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!

 

Cathy

 

A Familiar Stranger (2022) 虚颜

Summary: A short drama where each episode is only 10 min, the story revolves around a fateful night where the stunning beauty Shen Qin, daughter of the Chancellor, seeks a painter, a young woman named Seventeen. Using Seventeen’s sister’s life to threaten her, Shen Qin forces Seventeen to take her place and marry the handsome general Xiao Han Sheng. But the catch is, Shen Qin swapped faces with Seventeen. Unbeknownst to Seventeen, this General turns out to be the exact young warrior that saved her life three years ago.

 

Total Episode Count: 18

Initial Airing Date: Sep 23, 2022

Platform: MangoTV

 

Final Rating: 7.5/10

This drama was recommended to us by a fan of Chasing Dramas and because it’s only 18 episodes long and 10 min each, I decided sure, let’s check it out. And I surprisingly really liked it! To me, it is one of the better dramas of the year. Short dramas have become more popular this year with episodes ranging from just 2 min to 20min. A rather different format from the standard 45 min dramas we’re used to but that doesn’t mean there’s no quality content!

My first impression is that this is the equivalent of a steamy romance novel brought to life. Because of its short episode length, the drama is very tightly and well written. The chemistry between the two main leads is palpable and you end up watching this drama with a smile on your face.  It’s cute, romantic and sometimes thrilling. The cast is relatively unknown but I think they did a great job. It is not a drama you can think too much about in terms of setting and cultural restrictions because there are some plot holes and questionable actions by key characters but that does not detract from a breezy and fun watch. The length was perfect for this drama.

 

Seventeen 十七/Shen Qin 沈沁 – Ke Ying 柯颖


Originally just a young painter at a brothel who specialized at portraits, Seventeen is forced to swap faces with the beautiful Shen Qin and takes her place to marry the handsome general, Xiao Han Sheng. However, she is stunned to find that he is the warrior that saved her life three years ago and whom she loved ever since. She is torn on how to behave given that she is threatened by the real Shen Qin to do her bidding in the General’s home.

Xiao Han Sheng 萧寒声 – Cheng Lei 丞磊


A young and kind General forced to marry Shen Qin, the daughter of the chancellor, even though he fell in love with a young woman he saved years ago. After spending time with Shen Qin though, he started to suspect that she is connected to the woman he loved.

Shen Qin 沈沁/Seventeen 十七 – Song Zhao Yi 宋昭艺


A cruel and manipulative woman with stunning beauty, she forces Seventeen to swap faces with her and marry Xiao Han Sheng so that she can stay with her love, the philandering Prince Ning.  

Prince Ning 宁王 – Wang Ze Xuan  王泽轩


A philandering prince with eyes on the throne, he instructs Shen Qin to marry Xiao Han Sheng in order to get intel on the Crown Prince’s death even though he had romantic liaisons with Shen Qin before marriage. But once she’s actually married, he starts becoming jealous of her new attachment to the general.

 

 

Plot Overview:

Young painter Seventeen is simply trying to make a living painting portraits and find her older sister when she is paid an unexpected visit by a mysterious but beautiful Shen Qin. She is the daughter of the Chancellor who must marry the general Xiao Han Sheng the next day. Using Seventeen’s sister as a threat, Shen Qin first forces Seventeen to paint Shen Qin while she’s having an amorous liaison with Prince Ning.  Despite Shen Qin’s protests, Prince Ning forces her to continue with their plan for Shen Qin to marry Xiao Han Sheng in order to gain intel on Xiao Han Sheng and their knowledge on the crown prince’s death. In order to escape the marriage, Shen Qin forces Seventeen to swap faces with her and sends Seventeen in her place.

When Seventeen wakes up, she shrieks in fright at seeing her new face and is shocked at the fact that she is now getting married. But even more surprising is that the man she is married to is precisely the man who saved her life three years ago and who she fell in love with. Xiao Han Sheng is a capable general who at first respects Shen Qin but also starts suspecting something was amiss when Shen Qin starts behaving like the woman he fell in love with.  How will Seventeen, now Shen Qin, act after being caught in between Xiao Han Sheng’s kindness and Shen Qin’s threats?

 

 

Overall thoughts:

This is a drama that falls into familiar tropes but the viewer accepts that because the pace of the show is so fast and the chemistry between the leads is so strong. You’re just happy to be along for the ride and watch the unfolding of the romance before your eyes.  It is a fairytale romance drama that even older viewers would enjoy.  I appreciated that there were more risque themes throughout the show which showcased some of the freedom that the director and writers have for this drama format. It was a refreshing change from the much more conservative turns for the popular romance dramas in recent years.

The best aspect of this drama is that because it is so short, there’s no need for any secondary plot points or storylines. It’s just this one main thread from start to finish. Many dramas nowadays add filler characters which can drag down the drama if not done well (looking at you The Blue Whisper). But here, there’s no concern with that. And because each episode is so short, you’re able to easily consume the entire drama with ease.

The acting for the cast was great, especially the two female leads who portray the different roles with a distinct contrast so you can easily tell when one is Shen Qin vs Seventeen. I also really enjoyed Xiao Han Sheng’s actor. He reminds me so much of Allen Ren with his earnest gaze and kind features. I hope this helps him garner more roles in the future. 

Plus, the cute little bumpkin that is Xiao Han Sheng’s adoptive daughter is just adorable. 

In terms of improvements, this is a drama you cannot spend too much time thinking about the details. You have to just willfully accept that a mysterious person can swap the faces of two people over night with no side effects and certain life-threatening injuries are healed pretty quickly.  And it’s quite obvious that this drama has a smaller budget but again, that does not detract from the quality show. As long as you enjoy the show in it’s little contained world, there’s plenty to enjoy. 

Let me know what you think!

 

Karen