1. NEVER DANCE ALONE

Asian Dramas Never Dance Alone

32 episodes

VV Drama (StarHub TV Channel 855)

When: From August 22, Monday to Friday, 9pm

The series revolves around a group of female friends and flits between the present and their secondary school days in mid-1980s Hong Kong.

Hong Kong funnyman Eric Tsang makes his TV producing debut here and he leveraged on the personal connections he has made over the course of a long career to assemble a cast of former TVB artists.

The cast includes Carman Lee (Little Dragon Girl in the 1995 adaptation of The Return Of The Condor Heroes), Rachel Lee (previously called Loletta Lee, who often played the bubbly teenager in the 1980s), Gloria Yip (Saga Of The Phoenix, 1990), Flora Chan (Triumph In The Skies, 2003), and Angie Cheong (A Kindred Spirit, 1995-1999).

Star power: ****

Story: ***1/2

2. SUNSHINE AFTER THE RAIN

Sunshine.jpg

80 episodes

Jia Le Channel (SingTel mio TV Channel 502)

When: From July 26, Saturday and Sunday, 7pm

Had enough of mega-series such as Love (787 episodes) and Night Market Life (410 episodes)? Minnan series Sunshine After The Rain promises to pack in just as much drama in an economical 80 episodes.

The tale of two brothers, one of them adopted, spans nearly 40 years and unfolds against the backdrop of the traditional shoe industry in Taiwan.

A rift forms between them when they both fall for a vegetable-seller.

Acclaimed thespian Yang Kuei-mei and TV actress Ikeya Chen share the role of the love interest through the years.

Star power: ***

Story: ***

3. LOVE IN THE PURPLE

Purple Hairpin.jpg

43 episodes

VV Drama (StarHub TV Channel 855)

When: From July 25, Monday to Friday, 8pm

The traditional Chinese opera The Purple Hairpin gets a small-screen remake starring TVB leading man Raymond Lam as an upright swordsman and former beauty queen Michelle Ye as a songstress. The two were first paired together in Eternal Happiness (2002) and their on-screen chemistry was rumoured to have carried over into off-screen dating.

The scriptwriter, Ka Wai Nam, is known for his work on The Duke Of Mount Deer (1984) and Beyond The Realm Of Conscience (2009).

Star power: ***1/2

Story: ***1/2

4. LONGMEN EXPRESS

Longmen Express.jpg

40 episodes

Jia Le Channel (SingTel mio TV Channel 502)

When: Now showing, Monday to Friday, 10pm

Hong Kong star Anita Yuen plays Sheng Qiuyue, the mistress of Longmen Escort Agency who has a liking for durians.

When the agency teeters on the verge of bankruptcy, Lu Sanjin (Guo Jingfei) acquires it and attempts to turn its fortunes around.

It bodes well that Yuen, a former Miss Hong Kong, has a knack for comedy as seen in films such as He’s A Woman, She’s A Man (1994).

This period comedy from China is scripted and produced by well-known scribe Ning Caishen, one of the producers of All Men Are Brothers (2011).

Star power: ***1/2

Story: ***1/2

5. THE WAY WE WERE

The Way We Were.jpg

15 episodes

E City (StarHub TV Channel 825)

When: Now showing, every Friday, 10pm

Still think of Ruby Lin as the genteel and fragile beauty Ziwei from the mega-hit Princess Pearl (1998-1999)?

She set up her own production outfit Ruby Lin Studio in 2009 and has turned out hits such as The Glamorous Imperial Concubine (2011), starring herself. According to Apple Daily, she was the top-earning Taiwanese dramatic actress in 2012 and last year.

The producer with the golden touch casts a nostalgic eye on the past here.

Spanning 16 summers, with the 921 earthquake, Sars and Beijing Olympics marking the passage of time, Lin and actor-model Leroy Yang play the leads in this romance revolving around goodbyes, regret and loss.

The cast includes Singapore-born Malaysian Melvin Sia, previously seen in the Chinese New Year comedy Dance Dance Dragon (2011).

Star power: ***1/2

Story: ***1/2

6. THE EASYGOING POLICE

Asian Dramas Easygoing

10 episodes

Hello! Japan (StarHub TV Channel 149)

When: From Oct 4, every Saturday, 8pm

Actress-model-singer Emi Takei plays the cute, fresh-out-of-college newbie police officer and Exile vocalist Takahiro makes his acting debut as the cop assigned to babysit her.

Can they solve the murder of a junior high school student and win the respect of the

division?

Takei won the Best New Actor Award at last year’s Japan Academy Awards for films such as Rurouni Kenshin: The Great Kyoto Fire Arc/The Last Of A Legend Arc (2012).

This light comedy crime series is based on the novel of the same name by Nitadori Kei.

Star power: ***

Story: ***

7. KING OF HIGH SCHOOL MANNERS

Asian Dramas High School King of Savvy

16 episodes

Channel M (StarHub TV Channel 824, SingTel mio TV Channel 518)

When: Now showing, Monday and Tuesday, 10pm

After winning the talent reality show Superstar K in 2009, singer Seo In Guk went on to make his acting breakthrough in the popular and critical hit nostalgia series Reply 1997 (2012).

He is back in high school once more in this comedy romance, but with a twist. In addition to being the school hockey star, he has to pretend to be his elder brother and masquerade as a high-ranking executive at an IT corporation, at the behest of his sibling who is in some sort of trouble.

As the brash Lee Min Seok, he has to navigate the world of adults with help from the oddball office temp, Jung Soo Young. The role of Jung is played by award-winning actress Lee Ha Na, making her return to the small screen after an absence of five years.

Star power: ***1/2

Story: ***1/2

8. GOOD DAUGHTER, HANA

Asian Dramas My Daughter Hana

122 episodes

One (SingTel mioTV HD (Mandarin) Channel 513 and StarHub TV (English) Channel 820)

When: From August 14, Monday to Friday, 10.10pm

Actress-model Park Han Byul (Wishing Stairs, 2003) had to cut her hair really short to play Jang Ha Na, the fourth daughter of a soya sauce-making family chosen to inherit the business. But because of family tradition, she is raised as a boy and has to be disguised as a son.

What happens when she falls in love?

Sounds like a rebrewing of the popular gender-bending series Coffee Prince (2007).

Star power: **1/2

Story: ***

9. S – THE LAST POLICEMAN

Asian Dramas S Last Policeman

10 episodes

VV Drama (StarHub TV Channel 855)

When: From August 8, every Friday, 10.30pm

Ichigo (Osamu Mukai) is a former boxer with explosive punches and a brusque manner, while Iori (Gou Ayano) is a top shooter with a calm and steady personality.

They are both members of the elite National Police Safety Rescue team, a unit formed to combat extreme crimes.

Both actors have worked extensively in TV and film.

Mukai was in the movie about a teenage rock band, Beck (2010), while Ayano was in the action flick Crows Zero 2 (2009).

This sounds like a classic chalk-and-cheese buddy cop set-up.

Star power: **1/2

Story: **1/2

10. A 100 YEAR LEGACY

Asian Dramas 100 Years Legacy

50 episodes

VV Drama (StarHub TV Channel 855)

When: Now showing, Monday to Friday, 5.45pm

This winner of Best Drama at the 2013 MBC Drama Awards revolves around a modest family-owned noodle house in Seoul.

Kim Yoo Jin, also known as Eugene, previously a member of the girl group S.E.S., plays the eldest granddaughter of the family.

She returns to the fold after a divorce and takes the mom-and-pop operation out of the past and into the future.

Lee Jung Jin (Pieta, 2012) is the scion of a wealthy family who appears cold on the outside but is warm on the inside.

He won the Top Excellence Award at the Korea Drama Awards last year for his role.

Inevitably, the couple fall in love.

Star power: ***1/2

Story: ****

 

Telecast details are subject to change.

This article was first run in The Straits Times newspaper on July 10, 2014. For similar stories, go to sph.straitstimes.com/premium/singapore. You will not be able to access the Premium section of The Straits Times website unless you are already a subscriber.