New 'Water Margin' triggers debate
Adapted from the classic novel, the new show, All Men are Brothers is an 86-episode series broadcasting on major satellite TV channels every day, and is already midway through its showing. Aiming to give "updated values" to the traditional story, the new show has instead caused derision among viewers and critics.
"I knew Li Shaohong (A Dream of the Red Mansion), and Gao Xixi (Three Kingdoms) would stick to the originals, but I've decided to give a brand new adaptation, " Hong Kong director Gaau Leung Guk claimed to media.
"I never wanted to make TV to be authentic but instead to make an acceptable show for modern viewers in terms of character-building, costume, make-up and storyline," Guk added.
There are several controversial changes for Brothers. Pan Jinlian, portrayed as a loose woman in the original novel and a long-established symbol of such in China, is now recast as a hard-working virginal housewife in the first episodes, refusing several wealthy young suitors.
In the novel, Pan murdered her husband with her lover, Ximen Qing. In the new adaption, her affair with Ximen is a romantic love story.
"I chose not to show Pan's loose side in the beginning… so it's more dramatic when the truth comes out," Guk insisted.