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

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I have a question for you guys. I know reviews in China were not great. But what exactly are they expecting to happen if RoP does well on Netflix globally? For sure I've only been hearing positive things from people around the world, outside of China. People are drawn to the story-line and attached to the characters, and everyone seems impressed by the intense dedication that went into filming. I personally am impressed by the costumes and sets, and the cgi work was not jarring. They really immersed me in the story. Besides, I noticed that on the official Croton Media playlist on Youtube, there were even English subs done for a bts clip of the cast analyzing Ni Ni's character. So I feel it's gaining popularity globally. Why exactly is Netflix hoping it will though? Will that mean more high caliber shows like this being produced and going on Netflix from China?

 

 

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21 minutes ago, sonosong said:

I have a question for you guys. I know reviews in China were not great. But what exactly are they expecting to happen if RoP does well on Netflix globally? For sure I've only been hearing positive things from people around the world, outside of China. People are drawn to the story-line and attached to the characters, and everyone seems impressed by the intense dedication that went into filming. I personally am impressed by the costumes and sets, and the cgi work was not jarring. They really immersed me in the story. Besides, I noticed that on the official Croton Media playlist on Youtube, there were even English subs done for a bts clip of the cast analyzing Ni Ni's character. So I feel it's gaining popularity globally. Why exactly is Netflix hoping it will though? Will that mean more high caliber shows like this being produced and going on Netflix from China?

How does one know if it is doing well on Netflix? Is there a gauge for that? Is it on upvotes? Or views? I am not actually familiar with the Netflix system, I just use it to watch shows. lol. It's really sad about the ratings because it's not just the acting and the characters that are great, the set was so beautiful, it looks like a really high budget film. And I love the tones. And I know some people who even love the ending and thought it was fast paced and full of thrills...

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19 hours ago, Pollen Ainne said:

You are kidding? I heard about the bad ratings and some personal attacks about NiNi. But Chen Kun too? But... that makes no sense? Are these people paid to hate or something? Why so much hate?

 

And NINi is so beautiful. I remember that scene where she had those walnuts (?) in her mouth and Ning Yi asked her why she was not hideous anymore. She was smiling with those things in her mouth and I thought, how gorgeous. 

 

And how does Chen Kun cause a show to flop when I read his bio and he has made blockbusters like Painted Skin and garnered awards for it? That is just terrible. How can they not appreciate such talent... I would understand if they do not like the film, but why the personal attacks... has it always been like this? Is there a particular reason?

I have seen a few eps of NiF, and it is not bad... but none of the characters drew me in, and I am not really into political drama. I can only enjoy it when I am completely invested in a character at least. A lot of people have heaped praises for NiF so I have tried watching it. Did people hate on NiF too, or was tRoP just an exception... are they picking on my Chen Kun? :(

 

 

I find her to be so breathtaking as well. I guess they attract a lot of hate because of how successful they are. Some people were even criticizing him for his Sichuan accent, but I didn't even really notice it. He just made Ning Yi so captivating, exuding power and masculinity even as he defies it by engaging in traditionally feminine tasks. China has had a trend of pretty boys recently, and I actually love pretty boys, but idk how anyone can compare to this intensity and the wildness, barely contained, glinting in his eyes. (I spent my entire life side eyeing crazy fan girls and desperately trying to not come off as ditsy, yet I just wrote this entire, crazy paragraph)

 

Yea if you don't like political dramas NiF might have lose its appeal. I love political dramas and I liked all the actors so I really enjoyed it. NiF was much better received in China. It is also easier to watch than this one.

 

19 hours ago, Pollen Ainne said:

Ming Dynasty 1566 would have been interesting with what you said about it, but why depressing... I like to enjoy and not be depressed.

 

Ming Dynasty 1566 is very political. Although not entirely historically accurate, it sets up the decline of the Ming Dynasty. As such, the major focus is on corruption and the extent of human depravity. It might not be as depressing if you aren't Chinese, but a lot of Chinese people saw this to be the beginning of the fall of the glory of China. The following dynasty was ruled by the Manchus, who prosecuted the Han Chinese during their rule. If you don't like political dramas you will not like this at all, but those who do should check it out.

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I'm going through Phoenixes very slowly and am only up to Episode 20. Life's busy and one can only do what one is able. ;) Fascinating show and as a whole I find it worth persevering through. When it's good, it's extremely good. In between there are these talky sometimes overtly introspective lulls. I don't find them objectionable as a rule. I can see why they're there and of course it's always vital to pay attention to details as it is the case with these sorts of strategy oriented dramas. I understand the NiF comparisons to some degree although I think most revenge plots contain the same kind of elements. The Count of Monte Cristo more or less established the precedent and template for our modern textual constructs of those kinds of stories.

 

There is something I think that's quite terrifying about the male and female leads which is unique to them as individuals. Certainly they're trying to hang on to whatever decency they possess in a rather inhumane environment but I suspect that often makes things a lot worse. It's clear to me that Feng Zhi Wei is a woman in the wrong place and the wrong time. The fact that she has to cross-dress is the first clue that she's the resident misfit that is fated to shake things up. Personally I find her naivete terrifying particularly because it's accompanied by a boisterous, reckless audacity. She's undoubtedly quick-witted but that's not tampered by discretion and circumspection which is very dangerous given the environment that she's been thrown into. Ning Yi is enveloped by a darkness that threatens to consume him except for certain emotional restraints. That's part of what terrifies me about him. He has an overdeveloped, god-like sense of justice that driven by a deeply repressed anger. His mantra is "Eradicate Evil" while Zhi Wei's seems to be "let's not drag the innocent into the fray". 

 

Herein lies the problem. For me at least. To me they represent extreme viewpoints on a spectrum that's in play here. Both perspectives are problematic of course. Who are the evil ones? Who makes that judgment? Maybe Ning Yi thinks he's qualified given that he's suffered injustice and seen it enacted out. Who are the innocent ones? Is there anyone who is really innocent in all of this? Was Zhu Yin? Was the stableboy? 

 

The categorization is dubious. I doubt that there are any innocents in this drama in any sense of the word unless it's in reference to the maid that gets used as a whipping boy. Zhu Yin was an integral member of a conspiracy against the crown prince. She went into it with her eyes wide open. She knew the risks and took them. A case might be made for the stableboy's innocence insofar as he was embroiled in another conspiracy because of his father. But the Bloody Pagoda was an outlawed group that the crown prince hid in plain sight and Stableboy was a part of it. Just because he and his father saved ZW don't necessarily make them the salt of the earth.

Everyone has an agenda. Nobody does anything just because they're kind. The shifting alliances demonstrate that perfectly. It's a bleak universe undoubtedly but realistic for that kind of setting, I think.

 

The tension within these categories and how that plays out is what really interests me. ZW's insistence that there are "good guys" frightens me insofar as it colours the way she perceives potential dangers. It's a high-stakes game and she seems to be playing it by another set of rules. She could potentially be a gamechanger of course by reshaping how things are done in court politics but I have my doubts. ;)

 

Ning Yi is terrifying because he is relentless and single-minded. I don't think he's just about finding justice for his brother. I get hints here and there that he wants to reshape his environment after his own image. After falling victim to injustice, he needs justice... whatever he means by that... to vindicate his existence. Underneath that hair and brooding demeanour beats a revolutionary's heart.

 

The show pretty much sledgehammers home the fact that the leads alternate between Yin and Yang in various forms. He's the tortured soul haunted by darkness trying to restore order through creating chaos. He hides his true motives through traditional feminine arts like weaving. She's a bright young thing that hides her femininity with men's clothing, shining her light on the chaos or is somehow instrumental in bringing it to a head.

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2 hours ago, 40somethingahjumma said:

Ning Yi is enveloped by a darkness that threatens to consume him except for certain emotional restraints. That's part of what terrifies me about him. He has an overdeveloped, god-like sense of justice that driven by a deeply repressed anger. His mantra is "Eradicate Evil" while Zhi Wei's seems to be "let's not drag the innocent into the fray". 

 

Herein lies the problem. For me at least. To me they represent extreme viewpoints on a spectrum that's in play here. Both perspectives are problematic of course. Who are the evil ones? Who makes that judgment? Maybe Ning Yi thinks he's qualified given that he's suffered injustice and seen it enacted out. Who are the innocent ones? Is there anyone who is really innocent in all of this? Was Zhu Yin? Was the stableboy? 

 

The categorization is dubious. I doubt that there are any innocents in this drama in any sense of the word unless it's in reference to the maid that gets used as a whipping boy. 

 

The tension within these categories and how that plays out is what really interests me. ZW's insistence that there are "good guys" frightens me insofar as it colours the way she perceives potential dangers. It's a high-stakes game and she seems to be playing it by another set of rules. She could potentially be a gamechanger of course by reshaping how things are done in court politics but I have my doubts. ;)

 

Ning Yi is terrifying because he is relentless and single-minded. I don't think he's just about finding justice for his brother. I get hints here and there that he wants to reshape his environment after his own image. After falling victim to injustice, he needs justice... whatever he means by that... to vindicate his existence. Underneath that hair and brooding demeanour beats a revolutionary's heart.

 

The show pretty much sledgehammers home the fact that the leads alternate between Yin and Yang in various forms. He's the tortured soul haunted by darkness trying to restore order through creating chaos. He hides his true motives through traditional feminine arts like weaving. She's a bright young thing that hides her femininity with men's clothing, shining her light on the chaos or is somehow instrumental in bringing it to a head.

Wow. Never really thought about the underlying themes before in this way. Your comments on both FZW and NY are spot on.

 

What you've said, chiefly NY's need for justice and FZW's need to protect the innocent, makes me think of the themes some comic book superhero/vigilante stories focus on. Daredevil comes to mind for some reason for me.

 

Disguise is another motif in the comic book genre that is also used in this series. Both FZW and NY have dual identities. If FZW had a superpower, it would be her intelligence. Her disguise is Wei Zhi. For NY, it is his powerful connections. NY is like the Bruce Wayne of TS.

 

Unfortunately, when either disguise or 'superpower' is compromised, there is a diminishing in character. The extraordinary individual is made ordinary. ZW loses a bit of agency and brilliance each time she is unmasked.  NY also becomes incredibly vulnerable/helpless when he gives up his royal title. 

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NiF was probably one of the most well received cdramas internationally tbh? It's still topping MDL cdrama-wise. NiF attracted criticism in China for its scheming being too simple and characters too simple, internationally it was too serious and long, but it excelled in propping up its theme and main plot. Its similarity to tRoP is due to both dramas fusing more serious politics with lighter elements, it's why it's kind of hard to rec similar dramas. All dramas I'd rec would lean much drier and straight political dramas.

 

Ming Dynasty 1566 wasn't censored though, it was just exclusive to Hunan TV and it bombed in ratings so it never got second broadcast till 10 years later. The director's other drama about creating Republic of China is censored though.

 

20 hours ago, sonosong said:

I have a question for you guys. I know reviews in China were not great. But what exactly are they expecting to happen if RoP does well on Netflix globally? For sure I've only been hearing positive things from people around the world, outside of China. People are drawn to the story-line and attached to the characters, and everyone seems impressed by the intense dedication that went into filming. I personally am impressed by the costumes and sets, and the cgi work was not jarring. They really immersed me in the story. Besides, I noticed that on the official Croton Media playlist on Youtube, there were even English subs done for a bts clip of the cast analyzing Ni Ni's character. So I feel it's gaining popularity globally. Why exactly is Netflix hoping it will though? Will that mean more high caliber shows like this being produced and going on Netflix from China?

 

 

The TV ratings wasn't great, it aired with less than one week notice, with general audience watching TV less and less (opting for watching online), coming in while summer sleeper hit were still airing, being fairly serious and slow to take etc all contributed. That said, it was always doing well douban wise. It opened at 7.8, dropped to 7.6 and is now sitting at 8.2 with 107k people rating it. Mini reviews that @tendrilsofwind saw were from opening day, and they randomly pop up on its front page because douban just pick from reviews with lots of likes. Note that 3 days after it broadcasted, it attracted lot of negative attention because they posted a "we are not going to buy ratings" notice that was taken the wrong way. It was mocked widely, but largely contained to weibo. Douban and weibo are even more terrifying if they use idol actors, tRoP basically experienced it on a minor scale.

 

For comparison, the summer sleeper hit Ashes of Love is sitting at 7.7 with 159k raters (it also gain few points since ending, and that drama ran into filler problems to staff infighting to fan wars), it's the only other historical drama that aired on prime time tv slot this year. Legend of Ruyi is 7.4 with 128k, Story of Yanxi Palace is 7.2 with 199k. They are all very different dramas from tRoP, comparatively Ruyi and tRoP have higher barriers of entry by being more serious, but I'm listing all this out to say, it wasn't actually badly received by people who actually watched the drama. Last comparison, for recent king of historical dramas (popularity and review wise, not ratings) Nirvana in Fire is 9.2 with 251k people.

 

So, why is it that people kept saying is doing badly even it really wasn't? Ratings certainly contributed, some people dissed it because they don't like the drama for whatever reason, but probably one of the most prevailing reason was people who like tRoP probably don't frequent fandom, they don't use weibo or douban, they don't make gifs and screencaps and mv and create fanfics and art and write analysis to help promote the drama, neither did the drama team. A lot of fans basically had to learn and kept shouting at its official weibo to promote more. 

 

As for netflix, in press releases about it licensing tRoP, it indicated that it's interested in buying more quality cdramas now that there's more demand for it. It has only started licensing them since like idk, last year? I took a peek at what they bought and they had a variety of very well recieved dramas (popular in ratings, popular by content, popular quality dramas) tRoP doing well would influence Netflix buying more but not more similar dramas being produced imo. China's domestic market is far more lucrative than netflix, so it'd always be catering to that first. Also netflix only have like 20 cdramas, it pales against viki when it comes to cdrama licensing, though I'm sure netflix gives more money LOL. I have difficulty seeing cdramas being produced that caters to netflix taste, because well, judging by its anime netflix original series, it wouldn't get passed SARFT at all, and all exported cdramas still have to go through them.

 

Good historical dramas also take hilariously long time to produce, this was shot last year, but had about 2 year prep beforehand. (Chen Kun mentions them asking him to be lead and spending quite a long time convincing him to take the role and they went back and forth on the script and characterisation). Similarly, Story of Minglan's director/Daylight Entertainment announced recently it'll start shooting a drama based on a fairly well known novel, its author mentioned she had to keep it a secret for 2 and half years.

 

Re: awards. fair number of TV awards are popularity award but there's the government awarded Flying Apsaras award that people tend to look up to. It's once every two years though so we'll see, there's going to quite a few highly anticipated historical dramas next year. It has a shot at Magnolia, idk about Golden Eagle, It was just announced few days ago and most people are wailing about how Dilraba doesn't deserve best actress and Golden Eagle has been bought out.

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10 hours ago, tendrilsofwind said:

 

I find her to be so breathtaking as well. I guess they attract a lot of hate because of how successful they are. Some people were even criticizing him for his Sichuan accent, but I didn't even really notice it. He just made Ning Yi so captivating, exuding power and masculinity even as he defies it by engaging in traditionally feminine tasks. China has had a trend of pretty boys recently, and I actually love pretty boys, but idk how anyone can compare to this intensity and the wildness, barely contained, glinting in his eyes. (I spent my entire life side eyeing crazy fan girls and desperately trying to not come off as ditsy, yet I just wrote this entire, crazy paragraph)

 

Yea if you don't like political dramas NiF might have lose its appeal. I love political dramas and I liked all the actors so I really enjoyed it. NiF was much better received in China. It is also easier to watch than this one.

 

 

Ming Dynasty 1566 is very political. Although not entirely historically accurate, it sets up the decline of the Ming Dynasty. As such, the major focus is on corruption and the extent of human depravity. It might not be as depressing if you aren't Chinese, but a lot of Chinese people saw this to be the beginning of the fall of the glory of China. The following dynasty was ruled by the Manchus, who prosecuted the Han Chinese during their rule. If you don't like political dramas you will not like this at all, but those who do should check it out.

The problem with political dramas in a foreign setting (I am not Chinese), especially historical, is that it takes diligence to understand the entire concept. I have to have wiki up on the first 2 episodes of tRoP so I can be sure what role each person had when they are talking and what status and power they possess. When a person speaks, it is important to know exactly who he is and what he is capable of (status-wise). Also the person they are talking about, understanding what his importance is, is a key factor to enjoy the conversation. Take for example in the first episode when they are talking about marrying Ning Yi to the Qui family to protect him. I understood that aside from protection, it was advantageous to the emperor to make some changes to the power play but not completely advantageous to Ning Yi. But why? At this point I was lost as to what the heck is the Qui family. Why are they important? Upon knowing their status, I had to research on how such a person could benefit or be disadvantageous. I understood why they didn't want to marry their daughter to Ning Yi but I didn't understand why Ning Yi would not want to marry into their family. The mention of the Changs meant nothing to me at that point. I understand it all now... but it wasn't effortless...

 

Or even when Ning Yi was given power as head of the Censorate. I had to google what that implied. I had to understand why it was harder to become emperor when taking that role.

 

And it isn't as easy to learn them when you are not so familiar with the setting. It gets easier as one proceeds but it is hard to get interested in it on the first 3 episodes or so, and I usually do not have the determination to try. Political dramas in modern settings I actually do enjoy. Like House of Cards or Madam Secretary and many others.

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6 hours ago, 40somethingahjumma said:

I'm going through Phoenixes very slowly and am only up to Episode 20. Life's busy and one can only do what one is able. ;) Fascinating show and as a whole I find it worth persevering through. When it's good, it's extremely good. In between there are these talky sometimes overtly introspective lulls. I don't find them objectionable as a rule. I can see why they're there and of course it's always vital to pay attention to details as it is the case with these sorts of strategy oriented dramas. I understand the NiF comparisons to some degree although I think most revenge plots contain the same kind of elements. The Count of Monte Cristo more or less established the precedent and template for our modern textual constructs of those kinds of stories.

 

There is something I think that's quite terrifying about the male and female leads which is unique to them as individuals. Certainly they're trying to hang on to whatever decency they possess in a rather inhumane environment but I suspect that often makes things a lot worse. It's clear to me that Feng Zhi Wei is a woman in the wrong place and the wrong time. The fact that she has to cross-dress is the first clue that she's the resident misfit that is fated to shake things up. Personally I find her naivete terrifying particularly because it's accompanied by a boisterous, reckless audacity. She's undoubtedly quick-witted but that's not tampered by discretion and circumspection which is very dangerous given the environment that she's been thrown into. Ning Yi is enveloped by a darkness that threatens to consume him except for certain emotional restraints. That's part of what terrifies me about him. He has an overdeveloped, god-like sense of justice that driven by a deeply repressed anger. His mantra is "Eradicate Evil" while Zhi Wei's seems to be "let's not drag the innocent into the fray". 

 

Herein lies the problem. For me at least. To me they represent extreme viewpoints on a spectrum that's in play here. Both perspectives are problematic of course. Who are the evil ones? Who makes that judgment? Maybe Ning Yi thinks he's qualified given that he's suffered injustice and seen it enacted out. Who are the innocent ones? Is there anyone who is really innocent in all of this? Was Zhu Yin? Was the stableboy? 

 

The categorization is dubious. I doubt that there are any innocents in this drama in any sense of the word unless it's in reference to the maid that gets used as a whipping boy. Zhu Yin was an integral member of a conspiracy against the crown prince. She went into it with her eyes wide open. She knew the risks and took them. A case might be made for the stableboy's innocence insofar as he was embroiled in another conspiracy because of his father. But the Bloody Pagoda was an outlawed group that the crown prince hid in plain sight and Stableboy was a part of it. Just because he and his father saved ZW don't necessarily make them the salt of the earth.

Everyone has an agenda. Nobody does anything just because they're kind. The shifting alliances demonstrate that perfectly. It's a bleak universe undoubtedly but realistic for that kind of setting, I think.

 

The tension within these categories and how that plays out is what really interests me. ZW's insistence that there are "good guys" frightens me insofar as it colours the way she perceives potential dangers. It's a high-stakes game and she seems to be playing it by another set of rules. She could potentially be a gamechanger of course by reshaping how things are done in court politics but I have my doubts. ;)

 

Ning Yi is terrifying because he is relentless and single-minded. I don't think he's just about finding justice for his brother. I get hints here and there that he wants to reshape his environment after his own image. After falling victim to injustice, he needs justice... whatever he means by that... to vindicate his existence. Underneath that hair and brooding demeanour beats a revolutionary's heart.

 

The show pretty much sledgehammers home the fact that the leads alternate between Yin and Yang in various forms. He's the tortured soul haunted by darkness trying to restore order through creating chaos. He hides his true motives through traditional feminine arts like weaving. She's a bright young thing that hides her femininity with men's clothing, shining her light on the chaos or is somehow instrumental in bringing it to a head.

A very insightful and beautiful post.

 

Evil and Innocent is always dubious. The fact also remains that innocent people can do evil deeds. And evil people can also be innocent in a particular case or another. But to be honest, Xin Ziyan and and Qui MingYing were scarier to me at the beginning. To me, Feng Zhiwei and Ning Yi were both people who acted with their emotions. The fact that their logic is dubious is so normal to me, its just like getting to know every single person around me and knowing myself, with our own biases. Later on though... since you haven't finished... I don't know to what extent I can say anything, so I better just not say.

 

Dressing up as a man is also quite a common thing in historical dramas that I didn't even give it a second thought. But you are right. Although Zhiwei is smart, she was too brave for her own good. But the thought is that she wanted to repay Ning Yi for saving her life. And it goes back to the emotional side of things. The willingness to take risks to repay a favor. I remember at one time she stated that if she got more favors from Ning Yi, it will come to a point that she would have to give her life in return (I hope that was before episode 20...)

 

As for Ning Yi, he is indeed relentless and single-minded. And also arrogant and ambitious. And you are so right, he does want to shape the world. I would like to say more... so many things I want to say... but I am fearful as you have not watched the entire show yet. :D

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5 hours ago, morganian said:
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Wow. Never really thought about the underlying themes before in this way. Your comments on both FZW and NY are spot on.

 

What you've said, chiefly NY's need for justice and FZW's need to protect the innocent, makes me think of the themes some comic book superhero/vigilante stories focus on. Daredevil comes to mind for some reason for me.

 

Disguise is another motif in the comic book genre that is also used in this series. Both FZW and NY have dual identities. If FZW had a superpower, it would be her intelligence. Her disguise is Wei Zhi. For NY, it is his powerful connections. NY is like the Bruce Wayne of TS.

 

Unfortunately, when either disguise or 'superpower' is compromised, there is a diminishing in character. The extraordinary individual is made ordinary. ZW loses a bit of agency and brilliance each time she is unmasked.  NY also becomes incredibly vulnerable/helpless when he gives up his royal title. 

 

I was trying to be so careful... lol! she has only seen up to 20... but I completely agree to what you said in the last paragraph.

 

2 hours ago, skibbies said:

NiF was probably one of the most well received cdramas internationally tbh? It's still topping MDL cdrama-wise. NiF attracted criticism in China for its scheming too simple and characters too simple, internationally it was too serious and long, but it excelled in propping up its theme and main plot. Its similarity to tRoP is due to both dramas fuse more serious politics with lighter elements, it's why it's kind of hard to rec similar dramas. All dramas I'd rec would lean much drier and straight political dramas. Ming Dynasty 1566 wasn't censored though, it was just exclusive to Hunan TV and it bombed in ratings so it never got second broadcast till 10 years later. The director's other drama about creating Republic of China is censored though.

 

The TV ratings wasn't great, it aired with less than one week notice, with general audience watching TV less and less (opting for watching online), coming in while summer sleeper hit were still airing, being fairly serious and slow to take etc all contributed. That said, it was always doing well douban wise. It opened at 7.8, dropped to 7.6 and is now sitting at 8.2 with 107k people rating it. Mini reviews that @tendrilsofwind saw were from opening day, and they randomly pop up on its front page because douban just pick from reviews with lots of likes. Note that 3 days after it broadcasted, it attracted lot of negative attention because they posted a "we are not going to buy ratings" notice that was taken the wrong way. It was mocked widely, but largely contained to weibo. Douban and weibo are even more terrifying if they use idol actors, tRoP basically experienced it on a minor scale.

 

For comparison, the summer sleeper hit Ashes of Love is sitting at 7.7 with 159k raters (it also gain few points since ending, and that drama ran into filler problems to staff infighting to fan wars), it's the only other historical drama that aired on prime time tv slot this year. Legend of Ruyi is 7.4 with 128k, Story of Yanxi Palace is 7.2 with 199k. They are all very different dramas from tRoP, comparatively Ruyi and tRoP have higher barriers of entry by being more serious, but I'm listing all this out to say, it wasn't actually badly received by people who actually watched the drama. Last comparison, for recent king of historical dramas (popularity and review wise, not ratings) Nirvana in Fire is 9.2 with 251k people.

 

So, why is it that people kept saying is doing badly even it really isn't? Ratings certainly contributed, some people followed because they don't like the drama for whatever reason, but probably one of the most prevailing reason is probably people who like tRoP doesn't frequent fandom, they don't use weibo or douban, they don't make gifs and screencaps and mv and create fanfics and art and write analysis to help promote the drama, neither did the drama team. A lot of fans basically had to learn and kept shouting at its official weibo to promote more. 

 

As for netflix, in press releases for it licensing tRoP, it indicated that it's interested in buying more quality cdramas now that there's more demand for it. It has only started licensing them since like idk, last year? I took a peek at what they bought and they had a variety of very well recieved dramas (popular in ratings, popular by content, popular quality dramas) It doing well would influence Netflix buying more but not more being produced imo. China's domestic market is far more lucrative than netflix, so it'd always be catering to that first. Also netflix only have like 20 cdramas, it pales against viki when it comes to cdrama licensing, though I'm sure netflix gives more money LOL. I have difficulty seeing cdramas produced that caters to netflix taste, because well, judging by its anime netflix original series, it wouldn't get passed SARFT at all, and all exported cdramas still have to go through them.

 

Re: awards. fair number of TV awards are popularity award but there's the government awarded Flying Apsaras award that people tend to look up to. It's once every two years though so we'll see, there's going to quite a few highly anticipated historical dramas next year. It has a shot at Magnolia, idk about Golden Eagle, It was just announced few days ago and most people are wailing about how Dilraba doesn't deserve best actress and Golden Eagle has been bought out.

 

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I really have no idea and only know stuff from what other people tell me. So it actually is doing well then. I am so happy to hear that. I was looking at the makings of this show, and so much people have placed so much love and effort into it. The creation of the set was like the making of a high budget film.

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13 minutes ago, Pollen Ainne said:
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I was trying to be so careful... lol! she has only seen up to 20... but I completely agree to what you said in the last paragraph.

Ah boo. I missed that 20-episode-only bit. *smacks head* 

 

Sorry @40somethingahjumma! So many more episodes for you to enjoy! Hope to hear your thoughts on the rest of the series as you go. 

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2 hours ago, Pollen Ainne said:

Or even when Ning Yi was given power as head of the Censorate. I had to google what that implied. I had to understand why it was harder to become emperor when taking that role.

Don't worry, I had no idea what that position was all about either LOL. They do kind of explain it in the drama and for people who are lazy (aka me), it was good enough. Other c!netizens were more studious and analysed it quite thoroughly. tRoP in general left a lot of things unsaid and you had to connect the dots, when sometimes you didn't even realise they were dots. My friend told me they don't always translate the names of people when they first appear? That's really confusing! They are kind of vital for you to recognise people. I think they should repeatedly name their characters when they appear, kdrama Six Flying Dragons did it! I couldn't tell the other princes apart in the beginning.

 

There are a lot of concepts that's deeply rooted in Chinese culture and values we just absorbed by osmosis that we just take for granted, like empress/women can't interfere with the court (historically there are ladies who have, but they are in the minority and specific circumstances led to them), stuff like that which permeates to even fictional empire (unless it's noticeably foreign). The reason is people setting it in fictional empire just don't want to do a TON of research into particular dynasty and use a general impression of "historical" to write them, dramas tends to make it more realistic to be suitable for general audience so they draw from real history more too. Or people who fly when they fight, it's a wuxia thing, I'd find it weird if they didn't fly, everyone who's good at martial arts fly in cdrama.

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16 minutes ago, skibbies said:

Don't worry, I had no idea what that position was all about either LOL. They do kind of explain it in the drama and for people who are lazy (aka me), it was good enough. Other c!netizens were more studious and analysed it quite thoroughly. tRoP in general left a lot of things unsaid and you had to connect the dots, when sometimes you didn't even realise they were dots. My friend told me they don't always translate the names of people when they first appear? That's really confusing! They are kind of vital for you to recognise people. I think they should repeatedly name their characters when they appear, kdrama Six Flying Dragons did it! I couldn't tell people the other princes apart in the beginning.

I totally understand what you mean, in the first few episodes I had to listen for the name attentively then wiki it to know the exact role the person was playing so I could give impact to his words correctly. The same words coming from a prince and coming from a less important official/lackey would have different impact. I actually enjoyed the show more when I re-watched it, because I didn't have to pause and alt-tab, and completely understood the role of each character speaking and where they were coming from. It was so enlightening watching it the second time around.

 

16 minutes ago, skibbies said:

There are a lot of concepts that's deeply rooted in Chinese culture and values we just absorbed by osmosis that we just take for granted, like empress/women can't interfere with the court (historically there are ladies who have, but they are in the minority and specific circumstances led to them), stuff like that which permeates to even fictional empire (unless it's noticeably foreign). The reason is people setting it in fictional empire just don't want to do a TON of research into particular dynasty and use a general impression of "historical" to write them, dramas tends to make it more realistic to be suitable for general audience so they draw from real history more too. Or people who fly when they fight, it's a wuxia thing, I'd find it weird if they didn't fly, everyone who's good at martial arts fly in cdrama.

lol! That flying comment made my day. But yeah, I am used to that because I loved watching Jet Li movies. :D

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2 hours ago, Pollen Ainne said:

The problem with political dramas in a foreign setting (I am not Chinese), especially historical, is that it takes diligence to understand the entire concept. I have to have wiki up on the first 2 episodes of tRoP so I can be sure what role each person had when they are talking and what status and power they possess. When a person speaks, it is important to know exactly who he is and what he is capable of (status-wise). Also the person they are talking about, understanding what his importance is, is a key factor to enjoy the conversation.

 

And it isn't as easy to learn them when you are not so familiar with the setting. It gets easier as one proceeds but it is hard to get interested in it on the first 3 episodes or so, and I usually do not have the determination to try.

 

45 minutes ago, skibbies said:

My friend told me they don't always translate the names of people when they first appear? That's really confusing! They are kind of vital for you to recognise people. I think they should repeatedly name their characters when they appear, kdrama Six Flying Dragons did it! I couldn't tell people the other princes apart in the beginning.

Hmmm, I am also a non-Chinese viewer and had to learn how to swim pretty fast in these murky, political waters. But I also watch a lot of sci-fi, which often throws you into the deep end; half the fun is figuring out why things are the way they are as you go along. Each viewer is different I guess. Hopefully enough non-Chinese viewers give it a chance...

 

My main gripe was the number of princes they exposed us to. They did try to limit it to just 4 initially, and slowly introduce new princes as the initial ones got knocked off, bu I got so confused between Prince of Yan, and Prince of Zhao. Even the names are similar! I think Prince of Zhao is also called Yan? And Ning Qi, Ning Yi and Ning Ji? Seriously?! 

 

And then I remember watching the Emperor's birthday celebration, thinking 'Waaaait, is that another Prince lurking there? Who the heck is he?' Turns out he's the 10th prince, but we don't get properly acquainted with him until nearly the end of the show.

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@Pollen Ainne Rewatching the drama now that you know who's who and their fate is definitely a great experience. I often feel like I went through three lifetimes rewatching beginning of a drama "oh those were simpler times!" You also have more energy to appreciate a character's layers and their own conflicts rather than "god why are you still here? go away pls."

 

@morganian Netflix does draw non asian drama watchers to it so I hope so too. It's usually the episode count that throw people off. I'm wary of over 50 episodes cdramas tbh unless you are Romance of Three Kingdoms kind of epic.

 

I totally agree about the number of prince, I think 2 other princes on top of Ning Yi would be good enough. I like Ning Yan and I know he's lead up to crown prince but he wasn't super vital tbh. I was bit thrown off that netflix just used their names because I just labeled them by numbers LOL, it takes me full minute to accurately name all the princes. Naming them by title (Prince of Zhao, Yan, Chu) is easier because that's the title that gets used the most. They are based on countries from the Spring and Autumn period. 

 

10th prince was introduced along with the princess, he just kind of flashed by along with two other named characters. Those two were more important in the book because they sort of end up being Zhiwei's friends/minions. This is why the name thing is important! If you rewatch the drama, he's actually in important court scenes sometimes, he just doesn't get lines and no one mentions him because he's too young? LOL. Oh I almost forgot, yknow Ning Qi was named Ning Yi in the book? Same tone and everything, just different character. (protag's name play go, compete; 7th prince's was Hou Yi's yi, a mythological archer) Ning Yan and Prince of Yan's Yan are at least different tones, minor comfort, I know.

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2 hours ago, morganian said:

My main gripe was the number of princes they exposed us to. They did try to limit it to just 4 initially, and slowly introduce new princes as the initial ones got knocked off, bu I got so confused between Prince of Yan, and Prince of Zhao. Even the names are similar! I think Prince of Zhao is also called Yan? And Ning Qi, Ning Yi and Ning Ji? Seriously?! 

The 2nd prince Ning Sheng was the Prince of Yan while Ning Yan, the 5th prince, was the Prince of Zhao. Ning Yi was the Prince of Chu while Ning Qi became the Prince of Wei. Luckily I am quite familiar with the names of the 7 kingdoms of China during the warring states because the Japanese comic (manga) Kingdom is one of my favorite reads. So I didn't confuse the titles to the names. But figuring it out at the beginning was somewhat tedious, especially placing the names into faces as there were so many characters introduced really fast.

 

As for sci-fi movies, I was never into it. I don't even like Star Wars (please no one shoot me). But I do love complicated plots and plot twists, and I like analyzing things, but it all depends on how much it has hooked me. And I also love mind games, but it is important to me to be invested in at least a single character so I can root for an outcome.

 

Ning Yi has hooked me so much just at episode one that I was willing to go through lengths to understand the entirety of the show thoroughly.

 

1 hour ago, skibbies said:

I totally agree about the number of prince, I think 2 other princes on top of Ning Yi would be good enough. I like Ning Yan and I know he's lead up to crown prince but he wasn't super vital tbh. I was bit thrown off that netflix just used their names because I just labeled them by numbers LOL, it takes me full minute to accurately name all the princes. Naming them by title (Prince of Zhao, Yan, Chu) is easier because that's the title that gets used the most. They are based on countries from the Spring and Autumn period. 

Oh I didn't know that... what is the Spring and Autumn period? I always just thought they used fictional names based on Chinese history and that they were related to territory, as each title seemed to come with a territory. 

 

1 hour ago, skibbies said:

Oh I almost forgot, yknow Ning Qi was named Ning Yi in the book? Same tone and everything, just different character. (protag's name play go, compete; 7th prince's was Hou Yi's yi, a mythological archer) 

I wouldn't have like that. That would have been too confusing.

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15 hours ago, tendrilsofwind said:

(I spent my entire life side eyeing crazy fan girls and desperately trying to not come off as ditsy, yet I just wrote this entire, crazy paragraph)

 

I dont blame you at all! The man is charismatic!! This is his first work I am watching!

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For anyone interested in his other works, Chen Kun is starring in this movie series to be released in 2020! The posters kill me they are so good and I love Investiture of the Gods. 

 

img_5198-1.gif?w=570&h=837&zoom=2

 

https://cfensi.wordpress.com/2018/10/17/fantasy-epic-investiture-of-the-gods-release-concept-posters/#more-61368

 

 

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14 hours ago, Pollen Ainne said:

As for sci-fi movies, I was never into it. I don't even like Star Wars (please no one shoot me). But I do love complicated plots and plot twists, and I like analyzing things, but it all depends on how much it has hooked me. And I also love mind games, but it is important to me to be invested in at least a single character so I can root for an outcome.

Star Wars is iconic but the stories themselves are not particularly ground-breaking or deep. I think George Lucas borrowed heavily from mythology when he wrote the initial series in the 70s/80s.

 

Try The Expanse series. It’s based on humans colonising the asteroid belt and Mars in the not too distant future. Slow starting, somewhat like RotP, carefully constructed society (it was based on a series of books that are also interesting to read) and morally grey characters. Lots of political machinations between Earth, Mars and the outer planets, themes about race, socioeconomics, power, etc. Production and special effects are good, some of the space scenes are beautifully rendered.

 

The main guy is nowhere near as interesting as NY, but he’s got a strong moral compass, and is supported by an ensemble cast. Some very strong female roles, including a UN Undersecretary who has the foulest mouth imaginable. Arcs are a bit more complex, and the villains are a bit more easy to empathise with. 

 

Okay enough with talking about another show... back to RotP...

 

Umm, does anyone know of where you can download the OST? I’ve found it on YouTube but can you legally download tracks somewhere or buy the CD? 

 

Hopefully there will be a DVD released somewhere someday. I am not sure how long Netflix keeps Netflix Originals content on their site. Don’t want to log in one day and find RotP gone. 

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3 minutes ago, morganian said:

Star Wars is iconic but the stories themselves are not particularly ground-breaking or deep. I think George Lucas borrowed heavily from mythology when he wrote the initial series in the 70s/80s.

 

Try The Expanse series. It’s based on humans colonising the asteroid belt and Mars in the not too distant future. Slow starting, somewhat like RotP, carefully constructed society (it was based on a series of books that are also interesting to read) and morally grey characters. Lots of political machinations between Earth, Mars and the outer planets, themes about race, socioeconomics, power, etc. Production and special effects are good, some of the space scenes are beautifully rendered.

 

The main guy is nowhere near as interesting as NY, but he’s got a strong moral compass, and is supported by an ensemble cast. Some very strong female roles, including a UN Undersecretary who has the foulest mouth imaginable. Arcs are a bit more complex, and the villains are a bit more easy to empathise with. 

Thanks. Will give it a try.

 

3 minutes ago, morganian said:

Umm, does anyone know of where you can download the OST? I’ve found it on YouTube but can you legally download tracks somewhere or buy the CD? 

 

Hopefully there will be a DVD released somewhere someday. I am not sure how long Netflix keeps Netflix Originals content on their site. Don’t want to log in one day and find RotP gone. 

Would love to know as well. I definitely want a DVD copy of this, one with subs of course. I could not find it in amazon though. I see instead Legend of Fuyao... I even tried ebay... but the title is not the easiest to search for, as the word "Rise" and "Phoenix" is actually pretty common. I wonder if it will take awhile to be available internationally because it is in Netflix. But not to worry, the moment they take it down, I think the DVDs should be available by then.

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