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[Current Mainland Chinese Drama 2019] The Longest Day in Chang’an 长安十二时辰

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Don't know what's going on but Viki seems stuck at ep.4 whereas Amazon Prime is at ep.6.

 

Debating whether to buy Buyun Chen's new book Empire of Style: Silk and Fashion in Tang China. It seems to be a great book on Tang fashion but oh so expensive. Amazon as a few pages for free preview, worth reading if you love the aesthetics of this show.

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On 7/5/2019 at 2:40 AM, caranita said:

 

It is quite confusing in the beginning. But by episode 2, we've got the gist about the main story, and the political plays. The English sub is very, VERY helpful, although it may not be dead accurate (as per @RSMasterfade above). Even now, not all characters' names are included in the subs.

 

 

 

Ah thx u for the information, will try to watch, i like the trailer, i think the cinematography is very good, and i just find out about the story was telling about 24 hours? Wow!

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2 hours ago, epinklyn said:

the story was telling about 24 hours? Wow!

My feelings exactly! It is so exciting right? :D

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endlessthoughtsofafangirl posted a wonderful guide to the show on tumblr
https://endlessthoughtsofafangirl.tumblr.com/post/186029840425/a-guide-to-the-longest-day-in-changan-%E9%95%BF%E5%AE%89%E5%8D%81%E4%BA%8C%E6%97%B6%E8%BE%B0

 

It's well-researched and highly recommended for anyone watching the show.

 

I do have one disagreement. I haven't read the original novel, but I'd say in the show Wolf Guards are most likely remnants of Turkic tribes in Transoxiana, rather than the Second Gokturk Khaganate.

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On 7/6/2019 at 1:53 AM, RSMasterfade said:

Don't know what's going on but Viki seems stuck at ep.4 whereas Amazon Prime is at ep.6.

 

Thanks for letting us know! I didn't know that the subbed episodes on Amazon are ahead of Viki. Unfortunately, my Amazon Prime account is regionally restricted, so I have to bear with 4 episodes/week on Viki :D. I just checked on YouTube, and it seems the series will be brought upon by the Caravan channel. Caravan subs weren't the best based on my experience with Bloody Romance (although I'm still very grateful for them). With three parties offering subbing service for the show, I wonder if there will be different subs, and which one will be the best. How do you compare the subs on Viki and Amazon as of now?

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6 hours ago, caranita said:

 

Thanks for letting us know! I didn't know that the subbed episodes on Amazon are ahead of Viki. Unfortunately, my Amazon Prime account is regionally restricted, so I have to bear with 4 episodes/week on Viki :D. I just checked on YouTube, and it seems the series will be brought upon by the Caravan channel. Caravan subs weren't the best based on my experience with Bloody Romance (although I'm still very grateful for them). With three parties offering subbing service for the show, I wonder if there will be different subs, and which one will be the best. How do you compare the subs on Viki and Amazon as of now?

 

I think the production company has provided the same subtitles to both Viki and Amazon Prime. Viki of course has the huge advantage of having a volunteer team working to improve the subs, for example adding the subs for the song lyrics. But I suspect Amazon will eventually sync with the Viki subs (like they did with Ruyi).

 

The original subtitles are uneven and inconsistent, most likely translated by multiple people, some of whom should have no business subbing a period drama. For example, in the very beginning of episode 6 the word '庙堂', which means the government/the court, was translated as 'the temple', which completely obscures the conversation. Anyone with a high school diploma in China should know what the word means (since the word actually appears on the standard high school Chinese textbook). The show's top quality but apparently the production company couldn't be bothered to hire professional translators with minimal competence.

 

The Viki subtitles are improved but I'm afraid still contain numerous errors, even in the first episode which is now marked 100% complete. 

 

Another problem with both Viki and Amazon Prime is that there are no Chinese subtitles, and as I mentioned many native Mandarin speakers would require subs to understand the more difficult lines. The lack of subs of course also makes subbing difficult.

 

Such a pity because this is a show where almost every line of dialogue counts and they're so well-written. I haven't watched a Chinese show with so many memorable lines in a long, long time.

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17 hours ago, RSMasterfade said:

Another problem with both Viki and Amazon Prime is that there are no Chinese subtitles, and as I mentioned many native Mandarin speakers would require subs to understand the more difficult lines. The lack of subs of course also makes subbing difficult.

 

Where did Viki and Amazon get the drama file/sources? I've always thought Viki got their licensed drama files directly from the production companies. I'm also watching raw from another streaming site (with pretty good quality) and that one has the Chinese subtitles. 

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On 7/7/2019 at 3:50 PM, caranita said:

 

Where did Viki and Amazon get the drama file/sources? I've always thought Viki got their licensed drama files directly from the production companies. I'm also watching raw from another streaming site (with pretty good quality) and that one has the Chinese subtitles. 

 

From either the production company or their international sales agents. All TV broadcasts in China are hard subbed for people who don't understand Mandarin, and usually they just send the same hard subbed version to Chinese and overseas streaming services. I'm always in favor of soft subs, so the absence of hard subs is in a way an improvement, but absence of soft subs is a throw back. 

 

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People on the Chinese social media sites are comparing production of this show favorably to what's revealed in the Mulan trailer.  

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OMG! Djimon Hounson is in this drama! I am definitely going to watch this drama! It is very seldom that black people are represented in a Chinese drama or movie. This man is an excellent actor. I hope the director and producer allowed him to play the character his way. Oh my gosh! I just can't believe it!

 

You guys have no idea how sexy and talented this man is. Whew! 

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He was ok, not particularly stretched  in terms of acting difficulty. I thought it was interesting that they introduced an African person in this drama, considering the fact that Africa is so far away and the two continents would unlikely have known about each other then. But still, it is plausible that he was bought as a slave by some rich person , who somehow brought him to China, or was transferred among a few masters along the way, then ending up in China. I liked how they synchronised the dubbed Mandarin speech to his English speech - it was so obvious he was speaking English, but his sentences all ended on the dot. They are really attentive details - very high quality production.

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3 hours ago, omiki said:

I thought it was interesting that they introduced an African person in this drama, considering the fact that Africa is so far away and the two continents would unlikely have known about each other then. But still, it is plausible that he was bought as a slave by some rich person , who somehow brought him to China, or was transferred among a few masters along the way, then ending up in China.

 

Well it's historically questionable that a former Kunlun slave could have risen to become the boss of Chang'an's underworld, the presence of black people itself was historically accurate. There were a substantial number of Kunlun ('black') slaves in Chang'an at that time. A typical upper class household would have Kunlun ('black') men as house servants, Korean women as maidservants and Iranian (Persian/Sogdian) women as musicians/dancers/concubines (slavery at that time linked race with gender). 

 

It's difficult to know who those black slaves were. I think the current mainstream theory is that most Kunlun slaves were Negrito people from Southeast Asia enslaved and sold to the Chinese by local slavers (Saigon was the Asian center for slave trades at the time). Some of them might be darker-skinned Indians. A smaller number might be Africans enslaved and sold to China by the Arabs. In any case, Hounsou's character needs not to be African, Ge Lao could be a Negrito, although one might argue he's a bit too tall.

 

 

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The official YouTube channel (paid members only) are now up to episode 20. I can confirm the show is still going strong at episode 20.

 

Meanwhile this show is becoming a cultural phenomenon in China. One of China's top publishing house is offering a paid online course on the history behind the show. Really you have to know the history to appreciate the show fully. For those who doesn't speak or read Chinese, I can recommend Susan Whitfield's book Life along the Silk Road. Popular history at its best.

 

For those who enjoy historical fantasy, Guy Gavriel Kay's novel Under Heaven starts roughly 10 years after the time of this show.

 

 

 

 

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It appears the second season has completed the censorship process. Youku just changed the episode count to 48 and updated the release schedule to 6 episodes a week.

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8 hours ago, RSMasterfade said:

It appears the second season has completed the censorship process. Youku just changed the episode count to 48 and updated the release schedule to 6 episodes a week.

So what does that mean?

Are they going to stop at episode 24 and the next season is until 48?

Or are they just going to keep going until episode 48 with the current schedule?

 

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On 7/13/2019 at 10:33 PM, kur4p1k4 said:

So what does that mean?

Are they going to stop at episode 24 and the next season is until 48?

Or are they just going to keep going until episode 48 with the current schedule?

I think they're going to finish both seasons in one go. The new release schedule is 3 new episodes every Monday and Thursday.

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18 subbed episodes so far, and the show continues to be gripping and captivating. I love that all characters, from the main to the supporting, are multidimensional (except maybe the poet? LOL. But we'll see later). 

 

Some questions (which include scenes from raw episodes of 19-21)

Tan Qi -- is she a "slave" to Li Bi or more like a personal assistant?

Spoiler

Does Director He actually know and is actually involved in Long Bo's plan? 

 

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seemed not to much buzz on this show here, comparing to other current and upcoming shows... :cry:

 

I just binge watched 7 ep last night, after I learnt that the entire series is likely to be aired in one go.

 

So far it lives up to the overwhelmingly +be critical response. Although I found some cast has been trying “too much” in portraying their characters (the constant big smirk of captain cui comes to mind. :lol:). I would prefer a less dramatic effort. 

 

I am missing some plot details and the ubiquitous usage of ancient Chinese literature and poem makes me want to pause and lookup the reference online. Alas, my eagerness to binge watch always overcome my frustration in understanding the literature references. Maybe if I got time to re-watch I will spend time to look everything up and get down to those details.

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6 hours ago, whileyouarehere said:

.... Although I found some cast has been trying “too much” in portraying their characters (the constant big smirk of captain cui comes to mind. :lol:). I would prefer a less dramatic effort. 

 

I am missing some plot details and the ubiquitous usage of ancient Chinese literature and poem makes me want to pause and lookup the reference online. Alas, my eagerness to binge watch always overcome my frustration in understanding the literature references. Maybe if I got time to re-watch I will spend time to look everything up and get down to those details.

That is not a smirk. He was born with a cleft lip and after corrective surgery, his upper lip is uneven so the left side is higher, resulting in what seems like a smirk. There’s a sad backstory about how his elder Brother sacrificed himself to try and get a position in Chang An for Captain Cui. So you will see as the drama progresses, how hard Captain Cui tries to achieve that goal to live up to what his elder Brother has done for him. 

 

Like you, I also became interested in the poems recited in the drama. What a way to get people interested in Chinese literature again!

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A great article about the Longest Day in Chang An!

 

http://theunpublishables.com/the-longest-day-in-changan-is-the-series-that-will-make-you-forget-game-of-thrones/the-breakdown/

 

The Longest Day in Chang’An is the Series That Will Make You Forget Game of Thrones

 

First, I want to say that despite the clickbait title, The Longest Day in Chang’an is not a swords and dragons fantasy like Game of Thrones. Sorry! But like Game of Thrones, The Longest Day in Chang’an is a kind of genre-buster, more or less upturning every cliche about Chinese historical dramas.

 

Based on a book written by Mo Boyong, The Longest Day in Chang’an is set in the Tang dynasty, and focuses on the efforts of a royal courtier and a disgraced imperial-army-officer-turned-investigator to prevent a terrorist attack in Chang’an–the capital city–during an important festival.

 

More than Game of Thrones, the show shares a lot of similarity with that old series 24. The Chinese title means “Twelve Shichen (a unit of time that is equivalent to two hours) in Chang’an”, and episodes are broken up into increments of thirty minutes of the twelve sichen before the terrorists strike.

 

The premise is exciting enough, but what truly makes this series so compelling and such a huge hit is the combination of the excellent production–the sets are truly incredible, you can almost taste the dust of the streets in your mouth and smell the perfumes of the nobles–and the fact that despite its historical setting, it’s filmed as though it’s a contemporary thriller. It’s truly groundbreaking in a lot of ways because it doesn’t just focus on the psychology and relationships of the characters, but has elements of a procedural as well.

 

One of the things that gets emphasized is that access to knowledge is deeply intertwined with power, and in this particular case, knowing the entire layout of Chang’an (a huge city that at its peak during the Tang dynasty had around two million inhabitants) gives power to people who have access to it. In this case, it’s royal courtier, Li Bi (steel magnolia Jackson Yi), who has been entrusted by the Crown Prince to investigate a potential terror attack. I really love the scenes where they take out scale models of Chang’an, broken down into squares and tidily sorted into the kinds of shelves you see at commercial bakeries, to see where and how people can move around the city. They also utilize the watchtowers scattered along the city to send messages with drums and coloured panels–it’s just feels so thrilling to watch all of this happen.

 

It’s strange because clearly, their methods are medieval compared to our communication methods now, but there’s something really captivating watching people using what is advanced technology for their era. I don’t know how to explain it, it just feels so nerve-wracking when people have to rush to extract information from archives and databanks that are in actual libraries.

 

After Li Bi’s first investigator is murdered, he picks out death-row inmate Zhang Xiaojing (the incredibly intense Lei Jiayin), to help him. Zhang was imprisoned for murdering a group of people, but no one knows exactly what the circumstances were. As Zhang tracks down the terrorists, we learn more about his dark past and how this clearly honourable man was (and continues to be) forced to make terrible decisions and sacrifices in order to get the job done.

 

What keeps the plot intriguing as well is our gradual discovery of the motivations of the characters–none of them really trust each other (with good reason)–but we don’t really get outright, one-dimensional villains. Everyone is very human and it’s their humanity that often drives them to do awful things. Even Djimon Hounsou’s underground crime lord Ge Lao, is given a backstory that makes his actions understandable.

 

The interactions between Li Bi and Zhang are really electric, there’s such a great contrast between Li’s cold strategist and Zhang’s hotheaded soldier–who would’ve thought Jackson Yi had it in him to go toe to toe with Lei Jiayin, one of the best actors of his generation? Although I have to say that the varying accents (some actors have theatrical Beijing accents, others have flatter, more neutral accents) are a little odd at first for Putonghua speakers, but you will get used to it fairly quickly.

 

The Longest Day in Chang’an is now available to stream in several platforms, but here’s the first episode for free on Youtube (turn on CC for English subs).

 

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