Joe Ma’s (馬德鐘) last TVB series was Smooth Talker (以和為貴) in 2015 until he filmed Life on the Line (跳躍生命線) drama in 2018. He has been developing his acting career in China in recent years and is he still familiar with the operations in TVB? Does he has a different opinion in Hong Kong market? Joe said after pondering for a while: “Many new blood now and I do not think there is any major changes. I worked for TVB for 23 years and it has been 3 years since I left. There is some differences in the industry and a big gap when compared to 1980s and 1990s. Internet is very popular now and we are given more choices. TVB series used to achieve 30 rating pts and we understand the environment is different and cannot use the old perspective to analyse it.” The series quality is definitely one of the reasons behind the poor rating record and there is many entertainment choices now. How many are interested to watch TVB drama? It is not only facing local competition nowadays but foreign talents. Joe said: “The audiences’ expectations are rising and the technology is getting advanced. The television station used to air Japanese and American films and we get to see anything online now. We must continue to upgrade ourselves.” Hence, is TVB willing to make more investments?

Joe officially ended his contract with TVB in 2012 and chose to develop his career in China thereafter. He filmed the first Chinese drama (西施秘史) as the second lead role and more than 20 series within 6 years. Joe begun to gain fame and was usually given the lead or second lead roles: “China market is very good and fast paced. It opens to online and overseas markets as their huge resources enable them to do major scale productions. Hopefully it can produce excellent results.” Although he could not feel the power of Chinese drama yet, but it was considered acceptable for him and there was many newcomers joining the showbiz: “We do not need to use money to measure everything and cannot buy popularity anyway. Every places has its strength and culture. For example: I film Life on the Line drama which is a good and realistic Hong Kong theme. China may not produce an equally good series despite the resources. They are good at shooting period drama and the foreign countries have to rely on Chinese market to produce period film.” Joe definitely renders his assistance as long as it is a touching Hong Kong drama.

Mentioning about shooting Life on the Line series, Joe was uncertain about the rating record initially but he was not worried because of the plot line and quality. As for Ali Lee’s (李佳芯) appearance, it aimed to convey an important message to the audiences: “It is conveying many messages such as handling different stages in life, accidents, regrets and perhaps destiny. Other than making the audiences laugh, they can learn basic medical assistance and it make them reflect their lives as well. Ali is a big influence to officer Mak as he changes from a man with principles to full of regrets. Officer Mak often ponders Ali will avoid a car accident if he does not tell her to alight from the car. He will never know what Ali is trying to tell him and it is a regret in his life forever. Also, Kelly Cheung (張曦雯) and I have a special relationship and the film producer praises it is a romantic story.”

Everyone has a different definition of a good series. Providing entertainment is one of the factors and increasing knowledge is another surprise which makes the audiences to make reflections. In addition, Joe mentioned a drama culture was an unique quality and Life on the Line series focused on the stories in Hong Kong. The local culture was another essential factor and it was difficult to produce the same series by other countries.

Despite at 50 years old, Joe continued to maintain himself well and tried to lose weight by nourishing his body. It was exaggerating when he lost 20 pound within 8 months and what do you think?

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