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Archive for the ‘Chinese Mainland Dramas’ Category


To Watch:

Episode 1

Cast: (From Drama Wiki)

Cecilia Han as Cheng Hua
Jiang Yi as Shao Jun
Yu Na as An Li Na
Hu Bing as Song Yao
Kingdom Yuen as An Li Na’s mother
He Qiang (贺镪) as An Da Wei (An Li Na’s father)
Li Lan Di (李兰迪) as An Qi
Teresa Mak as Fan Yu
Ken Lok as An Ya Kang
Rong Rong (荣蓉) as Fan Yu’s mother
Zhu Wei Wei (朱薇薇) as Cheng Hua’s mother
Gong Fang Min (公方敏) as Cheng Hua’s father
Lu Yu Lin (陆昱霖) as Cheng Yong
Wang Dao as Shao Jun’s father
Jiang Zhu Qing (蒋竹青) as Shao Jun’s mother
Zhou Jun Yan (周均谚) as Lin Bei Bei
Mu Ting Ting as Mei Mei
Zhu Zi Yan (朱子岩) as Gao Hong

Genre:

Romance, drama, family

Plot:

Because of an incident between two families, a mother is torn from an alcoholic father and young son (Shao Jun).  Shao Jun grows up filled with hate against his mother for abandoning him and also the poverty of his background.  To exact his revenge he can even marry his enemy’s daughter (Cheng Hua) in order to destroy their family business and break her heart.  Disaster after disaster befalls the Cheng family, but no matter what Shao Jun can think of to hurt Cheng Hua, she still believes in him.  She will do anything to try and regain his love.  To raise himself in society, Shao Jun marries into the wealthy An family.

The stories of three families: An family, Cheng family, and the Shao family all become meshed together as the truth is revealed.  Will Shao Jun come to realize Cheng Hua’s genuine heart and return to her or will he truly fall in love with the An family’s An Qi?  What will happen when Cheng Hua discovers the truth behind Shao Jun’s actions?  What will happen when a kind-hearted and talented director Song Yao appears on the scene with a history with An Qi?  Will forgiveness ever come between all three families?

Review : 

I was first drawn to this drama because of the appearance of Han Xue (Cecilia Han).  I first watched her drama 明天我不是羔羊 and loved it superbly.

Let me be honest.  When I started watching this drama, something seemed off right away.  Cheng Hua’s acting knocked me right off my chair and the story-line and script just seemed to be scratching on a chalkboard.  I don’t want to flat out say that this was a terrible drama don’t get me wrong.  There are many points worth discussing but on a bigger picture, I felt like I wasted my time.

The script was unbelievably rocked out of proportion.  Coincidences really can only occur so many times, and yet it seemed the whole plot-line was driven by lucky eavesdropping, coincidental sightings, one out of a million chance misunderstandings, and also lottery statistic impossibilities.  The story seemed more driven by a string of chance encounters rather then actual plot and character development.  Every misunderstanding possible can be found in this drama.  The other element of this drama that really got me was Cheng Hua’s character.  Whether it was the director’s intention or simply Han Xue’s portrayal, I felt like her character was much too innocent and much too naive to be consistent with her latter character.  We find that she is resourceful, intelligent, and ambitious; but all these traits seem almost non-existent when she was trying to bring Shao Jun back to her side.  Her decisions, her thoughts, and her interactions with other characters especially during her time living with the An family, are all much too unrealistic.  Her character is supposed to be innocent and thoughtful, however, her actions in the An household prove the opposite.  Her presence causes the greatest pain and suffering and yet she is undeterred?  Perhaps the director and writer wanted to imply her genuine and deep love for Shao Jun but I feel like they created inconsistency in her character and actually made her seem more of an antagonist instead of a pure-hearted and victimized protagonist.

The music was great.  The supporting cast was also very nicely put together.  Lin Bei Bei and Fan Yu were some of the more memorable characters with great supporting performances.  Their acting and portrayal of their characters brought much more empathy and emotion out.  If Shao Jun’s goal was to be a semi-lunatic and cold-hearted antagonist, then he duly succeeded in being evil.  Song Yao also succeeded in being the affable nice guy however I see a lot of change in his character after he meets Cheng Hua at the club, an almost instantaneous change.  He seemed to have no prior bad feeling toward Cheng Hua even when he was witness to her damage on the An household and also her intimacy with Shao Jun in the parking lot.

No matter how harsh I seem in this review, I’m actually a softy and finished the drama from start to finish.  There is plenty of tear-jerking family drama.  There are definitely elements of a good drama and indeed parts that kept my interest.  The last few episodes seemed to have an over-abundance of couple angst (that dragged through the whole drama) and I couldn’t believe that An Qi could take so much even with all that she knew.

If you have interest in a really crazy drama that almost never quite makes sense, then you can check this one out.  I think if you like some of the main characters you’ll be able to sit through this one.  There are some sad moments, and I do admit, Han Xue does have a killer smile (not quite the happy smile, but definitely the sheepish and shy smile from the heart).  I don’t personally recommend it, however, it is most likely due to my drama preference and also my extreme bias toward really unbelievable plot lines and characters.

Rating:

2.7/5.0

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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 

Genre:
Historical, Romance, Mystery

Plot:

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!

Rating:
3.6/5.0

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Cast:
Hu Ge as Xu Ran
Tang Yan as Tang Qi Qi
Roy Qiu as Wei Xiao
Dong Xuan as Feng Lu Fei
Van Fan as Jiang Dong
Qi Wei as Ye Rou
Chang Chih as Cui Da Bing
Yumiko Cheng as Xiong Jia Jie
Liu Hui as Mr. Tang
Li Tao as Jian Dan
Gao Lei as Zhao Ning
Xu Zhen Xi as Zhang Da Yu

Genre:
Drama, Romance

Plot:
Eight years ago Xu Ran watched as his girlfriend died in his arms, his company’s ideas exploited and stolen by a mysterious organization existing only in the shadows. Eight years later Xu Ran is once again at the peak of his career. His mind is as sharp as ever and his ability to think ahead and get things done has made him very successful at his new company. Just at this moment the shadowy organization once again intervenes in his life and threatens to take away all that he has regained. Alongside him in his fight against the mystery organization is Wei Xiao, a seemingly cold-hearted and aloof policeman.

Still unable to forget his ex-girlfriend, Xu Ran meets Tang Qi Qi, a plain and simple girl with no dream and no plans for the future. Her kind and naive personality get her in trouble at her work place and also with random strangers. One of those strangers is Xu Ran, whom Qi Qi finds passed out on the side of a stone path. Thus begins their relationship, which is tested by the appearance of Feng Lu Fei, the daughter of the head of an enormous business empire.

A battle of wits and risks emerges as the different people around Xu Ran try to bring him down, the mysterious organization and also his once good friend Jiang Dong. Will Xu Ran fall in love with the normal and caring Tang Qi Qi or the ambitious princess Lu Fei? Will Xu Ran be pushed off his throne once again and reduced to nothing once again? Who is this mysterious organization and what are their plans?

Review:
I would like to say right off the bat that I enjoyed this drama a lot, but I still found certain elements lacking. The acting was great by most of the cast and the music was great but I felt that the story took a turn for the worse halfway through. The drama started out on a strong footing and got my interest quickly, but I didn’t really like how the story progressed. That is not to say that I did not like this drama. There were some really great parts and there were a lot of different themes covered through the interactions between the characters and also their struggles to get along with each other.

Almost every character in the drama undergoes a huge transformation. Sometimes it is not noticeable but if you think back to the previous episodes you will realize that nearly every major character changed in someway. The story covers great insight into class struggles between the rich and poor, the dreams of the working class, and also importance of making choices and accepting the consequences.

Let me talk a little about the different players in this drama. First off Xu Ran, played by Hu Ge, was a very dynamic character. I did not pay too much attention to him, but it was easy to see that he had to fill a variety of roles, which he accomplished. He is the protagonist of the show and supposedly very intelligent and charismatic, though imperfect in other aspects such as when interacting with others. Tang Qi Qi was the character who worked out for me the least in my mind. I felt her character was a bit unbelievable and many times the things she did or thought seemed a bit too carved out simply to drive the story of the drama. Ye Rou and Wei Xiao were by far some of the best performances in the drama. Roy was able to capture the unique personality of Wei Xiao and Qi Wei also captured Ye Rou perfectly. I felt the two really played the roles that were given to them and had great chemistry as well. The character of Cui Da Bing had the most humorous role of them all. He did a wonderful job as the oppressive superior. The character of Jiang Dong really seemed to grab the essence of the perfect nemesis. Many times I’d try to read into his character and just when I seemed to think he had finally changed for the better I find that he once again slides into his role as the antagonist very well. Quick props to Li Tao and Yumiko for also playing great support roles and helping to set the mood for the whole drama. Li Tao as the secretary Jian Dan really portrayed some of the darkness of human nature, however in the end we find that it is the environment in which they live in that causes them to act as they do.

In conclusion I must say I really did like how the drama started out. There is an abundance of character development and a lot of great scenes, but I felt that the drama lacked a lot in the development between Tang Qi Qi and Xu Ran. The majority of their scenes were probably just misunderstandings or tense feelings. There were not enough moments between the two of them to really let me feel their connection. There is excessive use of alcohol but then again lots of movies and dramas have that. I definitely found the side stories much more engrossing than the overall direction of the drama. About halfway through the primary drive of the story kind of loses its footing and we become lost for a bit. Then all of a sudden the organization comes rumbling in again for the finish line. I think some parts of the drama lost track of proper drive and got caught up in many mini stories.

I recommend that you do check out at least the first third of the drama, and if that leaves you curious as to the ending then by all means finish the drama. If the first few episodes don’t interest you then the last few probably will make you hate the drama.

Rating:
3.9/5.0

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Cast (taken from Drama Wiki):
薛凱琪 Fiona Sit as Xiao Wei
陳怡蓉 Chen Yi Rong as Pei Rong
Li Zong Han as Pang Yong
Ling Xiao Su as Wang Sheng
鬼鬼 Gui Gui as Xia Bing
Qi Yu Wu as Long Yun
杨幂 Yang Mi as Xiao Hong

Genre:
Romance, Drama, Historical


Song is quite nice!

Plot:
Set in ancient China, the tale of the Painted Skin narrates the story of a demon, Xiao Wei, who tries to prove that love can be broken and that true love does not exist in the world.

The story begins with an innocent Xiao Wei, though at this time she is not yet called Xiao Wei, and she is snatched in the jaws of a mysterious demon trap. The noble and righteous man Wang Sheng happens to chance upon her in her animal form and decides to free her from the trap, not know that she is a demon. Because he took time to free her from the trap, he is encircled by his father’s guards and escorted back to his wedding. This was the first meeting between Xiao Wei and Wang Sheng and a moment that she will never forget. From this incident, she transforms into a human and begins to wander the world, Wang Sheng always on her mind.

Wang Sheng is commanded by his father to wed the daughter of a noble family, Pei Rong. She is filled with disgust at having to marry into the family but agrees in order to save her family. On that fateful night, mysterious forces raid Wang Sheng’s family as well as the city. A series of events eventually lead Wang Sheng and Pei Rong out of the city, and are joined by the warrior Pang Yong, who is in love with Pei Rong. Not far behind Xiao Wei are a pair of demon hunters, Xia Bing and her master, who befriend her and then part ways.

The tale of the Painted Skin tells us the story of these characters, embroiled by love, loyalty, and grief. Having her heart broken by another demon hunter, Xiao Wei travels the world trying to find the meaning of love and a man who will love her.

Pei Rong and Pang Yong have grown up together since childhood and were decidedly meant to be together, but what will happen when Pei Rong begins to waver and falls for the charismatic and honest Wang Sheng? Xiao Wei desperately seeks love, what will happen when she finds Wang Sheng again? How will she try to steal his love? Will Xia Bing ever be able to exact revenge on Xiao Wei?

Review:
I want to first point out that I was drawn to this drama because of Fiona playing the lead. I’ve never seen her for the seductive type, and so I couldn’t really see her fitting the role of Xiao Wei. Many of you have probably seen the movie Painted skin, filmed a few years earlier with Zhao Wei as Pei Rong and Zhou Xun as the demon. I cannot say I loved the movie but it was intriguing and a decent production, so when I saw the leading cast I was tempted to take a peak.

The drama takes the audience much further in depth into the story. Because I am not exactly sure the source of this story, I can’t say for sure if the added bits were written for the drama or if there were some written source which served as the inspiration for the drama. From the drama we discover the origin of Xiao Wei and also the origin of the love between Pei Rong, Pang Yong, and also Wang Sheng. Elements in the movie which seemed unclear were fully developed in the drama. Because of this, I felt immersed into the story and it seemed everything that happened in the drama had a reason to it.

The drama production was done fairly well. Mainland dramas tend to have very nice sets and costume designs and for Painted Skin there was no exception. The music and mood which was created in the drama was exceptional as well. There were some action scenes in the drama but the effects were somewhat unrefined, though the quality did not really detract from the drama as a whole but the movie definitely had better effects.

According to the drama, the character of Xiao Wei is a very difficult role to play. She needs to reach a wide range of emotions: innocence, bitterness, rage, sadness, seductiveness, love, and many more. I felt Fiona covered some of these well but could not quite reach the full range, however I believe part of the reason that she could not accomplish this was because of the script. A few of her best moments came during her first heart break and a couple other scenes where she has more extreme emotions, but for some reason her attempts at seduction somehow just did not work for me. It is likely that I usually associate her more with the kind girl and sacrificial type that her portrayal of a vixen just could not get through. The other characters were all great. Wang Sheng was acted out uniquely and I could feel his character. I don’t have much to say about Pei Rong as I was not too interested with her character, but her acting did capture the right feelings for her character and was quite believable. For the most part all of the characters, Xia Bing (I did enjoy Sun Li’s character better), Pang Yong, and the others meshed together quite nicely.

The story itself was fairly solid. I enjoyed the back stories and the incidents which led up to the movie version. The writing in the script felt a bit lacking. I found certain scenes very odd and unbelievable for example the love between Xiao Wei and one of the young demon hunters. I did end up skipping through many scenes in the latter episodes in my impatience to find how the drama decided to interpret the ending of the story as compared to the movie. I found it to be quite abrupt, though quite touching all the same.

All in all, I must say that there were a couple enjoyable parts in the drama but none which brought me to tears. If you are interested in a fuller understanding of the events in the movie I highly recommend that you take a peak into the drama for the first few episodes and even the last two or three episodes. If you are a fan of Fiona you may find this drama quite nice but for the avid drama watcher I think you are best off finding some alternative. I admit this drama was a bit stretched, the effects quite rudimentary, and Fiona’s hairstyle quite unbecoming. I really do love Fiona as an actress, but she just does not fit fully into the role of the demon Xiao Wei, whether it be her looks or even just her portrayal of Xiao Wei.

Rating:
4.0/5.0

Chinese Stream Link:
Watch Hua Pi Here

Song Link:
Fiona Sit – August Girl (includes Wei Ai)

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Cast:
马苏饰姚开心 Ma Su as Yao Kai Xin
王洋饰浦少杰 Wang Yang as Pu Shao Jie
赵阳饰张乐心 Zhao Yang as Zhang Yue Xin
李诚洁饰晶晶 Li Cheng Jie as Jing Jing
张谦饰郭顶天 Zhang Qian as Guo Ding Tian
爱娃饰亚娇 Ai Wa as Ya Jiao
林栋甫饰浦西 Lin Dong Fu as Pu Xi
李俸旭饰楚玉 Li Feng Xu as Chu Yu
于晓光饰杜润南 Yu Xiao Guang as Du Run Nan

Genre:
Martial Arts, Comedy, Drama

Plot:
Yao Kai Xin is a female kung fu disciple. While snowboarding down a snowy mountain, she stumbles but a yellow dressed skier rescues her. All she has is a single ski glove to tell her who he is. With that one glove, she decides to leave her hometown to search for the man who saved her life. In the city, the naive Yao Kai Xin discovers for the first time the ups and downs of love as well as the harsh realities of life.

When she first reaches the city, she meets Shao Jie, Yue Xin, and many others at Guo dojo. Due to a misunderstanding, she believes that the missing glove belongs to Yue Xin, but later finds out that it is Shao Jie. Shao Jie is the son of a large company and spends his days throwing money around and cheating on many different girlfriends on the same time. This of course clashes with Kai Xin’s innocent personality as well as her fearlessness in demanding justice with her fists.

When disaster befalls Shao Jie’s family, will he be able to stand back on his two feet? Shao Jie meets a kind and independent woman named Jing Jing and for the first time he becomes serious about a woman, will he fall for the graceful dancer Jing Jing or the unrefined yet fearless Kai Xin?

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Review:
I would first like to say I am a big fan of Ma Su, as I have seen her newer works Sword Stained with Royal Blood and also Morality Baseline. It is a nice change to see her in a different light and I must say that she does well in comedy as well. All her different projects I have seen her in really show her extensive abilities to take on such different roles. In this day and age, many dramas have been recreated in different countries. When searching Ma Su’s other works to watch, I noticed the title of this one and became interested, so I decided to search it on joy.cn and found the first episode to be quite refreshing compared to all the serious dramas I have been following recently.

Just like Meteor Garden has been done in Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and even China, you will notice that each one puts a different aspect on the drama to make it unique while still keeping the main storyline. When I really got more into this drama, I noticed the close similarities with the Korean drama 명랑소녀 성공기 Success Story of a Bright Girl (2002), lead by Jang Nara and Jang Hyuk. The twist however, in this mainland version, is that the main actress Kai Xin, is a kung fu girl. This definitely helps contribute to the comedy factor of this drama, which I really enjoyed. It is not a serious martial arts movie, but rather uses exaggerated kung fu for a light hearted feel. I am not usually a fan of comedy dramas but this one touched my heart and I really loved the overused and sometimes cliche jokes or lines. Although I categorize this as a comedy, this is not to say it has its other emotional moments. I found myself many times on the verge of tears, silently rooting for Kai Xin. The drama does an awesome job on reaching all the different emotions of the viewer. Anger, surprise, sympathy, courage, humor, and even sadness are all conveyed throughout each episode.

In the other works that I have seen Ma Su in, she has done Wu Xia fighting and also a wife in a modern drama. I feel that her role in this drama showed us another face to her acting. She manages to capture our love and sympathy and at the same time makes us laugh at her naive yet straightforward character. Unlike Taiwanese dramas and Japanese dramas, she makes no exaggeration of trying to be cute and yet she achieves a bubbly character that slowly grows into a more mature Kai Xin. This is seen in a good number of all the other characters in the drama as well. The only static character whom I find unchanging is Jing Jing. For some reason she doesn’t really click for me. She is not a bad character even though she is Kai Xin’s rival for Shao Jie’s love, we do not hate her. She has no ill will toward Kai Xin and both are good friends, but other than that, we never get much more out of her character. The actor for Shao Jie does not have too much to mention. Though his character is the most dynamic throughout this drama, we don’t connect with him too much. I often find myself berating him for not realizing so many things and being so uncertain all the time. The only time he seems to do something manly of worthy notice, it is not even he that does the work but Kai Xin. Afterwards he reverts right back to his wishy washy self.

The rest of the cast was fantastic. The Guo household for example, at first finds Kai Xin useful for their own purposes, however, they later begin to treat her as family. The music was enjoyable. I really loved all the music they played during the drama. The humor parts and emotional scenes were all paired with music nicely.

Overall, the script was quite average, but the amount of dynamic emotions and characters really balanced the drama out. There were a few good surprises, but for the most part the drama was very predictable. This is not necessarily a bad thing because trying to see everything play out in the end kept me watching the drama. I won’t deny that I did skip many scenes, but that is only because I don’t have too much time and I loved Kai Xin’s character a lot.

Rating:
4.0/5.0

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themythbanner

Cast:
Hu Ge as Yi Xiao Chuan and General Meng Yi
Ren Quan as Yi Da Chuan
Bai Bing as Princess Yu Shu
Chang Chih as Gao Yao and Zhao Gao
Zhang Meng as Gao Lan / Xiao Yue (Yu Ji)
Tan Kai as Xiang Yu
Jin Sha as Lu Su
Zhang Wei as Gao Jian Li
Chen Zi Han as Lu Zhi
Allen Ting as Meng Tian
Li Yi Xiang (李易祥) as Liu Bang

Genre:
Romance, History, Drama, Fantasy

Plot:
During an excavation, Da Chuan and his father discover an ancient box with a keyhole on the lid in the shape of a tiger. Da Chuan’s younger brother Xiao Chuan, a restless photographer who spends his life playing around, mysteriously happens upon an ancient necklace with a tiger shaped jade pendant. While running from his hot blooded girlfriend Gao Lan, Xiao escapes behind the security of his brother’s dig site. At the same time, a group of artifact thieves break into the compound and steal the box. Xiao Chuan, along with Gao Lan’s older brother, Gao Yao, chase the thieves and finally catch up to them. The two of them get the box back but when Xiao Chuan inserts his necklace into the key slot of the box, the two are teleported back 2000 years to the Qin Dynasty. Da Chuan, his parents, and Gao Lan begin the search for clues on where the two have disappeared and why there is a group of people constantly trying to block their path.

With knowledge from the future, how will Xiao Chuan and Gao Yao survive in the ancient Chinese civilization? Will they become a part of history and become prominent figures in war and politics? Along the way, Xiao Chuan meets numerous maidens, each attracted to his wisdom, unconventional ways, and his mastery of martial arts; but as trouble follows in his wake, will he learn to become a better person and change to more serious ways? Xiao Chuan falls in love with a Princess but she is forced into marriage with the Qin Emperor, will their love survive all the obstacles and challenges? Gao Yao starts from the bottom of the social hierarchy as a slave and slowly rises in the ranks among the palace Eunuchs, will power and thoughts of revenge corrupt him? Will Xiao Chuan’s family at home be able to find out how to bring him back? As Gao Lan follows Da Chuan around, will an unlikely love blossom?

Review:
This is the first time that I have ever watched an ancient Chinese drama over 42 episodes. My first impression was very good, though. The music, acting, and storyline really intrigued me. This is not to say there were no flaws. I thought the action was not realistic enough, the amount of time spent on battle scenes clearly showed a budget limit. There were many parts that were dragged out and conversation was slow and repetitive in many places.

Possible Spoilers
I think for the most part Hu Ge does a decent job in this drama, although he is not my favorite ancient drama actor. The female actresses were all decent, but Chen Zi Han and Jin Sha probably caught my interest the most. As you might know I love Chen Zi Han in a number of dramas I’ve reviewed before and she really can play the villain role pretty well. The love between Hu Ge and Bai Bing, the Princess, was really odd in my opinion, because they never really had a scene where they really fell in love. Also, when they were split apart, their emotions were like epic super strong that Hu Ge had to be a drunk and Bai Bing couldn’t get a grip on reality without Xiao Chuan. It was just really rushed and then when they were supposedly “in love” they were borderline obsessive. Even Hu Ge, as Xiao Chuan, lost all his thinking.

The main point of interest in this story was the plot. I loved everything that happened, from the court politics to the times that Hu Ge saved people and made powerful friends all over the kingdom. All the famous stories from the Qin Dynasty are a part of drama including the tears of a maiden causing the collapse of the Great Wall of China, the heroic and strength of Xiang Yu, the feats of Liu Bang, the killing of the giant snake, the power of Zhao Gao, and even the assassination attempts on the Qin Emperor.

I just want to finish up with a few comments on what I would have liked to see: better special effects (even just a little), more realistic fight scenes, more soldiers (even if they have to use CG), better love stories. Other than that I think the drama was very attention keeping. The scenes during modern day were slightly less interesting since they kept using the same backdrops.

Rating:
4.2/5.0

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Cast:
Zhang Jia Ni 张嘉倪 as Tian Wei
Ming Dao 明道 as Liang Yu Fang
Achel Chang 張芯瑜 as Du Yun Er
Jill Hsu 徐婕兒 as Zhao Xi
Huang Meng 黄勐 as Yan Shi Guang
Ma Ke 馬可 as Lei Hong

Genre:
Romance

Plot:
Liang Yu Fang is the grandson of a large hotel owner and is next in line to take over the reigns. There is one problem though, Yu Fang despises the responsibility and instead wants to pursue his own dreams as a design artist. When he returns back from his oversea studies, both his grandfather and older sister force him to start learning about the hotel.

At about the same time he meets Tian Wei, a hard-working and innocent girl who lives with her alcoholic father and autistic younger brother. Because her father tries to drink away his depression all the time, the running of the household and moneymaking is left to Tian Wei. Day in day out she works multiple jobs and still doesn’t have enough to pay off her father’s death. The only things that keep her going are the thought of curing her brother and the memories of her departed mother. Her mother died because of singing, and even though Tian Wei dreams of becoming a singer, she is not allowed to sing.

Without knowing Yu Fang’s true identity, she slowly falls for his devoted charm. What will happen when she discovers the truth? What if there was another woman at the hotel who was plotting something evil against the Liang family? When Yu Fang’s sister and grandfather try to match him with Zhao Xi, how will Yu Fang deal with Tian Wei and his family? In order to make money, Tian Wei starts singing again, will she ever become a star? When everything seems to be falling apart, will Tian Wei and Yu Fang be able to keep their love?

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Review:
I normally stay away from idol dramas. I guess this is pretty close to an idol drama, but apparently it was aired on cctv and hunan tv so its a mainland china idol drama. Most of the cast have appeared at some time or another in Taiwanese dramas. The thing that perked my interest to this drama was Zhang Jia Ni. When I started watching Dreams Link, her character and innocent personality attracted me greatly. Although I never finished that drama (I think I will eventually) I thought she was a very beautiful actress. I tentatively started watching it, and I must admit, I was a little disappointed.

The dialogue and story line are very cliche. Not only was it cliche, it was extremely poorly written. To be blunt, I found the plot to be very predictable, very dragged out, and very un-stimulating, if there could be such a description. This doesn’t mean the drama didn’t have its highlights. In this drama, I realized that Zhang Jia Ni just has the looks of a ‘good’ character. Her voice and actions and also kind nature let her fit the role well, but if she were to act another type of character, I don’t have the confidence to say she would be a good actress. That is beside the point however, since I enjoyed watching her.

The supporting cast seemed to be decent, and I must applaud Jill for a decently invigorating performance as the antagonist. It seemed the drama revealed her story in a poor manner and I felt that it could have been done better. Her expressions often give away her true thoughts, but at the same time, they really confused me about how she felt about the other characters. I believe her acting is headed in the right direction, but in order to be a more dynamic character and affirm her thoughts on each character, she needs to better distinguish her different emotions. A lot of times I couldn’t tell what her true intentions were in certain scenes.

Ming Dao. Let me see. He’s a boy band singer. I don’t want to say too much about his acting. I’ve seen plenty of his works, such as Legend of Star Apple and also Knock Knock Loving You. I’ve noticed, especially in this drama, that he really likes to enunciate his dialogue, which makes it a little awkward when he is saying all his lines. I don’t have too much against him, but I think I prefer him playing the antagonist.

I think the best parts of this drama were the music. I think that most of the songs are actually sung by Zhang Jia Ni, as she did in Dreams Link. She has a beautiful voice and my favorite parts of the drama were watching her sing on stage. When she dresses up she looks amazing and her expressions are to die for.

I may have been a little critical while reviewing this drama since I do have a lot of beef against idol dramas. If you love Ming Dao or Zhang Jia Ni and you want to watch a simple-minded and entertaining drama, don’t be afraid to take a look at this one. It is a bit childish to my opinion, but there are still a few cry cry scenes. The humor is a bit dry as they are cliche, but I guess it still worked on the occasional chance.

Rating:
3.3/5.0

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Music Videos

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