Meet Yourself (2022) 去有风的地方 – Review in Progress

Summary:  Luxury hotel manager Xu Hong Dou 许红豆 ft Liu Yi Fei 刘亦菲 worked nonstop over the last 10+yrs in Beijing to climb the corporate ladder. But when her best friend suddenly dies of cancer, she realizes that there is more to life than just work. She resigns her position and heads to a beautiful village in Yunnan, a place her best friend always wanted to visit, for an extended stay.

There, the pace of life slows down as she meets handsome local Xie Zhi Yao 谢之遥 ft Li Xian 李现 and many other adorable inhabitants and visitors of the village. 



Total Episode Count: 40

Initial Airing Date: January 3, 2022

Platform: MangoTV


Initial Score: 7/10 – A calming modern day drama that could double as a Yunnan province tourism ad. Meet Yourself is sure to bring a smile to your face as you relax with Hong Dou during her stay while also learn some of the challenges of living in these villages.

Initial Thoughts:

In Liu Yi Fei’s first modern drama, Meet Yourself is the perfect drama to stave off the winter blues as we join Hong Dou in the lush green and colorful Yunnan province.

This drama will likely resonate more with millennials and older rather than younger viewers; those who have worked hard in their careers for several years but struggled to achieve work life balance. Xu Hong Dou is never “off” work due to the nature of her role nor does she take vacation or have time to cook. Her fridge is filled with expired foods she never cleared out.  (Is she me?) This brings a realism to her character and it makes sense why her best friend’s death hit her so hard. Many of the plans her friend made with her never came to fruition because Xu Hong Dou was always working.

When she ultimately decides to leave, she comes to a charming little Miao minority ethnic group village in Yunnan province to stay for 3 months. It is an absolutely lovely place and we are brought along for the ride as Xu Hong Dou sees what life is like once she stops hustling.  She meets Xie Zhi Yao, a local entrepreneur, raised in the village. As Hong Dou explores the village, we see the kindness of both the villagers and visitors on full display.  And there’s plenty of adorable animals around too!

Xu Hong Dou

许红豆 ft Liu Yi Fei 刘亦菲. A former front desk manager at a high-end hotel, she quits her job to travel and enjoy life following the death of her best friend



Xie Zhi Yao

谢之遥 ft Li Xian 李现. Born and raised in Yun Miao Village, he gave up his high paying investment job in Beijing to help build up his hometown.


Grandma Xie

谢阿奶 ft Wu Yan Shu 吴彦姝. The adorable grandma to Xie Zhi Yao. She dotes on her grandchildren (and Hong Dou) with a firm but loving hand.

Na Na

A visiting resident in Yun Miao Village, Na Na helps run the local cafe and becomes fast friends with Hong Dou. She harbors a secret but has enmeshed herself for now in the village

Xie Xiao Chun

谢晓春 ft Dong Qing 董晴. Distant relative to Xie Zhi Yao, she runs the residence that Hong Dou stays in. Short tempered but capable, she works with A Yao to build up the village



Hu You Yu

胡有鱼 ft Niu Jun Feng 牛俊峰. Aspiring musician and another resident of the complex, he makes his living singing his songs at local bars. 


Da Mai

大麦 ft Ma Meng Wei 马梦唯 An introvert and night owl, she lives in You Feng complex where she spends her evenings trying to combat writers block as a detective writer

Ma Qiu Shan

马丘山 ft Tu Song Yan 涂松岩. At first mysterious and subdued, he spent much of his time meditating in the complex only to reveal he has more ambition than meets the eye

Liu Yi Fei is once again captivating in this drama. I’m guessing Liu Yi Fei chose to film this role just so that she could enjoy Yunnan as well and it shows on screen. She gets to eat interesting foods, visit beautiful villages and learn Miao crafts! I guarantee that there will be an explosion of tourists hoping to visit such locales in Yunnan after this drama airs. Her chemistry with Li Xian is also quite sweet as well. Similar to A Dream of Splendor, you’re watching two adults build a strong foundation for a relationship and it is such an easy watch. 

What IS notable is that the drama does highlight the challenges of living in this type of village. Money can be tight for the locals and healthcare access a challenge. This causes many villagers to leave to the big cities for a better life.  The exact juxtaposition of Xu Hong Dou who left the big city. I’ll be interested to see how these storylines intertwine because they are social commentaries that are extremely relevant.

However, some of these side stories due to a diverse cast are not as intriguing as the main couple. The leisurely pace of the drama, thus far, also means it will not be one of the most gripping dramas out there. It’s a great drama to have on in the background but perhaps its not necessary to be fully immersed.


Full review in progress




The Blood of Youth (2022) 少年歌行

Summary: An aspiring young wanderer Lei Wu Jie 雷无桀 ft Ao Rui Peng 敖瑞鹏 from the House of Lei is traveling to the great Snow Moon City but finds himself accidentally at an the Falling Snow Inn instead. He accidentally destroys much of the inn after an encounter that turns rough and falls into debt with the mysterious owner of the Inn, Xiao Se 萧瑟 ft Li Hong Yi 李宏毅. 

Lei Wu Jie reluctantly brings Xiao Se along on his journey to pay off his debts. They meet another young man Tang Lian 唐莲 ft Li Xin Ze 李欣泽 who is traveling with and protecting a golden coffin.  They encounter many members of various martial arts houses, sects, and factions all fighting to obtain the contents of the coffin. This is a story of brotherhood, loyalty, and love as the young generation takes up the new Jiang Hu.


This is based off of the book 少年歌行 by 周木楠 and an animated series of the same name


Total Episode Count: 40

Initial Airing Date: Dec 26, 2022

Platform: Youku


Initial Score: 6.8/10 – An ambitious martial arts drama adaptation, the story moves at a brisk pace and weaves together multiple storylines of different martial arts factions, houses, and sects. The young leads are somewhat overshadowed by the star studded supporting cast but the solid story, impressive CGI, and intriguing mysteries make this an pleasant watch.

Final Score: 7.7/10 – An entertaining martial arts drama that largely succeeds on the strength of the source material and brisk storytelling. The intricate storylines, impressive CGI, and sprawling cast all coalesce to a satisfying and touching conclusion. If you want an engaging action / adventure series, this is one to watch




Initial Thoughts – through episode 12

The plot moves extremely fast, which is both a positive and negative. The positive is that we don’t waste time deliberating on pointless arguments or conflicts. The story moves quickly to the next location or the characters need to reach the next martial arts level. It’s kind of like a video game. You beat the quest, then move to the next quest, with some side quests thrown in the mix.

The negative is that the world building is also extremely fast in this drama and requires a lot of commonly known martial arts tropes that might make it difficult to follow for non-martial arts fans. For example, the House of Tang, which is where Tang Lian hails from, typically is proficient in poisons and hidden weapons (think hidden daggers or needles). This is known in Chinese culture and authors / dramas typically adopt this but we don’t get that explanation in the drama. This also means that a lot of it is done through talking, like “oh, this character just reached the next level” or “oh, here’s so and so, the best master of the spear”, which typically just means that someone shows up in a flashy manner. 

This also isn’t the type of martial arts drama that I grew up with, with a lot of hand-to-hand combat. It’s very CGI heavy, which seems to be the trend these days. To me, it doesn’t really feel like a martial arts drama but a fantasy drama mixed with some martial arts in it.  It just doesn’t seem like the characters are in danger at any given point. At first, I was critical of the CGI because in the beginning it didn’t seem very good but it definitely improves as the drama moves along. The acting from some of the younger leads leave much to be desired, but the presence of the older actors and the intriguing storyline allows me to ignore some of the acting misses. 21

Xiao Se 萧瑟 – Li Hong Yi 李宏毅

The stingy owner of the Falling Snow Inn with a mysterious past. He encounters the young and eager Lei Wu Jie who is on his way to Snow Moon City. After the Lei Wu Jie accidentally destroys his inn, Xiao Se decides to travel with Lei Wu Jie to ensure the latter pays for the damages. As the drama progresses, his past is slowly revealed and with it, another whirlwind in both Jiang Hu and the royal court

Wu Xin 无心 – Liu Xue Yi 刘学义

The son of the leader of the Demon Clan, Ye Ding Zhi, and the apprentice of Master Wang You, he grew up as a Buddhist monk and learned many martial arts skills. After the 12 years were up for him to stay in Bei Li as a hostage, he hid himself in a golden coffin to travel out west to become the next leader. Along the way, he met new travelers such as Xiao Se, Lei Wu Jie, and Tang Lian

Lei Wu Jie 雷无桀 – Ao Rui Peng 敖瑞鹏

A young traveler itching to become a new martial arts master. He encounters other travelers, each with hidden abilities. After entering Snow Moon City, he continues his studies in swordsmanship. With an earnest nature and innocent personality, he gains the trust of his friend and in turn, is loyal to them. He has a very cute crush on Ye Ruo Yi.

Si Kong Qian Luo 司空千落 – Lin Bo Yang 林博洋 

Daughter of the Spear Saint Si Kong Chang Feng, she has a straightforward and optimistic disposition. She loves and hates easily and soon falls in love with the mysterious Xiao Se. She is willing to die for her friends and family and uses her Silver Moon Spear to do so.

Ye Ruo Yi 叶若依 – Dai Yan Ni 戴燕妮

Daughter of General Ye Xiao Ying, she suffers from congenital heart defects. She and Xiao Se grew up together and has lived in Snow Moon City for several years for medical treatment. She is intelligent, cunning, and wise. As the advisor of the group, she aids Xiao Se in his ambitions.

Tang Lian 唐莲 – Li Xin Ze 李欣泽

The most senior apprentice of the Tang sect, he also learned from Master Bai Li Dong Jun from Snow Moon City. He is calm, righteous, and powerful. When faced with choosing between competing loyalties, he will always choose what is right.

Plot Overview

Lei Wu Jie is a young martial arts student who accidently finds himself at the Falling Snow Inn while on his way to Snow Moon City. The owner of the Inn, Xiao Se, begrudgingly agrees to travel with Lei Wu Jie to ensure the latter pays for his damages.  Tang Lian, a pupil of Snow Moon City, has been tasked with delivering a golden coffin. However, along the way, he is being hunted by killers. Lei Wu Jie and Xiao Se stumble upon Tang Lian’s hiding place and have to face the killers together. Shortly after, another pupil from Snow Moon City, Si Kong Qian Luo, arrives and the four of them successfully escape from the attackers.

They become curious with the contents of the golden coffin, believing it to contain vast wealth or secrets to martial arts. They are surprised to find a young and beautiful monk, Wu Xin, emerge from the coffin. Wu Xin is a powerful monk with an even more intriguing history. He, along with Lei Wu Jie, and Xiao Se become fast friends as they come to an understanding that none of them want to harm the world despite its imperfections. Wu Xin comes to terms with his identity and gives parting gifts to his friends as he takes up the mantle of leader of Tian Way Tian.

Lei Wu Jie and Xiao Se continue on their journey to Snow Moon City. Lei Wu Jie has to defeat over 14 levels of the Sky Tower to be deemed worthy of admission as a pupil in Snow Moon City. There, he meets the 2nd Master of the City, Li Han Yi, who agrees to accept him as a pupil. Xiao Se catches the eye of the Spear Saint, Si Kong Chang Feng, who accepts him as his pupil. The two of them stay in Snow Moon City to learn the arts. However, Xiao Se’s past comes to haunt him as he must face his true identity and make decisions that will impact the kingdom. 


Overall Thoughts

This drama surprised me quite a lot as I was chasing the show in all the best ways possible. I came in with low expectations but am happy to report that this drama exceeded my expectations and is a very compelling and satisfying watch. The intricate storylines that were woven in the beginning were confusing at first, but as I became more and more invested in the characters, the pieces more or less fell into place. 

This is a martial arts drama that focuses on 3 main characters, each with a unique background from different martial arts houses or sects (门派). They each have their mysteries, skills, and goals and it’s fun to follow on the journey as we begin to learn about their backgrounds and how they are connected to the larger Jiang Hu and even royal court. The characters travel to unique cities and locations that have different martial arts specialists and our heroes must defeat or grow with each encounter. It is a refreshing departure from the usual romantic dramas or fantasy dramas that are all the rage.  Each of the main characters have their own colorful history, motivations, loyalties, concerns, and decisions. I could follow the reasoning for most of them and grew to care about each of them in their unique way.

In an age where dramas get immediately panned for their poor adaptations of the source material, this drama succeeded in staying faithful to both the original text AND the animated series. The only problem is that Youku as a platform just doesn’t have as much reach compared to iQiYi or Tencent and I wished that more people saw this drama.



My observations from the first 12 episodes largely hold, but as I became more comfortable with the cast and the stories, I became more invested in the storylines and was ok in letting some of my reservations go. I’m going to try to avoid spoilers as much as possible because I want you to watch it!


What I liked about the drama

Strong Fast paced Storyline: The storyline moves quickly and doesn’t dawdle on superfluous scenes. Each character serves a purpose and helps move the plot forward. It starts of quite small with a simple journey between 2 characters, but then it quickly opens up to a wide world. We learn that everything is intertwined, and I was thoroughly engaged because I didn’t want to miss learning about the motivations of different characters, different settings, and where the story would take us.

Focus on loyalty with romance sprinkled in: The show is very much about loyalty. Loyalty to your sect, house, family, country, lovers, and friends. It’s refreshing because it’s so rare for dramas these days for characters to pride themselves in helping their friends simply because it is the right thing to do. They believe in a cause, or a person, and they will protect that cause, even at the cost of his or her life. These are reciprocal relationships. It never felt that one person was always just receiving loyalty for no reason. Each person had his or her own charm or power that made the relationships understandable.

Politiking: Despite it being a martial arts drama, this is also very much a political drama. There’s battle at court in which the king must balance power amongst his sons. The sons, in turn, vie for the throne. The Martial Arts houses also battle for supremacy to rule Jiang Hu. There’s a lot to keep track and its thrilling to see where the allegiances lie.

Strong supporting cast: There’s a whole myriad of supporting characters in this drama. So much so that I am in awe of how they were able to cast this many people. For those of us who’ve watched years of Chinese dramas, I had a blast pointing out the actors and actresses when they showed up on screen. The surprises kept coming right up to the last couple of episodes. Each character though, also had an intricate role to play in the story and there was a reason why they were there. I particularly loved the romance between Zhao Yu Zhen and Li Han Yi. I personally think that the supporting cast outshone our main characters.

Great characters: There’s a lot of characters in this drama. However, each has his / her unique style which could be seen in their clothing and martial arts. Many are fully fleshed out even though they have limited screen time. Some of my favorites include Ye Ruo Yi, Wu Xin, the young doctor Hua Jin, Mu Chun Feng

Impressive CGI: I was pretty hesitant at first on the CGI but as I kept watching, I became more and more impressed. Apparently the post production team used many of the same scenes from the animated series, which might explain why they were very well thought out and beautiful. It’s a treat for the eyes.

Some negatives:

Acting from the younger leads: Unfortunately, our leads for Xiao Se, Lei Wu Jie, and Si Kong Qian Luo leave a lot to be desired from an acting perspective. This is a pretty attractive cast, but these three really didn’t sell me on their roles. Li Hong Yi (Xiao Se’s actor) basically was just stoic the entire time, showing little to no emotion. Or else, I couldn’t tell when he was showing any emotion. Ao Rui Peng (Lei Wu Jie’s actor) was trying to portray an innocent young man but it often came off as bumbling. Lin Bo Yang (Si Kong Qian Luo’s actress) didn’t show much growth in her acting as she took on the mantle to protect those she loved. She was kind of annoying but at least she had limited screentime.

Vast universe that is hard to follow: The drama places you in this world and just hits the ground running. It might be a turn off at first if you can’t follow everything that’s being discussed. There’s also a lot of names, swords, places, and rules that might be tough to follow if you’re not well-versed on martial arts.

Martial Arts: Speaking of, I wished there was more hand to hand combat. Most of the martial arts was just here’s my fancy CGI sword, which does look impressive, but just doesn’t have that intensity factor. This is just a personal preference though.


Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the drama. It was a gripping story of loyalty, family, and love and I hope more people get to see this.



Unchained Love (2022) 浮图缘

Summary: A young concubine Bu Yin Lou 步音楼 ft Chen Yu Qi 陈钰琪 is to be sacrificed as tribute to the recently deceased Emperor. However, she is rescued as she is literally being hanged by the ruthless and powerful eunuch Xiao Duo 肖铎 ft Wang He Di 王鹤棣  from a request from the Emperor’s younger brother the Prince Fu 福王 ft Peter Ho 何润东. Prince Fu desires Bu Yin Lou for himself and tries different tactics to win her heart even though she is technically now a Dowager Concubine. At the same time , Xiao Duo finds himself drawn to the spunky, sassy, and amiable Bu Yin Lou when he finds that she is an observant and gentle woman. However, their current stations in life prevent the relationship from going any further. Xiao Duo also has another mission at the Palace that he must face alone.


This is based off of the book 浮图塔 by 尤四姐


Total Episode Count: 36

Initial Airing Date: Dec 27, 2022

Platform: iQiyi


Initial Score: 7/10 – A lighthearted comedy that shakes up the traditional romantic palace drama premise with a Eunuch falling in love with a Dowager Concubine. The leads of Dylan Wang and Chen Yu Qi make a convincing couple and are supported by a fun cast of characters. The straightforward script makes this an easy watch with little depth.

Final Score: 6.5/10 – A paper thin romantic comedy that wastes away its intriguing premise of a Eunuch falling in love with a Dowager Concubine. The main couple was constantly overshadowed by the supporting cast and overall, there was little the actors could do little to save the crazy storylines and ridiculous ending.




Initial Thoughts – Through episode 12

This is Dylan Wang’s first drama to air after his surprising success from Love Between Fairy and Devil 苍兰决. He’s paired with the lovely Chen Yu Qi, who has had several dramas air over the years but without making much of a splash. 

I was intrigued by the premise of a ruthless and conniving eunuch falling in love with a Dowager Concubine. It is a cute watch because we see Xiao Duo falling in love with Bu Yin Lou but Bu Yin Lou has no clue this is happening because well, he is supposed to be a Eunuch! According to her, eunuch’s aren’t supposed to fall in love! The shenanigans and hijinks between the two when they first meet are quite funny. Xiao Duo finds himself being jealous at other’s attention towards Bu Yin Lou despite himself. 

Xiao Duo is a dark knight in shining armor only to Bu Yin Lou, while Bu Yin Lou is the witty damsel who tries to fight against her fate but often will rely on the power and money of Xiao Duo. This just means that we do fall into some of the same romantic comedy tropes. However, in this drama, you’ll just have to really go along for the ride and not think too carefully on the feasibility on any of the plot points.

The leads do a decent enough job as the main couple of the drama and they play well off each other. However, it is jarring when almost every other character apart from the two leads uses his / her real voice in the drama. This then gives the side characters more gravitas when they’re on screen compared to the leads. This is especially noticeable whenever the Empress played by Zeng Li 曾黎 is on screen. She just commands the attention of the audience (at least for me) that not even the Dylan Wang nor Chen Yu Qi are able to do. 

Overall, it just has a much smaller scope of a drama, so we’re focused squarely on the small cast of characters. It’s enjoyable for what it is, a romantic comedy.

I’m reading the book concurrently. The drama heavily leans into the comedy aspect and avoids some more of the explicit discussions surrounding eunuchs. I’ll discuss a comparison between the drama and the book for my full review. 


Main Characters


Xiao Duo肖铎 – Dylan Wang / Wang He Di 王鹤棣

The Director of the terrifying Zhao Ding Si, he is feared throughout the Empire for his brutal and ruthless methods. He entered the palace as a lowly palace eunuch who clawed his way up to the top of the food chain, so much so that the royal family feared him. However, he has an agenda for entering the palace. This all gets upended when he unknowingly saved Bu Yin Lou. The two fall in love other but Xiao Duo must decide between her and his own revenge.

Bu Yin Lou 步音楼 – Yukee Chen / Chen Yu Qi 陈钰琪

A lowly daughter born from a concubine, Bu Yin Lou is sent to the palace to be a palace concubine. But before she was summoned for a night with the emperor, he dies. As is customary, Bu Yin Lou was supposed to be sentenced to death to serve the Emperor in the afterlife. She was saved by the Eunuch Xiao Duo on behalf of the Prince of Fu’s orders. Bu Yin Lou and Xiao Duo gradually fall in love, but she is pulled into many conspiracies at court and the imperial harem.

Mu Rong Gao Gong 慕容高巩 Peter Ho / He Run Dong 何润东

The Prince of Fu, mocking known as The Lord of the Lantern, unexpectedly finds himself thrust on the throne after the death of his older brother and only nephew. He has had a crush on Bu Yin Lou since his childhood and vows to have her as his own. As he gets more comfortable on the through, he becomes suspicious of all his subjects and begins to play political games to consolidate power

Empress Rong An 荣安皇后 – Zeng Li 曾黎

The Empress of the late Emperor. She is an ambitious woman who hails from a noble family. Xiao Duo was her confidante. After the death of the her husband, Empress Rong An immediately poisoned a rival concubine and her son to consolidate her power. She forms a secret alliance with Prince of Nan Yuan. However, she is quickly thrown out by the machinations of Xiao Duo

Tong Yun 彤云 – He Nan 鹤男

The cheerful and cute personal maid for Bu Yin Lou, she serves her master faithfully. Although somewhat naïve, she always has her master’s best interests at heart and fully supports Bu Yin Lou’s relationship with Xiao Duo. Tong Yun and Cao Chun Ang gradually develop feelings for each other as they get along.

Cao Chun Ang 曹春盎 – Wang Yue Xin 王栎鑫

A Eunuch in Zhao Ding Si and is both the godson but also confidante of Xiao Duo. As one of the few who knows of Xiao Duo’s agenda, he stays loyal to a fault. As a subordinate, he is quick-witted and capable. Bu Yin Lou’s maid Tong Yun catches his eye.



Plot Overview:

A young concubine Bu Yin Lou 步音楼 ft Chen Yu Qi 陈钰琪 is to be sacrificed as tribute to the recently deceased Emperor. However, she is rescued as she is literally being hanged by the ruthless and powerful eunuch Xiao Duo 肖铎 ft Wang He Di 王鹤棣 from a request from the Emperor’s younger brother the Prince Fu 福王 ft Peter Ho 何润东. Prince Fu desires Bu Yin Lou for himself because he has had a crush on her since their childhood when he was a student under the tutelage of her father.

There is a power vacuum during the interregnum and Empress Rong An 荣安 tries to seize power by capturing the late Emperor’s only son. She conspires with the Prince of Nan Yuan, a non royal prince, in hopes to make a puppet out of the Emperor’s son as she rules as Empress Dowager. However, her plans are unfortunately botched as the prince accidentally dies at the hand of the Prince of Fu. With no other male heir, the throne now turns to the Prince of Fu. The whole court believes that it was Xiao Duo who killed the prince, but Bu Yin Lou consoles him and tells him that she believes that he didn’t commit the crime.


Empress Rong An is banished to a buddhist temple while Bu Yin Lou is also banished to the Imperial Mausoleum to live out her days. She is actually quite happy with this development believing that she could escape the wandering eyes of the new Emperor. The newly installed Emperor constantly tries different tactics to win Bu Yin Lou’s heart even though she is technically now Dowager Concubine and off limits according to normal decorum.

Her life at the Imperial Mausoleum is quite dandy because Xiao Duo has made it clear to everyone that she is under his protection. She sees the plight of the women stuck at the Imperial Mausoleum and realizes what Xiao Duo has done for her.

Bu Yin Lou also befriends the Emperor’s younger sister, Mu Rong Wan Wan慕容婉婉 ft Guan Chang 关畅. The Prince of Nan Yuan’s younger brother Yu Wen Liang Xu 宇文良序  ft Hang Hao Tian 韩浩天 secretly enters the imperial city. After losing a match against Mu Rong Wan Wan, he falls in love with her and decides to stay and win her affection.

The Emperor, intent on having Bu Yin Lou as a concubine for himself, sends a senior maid to teach Bu Yin Lou proper etiquette. Bu Yin Lou believes that the maid was sent by Xiao Duo and, in an act of defiance, goes to learn dancing at basically a brothel. Surprisingly, she finds Yu Wen Liang Xu there as well trying to learn the ways of winning Mu Rong Wan Wan’s heart.

Xiao Duo and Bu Yin Lou finally reconcile but Bu Yin Lou still has to find a way to avoid the Emperor’s clutches. Xiao duo suggests that the two of them head south. He is on a mission of revenge and she hopes to further escape the Emperor and to see her family. During the trip, the two finally confess their love for each other, but they must decide how to face the ever more suspicious Emperor.


Overall thoughts:

The drama started out strong with an intriguing premise, a ruthless and conniving eunuch falling in love with a Dowager Concubine. We have a handsome cast with Dylan Wang and Yukee Chen and we followed the two of them trying to navigate the boundaries between a eunuch and a dowager concubine.

During my initial review, I enjoyed that it was a pleasant lighthearted watch. Bu Yin Lou as a character is an easy one to like. She’s optimistic, hopeful, quick-witted, and realistic. Rare for a protagonist these days, she comes from no money or power as the discarded daughter of a court official but that doesn’t stop her from trying to find the best in every situation. She also isn’t naïve. She’ll retaliate when push comes to shove. In this drama, we can see why both Xiao Duo falls hard for her and why the emperor once did too. 

Unfortunately, as the drama moved on, I found my attention wandering. It fell into many familiar tropes of a dark knight in shining armor, not communicating with one another because one person didn’t want to hurt another etc. The plot is paper thin and squanders its intriguing premise without exploring how love between a eunuch and a woman could work. We essentially get the following. Boy likes girl. Girl likes boy. Girl finds out boy isn’t a real eunuch. Problem solved! Now they try to escape under the watchful eye of the emperor. 

It really doesn’t help that the main couple, especially Yukee Chen wastes a pretty good role. Dylan Wang is serviceable in this drama but he doesn’t not reach anywhere near his heights in Love between Fairy and Devil.

Little made sense with the plot towards the latter part of the drama, and we get a mind-boggling ending that isn’t even an ending. Fans went so far as to petition for another ending, which the platform did provide in the end. 


  • Dylan Wang and Chen Yu Qi have an easy chemistry that makes for a decent pairing.
  • Zeng Li as Empress Rong An just lights up the screen whenever she appears. Unfortunately, that’s few and far between
  • The supporting characters of Mu Rong Wan Wang, Yu Wen Liang Xu, Tong Yun, and Cao Chun Ang all make for fun and cute couples. Their acting is also quite comforting.



  • Yukee  Chen / Chen Yu Qi’s performance: Every time I see Yukee Chen on screen, I always want to give her a chance. Maybe, just maybe, she’ll surprise me with another great performance like the one she had in The Princess Weiyoung back in 2016. Alas, she has thus far disappointed me and unfortunately, this one is no different. She has been criticized for her over-the-top acting in many scenes and lack of emotion in others. Out of all the actresses in this drama, she is probably the worst. In scenes with Zeng Li, the spotlight instantly shifts towards Zeng Li despite not being the main character
  • Xiao Duo’s role as Director of Zhao Ding Si: We constantly hear of Xiao Duo as the terrifying Director of Zhao Ding Si but we rarely see him or his team in action. When they do act, it’s typically to save someone, namely Bu Yin Lou. It seemed like they were reduced to her personal bodyguards.
  • Random disposal of the bad guys: We essentially have 3 bad guys in this drama. They, however, are dispatched rather anticlimactically. Which leads me to the next point.
  • Poor plot development: Characters are given more screen time in the drama to flesh out a pretty thin source material. However, I didn’t think they added much to the overall plot. Bu Yin Lou spends a lot of time learning “skills” at a brothel but literally nothing comes of it. The Emperor, especially, became extremely creepy towards the end of the drama with his obsession with Bu Yin Lou. There’s also the blatant disregard of rules by Bu Yin Lou and Xiao Duo that I found both amusing and astonishing.
  • Waste of a premise: I truly wished that a Chinese drama would actually dive into this rather unexplored topic of love between a eunuch and woman. The drama gives many reasons as to why it would basically be a wasted life for the woman but they just hint towards the fact that it’s not everything. We do get a eunuch / woman pairing but none of these topics are explored. 
  • Voice Dubbing: This is just a nit pick. It was jarring the 3 main characters all have their voice dubbed while everyone else used their real voice. It kind of gave the impression that they weren’t up to snuff, which is weird, because they’ve all starred dramas using their real voices, so I don’t know why the post-production team decided on this

Lastly, I know I mentioned reading the book. The book itself is only 100 chapters long but it also didn’t really pull me in. The book gives us more information between Bu Yin Lou’s and Xiao Duo’s feelings towards each other but it’s also squarely focused on those two. The drama significantly expands characters roles in the drama, which I think is fine. 

All in all – if you just want a light hearted romantic comedy, here’s one for you. But, apart from fans, I doubt this will appeal to mass audiences.



Thank You, Doctor (2022) 谢谢你医生

Summary: The cool and mysterious Xiao Yan (肖砚) decides to join the EICU team, or Emergency Intensive Care Unit, at the Tong Shan (桐山) hospital. Bai Zhu (白术), a cardiothoracic surgeon, is also sent to the EICU after complaints from patients. Xiao Yan肖砚, Bai Zhu白术, and a few other doctors make up the EICU team, led under team lead Lu Ping An (陆平安). The team are faced with many ethical and medical quandaries on how best to serve their patients. As the drama progresses, Xiao Yan 肖砚 and Bai Zhu 白术 begin to see the similarities and bright spots within each other. The two begin to put away their prejudices and biases against each other. Individual stories, relationships, and trials are told through the patients and doctors of the EICU.

This drama is based off the book ICU48小时 or 48 Hours in the ICU


Total Episode Count: 40

Initial Airing Date: November 4, 2022

Platform: CCTV8, iQiYi, Tencent, Youku


Final Rating: 6.5/10

A serviceable medical drama that shines when it focuses on medical cases but squanders it’s two leads with meandering plot lines with loose ends and an annoying supporting cast of doctors.

The pacing of the drama moves at a brisk pace with its medical cases, sometimes too fast. For each case, the drama does raise some interesting ethical questions on how to treat the patients which does force the characters, patients, and us the audience to ponder the correct path forward. However, the majority of the cases move by so quickly that we barely get time to digest before we are whisked off to the next case.

The drama was at its best when it gave the cases more breathing room and showed the motivations for the different players involved.

The character that I felt had the biggest growth was actually the head nurse Jiang Shan. Her journey with her husband was a highlight of the drama. I think Yang Mi did a decent job as the outwardly guarded but inwardly altruistic Xiao Yan. I think the overall problem is the script in which it really didn’t give the doctors much depth. The paper-thin script for the characters really did hinder the back half of the drama.


Xiao Yan 肖砚– Yang Mi 杨幂

An emergency medicine doctor, she is a mysterious doctor who returns from abroad. She comes from a wealthy medical family that has led her to be very independent and practical. She pursued her studies abroad after high school and joined a Swiss hospital after completing her studies. The death of her fiancé Lin Zhi Yuan was a turning point in her life, leading her to resign from her position in Switzerland to come work at the Tong Shan hospital.

Bai Zhu 白术– Bai Yu 白宇

A very talented cardiothoracic surgeon, he is nevertheless stubborn and arrogant. He believes that only by taking chances, will there be miracles. He strongly believes in pursuing any path forward to save his patients which often puts him at odds against his coworkers. His teacher transfers him to the Emergency department in hopes of changing some of his perspectives

Jiang Shan 姜杉 – Wang Yi Nan 王一楠  

The head nurse for the Emergency department. She is the organized and capable marshal of the department. All of her co-workers respect the warm-hearted and generous head nurse. Her husband suffered an accident right before their marriage, rendering him immobile. Despite all the odds, Jiang Shan, refuses to leave her husband and stays with him until the very end

Lu Ping An 陆平安 – Li Jie李解

The department lead of the Emergency department. Everyone calls him “Mama Lu”. To better serve their patients, he decides to lead the new EICU at Tong Shan Hospital while espousing Safety First. He oftentimes has differing perspectives from Bai Zhu and Xiao Yan but during times of crisis, he does not hesitate to take the mantle of leader to protect everyone in his department.



Plot Overview:

Xiao Yan (肖砚) is a doctor who’s spent years volunteering with aide organizations such as Doctors Without Borders abroad. On one trip, her fiancé dies while trying to save a patient. Xiao Yan (肖砚) decides to head to Shanghai to learn more about her fiancé’s past. There, she joins the EICU team, or Emergency Intensive Care Unit, at the 桐山 hospital. Bai Zhu (白术), a cardiothoracic surgeon, is a rising star at the 桐山 hospital. However, his arrogance puts him into some trouble, and he’s sent to the EICU instead. Xiao Yan (肖砚), Bai Zhu (白术), and a few other doctors make up the EICU team, led under team lead Lu Ping An (陆平安). The rest of the team comprises of Xu Yi Ran, Bai Zhu’s best friend, Tang Hua, and resident Chen Zhi. They are supported by the head nurse Jiang Shan and fellow nurse Lin Zhi.

The EICU team is surprised at Xiao Yan’s efficiency when she joins the team. Due her past experiences abroad, Xiao Yan spends a lot of time trying to get to know her patients and believing patients have the right to choose. This is very different from Bai Zhu’s approach, who believes that medical research should dictate his diagnoses. The two constantly butt heads on the past forward for patients including whether tell a young girl that she’s terminally ill. This becomes most evident when the two come across a deadly car crash and have to rush to save the victims. Xiao Yan prioritizes saving the greatest number of patients but Bai Zhu focuses on one patient.


The Head Nurse’s husband, Mr. Jiang蒋先云 , was involved in a car crash years ago that resulted in him being paralyzed from the waist down. Despite this, Jiang Shan, continues to be his primary caretaker and the breadwinner in the family. The two receive some devastating news when Mr. Jiang finds out that he has late-stage pancreatic cancer. Mr. Jiang doesn’t want to continue to burden his wife but he’s saved by the EICU team. Surprisingly, it is Bai Zhu who tells Mr. Jiang to not give up on life. Xiao Yan, on the other hand, believes that each patient has the choice to choose.

At the same time, Bai Zhu’s son Xiao Guang is rushed to the EICU. Everyone’s surprised to see that Bai Zhu has a son, but are even more shocked to see just how positive and sincere the boy is. He has the rare disease Thalassemia, and despite all odds, has lived to the age of 8. The rest of the team gradually change their attitudes towards Bai Zhu after understanding that it was his perseverance that resulted in Xiao Guang’s life.

In Shanghai, Xiao Yan tries to find the memories of her fiancé’s past but constantly comes up short. Bai Zhu is the one that helps Xiao Yan find her fiancé’s old home. As the drama progresses, Bai Zhu finds himself more and more attracted to the cold yet kind-hearted Xiao Yan. Unfortunately, Xiao Yan needs time to move past her previous relationship.

Throughout the drama, we also see snippets of the lives of the other doctors and nurses in the EICU.


Overall thoughts:

Overall, I thought it was a serviceable medical drama that really shone on strength of its cases. The cases move at a brisk pace that gives us the viewers a lens on the difficult choices that patients, loved ones, and doctors need to make.

I don’t want to spoil too many of the cases, and I mentioned a couple during my plot review, but another one that sticks out to me is when a social influencer decides to head to the hospital to get “views”.

This is the second medical drama that I’ve seen this year and what’s interesting is that these dramas tend to put people in a better light than I expected. For example, during car crashes, there is rarely a hit and run, but at-fault party does his / her part to try and solve the problem. Maybe I’m cynical about these things but it is heartwarming to see people to take responsibility. When the drama does show some despicable characters, it just makes it more jarring.

The drama does its best when it does allow the cases shows the motivations of each character, whether it’s the patients or the doctors.

I thought the two main leads of Yang Mi and Bai Zhu did a serviceable job but unfortunately just don’t have much to work with. Yang Mi is this cool and calm motorcycle riding doctor that shows up to work but no one knows anything about her. Yang Mi plays the part well but the problem is that we really don’t get to see or learn anything else about Xiao Yan. Yes, she does find peace with regards to fiancé but her relationship with Bai Zhu was a big question mark to me.

Bai Yu I thought went a little overboard in the arrogant / haughty doctor vibe in the beginning. He does mellow out after the first couple episodes though, especially after we learn more about his personal life and relationship with his son.


The supporting cast of characters was…not great. There was like only 1.5 characters that I rooted for – the Head Nurse and the team lead Lu.

Which goes to my overall problem of this drama – it’s too sterile. It’s too clean. This is an EICU unit. It’s supposed to be intense; it’s supposed to be bloody and hectic. I don’t feel like I saw much of that. At the same time, it’s also way to sterile with the characters. No one is really fleshed out except for the Head Nurse and that was because we had to spend time with her and her husband.

I was particularly annoyed at 2 characters – Tang Hua and Chen Zhi.

Tang Hua is a young ICU doctor, who I literally never saw doing any work. All she did was just wander around with Xiao Yan and then loudly comment her disgust towards the actions and attitudes of the patients if they didn’t behave in the “righteous” manner such as paying for all operations or dropping everything to pay attention to a family member in the hospital. I thought it was very unprofessional. I was hoping for growth from this character, but no, she continues to loudly voice her opinions. Even though she apologizes when she realizes her prejudices were wrong, she nonetheless continues to make them.

The next character is Chen Zhi. He’s a MD / PhD who, I think is in residency with the team. He had zero confidence in anything that he was doing and was constantly looking around for approval. He thought he found it with Tang Hua and decided to pursue her. Tang Hua repeatedly tells him that they are not a good fit but he disregards all of her words and continues to barrel through and pursue her despite her protestations. He just came off as creepy the entire time. He always had a sad look on his face and always asking – how can I do better or how can I make her like me? I honestly wanted to punch him in the face towards the end. Dude – you’re a grown man. Own up professionally and take the hint from the girl. Once again, little to no character growth. Every chance he got was given to him by other people and he only stopped pursuing Tang Hua when she forcefully had to tell him.

I wish that the script was able to do service to the cast of doctors like they did with some of the patients. Otherwise, those scenes were a slog. 

As for the ending, it just left me scratching my head because I had no idea what happened.

Overall, it’s fine as a medical drama and something to put on in the background but there are better medical dramas out there.

Let me know what you think!



Dr. Tang (2022) 关于唐医生的一切

Summary: Tang Jia Yu (唐佳瑜) is a very talented cardiothoracic surgeon who suddenly returns to China after spending years abroad. She is appointed as the director of Cardiology at the An He Hospital where she builds her own critical surgery team. She quickly wins over her team with her experience, skill, and grit. As she settles into her new role, she also begins building relationships with her fellow co-workers. However, a reminder from her past comes back to haunt her. She must find her way through professional and personal struggles as she must navigate the best paths for her patients and her heart.



Total Episode Count: 36

Initial Airing Date: June 25, 2022

Platform: CCTV8, iQiYi


Final Rating: 8/10

I decided to go down a Qin Lan (秦岚) rabbit hole since we’re covering The Story of Yanxi Palace (延禧攻略) for our main podcast. I saw previews and some fan videos of this drama during the summer with Qin Lan 秦岚 and Gao Lu 高露 (of famous Mistress Lin 林小娘 from The Story of Ming Lan 知否知否应是绿肥红瘦) so I thought, hey why not check it out!

I personally really enjoyed it. It was a down to earth drama that I thought did a great job telling individual stories, fleshing out characters, and developing our titular character of Tang Jia Yu 唐佳瑜. The plot moves quickly as Tang Jia Yu and her team diagnose and resolve over 20 cases over the course of this drama. Most of the show was focused on Tang Jia Yu and her relationships with her team and patients. The subplots were neatly connected back to the overall storyline.

This drama doesn’t skirt from the ethical questions that doctors must face when having to choose between the life of their patient and what is medically available, and I thought that really hit home with one of Tang Jia Yu’s patients. The drama also presents a pretty feminist lens as it gives the viewers different choices that different women take. The men, surprisingly, actually reflect on their choices and their goals.
I think 秦岚 really shone here by portraying the hardships of being a doctor, the struggles in her own personal life, and the resentment she feels towards her own family. But in general, I thought the acting from the cast was very comfortable, relaxed, and authentic.

I don’t watch that many medical dramas, so I don’t have much to compare. I’m also not a doctor so I don’t know how accurate any of the cases or the medical procedures are, but nothing really took me out of the experience, so as the casual viewer, it hit its mark.


Tang Jia Yu 唐佳瑜 – Qin Lan秦岚

The director of Cardiology at An He Ji Sheng Hospital. She at first seems to be cold-hearted and arrogant, but she’s really a kind-hearted and caring doctor who oftentimes builds personal relationships with her patients. Her patients are her top priority, often to the detriment of her personal life. She escapes back to China to flee from her personal life, but the same troubles come to find her. She finally agrees to support the development of artificial hearts once she sees the future benefits that it could have for her patients.

Ye Yi Ming 叶弈明 – Wei Da Xun 魏大勋

An anesthesiologist at An He Ji Sheng Hospital, he is a very caring and considerate guy. Hailing from a family of doctors, he chose anesthesiology instead of following in his father’s footsteps in surgery. He partners with Tang Jia Yu in several of her operations, and to their surprise, find that they make a great team. The two become closer but Tang Jia Yu needs to fight through her own demons before accepting him.

Liu Feng 刘沣 – Huang Jue 黄觉

Deputy dean of An He Ji Sheng Hospital and a Pulmonology surgeon, he is gunning for the role of Dean and was the one who invited Tang Jia Yu to take up the director position. The two dated some years back and he has always admired her skill and talent. He continues to be one of Tang Jia Yu’s biggest supporters especially in the development of artificial hearts. However, he is experiencing his own marital troubles that has him reassess his own career goals.

Ou Yang Zhen Yu 欧阳真予– Gao Lu 高露

The Medical Director at An He Ji Sheng Hospital and organ transplant coordinator. She is direct, meticulous, and unflinching. Because of her personality, she doesn’t have many friends but is viewed as a great employee. When Tang Jia Yu first arrives at the hospital, Ou Yang Zhen Yu wasn’t very pleased with this new doctor. However, after getting to know each other, they become each other’s best friend as they navigate their journeys at the hospital



Plot Overview:

Tang Jia Yu (唐佳瑜) is a very talented cardiothoracic surgeon who suddenly returns to China after spending years abroad by invitation of Liu Feng, the current deputy dean of the An He Ji Sheng Hospital, to lead the cardiology department. She quickly forms her own critical illness team. Faced with swirling rumors between herself and Liu Feng because they used to date, she nonetheless wins over her team and the rest of the hospital with her experience, abilities, and perseverance.

As she settles into her new role, Tang Jia Yu (唐佳瑜) finds a great operating partner in the form Ye Yi Ming, a rising star in the anesthesiology department. Tang Jia Yu (唐佳瑜) moves into the unit next door to Ye Yi Ming due to its proximity to the hospital and the two begin to form a closer bond. Ye Yi Ming was warned by Liu Feng that dating Tang Jia Yu will have its own difficulties, but he nevertheless begins to fall for her.

As the new department lead, Tang Jia Yu (唐佳瑜) must also adhere to proper medical practices and procedures. These are overseen by the meticulous and distant Ou Yang Zhen Yu. The two women spar at first but they develop a begrudging respect for one another. The two quickly become friends after Ou Yang Zhen Yu comes to Yang Jia Yu for relationship advice.


The hospital believes that the R&D of artificial hearts will bring extra revenue to the hospital and hope that Tang Jia Yu will lead the research. However, she’s hesitant on this project as she believes she doesn’t have the time and energy to make it successful.

With each successful surgery, her team continues to learn from her, but individual team members each face their own personal pressures and must decide whether to continue a career in medicine.

The sudden return of Tang Jia Yu’s husband surprises everyone at the hospital, including Tang Jia Yu. He cheated on her with one of his students but wants to rekindle the relationship. She agrees to give him a chance. Ye Yi Ming is heartbroken at this news. However, Tang Jia Yu’s relationship woes are only compounded when her husband’s former fling also arrives to continue the affair. When the woman is diagnosed with a rare heart condition, Tang Jia Yu has no choice but to save her. After the surgery, Tang Jia Yu finally files for divorce from her husband.

Over the course of the drama, Tang Jia Yu is faced with constant challenges. Some difficult cases include what she must do when one of her friends falls into a coma while waiting for a new heart. Her stepsister has a rare heart condition, and she must decide whether to proceed with a surgery while pregnant.

Tang Jia Yu finally agrees to support the R&D for acritical hearts, but they collaborate with the engineer to agree on a proposal and obtain funding.

As Tang Jia Yu finds peace with her own career and family, she must finally choose the relationship that she wants to have with Ye Yi Ming.


Overall thoughts:

I binged watched this show in the summer and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it.

To me at least, it wasn’t really a drama that was really a romance drama cloaked under a medical drama, but the opposite. Tang Jia Yu’s team had to solve medical cases and we saw the aftermath of how those cases impacted each of the characters. The focus was on the patients and the cases. The subplots and romances grew organically out of those cases.

I particularly enjoyed the range in cases that Tang Ji Yu and the rest her team had to face. I won’t spoil too much of them here, but many also involved ethical and financial questions. For example, how should a patient decide whether to move forward with a surgery if it will cost $40K but they don’t have the money? What if the patient does have the means to pay but that $40K will only buy a few more days of survival in hopes of finding another donor? What is the risk a patient is willing to take for not fully vetted treatment?

These are questions and cases that the characters in the drama need to choose. I liked that many of the answers were intentionally gray because those are tough choices!

In general, the whole drama just feels alive. The show doesn’t hesitate to show how tough life is for a doctor. Tang Jia Yu is constantly exhausted. She doesn’t cook. She looks frazzled and when she does have days off, all she wants to do is sleep. Hey, you know what, I totally feel her! I’m not a doctor but when work is really tough, that’s all I want to do as well. But when she is at work, she’s at the top of her game. She’s a badass surgeon who is also a tough but fair boss. That’s so refreshing because oftentimes, we just see female characters in Chinese dramas wearing heels and a full face of makeup performing the most ridiculous tasks that don’t fit their occupation at all.

I literally breathed a sigh of relief when I saw that all of the female doctors were wearing sneakers, had minimal makeup, and just put their hair up in a ponytail when not in the operating room. Based on what I know from my doctor friends, no one has time to get dolled up.

Which brings me to my next point. In the drama, each person has her or his own life and we only get a glimpse of it outside of the hospital. Which is good, because otherwise, it would be a different type of show. People are ambitious and behave as you would expect in the workplace. There isn’t really a “bad” person in the drama. The one “bad” character just has his own agenda, but he doesn’t try to sabotage a patient for the sake of a promotion.

We also find out more about the different characters based on their interactions with patients and hospital staff. Ou Yang Zhen Yu is an avid romance reader. There’s an attendant who is struggling to pay the bills because well, they aren’t paid that much. Another doctor is mourning the death of his fiancée. The Deputy Dean of the Hospital, Liu Feng, is shocked to hear that his wife is depressed but tries to make amends. Each subplot moves forward without bickering and cattiness.

The only person who is a bit of a wet noodle is unfortunately our male lead Ye Yi Ming叶弈明. He’s a nice guy or in Chinese a 暖男 (Warm Guy) that’s there to support Tang Jia Yu  and that’s about it. He’s just nice. Even his sister in the show is more interesting than him. That being said, that’s basically Wei Da Xun’s 魏大勋 M.O. He’s just the nice guy so this character fits the bill.

In general, the acting from the cast was great. As I mentioned, it was comfortable. The interactions between the characters didn’t feel forced and I thought they all did admirably in the surgery scenes.

The cast is filled out with many familiar faces including the aforementioned Gao Lu. The actress for Ming Yu in The Story of Ming Lan also makes an appearance. There’s tons of cameos from other actors and actresses so please do try to see who you recognize in the drama.

I liked that at the end of each episode where this is a case, the drama added doctors or had the cast provide more details about the medical illness or condition that was being treated. Again, I’m not a doctor but it did feel like the drama did its homework with regards to the individual cases.


I’ll take some points off due to the prolonged will they / won’t they relationship between Tang Jia Yu and Ye Yi Ming. That whole plotline went for way to long at the end. I totally didn’t understand why Tang Jia Yu just left him hanging for so long.

I also think that maybe the drama was a little too rosy? As in each person was ultimately a nice person or had grand gestures. Perhaps because this is a medical drama and the show wanted to bring out the best in people so that’s why they did it, but there was basically no truly selfish person in the show. Yes, it’s supposed to be a lighthearted drama but I thought it went a little overboard at some points. For example, a patient says that she has no money and another character basically says, don’t worry about it. I’ll pay for your tens of thousands of dollars operation. Uh – I don’t think that’s how it work? If it is, who does that and where can I sign up?

All in all, this was a very comforting watch. It’s nowhere near as dramatic as Grey’s Anatomy but it does tug at your heartstrings at certain points. I was rooting for all of our characters by the end of the drama and I hope you do too.

Let me know what you think!