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Serangoon Road

Score: 83%
Rating: Not Rated
Publisher: Acorn Media
Region: 1
Media: DVD/3
Running Time: 557 Mins.
Genre: Drama/Crime/TV Series
Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH


  • Behind the Scenes Featurette
  • Production Notes
  • Photo Gallery

Serangoon Road takes place during a tumultuous time of political upheaval in Singapore circa 1964. Sam Callaghan (Don Hany) is an Australian living in the colorful city and sharing an import/export business with his friend Kang (Alaric Tay), while sometimes helping out the Cheng Detective Agency. The series opens shortly after the mysterious murder of Winston Cheng (Russell Wong), with his beautiful widow Patricia (Joan Chen) deciding to keep the agency open with the help of her niece, Su Ling (Pamelyn Chee), and also Sam's occasional assistance.

Despite his Australian ex-pat status, Sam is a man on the streets, so he is of invaluable service to the Cheng Detective Agency with his keen ability to get to the bottom of mysteries, combined with his fierce and fearless nature. Since the Red Dragon gang runs a large part of the city, including a healthy gambling and prostitution business, he often comes up against them. Plus, there's the matter of Kang's horrible gambling addiction, which often causes some near misses for he and Sam, especially since the leader of the Red Dragons, a vicious man named Kay Song (Chin Han) seems to have it in for the both of them.

Sam often finds himself in hot water, whether it is with a case or in the bed of his girlfriend, the very married Claire Simpson (Maeve Dermody). Claire's quiet demeanor and grace are in stark contrast to Sam's rugged edge, but the two care deeply for one another and often find solace in each other's arms, especially since Claire's husband, Frank (Jeremy Lindsay Taylor) is often away on business. Claire longs to experience some of the more exotic and colorful sides of Singapore, but whenever she ventures into Sam's area of Chinatown, she often finds herself out of her element and in danger. She is much better suited to life at "the club" where the British and fellow Australians often hang out.

Because of the tense political situation, MI6 and CIA agents are often found in and around the city and the club, including young Conrad Harrison (Michael Dorman), who finds himself smitten with Su Ling, despite her acidic tongue and well-mannered but condescending treatment of him. Watching their relationship unfold is adorable. However, Major Lawrence Miller of MI6 is not so nice to watch and he is often involved in underhanded and unsavory dealings that end up involving the nicer characters in the show.

Each episode contains a case that needs to be solved by the Cheng Detective Agency, but there is also an ever-unfolding story involving the murder of Patricia's husband. While they were all good and most were packed with action and fight scenes, I really enjoyed some of the cases more than others, especially the one where a Chinese wife returns to Singapore after 20 years, having left during WW2, but now in search of her husband who remained. It was interesting and touching.

Su Ling as portrayed by Pamelyn Chee is my favorite character in the entire series. Not only does she have some of the best lines, but she is absolutely lovely, with perfect elocution and an exquisite wardrobe. However, truly, the ladies' costumes in Serangoon Road are all absolutely gorgeous. Every dress worn by Claire Simpson's character is so lovely and handmade, according to the featurette. Patricia Cheng's wardrobe is far more traditionally Chinese, but so stylish and beautiful, as well. Hats off to the costuming department for the show.

Overall, I enjoyed Serangoon Road because I got to learn a bit about an era with which I wasn't really familiar, at least as it pertained to Singapore. The exotic locales and interesting characters are enjoyable to watch, and the storyline ties itself up quite nicely in the end. While Serangoon Road won't be for everyone, since not all viewers would enjoy the action and fight scenes, it is a good drama with a well-written plot, good acting and enjoyable characters. Check it out if you are looking for something a bit different from Acorn's standard British offerings.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

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