Yup, you read that right. I’m not really sure what brought upon the sudden decision to watch a Chinese drama again after more than ten years, but I blame it on the nostalgic feeling I have these days. I have to be grateful that a great drama is the one bringing me back into the wonderful world of Cdramas, and it is no other than Nirvana in Fire/ Lang Ya Bang! Just when I think I’m going to wait until I finish watching Nirvana in Fire before embarking on another drama, I made a mistake of clicking on Love Me, If You Dare/ Ta Lai Le Qing Bi Yan‘s banner on Viki. Oh, no…
I’m no expert on Chinese except for a very basic knowledge about the language, and I rely heavily on subtitles ever since I started watching them eons ago. I stopped watching the C-dramas on the television about twelve years ago to leave for a boarding school, and I’ve never touched any since then. I do get jealous of the people who can simply watch dramas of different languages at the same time, because I tend to get confused (maybe it’s just me ^^’). It’s probably a habit I have developed over the years, choosing to concentrate on one language instead of mixing them up.
Although my focus in mainly on Kdramas, I like browsing through blogs like Cfensi for the news, and My Drama Tea for Heisui’s interesting take on C-dramas. I don’t really know the newer actors and actresses but I get happy when names familiar to me appear in the posts: I’m particularly fond of the Princess Pearl‘s cast, including Vicki Zhao , Ruby Lin, Alec Su, and Fan Bingbing. I only found out recently that Fan Bingbing was also in that series! It was also from these two blogs I first heard about Nirvana in Fire, before a twitter pal, Issy, kept mentioning the drama, enough to make me intrigued.
God, it was love at the first sight because Nirvana is like a precious and stunning show you want to watch all the time. It is adapted from a novel and one interesting thing is the script is penned by the author of the original novel itself, Hai Yan. If you’re looking for an adaptation that stays as close as it can be to the original material, then Nirvana will be a treat for you!
The historical drama follows the journey of a man named Mei Changsu, a leader of the top organization in pugilist world, Jiangzhuo Alliance. He is a talent sought by the two princes of Liang fighting for the throne: Crown Prince and Prince Yu, but he has his own plan. Heading to the capital city Jinling under the name Su Zhe, he chooses to serve under another son of the Emperor: Prince Jing, who is not a strong contender for the throne. Unknown to the members of the court and the citizens of Jinling, this frail and seemingly harmless Mr Su is out for a revenge, finding justice for his army and his family who died twelve years ago because of a false accusation.
Okay, my synopsis might sound so flat (…it actually DOES) but the drama is not flat at all. It is a drama filled with political machinations, but the way Su orchestrates them makes it worth every second watching the series. I’m totally in love with everything about the drama: the cast, the camera work, the cinematography, the plot, and the script. One of the best things about Nirvana is that it portrays a number of female characters who are not these solely for tiring harem drama. They are well-developed and strong in their own ways. I get excited especially for Nihuang and Xia Dong, because they are shown as a capable general and investigator, respectively.
You will find more characters you will want to cheer for (or kill, if they’re the bad ones), and Nirvana in Fire is a well-balanced show of court drama, politics, fighting scenes, and…many more. If you get teary easily, prepare some tissues beside you before you start binging the drama. Before I forget, the series has 54 episodes and stars Hu Ge, Liu Tao, Wang Kai, Chen Long, and Victor Huang (just to name a few). It recently finished airing in China, so the subbing team on Viki is working hard to provide us the subs. Visit the Viki page of Nirvana in Fire to start watching and supporting the team!
As for Love Me, If You Dare…well, it was both accidental and intentional. Accidental because I just clicked on the banner featured on Viki, and intentional because I saw Wang Kai in the trailer. He plays Prince Jing in Nirvana in Fire and I think I’ve got a crush on him ❤ He looks so fine in classic garb, and I must admit that he fares even better in modern clothes. Well, it can be attributed to his character as well. I cannot imagine the state I will be in if I ever get to see him in The Disguiser… XD
Anyway, Love Me is a modern romance criminal drama with a twist of thriller. There is a professor hailing from the USA, Simon Bo Jinyan, who is so weird that he attracts suspicion from people. Jian Yao is a graduate who takes a part time job as a translator for Jinyan before she is made his assistant. Utilizing Jian Yao’s observant nature and his own ability as a psychologist, Jinyan decides to lend his hand to solve criminal cases under the police. Love blossoms but there is danger coming after the professor that might put the people around him in precarious position, including Yaoyao..
The drama premiered last week, airing two episodes every Thursday, and I enjoyed the first two episodes. The thing I like about C-dramas is the duration for each episode: its 40-minute format is shorter compared to Kdramas, and it’s convenient for binge-watchers like me. The investigation is just starting in the series, and from what I’ve seen from the trailer (and spoiled myself in the process), more twists and turns are in store. I hope it will continue to be enjoyable and engrossing, because I love how pretty it is and how dark it will be later. Starring Wallace Huo and Sandra Ma as the leads, the series is also subbed on Viki as well! Visit the Viki page of Love Me, If You Dare to start watching the drama~ It is also an adaptation of a novel of the same title in Chinese, and the scriptwriter is the same as Nirvana in Fire ^^
Watching Cdramas is a challenge for me since I don’t speak the language, and it’s different from how I watch Kdramas and Jdoramas. Who knows, maybe this rediscovery of Cdramas will open a new opportunity to learn Mandarin properly, although it will take at least four years for me to master it. I am thankful for the blogs and the subbers on Viki for giving me the chance to discover these dramas, not to forget my twitter pals who are my fawning buddies for NIF 😉 I hope that I can divide my time between the dramas, and the thing Real Life has in store for me in the future…but for now, I’m gonna fangirl for Xunran!
(Credit to Sina Weibo via Soompi)
Info and images credit: Baidu & Sina