Chinese Dramas Airing in Feb/March 2024


Welcome back to Chasing Dramas! This is the podcast that keeps you up to date on Chinese entertainment news. We are your hosts Karen and Cathy! Today, we’ll be catching you with the latest dramas that have aired in Feb and March.



I feel like the second half of February and into March, there hasn’t been anything super interesting airing. Or anything that’s really caught my attention.

Here are a few dramas that are out or did air that you should be aware of because of the commentary around them. You can probably guess that it’s mostly negative.

紫川·光明三杰 – Eternal Brotherhood

This 24 episode historical fantasy drama dropped with literally no notice on iQiyi and tencent. It was filmed 3 years ago in 2021. It stars Yang Xu Wen who played 卢陵风 in The Strange Tales of Tang Dynasty, Liu Yu Ning and 张铭恩.

I’m highlighting this drama for the fact that it has performed rather poorly and is the subject of much criticism, mostly aimed at Liu Yu Ning. Liu Yu Ning has not been having a good time lately. It’s a pity because when he acted as the second male lead, he wasn’t really in the line of fire. On the contrary, he received quite a bit of praise for his first role as 皓都 in The Long Ballad opposite 赵露思. Plus, he is a prolific singer who has so many chinese drama soundtrack songs to his name. That’s how he garnered so much attention to build his fanbase. But things took a turn from a public perception stand point after A Journey to Love where there’s been a lot of hate towards him on Chinese social media for him not being handsome enough. Unfortunately, this drama, Eternal Brotherhood, does little to help rectify this negative view as poor hairstyling, costumes and lighting in the drama make the cast of men look much older than they are. In any case, there hasn’t been much buzz around this drama outside of negative press.

Speaking of negative press, the other drama that has been panned of late is 猎冰 or The Hunter. This, thankfully, short drama of only 18 episodes started airing on Feb 21 on Tencent. It features 张颂文 and 姚安娜 in the main roles. This is a modern day drama where 姚安娜 plays I think an anti-drug taskforce officer. She goes toe to toe with the lead of this drama but also drug lord 张颂文.

This drama only has 4.4 on Douban right now. Why all the negativity? Seems pretty run of the mill. Well. There’s a lot of attention on the main female lead 姚安娜. She does not have a lot of acting credits to her name but she’s able to play the female lead of a drama out of no where? Um it’s because she’s known as the 2nd princess of Huawei. Her father is the founder and CEO of the famous and giant cellphone company, HuaWei. Huawei is one of the world’s largest manufacturer of telecommunication hardware and mobile phones and his estimated net worth is at about $1bn. So… you understand why people are interested in Yao An Na. She apparently studied at Harvard and went by Annabel Yao but decided to set her sights on the Chinese entertainment industry. Except. It’s not going well. Her acting has been thoroughly panned in this drama and you could tell comments online have almost a love hate relationship with her. Like would she have been able to get the female lead role if she wasn’t the daughter of the Huawei CEO? Mmmmm big question mark.

What’s even more odd is that she is paired with an actor like 张颂文 who we highlighted was a breakout star last year in The Knockout or 狂飙. I haven’t seen the drama but from video clips I’ve seen and online commentary, he’s doing his thing and acting circles around 姚安娜 who just seems out of place next to him. Like he’s super natural in his acting while she is very forced. Plus, I’m looking at the billing of this drama. She has higher billing than 韩庚? What? He was part of Super Junior and a major name 10 years ago. Look, 姚安娜 was in Meet Yourself last year in a smaller role and I thought she was fine but maybe that role was too similar to her normal self so not too much acting was needed. In any case, the story here is to introduce you all to 华为二公主 or the 2nd princess of Hua Wei.

Moving on, one drama that surprised me to the upside in terms of how well it’s done in viewership ratings is Bai Jing Ting and Jin Chen’s drama 南来北往 which I think is called Always on the Move. This drama started airing on CCTV 8 on Feb 6.

The drama begins in the 70s with Bai Jing Ting playing a young train policeman 汪新 and he is involved with solving a bunch of crimes and cases on the train to keep the railroads safe. Jin Chen plays his love interest. When Jin Chen’s character马燕 was young, her parents adopted an abandoned boy. 白敬亭’s father witnessed a crime and was too cowardly to be a witness, leading to the Jin Chen’s father’s imprisonment for 10 years. During those 10 years, Jin Chen’s mother died and she had to raise her brother essentially by herself. When her father was released from prison, he resumed his job but highly disapproved of Bai Jing Ting.

Now we dedicated a whole podcast episode to the saga revolving around Bai Jing Ting and his supposed antics during the Spring Festival Gala which happened while this drama was airing. Interestingly, this drama drew in massive ratings. I mean massive. It averaged more than 3% and even breached 4% at its peak. For context, any drama breaching 2% is deemed as a good achievement. The viewership ratings for this drama is so strong that it even beat out 狂飙 or Knockout. But are we hearing any buzz? Not really. That to me is quite odd and is yet another example of perhaps the disconnect between actual Chinese tv viewers vs the online community of Chinese drama viewers. I don’t know if it’s because Always on the Move or this drama aired when 白敬亭 had so much negative press around him due to the Spring Festival Gala performance but this drama did not necessarily elevate him to new heights in his career. It’s conflicting. He drew in massive ratings for this drama which means he should be a staple on CCTV but then people are saying CCTV might never invite him again to the Spring Festival Gala.

He’s been quietly filming another drama these days and keeping his head low given all the chaos lately.

Another drama for the family crowd is
烟火人家 or 烟火人家 2月13日 徐帆、马思纯、梁静、李小冉

This drama depicts the lives of 3 sisters, each with adult daughters, and how they navigate their relationships with their respective husbands, children, and each other. For some reason, I saw so much of this drama on Chinese TikTok, maybe the algorithm knows something about me, haha. Anyways – critical reception of this drama has been quite positive as folks really connected to the stories for each of the three sisters. It’s rare that we have such an ensemble cast of mainly women across 3 generations but here is one of them. This show definitely caters towards the older crowd. I liked watching a few of the episodes. Just a caveat – the husbands are all terrible so go ladies

Judge Dee’s Mystery (2024) 大唐狄公案

Summary: Di Ren Jie ft Zhou Yi Wei returns home to Chang An to participate in the imperial entrance exams. It is the early Tang dynasty where Empress Wu is enacting reforms. Her phoenix seal is stolen and Di Ren Jie is unexpectedly swept up in the chaos that involves not only the death of one of his close friends, but political chaos as well. After solving the case, Empress Wu sends him to Peng Lai to help resolve other mysteries that threaten the stability of the Tang dynasty.

The drama is broken out into a number of cases that Di Ren Jie is involved in. He started out with a major case in Chang An that caught the attention of the Empress Wu and is then sent off to Peng Lai as an official. We get to go along for the ride as he encounters various oddities in his role that he must solve. There’s also added pressure from the Empress as she tasks Di Ren Jie with resolving threats that could destabilize the Tang.

Total Episode Count: 32

Initial Airing Date: Feb 6, 2024

Platform: CCTV 8, Youku

A high quality production show featuring the famous Judge Dee (Di Ren Jie) set in the Tang dynasty. This is a historical detective drama with beautiful sets and costumes as well as intriguing cases. Zhou Yi Wei’s portrayal of Judge Dee is more rugged but just as perceptive and just as prior versions. Approximately 4 episodes per case keeps this drama moving at a brisk pace for a fun drama to chase. There are also many familiar faces as guest stars for this show.

Despite the short stints of multiple cases, the second half of the drama became rather muddied and less intriguing compared to the first half. Ultimately, this drama didn’t live up to its potential given the high production value and strong cast. 

大理寺少卿游 36 2022 2月20日 爱奇艺 丁禹兮 古装

As for what I’ve been actually passively watching, I watched like 10 episodes of 大理寺少卿游 or White Cat Legend. This drama stars 丁禹兮 and a bunch other new actors. It’s based off of a manga/anime I think and features Ding Yu Xi as a young Deputy Head of the Imperial Court of Judicial Review 李饼. His father was the original leader but was murdered 3 years ago and he also somehow turns into a large white cat. He returns to the capital of this made up dynasty to figure out exactly what happened to him and discover who killed his father. It’s 36 episodes long and I was on a kick for more detective style dramas after watching Judge Dee.

This is…fine. It’s more comical than Judge Dee for sure but not as interesting. Ding Yu Xi basically carries the show and everyone else is largely forgettable. The pace of the drama doesn’t move too quickly so it’s fine for background fodder but otherwise it certainly ranks lower in interest and production quality than Judge Dee.

唐人街探案2 16 2022 2月29日 爱奇艺 邱泽、张柏嘉、尹子维、连凯、吕颂贤 
We’ve got Detective Chinatown 2 starring 邱泽、张柏嘉、尹子维、连凯、吕颂贤 that began airing on iQiYi on Feb 29th. This 16 episode drama is a sequel to the 2020 drama and part of the same universe as the Detective Chinatown movies. We have cameos from 王宝强 from the original movies.

邱泽 stars as detective 林墨 who has an acute sense of smell and ranks as #4 on the Crimemaster detective rankings. He goes undercover to an asylum called Angel Hospital to try and meet up with another detective called the Pianist. Unfortunately, the Pianist is mysteriously killed in the asylum and 林墨 must solve the mysteries of the asylum. That is only 1 of 4 cases that 林墨 solves for this drama.

I actually have never seen any of the dramas or movies in the Detective Chinatown universe, perhaps due to my distaste for its screenwriter 陈思诚. I watched a couple of episodes for this drama and will grudgingly admit that it is a very fast paced, alluring, albeit gory watch. I can’t tell where exactly this Chinatown is compared to the other dramas and movies but that’s ok. I really do like the mismosh of accents that I hear from the characters in the drama, which reflect the backgrounds of the actors themselves. For example, the lead 邱泽 is from Taiwan but he only has a slight taiwanese accent. 吕颂贤 is from Hong Kong and has a Hong Kong accent. I personally really enjoy that everyone just continues as is without dubbing. If you’re squeamish, probably don’t watch this drama but it’s short enough that each mystery gets solved in a robust manner.

飞驰人生热爱篇 28 2022 2月28日 优酷 胡先煦、王彦霖 

Next up, we have the drama 飞驰人生热爱篇 or Pegasus. The 28 episode drama which aired on YouKu on Feb 28 stars 胡先煦 as 林臻东 and 王彦霖 as 张驰. This is a different take on the 2019 box office smash of the same story Pegaus.

For the drama, up and coming rally driver 张驰 was made a splash in the Chinese Rally racing world. In 2023 though, he experienced a series of setbacks that essentially ended his racing career and he lost his eligibility for 5 years. In the year 2027, new hotshot and multimillionaire 林臻东 challenges 张驰 at the next race. 张驰 accepts but has a near fatal accident. During this, he’s transported back in time to 2022, before all of his setbacks in the body of 林臻东.

The now 张驰 in 林臻东’s body races against time to try to have the 张驰 of 2022 avoid the mistakes he made and ultimately win more championships.

I watched the first couple of episodes and this is a very interesting premise, rally driving and going back in time in the body of someone else. Now, I haven’t seen any Chinese show that features Rally racing so this is a welcome change. I only watch F1, so don’t know much about the Rallying world, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s grown in popularity in CHina. I mean, look at F1, there’s been a Chinese driver on the grid for several seasons now. It’s been interesting seeing some of the similarities between F1 and what’s shown in the show.

As for the actors 胡先煦 and 王彦霖 are pretty great actors. I now know of 胡先煦 from his appearance in the reality show Divas hit the Road and think he’s definitely an up and coming star. The problem is, he just looks SO young! It’s definitely his baby face. I just need to accept that there’s 21 year olds with a ton of money driving fast cars and roll with it. I mean, that’s basically F1. Anyways – it’s a fun watch about a new topic. I didn’t see any major red flags in the
first few episodes, so I’ll give it a try.

别对我动心 Everyone Loves Me is a 24 episode drama that began airing on Youku on March 1st starring 林一 as 顾寻 and 周也 as 岳千灵.

Here’s the basic premise. 岳千灵 is a senior in college interning at one of the premier game developers in the country. However, she feels as though her talents are wasted and hands in her resignation. Just as the company is about to approve the termination, 岳千灵 discovers that the talent game developer and fellow college senior 顾寻 has accepted a job at the company. She’s devastated to hear the news as she was hoping to become acquainted with him.

On the side, 岳千灵 is also a formidable gamer. She regularly plays with an online group. 顾寻 just so happens to be a member of that online group but neither of them know that. 顾寻 joined the company with the goal of developing a best selling game. 岳千灵 tries to find ways to get rehired at the company so that she can work with 顾寻. Who knows what sparks will come from this!

Based on the two episodes I’ve seen of this drama, this is a fun little romance drama. This follows the typical meet cute story of two online gamers meeting and falling in love, but hey, if the formula ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The CGI for the in-game acting is actually pretty decent, which then makes some of the rather fake backgrounds pretty obvious. But that aside, the leads are age appropriate to portray college seniors and act well enough in their roles. I think 周也 acts much more naturally here than in some of her period dramas. If you want something light hearted and chill – this is the one for you.


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