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  1. Oh god it's rumoured (?) to be on Hunan TV again, although this is a decent drama for its target audience. I hope it airs soon? Before Pillow Book air, since it might have better chance that way. But that's rumoured (?) to air in June, which means there'll be hell of a fandom battle, and i'm not optimistic this drama will come out as winner. Anyways, cnetizens are definitely harsh, but while I like both the leads and know Chang Chen choose good projects, it's his first TV series, I think? So I'm wary since it's different kind of production from movies? I actually want to see the leads in a contemporary romance or something. They did a movie together but I think the story is on the sombre side. Definitely hope this series do ok despite my expectations.
  2. I saw bits of it when my mum was watching it, the story looks extremely soapy (dogblooded? makjang?), so not my kind of thing.
  3. NiF is indeed excellent, mostly focused on prince's power struggle and clearing his family's name. Story of Minglan isn't a xianxia either, it's rather slow slice of life drama about a girl's life, lots of stuff about marriages and household drama. It's interesting-ish for what it is but not for everyone. I actually think MDL rates too highly and is rather leniant. It's ok-ish to start from looking for popular probably fun dramas though. For xianxia, I think other popular recs are Eternal Love (Three Lives Three Worlds, Ten Miles Peach Blossom) but I haven't watched it due to its source being in a plagiarising scandal and Journey of Flower, which I haven't watched...due to lack of interest. Chinese Paladin 1 doesn't get rec'ed much anymore because it's much older, and seems more like rpg adventure (cos that's what it is) or wuxia with taoism sprinkled in, but it's technically xianxia and pretty good too. 3 is okay too but have too much bad romance tropes for me and I haven't seen 5 so no comment.
  4. ah sorry, web novels. It's a recent trend that a large amount of cdramas that's aimed at younger audience are usually based on them because they come with a fanbase and therefore buzz. (but a lot of the times they screw it up by screwing the script up or characterisation etc)
  5. I don't actually think the restrictions ensure quality either, they ensure it complies to values that higher ups deem appropriate. I would much rather have dramas that feature morally grey characters, stories that explore flawed values or problematic behaviour, and..of course, not blanket ban period dramas. I watch cdramas for them because I can't get them anywhere else!
  6. ? It's always been pretty serious about the industry. It's just there's more exposure to it internationally these days. It's true that they've been putting more and more restrictions on the industry, but it's been doing so for a decade. They usually have reasons behind even the most ridiculous restriction so I don't know how to address them in general. The entertainment industry (cdrama, variety shows, film) have been exploding in last about 6 or 7 years (smartphone being so common, more disposable income, a generation that grew up on entertainment)? Some of them are highly reliant on rabid fanbase, and fan culture that's imported from k!ent and j!ent. I mention it because it fuels high cost of certain actors who might not be fit for the role but has a rabid fanbase so has guaranteed revenue (this always exists to certain extent but it can be pretty extreme) and fuels very unhealthy standards in cdrama where the plot doesn't matter as long as you have pretty people, or they pad out perfectly good story with richard simmons to sell more episodes or everyone jump onto one kind of drama because something is popular. I think we are mostly moving away from that which is nice. I guess that's kind of a tangent here. More specifically to this latest saga, it was already doing that last year. Only two period drama aired on primetime tv last year (three if you count Minglan). Very serious political ones are restricted because they can be used as allegory to criticise government. The regular palace ones promote imperialistic values, harem ones have issues with "spreading negativity". There's not that many wuxia dramas (there's not that many wuxia WN either, it's hard to carve a niche when you are measured against the Greats), xianxia and xuanhuan haven't really stumbled into issues until now. But this is all speculation because SARFT is never going to tell you the real reason. It'd be nice if promoting modern dramas actually lead to quality stories, since I still only have handful of modern dramas I'd rec to people.
  7. Bird, water, night aren't separate realms, they are all gods and minor gods. Heaven, Demon and Mortal are expected ones. Flower became one of the realms because of the conflicts all those years ago. I don't think it ever mentions what the other two are. The six realm thing is a common concept in xuanhuan/xianxia and it's from...buddhism? adopted into taoism, the usual six realms are heaven, sage, mortal, yao (similar to youkai if you are familiar with japanese culture, it's animals and plants), demon and underworld.
  8. That drama to my knowledge is mostly a romance drama is the thing? I hold them to a way different standard to what I hold RoTP to be. But as of now, it has much bigger audience than RoTP, because it's easier to get into. I never watched it because the original web novel plagiarised and the author was unapologetic about it. I'm actually actively annoyed that it, along with several other dramas that had plagiarising source are amongst the more popular cdramas that international audience Princess Weiyoung was the worst offender, I think Princess Agent was pretty bad too and it super sucks because they both feature badass female protag. There's other plagiarism claims thrown around, some were due to tropes within subgenre, some I never actually looked too closely into. For fantasy epic (?), be on the lookout for Novoland which has finished filming and due to broadcasted this year. But the government seem pulling an even tighter reign on historical/costume dramas this year, even if they are web dramas so WHO KNOWS. Tribes & Empire (2017) is set in the same world but about different people (and different period of time I think), but the reviews say it suffered from pacing problems, char development and other writing issue, one of those everything is pretty great EXCEPT for the writing. *facepalm* Ever Night which is fantasy adventure was pretty well received iirc, from both adaptation and storytelling wise. I'm still at the beginning though. Ashes of Love which more similar Eternal Love since it's a romance and a xianxia was pretty good, somewhat cliche story, but incredibly well executed, its issue is there's some padding out with supporting characters during latter half of the drama. As for Croton Media, it'll be nice if they invest in another drama like this, how well a drama end up being seem like luck of draw at times. I haven't watched enough of their dramas to say what would be a good focus, though I don't think RoTP is the best choice. It doesn't cast a wide enough net, long historical dramas isn't that accessible, and it's a deeply flawed drama. To the emperor, Ning Yi is first a subject then his son. As a prince, he has responsibilities, just like the emperor have responsibilities (such as sacrificing your son when it comes to it). It's pretty tragic but also something that's standard fare for royalties. Their relationship is one of the best parts of the drama. As for Xin Ziyan, he never came across as altruistic to me. To me he was extremely goal oriented and focused, to the point of willing to sacrifice other people, or himself for it. Anyways, he would be honoured as councillor to the emperor, and he would have proven that he could do something, to leave a legacy behind so there's some benefits to him doing all this. He came to care about Ning Yi and wanted to help his friend achieve his ambition later of course.
  9. I wish Netflix would come up with Netflix exclusive tier or something. Because unlike what its Netflix Original title implied, afaik, netflix had no place in producing the drama, at all. It licensed for worldwide exclusive release and subtitled it, that's it. It's not out of realm of possibility for it to actually invest and produce a sequel, like it funds some anime projects at the moment. The thing is, I don't think the cdrama market is as big as its anime market, it's also incredibly new to the market considering it started licensing cdrama in...last 2 years? and its catalogue is still around 20 or so, which is way below its kdrama selection. Netflix also has zero presence in China, which would be cdrama's biggest market, and it seems little silly for Netflix to invest in a drama and lose out on 80% of the market. Its original anime only works because they are anime specifically targeted towards the international audience, all of them have been scifi and mature, without fanservice (and netflix is actually available in Japan). As someone who's a fan of scifi anime that like a lot of the concepts of these anime, most of them have been mediocre in executions. There's only been one that created lot of buzz and well received, and it's from a very well known director with distinctive style adapting from a manga by a legendary mangaka. So I'm just not optimistic. The big investor is Croton Media (yknow, the one that uploaded all the bts and documentary) which have produced lots of other cdramas, of varying quality. There's four other production companies involved but I only know Chen Kun (and his best friend Zhou Xun)'s K. Pictures. Various supporting characters are tied to K. Pictures, but neither the directors nor the writers are tied to any production companies.
  10. The middle portion was pretty boring to me, I do think it gets bit better around 22 or 24 if that helps, though it never gets back to how good the beginning was. I'm too annoyed with the drama for it missing the point and different (and less interesting at times) characterisation to really recommend it unless the premise interest you, but it does get better!
  11. Oh no. I hope you get better soon! Don't worry about responding late. You are totally right about body language mhmm. It's a complicated scene and I think I was focused on the fact Zhiwei knew this was last time they'll see each other and only time they would be intimate. Extrapolating from the book, book Zhiwei had a similar scene (different circumstances though) where she use the chance to sleep together to give them closure, but Ning Yi is totally clueless that's her intention. So there's lot on her mind and lack of enthusiasm didn't seem jarring to me. Then there's the whole verbal consent is not really a thing in these settings. Even modern China, there's often sense of shame and guilt if you try to seem like you want sex. Anyways, the drama have been very roundabout when it comes to expression affection or intimacy, so what Zhiwei said was consent to me. I'm not particularly happy with the scene tbh, the execution isn't great. I would be happy if the scene portrayed all this nuances, but I feel like it's more like a short scene that have somewhat confusing directing + writing + acting that leads to these different intepretations. alas. He shows up in dialogue in initial Dayue arc, because Prince of An want to use Zhiwei to threaten him, so he cares. Well he has to since it's his Queen. He does show up to help with the rescue but his role is minimised to prop Ning Yi up more. Helian Zheng trust Zhiwei and does treat her as an equal in the beginning, and when he consent that she leads the army. I think Helian Zheng boast that women in Jinshi can do anything men can, unlike women in Tiansheng who are all frail and weak. But he's a dude, so he would be blind to other ways his country is sexist towards women. Also because I think this was a writer's attempt to make his character more "realistic" and swerve little too hard. Because him being a dumb puppy (I say this with affection, I promise) isn't enough, let's make his ingrained misogynist explode at the most inopportune time. I honestly think his character trajectory could work, the writing just needed more polishing. You are totally right. The execution for last 25 episodes was just steady decline. I can't agree harder regarding Zhiwei being sidelined, which was my biggest complaint about this drama. I love Ning Yi, I do, he's a great multifaceted character, but he already was in the first half of the drama by sheer screentime and focus. So I don't know why Ning Yi have to be the "hero" in these minor arcs too, especially when Zhiwei's shining arc (Minhai) was cut. I'm okay with Ning Yi as the protagonist and focus because that's how the drama decide to do it, but I wish it didn't mean everything surrounding Zhiwei had less focus, worse writing, more problems. Especially when they've been trying to sell a fairly equal Ning Yi-Zhiwei relationship the whole drama. idk why she took Zhangsun Hong at face value. Might be catatonic from all the deaths? Probably bad writing and they just cut out way too much in the last arc. They could have sprinkled more foreshadowing for Zhangsun Hong/Huo Feng gang towards first half of the drama too. ??? lol no. She's just some girl who's a childhood friend of Yan Huaishi (but not rich like him), and had a crush on him, and later married him by using a trick to force the elders to agree. (Yan Huaishi liked her as a friend, she helped him wrestle the head of family position so he wanted to provide her a good life. It's complicated.) They changed her background somewhat, but most of her story was just glossed over in Minhai. Mama Qiu was a general and had an army that disbanded and scattered, which Hua Qiong picked up at some point while helping Zhiwei fight against Ning Yi. Nah. That's just extrapolated from how Jinshi people act and their simple schemes.
  12. Sex is rarely shown on Chinese TV. I think it was implied in that scene since they seem sort of content after passage of time shot. But it's debateable. As for Helian Zheng, she volunteered to lead the army for him partially to avoid consummating their marriage, I'm pretty sure (The Queen tried to pressure her for babies before she got married and she looked pretty uncomfortable.) There wasn't enough time (or room in her heart) for their relationship to grow, and Helian Zheng didn't want to pressure her. Until she tried to leave, at which point he was just angry and frustrated and trying to get her to stay. Unlikely, because the story looks pretty done, and the team don't seem the type to milk the story. Unless it's just a vastly different one, but it didn't do well commercially so uh. The OTP could potentially work together in a different project since they seems to get along really well. Ni ni could use the help. There's lots of rumours about his sexuality and who knows? Does it matter? He self admitted is pretty bad at English, but I presume he knows simple stuff to get by since his kid study in NA.
  13. I thought only Crown Prince beats servants, Ning Yan (5th prince) likes to get foot massage or something, I can't remember what Ning Sheng's shtick was. The latter aren't as nice to their servants, but I don't think they were abusive unless they did so in fits of anger? As for coercing Zhiwei, I interpret that scene differently. I thought it as him angrily lashing out as a half mock request. He was genuinely surprised when she said yes, then he got angry that she was using their relationship as bargaining chip and pushed her onto the bed (which have been mentioned is rough), and then we zoomed out. I don't think Zhiwei agreed under duress (she said she needed it as excuse to say yes), though that doesn't mean Ning Yi wasn't aggressive of course. I guess my point is Zhiwei was on level play field with Ning Yi in that scene? He said those things before he met Zhangsun Hong, he said it to Zhiwei when she wanted to go back to Tiansheng. (ep 65) He was idealistic and thought he could make her happy, but after they got married, she left the country just to avoid sleeping with him/being with him. (and also to fight a war to stablise his position but she wasn't the best candidate for it, let's be real) So, I think his entitlement just exploded in his desperation of holding onto her. The only thing he has of her is they are technically married, but that doesn't mean anything if she just leaves and go back to Ning Yi. I'm not sure if Jinshi is more egalitarian tbh, it might just manifest in different ways, we saw relatively little of Jinshi after all. (maybe they could fight in wars but still had to obey their husband?) I do think the last ep broke his character though because that was an incredibly stupid plot and why would he even risk Zhiwei's life? I'm incredibly annoyed about it and wished they gave him a better ending. He could have considered the dumb scheme but backed out and died anyways, and it would have kept his character. She was mourning for lost loved ones and lost romance in Jinshi, but she was pretty bold in the very brief Dayue arc. I know she's like confused half the time, but she was bold when she was clearheaded. The last 7 episodes though ahahhaha, I got through by focusing on acting and individual segment. Zhangsun Hong was basically last straw that broke the camel than her having actual feelings for him or the remnants. Although I do think she feels more than what the audience feel, last blood relative + only remaining royal blood is profoundly tragic in a fleeting way? I don't know how to describe this. For remnants, it's of course responsibility. Wait wait, there was the emperor too, but that was notably dubbed over, I want to know what he actually said to her before! As is, it's more pseudo-parallels that barely make sense and furthering her guilt. Her suicide for me made sense because: 1. depression like you said, she felt responsible for every single death that she had connection to, even if she didn't cause them. 2. her identity is a huge, huge weakness to Ning Yi. People can use it to attack him (he's connected to old dynasty? or try to kill Zhiwei, in secret maybe, because of who she is? or even if not, it'd be difficult for her to marry him. Not to mention the whole Queen of Jinshi thing, even if it's relatively minor in comparison.) It's not just out of love too, she believes he can achieve their ambition, but she's in the way. (again, she interalise problems) 3. even if they married, I don't think she'd be happy in palace because typically empress can't interfere with court, especially one with yknow, her identity. Ning Yi can certainly consult her in private, but it'd be a shame. There's also the whole sharing her husband with other women thing, since Ning Yi will need them for a) more chance of sons who will survive b) control the court, he'll marry daughters of powerful government official to ensure loyalty/establish closeness. 4. Ning Yi seem like the kind of person who will try find her even if she fakes her death, since she's the only person he's close with who's left. Of course, they totally could have planned it more. I want those scenes they shown in the documentary!! I think that explains their thought process/feelings which would at least give closure. (please watch the documentaries on youtube if you haven't! They are in either Ning Yi's or Zhiwei's, also it's just good documentary.) I totally get if suicide seems OOC to you though, since others have said so before too. (I will take her faking death and just staying away though.) Agreed on Hua Qiong's death and lack of closure there. I really think she had a different ending initially? it's like they just needed her out of the picture but didn't know how? (sort of like how Yan Huaishi just dropped off face of the earth without a mention and you are just meant to extrapolate that he stayed behind in Minhai for some reason) She had better fate in the books though. I agree it seems off. In-universe explanation for Jinshi is they are all fairly straightforward, so there's not much political scheming. Out-of-universe explanation is the writers had to avoid Jinshi because it involves minorities and that's a touchy subject for SARFT (the gov agency that all media broadcasted in China have to go through). Dayue is odd, I think it's meant to show Zhiwei's feelings towards Ning Yi? (since she rejected him and she buried her feelings so deeply they only surface when she's not herself.) Also to get yet another foil for Ning Yi. It would have been more interesting if they struggled more with Prince of An? OH It's also another collaborative effort to get them out of trouble, while Zhiwei isn't particularly lucid. But yeah I think they cut a bit here too, and the way they do it does seem pretty convoluted. I can't believe I think the book's way was less awkward, though that had more time to develop (and you get to see Zhiwei trying to get herself out of trouble, which is fun). *complains loudly about missing Zhiwei scheming time* Personally I think they could have just deleted the arcs =w= They are meant to be foreshadowing for all three countries becoming one under Ning Yi's reign, but he never gets there, and he doesn't even get alliances out of them. As a comparison, in the book, Zhiwei gets Jinshi and Dayue as allies. Former cos they are friends, latter cos she helped him get the throne and he admires her ability. The latter is kind of flimsy but there was a peace treaty for x number of years with Tiansheng (? iirc), while he's busy grabbing for the throne, and he does help her later.
  14. Jiang Nan (the author) essentially abandoned Novoland though so uhhh lol. The pseudo sequel was serialised on a magazine (one of the official novoland magazine, 2008~11, after the original creators of Novoland had a massive falling out) and....never completed. He keeps saying he'll release it completed but then never do LOL. The other novoland series were written by different authors so they are of varying quality and focus, and since the world itself is pretty big and spans vast amount of time, connections are flimsy at best.
  15. They were filming for ages, Song Zu'er seems to indicate 9 months? which is a lot. So they likely extended the episode cut after they finished filming and editing it. SARFT would never extend your dramas for you, it's investors who do. But yeah, this series have 6 books compared to Tribes and Empire's 1, so there's plenty of source material to draw from, just a matter of how you adapt it. Side note, Ever Night is 3 times as long as Eagle Eye (380mil characters vs 124mil), so the decision to do 3 season split is pretty wise.
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