Saturday, April 18, 2015

2025 (2015) TV series review- 13 Episodes

Overall verdict: 2/10

The Good: Excellent performances from veteran cast members (Gerald Chew, Lim Kay Tong)

The Bad: Overly melodramatic acting, terrible cheap looking special effects, laughable costumes, cliche filled plot, non-existent soundtrack, uninspired directing and camerawork, cringe worthy writing. 

3D Readiness: none


A "sci-fi mystery thriller", or so claims the advertising blurb for Singapore's first foray into science fiction of the new millennium. Oh advertising! How you tease! 

Our glimpse of the world 10 years from now (or at least from 2015) shows us a Singapore where the landscape looks like a video game cutscene. 3D rendered animations which seem to be able to interact with live actors deliver parcels (a subsequent check showed that these animations were supposed to depict automated drones), more 3D rendered animations are plastered everywhere. Buildings are given 3D rendered animation extensions to make them scream "I am futuristic".  

Soldiers (or are they police? ) dress up in bad "ninja-meets-terminator" cosplay, 

using weapons that fire 3D rendered animations that look like they were stolen from Power Rangers. 

Why do I go on about 2025 being filled with 3D rendered animations? Because that is how it looks like. Poor effects made with off-the-shelf software by students. I'm not even going to call them "special effects" because they are not special. 

What else does this show tell us about the world 10 years from now? It tells us that the old 80s movies were right! We have anti-establishment rebels, a person in power with a plot to rule the world, some poor civilian played by Gerald Chew gets caught in the middle dragging his family and neighbour into the picture. 

Throughout the run of the show, one gets a tugging feeling of deja vu. And why not? everything seems to be taken from some existing movie or TV show. Whats worse is the direction which makes the show, again, feel like it was done by students. One can whip out a "filming for dummies" book and see how insipidly our director lines up the shots. Hand-held shots are used for action scenes, as usual. Slow motion for dramatic impact, as usual. Steady cam for sombre scenes, as usual. None of it even looks remotely creative, just a by-the-numbers filmmaking here. 

The weak direction extends to the plot and the acting. A few veteran actors like Gerald Chew and Lim Kay Tong turn in respectable performances; subtle, nuanced yet marvellously played. The younger ones crank up the melodrama like they're in some school stage production instead of a professional TV series. Overacting abounds amidst your usual drivel about teenage angst, poorly written unrequited love and family tension.

Essentially, 2025 is your typical Singaporean melodrama, complete with cheesy cringeworthy lines, recycled in a science fiction setting. We've seen all these character archetypes before every other evening on every other Singaporean drama. Nothing new there. It is overly familiar, overly contrived and the much touted special effects and costumes border on laughable. You have one episode featuring a killer cyborg who looks like some guy in a bad Megaman Halloween costume.

Silly dyed hair which is supposed to be "futuristically stylish" and everything just looks… 

Put all that cheapness through a dull green, sickly greyish, lens filter and you have some idea how 2025 looks. 

 One could make an excuse for the show on grounds of its budget. But budget was never the problem. Talent is. Talent which is sorely lacking. Talent of design, directing, acting and imagination. Perhaps the only interesting bit comes at the end of each episode where they feature the technological highlights with "Experts" talking about current research and plans for future implementation. If science fiction is meant to stretch the mind and tease the imagination, 2025 fails. Let's not talk about Hollywood or Europe. This show is barely up to the standards of regional fare from Taiwan or Hong Kong. If TV shows are meant to engage and entertain, 2025 succeeds only as a bad misbegotten curiosity to see how NOT to do science fiction.

Seen above: Audience reaction after seeing the first episode.

*****************************Review End***************************

Entertainment: D
Story: D
Acting: C-
Characters: D-
Music: E
Replay value: D-
"Brains": E

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