Okay. So I am old enough to have watched the original run of Triumph in the Skies (2003), but in my defense, I was still a kid. Triumph in the Skies is one of the best dramas that TVB has ever had to offer, boasting intricately woven stories of pilots working for the fictional airline, Solar Airways (based on Cathay Pacific). With its success, obviously TVB wanted to make a sequel in 2006, but this did not happen until 2011-2012, when TVB finally found an airline willing to do this partnership, thus producing Triumph in the Skies II that aired back in 2013 — a whole 10 years later.
|Triumph in the Skies II|
Triumph in the Skies II Promotional poster
Kenting National Park
|Blurb||Samuel Tong (Francis Ng) puts his career as a pilot on hold after the death of his wife, Zoe. After encountering Holiday Ho (Fala Chen), he finally succeeds in recreating the cake he promised his late wife, and he returns to Hong Kong to Skylette Airlines and flies again. He meets Captain Jayden “Captain Cool” Koo (Julian Cheung), and the two become rivals in love and in style as pilots.
Holiday arrives in HK for pilot training (PPP — Pre-pilot Project), after resolving her lingering regrets about her boyfriend who died in an aviation accident.
Jayden’s younger sister Summer Koo (Myolie Wu) is an aircraft maintenance technician, and she bears 20 yr grudges against her brother. Samuel’s younger brother Issac (Ron Ng), due to Summer’s uncanny physical resemblance to dead his sister-in-law Zoe, takes special interest in her and helps repair the relationship between Summer and her brother. They fall for each other, but the resemblance to Zoe causes problems for them.
First Officer Roy Ko (Kenneth Ma) is unable to find his path in love, even going as far as dating two girls simultaneously. After finding a confident in Heather Fong (Elena Kong), a senior purser, Roy and she become close associates, and their relationship even takes a more romantic turn.
Jim Jim (Him Law), who used to be a star HK swimmer retires and decides to enroll in PPP to find a new passion while he is in his youth. He falls in love with CoCo Ling (Nancy Wu), who is to be a surrogate mother for her friend.
From the crazy long blurb and the shocking number of episodes 43 strong, you can tell that TS II is one huge monster. If you watched TS I, you will probably know that the TS franchise (can I call it one?) is all about all the different stories of people working together in the same place all struggling to find themselves and perhaps their love in life through a series of challenges.
Many of the characters do not appear in TS II, but I will list the ones that play reoccurring roles so you will have some idea of what is going on before I get into the nitty gritty:
- Samuel Tong (唐亦琛, portrayed by Francis Ng) – A senior pilot at Solar Airways. Having grown up with best buddy, Vincent Ling (凌雲志, portrayed by Joe Ma), they both strive to be the first Chinese captain at Solar. Strait-laced and serious, he often checks his emotions so as to appear cold hearted. He’s the type to go by the textbook, as he sees safety as being the most important thing. He puts his career on hold and commits himself to relentlessly recreating the cake his wife Zoe liked in the UK. While in the UK, he meets Holiday, who is the daughter of Sam’s friend and landlady(?) that finally helps him recreate the cake. With his mission accomplished, he returns to HK to join Skylette Airlines as the first Chinese Captain once again.
- Issac Tong (唐亦風, portrayed by Ron Ng) – The younger brother of Samuel. He grew up believing his mother was his older sister, but finally found out the truth behind his family story. Initially immature and irresponsible, he later became a pilot with Solar. He eventually becomes a pilot at Skylette airlines and prepares for the series of exams to be promoted to Captain. He fails the first 2 times due to his stubborn sense of loyalty. Will he be able to seize his 3rd and final chance?
- Zoe So (蘇怡, portrayed by Myolie Wu) – A bubbly, vivacious and naive person, she aspired to work at the airport after a medical incident on an airplane. She falls in love at first sight for Samuel, and pursues him relentlessly, eventually succeeding in thawing his seemingly cold heart with her warm personality. She eventually passes away due to cancer at an airport in Taiwan. This becomes the biggest regret of Sam, as he was not beside her in her final moments and even fought beforehand.
- Roy Ko (高志宏, portrayed by Kenneth Ma) – A poor kid who joined Solar to upgrade and continue the family tradition of being drivers, which is the occupation of all of his family members.
- Coco Ling (凌卓芝, portrayed by Nancy Wu) – Vincent’s little sister who lived in Australia until she moved to Hong Kong to join Solar as an air stewardess. Initially jealous of Belle, she is soon won over. She becomes a Purser at Skylette and trains the new FAs. A woman who is unafraid and full of determination, she gives up her marriage with Nick her boyfriend to become a surrgoate mother for her best friend and her husband suffering from leukemia. She is won over by her elementary school friend Jim Jim.
I honestly liked the first TS more, even though I barely remember it (I’m telling you, I was really young! Seriously!) because I remember looking forward to seeing how an airline and airport runs. In addition, at the end of each episode, they would include a little clip of aviation or travel safety tips on the rolling credits. However, as both are blockbuster dramas, TVB also included a hugeeeeeee cast — so it was nice to see A-list celebrities all together in one drama. Normally, TVB dramas can put you to sleep, because the plot does slow down tremendously at certain points. However, since TS follows all these different characters, who obviously have their own troubles, their own happy moments, their own stories to tell – but all intertwined, it’s hard to fall asleep even after 43 episodes.
Although I say that, I still had to put this drama on at 2x the speed because (1) I am rewatching it and (2)43 episodes is a lot of dedication. However, with new characters and resolutions for characters fro TS I that never really got their loose ends tied, TS II is pretty heartwarming.
We all kinda know that being a pilot or a flight attendant is no easy job, but TS allows you to take a closer look. From emergencies in the cockpit to the training and exams the staff go through to make sure we are safe in that flying metal tube, you can’t help, but be a tad bit impressed. In addition, in TS II, we also get to see the behind the scenes of the maintenance staff who work tirelessly on the ground before the pilot even gets onto the plane to ensure the safety of the passengers. A documentary may be interesting, but TS II is still a drama, so some storylines added to the mix brew into the perfect concoction.
If I had to take off points, it would be that there were quite a few unnecessary scenes and also missing scenes. Although we usually are supposed to focus on the main characters, it would be nice to see the endings for the super “side-side” supporting characters too. From what I remember, I think they just left it at graduation pics and that was it. Also, while the ending cleared up who ended up with whom, it kind of felt rushed — I mean rushed at the end made sense for the plot, but I didn’t really quite feel the suspense that would have made this sudden acceleration perfect.