sonija Kwok – She has gotten a lot better in terms of relaxing her voice — I think this is the most comfortable role I’ve seen her in. The make-up and costume crew did a fantastic job because she looks absolutely gorgeous.
- Bosco Wong – Acting-wise, he’s pretty consistent in all his series so there wasn’t really anything groundbreaking here but the way his character is introduced is absolutely fantastic. He sang the theme song and has a surprisingly good voice.
- Mimi Lo - I don’t know how anyone can be loud, obnoxious and endearing at the same time but she pulls it off beautifully. Her character is one tough cookie; you really don’t want to mess with her.
- Patrick Tang – Off the top of my head, I can’t name anything that he was previously in but I think this role is his most memorable yet.
Others (obviously, there are more actors but these are the ones who stood out the most):
- Joyce Cheng - Charming as always. She portrays an astute, compassionate and upbeat reporter who means well but somehow always lands herself into trouble.
- Koni Lui – So naive and gullible… it’s almost tragic.
- Eric Li - He played a ruthless villain in A Fistful of Stances so it’s nice to see him switch it up and play a two-faced sycophant this time around.
- Lee Kwok Lun – (a.k.a. the loud, angry, mad-eyed villain from Beyond the Realm of Conscious) He’s still loud and angry here but more frantic and frustrated because he is surrounded by idiots who can’t do anything right.
- Gill Singh & Brian Thomas Burrell – Hurray for diversity! You can’t expect everyone in the hotel to be Chinese; that’s just unrealistic! Brian never disappoints but his character has a lot of personal issues to sort out here — poor guy. As for Gill, his dancing is quite… unique; let’s just leave it at that.
The Pacing and Tone
I appreciate the fact that the style of this series is very consistent in the sense that the tone shifts according to which character the segment is focused on. For instance, you can expect Steven and Sonija’s scenes to be more serious and suspenseful in comparison Lee Kwok Lun’s scenes which are over-the-top and highly exaggerated for comedic relief. Overall, this series keeps you interested because something is revealed in every episode be it about a particular plot or a particular character, yet it doesn’t drag. Admittedly, there are some corny bits sprinkled here and there — not to mention a certain turnout at the end is somewhat questionable — but overall, the script is well written.
On the surface, 7 Days in Life may seem like a wacky comedy about kidnappers and jewel thieves but it’s actually quite insightful about people and life in general. Just when you think you have the characters all figured out, the show reveals something surprising about them. Keep an open eye out for the details because no character is too minor, and keep in mind that certain things don’t happen as neatly as you would expect.