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The Current Dearth of Decent Dramas

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(@wu-wei)
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Joined: 12 months ago

I have to admit to being disappointed at reading another lukewarm review; this time for Divine Destiny. Fortunately I have The Longest Day in Chang’An along with your podcast to keep me going in the short term. I’ve reached a temporary impasse with The Longest Promise after 10 episodes and not at all certain if I’ll begin again. I think you’re right that Wang Churan may have been a better choice for the lead, however I’m having a hard time warming up to her as Xu Qin in Fireworks of the Heart. At 4 episodes in we have two main leads who are hard for me to be excited about. Xu Qin is just kind of a mopey character who seems feel sorry for herself and apparently lacks normal interpersonal skills, and Yang Yang as Song Yan comes across as a cocky jerk. I’ll hang in there, but I hope there’s more to keep me invested for 40 episodes than a bunch of contrived heroics to get them back together. BTW, why does it seem like there always major spoilers in the opening credits? Sheesh!

I recently finished and enjoyed The Youth Memories/Where Dreams Begin. This has to be one of my favorite roles for Xiao Zhan and in my estimation definitely established his credibility as a “serious” actor. I hate to say it, but seeing his portrayal of Xiao Chunsheng probably adds to my disenchantment with The Longest Promise. If I’m being honest, I completely concede to being a fool for a good romance drama. I was pleasantly surprised by Hidden Love, and if you’re in the mood for a fluffy, feel good youth romance it certainly should check all the boxes. Judging by some of the comments I’ve read lately it seems that Zhao Lusi is a more polarizing actor than I’d previously been aware. Despite how you may feel about her, I thought she was perfect in the role of Sang Zhi. Also, IMHO any “controversy” surrounding this drama is much ado about nothing. One of the (many) things I appreciate about “In the Know” is actually getting to “know” some of these actors. I happened to read about Victor Ma who played Zhao Lusi’s brother and was really quite fascinated to learn more about his life. He has a few interesting sparsely viewed vlogs on YouTube, travels extensively, and based on what I can see and what I’ve read, he comes from an affluent family with accomplished parents. Very impressed to contemplate this young guy straddling two cultures and being able to embrace both so seamlessly. I also wonder if he is perceived in China as a rich privileged American rich kid?

Finally it really appears that Chinese Dramas are gaining mainstream acceptance here in the U.S. as the selection on Netflix seems to grow daily.

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(@host_karen)
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Joined: 11 months ago

I completely agree that there hasn't been a knockout summer drama yet despite the influx of releases over the last few weeks. Seems that quantity cannot trump quality.

I'll admit that I overestimated how good Fireworks of My Heart is. The more the drama drags on the less interesting it is since the relationship between Xu Qin and Song Yan is not healthy by any means. I'll probably only chase it passively from now on as I've been pretty turned off by the last few episodes. 

We'll see how The Legend of An Le does. Only 1 episode dropped and the production quality is quite poor (I feel like I"m watching a cheaped out version of Pirates of the Caribbean) but it's cute enough. 

Glad to hear that you enjoyed The Youth Memories and Hidden Love at least! What's really interesting is that Victor Ma certainly turned some heads with this role with a couple of trending weibo posts. Though discussions about Victor have been more focused on his performance in this drama and not really about him personally as an actor (or as a Chinese American). The future's looking bright for him though if he can perform well in his future projects, that is, if he decides it's the route he wants to take. 

And yay! C-dramas becoming more mainstream means that we can share our love of them with more people!

 

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