My Three Bestest Chinese Dramas 2013/2014

If you have never ever watched a Cdrama, and just feel like checking out the scene; if you only have the quota of three a year, a decade,  this is my honest, most sincere recommendation.

This blog may seems like Cdrama spazzzone last few months, but I did not watch much Cdrama till 2005 and the nine years since, I genuinely loved perhaps 10 of what I could sit through.   It is still swarmed by unspeakable craps (anything by yu zheng or starring ZhangHan and/or  ZhengShuang aka CN Domyouji/Makino scared me far far away. I am allergic to Peter Ho, Wallace Chung, Hawick Lau…the list is 10x longer than my happy manrem) but when you have a terrifyingly ginormous volume of dramas produced to pick from,  even if only 1/100 of them is good, quite substantial compared to other dramalands.   And just my luck I have a a hit rate of everything I touched exceeded all my expectations so spectacularly I have been adding half of the new Cdramas I have just finished, thoroughly enjoyed on my fav list last few months alone.  I mean even my very shallow, pervie side is sated when C period is now doing sweetest fluffy kissfest guilty pleasure with the prettiest faces (Thank you God for Wallace H and Tang Yan’s so not hurting my eyes faces) for 20 out of 40 eps  no other dramaland is serving me zilch.  What has become of my dramalands but plate tectonics, huh?!

 

1. 战长沙/Battle of ChangSha, newly crowned the best Cdrama EVER.

Well, perhaps that is an exaggeration, but it is definitely one of the best I’ve seen last few years.  It is apples and oranges, but imo this is much better than Legend of Zhen Huan in writing and pace, which was my reigning best Cdrama of last year.

Battle of ChangSha is now ranked #2 (#1 is a drama on how glorious the communist party is, it is perfect for its purpose) in ALL the Cdramas ever produced at Douban/CN metacritic recording a 9.4/10 with 75+% of 1300+ Doubaners giving it 5stars/5. Wow, and imho very deserving.

In the days since I’ve finished the drama, I have read the novel, which is a good read, but I gained new admiration and need to bow my gratefulness to the scriptwriters.  Every tweak they made in the adaptation, is more brilliant than the original.   I have also rewatched the 20+ min trailer often to sate my addiction until its official nation wide run on CCTV in HIGH DEFINITION the day after World Cup, July 14th! YES!  How perfect is my world right now?!?!?!   Just so you know, I would cry often up to 10 times in those 20sth minutes, my crying uglier and more out of control the more often I watch.

 

The english subbed trailer is available courtesy of the WallaceHuo forum here.

I am lazy to do fanart.  It is a pity what is floating around is 99% Wallace biased and he is not the best part about this by a long shot (he is still drop dead gorgeous and very very good), gotta understand it is Christmas when we get a gritty harrowing war drama starring someone THIS pretty and he is very good, hands down his best job, in it.


I have gushed last few weeks nonstop here so I should stop boring you all.  But I have never seen so many elements juggled so brilliantly in a war drama, inasmuch they can make a very solid production out of one facet alone.  The OTP romance is spot on swoonworthy, and for the brotherly camaraderie to upstage it for a shoujo fiend like me, who literally gave this, a devastating war drama a chance just because I can get my shoujo romance fix?!?  I stayed the farthest away from anything that guaranteed me curling up fetal crying for days under a blankie guys, it would take sth 9+/10 to make it worthwhile, anything inferior than perfect pissed me off more flipping desks and such.  Alas.  Then there is the most heartbreaking glorious adult romance angst yanking my heart out and never putting it back the same, still hurts and owns and slays me so bad I can not begin to talk about it between the Older Sis and Brother in law,  both flawlessly played in performances so memorable it will haunt me for life, not a thread out of place.  The family drama warms my soul.  Almost every time I mist up by a speech by Grandmama, I will skype my own Grandma with my redden swollen panda eyes and just ask her what she’s eaten and started sobbing incoherently I miss and love her/them and got a yelling why the heck and for a drama?!??!  The kickass fighting war scenes, the pace, the storytelling how the grand schemes of the plot flow so flawlessly even when focusing on all the tangents, how the characters stay so authentic to themselves yet grow into heroes of their own lives.  How they sneak in the wittiest scenes that breaks me into chuckles, when I would scream ohnoes and wail the very next.   I can’t stop it, can I?!?!?

So here, I will tease with another favorite relationship of mine in the drama, BiL and our dreamiest dreamboat Commander Gu/Y U SoSOOOO Pretty Wallace Huo.

I ship them so much:

 

The drama is gaining steam and a rabid following even before its nationwide run.  Fans have made a lovely cut of the bromance:

First scene is BiL is caught by the stern Commander Gu doing some shady side business.   They have eyesmex while Commander Gu does not spare a moment reminding us how freaken smoking gorgeous he is, smoking (or not).  BiL offers him some of Changsha’s finest tobacco, as they take a walk, he does his supershipper duty pitching his baby sisterinlaw XiangXiang:

BiL:  This SiL of mine, has a stinky temper, BUT she is so good to her family.  If, one day, she is attached to you, huh, hypothetically, *coughnotcough* hypothetically.  If she marries you later on, if anyone dares to say half a bad word about you, she will literally risk her life and slice him knife in hand!

Gu:  You must have very little regard of me, as if I would allow a woman to risk her life for my well being.

BiL:  Stop the act.   Do you want to follow my suit, holding a gun and force her into marriage?!

Gu:  Let me have a word on you, can you ever talk seriously?

BiL: This is all serious…. XiangPing (XiangXiang’s big cousin) be your BiL’s witness.  IF one day Commander Gu becomes your brother in law, the two of us will happily carry XiangXiang on all fours and deliver her to his door.

XiangPing:  Huh?  BiL, what do you mean?  What is going on between Commander Gu and XX?

BiL: Who are you calling Commander Gu?  Change it!

XiangPing:  Oh!  Brother in Law!!!

Gu *speechless, flabbergasted, staring down the innocent young guy, gives mischievious BiL an annoyed fakely glance, shakes his head as part of the act hahaha and stumps off almost with a pout lol*

XP: BiL, Commander Gu does not look willing (and in the background, we have Gu’s minion kekekeing like ALL of us)

BiL: You have no nose to sniff and eyes to see properly.  ‘Tis only time.

XP:  Huh?

BiL:  Just you wait for the banquet!  Get ready a big wedding gift!  Go!

XP:  Brother in law (he is calling his big shot superior commander Gu ‘husband of my younger sister’, ie he is the big bro)  BiL!

BiL:  Lets have a shoot out.  Shoot out!

XP:  Accurate.  Precise!

BiL: Here. Try.

XP: Me?!

BiL:  *whispers* Don’t make me lose face.  Go!

(XP fires the shoot bullseye)

BiL:  Bravo!  That’s my younger BiL!  *so winking at his other younger BiL to be and Gu does not miss a beat lol  They make shipper SO SO happy*  That will do!  Will do!

Gu:  *after taking a good pause ‘appreciating’ BiL’s veiled compliment lol* Where did you learn to fire a gun?

XP:  Oh BiL, I have been practicing at home.  But I have been practicing with rifles, this is the first time I have fired this kind of weapon.

BiL:  XP!  What a natural, a talent!  Just being infantry is such a waste.  Such a waste.  *side glancing Gu,  scheming scheming*  It is alright, whatever your plans are, you can seek advice with your brother in law (Gu), he is resourceful.

Gu:  Can you stop the brother in law name calling?  I have nothing to do with you.

XP: nonono!  Brother in law, we are a family sooner or later.  I have a question I want to ask you.  You are from a most prominent family, why are you stationed at Changsha?  (hahaha BiL is smirking a naughty smile, he knows and we know! kekeke)  Why do you have to go to the front lines?

BiL: Good question!  What a great question!  Why?

Ouch, that burns, no matter how close to warzone he gets, he will never be properly sent to the front line, thanks to the protective influence of his dad. Commander Gu has enough of small talk, he needs to remind us how great a shooter he is (and how drop dead gorgeous he does not need a gun slaying the ladies and some men, serious).  Bang!Bang!Bang! he made some more bullseye shot to let off some more frustration.  BiL has ideas something is going on feelings wise with Gu towards XiangXiang, but he was not 100% sure, he was picking up every little nuance of non-response from Gu he is interpreting as him NOT against the idea, and he cunningly sneaks in a pitch asking Gu to help out his BiL XiangPing killing two birds with onw stone.

Second scene:  At the front line, in the trenches where BiL is stationed with his squad, Gu is now a buddy of mutual respect, chatting with BiL like any typical day.

Gu:  Do you need to put down a few words (of a will, like BiL is instructing his underlings in the trenches)?

BiL: I am a toughie.  No need.

Gu:  Ha, you do not know a few words, huh?

They share a good chuckle.  Gu pats BiL’s back:  That’s nothing, take it easy.  How about I be your subordinate just for once.  You will dictate.  I will write it down.  How about that?

BiL:  Am I dreaming?

Gu:  Take it as you are dreaming.  Hurry up, we do not have the whole day.

BiL:  Oh good.  (excited, he sits down beside Gu)

BiL:  This is embarrassing to say out loud.  But since this is a will…you write it down as such:  Xiang Jun, I miss you terribly, thinking of you, and our son.  You must take very good care of the elders, raise our son into a grown man.

At the spur of the moment, he sneaks a glance at Gu, clearly his brain is on turbo spinning up a scheme!  Gu gives him an innocent look, as if telling him he could continue…

BiL:  The most important thing is to find a good match for Xiang Xiang.

Commander Gu immediately widens his eyes, shifting them agitatedly side to side.

BiL:…Find someone in the army, not just in the infantry, no way.  You write it down,  he must be a commander.  At least a graduate from a German military academy, lieutenant or above.

We can see and hear Gu stops writing, screwing back the cap of his fountain pen, and closing his notebook, so taken aback at BiL’s shameless bashfulness he turns his head and gives him a protesting dead stare.  LOL  their gimps/minions are in the background giggling.  BiL notices the piercing look besotted on him.

BiL:  I am not talking about you. Not you! NOT you!  (hahahaha)  You write on.  This guy has to be very poised and good looking, from a prominent family.  Treat this as the standard.   My XiangXiang is very outstanding, any normal guy, a douchebag, can not handle her.     You have to look for someone who is exceptional, can take control of her.     Why aren’t you writing it down?

Gu: I got it down in my head, anything else?  Go on.

BiL: This fast?!

Gu: Shorthand. I would compile a complete copy for you later on.

BiL:  That’s good.  Head back then.  Later on when the jap is here, you may not be able to get out!

Gu: So what if I can’t get out.  If I can’t, I can’t!

BiL: Here you go again!  I know you will pull this one.  I have prepared a strategy against you.  Come here, tie him up!

The minions:  Huh?!?!?!?!

Gu: You dare?!

BiL:  What am I scared of?  What am I scared of huh?!  I am saving your life!  If your Daddy gets the wind of it, he would have thanked me, you know?!

Gu:  Xue, if you dare to pluck me from this spot I will report you to the General

BiL:  Report me? For what?!

Gu: I will report you for letting your subordinates profit out of forged enlistments, making blood money.

BiL: You have no proof.

Gu:  Do I need proof to slander you? Huh?  I can report to the General you are leeching war money, bribing off war supplies.  All these crimes are enough for you to be locked up for a good while.  Even if proved innocent, you will be torn off a layer of skin!

BiL:  Ha…haha.  Huh.  Commander Gu.  Here here here.  Sit sit.  Take a seat.  I don’t understand.  Look at all these guys, who want to be in the front line fighting?  You have been banging your head to get here. You…do you have some problem here upside of your head and thus you need to hit it often?

Gu: Take it as I am mental.  Treat it as I want to kill myself.

BiL:  I know, you worry about your country and its citizens, your horizon is set on caring about the world.  But while caring about the country you still need to live a life. right?  You focus all your energy on fighting the jap, and you do not need a family?

Gu: Country first.  Then family.

BiL:  Wrong!  Why can’t we take good care of our family while we are saving our country?  Take a look at me, my XiangJun, when I am here, I think about your sister in law the entire day, my whole head is filled with thoughts of her.  I would do every freaken thing to get myself a pair of wings and fly back home to her, but I didn’t screw my duties fighting the jap.  Hey, be honest, have you ever dreamed of our XiangXiang.

Gu:  Huh.  Even if I do, it would be a nightmare.

BiL: SEE!  You have dreamed of her anyhow, huh?!?!?!  Don’t be embarrassed, no big deal.  Who wouldn’t like the pretty young girls!  I won’t keep it from you, the first time I saw…your sister inlaw…XiangJun, I fell in love with her at first sight.  I want to touch her face, kiss her lips… TSK!

Gu:  Let me say this about you, you are really some shameless thing.

BiL:  Don’t you pretend to be on your high horse.  When you see our XiangXiang, have you ever thought of touching her face?

Gu: To tell you the truth. Actually…I want to touch your face more.  (BiL: Yikes *hahahahha*)  I want to feel how thick your skin really is.

BiL:  hahahahaha!

Gu:  Seriously, I have some respect for you.

BiL:  I have nothing respectable to talk about.

Gu:  I have reached an understanding, I should really learn from you.  How to walk the face of earth without a face/shame.  We can risk our lives, what is saving face?!

BiL:  What an educated guy, you are a league above the rest.  Really.  You are such a fast learner at bullying. Huh?!

*BANG*

It is not very PC for the fans to throw in this bone:

But we have the same formula of cold-faced proud prince + klutzy cutiepie x supershipper angel Mama/BiL and bonus brave little Florence Nightingale = never be still our shoujo heart

2.  舞乐传奇/ Legend of Southwest Dance and Music

This drama starts a bit shaky and kitschy but if you stick with it, it was a joyride in witnessing a script that encompasses so many genre it can play with under the period umbrella, gives you every smart unexpected twists and turns, so diligently woven together.  It captures the essence and tropes of old school wuxia with so much heart.  There is a common saying in the Cdrama fandom, Cdramas are usually so dumb script-wise you feel like your brain is rotting and a bulldozer is running over your IQ while watching.  Not here.  This is a pick-me-up for your brain, a good exercise of pulling some hair over what will happen next, not terribly highbrow, but it was fun. Up till yesterday I am still seeing terrific fanvid made of this underrated but insanely addictive gem with still insanely rabid and strong following 5 months since it has aired.

Each of the character has his/her own charm and colorful story.  This mysterious friend/foe in red is easily the crowd’s favorite who did not appear till second half of drama, when you should be beyond hooked already with everything else

  When the fans pitch a character and ship it with Brigitte Lin’s DongFongBuBai, make a gorgeous fanvid, there is no bigger nod of you have arrived in the wuxia drama world.

3.  龙门镖局/Longmen Express

The dearies at Qian Engsub Team/Kandi are doing the world a lot of good subbing this eye-opening new genre wuxia here.  This is treat that so rarely comes by, savor it!  It is so dense with colloquial slang (I do not get half of it myself), cultural, social references, quoting archaic poetry, pop songs of all the eras, spit out in dialogues that are actually tongue twisters or rap thinly disguise I have never thought it possible a feat to translate.   Even if you did not get dazzled by the hilarious slapstick off the bat, if you are patient, you will be handsomely rewarded by some of the loveliest original characters created last year, worming into your heart, moving you to tears and awe!  Even if you are super shallow (like me) and is cringing at the lack of pretty men in the main leads, oh, don’t you bat an eyelash further, this drama is best known for its insane kickass roster of unbelievable cameos.  The script can be mush tighter, but all your gorgeous pretty men, Huang XiaoMing, Chen Xiao, Lu Yi, Ma Tian Yu, Sha Yi, Yuan Kuan, my Yuan Hong, Tong Da Wei…will be there in an ep or two.  I have just rewatched the first episode, and all my happy feelings of the drama is rushing back at me!

 

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46 thoughts on “My Three Bestest Chinese Dramas 2013/2014

  1. Thanks to you I am now hook on “Battle of ChangSha.” It feels sooo good knowing that C-drama can actually have a good script. I love all the characters. It’s such a dark drama, but BiL has really made the drama funny. Every time he pops on screen, you just knew something funny will happen. I’m just sad there’s no eng sub yet.

    Thanks so much for translating that scene, because I love the bromance between BiL and Gu.

    1. There are good ones scriptwise, but they are often catered for a much more matured crowd and the subject matter is too dense and serious and preachy for my taste. Battle of ChangSha really balance all the attractive elements very very well, I can’t see anyone not finding something in it to fall in love with.

      The actor as BiL did my favorite acting job in Cdramas out of everything I have seen last 2 years. His character can be shady, and amoral, but fiercely charismatic, even when I am freshly a fangirl of WallaceH’s face and he looks so sharp here, my eyes have no choice but be stuck on BiL whenever he is in frame, and even when he is not in the foreground, his reactive face to everything going on scene is so precise. I love every relationship he shares with all the other characters.

    1. I have a few grumbles with LZH’s plot after midpt, it should be 10 eps tighter, namely that who’s the daddy arc was tedious. I’m also not terribly moved by tge romance w 17. Production value is very high of course, and acting is gd to terrific, but Battle of Changsha has better writing imo and no one sticks out as the weak link when i am not hot about CJB as emperor and again the actor as 17 is flat, a serviceable himbo, but nothing to rave about.

        1. I know right?! So overall I think objectively LZH is very good in so many departments, but it has very noticeable flaws I can overlook when I am being very lenient, but it is there.

          1. Yeah, the 2nd half was so long that I probably would not be able to rewatch it all over again. But I am always rewatching random scenes (the memorable ones hehehehehe) even though it’s been a long time since I’ve finished it. *W*

  2. Aaah, I just finished 金玉良缘 and got introduced to the pretty Wallace Huo through it!! (I pretty much forced myself through the latter half for Wallace Huo lol) I’ll definitely try out Battle of Changsha so thanks for the recommendation! Hopefully it’s not *too* sad -prepares boxes of tissues anyways-

    1. Same same, i mean I’ve always noticed his pretty but i can not stand any of his dramas, most of the time the script was sooo beyond mehhhh and he was paired with very questionable leading ladies. 金玉良缘’s script is still nth to write home about but gosh did WH and TY deliver the most important element, sizzling chemistry that makes us all blush in envy.
      戰長沙 will make you cry feeling so full of life and hope for us all, you will reflect and introspect how awesome life is treating u atvm just to be alive and well with ur dear ones around and u would want to hug them and tell them u love them v much after each ep of this drama. U may cry every drop of tears from ur body but u will have a most positive outlook, and feel like no obstacle is too large to conquer if these darlings can brave it all. That is, this is that good.

      1. So I started Battle of Changhsa…And I am now completely and utterly addicted..I watched it til 4am today morning and I feel half dead but it was worth it!!! It’s just that good!!! (someone send help asap)
        I really want to watch the proper version (good video quality and sound!?!?) and properly savour it but WHY IS IT ONLY AIRING NEXT MONTH!?!? HOW DO I WAIT D:

          1. I’m currently on episode 16
            Xiang Shui’s scene was so!!!!
            My heart shattered when I realised what he was doing, even more so because it was just so unexpected!
            I guess the characters just grow on you without you realising until when something happens you get really nervous and freak out..And that’s one of the reasons why I love the drama so much so far! I love all the characters- they have flaws and weaknesses but that just makes them seem more realistic and easier to root for right?? But it’s really the small things they do and how they’re always supporting each other (eg brother in law and the twins!!) which makes it so endearing to watch
            Luckily nothing really big has happened so far but I cant help but worry as i watch if something is going to happen to them (I dislike watching war dramas for this very reason! People always end up dying even when you’re trying to convince yourself otherwise D:)

            1. I have let drama sit and stew on it these days and this is why this is so sooo good…because this is so effective in drawing us in, living ALONGSIDE the Hu family like we are one of them! It is one thing for us to feel FOR the character, but another level of awesome to feel AS the character, everyone of them, as the story dwells on each and everyone of them.

              I am still awestruck.

              1. Yes! It is exactly that feeling. In most cdramas I’ve watched, the characters are so infuriating with their actions/decisions that I want to punch a wall so I’ve come to leaving my brain outside and having 0 expectations when I watch cdrama but this one is so different!!! The characters all have flaws but we get to know the characters feelings etc. so well that we can understand why they do what they do. Plus, all the side characters are dished out in depth and get enough storyline that it’s not just about X and G (who I thought were the main characters at first..are they???), it’s about the whole family and how they bond.
                One of my favorite characters has got to be the brother in law though. He’s really flawed but soso endearing!!! At first, I felt slightly sad because even though he does so much for his in law family, they didn’t really like him that much or the shady businesses he does so I was thinking that maybe down the track he’ll fully realize he doesn’t belong or something and it broke my heart thinking about it BUT THEN he got captured and the ENTIRE family tried so hard to rescue him and they all stood up for him because although he wronged many people, they were all still family ;__________; that was a really really sweet part for me.

                1. They r still the leads, but this is as realistic, ‘slice of life’/ 生活劇 as Cdrama can offer which is set in war-time. I would categorize it as family drama more.

                  What sets this apart from the usual C war dramas (i usually won’t bother) is summed up nicely by a weibo of the director in the currently airing WC wardrama based (very loosely) on one battle also in Battle of Changsha, that PD dares dissing BoC for depicting the Ashen Policy, saying it was a disgrace for own countrymen to burn the cityand should not be touched upon by a drama humiliating ourselves again and he even @ BoC’s writer and pd in the weibo. It is exactly thos prc mentality where we r censored to only glorify and brush off any unsavory deeds that is the core of so many social problems.

          2. But on a brighter note, I squealed in delight when XX hugged G! Ok I squeal everytime G appears but aah ♥♥ I need more scenes of X and G!

              1. Ahhh! I love Itazura na Kiss!! Something just really connects between those two ❤ But I agree with you! Gu seems really similar to Naoki with his cold demeanor! Kyaaa
                Btw do you know when Itazura na Kiss 2 is broadcasting?? It feels like ages since they've been filming for it D:
                And thanks for the link!!

                1. In Sept right?! I cant wait! I am fed their insta/tt/fb goodies and bts looks ridiculously cute already !

                  Gu was cold and ‘uninterested’ but he memorized her every word in their first meeting like an Irie. Haha and even though he is not as extreme as Irie he is a klutzy boy when it comes to love, his declaration is sooo hilarious. XX is of course very smart (and spoiled) but she lost her smarts doing silly pranks just to poke Gu. Of course Kotoko is never deliberately mischievous but these two Cuties did Shane their perfect prince’s lives into nightmarish chaos.

  3. Mookie gege Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh ! Watch this ! These two just put my mind on fire !!!! I love their chemistry already !! They need a complete kickass drama together where they play lead !!! Gosh Jiang Xin and Yuanni cherie eeeeehhh.I don’t care if the rest of the drama is populated with flying monkeys give me Yuanni and Jiang Xin anyday !!

    After reading your review on Battle of Shangsha I wanted to try it. Too bad it’s raw. Anyway I tried it and I like what I see form Wallace but gosh the heroine I just want to slap her mouth. I cannot digest her. On a shallow not she looks like an “uglier” version of Ruby Lin (and you know my allergy towards the latter as an actress) and every time she talks back to Wallace general character in front of every soldier (just to creat tension) I just don’t buy it especially coming from a girl during that era.

    Anyway I can’t wait for your next reviews or news 😀

    1. I’m sososo summoning all my voodoo because IF HG may perhaps have a cameo in Wallace’s new fantasy period when the crew moves bk to the hub WenDian film city, I want YH too, I’ll be hopelessly greedy just because there is a Jiang!Xin! And i can not wait for my fancast of the most hottest dreamiest Cperiod CP YH+JX to be in every period, even yuma I dun freaken care the quality of drama proper anymore, cameos whatnots as CP just to increase the chance I’ll ever see them together under the stupid ironfist of SARFT. They r now ripe right age to be romancing in periods, sigh in a few years when JX is in her mid30s and beyond, fat chance. *sad*

    2. Oh nonononononono YangZi is so many leagues above what a RubyLin et al can do. I do not see any resemblance other than large eyes, her char started out as a 16 yo fiesty little pepper spoiled brat with so much natural verve when a Ruby is mostly forced aeygo *argh skipping thro Intro of the Princess/ 傾世皇妃 her ‘acting’ is more unbearable than ever* so i guess the fact u wanna slap her is exactly the point but she is marvelous playing out every stage the heroine grows and matures into intricately, one of the best young actress’ job ive seen of late. U can not watch this without subs my friend! Not this!

      1. I agree with you. Initially I hated the spoiled twins and their self absorbed family. Who seemed to be totally clueless of the war, ignorant about their surroundings and never owned up to their mistakes. Only person I thought was most interesting was the brother in law.. Who is a survivalist with a heart. I couldn’t stand the self righteous dad who seemed to be judging everyone yet still leeching off the same people without a care. However, once I completed watching, I felt like I understood Hu family a little better. The path they had to go through to grow up was harsh but needed. I watched it 3 times already (no sleep more than 3 hours per day this week, juggling work, life and Battle of Changsha). Each time I felt Hu family grew on me bit by bit.
        As for Gu Chingming, he reminds me of my alter ego (I’m a girl). I’m nothing like him, but given the situation I might turn into him about marriage and view on life (I think many of us will. Except I doubt anyone will be as pretty).
        As for acting, YangZi nailed the role. She emotes so well with her eyes and face. Next to her Wallace Huo seemed to be too stiff (not the GCM stiff). He can’t seemed to emote loving gaze very well. He can emote other things just not the gaze of a guy hopelessly in love with his girl who just survived a deadly attack (while YangZi emoting it flawlessly).. Which has been perfected by Patrick Dempsey in Grey’s Anatomy.
        Look wise, to me YangZi looks like a cross between Janine Chang and Horikita Maki.
        Side note: I don’t speak Chinese and I watched it without sub from episode 11, therefore your recap/review is my life line. Just wanted to say Thank you.
        Can you give me some recommendation on what to watch next? I think I’m on a Wallace Huo binge. I watched At the dolphin bay, Sound of Colors, Love at first fight (couldn’t finish b/c it was terrible), Modern beauty (couldn’t finish due to lack off available episodes) Chinese paladin 3, perfect couple, and Battle of changsha. Trying to watch detective Tanglang w/o sub. Anything else should I watch where he is not the flower vase actor? Thanks in advance.

        1. I agree with your every word! In hindsight I love the characters are introduced to us with no softening the edges, it adds to believability instead of catering to what the audience like in our characters. They are from a very prominent proud lineage of the area, and must’ve been for decades never a care about financial woes much even when New China is going through a tumultuous time evolving. They have been pushing jenga blocks and got lucky nothing tumbled over till this this straw of WWII. There is no other way the characters should be, they twins are ‘rightfully’ spoiled, professor dad is understandably wussy and an ostrich delusional, hanging on his bourgeois way of life as his whole life has been. It is the entitlement of their class, literally feudal lords and that was the way things were for generations. Look at all the literally ~hundred of spirit tablets of their ancestors prominently in display in their countryside estate. And that set the stage for us to fully, truly immerse into their world.

          THREE times! XDDDD gosh it hits me in my gut making my day reading anyone who can brave this for the awesome rewatching. I have not recuperated enough and this beg HD. Come July 14th, they are showing 4 eps a day and I AM READY.

          They have ‘national ranking’ for thespians in China, and so many of them in the ensemble is of the ‘first tier’ highest recognition by the PRC. YangZi is so impressive here, just a natural talent, a veteran actually being a child actress most of her life and there really is no bad jobs, but WH is clearly the weak link. He is at his best of his best, thanks to the flawless directing and this concentration of talent, he can be very good in emoting quite many scenes, BUT it is in transition that he sometimes slips and comes across just short. He is just not the natural born organic actors that just assumes the character’s identity and you forget to even criticize a gesture or a nuance out of place because there is none, ie Brother in Law. He is still honing his craft, so an improvement is all I can ask from him and this is shockingly drastic already. He has worked on strictly all forms of fluffy idoldramas and it is never easy to just not stick out like a sore thumb in something this proper and meticulously authentically period.

          But imo his shortcoming of not coming across naturally in emotive works to the advantage of a GCM especially when next to a YangZi’s XiangXiang, he is not supposed to be as capable in expressing his every thought, eloquent in more manipulation for her age with all the day to day drilling from BroinLaw like Xiangxiang, I can buy the fact his whole life is devoted to military school and how to be a terrific soldier and nothing else interests him, not interacting with the ladies I am sure, so he is much more slow and clueless a disconnect with his inner feelings unlike a XX, who is worldly in realizing exactly how her heart has been beating for this perfect human specimen who most probably thought of her nothing more than a menacing nuisance all along. He is too practical to a fault and I won’t categorize him as hopelessly in love with her strictly because he is not yet capable of the clarity, unlike XiangXiang. She enters his life and suddenly his world has other lovely elements and new colorings to it. It was a lot of warming him up in the romance dept already from the novel, the GCM in the book is even more incognizant.

          Oh, I see Janine + Maki too! Only of course YangZi is league above them in acting chops. I hope she will get the recognition and fame so we will have a bona fide leading lady in making from this young talented precious actress.

          You are way ahead of me. I can not sit through much of anything WH has done except Emerald on the Roof, but that drama has no buzz at all, it’s not on YT I believe and definitely no subs. It is just alright writing wise but I am a huge Betty Sun Li fan, playing his OTP, I need that to brave through the material. I actually did like Strange Hero Ijimae’s first ep, but it went downhill fast in writing I dropped it after giving it a few more eps. Seems like that was the only recommendation from the dear WH fans dropping a line here.

          1. How beautifully and eloquently you have described some of things that have never crossed my mind. Thank you so much. I agree I was being dramatic when I was using the term “hopelessly in love” but there were some scenes that were meant for more emoting where he lacked a bit (I don’t want to give out spoiler by mentioning which episodes and which scenes). That’s why I said it’s not GCM stiff but WH stiff. None the less Wallace Huo has came a long way from his flower vase idol actor days. I can tell he puts on a lot of effort and hard work and thus improving his craft everyday. I absolutely adore him (not to mention, who can ignore the preetteh).
            As for ignorance and lack of conscience/consideration in certain times by the members of the Hu family due to living a privileged life might be something I can never fully understand. I’m an only child from an upper middle class family but my parents were always so careful to teach and remind me of those things. However, I see a sharp contrast with Gu ChingMing’s character vs the Hu family. Even though both are from prominent families. I admit GCM is written too perfectly to a point of being unrealistic (he is still my alter ego).
            On a side note, I was hearing buzz about Warriors of the City starring Wallace Chung. I checked it out, I could clearly see the difference in qualities. I think Battle of Changsha has turned me into a drama snob. Now I’m losing patience to watch mediocre dramas. Your recommendation on dramas would be always appreciated (just don’t recommend me any tragic stuff, I’m all worn out by BoC).
            Once again thank you for being my guiding light to Battle of Changsha.

            1. I totally get what you are talking about, i have the same little grumbles with WH especially as the drama progresses and different tangents are getting more devastatingly beautiful, feelings are intensified yet the OTP is not exactly in the state to dwell. He is impressive and perfectly directed when in highly dramatic romantic scenes straight from shoujo manga early on, all the years honing in idol fluff reaps fruitation, but when the tone of their romance settles into a more ‘mundane’ or routine a rhythm, he is a bit lost as to how he can internalize stronger emotions yet conveying them with lesser content allotted. He is reduced to almost an accessory to XX in the very last stretch.

              As to why imo they r extremely spot on portraying how sheltered the Hu family was, we have to bear in mind the era was 1930s New China, ie it was still just a decade or 2 assimilating from 300+ years of closed doors Qing rule. Women rights were in an extremely infantile stage, even female literacy rate was miserably low in the middle class, worst in even more conservative rural countryside no matter the caste. Changsha being an inner metropolis, it was literally a thousand years of closed-off prosperity not affected from the turmoils from foreign nations colonizing trade ports and hence exposed to some form of globalization. The same old way has always been the only way and them being literally feudal lords set the stage for them to be privileged and ignorant without a choice. We are a generation living in a global village, just a few generations from the imprint of the devastation of WWII, we know from history written in blood so close to heart, but living through it, it would take someone as slick, as savvy, as have-nots, clawing his way from nothing to where he was as BroinLaw to even remotely imagine how dire life could be, and not even him could’ve predicted the great fire, or the war years would go on for 8+ years. We only have the internet last 2 decades, without which i cant chat with you. And racial segregations, apartheid…was just a few short decades ago and its effect and people’s ignorance… still rampant. There was a nice touch in BoC with the phonograph (or whatever then state of art equipment Dad is savoring) and in the beginning it was the greatest existence in Dad’s life, playing his antiquated Chinese Operas, it was much later in the show when his new obsession is the radio, urgently keeping up with the latest news. To bring in yet another perspective very dear to me, if you are well versed in current affairs of HK: upcoming July 1st marks the 17th anniversary of that little town’s back to the ’embrace’ of motherland, that is after 150+ years of british colonization, treaties were signed, famous quotes from the great prc leader was crooned ‘horse racing will continue, dance on’ and there are peeps ignorantly believing things will not change for another 50 years as ‘promised’ during handover. Guess what, 17 years can do to a town built from a stinky sleeper fishing village over 150 years of leased rule?! There is no turning back time, but that doesn’t mean it is easy to let go in the moment of great change.

              So what was essentially their state of mind is: denial, lets hold onto dearly what life is or just used to be, Changsha, their 100+ ancestors remembered by spirit tablets stand witness things can stay the same for thousands of years, what is a brief testy time? Alas.

              What makes them dear to us is the spoiled brat XX did not stay ignorant long, when humiliated for her mistake, she owns up to it and sincerely apologize and change her ways, lesson learned. That congee stall must be the happiest memory of the Hu family they r proudly passing down generations.

              1. Once again thanks for the input and explaining things that I didn’t understand. I think the reason many things slipped through my mind or did not make sense to me could be because of my lack of Mandarin knowledge. Since I watched it without subtitles, many things I just had to understand based on their facial expressions. Sorry for the late reply. I was in vacation. Now I’m back to marathon the HD version of Battle of Changsha.
                PS: I’m happy to say that I won a Gu Ching Ming autographed photograph from Wallace Huo fan site. I’m off to lurking around your site..

                1. That’s awesome! CCTV inserted quite a lot of historical footage explaining the battles, making the timeline clearer, my only complaint is the HD version cut off episodes randomly (perhaps it is the same in the low quality version but I can’t see much anyway…) Still the best thing on TV!

    1. Ohohoh im darn sure ive posted this in my numerous HXY posts, i mustve watched this 3 thousand times and now we’ll only have the fanvid, drama won’t see daylight. Lesigghhhhhh.

      痴情司 is one of my fav cantopop ever and it lyrics slain and so perfect for their story. Allow me to quote

      The dream is too good to be true

      In fact the dream of you and me has long been ended
      There’s no point to try again
      Rather have the world praise the wilted flower
      I once planted for you

      In fact the dream of you and me has long been ended
      There’s no use to linger
      Rather have the world praise on the loveliest face
      Let go because of love

      The dream has not ended
      The wish has not been fulfilled
      Carefully planned, yet happiness is short-lived
      Who can be so infatuated, to be unafraid of change?

      Within this sea of white
      Let this infatuation wash off the hate
      If we’re not allowed to be in this life…

      …we will meet in the skies

  4. “how the characters stay so authentic to themselves yet grow into heroes of their own lives” When I read this, Xiao Man came to mind. I never did like him without the company of Xiang Xiang, but in the final episodes, when he agreed to marry and when he went all out to avenge his loved ones, I was deeply moved by how much he grew since the start of the story.

    1. The characters are not designed to be absolutely loveable (maybe exc Gu) each has their vices and they r just set out to be flesh and blood faceted breathing members of a family surviving wartime. XiaoMan’s storyline was the least interesting for me, but in hindsight he was the one fighting most fiercely to not let the war taint what life used to be. Who would not wish he did not have to grow up and cab stay the carefree ignorant but properly raised boy XiaoMan, be a kind, hotheaded landowner and play with his children on his land? I would trade not seeing him forced into being the bravest of men in a war…if they did not pave the cobblestones for us, future generations… gone with the wind.

  5. Am watching Long Men Biao Ju now, but can’t seem to connect with the characters because of how the characters are written and the comedic situations they land themselves into. I’m at ep 19 and the only time when I felt a bit for a character was the bittersweet love story between Ying Lu and Doctor Huang. >_< It's a light watch, but would be good if I can feel more for the characters…hope there'll be improvement further into the story.

    1. It is not a perfect drama by a long shot, and you are sharp catching its biggest flaw. The writer is trying something innovative with Cperiod with such a heavy manga/satire influence and he has spoken out himself he is not satisfied with it after it finished its run He said he would polish out a v.2 of the drama with ample tweaks and gathered the cast…we have yet to hear more from it.

      The ensemble cast is quite endearing, and they each have a few eps we get to know their story, but that is all to it.

  6. Yikes! How can you do this to me. Make me watch the tailer, got me invested and then come to find no English subs for Battle of Changsha. LoL I’m extremely new to the CDrama scene. Help me out a little regarding release dates and sub availability pretty please.

    1. Horrible me!

      I seriously have no idea of subs for Cdrama, I quite confident the dearies at viki or other fansubs providers will notice this and pick it up when it airs nation wide in July. Haha i will put it out here, if any fansubbing team does not have the good taste of subbing easily the best Cdrama out there by leagues as it airs, starring the idolpretty WallaceH at his utter best I doubt he can be better ever?! I lost quite a lot is respect for them. Again horrible of me to disrespect fansubber but I judge in this particular case.

      So be patient! In fansubbers we trust!

  7. I took your recommendation and binged watched Legend of Southwest Dance and Music. My eyes are swollen but it was worth it. I remember watching the trailer and was right away put off, but golly you really shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. This series is smart, indeed. There are no plot fillers or useless characters. Everyone has their own story and purpose. I love that there is no clear line between friend and foe. The twists and turns were fun to watch. The only gripe I had was Lin Geng Xin’s acting but he’s so good looking I was able to look the other way lol. Thanks for the great rec. Now I’ll have to see if I can finds subs for Longmen Express.

    1. Ah! So glad u like LoSWDM! It is a viral hit but underrated gem. So there is sub of it!? Wow! I am impressed.

      I find LGX unattractive in periods, his face is too loud for nuances on top of he is too horrible here. He is much better in moderns. I’m all for him riding the new craze of better Cidolfluff done w much improved production value like Shan Shan is Here.

      Longmen is a romp in itself slapstick and fun when it is gd but the writing did not stay consistently awesome. This is done with so much heart and innovation of a fusion period comedy it is unique and v obvious everyone had a great time doing a good job. But yes, the writing can be better and sadly a lot of smartass memes are not translatable methinks.

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