[Quick Storyline Recap+Review] The Mystic Nine with Zhao Liying, William Chan and Lay Ep. 1-12 (+13&14)

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Yeah! It is The Mystic Nine time (or Old Nine Gates as I still like to call it like that)! I know you guys were waiting for me to release this post (haha, please don’t break my dream), so here it is! I am sorry I am late, I actually compiled these pictures and gifs for two weeks now, it is just that I was so busy I didn’t have time to start off writing this post. Anyway, enjoy a post about me fangirling over Zhao Liying (and William Chan and Lay)!

Disclaimer: You will smile a lot because I put a lot of awesome gifs!! πŸ˜€ Happy Saturday/Sunday!

Edit: In this post, I did a quick recap/highlight moments for the first twelve episodes (each of 45min) and the two trailers for episode 13 and 14 (each are about 3min). So I guess, spoilers alert!!!

This drama is a lot of fun for me because I am a fan of all three leads! For me, I can just watch them sleep in front of a camera for hours and I will be satisfied. πŸ˜› Joke aside, I just mean that I didn’t have really high reviewing standards for this drama and I just watched for the full eye candy experience. I am hence extremly satisfied as a viewer.

Drama information:

  • Total of 48 episodes
  • Chinese name: 老九门
  • Release schedule:
    • Dragon TV (small screen broadcast): Two episodes per day on Monday and Tuesday
    • IQIYI (online release):
      • Monday, Tuesday: 4 episodes per day for VIP members. (?)
      • Monday, Tuesday: 2 episodes per day for non VIP members.
  • Find the episodes as they get released on iQiYi: here
  • You can watch with eng sub on viki: here; I also think there is a Lay fansub team that will sub for his parts only. πŸ™‚
  • You can download or stream the episodes on Avirtualvoyage: here
  • Dramawiki link.

Drama highlight moments!

We first have big boss William Chan aka Zhang Qishan aka Buddha (seriously, that is his nickname). I will just call him Fu Ye.. πŸ˜›

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One evening, a train with no driver arrives in Changsha, China. Inside is full of (Japanese?) suspicious corpses as they died of a mysterious illness. Fu Ye arrives to investigate with his team and, to prevent any Japanese spy attacks, he decides to call his friends (The Mystic Nine) to help him out. He first call out his gullible and future teller, number eight aka Ba Ye. They start raiding tombs to solve mysteries. Honestly, it is basically a lot of screen time to let William Chan look good πŸ˜› Once again, not complaining!

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The scene where Fu Ye saved Ba Ye in a flashback.

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Later, he decides to go see his good friend Er Yue Hong (Lay) aka Er Ye. Er Yue Hong is a well known opera singer.

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There, they meet a bad guy which means… Fu Ye to the rescue! I love that smile Fu Ye gave to Er Ye.

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Afterward, Fu Ye and Er Ye talk about working together. Er Ye refuses and seems to be preoccupied by something (his ancestors are apparently related to this case). They have a cute fighting scene. I say cute because it was all in slow motion and it is barely their arms touching each other.

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We are next introduce to the sick wife of Er Ye, Ya Tou. She is a nice and elegant lady, but very weak physically. She was friend with him since childhood. In a flashback, Er Ye saves her at a maid/slave auction.

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Back in modern time, they are super loving toward each other.

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Er Ye also have a disciple who is actually rotten to the chore. That say disciple is in love with his master’s wife Ya Tou and wants to find a medicine for her at all cost, even if it means becoming the spy of the Japanese people. This gets Er Ye mad often.

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The other member of the The Mystic Nine team we got introduced to is the smart (4th or 5th, I forgot) Ye. He is a smart and handsome gentleman.

Now, Fu Ye and Ba Ye decides to go on a trip together to find the medicine to Ya Tou’s illness. For this mission, they must go to Yi Xinyue (Zhao Liying)’s family business to get it through an auction. However, the rule is that.. whoever gets the medicine must marry the lady (aka beautiful Xinyue!) Ha! Hence, Fu Ye disguise himself as her fiance.

We hence have Xinyue first trying to deny the wedding arrangement and plotting against him at the train station.

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However, as soon as she sees Fu Ye, her mindset changes: he is so handsome she is 100% willing to marry him! Me too girl, I would love to have him as my fiance ❀

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Anyway, she reprimends her own maids for even thinking of kidnapping him and make him suffer (that was HER original plan keke).

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She decides to test him by disguising herself as his taxi driver.

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Later, she also let him enter in her room and they have a cute encounter. She realizes he is not her fiance, but still let her go.

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When her true fiance arrives at the auction, the two men fight together. Xinyue decides to (obviously) support Fu Ye. He wins the medicine as well as the hand of theΒ lady.

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Hence, Xinyue decides to leave with them. When they meet Er Ye again, Xinyue cutely introduces herself as his wife which surprises Fu Ye’s friend.

Later, when they are at his house, Xinyue makes the maids call her House Lady (aka wife of Fu Ye). She even dared to touch/slap his cheeks (in a friendly way of course), which left our all mighty Fu Ye in disbelief. However, as he looks at Xinyue leave the room, he smiles happily! Awww, he found himself a wife *moved*

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Quick thoughts:

This drama is very satisfying for my inside fangirl. But it is not without flaws. We are twelveΒ episodes in, but I feel like we barely had enough content for say four episodes. The focus is very heavy on our leads and on how to make them look good.Hence, we have a lot of useless scenes that doesn’t make the story move very fast, but that are needed to become the summer hit we were waiting for! Another thing is that, although I think the casting was done really well, it feels like everyone is younger than our two male leads. Especially Lay who looks especially young, but is already a Shi Fu (aka master).

As for the drama’s directing, I think the action scenes are amazingly well done. The decor and the costumes are also great and each scenes are beautiful to the eye. This is a huge improvement from last year’s Lost Tomb and the characters are so diverse it isΒ a lot of fun to watch.

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Last but not least, BTS with William Chan. He is taking his big boss role way too seriously!

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61 thoughts on “[Quick Storyline Recap+Review] The Mystic Nine with Zhao Liying, William Chan and Lay Ep. 1-12 (+13&14)

  1. Jo says:

    Ive been waiting!!!! Thanks I need to catch and gifs make me want to drop everything and watch😘😘 I love it so far (as predicted) and we talk about the cuteness that is ZLY in that suit kyaaaa adorable

    Like

    • Hihihi. I wrote this post and now that I am re-reading, I am smirking πŸ˜› So happy about this post. A really neat drama to watch leads be perfect ^^ Yes, let’s talk about how cute ZLY is! Honestly, she shines here especially considering how her acting is superior to the others (no offense to the others, I still like them!) So many cute and adorkable moments ><

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ann says:

    Same, I see this as a drama to showcase the leads rather than moving along a storyline tbh! But, I’m not complaining… WC and Lay look so handsome and cool (idc that their acting isn’t great altho I hope they improve), ZLY is absolutely adorable and she does indeed shine. Everything from her costume to the set to her acting is on point. Couldn’t ask for anything more! πŸ™‚

    Like

    • It is one of the most perfect “promotional drama” ever then! Everyone has a good role (except maybe that disciple, but oh well). A group of 9 badasses and awesome female leads (I like both Xinyue and Ya Tou), and enough screen time for everyone!
      Definitely, Lay and William’s acting are not so great so far. But the thing is, it is not like we expected more?! xD The roles only needed them to look cool/pretty, which they are nailing…
      ZLY’s role appeared for barely 3 episodes (so a quarter of what got released so far), but her presence is top top! Exactly “on point” πŸ˜‰

      Like

      • Paige says:

        Hopefully, she gets more screen time later on πŸ™‚ in an interview, WC said that once she appears, he expects ratings to go up! πŸ˜‰

        Like

      • Lizzie says:

        Totally agreed! It’s like a Chinese version of Young Indiana Jones – entertaining romp through archaeology with eye candy ! Never found WC handsome before but he really looks good here!!! I am watching it subbed up to ep 8 – can’t wait for ZLY to appear!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hannah says:

    Ahhh…I’ve been waiting to discuss. I only watched ZLY’s parts. Haha She is super adorable here. Her gestures really bring out the rich girl vibe. Looking forward to more. 😊

    Like

    • Haha, considered doing that at first. But the drama is actually very watchable ^^ Although I did skip some tomb raiding scenes as I personnally find them boring πŸ˜›
      Yes! She plays the cutest rich girl ever (I love when she puts her hands around her cheeks, so cute!)

      Like

      • Hannah says:

        Yes! Hands on the face = cuteness lol What I adore is how she tackles every role differently. Her acting isn’t redundant.

        I also see more chemistry with WC than Legend of Zu lol

        Like

      • Yes! I still see the old characters I love in her, but I also see the new and improved version of her acting each time. She never disappoints πŸ˜€
        haha, yeah to their growing chemistry together!

        Like

      • Lily says:

        Honestly, her chemistry with William right now is practically the same thing as her and Wallace Huo in Journey of Flower.

        You have the super knowledgeable male lead, who is basically emotionless – and the young and eager girl lead trying to impress him.

        Even their expressions is the same. Wallace and William are practically expressionless most of the time. Both males hardly move their faces. And regarding ZLY hands on cheeks – remember Hua Qian Gu’s cute face grab when she says she’s been getting skinny without anyone to eat with – trying to tempt her teacher to eat with him?

        The expressions are all the same lol.

        Like

      • Really? I feel like is really different.
        In Journey of Flower, she is playing a cute strong marye sue who is bound by social norms and hence cannot express her love to her superior Shifu. Here, she is a full blooming bratty lady ready to claim her love. Wallace Huo had to be stiff due to his role in society and his personality. William Chan has to act cool because he is a big boss, but then again, he is still extremly open to her (his smile to her is my proof! :P) It is true we have in both cases boring leads, but hey! that is what sells in dramaland these years. v_v
        Hands on cheeks is definitely an overused move, but I still can’t over how cute it is haha. I remember that exact same move on Yang Zi for Ode to Joy too…

        Like

      • Hannah says:

        ^ I don’t get the vibe that the relationship will be doomed from the start. Besides WC will show more affection, so I’m looking forward to their lovey dovey scenes.

        Like

    • I need to start So Young soon… And there are tones of dramas I am interested in that will be released in the next months @_@ My sleep!
      Yeah! I really feel the chemistry here, a lot more than in Legend of Zu :3

      Like

    • Lizzie says:

      Did you enjoy the Girl wearing Tassel Earrings? Although my 2016 self could tolerate the excessive amount of kabedon, I actually thought that the character development of the female lead was pretty bad – not sure if it was due to editing or that Emma Wu is not a great actress but I actually could emphathise more with the male lead. Love the wedding dress though.

      Like

      • I’M NOT FINISHED no spoilers please DDD:
        I am watching it purely for the chemistry and the aesthetics, even if it’s historically inaccurate hahah. There are so many plot holes, the editing is off, so many things are wrong with this drama. I could go on and point out all the discontinuties if I was bothered.
        But the main reason that I still watch this is because the male lead (in the drama, not so much in real life) looks like a grown up version of Hu Jun’s son Hu Hao Kang, and after seeing Kang Kang on “Dad, where are we going”, I have taken a fancy to him bahahha. I’m not the only one, though. Even Poppy’s dad was saying to Kang Kang that if he (KK) was older, Poppy’s mum defs would marry KK :33333
        I think intellectualkitten made an intro post to this show on the old blog ^_^ heartwarming season 3 indeed

        Like

      • Lizzie says:

        Oops sorry!! I don’t follow that to show so not so familiar but I thought Ren Hao Ming looked quite dashing in the drama – Deapite the kabedon, he could come off looking rather boy like when he smiled!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Lily says:

      Can you link me? I can’t find Mystic Nine on Viki. I have been watching the Raw and I understand like 85 percent of it since I’m Chinese, but there are some chinese native phrases I sometimes don’t get – subs would definitely be better.

      Like

      • Lizzie says:

        You can also check out “The Mystic Nine Eng Sub” on FB. Some fans of Lay have been subbing it up to ep8 (2 eps releases every Mon and Tue as its not following the paid iQiyi screening). I can’t get the viki fan channel in my region so been watching here πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • j says:

        Try search for “nine” on Viki. Viki doesn’t list it under Mystic Nine. It’s called Nine Gates or Nine Doors there or something.

        Like

      • I guess viki is calling it Old Nine Door xD (that would be the raw translation of the Chinese name). However, they officially announced the English name of the drama to be The Mystic Nine.

        Like

  4. Lily says:

    Zhao Li Ying is so pretty and cute at the same time. It’s like her face is a mixture of hotness (Angelababy) and then cuteness of a 3 year old. I love her so much!

    Btw, I watched episode 12 and it seems to end with Ba Ye poking holes into the headband to let Fu Ye see. It doesn’t get to the actual fight and her leaving the hotel with them. Did you also recap 13/14?

    Like

    • ❀ OMG, exactly! I like to call her cute, but there are often time I become speechless at how beautiful and hot she can be! Added to that her immense talent in acting, we have my favorite Chinese actress of all time!! πŸ˜€
      :O Really? OMG, you are totally right… I think I recapped the first twelve episodes and then the 2 trailers for episode 13 and 14! OUPS! I got so excited by those scenes I thought they were part of the released ones… haha… sorry

      Like

  5. intellectualkitten says:

    Love this post πŸ˜€ Now I want to watch the drama too πŸ˜€ The bts of that gif of Lay smashing the cup on the floor was circulating online… with people saying his acting is bad.
    What do you think?

    Like

    • Paige says:

      his acting isn’t good, but no one is expecting him to be a good actor I don’t think.. everyone considers D.O. and Tao as the good actors in EXO cause they’re naturals, Lay def isn’t but he’s nice to look at like Kris I would say

      Like

      • intellectualkitten says:

        I only watched Tao in You Are my Sunshine and his performance was so so. Yes, as long as Lay doesnt get too much hate, it should be good. I guess thats all I can ask for πŸ˜›

        Like

      • Ann says:

        Huang Zitao’s past MVs are really good esp the one with Song Qian! If you have time, watch them? I don’t think his role actually allowed him to emote in My Sunshine. And I think Lay will be like Kris, anyone watching is really watching for their looks, not their acting. So, it doesn’t matter if their acting is bad. In interviews with EXO, they ranked Taotao as the best actor actually too!

        Like

      • intellectualkitten says:

        Yes I did πŸ˜€ He also has a lot of projects coming soon >< Hopefully, I will see more of his works

        Like

    • angie says:

      I’m in love with the drama because I love the chemistry between Zhao Li Ying and William Chan after Legend of Zu! I’ll say that plot and acting wise, rather weak. What saves Lay’s acting is his voice dubber, I don’t think Lay dubs his own scenes cause the dubber has a much deeper voice. If I think too much when Lay is on screen I can definitely tell that he’s not good at acting but since it’s his first drama (unless I’m wrong) I’m being more forgiving. As a newcomer I’d say he’s watchable!

      Definitely watch the drama, I fangirl so much over William’s handsome looks and so much over Zhao Li Ying’s cuteness. T^T

      Like

      • Paige says:

        I think it’s his second drama but his acting is kinda stiff. Anyways I would compare Lay’s acting with Tao’s past MVs with Vic for Zhang Liyin or for Edge of Innocence.. or D.O. in Pure Love, they’re newbies too but they come across very natural and look the part? Lay has a long way to go still cause his emoting needs work

        Like

      • intellectualkitten says:

        He also acted in To Be a Better Man, but his character is very similar to his real life personality and he only had a guest star role.
        Everyone seems like they are enjoying the drama and I want to give it a go. However, my friend highly suggest me to watch Disguiser >< Struggle

        Like

    • Me too! Go watch it 8D Although I already covered all the best scenes (you are welcome).
      Lay’s acting is not that great so far (I would say his voice dubber has better acting than him), but he is not as bad as I originally thought. Plus for a role like Er Yue Hong, I can’t think of anyone else to play him except our cute little sheep ^^

      Like

  6. angie says:

    Hey archidisign, I looked on iQiyi again for the airing schedule and it seems like they changed it. T-T It used to be 4 episodes a day for VIP members, every Monday and Tuesday, but now it’s 2 episodes a day every Monday and Tuesday for VIP members. Non-members get to watch 2 episodes after 24 hours, so basically VIP members will always be 4 episodes ahead with the new formatting. I’m not sure if the initial 8 VIP episodes a week was just for the grand opening of the series, or if they did it so that they could eventually make it that non-members would be 4 episodes behind? Part of me feels like they wanted to slow the pacing of the show down to gain more viewers especially those who would tune in for Zhao Li Ying’s coupling with William. I’m sad anyways though because I want to see more…and more…and more. πŸ˜€ Can’t get enough of William or Zhao Li Ying.

    Like

    • I think you are right because… last week, I only got 4 new episodes!! Grr…
      I think they goal was just to be a bit more ahead of schedule. It is not a bad thing in itself I guess, 8 episodes a week would be the death of me (considering all the other shows I am trying to catch too haha). And they need to keep a hot hit like this one running for as long as they can for the summer!!
      We will get the couple on Happy Camp soon! So happy ><

      Like

  7. Ah… Another disappointing adaptation. I should really give up on the grave robbing series from Nan Pai San Shu. TV can never get them right. My last hope is now on the movie (Jing Bo Ran, please don’t fail me too… Fingers crossed.) Comparing to The Mystic Nine, TV adaptation for Nan Pai San Shu’s The Fatal Mission (Nu Jiang Zhi Zhan) is much better. At least their story moves along in a good pace and so is the mystery. Why can’t TMN do the same???

    Like

    • j says:

      Dear fellow readers, would you mind sharing your opinions? Among the newer actors and actresses, which ones do you do you watch for very good acting skills? My more recent favorites are Gina Jin Chen, Jing Boran, Chen Xiang, Maggie Jiang Shu Ying, Huang Xuan. There are probably others I am not coming up with right now.

      I like several of these actors in a few selected roles: Elvis Han (Wu Xin), Cheney Chen (Decoded), Li Meihan (15 yrs of migratory birds), Janice Wu Qian, Wan Qian, the teenage girl in Yun Zhi Fan Chinese Paladin 5. I also like Sun Yi & Deng Lun (mig. birds), Bai Jingting (Yesterday Once More movie).

      I haven’t seen much of Shawn Dou’s work. I hope his series will be good.

      Actors I sometimes watch for their outer appearance (*cough and blush*): Yang Yang, William Chan.

      Some popular actors/celebs that I can only watch in small quantities (in TV drama or movies). Lay, Li Yi Feng, TFboys, William Feng, Hawick Lau, Vanness Wu, Angelababy, etc. Sometimes Yang Mi too.

      I agree Guan Xiaotong is pretty good, but I don’t usually like the characters she chooses to play. I’m not into “spicy girls”.

      Like

      • Annie says:

        Hm…I thought I’ve watched enough Chinese dramas this year to give a comprehensive opinion but upon reading your list, I realized that I’m coming up short. So, I will just blurt out whatever that is remotely related to your question.

        I like Yang Mi and Li Yi Feng enough. They haven’t butchered any of their characters so I give them a passing grade. Same goes for older actors such as Wallace Huo, Hu Ge, and William Feng. I quite like Ariel Lin, as she brings a certain spunk on screen. I hear that Wallace Chung is an amazing actor although I’ve never watched any of his works. Um, who is voting for Wallace Chung on the C-Actor polls on this blog?!

        I don’t find Lay captivating on screen. He’s easy on the eye but in my opinion, he just comes across as bland/blah.

        Last but not least, I found this blog because I’m a huge William Chan fan. I’m like that maid at the railway station (in the gif) – a look of desperate yearning…hand reaching out, wanting to touch my idol. I don’t even care if he can act or sing.

        I find that a good storyline will cover for mediocre (and even bad) acting. But it can’t be the other way around: good acting cover for a poor storyline.

        Like

      • intellectualkitten says:

        I love Maggie Jiang! Such an amazing actress, also she has a very fit body and image, so I really love her overall.
        I don’t adore Yang Mi’s acting but she is very good, I can easily watch tons of her project without been tired (I like Liu Shishi more but her dramas are harder to watch since they are so depressive)
        Among the newcomer, Kris Wu is the one growing the most on me *love his voice* and the little Jiang Yi Yi πŸ™‚

        Like

      • Lizzie says:

        I think we have similar taste!

        I loved Gina Jin in Wuxin/Imperial Doctress/Legend of Qing Qiu Fox and also Chinese Paladin V – up to ep 43 of Chinese Paladin V and why on earth (spoiler alert) is the show not letting her and Joe Chen get together. That Nuwa descendant is a child!! I cant quite deal with this pseudo adult male teenage female romances (hence couldnt finish HCQ) – i hope there is a twist somewhere….

        Not sure why Chen Xiang doesnt get lead roles – I saw Adventure for Love and he was pretty good there. I am more biased toward Jiang Jin Fu though – although he didnt impress me in Legend of Qin, I realised its because he doesnt carry of that sort of roles well. He was good in Legend of Qing Qiu Fox and Adventure of Love.

        Wu Qian is also good – saw here in My Amazing Boyfriend and like ZLY she can balance the right amount of cuteness with spunk without being annoying. Looking forward to that Elvis Han / Sun Yi
        show as I think both of them can act – Elvis Han really has potential and his buff physique is a breath of fresh air of the flower boy type . Sun Yi, too is a good actress – i enjoyed 15 years of migratory birds but was really torn as I actually liked Deng Lun’s character too!

        Saw Cheney Chen in Decoded and I think he did really well there – that is a good show. I saw Tiny Times I and IV on the plane (because there was nothing else on) and everytime I finished, I felt a little bit ill inside so very impressed with Cheney Chen’s acting skills in Decoded. I tried watching Yes, Mr Fashion but couldnt get past Ep 2 as OuYang Nana’s character is again, like a child – too too odd for me to stomach.

        Did you watch Thinking of Lu Xiang Bei?I didnt have high expectations when I started it but was pleasantly surprised – Hawick Lau is actually fairly watchable in that role and I was strangely reminded of him when I watched HX in the Interpreter. Couldnt finish the Interpreter as Yang Mi’s role annoyed me and Yang Mi, as an actress, just really bore me. I saw the Witness too (her and Luhan) and it was virtually as if she is playing the same role in every show!

        Like

      • I like Chen Xiang, but I feel like he is always trap in the same more boring roles. Out of new actors, I am starting to like people like Song Yi, Zhu Yilong, Guang Xiatong, Elvis Han and Li Yitong. At least, those are the names that have potentials. For the future, we definitely have to have ours eyes open for the child actors prodigy (Wu Lei, Zhang Yishan, Yang Zi, Ouyang Nana). There is also a lot of attention for people like Huang Xun, Wang Likun, etc. I like your list a lot, although I don’t think I watched the same dramas as you (e.g. no idea about the Chinese Paladin 5 leads). So my opinion is different from yours xD
        I watch the same eye candies as you! YY+WC are perfect!!

        Like

      • j says:

        Thank you all for your kind responses!
        @Annie, I like Ariel Lin, Hu Ge, W Huo too. W Chung is super popular for his role w Tang Yan in Sunshine. Pretty good OSTs too. I didn’t mention them bc they are not new anymore. I enjoy discovering new actors to watch.

        Hu Ge is one of the few actors I enjoyed watching since his earlier years. Even when the scripts are lackluster.

        Digressing a bit, Ariel and Joe Cheng are cute together in Amazing Partners reality show. They got paired up together around Ep 8. I like both AL and JC in general. I didn’t watch all Ariel series, but I liked her in all the 4-5 series I saw.

        I forgot to mention, Seven Tan Song Yun is often likeable. Johnny Huang Jing Yu and Crystal Zhang Tian Ai are also good newcomers. Crystal Z isn’t as new.

        @Lizzie, Wow… Are we close relatives?? I rarely coincide this much with another person. πŸ™‚ I really enjoyed watching Cheney Chen in Decoded. He spent a lot of time to learn facial and body movements, detailed pronunciation etc. of his character. I enjoyed watching his (I think it was Hunan TV) interview about this series. This is the first time I’m going to finish a series in this genre. I can never watch anything like Tiny Times or Gossip Girl(s?). Chen’s acting work in this series is very sensitive, poignant, and detailed.

        I think the teenage girl is Xiao Cai Qi. I see her as fangirling JC. JC and Gina seem more like OTP.

        I skimmed selected parts of Hawick Lau’s Lu Xiang Bei. I discovered quickly I’m still allergic to Zhang Li. And still not too fond of HL either.

        I also enjoyed watching Jiang Jinfu with Gulnaz in Qing Qiu together. But Gulnazar Elvis Han are stagnant a lot of the times in Paladin 5. Repetitive sub-plots.

        Like

      • Lizzie says:

        Yes, the Gulinazha and Elvis Han romance has too much push-pull for it to be interesting anymore. Totally agree with XM fangirling LY – please do not make him want to be with her – totally zero romantic chemistry to date and he only obviously treats her like family (little Sister!)

        Did Decoded have high ratings? I also hope Cheney Chen gets recognition for this show to obliterate his Tiny Times legacy – his role could well easily be a mockery or a farce but as you said it was interpreted with sensitivity and poignancy. Digressing a bit, I watched one or two episodes of Liu Shan Men while waiting for Mystic Nine and it just couldn’t pass muster! Dilireba is a not a good actress and Raymond Lam is too old for this role!

        I think your allergy to Zhang Li is similar to my allergy to Tang yan + Yang mi. Because of TY, I didn’t watch My Sunshine – I tried one episode and just couldn’t.

        Like

      • j says:

        @Lizzie, my long lost relative. πŸ˜€
        Chen Xiang started off as a singer I think. That may contribute to why it’s hard for him to get the lead girl in a TV role? Ma Tianyu is often playing 2nd fiddle too, isn’t he? It could be his celeb mgr isn’t as good as some? My random speculation.

        Ah. I sympathize. Despite the high ratings for both Sunshine and Shanshan comes to eat. I find both series’ plots too bland for my taste.

        TBH, I’m afraid I’ve gotten near my saturation point with all 3 1st generation TangRen studio leading ladies. The trio do lots of Mary Sue roles to varying degrees. Including YM’s interpreter. Interpreter had v high ratings. The best things about that series to me were Huang Xuan and YM’s clothes. The worst is the string of 1-demensional antagonists. HX’s evil uncle, super overbearing mom, psycho Wen Xiao Hua and her selfish father, husband. “When it rains it pours” is the message? I’m assuming Precious Youth’s plot qualifies it to be in the “dog blood” genre. I avoid Lu Xiang Bei partly bc I was sensing some dog blood issues.
        Hu Ge, W Huo etc have moved on to take on diverse roles. The 3 ladies haven’t gotten as far, it seems. Soon the trio may be in the same roles as the much younger Wu Qian group.

        Decoded had pretty good ratings. But I didn’t search, memorize and compare the total % vs other series from other months etc.

        Decoded’s subject is richer than Interpreters. There are only so many things you can do with interpreting. Interpreters’ scriptwriter had to already crossover to medical drama by giving BOTH YM+her mom brain tumors. When there’s a super crisis in interpreting, they show YM+HX rolling on snowy mountain. Zerio interpreting work to show during this crisis. After that, they really run out of material and go dog-blood to stretch it out to 40+ eps. If they wanted 50 eps, more characters will have to be evil and have brain and other tumors? Medical, espionage, legal fields have more material to draw from. How can you have a breakthrough in Interpreting, for example. But they will make a sequel to Interpreters.

        Lizzie, I will have to wait and see what series and characters you’ll enjoy watching next!

        @Archidesign, What Song Yi and Zhu Yilong roles did you like? I saw SY in The Disguiser only. Person who saw that episode with me quickly recognized and mentioned that she’s basically Bridget Fonda in La Femme Nikita-type role. I forgot the French actress’ name for the French version. I hv only seen ZYL’s trailer. Li Yitong is v promising. But I find it hard to evaluate her acting in Demon girl. My eyes get distracted by the thick makeup they put on her and a few other characters. It’s like trying to concentrate while a loud marching band keeps playing next to my ears. haha..

        Ah. Sometimes I click “Reply” in the wrong spot and end up posting things in weird places.

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      • Lizzie says:

        I couldn’t agree with you more, cuz! πŸ™‚ Because of TY, I couldn’t finish Perfect Strangers (is that the name? The drama with Wallace Huo where she masqueraded as someone else). I Actually thought Cuo Dian Yuan Yang was way better – Zhao Li Ying pulls off that type of role more effortlessly and less staged.

        In terms of dog blood, Interpreter really oozed that by the gallons. Same for Precious Youth. Lu Xiang Bei was actually better because the antagonists were business driven conflict rather than love triangle driven. I can accept love triangles and family-hatred-because-male/female-lead-is-not-from-the-right-family more in palace/Wuxin shows (to a certain extent) because heck, people had less things to accomplish materially – in a modern setting, the OTTness is truly dog-blood. Who has time for all these overwrought hand wringing and malevolent plotting !!

        I only saw Zhu Yilong in 3 lives (is that the title ?) with Yang Rong and that Purba dude and he was Super hot – I couldn’t get past ep5 as she ended up with the bandit and I couldn’t deal with it πŸ™‚

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      • Lizzie says:

        Did you watch the original La Femme Nikita with Peta Wilson? Loved that too! (Shows my age :)).

        Re LSS, Precious Youth reaffirmed my view that she is not a great actress. I couldn’t finish Sound of the Desert (her role felt contrived somehow – perhaps it was her interpretation rather than the character) but I enjoyed Omperial Doctress – the idea that first love is not the end-all-and-be-all was nicely done I thought (fairly new to C-drama world and only started in 2013).

        I am currently watching Epilyphium Dream (Qiao Zhenyu and Ady An) as and when the subbed episodes are released. Similar to Demon Girl. The former has an overall oppressive aura but I like the Detective genre and the latter is light watching (for now at least since only up to Ep2 !) .

        I watch on hdfree.se and it’s a great site for subbed dramas because in my region I can’t access everything on viki when its ok the fan channel. Hdfree.se also has Taiwanese and HK dramas as well so it’s really a one stop shop. One recent drama I thought was pretty good was Back to 1989,a t-drama. I usually avoid t-drama like the plague but this was well executed without excess sentimentality.

        Ps. I think I read some of your other comments elsewhere on this blog but just answering them all here!

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      • j says:

        I agree Yang Zi can be pretty good in some roles. After a dozen episodes, I started seeing her charm in Ode to Joy.

        Unlike most fans, I like Wu Lei in Nirvana, but I somewhat avoid watching him in other roles. His acting outside of Nirvana is not my cup of tea… yet(?).

        Does Zhang Yishan do good-guy roles? I thought he’s known for his bad-boy role. I’m not good at relating to immoral characters, so I haven’t checked out things about him.

        @Lizzie, I had the same trouble w Ray Lam in LiuShan Men. It looks as if he had trouble immersing himself in his character. I found him too old for his role too. Now we can be more productive and do other things with our time. πŸ˜› It reminds me of this. Hawick, W Chung, Nicky Wu etc also have to be careful about future idol roles. It’d be weird if they end up fighting with Bai Jingting or some other young thing over a lead girl.

        Thank you all for indulging me with this long digression!

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      • Annie says:

        Please excuse the ignorance but um, what is “dog blood” genre? I’m afraid to google it in case disturbing images of poor little puppies bleeding to death comes up.

        Like

      • s says:

        In Chinese, they use the term η‹—θ‘€. I’ve seen the term used for uber melodramatic Minguo drama the most. idk if you _must_ have gun-toting and bloodshed scenes. I’m unclear of the exact categorization for this genre. Hua Qiangu and her Bai Zihua in JOF for example. For contemporary drama, overly melo characters + scenes seem dog blood enough to me. After all, it’s not easy to get guns in Mainland. So how can contemporary cDrama characters really go dog-blood today? Especially among interpreters who only use computers and office stationery. I’m not aware of any contemporary “yakuza” cDrama.

        Like

      • j says:

        Thanks for your replies, cuz Lizzie. I think it was Perfect Couple. Tang Yan got v popular in showbiz earlier than ZLY. Actresses can be fresher before they film 8 series a year. TBH, I prefer ZLY in Cuo Dian Yuan Yang than some of her series this year. I know some people can watch every drama from a favorite actor and not get sick. But i can’t.

        No worries. i have watched La Dolce Vita, Cinema Paradiso, Sabrina etc. It doesn’t mean I was already around when the movies were made. :- D The first Nikita I saw was the version with Anne Parillaud.

        There are some pretty good c Dramas that are not subbed. One of them is “Grow(ing) Up” with Lu Yi, Bai Bai He, Maggie Jiang. BBH, LY are great leads. A medical drama. I liked the semi-historical “Romance of 3 kingdoms” from a few years ago too. But I lost interest after Zhuge Liang died.
        There is a good subbing group called Jianghu who did 3 kingdoms and Book & Sword. I wonder what happened to Jianghu. B&S has Qiao Zhen Yu. I was ok with him then, but these days I tend to avoid his series. QZY lacks just a tad of on-screen charisma sometimes for me. The veteran Taiwanese actor in B&S was very good. Script could be better. I can’t think of other c Drama titles for now. For Tw drama, my favorite from the last few years is Ariel Lin’s In Time with You. Ariel does Tw comedy well. A lot of people like In a Good Way (IAGW) with Kirsten Jen. I find KJ still had room for improvement. When she cried, it wasn’t that great. I didn’t like some supporting casts in IAGW. 2 supporting girls are too Black and White. One is too goody-goody and a tad boring. The other one is too flaky/overly flirty a lot of the times. I think she was stereotyped to be intellectually deficient too. I find their boyfriends a bit dull too. The highlight of IAGW was Lego Li. I’ll check out Reply x if I have time. :- )

        I watched only about 60% of Imperial Doctress. There really was a Tan Yun Xian in history. But I think the script really spiced it up by involving drama TYX with Emperor and Prince. Too many omnipresent evil empress/concubines in that series. And Huang Xuan’s character wasn’t too pleasant to watch some of the time. Tong Hua adaptations with LSS (BBJX and Da Mo Yao ) have very Mary Sue-like characters.

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    • :/ The problem for the novel fans is that they are casting really popular leads. Hence, when they make the drama, they are more focus on the leads (and how to make them look good) instead of focusing on how to make the drama faithful to the novel. I think that’s why both The Mystic Nine and Lost Tomb are commercial success, but can’t get the full approval of the original fans…
      With Luhan and Jing Boran (both pretty popular), I fear movie may go in that same trajectory. Hope I am wrong though!
      And didn’t try Nu Jiang Zhi Zhan yet, but you are making it sound good!

      Like

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