Cdramas Galore: What’s Your Pick?

I have to admit, most of the Chinese drama offerings of late haven’t been that enticing although they put out content at top speed as many of them are pre-productions. These days, it’s been brimming with idol drama serials that have not captured my interest much. That was until I saw some of my favourite actors and production companies putting out projects, so I’m beginning to look forward to them again. Here’s a compilation of the few shows, which I thought would be a good overview if they’re all in one list. There are both period and modern-day dramas, and I hope you’d be able to find something to watch amidst the current global situation.

First of all I’m going to talk about Daylight Entertainment’s (东阳正午阳光影视) latest historical that just premiered last week! Fans would know that this is the production company behind many successful and hit dramas such as Nirvana in Fire琅琊榜, The Disguiser伪装者Battle of Changsha战长沙, Ode to Joy欢乐颂 and All is Well都挺好. Colour me excited!

SERENADE OF PEACEFUL JOY 清平乐

Previously known as Held in the Lonely Castle 孤城闭, Serenade had a title change just ahead of its premiere. Personally, I feel the new title is a better one so I welcome the change. Based on a novel penned by Milan Lady, it stars Wang Kai as Emperor Zhao Zhen and Jiang Shuying as Empress Cao. Wang Kai has starred in several of Daylight’s productions and this is no exception. Jiang Shuying is also a familiar face; with Wang Churan, Ren Min and Bian Cheng alongside the cast. As the King, Zhao Zhen struggles between maintaining his beliefs of governing the country and love for his daughter Zhao Huirou (Ren Min). Based on the teasers and trailers I’ve seen, it looks like we are embarking on a journey with lots of angst amidst the politics. We can also be assured of the production quality, as Daylight has rarely disappointed in this aspect. Since I absolutely loved Nirvana in Fire and everything so far looks good, I will be sure to tune in! It has also been picked up for subbing by Viki and wetv.

WINTER BEGONIA 鬓边不是海棠红

Next up we have a Republican period drama Winter Begonia based on a web novel (written by shui ru tian er水如天儿) of the same name and stars Charmaine Sheh, Yin Zheng and Huang Xiaoming. It premiered on iQiyi March 20th and about 24 episodes have aired so far. What makes the premise even more interesting is the fact that this show is set in a period where Peking Opera was a huge thing. Yin Zheng is the titular opera actor Shang Xirui who struggles to make ends meet, but at the same time is very determined to promote the art of opera. When he meets businessman Cheng Fengtai (Huang Xiaoming), they become best of friends (bromance!!) and together they work to rebuild the opera scene. More chaos ensue when war hits and the Japanese occupy Beiping as a result. I have seen 4 episodes so far and it is well-paced, slowly setting us up on what is to come. Besides the budding bromance, we also begin to see Cheng’s family drama (which is quite a big one) where Charmaine Sheh plays Fan Xiang’er, wife of Fengtai. We see that Cheng spends a lot of time outside conducting business, constantly worrying her. There are also conflicts here and there on the business side of things. Part of me also doesn’t want to catch up too quick, although I am really looking forward to see the story’s progression. Visual wise, the sets are really well thought-out, along with the costumes and props that reflect the era set between 1920s-1940s China. This is also being subbed by Viki.

I WILL FIND YOU A BETTER HOME 安家

We move on to modern-day workplace drama I Will Find You A Better Home, which actually aired in late February and completed its run at the end of last month. I decided to include it because it stars Sun Li as star property agent Fang Si Jin alongside Luo Jin, Zhang Meng and Wang Zijian. The story is based on Japanese drama Your Home is My Business, and from the trailer it looks like hijinks ensue between our characters amidst differing perspectives and work styles. Over time, romance blossoms between Fang Si Jin and Xu Wen Chang (Luo Jin) who also grow as individuals. With a real-estate agency as the backdrop, we also get to look into stories of their clients’ lives.

IF TIME FLOWS BACK 如果岁月可回头

Jin Dong!! Need I say more? Haha. Jokes aside, If Time Flows Back is his latest project that premiered 20th March on iQiyi platform. It stars Jiang Xin, Li Naiwen as well as Li Zonghan. A healing drama about three men who decide to go on vacation in Australia coming off their respective failed marriages; they then begin to find their way out of difficult patches in their respective lives. There they also meet bar owner Jiang Xiaomei (Jiang Xin) and through their encounter she also finds herself healing and seeking closure from her past experiences. The premise is slightly different but based on the trailer and promotional material, there is a mixture of comedy amidst the angst, much like kdrama A Gentleman’s Dignity. It looks ridiculous already, can’t imagine watching the actual drama itself. Besides the fun, it also looks like a show with lots of heart. I think that it is equally important to be touching and reflective of life. P.S. I can’t find a subbed version of the trailer below.

HUNTING 猎狐

Majority of Hunting’s promotions came out only on 13th April, just a day ahead of its premiere today. This also stars Wang Kai, but is special because he reunites with his Nirvana in Fire and Disguiser co-stars Wang Ou, Liu Yijun and Guo Xiaoran for a detective thriller. Wang Kai plays Xia Yuan, a detective in the economic crimes unit alongside Hu Jun as Yang Jianqun who is like a mentor and friend to him. His career and life comes crashing down when a crash in the stock market sparks a suicide that reveals suspicion of a huge conspiracy behind it. Xia Yuan begins his investigation to hunt down mastermind Wang Bolin (Liu Yijun) across the globe, with the assistance of his colleague Wu Jiaqi (Wang Ou). From the promotional preview, it is evident that there is going to be a lot of manipulation and corruption that Xia Yuan and his team aim to get to the bottom of. P.S. The trailer as shown below is not subbed yet.

9 thoughts on “Cdramas Galore: What’s Your Pick?

  1. Winter Begonia I’m keeping tabs.
    Chinese dramas are steadily joining my to-watch list after Untamed hehe. Now I’m wondering what actually kept me from watching Chinese historical dramas, for as a kid I came across Chinese music, fairytales and period stories waay before I even heard of Korean Sageuks(my name comes from Peony Pavilion😁), plus the architecture and clothing are lot more extravagent.
    It’s probably a combination of me hearing only “X s and Sh s” in Chinese (Untamed solved that problem. I hear a lot more now lol), the only Cdrama I’ve watched being the Holy Pearl which aired in my country that left a sour 1st impression, and Kdrama production/directing quality and their ability to tell a big story within a smol episode count keeping me glued inside their territory.
    I’m deciding to expand now as Untamed has opened my eyes lol. I had tabs on quite a good Cdrama recs but was always cautious, but now I think I’m finally gonna watch
    1. Nirvana in Fire
    2. Joy of Life
    3. Duoluo Continent when it airs (please please let the CGI be not-cringey)
    4. 10 Miles of Peach blossoms or at least parts of it
    5. Story of Ming Lan
    6. Gank My Heart (for absolutely no reason other than Wang Yibo😝)
    That’s all I can recall right now!

    1. Hi Peony, I am glad that you’re venturing into cdramas now 🙂
      Yes, I highly recommend Nirvana in Fire, watch it! I plan to check out Story of Ming Lan as well. I’ve heard good things about Peach Blossoms too, but am not really a fan of fantasy elements. Enjoy your dramas!~ ❤

  2. Only tried Love and Destiny for Chang Chen, who is hot (though not with that hairstyle). Winter Begonia reminds me of Chen Kaige’s Farewell to My Concubine, except that one of the guys here is already married and this looks to be a chaste version of things. And the remake for Ie Uru Onna looks a bit… off, Sun Li smiles too much.

    1. Winter Begonia has Peking Opera as the backdrop too but is not the same as Farewell to my Concubine. The characterisations are based on le Uru Onna, but I’ve read that they made changes to the Chinese version so I guess the vibe might be different.

  3. I’m most interested in “Hunting” so I’m praying it will be good. I’d like to watch “Winter Begonia” but sadly, I’m a heathen when it comes to listening to Beijing Opera (maybe with the mute button on?) Honestly, I’m watching too many shows right now as it is, but I’m always greedy for more!

    1. Yes, I’d like to watch Hunting too. You should try Winter Begonia, you don’t have to understand the opera singing, its just that the art is used as a backdrop. That’s fine, the more shows the merrier!

      1. It’s not that I don’t understand Beijing Opera in as much as I find the singing to be unpleasant to my ears, as much as I don’t care for Heavy Metal music and wailing electric guitars, but I find the staging and costumes of it fascinating, so this is what I hesitate. I’m going to have to try a few episodes, because the proof is, as they say, in the pudding (or seeing)!

        1. I see, I understand that. It probably takes time getting used to as well, since it doesn’t belong to our times. Same here with regards to heavy metal, but I digress. Yes, the staging and costumes are fascinating to me as well. I hope you try it out! Thank you for reading 🙂

  4. Love K dramas …..my favourite actors are Joon-Gi Lee ,Kyun -Sang Yoon and Jung-il Woo ….I like the historical ones best ,the costumes are gorgeous .But why do they always seem to film these in winter

Rant Out, Souls!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s