THE HIPPOCRATIC CRUSH II, Weekdays, 8.30pm
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The hot docs of Mercy Hospital are back in the highly anticipated follow-up to last year's TVB medical drama The Hippocratic Crush.
Riding on the drama's hype, the producers served up the sequel just 11/2 years after the first series aired - thankfully, with much of the original cast intact.
The Hippocratic Crush II premiered on Monday in Hong Kong, and is available on cable TV here.
There's much ado about an addition to the roster, veteran actor Lawrence Ng, whose role as Dr Paul Ching in classic medical drama Healing Hands (1998) is seared into the mind of audiences.
Returning to TVB after leaving in 2006, the bespectacled Ng puts on his familiar white coat and turns into a pathology specialist, Dr Lokman.
Still, all eyes are on the pumped-up love-line of the audience's favourite on-screen couple - Dr Cheung Yat Kin (Kenneth Ma), who finally tied the knot with Dr Fan Tsz Yu (Tavia Yeung).
The once-grumpy Cheung is seen acting all lovey-dovey with his wife, gently reminding the pregnant Fan not to wear high heels to a colleague's wedding.
The first episode was a reunion of sorts as viewers are quickly brought up to date on the whereabouts of the characters.
The convivial atmosphere does not last long, and the jam-packed pilot is a series of unfortunate events - a looming H5N1 epidemic, a major traffic accident and the pregnant Fan getting quarantined.
But, instead of a full-blown H5N1 epidemic, everything is quickly resolved a tad too quickly by the second episode.
Three episodes into the drama and it's not hard to notice traces of the first series and a plot typical of most medical dramas: Doctors tackle medical emergencies and they placate and cure patients while learning life's lessons in the process.
Like the original series, the team is joined by a new batch of housemen. However, none leave as deep of an impression as fiesty Dr Hung Mei Suet (Mandy Wong) did - she has risen through the ranks and now has to mentor her bumbling juniors.
This time round, though, the series has an extra shot of melodrama with hints of tragedy right from the start.
The main characters are struck with one form of illness or other: Dr Lokman has cancer and Dr Fan suffers a relapse from an intramedullary spinal-cord tumour. And (spoiler alert!) it seems even the strong-willed Cheung will not be spared either.
The 30-episode sequel may seem like it's doling out the same prescription, but, hey, why change a well-loved original cast and a tried-and-tested formula?
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