The lavish production, reportedly Taiwan's most expensive TV series, is considered ground-breaking by Taiwan TV standards. A gritty police action drama that centres on an odd couple pairing of two cops fighting crime might not sound particularly fresh and original to Western or Hong Kong viewers. However, for Taiwan's TV audience, served a steady diet of glamourous romantic idol dramas, Black and White comes as a breath of fresh air.
The 24 episode series, broadcast on the national station PTS, stars established idol Vic Zhou (周渝民), one of the singers from boy band JVKV/F4. The show has also launched the careers of newcomers Mark Zhao (趙又廷) as Vic's uptight partner, Ivy Chen (陳意涵) as the love interest, Sonia Sui (隋棠) and Jason Zou (鄒承恩). The series is directed (and co-produced with his wife) by Taiwan's preeminent TV director, Cai Yue Xun (蔡岳勳). Cai was also responsible for one of Taiwan's most popular and best-loved TV series, Meteor Garden, back in 2001. The Never an Idol Moment blog has a nicely written Black and White review.
Another winner from the series has been the city of Kaohsiung where most of the show takes place. It has emerged as a kind of Taiwanese Miami, and already there has been a big boost in tourist numbers as fans flock to its beaches and prominent landmarks showcased in the show. Spurred by the TV show's success a Black and White movie has been announced, with the same director and cast.
June was a big month for major players from the show that started so many careers -Meteor Garden. Director Cai has his Black and White smash hit, while Jerry Yan who played Meteor Garden's romantic lead has been topping the Taiwan album charts with his latest release. And his onscreen partner in romance, Barbie Hsu, of course basks in the honour of recently been named Asia's Sexiest Vegetarian!