HONG KONG - Riding a wave of nostalgia, renewed appreciation and, for the social media generation, discovery, a rerun of TVB's 1992 classic The Greed Of Man has drawn record ratings.
The first episode of the stock market soap opera reached an average of 360,000 viewers on Monday, the largest audience for a late-night telecast in Hong Kong, said Ming Pao Daily News today.
The over-the-top opening scene of Adam Cheng's antihero, Ting Hai, throwing his sons off a building after a wrong bet on the futures index wipes out his fortune, drew 410,000 viewers.
And in a happy ending for the actual Hong Kong stock exchange, the dreaded Ting Hai effect - the Hang Seng index often falls when an Adam Cheng show airs - was reversed on Tuesday and the market rose 755 points, said Ming Pao.
In a dry year that has yet to yield a real hit for TVB, The Greed Of Man has been the talk of the town after the network announced its rerun. Young viewers have dubbed the show a "divine drama", a term of respect that has been accorded to more recent acclaimed dramas such as 2011's When Heaven Burns.
Cheng told Ming Pao The Greed Of Man still felt fresh and called it a "production that has transcended its era".
The show was produced by Wai Ka Fai in his TVB days, before he moved on to write screenplays for Johnnie To movies including 2003's Running On Karma and 2007's Mad Detective.
Wai told Apple Daily: "I'm so happy people still like a work from so many years ago."
He said his decision to have an opening flashback of a father throwing his sons down to their death was a risk then and he had not expected it to "become a classic today".
In an interview for his biography in 2011, he said he began with that image in his mind, before working out how and why the characters got to that rooftop, reported Apple Daily. He said he wanted to get away from the regular practice then of using dialogue to advance a story.