Drama series 'The Magician on the Skywalk' to premiere Saturday

02/19/2021 06:19 PM
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Kaiser Chuang (right), who plays the title role of magician. Photo courtesy of PTS
Kaiser Chuang (right), who plays the title role of magician. Photo courtesy of PTS

Taipei, Feb. 19 (CNA) "The Magician on the Skywalk," a 10-episode drama series that partially recreated a demolished market to tell stories set in Taipei in the 1980s, will premiere Saturday.

"It is like a love letter for people born in the 1960s and 1970s," said Kaiser Chuang (莊凱勛), who plays the title character, when promoting the series on Thursday.

"It also gives kids born in the 2000s a chance to observe and think about how our consumption and technology cultures have changed, and how people in the past cherish things more," Chuang said.

The series is an adaptation of Wu Ming-yi's (吳明益) 2011 book, which is a collection of 10 short stories about people living in Zhonghua Market, a complex of eight buildings of shops linked by skywalks on Zhonghua Road in Taipei's Ximending area.

The market complex, built in 1961, was demolished in 1992 as part of an urban renewal project, which included putting the railway that intersected with Zhonghua Road underground.

Wu previously said he hoped the TV series would allow people who were alive at the time to relive the experience, while giving younger viewers the sensation of "landing on Mars for the first time" when looking back at Zhonghua Market.

One of 50 plus shops recreated by the production team. CNA file photo
One of 50 plus shops recreated by the production team. CNA file photo
Director Yang Ya-che. CNA file photo
Director Yang Ya-che. CNA file photo

For Yang Ya-che (楊雅喆), who adapted the book into the TV series and directed it, it has been a five-year project that included a year of rebuilding part of the market on a two-hectare site in New Taipei for the production.

Yang said the NT$80 million (US$2.86 million) set was conceived to pass on the experience of making a series about a different period.

A scene from the series. Photo courtesy of PTS and myVideo
A scene from the series. Photo courtesy of PTS and myVideo

The series' producer also brought in the special effects team that has worked in the past with South Korean director Bong Joon-ho, though not on his film "Parasite" that won several Oscars in 2020.

"Everyone says Taiwan's film and TV industry needs to catch up with South Korea. What's lacking is not money, but experience," Yang said.

CNA file photo
CNA file photo
CNA file photo
CNA file photo

The series, which will be in Chinese only, will premiere with two back-to-back episodes on the Public Television Service's (PTS) main channel and Taiwan Mobile's myVideo streaming service at 10 p.m. Saturday, and on Netflix in Taiwan an hour later.

PTS and the two streaming services will then air two episodes a day on each of the four following Saturdays.

(By Yeh Kuan-yin and Kay Liu)

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