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  • Date d'inscription: avril 3, 2020
Complété
La légende de Fei
36 personnes ont trouvé cette critique utile
janv. 21, 2021
51 épisodes vus sur 51
Complété 4
Globalement 6.0
Histoire 6.0
Acting/Cast 7.5
Musique 9.0
Degrés de Re-visionnage 5.0
Cette critique peut contenir des spoilers

Draggy story-line and fake looking studio set. Otherwise a good series.

Despite having 2 of the biggest names in the c-drama industry in Zhao Liying (ZLY) and Wang Yibo (WYB), the “Legend of Fei” will be regarded as a disappointment of 2020. The series will gather a lot of internet traffic, talked about by various fans for its plusses and minuses, dissected over its story lines and its adherence to the novel, discussed on Zhao Liying’s apparent discontent upon completion of filming, etc. To the fans of the 2 main characters, there is nothing wrong with the series. But to me as a hardcore fan of Chinese costume drama, and who just wants to watch quality series, there is plenty that is wrong with “Legend of Fei”. And it is reflected in the Douban’s pedestrian rating of 5.6 score with over 200K reviews.

Before I dwell on why this drama disappoints me, let me highlights the good points about this web-series. The casting is obviously the drama’s strong point. Zhao Liying and Wang Yibo – the 2 main protagonists in these 51-episode costume drama – are highly accomplished, successful, marketable and very sought after actor/actress. Zhao Liying is the queen of c-drama. Most of her drama was a sensation, and this one is special because it marks her return after giving birth to her first child. Wang Yibo is currently the hottest male actor in China due to his success in “The Untamed”. The strength of these 2 main characters alone should give this c-drama considerable mileage and headstart from internet buzz, traffic and interest particularly from both hardcore fans. Even the supporting cast were established actor/actress like Zhang Huiwen (Yimou’s girl), Chen Rou Xuan, Sun Jian, etc.

As of late, there has been many instances in c-drama of pairing older FL with a much younger ML, and this is also the case in Legend of Fei. There is a 10 year gap between ML and FL, but you don’t feel the gap as ZLY looks much younger than her actual age. I don’t think even Yang Mi or Tang Yan could carry the 17-year old persona better than ZLY. Tang Yan was heavily criticized for her portrayal of a young Yanyan in “Legend of Xiao Chuo”. Similarly, Yang Mi did not fare much better in “Legend of Fu Yao” playing a young Mary Sue character devoid of any imperfections, while being protected by the all-mighty Crown Prince of the Five Kingdom. What sets Zhao Liying apart from Tang Yan/Yang Mi is her petite and slim figures which belie her actual age, and that makes playing a 17 year-old Zhou Fei – believable. Did you watch how Zhang Ziyi got blasted for her betrayal of a 15 year-old teenager in the first 8 episodes of “The Rebel Princess”? There were even critics who stated that the producers of “The Rebel Princess” should have gotten a younger actress to play a young Zhang Ziyi. Zhao Liying does not have any issue playing a young Zhou Fei because she looks young. Not sure whether in 5 years time that would still be the case. On an unrelated note, her skin looks flawless on a close-up. You could see skin imperfection on Zhang Huiwen who is an unrivalled beauty in her own right, so it can’t be down to post production magic.

Another plus point to me was the wardrobe. Love them. The costumes on Zhao Liying are simple but beautiful and it outlines her slim figure. Zhang Huiwen is gorgeous in anything she wears. There is not anything particularly hideous that stands out like Zhang Yaqin’s (Fei Kou’er) thief character that made her look short and stubby. The costumes were pleasing to the eye and not too striking in tone and color.

The fight choreography is average at best, and mediocre at worst. Even-though this is a jianghu/wuxia type of drama, there are not very many fight scenes in it. There is not an excessive amount of slow-motion fight sequence either, and that makes it bearable. In fact the whole fight sequences looked slow and choregraphed, and gave the fight scenes rather “unnatural” feeling to them. But at least they are bearable to me – it does not give me that cringeworthy feeling every time Zhou Fei wields the sword and engages or kills the enemies. I like it when Xie Yun uses his qinggong and flies/glides effortlessly from one end to the other. It was beautifully choreographed.

The sound track was nice and I really enjoy the opening track. The CGI was average, and was only limited to very few scenes especially involving animals. There are plenty of CGI involving snakes and the snake charmer, Ying HeCong – a Great Medicine Valley’s disciple played by Leng Jiyuan.

Now why was this c-drama disappointing given all the plusses above? There are 2 main reasons why I believe this is an average series; and disappointing because it has limitless potential from the casting of 2 very famous artistes. Firstly, there is a fake studio setting that keeps popping up in this drama. It is so fake, that it makes me very uncomfortable. The fake studio scenes feature secondary forest, and were used extensively. It was certainly very disturbing to me because everything looked so fake. It reminds me of 80s Hong Kong films and I have not seen this type of mediocre studio-set production in any of 2020 historical costume drama, even from those low-budget ones. Even “Novoland – The Castle in the Sky 2” had a much better studio setting than “Legend of Fei”, and I was very critical of “Castle in the Sky 2” for its rather cheap-looking set. I could understand if they have to use studio setting for a place like the cave inside the mountain where the treasures were hidden, but they could find a nice forest and film the scenes easily rather than building a cheap looking set.

My second grouse was the overall pace of this c-drama. The pace is awfully slow – I mean really slow. I could go and cook myself a dinner, and come back and watch the end of an episode and not miss anything. Fillers are being added to make the drama longer than necessary, and at times, watching it feels like a drag. Too many unnecessary scenes where the 2 main leads just talk endlessly and pointlessly. The scenes before the Demon’s Convention, Episode 29, illustrates my dislikes with the series’ pace -- too draggy. This drama could have been shortened to 35 episodes and we won’t be missing much of the storylines. The whole storylines are not worth 51 episodes especially when the first few episodes were speeded up to quickly introduce the ML (Wang Yibo) into Episode 1. In the novel, the ML and the FL did not meet one another right away. The producers of this c-drama were too eager to get the ML into the action, when there are 50 more episodes to go.

Now the ending – typical. Some will like them, some won’t. I am in the negative camp. My overall verdict of this series is 6/10. Give it a miss unless you are a die-hard fan of Zhao Liying and Wang Yibo.

Story - 6.0/10
Acting - 7.5/10
Music - 9.0/10
Rewatch value - 5.0/10
Overall - 6.0/10

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Complété
Tisser une histoire d'amour
19 personnes ont trouvé cette critique utile
févr. 26, 2021
40 épisodes vus sur 40
Complété 0
Globalement 7.0
Histoire 7.0
Acting/Cast 6.0
Musique 9.0
Degrés de Re-visionnage 6.0

Not too bad a series but some sub-plots are quite ridiculous

2 out of 5 reviewers on Douban gave “Weaving a Tale of Love” (WToL) rating 1 out of 5. That is harsh because essentially nearly half of the reviewers felt that this show is absolute trash. However, during its TV run, this series is ranked 3rd among the TV viewers behind only Douluo Continent and Fighting Youth. Granted, Hunan TV always attract higher viewership but that shows this historical costume drama has its share of fanbase, and those who enjoy this drama despite all the negative reviews and disjointed logic and common-sense in its plots and storyline.

How did I get into this c-drama. I was searching for a 2nd c-drama to fill-up the gap left by Douluo Continent, and checked out all the newly premiered costume c-dramas. Dropped Blessed Girl, the Rebel Princess, The Wolf, and A Girl Like Me after a few episodes. This series intrigued me, and kept me watching the next episodes. It is entertaining even though at times, some plots could be downright idiotic. More later on this.

Now, to the positives. Beautiful costumes, props, settings, and color-palette. Watching this c-drama, you can’t but admire the color palette that stimulates you visual enjoyment. It is bright, vibrant, and very discerning and easy on the eyes. The color-palette and visual stimulation was much better than that in Douluo Continent. Incidentally, I was re-watching Nirvana in Fire at the same time and could not help but notice the huge gap between 2015 production and WToL. While Nirvana in Fire is better than WToL in almost all aspects, it pales in comparison in color hue and palette post production aspect. The costume is simple yet beautiful especially on the Female Lead. Then again anything would look good on Gulinazha whether she is dressed as a female or crossed-dressed as a very effeminate young physician. The series setting is also beautiful, even though it was filmed primarily at Hengdian World Studio. At least the Director/Producer did not use the shot of the Qin Shi Huang palace as the backdrop for this drama as this is set during the Tang Dynasty. Nevertheless, it is refreshing to see lesser known buildings at Hengdian WS because they are just as beautiful as the main attractions of Imperial Palace, Forbidden City, Palace of Ming & Qing Dynasties, the capitol of Song Dynasty – Bianliang, etc.

The only CGI in this drama was the opening overhead shot showing the capital, but it looks kind of fake especially those city folks roaming the streets. This shot was replayed time and time again throughout the 40-episode series. On the action front, there are not much fighting scenes in this series because the storyline is geared more towards revenge and palace politics rather than wuxia and adventures in the jianghu.

I especially enjoyed the closing track by Zhou Shen – Moon Legend. This is a guy with a girl’s voice. There are just a few c-dramas which I really enjoyed the sound tracks like Chi Sheng Wei Ni in the Heavenly Sword & Dragon Slaying Sabre, Yisheng Deng Ni in Bloody Romance or Mo Wang in Ever Night 2. But the rendering of Moon Legend By Zhou Shen is hauntingly beautiful. When you like the song, ultimately you will love the series as well.

Now to the negatives. While the story line is generally your typical palace politics coupled with revenge and past injustice subplots, some of the story details are just plaindumb. This is probably why many viewers gave it a bad review. Some of the “idiot sub-plots” are :-

- Nobody knew that the FL was a girl even though while cross-dressing, she looked more beautiful than 99% of women on this planet;
- Despite the need to remain low-profile, the FL time and again showed her embroidering skill to the public which linked her to her disgraced mother;
- Despite jumping off the cliff into bottomless void to survive an assassination attempt, the two fellas entered the palace hours later without as much as a scratch;
- Having a Mei Chang Su like character in Concubine Wu assisting the Crown Prince at every opportunity against 14th Prince scheming and dealing;
- FL surviving an attempted fatal poisoning in jail because the guard was too hungry, and could not take his hands off free food;
- ML saved FL from death by hanging by shooting on the rope. FL would have been dead if the ML was a second late and the assassin conveniently left his badge for ease of identification;
- The Emperor easily believing in a quack who predicted Concubine Wu would be a female emperor of the Tang Dynasty after 3 generations;
- Crown Prince bringing a hired help in the form of a single person knowing that the 14th Prince would try to assassinate him;
And the list goes on and on and on…..

I had seen Guli Nazha in previous c-drama, so her acting has never been an issue – she is a terrific and talented actress. However, for some reasons, her acting here is a bit out of place especially when she is portraying an innocent and naïve FL.

Nevertheless, despite many shortcoming of this series, I managed to complete all 40 episodes. 7.0/10.0 score from me.

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Complété
Douluo Continent
29 personnes ont trouvé cette critique utile
févr. 22, 2021
40 épisodes vus sur 40
Complété 0
Globalement 8.0
Histoire 9.0
Acting/Cast 7.5
Musique 7.5
Degrés de Re-visionnage 8.0

Entertaining c-drama with plenty of light-hearted moments

I bumped into this fantasy/wuxia c-drama by accident. Not a fan of Xiao Zhan and hence, have not been anticipating this drama despite all the publicities and hoopla. But the first 2 episodes got me hooked on, and I have been following the series daily. What is so great about this drama that I spent slightly over an hour every day watching 2 newly released episodes? If you go by Douban’s rating score of 6.2 from 700K viewers, then this series is nothing but an average fantasy costume drama production. However, there is a significance of over 700 reviews. It means that this is a popular series with a serious and loyal fanbase from the novel, manga, computer game and anime. Considering Xiao Zhan’s ever growing hardcore fans, you have plenty of interests that kept this c-drama on top of the chart throughout its airing during Chinese Lunar New Year.

The first thing that I checked on any costume c-drama is the storyline. Most of the time, the storyline is so crappy that you would think the screenwriters are some of the stupidest people within the television industry. The storyline here is your typical fantasy wuxia where the main protagonist started as a lame duck and transformed himself into an expert fighter/soul master through cultivation/levelling up throughout his adventure. The positive news here is that there is no overemphasis or overdependence on Xiao Zhan and Wu Xuanyi, as the other 5 members of the Shrek Team and the 2/3 teachers get their share of airtime too. This is a plus point because what makes some storylines unbearable is when you see the ML and FL dominates the scenes. Another great news is that romance is not given much emphasis in this series. You don’t have storyline where ML and FL would fall in love, got into some disagreement and separated, fall in love again, separated again, etc.

Another good thing is that there is not much fake studio setting. Where possible, the production team finds real bushes or secondary forests especially for scenes involving hunting of soul beasts. Okay, there were occasionally fake studio setting like in Ep 23 and 24 when the Seven Devils were fighting Fiend battle team in Xi Si City. I can’t understand the need for those mushroom-like structures in the fighting scenes, but they were not particularly hideous.

Tang San/Xiao Zhan is adorable but his character is very much Mary-Sue like. Brave, charming, handsome, righteous, honest, etc with tragic past and revenge mission. The female lead however tries too hard to be cute. Wu Xuanyi/Xiao Wu introduction in Ep 2 as she entered Nuoding Acadamy was so bad, it reeks of overacting. Granted her performances improves as the series progresses but she tries too hard to be cute in some of the scenes. When she acts normally, it looks more natural. Her acting will improve as gets into more drama, and she could be as popular as her “Rocket Girls 101” co-member, Yang Chaoyue, who is now ranked as a Forbes Top-100 Celebrity in China given the right dramas and movies. I don’t like Ou Si Ke’s character – too talkative and his penchant for writing during inopportune time like when they are about to fight left me baffled and confused.

There were numerous light-hearted moments that make this series enjoyable. I love watching Xiao Wu trying repeatedly to kiss Tang San but failed to do so; or DuGu Yan playfulness in claiming Tang San as her husband; or DuGu Bo eccentric humor and quirky common-sense; or Xiao Wu lack of understanding of male/female relationship, or Ms Liu obsession with Tang San’s sifu, etc. Too many instances to list them out but they make this series worth re-watching, albeit on selected episodes. The chemistry between Tang San and Xiao Wu is evident for all to see, because I believe, Xiao Wu’s happy go-lucky character fits Wu Xianyi natural disposition. This couple reeks of cuteness overload. The other couples don’t give me the same excitement as Tang San/Xiao Wu. And how did Calvin Chen as Tang San’s master be that good looking at 40!!

This is a CGI and VFX heavy production. Every time a character uses his/her inner power, CGI and/or VFX is required. I thought the CGI and visual effect were beautifully done and nothing was particularly amiss or looking out of place. The soul beasts are all computer generated too, and their incorporation into the fighting scenes are not bad either. Of course, there are times when the characters’ flying or qingqong seem to challenge the law of physics, but that is to be expected in this heavy-laden CGI/VFX that must have kept the CGI/VFX working overtime during the post production processes. On a related note, Visual Impact Digital Production, the company engaged to provide the CGI/VFX for the series admitted of plagiarism in the drama’s opening title sequene through the use of His Dark Materials and the character Jhin in League of Legends. Luckily this controversy was nip in the bud, and the c-drama was not affected by it.

Now the ending – typical expected ending with a prelude to Season 2 clearly in the minds of the Directors/Producers. There is a cliff-hanger that is designed to whet the viewers appetite for Season 2. Just hope that “Douluo Continent 2” will not suffer the same fate as “Evernight 2” – the sequel could not match the series original success; or “Princess Agents” where the sequel never takes off.

My overall verdict of this series is 8.0/10. A must watch for Xiao Zhan’s fans and those who like video-game type of levelling up. Plenty of funny and enjoyable moments.

Story - 9.0/10
Acting - 7.5/10
Music - 7.5/10
Rewatch value - 8.0/10
Overall - 8.0/10

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The Blood of Youth
10 personnes ont trouvé cette critique utile
janv. 26, 2023
40 épisodes vus sur 40
Complété 0
Globalement 10
Histoire 10
Acting/Cast 10
Musique 10
Degrés de Re-visionnage 10

The gem of 2022 and a must watch for all wuxia lovers

This is the best wuxia c-drama I have watched in a while, and certainly the best of 2022. I binged watched and completed the first 12 episodes in a day, and after that it was torturous waiting for new episodes to be released. It was everything I had hope for in a wuxia drama, and some. Not a perfect drama though, but certainly top on my enjoyment list as I thoroughly love every bit of this drama and a tad sad after it concluded airing after 40 episodes. There are only a handful of c-dramas that gave me such vibes, and “Blood of Youth” (BOY) is one of them.

What makes this series so special is its storylines. This is the adventure of Xiao Se – the fallen sixth prince and his best buddy, Wu Jie in the martial arts world of jiang hu. Along the way they picked up other like-minded swordsmen and fighters, and together they tried to mould the political landscape of Beili Kingdom. The palace politics is portrayed through the battle for the throne and each prince/party is supported by various martial arts sects with their own Swords-Masters and Swords Deities. In this world of martial arts, all these swordsmen fight for the supremacy to be the best in the world. These martial artists are ranked accordingly by the mysterious Baixiao Sect ala Langya List in “Nirvana in Fire 1&2”. Meanwhile, the skills of these swordsmen are categorized to denote expertise, and they gained level as they get more experience just like Dungeon & Dragon games.

While this premise is not unique and has been adopted by various wuxia novelists since time immemorial, BOY is different because each character - be it main protagonists or supporting characters - are unique and entertaining, with their own quirks and idiosyncrasies with their own interesting storyline and character development. This is the real strength of BOY. Xiao Se is the moody and enigmatic sixth prince; Wu Jie and Ma Chunfeng are both naïve and innocent members of distinguished clans; Sikong Qianluo is the haughty and impulsive daughter of a Swords Deity ; Tang Lian is an honest and loyal disciple of Tang Clan and Xueyue City ;Ye Ruoyi is the regal and dignified daughter of a General commanding thousands of armies ; Wu Xin is the playful and charming demon sect’s leader who happens to be the half brother of Prince Chi; Prince Bai is the virtuous and honorable, yet blind second prince eyeing for the throne; Prince Chi is the evil ninth prince jostling for the throne, and practically responsible for all evil things happening in this c-drama ; and myriad other interesting characters like Li Hanyi (Xueyue City Swords Deity), Sikong ChangFeng (Xueyue City Third Lord), Luo Mingxuan, Li Fan Song (Mount Wangcheng disciple), etc.

Blood Of Youth has plenty of light-hearted moments with playful bantering among the characters. It provides relief and brief interruption from the serious undertone concerning the life and death of martial artists and the struggles for throne among the princes. Even the interaction between the Divine Healer, Hua Jin and the third Master of Ma’s Clan, Ma Chunfeng brings smile to my face. There are funny scenes everywhere: from the awkward way Wu Jie tried to strike a conversation with Ruoyi at the Flower Festival, to the way Wu Jie tried to correct Xiao Se’s pronunciation of a cursed word, etc. Wu Jie’s character is a gem because he always becomes a fodder for Xiao Se’s deadpan humor. Even Wujin’s character sometimes acts silly in the presence of these two protagonists. Basically anything involving Wu Jie and Ma Chunfeng is funny, and I think these two characters really steal the show.

This series could have been a huge TV rating bonanza had it featured A-list actors such as Yang Yang, Yang Mi, Dilraba, Zhao Liying, Wang Yi Bo, Xiao Zhan, etc. The producer casts three (3) great looking and up & coming actors as the main male leads. Li Hongyi, Liu Xueyi and Ao Rui Peng play their parts convincingly, may have their loyal coterie of fans but they are not A-grade . The chemistry among this trio, and towards the leading female leads (Flora Dai & Lin Bo Yang) are palpable for viewers to see. Not a single actor/actress hogs the lime-light and the screen time is shared across all cast. I thought the casting of Lin Bo Yang as Sikong Qianlou was the weakest link in the drama, and would have preferred to see either Yuan Binyang or Gulinazha in that role.

I love dramatic fighting scenes and there are plenty of them in any wuxia movie, and BOY is no exception. The fight choreography is at par with the best of Wuxia films/dramas I have watched to date. I am even inclined to compare the work of high-budget Chinese New Year’s blockbuster – Sakra: an adaptation of JinYong’s work – to BOY, and the result was not disappointing. Sakra involved tons of money, a gazillion of stuntmen, machines and props and the fighting choreography may not be much superior to that of BOY. If anything, BOY’s fight scenes are more realistic as the director tries to tone down on the more complicated and back-breaking stunts by not going overboard with the action flicks or wire works. However, at times the choreographed fights become too simple especially the ones involving Sikong Qianlou.

There are however a few post-production “errors” which stand out to me but it does not take away from enjoyment of BOY. For example, Tang Lian disappears from the scene by jumping to a roof and into the horizon. The scene is comical because the fast motion was overdone. Similarly, the same technique was overdone when Sikong Qianluo and Ye Ruoyi are on horsebacks trotting slowly while leading the army to Tianqi City after successfully battling Prince’s Chi surrogate army. The scene is out of sort, because the horses are moving at a snail pace, almost reluctantly, while the post-production tries to simulate the movement of an army marching on. But these “spoofs” are few and far between.

A thoroughly enjoyable wuxia flick. The gem of 2022 and a must watch. 10/10 rating. My only disappointment is that it has only 40 episodes. Off to another Li Hongyi’s drama – Wulin Heroes.

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Si Teng
12 personnes ont trouvé cette critique utile
avril 12, 2021
30 épisodes vus sur 30
Complété 1
Globalement 9.0
Histoire 9.5
Acting/Cast 9.5
Musique 8.0
Degrés de Re-visionnage 8.0

The best C-drama of 2021 with great acting and chemistry from the leading trio

I don’t watch any republican era c-drama, never, and I dropped this c-drama after 5mins. But I am glad a snippet in youtube shows that it is actually a modern drama, and the first 5 mins was just flashback. I revisited and got hooked on “Rattan” after just two episodes. Mind you, this supernatural series is very addictive and the release of new episodes could not have come in fast enough. Another masterful creation from the director of Good bye My Princess – Li Mu Ge and “Rattan” like his previous work will be a hit as well.

Sally Jing is not your typical leading lady in Chinese dramaland. She is an international superstar having starred in three (3) Hollywood blockbusters. She was Gen Mae Lin in The Great Wall, a China-US co-production of science fantasy action film alongside Matt Damon. She also starred in Kong – Skull Island and Pacific Rim – Uprising. Her acting pedigree is unquestionable, and she does not disappoint in “Rattan”. She looks extremely gorgeous and elegant in striking colour, body hugging cut of her outfit/costume, without being overly sexy or too revealing. Her costume and appearance is just perfect. Her co-star Zhang Binbin, is a great actor. He was very domineering in King’s Woman, but as soft as butter in this drama. He was a forlorn lover in “Ten Miles of Peach Blossom”, basically a sad character pining for his ex-lover until his tragic death at the hand of his father. But “Rattan” presents a totally new challenge to the ML. This is a new role and character for Zhang Binbin. His servile and submissive attitude towards Si Teng which slowly transforms into caring, protective and eventually loving feeling is a joy to watch. It takes a great actor to be able to convey a range of emotions effectively to the audience and Qin Fang did not disappoint in this regard.

Yan Furui’s acting was overboard at times, but his off-cuff and comedic behavior was entertaining. He is your instant noodle guy who could finish 3 big-cups in a row. His train ride to Dana with Si Teng was a great scene, prompting Si Teng to quip never to travel with Yan Furui in the future. A lovable character who sells kebab for a living, talks big, but could not kill an ant. Highly emotional yet very faithful to Si Teng and Qin Fang. Then his disciple, the young Wafang, who was quite mischievous but in a funny way. These two (2) supporting cast complements the two main leads beautifully and adds comic relief to the whole series.

The plot was refreshing, although not entirely original. Then again with so many c-drama being released every year, there is hardly any room for creative ingenuity with the story lines. At least it is not the same boring storyline of a poor female lead getting in love with a handsome rich male lead, and live happily ever after. Rattan’s plot is about a domineering female lead and a submissive male lead who had no choice but to be so because of circumstances. Perfect chemistry between the two lead characters. And what makes their interaction beautiful is that it is not love at first sight, and we don’t have to bear watching 2 lovebirds pining and going at it for 30 episodes. It took Si Teng 16 episodes to declare “He is mine” before beating Qin Fang’s kidnapper (Wan Dong) to a pulp.

The production was set in a beautiful and breath-taking location with dreamy landscape. Rolling mountains, lakes, valleys, forest and roads cutting across the mountains and lakes dominate the scenes. Not sure whether it is the product of CGI or the scenes were shot in a real town/city of Dana in China. But serene atmosphere, stunning scenery and sublime lake and mountain view scenes enhances the viewing enjoyment of this c-drama. All the hallmarks of quality production from Li Mu Ge and the team.

The CGI (computer generated imagery) and VFX (visual effects) here are first class and impressive. Since this is a supernatural c-drama, there were quite a few scenes where CGI was involved. There are people and inanimate object like car in Episode 1 hanging from the rope which need VFX to get rid of the rope; or CGI of rattan coming out of Bai Ying/Si Teng’s hand; or when Zhi Gang fought Si Teng at the farm. Plenty of impressive CGI and VFX that were used to create these special effects, and the final result was beautifully choreographed scenes which adds further interest and much excitement to the storyline.

No spoilers on the ending of this drama. If you have managed to cover 20+ episodes, you will kill me for giving out the ending. The best plot is thinking that you know how the story ends, and get blind-sided by a very good screenwriter. The biggest weakness of any c-drama is the crappy writing, and you could telegraph the ending 20 episodes from the end. Mind you, this is not your typical c-drama – expect the unexpected from the director who gave you “Good-bye My Princess”. Will be a heart-break ending like the previous masterpiece work of Li Mu Ge, or everyone clocks out and lives their lives happily ever after???? Personally, I like the ending.

Highly entertaining drama and so far the best of 2021. This is from a fan of historical costume c-drama who could only count with 1 hand the list of completed modern contemporary c-dramas to-date. My score is 9.0/10.0. Sally Jing in her portrayal of Si Teng is the epitome of charm, elegance, grace and beauty - in short, she is a joy to watch. Together with Qin Fang (Vin Zhang) and Yan Furui (Zhang Yichi), this trio is the heart of soul of this c-drama.

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En cours 46/49
Ancient Love Poetry
23 personnes ont trouvé cette critique utile
juil. 16, 2021
46 épisodes vus sur 49
En cours 5
Globalement 5.0
Histoire 3.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Musique 5.0
Degrés de Re-visionnage 4.0
Cette critique peut contenir des spoilers

No sub-plots worth mentioning - everything is about the two main leads

I came across the first trailer last year. It was outstandingly enticing, action-packed and beautifully choreographed, with excellent VFX fighting scenes between demons/devils and the Immortals/Gods. It immediately drew me to this series and I penned it down as a must see xianxia c-drama of 2021. It did not hurt that last year, I thoroughly enjoyed “Love and Redemption (L&R)”. The female lead was Zhou Dongyu (ZDY) – an actress who is internationally acclaimed and the top actress listed in Forbes Top-100 Chinese Celebrities. Another reason to watch is that this is ZDY first foray into the small screen costume drama. And the fact that there are not many interesting new releases of costume drama as of late, “Ancient Love Poetry” seemed like a good enough drama to spend my time on complementing another period drama I am currently watching – “Court Lady”.

First, let me say that the choice of Zhou DongYu as the female lead baffles me. This is her first small screen appearance in a costume drama where she is depicted as the most beautiful woman across all Realms/Kingdoms. Her stature and popularity is similar to Yang Mi, Zhao Liying, etc ie she is an extremely famous actress in China and she took up a job that pitted her against an actor – Xu Kai – who is considered solid but not a top notch or calibre material. Xu Kai is not in the same league as say Kris Wu, Wang Yibo, Karry Wang, Xiao Zhan, Lu Han, Liu Haoran, etc (well you get the pictures). There were rumors that ZDY was forced to take up this role as it was rejected by Angelababy when they were at the same agency – Mountain Top Entertainment. I tend to believe in this rumor because this c-drama role does not suit her at all.

No wonder there are a lot of noises from Chinese netizen about the casting of ZDY as Shang Gu in this fantasy romance. To them, ZDY is not pretty enough to play the role of Shang Gu. She does not have the traits or characteristics of classic Chinese beauty. What is significantly clear to me is that ZDY was particularly beautiful when she was Shang Gu on the Ancient God Realm, but 60,000 years later as Houchi, ZDY was pedestrian looking. Did they change the make up artist halfway though this fantasy romance series? The difference in beauty is evident for all to see. To me, ZDY looks like a little girl who has never grown up. She has a teenager’s body – petite and undeveloped. She does not have those typical classical Chinese beauty features like good height (tall), double eye-lids, under-eye bags, etc. I am not body-shaming her, and she is a tremendously beautiful actress and the main reason why I’m watching this chinese series, but she is not suited to play the role of the most beautiful God/person/entity across all realms in 100,000-150,000 years. Luo Qiu Yun (Goddess Yuemi) or Jenny Zhang (Wu Huan) seem like a better choice to play FL.

Now to the real crux of the matter – the storylines – the achilles heel of most c-drama productions. Ultimately, you can’t watch “Ancient Love Poetry (ALP)” without comparing it against “Love & Redemption (L&R)”, “Love & Destiny (L&D)”, and “Ten Miles of Peach Blossom (TMoPB)” because all these xianxia dramas share the same theme and concept – ever lasting love story across millennia, reincarnation, trials and tribulations, unrequited love, sacrifices, etc. This is where I believe ALP absolutely fails its viewers. Where are the sub-plots? Everything is about Zong Dongyu (ZDY) and Xu Kai (XK). There are hardly any sub-plots worth mentioning. There is hardly any character development for the rest of the supporting cast. They are treated with contempt and non-essential to the main plot or story line – which is the love story between the two (2) lead characters. This is the real weakness of this period drama which makes it a torture to complete 49 episodes. 49 episodes of watching ZDY and XK professing their love to one another, having occasional spats like all love-birds do, experiencing flashbacks of the past life’s love story, protecting one another, sacrificing for the greater good, etc is just too much to bear even for a hardcore costume-period fan like myself.

Absolutely no character development at all during the 1st phase of the story up to the Trial of God of Chaos/Shang Gu. It took only 16 eps, and yes I am being sarcastic here to reach the ending of Shang Gu-Bai Jue love story in their first life. Even the 2nd lead Tian Qi (Liu Xiu Yi), who plays a similar role to The Ghost Lord (Vin Zhang) in TMoPB and Jing Xiu (Ethan Li) in Love & Destiny, does not get much mention and Tian Qi is potentially the 3rd most important character in the novel. At least the starting of the 2nd phase, 60,000 years later after the trial of Shang Gu provides some relief to the story. It should be a total reset and the beginning of the second life. But…. But…. You get Houchi pining for Bo Xuan already in Ep 17, the introduction to their second life 60,000 years later. God Gu Jun, one of the only few surviving gods from her first life and happens to be Hou Chi’s father in the second life, appeared once in Ep 17 and reappeared 13 episodes later in Ep 30 to protect Hou Chi from Wu Huan. WTF…. this is all about the two (2) lead characters. Thought that their second life would be a breath of fresh air, but other than the love story sub-plot between Feng Ran and Jing Jian, the rest of minor stories/sub-plots were not explored at all. The writer has a lot of opportunities to introduce support cast in the sub-plots like the triangle love story involving Gu Jun, Wu Huan and Mu Huang. Is this not a huge and significant story line here that culminates in the birth of Hou Chi and forms the basis of the enmity between Heavenly Realm and QingChi Palace? Enough ranting on the story line – the real weakness of this series and reason enough not to watch it.

Now to the positives. The Computer Generated Imageries (CGI) and Visual Effects (VFX) are simply outstanding. This is what draws me to the series from the trailers. The color hues, contrast, detailing, lighting, etc of the special effects and CGIs are among the best I have seen. Maybe the God Realm looks like it is coming out of Star Trek movies, but Gods are supposed to reside at outer space. The fighting scenes between Gods and Qiong Qi in Ep 11 are an excellent example of CGIs intertwined with excellent VFXs. The level of sophistication must have cost the Producers/Directors plenty of money and these are simply world class CGIs/VFXs. But no matter how good a VFX is, it is still fantasy world. I specifically would point out to Ep 29 where Hou Chi and Qing Mu were enjoying the scenery at the Heavenly Realm with water falls nested within clouds. It just feels weird because such scene plays into one’s imagination. I don’t think there is anyway the VFX experts could get it right. Also, the constant overhead shot of the Ancient God Realm in Shang Gu’s first life, and Heavenly realm overhead shot in her subsequent life was too futuristic – looking more like Star Trek rather than the place where Gods, Immortals and Demons live. At least that is my opinion.

The costumes are glamorous, albeit very plain and simple in nature. The Immortals/Gods tend to wear lighter shades, while the Demons are mostly in darker color. As I was watching “Court Lady” at the same time, I detest the Tang dynasty clothing in the Court Lady, the hair-do, etc. Even a beautiful Li YiTong could sometimes look horrendous in Tang Dynasty clothing. That did not happen here with the ladies – they all look elegant, gorgeous and refined.

On the studio set design, it does not have the fake looking and feeling even though the setting is in the make-believe fantasy land. When reproducing a set purely from imagination and fantasy, it is easier to get it wrong. Your creativity could backfire. The setting reminds me a lot of “Ashes of Love”. The God Realm, Heavenly Palace and the Lookout Shelter are especially beautiful. I wish “Legend of Fei” producers/directors could learn a thing or two from this production when it comes to studio set design.

Nothing on the music front draws me to this series. Nothing. I am not drawn to the sound track at all, and there is not a song within this c-drama series that keeps playing in my head. A good sound track will add more interest onto a series. It is like an appetizer before the main course.

When the series is very good, and there are quite a few of them in my book like Evernight Season 1, Novoland Eagle Flag, Nirvana in Fire 2, Joy of Life, etc, you tend to worry when the series are at the end. You keep counting how many episodes are left. When the series are over, you experienced withdrawal syndrome. I am sure it won’t happen to me with Ancient Love Poetry. No wonder Douban rating by Chinese mainland viewers hovers at the pedestrian 5.2 with only 1 out of 4 reviewers giving it a good/fair rating (4/5). While international viewers like those at Mydramalist.com website, tend to be more generous with their rating (8.3 rating at Mydramalist).

Give it a miss if you have not started watching it and go for other c-drama!

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And The Winner is Love
4 personnes ont trouvé cette critique utile
août 17, 2020
48 épisodes vus sur 48
Complété 0
Globalement 6.0
Histoire 3.0
Acting/Cast 7.0
Musique 6.0
Degrés de Re-visionnage 2.0
Cette critique peut contenir des spoilers

Only for hardcore Yuqi's and Yunxi's fans

This is my most anticipated C-drama of 2020 (together with Love & Redemption) and when it was finally broadcasted on iQIYI, I was extremely thrilled. The excitement was unreal and I was counting down the days till the premiere. But the first few episodes left me dumb-founded and extremely disappointed. Managed to complete the 48-episode series 2.5mths after its premiere, and that was only because I am a die-hard fan of Chen Yuqi.

What is wrong with this series despite having the same producer as the ever popular “Ashes of Love” and even three (3) of their stars ? Everything. The title was cheesy. The film setting and location was average at best – nothing to shout about. The fighting scenes were below average. The story line was crappy with lots of holes. The acting was difficult to watch with the leading actor/actress looking sad most of the time. The music was passable. The rewatch value is zero as there are no scenes left indelible marks on me and worth rewatching. It was so bad that during the time I was watching this series, I managed to start and complete “The Twin Flower Legend”, “Novoland Eagle Flag” and “Oh My General”.

With so many negative aspects of this series, what was the one that stood out like a sore thumb? Definitely this series’ story-line. This is basically a love story between Yuqi and Yunxi, and the story about an evil guy who was trying to rule the martial arts world was just a filler to fill-up 48 episodes. It was love at first sight for both leading actor/actress, and it happened in the very first episode. They got married at the end but between the first and the last episodes, both of them looked like they were competing with one another for the pitiful, miserable and forlorn look. This couple should be happy. There were not any challenges or obstacles to their love story other than the simple misunderstanding caused by Lin Fengzi. Forty-some episodes of having to look at Chen Yuqi’s cheerless and downcast facial expression are too much even for a fan like me. Chong Xuezhi’s reminded me of Yuan Bingyan’s role as Shu Jingrong in “Listening Snow Tower” where she appeared sad for almost the entire 56 episodes. Both of their characters (Yuqi and Bingyan( were supposed to be strong and powerful, yet both had to be rescued by their male co-star almost every time they stepped foot in the Jianghu.

Then you have the 2 male leads in Luo Yunxi and Zou Tingwei – both of them looked depressed too most of the time. I don’t need to comment on Yunxi as he has made the sad looking character his trademark with his performance in “Ashes of Love” and “Princess Silver”. But he should not have carried such role into this series as his Shangguan Tou’s character was a perfect person. Shangguan was handsome, rich, of royal descent, adept in martial arts and got the girl whom he fancied. Anyone would be ecstatic if he/she is in his shoes. So why was he looking like crying most of the time? Zou Tingwei ‘s role as a bodyguard in this C-drama is similar to his MuCi character in “Ashes of Love” with the exception that in AOL he got the girl; while in this drama, he almost got the girl. He should be miserable, and miserable he was.

Not a single memorable scene, and don’t think it is worth a re-watch. That is why it took a Yuqi fan like me 2.5mth to complete the series. Only for hardcore Yuqi and Yunxi’s fans. The rest can give it a miss and the “the Winner will be You” for not wasting your valuable time.

6/10 overall rating.

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En cours 26/39
Luoyang
8 personnes ont trouvé cette critique utile
déc. 18, 2021
26 épisodes vus sur 39
En cours 0
Globalement 10
Histoire 10
Acting/Cast 8.0
Musique 9.0
Degrés de Re-visionnage 10

The best period c-drama of 2021

2021 has been a lean year for period/costume c-dramas. There are hardly any period/costume c-dramas worth mentioning other than a handful like The Long Ballad and Word of Honor. Even then, these two c-dramas did not exactly meet the lofty standard and suffered from various issues such as disjointed storylines and plots, dubious incorporation of anime into the series, dubbing issues, etc. That is why “Luoyang” is such a refreshing change in an otherwise dull year for period drama fans like myself.

Ultimately, “Luoyang” will always be compared to “The Longest Day in Chang’An” – a hit costume drama of 2019 by the same writer. Both are penned by Ma Boyong and have the same complexities, mystery and intricacies unique to Ma Boyong’s writing style. Both are set during Tang Dynasty’s period. Both are highly engaging, entertaining and visually appealing with numerous twists and turns of various plots and subplots. If you enjoy “The Longest Day in Chang’An”, I am absolutely sure “Luoyang” is your cup of tea and this 39-episode c-drama will captivate and keep you on the edge of your seat till the very end.

The drama opens up with our main lead, Gao Bingzhu played by the mercurial Huang Xuan, awakens from his sleep in a coffin store, which turns out to be his lodging. There is hardly any artificial light in this very first shot other than those sunlight permeating through the voids in the window. It sets the tone lighting wise for the rest of the series. You won’t get too much artificial lighting here to lighten up the scenes other than those from candles especially for indoor and night scenes. Lighting over-exposure is non-existent here. It keeps the atmosphere real, with shadows visible during some night or indoor shots. Then we are presented with the aerial shot of Luoyang City. The capital setting with throngs of inhabitants filling up every nook and corner of the street is simply spectacular and breath-taking. It looks real like what a vibrant capital should look like and not just a scene filmed at one of the sets at Hengdian World Studio. Those people on the street do not look like extras. Immediately you know that this series is a big-budget production and costs a bomb to produce. Money is no issue and the producer is only concerned with quality product. Everything looks real and expensive - from the costumes, props, studio setting, extras to ancient Luoyang, Unwelcome Well (Ghetto), the HQ of Intelligence Services, etc. The first few minutes convinced me to KIV Yang Mi’s “Pearl Eclipse” and Zhang Huiwen’s “Heart of Loyalty”.

No one particular actor hogs the screen time here, and that is a plus. The story-line does not revolve around any leads, but rather each lead has his/her own plots. Gao Bingzhu is hell-bent on revenge for his friends’ death. Baili Hongyi is trying to find his father killer. Wu Siyue is just doing her job as the Inner Guard to the Grand Empress. The story is a labyrinth with twists and turns where excitement, disappointment, sadness and mystery await you around every corner. The writing has always been the main weakness of most Chinese period dramas; but not here. “Luoyang” writing is good enough that you don’t have to turn off your brain to enjoy this masterpiece. The acting is great as well. Special mention to Huang Xuan as Gao Bingzhu because at times, his acting moved me the way no other costume/period c-dramas could. I remember watching Xie Ze’s previous effort as a director with “Jun JiuLing”and laughing my ass off when the ML (Jin Han) cried his heart out after finding out his beloved had met her untimely death. Gao Bingzhu does not have to cry in this drama, but his tormented expression is enough to relay the feeling of helplessness and anguish. The scenes where he got his revenge against the 16th Night, and when his best friend turned enemy met his untimely death were scenes that I could watch time and again. His strength as an actor reveals itself in these highly emotional and poignant scenes.

Special mention on Luoyang’s beautiful cinematography, props, costumes and great fighting and chasing scenes. The camera angles are exquisite. There are times when I wonder how those cameramen manage to capture the shots of fighting and chasing scene through the Ghetto. The wireworks and stunts come out beautifully. The chasing scenes must have used professional parkour athletes because I don’t believe wireworks and post-production tricks alone could have achieved those effects.

Lighting is another aspect which “Luoyang” excels in. There is no over exposure from artificial lighting on most of the scenes. Night time and indoor scenes have the right amount of light - presumably from tons of candles - which produces shadows, realistic ambience and contrast. Low key lighting in this costume drama was in stark contrast to the last directed costume cdrama by the same director, Xie Ze (Jun JiuLing), where lighting overexposure was prevalent and became a negative point of “Jun JiuLing”. On the other hand, lighting seems to be the strong point of Xie Ze’s “Luoyang” with the night scene in the imperial City of Luoyang particularly impressive and eye-catching.

November/December 2021 is a great time for period c-drama fans because of “Pearl Eclipse”, “Luoyang” and the recently premiered “Sword Snow Stride”. The best period drama of 2021, and one of the best EVER without any doubt.
Story - 10.0/10
Acting - 8.0/10
Music - 9.0/10
Rewatch value - 10.0/10
Overall - 10.0/10

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En cours 40/49
Meng Xing Chang An
7 personnes ont trouvé cette critique utile
août 31, 2021
40 épisodes vus sur 49
En cours 3
Globalement 9.0
Histoire 9.5
Acting/Cast 8.0
Musique 9.0
Degrés de Re-visionnage 7.0

One of the best palace dramas in recent years - excellent storyline and sub-plots

“Stand by Me (SBM)” or previously known as “Dream of Chang’An” is perhaps not your typical palace drama because the struggles involved an all-powerful eunuch, the Emperor and an unknown Third Force, which remains a mystery until 2/3rd into the series. The strength of this costume c-drama lies in its intricate, complex and highly entertaining storyline with various sub-plots. Palace drama will always be compared to “Nirvana In Fire (NIF)” – the gold standard in this type of genre. To me, the plots and subplots of SBM are much better than NIF as you are left guessing and wondering of what would happen next. You are left at the edge of your seats; always looking forward to the next episodes. Even in NIF, you know the ML will eventually achieve his ultimate goal of getting his close friend to the throne. In SBM, this is not so clear cut, as there are choices to be made by the FL whether to side with the killer of her family or with her elder sister bent on revenge.

The first time I was aware of this period drama was when Cheng Yi’s “Love and Redemption (L&R)” and “The Promise of Chang’An (PoCA)” premiered back to back last year featuring the same male lead actor. Cheng Yi was quite unknown before L&R but his popularity sky-rocketed after the double releases and the Studio rode on this sudden and unexpected rise of Cheng Yi’s fame by releasing the stills of “Dream of Chang’an”. More Cheng Yi’s period drama with an almost identical title to PoCA and the cast that resembles a mini reunion of L&R, minus Yuan BingYan. No wonder after its release, the Producer changed the series title to something different and distinguishable as there are tens of historical Chinese dramas with “Chang’An” in their title names.

The cast is not just full of L&R but also PoCA actors. Not surprising since the Producer of “Stand By Me” (SBM) is also the producer of both L&R and PoCA. The actors are mainly from H&R Century Pictures. Personally, I like the line-up and familiar with the works of most of the cast. 3 out of 4 main leads in L&R, except Crystal Yuan, are present in this 49-episode costume drama. Cheng Yi’s role is the typical tormented soul just like in L&R and PoCA. In L&R, he died 9 times and coughed blood on countless occasions. In PoCA, our handsome male lead, who happened to be the most powerful God of War of the empire, did not get the love of his life and died tragically - alone and miserable. In SBM, Cheng Yu is again a forlorn figure – misunderstood and despised by all except the Female Lead (FL). I am so used to seeing this type of acting from Cheng Yu, and his trademark of clenching his fists whenever he’s repressing his true feeling, that his acting does not raise any eyebrow for me anymore. Zhang YuXi plays a porcelain doll who is unabashedly loyal to ML, but with a lethal swordsmanship. A combination of beauty and brawn, but with added naivety, childishness, and innocence with undying devotion towards the ML. Not really my cup of tea for FL characteristics, but this type of stereotype for FL is a favourite character in Chinese dramaland, where all leading ladies even in their 30s of early 40s like Yang Mi, Zhao Liying, Tiffany Tang, Zhang Ziyi, etc love to take up the role.

I love the characters of the other leading figures – Yan Xiu, Princess Misha, Qiu YanZhi, Prince Guang and Cheng Xi. Yan Xiu is a monstrous killing machine who is soft at heart, and in love with his superior – YanZhi. But he does not show any weakness because of his feeling towards YanZhi; and is steadfast and committed in carrying out his countless missions. YanZhi is driven by revenge is in the mould of Mei ChangSu from NIF, and I do wish to see a happy ending for her, but I know that would be impossible. Princess Misha is another lovable character. She is just a side story and I would prefer more screen time for her, but her character reminds me a lot of Mo ShanShan of EverNight series – my most favorite character in Chinese dramaland alongside Zhao Min from the third instalment of the Condor trilogy by Jin Yong. Then, the baby-faced Cheng Xi and her absolute resolve and determination comes what may to get her half brother on the throne. But last but not least, Prince Guang, the miracle physician who should have become the Emperor instead of our ML. You know in any Chinese period dramas, a miracle doctor/physician is a must because you can’t get the ML or FL to die half-way, because they could only die at the end like Bloody Romance, Goodbye My Princess, Legend of YunXi, Legend of Awakening, etc but I digress….

Special mention must be made to Mickey He or Qiu ZiLiang. He especially caught my attention in L&R as the father of Cheng Yi (Sifeng) and Master of LiZe Palace. Everytime he appeared on screen, I cringed. His character as the Master of LiZe Palace was like a buffoon, rather than an eccentric figure. In “Stand By Me”, his acting or overacting to be precise was especially bad and atrocious. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry back then when watching L&R and having the sense of deja-vu again in this drama. I get it that Qiu Ziliang was never a likable character. But his constant rapid eye movement and twitching of his cheek were certainly over-the-top. It did not look natural, and a distraction to the whole scenes. There were times when I was perplexed by his reaction and facial expression such as at the end of Episode 31 when Prince An died from poisoning in his presence. I don’t pinpoint any bad acting for as long as I could remember - only bad casting – but Mickey He takes the cake. He stood out like a sore thumb and I have to mention him here to get it off my chest.

Now, to why I consider “Stand By Me” as one of the best costume period dramas of 2021. THE STORYLINE. It has one of the best storylines of palace drama. My pet peeve with c-drama in general is that I could watch the first few episodes, and know how the whole drama is going to end up. There are no surprises. The main plot takes up 80% of the screen time, and various, sometimes, meaningless sub-plots are included to fill up the time-slot. Not here, though. The main plot, ie the love story between Qi Yan n Cheng Ruoyu does not take too much screen time, but still a bit too much for my own liking (not as bad as Ancient Love Poetry). Can’t stand watching a couple constantly professing love for one another. Then various sub-plots from Qiu YanZhi/Yan Xiu, the Third Force, Cheng Xi and the Purple Bureau, the head Eunuch, Princess Misha and her Army, etc. These sub-plots are integral to the whole storyline of the power struggle between the head eunuch and the puppet Emperor, and not just acts as water fillers. Plenty of heart-wrenching moments in the whole storyline, but not so much light-hearted comedic moments – understandable, because the whole premise of the period drama is vengence. As you get deeper into the storyline and its sub-plots, you will be wondering about the following
• Is the good guy going to win here? You bet. The Head Eunuch will ultimately meet his demise sooner or later.
• Are the main protagonists going to end up together even though the ML was responsible for wiping out the FL’s family in the Morning Dew Revolution? You bet, can’t have a sad ending here, can’t you?
• Will Qiu YanZhi get her revenge on His Majesty? I have a strong feeling YanZhi will have a sad ending. Will it be a sad ending for Yan Xiu too?
• What happen with Princess Misha and her army? Will she come to the Emperor’s rescue? Like Cheng Ruoyu, Li Misha cannot get away from the shackles of love.
• How would Cheng Ruoyu react once she finds out that she is the younger sister of Qiu YanZhi, and that the Emperor is their mortal enemy?
• With the Emperor being sick most of the time, will the Third Force usurp the throne? They look like the most potent force in this drama, with connection and people through-out the Empire with a reluctant leader good enough to assume the throne from a sickly and love-struck Emperor.
• Qiu ZiLiang has 40+ episodes to kill all his opponents, who are at his mercy. He does not kill any of his major opponents. Can’t have a bad guy winning, can’t you?
• Despite being on the verge of death so many times, the lead characters (ML/FL) just refuse to die. Typical c-dramas. Suddenly wonder poisons and medicines, cure-all antidotes, miracles physicians, etc appearing – you get the drift.


This is by no means an excellent series. Other than story lines, the other aspects are just AVERAGE. How could an Imperial Palace be so empty all the time – it’s unrealistic. The Producer probably does not have the budget the hire more extras to act as eunuchs, court ladies, servants, court officials, princes and princesses, etc. IMO, this points to lack of budget to drive this drama. The fighting scenes especially between FL and the other girls from Purple Bureau was quite bad or at best, average. The Producer has to make some scenes in slow-motion to compensate for the lack of fighting choreography and lack of swordsmanship in real time.

The series is 4 episodes away from the end. Just can’t wait to see the reaction from the FL when she finally chooses love over her sister’s desire for revenge. At least that is how I believe this series is going to conclude/end. Overall score - 9.0/10.0. Excellent storyline.

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En cours 30/40
Jun Jiu Ling
7 personnes ont trouvé cette critique utile
sept. 29, 2021
30 épisodes vus sur 40
En cours 3
Globalement 7.0
Histoire 4.0
Acting/Cast 7.0
Musique 9.0
Degrés de Re-visionnage 4.0

Too many holes in the story lines.

“Jun Jiu Ling” has all the hallmarks and characteristics of “Goodbye My Princess” – Peng Xiaoran’s (PXR) breakout drama and one of the best productions of 2019. It propelled PXR into the list of A-grade actress and highly sought after in the industry. "Jun Jiu Ling" is a heart-wrenching and sad tale focusing around revenge interspersed with your obligatory romance between the two leads, eternal friendship, love quadrangle, etc. There is nothing unique or ground-breaking about the main theme, and its subsequent sub-plots, but nonetheless, I was excited to watch this historical period drama because it is Peng Xiaoran’s first drama after her highly successful “Goodbye My Princess”, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

At the end of the first episode, I was left gobsmacked. I try not to be utterly critical of the storylines, but some of the scenes just defy logics. These are just some of the disjointed, incoherent and convoluted scenes happening in the first episode alone:
• The female protagonist could walk towards the Emperor without any actions from the guards until she was inches away from the Emperor.
• The doctor and her daughter could walk into the prison at ease and got the princess out of a locked cell room.
• The doctor’s daughter suddenly offered herself as a sacrifice when all of them could escape out of the prison. It does not matter whether the burning building contains a body or not.
• The doctor performed surgery on the princess face and change it to that of her dead daughter. Huh? And she got vocal chord change as well for convenience. And where is the injury?
• The doctor accidentally killed himself falling off a cliff. How convenient. And he only died after having the last words with the female lead.
• A supposedly heart-wrenching moment when the male lead finds out about the death of the female lead becomes comedy gold. It was awkward seeing Jin Han crying the way he did by cupping his mouth rather unnaturally.
• And what about ML meeting FL for the first time. Slow motion flying scene from the top of the roof that looks like a botched job. The flying speed was irregular making it looks like the ML was hoist from the rope.

OK you get the gist. I stopped watching after the first episode. 7 days hiatus and lack of any good c-drama currently premiering forced me to watch episode 2 of "Jun Jiu Ling". Now I am already 30 episodes into the series. But it still has a crappy illogical storyline. On episode 25, Jun JiuLing saved the granddaughter of a minister who killed Huang Ziqing, by giving Wan Qing a drug that stopped her breathing for a few hours. How is it possible for JiuLing to give the victim the drug when she was constantly being stomped and kicked upon by at least two (2) guards during the commotion? And in the next scene, the Emperor ordered Zhu Zan to be flogged 100 times, and after the beating, Zhu Zan’s face looked like he just came out from a facial treatment. It could not get any more ludicrous.

Anyway, I will still finish this costume c-drama because there are no good period dramas currently airing worth my time. Zhao Lusi’s latest costume drama – A female Student Arrives at Imperial College – is equally crappy too. While Peng XiaoRan is the star attraction here, I can’t but think she should not have taken this role. The male lead, Jin Han, is not suitable in his lead role too. Something about his acting is amiss and I just don’t find the two main characters having the chemistry. I just can’t see it after 30 episodes. And what is with Peng XiaoRan make-up. Sometimes, it looks like she has 1 inch of foundation on her face!!!

Since I am going to complete watching this train wreck, my rating is a commendable 7.0/10.0 for this series. I wish I could just stop after episode 1.

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One Inch of Yearning
3 personnes ont trouvé cette critique utile
déc. 17, 2020
43 épisodes vus sur 43
Complété 0
Globalement 9.0
Histoire 9.0
Acting/Cast 8.5
Musique 9.0
Degrés de Re-visionnage 7.0
Cette critique peut contenir des spoilers

A must watch for all historical c-drama fans

“Love in Between” is easily one of the best historical c-dramas of 2020. Its best feature is the storyline and how the director and screenwriter treat the drama’s characters: with diverse personas to become the heart and soul of this drama. It does not have the A-list actor lineup like “Legend of Fei” and “Golden Hairpin”. But the lack of established stars did not take away from the storyline. This web drama does not suffer from heavy reliance on their 2 main characters – Su Yunlou and Zuo Qingci. It is not far-fetched to say that this drama has 6 main characters – the 2 Zhengyang disciples in Yin Changge and Shen Manqing; the head of Shunsuidu in Wen Siyuan and the odd man out and Changge’s sworn brother – Zhu Yan. There are also other supporting cast which have considerable exposure in the series like the Emperor’s informer Ling xi, Jiang Er, etc. In short, plenty of screen time shared by an array of main and supporting cast, and it bodes well for a series that has the jiangxu aspect intertwine with palace politics (less developed) and its various main and subplots.

With a stronger and more realistic ending to the storyline coupled with A-line actors, “Love in Between” could have been the best c-drama of 2020. The interaction, chemistry and dynamics among the couples and friends are genuinely moving and well developed. I have emotional and deep attachment to Shen Manqing, Changge, Jiang Er and Wen Siyuan characters. The first 3 are portrayed as innocent, pure, naïve, yet brave and fearless in the face of danger. Sounds like perfect characters but Manqing is reticent, cries a lot and extremely emotional; Changge is overly righteous and loyal to the core ; Jiang Er has a heart of gold, naughty and a bit mischievous but destined for a short life due to congenital heart problem.

Wen Siyuan/Sima Lang was your typical Zhou Ting Wei’s character. In “Ashes of Love”, he played a dying Chen Yuqi’s husband. In “The Winner is Love”, he died protecting Chen Yuqi. ZTW will never be the main lead of any c-drama story – he is past that stage age-wise and does not have the physique nor look to rival younger more handsome actors like the ML in this series. But what he got in abundance is unadulterated sheer talent that could make audience cry with him. In this drama, Wen Siyuan’s character is cunning and manipulative, but warm-hearted and caring too. I dislike the ML’s character because he does not possess any martial arts, but manage to survive solely based on his wits and intelligence - something highly unlikely in the era where one lives by the sword, dies by the sword. His character reminds me of Yu Menglong in “The Moon Brightens For you” – the puppet master behind the scenes. The FL was my favourite in “Legend of Fuyao” even more so than Yang Mi, but in this series her character was bordering on psychotic on her attachment to her shifu. Then in the second half of this drama, she was chasing the ML like a bitch in heat.

There are essentially 3 couples with different love stories. The ML-FL takes the centre-stage with their typical on-off lead romance. In this relationship, the ML cries a lot. A role made for Zhang You with his boyish charm and appearance. They have sex even before getting married. Then there is the second couple of Wen Siyuan – Shen Manqing. Some feminists might abhor Shen Manqing’s character in this love bond. Here is an accomplished swordswoman, the first disciple of Zhengyang Palace, who succumbed to the vagaries of love. She was a miserable soul after her forced marriage to Mu Ying. The last was the heartbreaking love story between 2 innocent young chaps - Changge and Jiang Er. The get married in Ep 41 but you will remember this scene. This is where Changge has to juggle between his love for his wife, his guilt to his sworn brother that he is the reason Zhu Yan losses his mother and his unwavering loyalty to always protect his friends especially Manqing.

Then there is platonic relationship between Changge and Manqing – beautifully narrated and told. This is a true heart-wrenching friendship between a junior and senior that could easily be turned into a romance. The last scene between Changge and Manqing summarizes their love, respect and mutual admiration between these characters. The parting words of Changge – “After everything is finished, you have to live well for your own sake” - were poignant and left Manqing with a bewildered look. And the bromance between Changge and Zhu Yan as sworn brothers is sweet and not overbearing. These characters alone make this drama worth watching.

Now to the storyline and plot - it is two prongs with jianghu and palace politics – each with its own life, and eventually converges at the very end. I could not stop thinking that there are some eerie n uncanny similarities with Nirvana in Fire 2 scenes. The iconic stone arch bridge leading to the famous Langya Hall (Cangyan mountain); the high wall corridor leading to the palace (Qin Palace – Hengdian World Studio); landscape shots of Zhengyang Palace and Langya Hall. There are 2 distinct phases in the storyline. The first was finding the cure for Su Xuan. This first half was very exciting. From the main casts introduction in their quest for stolen document, to their missions to retrieve the last 2 antidotes/herbs to cure Su Xuan, and finally getting Su Xuan cured. Then comes the second half of the storyline which IMO has mixed success. This is where all the heroes try to save the martial arts world and ensure that the attempt by the bad guy to usurp the throne does not succeed. Then comes the ending, which is a different story altogether.

Now, what don’t I like about this c-drama. Firstly, the FL wardrobe. Whoever designed the costume and wardrobe for the FL should be shot. The crossdressing Fei Kou Er has got to be the ugliest man I have ever seen. She/he looked ridiculous - short and stubby. I have seen seen many crossdressers in c-drama because this is a recurring theme, but Fei Kou Er beat Han Shi Yi played by You Jingru in “The Heiress” as the ugliest crossdresser in my book. You don’t have to turn them into men. Even a feminine man like Fan Mian Wan played by Chen Yuqi in “The Love Lasts Two Minds” is better and more acceptable. Then there is an issue with Su Yunlou wardrobe as a female thief – that 2 piece suit with belt, with the upper dress overhanging around the butt. This wardrobe makes Zhang Yaqin’s bottom looks very plump and unattractive. We all know Zhang Yaqin is not exactly skinny, and the proper choice of wardrobes should be done more carefully.I have no complain about other ladies’ wardrobes. Manqing and Jiang Er’s wardrobes are beautiful. The designer just got it wrong with Zhang Yaqin’s.

SPOILERS ALERT.
Now my main grouse with this web drama is the ending. I understand the screenwriter wants to keep in line with the novel’s ending. But all the build-up particularly with regard to the main couple (Qingci/Youlun) shows that there is no cure to his disease. In the final 2 episodes, we were told Qingci only had a few days to live. Then there is Wen Siyuan final battle when he was hit with 3 flying daggers while protecting Manqing. The door was closed and he was trapped inside a room with tons of martial artists – there is just no escape. How he is able to survive and lead a happy life with Shen Manqing is beyond me. The last few episodes were really disjointed as if the production team rushes to get the post production done and get the c-drama out. Anyway, this is my rating for the drama.
Story - 9.0/10
Acting - 8.5/10
Music - 9.0/10
Rewatch value - 7.0/10
Overall - 9.0/10

Overall Verdict 9/10. A must watch in 2020 – that is the reason I completed this web-drama in 7 days. And do get some tissues because some of the scenes are very emotional and will get you choked up.

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Complété
Heavenly Sword and Dragon Slaying Sabre
2 personnes ont trouvé cette critique utile
juil. 17, 2020
50 épisodes vus sur 50
Complété 0
Globalement 9.5
Histoire 9.5
Acting/Cast 8.0
Musique 9.5
Degrés de Re-visionnage 9.5
Cette critique peut contenir des spoilers

A beautiful love story amidst a turbulent time!

This is the series that elevates Chen Yuqi to a superstar status in the highly competitive and unforgiving Chinese drama circles. She may not be at the level of the Four Dan Actresses yet, but her portrayal of Zhao Min and the scores of ravishing reviews that she got from HSDSS mean she will never play second fiddle to any other actresses anymore. It does not hurt that this is a screen adaption of the final instalment of a highly popular Condor trilogy penned by Jin Long – a classical wuxia novel which every fan of this genre should be aware of.

There are plenty of gorgeous ladies in this drama, if that is your main reason for watching C-drama. Zhao Min, Zhou Zhirou, Xiao Zhao, Yin Li, Yin Su-su, Yang Buhui, Ji Xiaofu, etc are all beauties in their own rights. A feast for the eyes. Chen Yuqi’s portrayal of Zhao Min was the strength of the whole series, with his myriad of expressions ranging from her time as a mischievous and pampered princess until the end when she a helpless wanderer who lost her father due to a treachery by his lover’s hencemen. No two ways about it. She was the only reason why I would rewatch selected episode of HSDSS again. I don’t like Zhou Zhirou’s acting because she was basically wear a sad expression on her face throughout – maybe that was what was required of her by the Director.

To be honest, I can’t stand Zhang Wuji’s character and portrayal in this version. His acting was a bit stiff during the early part, but he gradually improved as the series progressed. His character was easily manipulated by his subordinates, and the pinnacle of this manipulation was the death of Zhao Min’s father and the ascension of Zhu Yuanzhang to be the 1st Ming Emperor. A very weak leading man - one who was invincible when dealing with enemies but extremely pliant and indecisive when dealing with his legion armies and supporters.

The ending was disappointing. Yes, it was a happy ending but it felt rushed. There were plenty of things occurring between the victory scene when Ming Cult entered the palace to the heart-breaking reunion between Wuji and Zhaomin, but all of these were covered within the last 20mins of ep50. The closing scene was beautiful with the two of them riding into the sunset.

The OSTs were great – love them. The opening track by Wakin Chau was lively, upbeat and set the tone for the series. Ci Sheng Wei Ni sung by Zhou Shen was hauntingly beautiful yet depressing, and the scene where Zhao Min and Zhang Wuji were at the beach on Divine Snake Island was very poignant. My favourite scene throughout the series, and the one where I would not get tired of re-watching – thanks to the song. It perfectly summed up the struggles and inner conflicts within Zhao Min and her willingness to sacrifice everything for her love with Wuji.

This is not a perfect television series, but one nearly at the very top of my list. I would rate Evernight and Evernight 2 as better series for overall enjoyment, but this one has a dejavu and nostalgic sense because I have seen the TV series before (albeit with slightly different ending) and read the magazines during my younger days.

I give this series 9.5/10.00 for overall enjoyment and Chen Yuqi’s performance was a perfect 10/10.

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En cours 29/38
L’épée Dans la Neige
4 personnes ont trouvé cette critique utile
janv. 3, 2022
29 épisodes vus sur 38
En cours 1
Globalement 9.0
Histoire 10
Acting/Cast 8.0
Musique 9.0
Degrés de Re-visionnage 9.0

An highly enjoyable period drama if you could just ignore crappy fighting choreography

Sword Snow Stride is my most highly anticipated period drama of 2021. I thought the strength of this c-drama even before watching a single episode was the cast and wuxia storyline. Casting was impressive with Zhang Ruoyun and a whole bevy of beauties in Li Gengxi, Frida Li, Janice Man, Zoey Meng, Zhang TianAi, Zhang Yishang, Ding Xiao Ying, etc. The storyline is my cup of tea with various martial artists competing for the jianghu’s supremacy. The ML started out as a complete noob who transformed himself into the most powerful martial artist who eventually ruled the world, secured the throne, and got the love of his life. Not exactly a unique storyline but it’s a favorite theme for me growing up with Jin Yong’s masterpieces.

Unfortunately, Sword Snow Stride (SSS) premiered while Yang Mi’s Pearl Eclipse, and Luoyang were still broadcasted on several platforms. Yang Mi’s period dramas have always been high budget and quality production and Pearl Eclipse was no exception. Luoyang was the surprise of the year. My only reservation is that SSS might fall below expectation because of the lofty standards set by Luoyang. Nevertheless, having watched most of Season 1 episodes, I can safely conclude that this is a highly entertaining period c-drama despite a rather average production.

Plusses for Sword Snow Stride
• The storyline. It revolves around martial arts practitioners, palace, various kingdoms, warfare, etc. Not much sub-plots because everything revolves around Xu FengNian’s adventures. But at least Xu FengNian is a funny lad, and he reminds me a lot of Joy of Life’s Fan Xian. His bantering with Jiang Ni and the other female cast is a joy to watch.
• The casting. Would prefer to see more screen time for Frida Li, Janice Man, Zoey Meng, Zhang TianAi, Zhang Yishang, Ding Xiao Ying, etc. These are all leading ladies in their own rights, but were relegated to supporting cast in SSS. Some like Janice Man had cameo appearances only. Less screen time for Xu FengNian; more exposure and beefier roles for these ladies would be preferred.
• This period drama is launched in two tiers – Season 1 and 2. The producer probably has difficulties in limiting this drama to 50 episodes only – the original number of episodes slated for SSS. Making it in 2 seasons could push this drama 60-65 range. One thing that I learnt from watching Renascence early this year is that when you cut-down the number of episodes just to satisfy the broadcasting slot requirement, you will throw away the quality. Sometimes the haphazard editing could make the series unwatchable.

Negatives for Sword Snow Stride
• The fighting choreography is too crappy with too much slow-motion actions. It is so bad that I cringe every time there is a fighting scene. Saying that fighting choreography is sub-par is a compliment to SSS.

Highly enjoyable period drama. Give it a try. Just make sure to ignore all those slow-motion fighting scenes, and you will be fine. My rating is an excellent 9.0/10.0.

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En cours 14/24
Once We Get Married
5 personnes ont trouvé cette critique utile
oct. 20, 2021
14 épisodes vus sur 24
En cours 0
Globalement 9.0
Histoire 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.5
Musique 9.0
Degrés de Re-visionnage 8.0

A joy to watch despite lacking originality in the story line

“Once We Get Married” (OWGM) is the latest contract marriage trope c-drama. Knowing the this is all about contract marriage, I guess you have already covered three-quarter of all storylines, sub-plots, plots twist, and ending. Two (2) strangers are forced into a contract marriage. The ML is a successful rich businessman/CEO/President, while the FL is a naïve, but smart and resourceful young girl from an average family. Along the way, both protagonists experience many ups and downs in their relationship and life in general. Love eventually blossoms and finally they get together for real - a happy ending. Simple enough storyline and plots that have been repeated numerous times in Chinese dramaland.

Add a few more familiar sub-plots and you have a story that is both average, and forgettable. You have the second ML, who is also a successful businessman/CEO/President and perfect in every sense of the word who secretly likes the FL from childhood. A sad character!! Then the second FL who is also a beautiful and successful career woman/businesswoman who would do anything to win the love of the ML. Evil woman personifies, bending on destroying Cinderella’s relationship with Prince Charming. Then you have the ML’s grandmother who just adores the FL. Finally add in the office romance between the ML’s male friend and his staff as a filler to ensure that the series is long enough for 24 episodes.

Then why am I watching this series despite all the tropes and cliches in the storyline and subplots? One word – Wang Yuwen. The female lead is an absolute joy to watch. Her character as Gu Xixi – a naïve yet resourceful young lady – fits her to the tees. She is funny, adorable, cute, sweet, bewitching, etc – you get the drift. Her tall and slim physique matches well with the ML and second ML. When they are together, they look like a perfect couple. To me, she has the perfect height and body types for a leading lady in Chinese dramaland, and she is young enough to pull the cutesy role off. Gu Xixi is a perfect role for Wang Yuwen, and she is the star of this drama.

A miscasting will make a drama unwatchable. Too many examples to mention such as Zhang Ziyi playing a 15 year old girl in the “Rebel Princess” or Tang Yan as a 17 year old girl in the “Legend of Xiao Chuo”. The selection or casting of the actors is OWGM’s biggest strength that somehow compensates for the lack of ingenuity and originality in the story line and subplots. This drama brightens my day! Score 9/10.


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En cours 30/36
Parole d'honneur
3 personnes ont trouvé cette critique utile
mars 22, 2021
30 épisodes vus sur 36
En cours 1
Globalement 8.5
Histoire 8.5
Acting/Cast 9.5
Musique 8.0
Degrés de Re-visionnage 7.0

Great chemistry from the 2 lead characters

This is my second BL c-drama after “The Untamed” but in the latter, I could not get past the third episode. Simply put, I am not a BL lover, and could never enjoy such genre. The idea of handsome men cozying up to one another - despite the lack of physical intimacies - is rather disconcerting and impeding my enjoyment of the drama. I would rather watch gorgeous leading ladies strutting their stuff on screen; looking cute and lovely when needed or crying their heart out at the slightest of tragedy. So it was with trepidation that I watched “Word of Honor” as it premiered just as I completed watching “Weaving a Tale of Love” and “Douluo Continent”. Suffice to say that I have not been disappointed with this choice, and “Word of Honor” exceeds my expectation of BL c-drama .

The storyline is nothing to get excited about. Once you get past the ogling and amorous look from Simon Gong towards Zhang Zhe Han, and flirtatious behavior from the two male leads, this is just a normal wuxia-theme costume c-drama by a popular web writer, Priest. It details out the adventures of two (2) soul mates in jiang-hu where both of them goes through various trials and tribulations. Nothing special in the storyline to be honest. Had it not been for the BL genre, and you take away either of the MLs and replace him with a leading actress, this would be an average costume c-drama. But with two handsome MLs in this series, you have a storyline that caught the eyes and attention of nearly all female c-drama fans. That is the secret formula pioneered by “The Untamed” and it has become a trend among drama producers. “Word of Honor” is no different. The strength of this low-budget production is the chemistry and flirtatious behavior between two extremely good looking males. It might turn off some male fans, but it is a sure magnet for female fans. The douban rating of 8.6 from over 280K reviewers means that this is a highly popular and acclaimed historical costume drama of 2021.

Gu Xiang/Zhou Ye’s introduction as a maid gives me the creep. It is her 1st historical c-drama . She reminds me of Li Yan character (Zhou Jie Qiong) in “Legend of Fei” but with slightly better martial arts skill. She looks like Zhang Ziyi in her younger days, at least to me. But as the series progresses, I am beginning to warm up to Gu Xiang character. In fact at the very end, I wish they could have more scenes featuring Gu Xiang. She is a fresh face in this industry, just like Wu Juanyi in the “Douluo Continent”. Sometimes you get bored looking at Yang Mi, Yang Zi, Tiffany Tang, Zhao Liying, etc reprising the same roles repeatedly. The chemistry between the two (2) MLs is evident for everyone to see. Simon Gong’s lustful and lecherous look at Zhang Zheyan takes a bit of getting used to, but it is cute and funny at the same time.

I am a few episodes from completing this series, but the ending will not change my mind about this series. Because of “Word of Honor”, I will give “The Untamed” a second look. Overall 8.5/10.0 score and that is purely down to Simon Gong/Zhang Zhehan chemistry.

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