Archive for February, 2012

To Watch:
Beauties of the Tang Palace 1-35

Cast (from Drama-wiki):
Zhang Ting as Wu Mei Niang
Li Xiao Lu as Helan Xin Er
Ming Dao as Ming Chong Yan / Ming Yi
Mickey He as Pei Shao Qing
Zheng Guo Lin as Li Zhi
Lv Jia Rong as Yu Qi Lin

Zhou Mu Yin as Wang Ni Jun
Zhang Chen Guang as Zhangsun Wu Ji
Li Sha as Yang Nu Shi
Wang Li Kun as Bai He
Deng Sha as Zhangsun Ping Ting
He Sai Fei as Lin Xue Yi
Catherine Hung as Miao Feng Niang
Chi Li Jing (迟立静) as Fang Ling Su
Chen Ha Ni (陈哈尼) as Ai Jin Lian
Ye Si Miao as Jin Qiao Yu
Xiong Nai Jin as Li Ruo
Liu Jia Yuan (刘佳媛) as Le Nu
Ren Xue Hai (任学海) as Empress Wang’s father
Liu Fang as Hong Xiu
Ma Wen Long as Yuan Xiu
Luo Jin as Ji Da Peng (cameo, ep.1)

Tong Li Ya as Qing Cheng
Cao Xi Wen as Xiao Wan Wan
Huang Hai Bing as Li Shi Min
Guo Zhen Ni as Empress Zhangsun
Zhang Meng as Xuan Yu
Bai Shan as Ming Zhu
Miao Luo Yi as Princess Cai Yu (ep.19)
Dong Hui as Yuan Chun Yu

Yang Mi as Qing Luan
Gao Yang as Princess Cai Die (Ying Cai Die)
Gao Hao as Shangguan Hao
He Yan Ni (何彦霓) as Shangguan Yun Er
Deng Xi Bin (邓细斌) as Khan
Cheng Yi (成毅) as Feng Xiao Bao
Yang Sheng Wen (杨圣文) as Wang Mei Ren
He Xian Da (何显达) as Luo Bin Wang
Jiang Yi Yi as Xiao Xin Er 

Historical, Romance, Mystery


The story follows the ordeals of four main characters: Xin Er, Ming Chong Yan, Pei Shao Qing, and Yu Qi Lin. The stories of palace intrigue are tied in closely with the scheming and betrayal in the Tang Palace. The Emperor and his most favored Empress Wu Mei Niang are some of the most powerful players. The Palace guards, the servants, the eunuchs, the concubines, and even court officials play the dangerous game.

Xin Er enters the palace as a lowly servant to help investigate the murder of Wu Mei Niang’s daughter. As one case is solved more take their place, and as each mystery is un-rooted, romance and grudges bloom among our heroes and each moves higher up in the palace.

Review: (Possible Spoilers)
I started watching this drama because I was a bit bored after work (staying at a hotel). I thought the first few episodes were very well put together. The twists and turns in the plot, the character development, and the intense acting really put me on edge. The music was great, the costumes vibrant, and the action not too fake.

As you may already know, I love characters like Helan XinEr. She is an intelligent young woman who is genuine to her friends and good at heart. Oh why did the drama start out so well with her and suddenly tilt off into monotony during the middle stretch? I feel like the drama could have been so much shorter and so much better. At the end, all of a sudden, Xin Er is revealed to us as a forgotten Princess. This twist was so much better than the other mysteries that occurred during the last half of the drama. They simply overdid the character development. It seemed like every character had some kind of hidden secret. Ming Chong Yan with the hidden evil twin, Yu Qi Lin with her pursuit for the truth of her father’s death, Pei Shao Qing and his over-zealous and love-struck relative, and most of all Xin Er and her hidden princess identity. Everyone in the palace was either a spy, an assassin, or a masked proxy. I would really have loved for the last half of the drama to follow Xin Er as the Queen of her country going head to head against Wu Mei Niang, but then the title of “Tang Palace” would totally not have made sense.

One thing that really irks me in historical dramas is that for many of the main pairings, love almost always occurs at first sight or attraction from superficial beauty. I do admit Ming Chong Yan and Yu Qi Lin did build some chemistry for a believable romantic progression, but Xin Er and Shao Qing’s love story really confused me. He was head over heals at first glance, though I can’t really take this as a negative in the drama since it’s a very typical drama ploy.

The selling point of this drama was the acting and the mystery. For most part, the main characters gave the play by play as they unraveled the mysteries in the palace. Twists occurred at every turn and kept me guessing. Sometimes the culprit was obvious as I watched the heroes and heroines try to solve the cases, but sometimes I’m thrown the obvious but then given a surprise when the true puppeteer is revealed from the shadows. Props to the acting of Wu Mei Niang (Zhang Ting) and the Emperor. They are the hardest characters to read. Trust me they will get you too!

Declaring that the drama was dull could be judging a bit too harshly just because the drama was a bit stretched out. The romance was a bit weak as well but the intrigue will surely addle your brains. The first half kept me on edge which gives a plus and the renaming portion just kept me hanging on. Li Xiao Lu add oil!



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