A week since hitting the small screens, pediatric drama Kids Lives Matter 星空下的仁医 debuts to a lukewarm reception from Hong Kong viewers against all expectations. In stark contrast, the series appears to be faring better amongst mainland Chinese audiences, nabbing a Douban rating of 9.0.
The Hong Kong produced series which feature several TVB stars including Catherine Chau and Him Law also marks the comeback of Linda Chung to the small screens after being out of the entertainment scene for three years. If you’ll remember, Linda and her family are currently based in Vancouver and the actress only returned to Hong Kong last year to film the series. Likewise, Kids Lives Matter also marks another milestone for two of its stars Kevin Cheng and Kenneth Ma who reunite after ten years to work together once again.
Kevin Cheng and Kenneth Ma both play pediatric surgeons whose paths cross once again after having a falling out over an operation that happened twenty years ago. The two doctor’s situation couldn’t have been any more different with Kuang Cong Xin (Kenneth Ma) now a pediatric consultant for the prestigious Anne Hospital and Gan Feng (Kevin Cheng) a highly dedicated doctor working at a second-rate hospital. Unexpectedly thrown together because of a liver transplant that could save the life of a child, Cong Xin hatches a plan to create the perfect team composed of Gan Feng, cardiothoracic surgeon Zhang Yixin (Linda Chung) and Ma Haiqi (Catherine Chau) aimed towards the creation of Hong Kong’s very first pediatric centre. However, an old operation from twenty years ago suddenly comes back to haunt them.
Reception to the pediatric series doesn’t seem to be doing as well in its home base of Hong Kong. Although admittedly, expectation for the show was running very high just from the big names helming the show alone. Throw in the additional draw of Linda Chung’s TV return as well as Kevin Cheng and Kenneth Ma’s ten years in the making reunion and it could’ve been a hit. Sadly, response to the show left a lot to be desired as viewership fell below expectations during opening week.
Hitting the Sweet Spot Amongst Chinese Audiences
Meanwhile, Kids Lives Matter received a much warmer welcome amongst mainland Chinese audiences, even garnering a Douban rating of 9.0 amongst viewers who’ve rated the show. Some praised the show for its authenticity and its ability to realistically capture the daily situations encountered in a hospital. Moreover, Kenneth’s “experience” playing a doctor in a slew of medical dramas seems likely to have also gone in his favour.
It’s only just the beginning however so there’s definitely enough time for things to turnaround (or not) still.