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[Mainland Chinese Drama 2018] The Rise of Phoenixes 凰权·弈天下

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On 9/11/2018 at 6:01 AM, mrsj3n said:

Aargh!!!

 

DVD version and TV version has so much difference. 

 

Tv version is up till 54 episode. Does that mean that they will wrap up by 56?????????

 

DVD version is episode 46 and so much was not aired on tv!!!!!!

 

I wonder how much have I missed and I'm not willing to rewatch it now! Aargh!!!

Nope, Pretty sure this drama goes into the 70's before it ends...

Spoiler

Her mom and brother dies at the 50 episodes mark so there's more story to be told 

 

ONE MORE DAY UNTIL IT SHOWS UP ON NETFLIX!!!!!....:blush::bawling:

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On 9/11/2018 at 8:01 PM, mrsj3n said:

Aargh!!!

 

DVD version and TV version has so much difference. 

 

Tv version is up till 54 episode. Does that mean that they will wrap up by 56?????????

 

DVD version is episode 46 and so much was not aired on tv!!!!!!

 

I wonder how much have I missed and I'm not willing to rewatch it now! Aargh!!!

 

Yeah. Hunan TV has decided to cut its losses - DESPITE the fact that ratings have been rising back up again. 

 

They've condensed it even further to 56 episodes. 

 

I've been following the DVD version which is the uncut 70 episode version (though I heard it was originally SUPPOSED to be 100 and to get it approved, they cut it to 70 episodes) so I really don't care either way. 

 

They've cut WAY TOO MUCH in the TV version - it really isn't worth watching. Just stick to the DVD version. 

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So I'm now up to episode 58. I thought I'll give my 2 cents. BTW, by episode 58, I mean the DVD version which is the version I've been following since day one. I didn't bother with the TV version. 

 

Firstly, I've never read the novel. I only started reading the novel after started following this drama. 

Secondly, I know NO ONE in this show. I literally found this after doing a search for more period dramas after watching Fuyao. My mum was watching Yangxi at this point but I was a bit sick of concubine dramas so wanted to find something else and found this on a list of most anticipated drama. The trailer looked good and it was using original voice, not dubbed over, so that excited me and here I am. 

 

Starting with the pros of this show. 

  1. Acting is top notch. I love the little details each actor added to their character - particularly the emperor. Him periodically picking at his own ears or when he gets agitated and waving his subjects out of the room. Chen Kun and Ni Ni being able to convey all their emotions through little movements with their hand, or tiny twitch in their facial expression. I can't get enough of it. I enjoy the acting immensely. Even the supporting actors are top notch. 
     
  2. 3D characters and character growth. The fact that the antagonist is not truly evil or that the protagonist is not truly good, it truly reflects that humans are complicated creatures and there are multitude of reasons why people end up doing what they do. 
     
  3. Language. Some people complained about this , that it's TOO classical Chinese in its dialogue that people find it hard to follow. This is coming from viewers within China which DEEPLY confuses me. While Mandarin is my mother tongue, it's more a secondary language to me at this point since I grew up in an English speaking country. I haven't even attended primary school in a Chinese-speaking country and I still have no trouble following the dialogue. Once or twice I did have to rewind to read the Chinese subtitles and think about it and then realised what was going on but other than that, 95% of the time, I'm following. To me, the language and the dialogue adds extra atmosphere to the setting. I didn't mind this
     
  4. The second guessing. Everyone's plot are never iron clad. Human minds are hard to read. This show really depicts just how difficult it is to exercise and expand control politically. 
     
  5. Elements and details in the show you never thought too much about only to become immensely important further down the line
     
  6. High production value. The costume, the set. Also, the make up. This is the first show that I'm not rolling my eyes when I see the girl trying to dress up as a guy. Zhiwei specifically thickened her eyebrows and all attempts were made to flatten her chest so it's as flat as possible. Her disguise is A LOT more believable. Having said that, it's not ironclad. Yeng Huaishi saw through it straight away and it was such a breath of fresh air. 
     
  7. No dubbing. I cannot stress this enough. I feel like when they dub over the ENTIRE drama, it's really to hide the fact that the actors are not THAT good. In this show, there's really no hiding. In fact, the little noises the actors make adds to the characters. 
     

Cons:

 

  1. The plot is a little too linear. Yes, you heard me right. The plot is a tad too linear. You can literally divide each main arcs into individual arcs e.g. Crown Prince arc, Second Prince arc, Minhai arc, Jinshi arc etc. That's fine but what I find as we went from one story arc to the next is it starts getting a little boring. If we look at how successful Game of Thrones is in its storytelling is that there are MULTIPLE arcs happening in parallel and that makes the "game of thrones" (and this show is its own game of thrones) even more complicated, chaotic but strangely, very realistic. Not everything follows in a linear pattern that starts and ends in its defined spot. 

    I felt that if they have interwoven each of the arc more tightly together, or some in parallel so that some interesting characters aren't only introduced WAAAAAAY further down the series, the plot would have been tighter. 
     
  2. Too little romance. I literally wait and savour every single sweet moment we get between Ning Yi and Zhi Wei. Also, the novel had A LOT of source material that the show could have used  for the romance that would have caused way more fireworks. Perhaps some of the material in the novel was a little too raunchy for Chinese censorship, but still, I thought they could have balanced the political games a lot better with the romance that the audience were looking forward to 
     
  3. And since we're talking about straying away from the source material, it's not like I didn't like the changes they made. I actually do like the changes they've made. (The source material had elements of modern age people ending up in the story and there were some really stupid parts like the scroll with the 3 hardest questions turning out to be stupid BuzzFeed like questions from the modern age. No, literally). It's just that the show could have used the source material's fanbase as leverage for marketing and extra viewership but by straying too far from it, they've alienated what would have been an easy fanbase and hence, higher ratings.
     
  4.  The story started to lose a bit of steam towards the end. It almost feels like somewhere through the production, they were forced to make cuts and it looks like they started cutting more and more towards the end. What really disappointed me was 
    Spoiler

    the Minhai arc. Up till then, there was such big build up on just how hard it is to get rid of the Minhai governor. Was so anticipating a final showdown and yet, Minhai governor gets killed off randomly by his own sons. 

     

    Then his sons turned out to not really be THAT smart and gets killed off easily as well. Was a bit of a downer. Not to mention Hwachong randomly appeared and just.....Is there. Yeng Hwaishi is never heard of again. The novel goes into them two quite a bit. But nothing. It's like something's cut. Feels like the Minhai arc was really there to finally put some romance in and as a segway to reveal Zhiwei's identity. 

     

    But then, it's episode 58. There's less than 20 episodes left. When are they going to utilise Zhiwei's identity? She's the princess of the previous dynasty - that's it? NOTHING is going to come out of this? 

     

    Having said this, the few episodes where Zhiwei's identity was called into question were probably some of the best episodes and finest examples of acting I've seen. 

     

    The scenes between the emperor and Xing Zhiyeng were some of the tensest scenes ever.

  5. Certain characters being introduced that SEEMS to mean they will play an important role somewhere down the line...and then never talked of again. Certain plot points that SHOULD be more important.....and then never talked of again. It's like they had TOO many ideas and at one point, and couldn't resolve all of it. Or were forced to cut some of it.

 

So anyway, that's my take. I suppose I'll re-evaluate once the series finish. I still say this is still one of the best period dramas I've seen so far. It's not perfect, but I wish there were more Chinese dramas with such a high quality production value. And also, can we PLEASE stop dubbing? I really can't stand it. 

 

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14 hours ago, MikiRei said:

 

3D characters and character growth. The fact that the antagonist is not truly evil or that the protagonist is not truly good, it truly reflects that humans are complicated creatures and there are multitude of reasons why people end up doing what they do. 

 

One of my favorite parts is also the complexity of the characters. I have to commend the scriptwriter and the actors on that. A lot of people seem to be saying the script is the weak point, but I think this is one of the best scripts I've seen in Chinese dramas these past ten years (for some reason the overall quality was higher ten years ago). Writing such sophisticated dialogue for an originally 100 episode drama is a monumental task and they managed to elevate the source material by injecting some more literary elegance. The weak point is the Min Hai arc but I do believe that is partly due to the cuts and censorship. 

 

A lot of Chinese dramas shy away from portraying the intensity of human emotion and mental illness, and when they do it is oftentimes irreverent, but this drama did such a great job. I really liked the various parental relationships in this show and how that contributed to the emotional development of the children. Seeing how repressed and depressed the princes were, how desperately they clung to the slightest affection the emperor showed them, made somewhat redeemable.

Spoiler

Chen Kun did an amazing job portraying Ning Yi and his childhood trauma. That reversion to child like behavior every time his mom was mentioned is masterfully done. Tbh I am kind of shocked by how deeply disturbed they made him. 

Also, I don't know how long it's been since I've watched a Chinese show where the female protagonist actually develops as a human. She learned from her mistakes, but most importantly, she had real ambition and thought about the world as a whole. Feng Zhiwei and Ning Yi both struggled with their sense of duty and their selfish desires. Unlike some other shows where the female protagonist has zero drive and zero responsibility. 

Spoiler

You can see how these events have taken a toll on her mental health. The self blame and self loathing that she developed really resonated with me. This is how you write non vapid female characters.

 

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7 hours ago, Josephine Safowaa said:

me too i feel like the king even has a lot of screen time than fan zhi wei i dont find her interesting anymore

 

I feel the emperor is one of the most interesting character of all in the whole series and probably also one of my favourite characters. Kudos to the actor for he did a BRILLIANT job for someone so complex and formidable. The monumental task in running a country, balancing neighbouring powers and keeping all of his sons and different political forces behind them in check. And then also having to keep all his subjects and his wives in check. Far out he has a difficult job. 

 

I truly feel sorry for him though. What's a father to feel having to watch his own kids fight and kill each other for his position. Or even him. 

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The novel wasn't raunchy at all, in fact the only time sex was depicted, most people didn't even realise (I definitely didn't). The problem the production team had with the novel was that

a) Zhi Wei had too many love interests, she had four love interest, it was the trend at the time I think 

b) she was too smart and overpowered so they wanted to make her more book smart with lack experience/slightly naive

c) Chen Kun joining meant HE had to be protagonist so it shifted the focus to him. People suspect that it was going to focus on both of them (the previous drama name suggest so, 凰权 is the novel name, female lead focused, 奕天下 has male lead's name so he would get focus too), but as you noticed they cut out bunch of stuff in second half that would show Zhi Wei's growth and her ability more. 

 

There's been speculation that the latter half editing might be to get pass SARFT to air on TV, which has stricter restrictions than airing online, especially if it's the prime time slot. They also changed dialogues and redubbed them near the end of Crown Prince arc. People have been hoping netflix will get the original dialogues but I'm...not...optimistic.


The novel had 4 major arcs, the drama used the first two as framework, third arc is visible but severely cut (Helian Zheng + Jin Si Yu). The reason is shifting of focus to Ning Yi, Ning Yi was absent for a lot of the subsequent arcs because he spent a lot of time in the capital while Zhi Wei kind of travelled around for various reasons. Tangently related, there were also very little romantic scenes in the book, even less than the drama, I'm telling you. They were testing each other a lot during the beginning,  there's barely any fluff. (whereas the drama had both testing AND fluff, even if it seems little out of place in the beginning). Most of the book is them two scheming, against other people AND against each other.

 

As for the out of place 3 questions, that's actually from Fuyao (who is from modern times in the book and helped create the previous dynasty. I think Huang Quan set 300? years later?). I agree it feels out of place, but it also totally make sense nobody could answer the question, Fuyao made it so only who she chose could. (in other words, the author needed the link between the two books + needed her protag to be special) It was pretty Fuyao-like question, she's more abrasive and that book is more fun adventure, whereas this story is more depressing/serious, so it sticks out A LOT.

 

I definitely think they could have stuck more to the novel (prop up my Zhi Wei more pls, she keeps getting hate every time something goes wrong, which sucks, because it's often scriptwriter trying to humanise her and went little too far.) At the same time, good god the amount of times I've seen people complain about the novel being an OP mary sue novel that doesn't have too much going for it, lol. OP I agree with, if having multiple LI is mary sue, I guess I agree too, but the novel is still amongst the rare ones that have a female lead who could go head to head with male lead and that's enough for me to gobble up the story. So IDK, I'm not sure if this team could fuse romance/politics better than they are doing, and more novel means more of that, and more of Zhi Wei scheming. and I'm not sure the general audience would like it more either? People are really harsh on romance and female characters.

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Episode 63. My reaction:

 

Spoiler

Don't you two dare kiss. I WILL KILL YOU IF YOU DO! 

 

42 minutes ago, skibbies said:

The novel wasn't raunchy at all

 

Oh, I thought it was tamed too. Clearly they thought it was too raunchy to pass censorship. ^.^|||

 

I felt like flipping the table when they got to the part 

 

Spoiler

where they were in Ning Yi's mother's old palace. 

The book had this whole part where Zhiwei had to strip Ning Yi bare and then he froze her and started stripping her and pashed her crazy but noooooo. Can't have that. Two unmarried people. They CAN'T do that =_=|||

 

Oh, and the part where he tries to make her jealous by pretending he had sex with that other girl. Or the part where he pulled her into his bath and propositioned her like COME ON! Why was that cut out of the drama?? That would have been SOOOOO good. 

 

42 minutes ago, skibbies said:

As for the out of place 3 questions, that's actually from Fuyao

 

Yeah, I know it was from Fuyao. I just couldn't help but roll my eyes when I got to that. Like, I GET IT, I get why it's in there....but yeah. It's like cold water splashed onto your face. 

 

To be honest, I haven't finished the novel. Only up to book 2 really. The comment around they could have stuck more to the book is more if that could then help with their fanbase. It's more knowing your audience. The way they've changed it is more like, they've BASED it on characters from the novel, but it's really nothing like the novel at all. If they have made that clear, they may have not needed to deal with the wrath of some rabid novel fans. It's just a shame since it's been a complete failure in terms of ratings to the point that they've cut it to race it to the finish line. *sigh*

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They weren't really interested in book fans I think? Like cool that we exist, but they were very clearly aiming for a general audience? Honestly, all WN adaptation have to deal with the wrath of book readers because you bought their favourite book! It's not really the book fans they were losing, it was the masses they were losing. The initial episodes were edited to be very flat, not much of a hook besides main characters (who went in really over the top), pacing feeling pretty slow etc. I don't think Hunan TV was a good fit for the drama, but they were the highest bidders, Fuyao is a better fit, being a fun adventurey story. This drama's beginning is closer to Advisor's Alliance than Fuyao.

 

I'm half a drama behind, god help me, I should probably stop reading reactions for new episodes too.

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17 hours ago, MikiRei said:

 

I feel the emperor is one of the most interesting character of all in the whole series and probably also one of my favourite characters. Kudos to the actor for he did a BRILLIANT job for someone so complex and formidable. The monumental task in running a country, balancing neighbouring powers and keeping all of his sons and different political forces behind them in check. And then also having to keep all his subjects and his wives in check. Far out he has a difficult job. 

 

I truly feel sorry for him though. What's a father to feel having to watch his own kids fight and kill each other for his position. Or even him. 

 

I feel like he's a great emperor because his empire is prosperous and peaceful, but he is the one who messed his sons up. They all have severe daddy issues. It was kind of sad to see how starved all the princes (including the one from the other country) were for some fatherly love. Unevenly distributing your affections leads to a lot of sibling rivalry and screws with their concept of self worth. I agree that the actor is amazing though.

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It looks like from Minhai arc afterwards, the script was changed drastically. There are so many loose ends which compared to the beginning, it's like night and day. 

 

That and when looking at all the "making of" clips, there are scenes in there that aren't in the final version. E.g. 

 

Spoiler

There's a bit in the making of where the emperor is really old and Ning Yi by now has his moustache and how he bows to Ning Yi as a sign of him approving of Ning Yi taking over the realm. The final version is COMPLETELY different.

 

There's also a part where Ning Qi was crying and stabbed his hand to show the emperor how hurt he is.

 

That was not in the final cut either (according to people on Douban. I haven't watched the latest episode 66).

 

 

There's rumours on Douban that half way through production, they got someone to come check out their progress and was told that they wouldn't get past regulations. It might explain why the first half of the show was tight as anything and then from Minhai, things were just weird. It's like, they had to reshoot half the show and did switcheroos across different scenes just so they can get past regulations.

 

If that's the case, it really is just a damn shame with all the work they've done. It's unlikely that the Netflix version is going to be the director's cut either. I kind of felt robbed. :tears:

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Pardon my language guys. But oh richard simmons!!!!!!! This is on NETFLIX now!!!! Or am I late?? I even requested for this show to be on, I filled out the “request tv shows” form on Netflix!!! It’s like my wishes have been answered. I’m so happy :lol:

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Seems like good things no longer happen to people who wait. Damn it..I waited so long for this drama to get on Netflix....but now that it's on.... I'm so not eager to watch it. All the bts drama I'm reading about is so messed up. Hunan never fails to screw the fans....should give up on Minglan too. Now all my hopes are on Daylight. But no telling what happen after it airs.

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3 hours ago, dito said:

Seems like good things no longer happen to people who wait. Damn it..I waited so long for this drama to get on Netflix....but now that it's on.... I'm so not eager to watch it. All the bts drama I'm reading about is so messed up. Hunan never fails to screw the fans....should give up on Minglan too. Now all my hopes are on Daylight. But no telling what happen after it airs.

 

I still say this show is worth the watch even if the end got somewhat messed up. Even with all the issues it had, I still say it's a much better show than a lot of stuff out there. 

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4 hours ago, dito said:

Seems like good things no longer happen to people who wait. Damn it..I waited so long for this drama to get on Netflix....but now that it's on.... I'm so not eager to watch it. All the bts drama I'm reading about is so messed up. Hunan never fails to screw the fans....should give up on Minglan too. Now all my hopes are on Daylight. But no telling what happen after it airs.

Hunan TV doesn't really screw with netflix version though?

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4 hours ago, dito said:

Seems like good things no longer happen to people who wait. Damn it..I waited so long for this drama to get on Netflix....but now that it's on.... I'm so not eager to watch it. All the bts drama I'm reading about is so messed up. Hunan never fails to screw the fans....should give up on Minglan too. Now all my hopes are on Daylight. But no telling what happen after it airs.


The version broadcast on netflix is not the version that Hunan TV ruined. Outside of the MinHai storyline, everything else is totally fine even if the cuts lowered the quality somewhat. The plot and characters still hold up. I would avoid reading reviews and just see how you personally feel about it. I kept reading reviews and it negatively impacted my viewing experience. Hordes of people just kept saying the show was tanking from watching episode trailers...like guys at least watch the entire episode first. I understand being confused by the TV version, but netflix has the DVD version so the confusion should be mitigated. Not enough people watch this show in the US for there to be a true discussion forum :( You can still ask any questions you have and maybe others have answers!

 

I wish there weren't any flashbacks though. It's nothing serious, but in such a high caliber show they should have trusted the viewers to notice references to previous scenes. For shows like Mr Robot and Westworld, part of the experience was discussing each episode on reddit and sharing all the little things we picked up on. At the same time, people already think the plot is obfuscated so I guess they were right not to trust us. I personally enjoy not having the details spoon fed to me.  You are meant to need to discuss some plot points! 

 

10 hours ago, roxnilla7 said:

Pardon my language guys. But oh richard simmons!!!!!!! This is on NETFLIX now!!!! Or am I late?? I even requested for this show to be on, I filled out the “request tv shows” form on Netflix!!! It’s like my wishes have been answered. I’m so happy :lol:

 

Good job with the request forms!! This tv show really is worth watching. 

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