[List] My Top 5 Masterpiece Chinese Dramas


Chinese entertainment world had been producing a heavy quantity of good dramas during the past years. However, before quantity is always quality. The dramas I am listing here are masterpiece because they appeal to a large audience and were all huge hits as soon as they got released. In these dramas, before the theme of love and adventure, it is the real struggle of life that is put up front: family, money, friendship, loyalty, nationalism. Now, I am listing five dramas of this category in chronological order.

ps; I wanted to say these are the best masterpiece dramas of cdramaland, but ikitten forced me to change the title to “my top 5”. Peuf, I dunno why! 😉

Soldiers Sortie

  • Cast: Wang Baoqiang
  • Year: 2006
  • Chinese Name: 士兵突击


Meet the most hard working male lead in Cdramaland history. Everyone knows the name of Private Xu San Duo. Not physically strong or especially handsome, Xu San Duo is a simple village boy who dreams to become a soldier. He has a hard army life since day one, but NEVER gives up. He is the best example of perseverance out there and, in my opinion, the best living depiction of Chinese nationalism and spirit. This character inspired many people including Alibaba’s Jack Ma. I am sure a lot of your parents and grandparents watched it (if they can understand Chinese of course). Read Wikipedia page here. I didn’t find a trailer, so here is one of the best clip from the drama.

Three Kingdoms

  • Cast: Chen Jiabin, Yu Hewei and Lu Yi
  • Year: 2010
  • Chinese name: 三国

4 5

There is probably no need for me to explain the amazing epic that is The Three Kingdoms. This super high-budget drama (for its year) was a major hit. Through a total of 95 episodes (!), it covers the fight for territory between CaoCao, Liu Bei and Sun Quan. As one of the four classic novels of Ancient China, this story is strongly rooted in Chinese culture. Through this beautiful adaptation, every little detail was covered, every strategy acted out to perfection. With an amazing ensemble, is still to this date the best war drama out there and a representative drama of China’s Art of Game Theory/Strategy. Read more about it on its official wikipedia page.

A Story of LaLa’s Promotion

  • Cast: Wang Luodan, Li Guang Jie
  • Year: 2010
  • Chinese Name: 杜拉拉升职记

1 3 2

This is THE drama to watch if you want a good career drama for woman. Going from entry-level position to higher-management position, Du Lala is a strong, persevering and positive woman who inspired a strong wave of career women in 2010. The drama, which is adapted from an online novel, shows hardships in the workforce. Everyone can identify with Du Lala and that is why the drama was such a hit. We all have to start somewhere. In recent years, there had been a new drama adaptation with Qi Wei and a movie adaptation with Ariel Lin. However, nobody can beat Wang Luodan’s portrayal of the iconic character.

Zhen Huan Zhuan

  • Cast: Sun Li, Ada Choi, Jiang Xin, Chen Jiabin
  • Year: 2012
  • Chinese name: 后宫甄嬛传

5 6 7

Came out in 2012 to break every palace dramas’ records is Zhen Huan Zhuan. There had been many palace dramas throughout the years, but Zhen Huan Zhuan is different. Instead of focusing on harem, romance and beautiful palace, we have here a group of ladies fighting for… survival. Plotting is a center element in this drama as the girls used any strategies in the book to attract the attention of the emperor, destroy the competition or take revenge. Many viewers were surprised how a period drama can so accurately describe the real life struggle we 21st Century people are living in. Everyone watching it will learn something new. Furthermore, this drama had amazing and detailed costumes.

Nirvana in Fire

  • Cast: Hu Ge, Liu Tao, Jin Dong and Wang Kai
  • Year: 2015
  • Chinese name: 琅琊榜

7 8 9

Although starring Hu Ge, this drama is far from your idol drama. Actually, this is Hu Ge’s groundbreaking role that confirmed his transfer from an idol actor to a serious one. Plotting to win a war that takes place inside the palace, the backstory of the male lead and the complexities of the relations (how twisted they are between everyone) is what makes this drama the success it became. Bromance and romance flew around because the characters truly cared for each other, but they still didn’t let those feelings get in the way of their success. Furthermore, the scenery of this drama is today known as one of the best in cdramaland.


33 thoughts on “[List] My Top 5 Masterpiece Chinese Dramas

  1. intellectualkitten says:

    Awesome list!! Soldier Sortie is my all time favorite, it is funny, inspiring, and so full of brotherhood and strong memorable moments. A close second is Zhen Huan Zhuan, with its perfect plot and perfect cast. Haha, you make me want to watch Soldier Sortie again… >< I seriously have so much love for it. Du Lala is slightly less memorable in my mind, but it is the most career and office life oriented drama I have ever watched. Finally… no more lover at the office, wife at home kind of plot. It is also very smart and easy to identify myself to Du Lala.

    Three Kingdoms was really good but the second half is long and boring (the real MVP of the drama was Cao Cao ^^), Nirvana in Fire (which I am currently watching) have so many weak opponents it is almost funny. However, both are great serious with many awesome scenes.

    To add to this list, I would like to include Bu Bu Jing Xin, Huan Zhu Ge Ge, The Disguiser. 🙂 Thank you!


    • Haha, I saw a post about Soldier Sortie recently and that is what inspired me to write this post ^^ Each of these dramas are masterpiece, but I feel like Du Lala is one of my all time favorite. It may be a bit outdated now, but I loved how Du Lala was relatable as a character and everyone can learn from her motivating actions. Wang Luodan was amazing in it.
      Zhen Huan Zhuan, Three Kingdoms and NIF are all very plotting centered dramas. They are all so complex, long and amazingly done. No wonder they were all hits.
      I wanted to add BBJX and HZGG too, but I felt like they had too much focus on romance and entertainment to be included in this list 😛


  2. maoh says:

    From this list I have only seen Nirvana in Fire and Legend of Zhen Huan Zhuan and I liked them both. However, I did like Nirvana in Fire much more. For some reason I really enjoyed the cinematography. I just thought it was beautifully done.


    • Definitely! Nirvana in Fire is the most recent drama of this list and definitely benefitted from a higher budget. Plus, I find that in recent years, there is a growing interest in simpler design that uses methodical frame placing to create the mood. Nirvana in Fire was both a feast intellectually and visually. Zhen Huan Zhuan as palace drama has the most beautiful costumes of dramaland ever.


  3. keekeepod says:

    I plan to watch Three Kingdoms, but the number of episodes is very daunting.

    Not that NIF is not good. A lot of slow talking makes it a very suitable drama to play in the background while I do other stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree. Most people who watches Three Kingdoms need 1) good understanding of Chinese historical vocabulary, 2) good understanding over Three Kingdoms history and 3) a lot of patience. However, it is one of the most gratifying dramas ever as when the plot is explained, you have a true moment of enlightenment.
      I don’t watch many plotting dramas (including these masterpieces) because I like entertaining and easy watching stuff. However, when I sit still for a night and try out seriously something like the ones listed here, I am always blown away by how great they are!


  4. xingfenzhen says:

    My List would be

    1) Three Kingdoms 1994, although the sets, acting and special effects. However, the story line is more streamlined than the new version, dialogue is more or less lifted from the book. (Though difficult to understand at first, I was used to it by ep10, and I was only 11 years old back then) It laso got me interested in classical Chinese, which benefited me enormously.

    2) Year after Year. The drama is very little known, but it’s the mostly accurate depiction of China’s daily life from 1978 to 1998 I have seen. 1 Ep represent 1 years, the stories are somewhat typical, but it is not annoying, and you will care about the character as they navigate China’s reform era

    3) Lurk, the spy drama that started all other spy dramas. Enough Said.

    4) Zhen Huan Zhuan, same as you

    5) Nirviana in Fie, same as you


    • Wow, you have some really good recommendations! Maybe because I mostly watch 2000s dramas, but I have never seen the ones you mentioned before! xD They look like good dramas my parents would love to watch and explain to me. :3
      Except maybe the Three Kingdoms one which looks pretty good: they lack the budget/special effects of the new version, but I am sure they were able to show the story more accurately. I remember the 2010 version was trying to beat the records set by this one when it was airing!


      • xingfenzhen says:

        The 1994 Three kingdoms also stands out because it’s one of the last time when the Chinese military actively participated in drama/movie making. This means when there scents will thousands of people are marching or charging etc, there are literally thousands of people charging and marching. consider the following scenes from 1994 and 2010 version regarding Battle of Guangdu. In the 1994 version, there actually a few thousand extras with military training, so they can march, ride, and charge in formations; and this allows the camera to to wide unbroken shots that let you see the scale of the battle. However in the 2010 version, I recon there is probably a couple hundred extras at most, and I doubt they have actual military training. So what you see the the shots tends to tele shots that focus on the actors with background, as any wide shot showing the army need expensive CGI support. And when the fighting do start, the 1994 version can be long shots in wide angle, which the 2010 version have to cut the battle scene into several individual fighting scenes so you won’t find out just how few people are fighting, also they would save on CGI cost when they actually do wide angle rights.

        Battle of Guandu

        1994 version

        2010 version


      • That’s really impressive! I know that a lot of dramas already can’t film on the historical places anymore and have to rent rooms at Hengdian now. So, I was surprised at the dedication of Zhen Huan Zhuan to be filmed in the actual palace (if I remember correctly). But actually getting real people to replicate the fighting scenes is a whole different level. That dedication! Wow, just wow. I think both had nice end results, but the 1994 definitely will drag the viewers more into the drama since it is more authentic!


      • xingfenzhen says:

        Zhen Huan Zhuan was not filmed in the forbidden city like some claimed, it was filmed in Hendian and Chengde Mountain Resort, and recently restored portion of the old summer palace.

        The only movie that was filmed in the forbidden city in modern times was The Last Emperor back in 1987.


  5. sox says:

    Archidisign, Thank you for your nice post and comments! Your #1 is the only one I haven’t seen above. May I ask how many military drama have you watched? I meant the ones not in period costume.
    I have come across a lot of very impressive women from Mainland China, Taiwan, HK in real life. A couple from Korea. Half of them have humble beginnings, grew up in small towns. In one example, there’s a lady worked in data entry on her first job. She has been a Senior Director in R&D for years now at a Forbes top 400 firm. Du Lala DL falls short compared to tons of Asian women I met, achievement-wise. I was disappointed about that aspect of DL character. A bit too simplistic and aimed too low. The series has good production values and the actors are quite good. DL is good at making the series accessible to the general audience. Wang Luodan is a very competent actress but she is not my cup of tea. In particular her voice. (I saw WL in another older TV series and a movie. All 3 characters were a bit alike. Very, very persistent.) For this category of characters, I prefer Bai Baihe. Or even Yao Chen. I don’t remember the details. But for the most part of the series, DL was always Human Resources, while moving up the ranks?

    Was the 2013 (or 2014?) Water Margin good?


    • Welcome! The first one is pretty good so you should try it out. I didn’t watch many military dramas (mostly a few episodes here and there with my family), but I can guarantee you that Soldiers Sortie is a drama that left me with a strong impression, even with the huge number of dramas I watched in my life.
      There are a lot of strong women around the world and I am inspired every day by what I read and the people I meet. That friend of yours sound like an amazing and hard working person. Nothing is impossible if you work hard enough for it! Du Lala also went to management position, but I understand what you mean. I feel like Du Lala was more meant like a character that everyone can relate to than an amazing underdog story. The reality is that most office people are middle-class people and what they are aiming is 1) stable job, 2) get a house and 3) get married. Not amazing, but that is what Du Lala accomplished. I think that is why her story was a hit.
      I never checked Bai Baihe or Yao Chen’s dramas (thought they were more movies actresses). Will definitely check these out because I love women empowerment dramas and you seem to be really fond of them :3 Thanks a lot!
      Didn’t check the new Water Margin so wouldn’t know, sorry :/


      • sox says:

        My favorite series with Bai Baihe is probably “Grow Up”. A medical drama with Lu Yi. A few supporting characters (some of the medical students) are a bit unnatural but good series otherwise. Makeup they put on Lu Yi looked distracting. But I like this series more than many idol drama. Wish there are more series like this one. :- )

        Bai B did a few other series before. One called “The Lying Lover”, Shuo Huang De Ai Ren. She was probably super young at the time. I didn’t finish watching TLL. I bought the DVDs while on vacation, and didn’t finish once I got home. lol. The actor who played Bai Baihe’s dad is the emperor in Nirvana IF. The actress who played her mom is very good. But they are quite overbearing parents. That made it painful to watch for me. Why do so many TV characters need to have overbearing parents? This is not a theme in Western series.
        BB has another series with Jia Nailiang. I’m half allergic to JN. I didn’t get far. BB did a cop series. With Zhang Jiayi? I haven’t watched it. Yao Chen is fine in movies. She was in a Chen Kaige film with Gao Yuanyuan, “MBA partners” with Aaron Kwok. She was fine in both. I haven’t had time to watch her series with Wu Xiubo, Divorce Lawyers, DivL. That one may have potential, but probably less watchable than Du Lala overall. DivL has actress Zhang Meng doing a very annoying ex-wife role. Wu Xiubo’s cheating ex. I think there are 2 Zhang Meng actresses.

        There are students from Mainland at many prestigious Western uni every year, including female ones. Most of them are quite impressive. More so than Du Lala, I’m afraid.


      • That’s awesome, because after you talked about these two actresses, I went on wikipedia and decided I need to try out Grow Up and Divorce Lawyers. MBA Partners is another project I would love to get into when I will have the time. Thanks for all the suggestions ❤
        Definitely, a lot of very good students with bright future are studying abroad. But they are often upper-class people, not the middle-class audience the Du Lala drama was aiming for I think. Either way, I am with you and would love another office drama with an amazing out of the ordinary career!


      • sox says:

        Glad you like what you checked out so far. Yao Chen is more known for her comedic roles. But I haven’t gotten around to those yet. May not find a series I like in that category. Bai B was 20-something when she did TLL. So not super young.

        I never lived in Mainland, but I met a lot of grads from Mainland who arrived in the West in the 80s, 90s and later. A lot of them graduated from Qing/Tsing Hua and PKU (Bei Da, Beijing uni) with hometowns in Anhui, Jiangxi, Xinjiang, Neimeng, Hebei, Henan etc. They don’t seem to come from privileged families or had political background, though I never ask people nosey questions. All of them lived in very simple apartments and were super thrifty. Their parents often have college education. I don’t know how uncommon it was uncommon for their parents to attend college when they were in their late teen. I can’t tell how old they were during the cultural rev etc.

        Students with great gaokao score who are poor cannot get into Qinghua, PKU?

        I like Grow Up a lot more than Du Lala, though Li Guang jie is a great actor too. But I may not dare call either one a Masterpiece ;- )

        Liked by 1 person

  6. If you are new to C Dramas like me, Three Kingdoms is a good watch even though it is daunting to finish 95 episodes!
    I really enjoyed it, fabulous cast and they did stick very close to history regarding the facts so I kinda got a Chinese History lesson! ( I bookmarked Wikipedia to refer every time a new character showed up LOL )
    Now, when I watch God of War, Zhao Yun, I appreciated that I saw Three Kingdoms first as they have references to it since the same characters are in this drama too!
    I must say, Lu Yi will forever be the best Zhuge Liang in my mind XP

    Nirvana in Fire is different from Three Kingdoms, to me that is
    NiF is a great drama in terms of the strategies and all but 3K was more factual, but I enjoyed Nirvana too and do rewatch some scenes at times XD

    I really must get to Zhen Huan one day since I have seen Mi Yue and I liked the lead actress, what I saw of her in Mi Yue

    Thanks for this interesting post! Love it XD


    • Wow, you started your cdramaland experience with Three Kingdoms? Wow! good job, I know it would have been hard on my limited historical knowledge. 3kingdoms have one of the most detailed wiki page for a cdrama, which is a great because I think everyone needs it to not get lost xD It is a romance version, so I think they didn’t stick to the actual historical events, but instead on the famous book. But at this point in Chinese history, I would say that whatever was written in the book must be true xD
      God of War was a huge sacrilege to the 3 Kingdoms world. It was so poorly done in comparison. I wanted to watch because I love Zhao Yun’s character, but this was done into an idol drama with bad taste. Oh well, it happens … Everyone needs to watch 3K to fall in love with Lu Yi ❤
      Definitely. NIF still had a huge place for romance/bromance/feelings as well as pretty stuffs. Three Kingdoms focus a lot more on the real world of war.
      Haha, everyone who loves Mi Yue will love Zhen Huan zhuan I am sure 😉 Welcome!


      • I watched God of War because of Zhao Yun’s character, I think there’s not much of him in history about his love life so whatever happened in the drama was more of fan service to Yoona!
        I cringe each time she appears on screen and was so happy when she was killed off BUT horrors she reappeared!

        I am a big fan of wuxia or anything to do with sword fights, period dramas basically XD
        Historical, I could only do 3 Kingdoms and Heroes of Sui & Tang Dynasty, could not finish Patriot Yu Fei and Glamorous Concubine!
        A latecomer but now a big fan of Lu Yi! Hey, I even finished Legend of Qin because of him! LOL


      • Definitely. It felt like a drama to test the water about the popularity of Yoona. I guess it was a success? Not enough to make everyone watch, but still received a lot of attention! Haha, yeah, I think his dedication to Liu Bei is enough (b)romance for our Zhao Yun!! Not a fan of Yoona as an actress, but I fear we will have more of her soon…
        I love wuxia dramas too! I am mostly anticipating the upcomming new Legend of the Condor Heroes. Hope it will be good ^^
        I did a lot of palace dramas, but I realize most of them are not that memorable. They are fun because they are so pretty, but it gets boring when they start scheming and using the same old tricks. I feel like my fave performance of Lu Yi was in Dad Where are We Going? 8D


      • sox says:

        I agree with both of you about Yoona, Lin Gengxin’s God of War series and Lu Yi. I started having a bad vibe about that GoW series since the still pics came out. The costumes looked a bit iffy to me. I hope LGx will be more careful about choosing his future roles.

        Lu Yi is a reliable actor in numerous roles.

        There are a lot of great TV actors in China. I wish there are more good scripts for them to do. Good scripts are still not common in China.

        I finished Glamorous Concubine, but I didn’t enjoy it much. “Every man loves Ruby” theme persisted very strongly throughout the long series. GC had a much heavier dose of Mary Sue than even Hua Qian Gu, Journey of Flower.

        It’s interesting when Sheren Tang wanted to produce 2 series. She worked with TVB to produce them. ST produced successful series and won best actress twice without making herself Mary Sue in both series (… Rice Business, No Regrets). Even her co-star, Wayne Lai, won at least 1 Best Actor. I find that admirable. :- )

        I actually like watching some historical Mainland series where they show a lot of the regional cultures, like Wallace Huo’s The Protector. TP showed a lot of unique Shanxi cultures. But unfortunately I’m allergic to Jia Qing, the lead actress. I also didn’t like a lot of gun-related plots. It’s too bad. TP has a good number of good veteran actors.

        The “…. Families from Wenzhou” FFW series focuses on Wenzhou, but I haven’t watched that much of it. There are other series like Chuang Guan Dong, etc. I prefer to watch the ones without gun-related plots, but that seems harder to come by.

        Thank you again archidisign for doing this post!


      • The stills didn’t bug me at first. For me, it was when the trailer were released that I realized that this is going to be a tragedy. Tragedy in the sense that this will make all the cdramas fan sad and scream at the bad production. Lin Gengxin’s next drama is with Liying so hope they can do well in that.
        Good scripts always go to the same actors. Seems like all the actors are now typecasted for a specific genre. Hope we see more diversity because a lot of the idol actors can definitely do just as well in more mature roles. Yeah, In the Glamourous Concubine, everyone loves the beautiful and smart female lead Ruby Lin. That is why I can’t finish Singing All Along, it is just too similar to GC. I don’t watch HK dramas so never heard of Sheren Tang before. She sounds quite accomplished!! Didn’t have time to check Families from Wenzhou. I guess I am too “new school” xD
        If you liked Wallace in The Protector, then maybe you should check out Battle of Changsha. It was apparently a masterpiece too (also produced by the team behind Nirvana in Fire).


      • sox says:

        @archidisign and Lizzie, I’m not aware Grow Up is Eng subbed anywhere. I haven’t watched TVB in a few yrs. Sheren Teng (I can never remember Tjutping romanization) hasn’t done much TVB in years. The last TVB series I saw was Black Heart White Soul. The ending was a bit weak. But not as bad as “Storm in the Cocoon” where they banged Steven Ma’s head in 2 separate incidents in the last episode to give him amnesia. tbh, I’m allergic to Ruco Chan. I just saw him briefly in Ruse of Engagement. imho Bosco could reveal more emotion for more explosive scenes but I’m not allergic to him. I’m ok with Jia Nailiang half the time. :- ) I just prefer his wife’s acting.

        I skimmed through Battle of Changsha. For me it was half-frustrating to watch. Yang Zi’s brother, granddad, and some traitor (family friend or something) are such frustrating, half-annoying characters. Either very helpless, weak, prone to excessive backstabbing, infighting, or overly cowardly. The actors are quite good but not my favorite story.

        Thanks, archidisign for your tips on Singing. imo Ruby might have done GC and “Singing..” to continue the success of Yuma’s Mei Ren Xin Ji, Beauty’s Scheme. Mainland entertainment biz is all about milking the most out of a topic until it no longer makes money. The various Mary Sues must have made billions over the years. Producers don’t want to risk losing money trying out a new concept. Kong Sheng is one of the few bolder ones.

        Some regions of China have unique interesting stories include Yangzhou city, which had very wealthy salt merchants. Anhui merchants, etc. Another problem is many of them reach their financial peak during the messy Qing dynasty. So it can be plagued by violence and other issues, which can detract.


  7. Lizzie says:

    @ SOX – so happy to see a shout-out to Sheren Tang! Totally true that her roles are memorable (sometimes even shades of grey) without being Mary Sue. I realise that I am allergic to Ruby Lin too – the only show of hers that I did end up watching half way was Affair of Half a Lifetime (with Patrick Tam) but that was because I loved that show and Jaclyn Wu who did the drama version (even then I could not finish it!).

    TVB really needs to step up on their production qualities. I tried to start the recent Ruco Chan drama but the colors were too bright and I decided to rewatch XinYue couple from Mystic Nine instead. It is a pity because I do feel that there are still a lot of good TVB actors that can totally make it in China. Ruco Chan, being one of them. He was so good as the IIth Prince in Captain Of Destiny I simply do not understand why TVB did not just cast him in another palace bromance drama!

    Bosco Wong and Ron Ng are two TVB actors I feel who were wasted there and reached their potential in China by escaping typecasting and proper styling. I was so impressed with Bosco in Destined to Love You and Ron in Return of Happiness where they shed their impetuous young man persona so often done-to-death in their TVB series.

    I used to be allergic to Jia Nai Liang too (when I watched Destined To Love You I was like, why is he the male lead again??) but he got on my good books when I watched Detective Housewife where he acted with his wife Li Xiao Lu.

    Does anybody know whether Grow Up is subbed? i find all the medical jargon hard to follow in Mandarin but I adore Bai Bai He and Lu Yi (I really tried hard to watch his arc in Legend of Qin but Michelle Chen really got on my nerves). BBH was so good in Go Away Mr Tumor and The Stolen years. Love is Not Blind was good too but I prefer the former too – she does emotions without schmaltz and spunky cute without being annoying!


    • j says:

      Hi Lizzie,

      I didn’t recall Grow Up had a lot of Chinese medical terms. I guess it must have been too long ago when I watched it. For the most part, the medical discussions can be kept separate from the human drama plots. At first they rumored that they might make a sequel to Grow Up. But audience reception may not have been good enough. It’s too bad a lot of good series like that one didn’t seem to get picked up by Eng subbing groups. I watch a lot of c drama with my BFF who doesn’t understand any Chinese. So it is a bummer. BFF is not fond of idol drama. I got asked how come the Chusen plot seems fragmented. Suddenly ZLY is on the boat with 2 others, broken up from the others in episode 4 or 5. Suddenly they arrived at the enemy camp etc. Acting isn’t great all around either.

      BBH will have another medical drama with Jin Dong (from Nirvana, Ode, and Disguiser).

      I vaguely recall Sheren did a supporting role in a Mama Yu’s series with Du Chun, Dong Jie. The allure of snow. I couldn’t watch that drama although DC and DJ are pretty good. Bowie Lam, Roger Kwok, Moses Chan, Ada Choi, Maggie Hsiu, J Hsuan are pretty good actors but don’t seem to get great opportunities the last few years. Even Nicholas Tse doesn’t seem to get great film and drama offers. What happened to his series, “The next miracle”? It didn’t pass SARFFT? That drama has big names like Li Guang Jie etc. Good thing Tse can cook and host music shows well? I’d rather watch Tse than Li YF. Chuckle.

      At least half of Ron Ng’s Mainland series are ok. He got some early attention in Mainland with his c drama “Pretty Maid”. The female lead, Ma Yasu isn’t fun to watch. Minguo era. Jessica Hsuan won a c drama award for “War of Beauty” about 2 yrs ago. Her acting work is good, but that drama has torture scenes. I’m not a big fan of era and series where men have multiple wives though I sometimes compromise. For Duke of Mt Deer, Nirvana, 3 kingdoms.

      I didn’t mind BBH’s first movie breakout role in Love is Not Blind. I didn’t find the character too much. (I had more problems with several characters in recent c drama “To be a Better Man”). BBH’s part of the movie with Wen Zhang is also fine, in “The Law of Attraction”.


      • j says:

        Oops. I just remembered. Dong Jie is usually a pretty good actress, but the character she played in Allure of Snow is hard to take. And her dubber has a very high pitched voice.


      • Lizzie says:

        Hi J!!

        Are you watching Mystic Nine like the rest of us shippers? 🙂 such a fab guilty pleasure. Bonus for me as i like the Indiana jones type of storyline. novoland is also surprisingly watchable – not draggy and the leads can act!

        I too am not a fan of Chusen – literally watched it to see ZLY but LYF is making it very hard for me to continue. I do like QJJ but YZ seems miscast for her role too.

        Re Growing Up, I watched Ep1 where she was saving that woman on the plane and although I got the gist of the story , it was a bit frustrating to not understand almost half of the dialogue although I agree that it doesn’t detract from the storyline. That’s just me but may try again – BBH and LY look cute together in some of the clips I saw in YT.

        Totally not a fan of gratuitous torture scenes – they fall into dog blood category for me. One of the reasons I find republican dramas hard to watch despite my great love for the styling of that era.


      • j says:

        Hi Lizzie,

        Thanks for letting me know what you’re watching.
        I only watched random episodes of Mystic 9. My BFF is allergic to Chinese opera singing scenes. I’m also not sure how much of the plot will have massive evil deeds from the villains later. The action scenes and a few other things are great. But like some said, Chen Pi and a few characters could be more 2-dimensional. I notice that when Lay had to cry when he begged for medicine for Ya Tou, the director and camera focused on his back.
        I have only watched 1 ep of Castle in the Sky. It looks like there will be a lot of Mainland fantasy series and films in next 2 yrs. I am afraid I’ll get sick of the genre quickly if I commit too easily. 😀 I’ll be very busy for the next 3 months, so I probably won’t watch too much anyway. There are also too many series this summer, making it hard to decide which series to watch. There are some old series I haven’t gotten around to. Like “Jade Guanyin” with Gao Yunxiang and Sun Li. GY is a pretty good actor and looks good too, but it’s not easy for me to find a light series from him. I didn’t watch Mi Yue. It is too melodramatic for me. I also like his wife, actress Dong Xuan. But only saw her in 1-2 series.

        Some TVB actresses have done better than TVB actors. Anita Yuen has had a few good roles in Mainland, like 2 families from Wenzhou. But few of her series got picked up by Eng subbing groups. Ada C did very well in Zhen Huan, but didn’t see her in other roles after that. Ada is quite a versatile actress.


  8. Lizzie says:

    @sox agree that Bosco can use work on his emotional scenes cue That Detective Dee drama but still it was a breath of fresh air to watch him act in c-dramas to try out different roles then what he always gets in TVB shows.

    Yes, the ending that ruined STorm in A Cocoon – I loved Steven Ma’s character in that show so much (generally a fan of him who again I thought wasted his potential in TVB) !

    Didn’t watch Ruse of Engagement and TBH, was never a fan of Ruco until Captain Of Destiny (overall not a great show except for him) – I got through all the way to the end to watch him!


  9. I feel like I can never claim myself as a C-drama fan when I haven’t even watched any of these! I’m not into historical/period dramas and thought that BBJX could make it happen but I still prefer watching modern and romcom dramas more but maybe someday I’ll have the will to watch your faves. I’ve always been curious about Zhen Huan & NIF because of all the hype and because of your brief review. Thank you for a great list! 🙂


    • Haha, it is totally fine. This is my list and truthfully, the reality that everyone will define masterpieces with their own definitions. I call them such because they are so well thought, mature and speak to a very large audience (instead of being called an idol drama or a parent drama). Give them a try if you have the time, but the reality is that not anyone like historical dramas. Sometime, I just feel like watching a reallyyyy cheesy romcom too 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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