Best and Worst TV Series Set in China’s Republican Era (mid-1900s)
You are Chinese drama fan and would like to see some good Republican era type dramas – either you like flashy Shanghai nightclubs or guys wearing vests in a gun fight, or both. Jokes aside, here are some across-the-spectrum stories set in this turbulent period of Chinese history.
Definitely Would Watch
1. Romance in the Rain: if you want a classy, epic love story between good looking people. It should be on your bucket list to see at least one of Qiong Yao’s famous novels come to life.
2. The Five Secret Agents (Wu Hao Te Gong Zu/五号特工组): This is as close to a Chinese spy-action 007 as we’re gonna get. I doubt a lot of people have heard of this one, because I think it is unsubbed as far as I know, but you can find it on youku. Suspenseful and gripping episodes, with some witty and cheeky humor thrown in for good measure. One word: badass.
3. Love At First Fight (Wu Shi Lang/武十郎) This was how I fell in love with George Hu and found Wallace Huo’s hilarious side. This should be your go-to Republican period romantic-comedy. I also liked that there’s a lot of cool martial arts in this series. When Wu Shi Lang (the female protagonist) tries to date Sheng Da and Ya Shou simultaneously, the plan fails hilariously. The ending was pretty funny too and it was romantic at the same time.
Wouldn’t Watch Even If You Paid Me
1. Bounty Hunter: I’ll say it, the only reason I watched this one was because Chen Xiao was in it. On an aesthetic level, the costumes made the entire cast gain 10 pounds and our protagonist wears a Western cowboy hat…. And the entire story was about a series of gory crimes that make no sense. Oh, and before I forget, our male lead doesn’t act in the show. If you really have nothing else to do, I mean….
2. Hidden Intentions: Costumes and hairstyling was similar to the mediocrity that plagued Bounty Hunter, but at least this entertained in a ridiculously overdramatic manner. The screenwriter extended the 66 77 love story for many episodes too long – I mean it was really sweet, but Luo Jin and Jiang Mengjue‘s sparkling chemisty can only do so much. The only highlight was the unexpected appearance of a cameo at the end (hint: he’s super super eye candy).
3. Yong Chun: I literally watched it because of Nic Tse. Never found the kiss scene that they showed in one of their promotional pictures…
Borderline “So-So” Dramas That Are Guilty Pleasures
Sometimes you finish a drama, and after realizing it is crap, you end up coming back to rewatch some parts where you REALLY liked the couple, or REALLY enjoyed some key scenes. They are your ‘guilty pleasures’.
1. New Shanghai Bund: Huang Xiaoming is impossible perfect as a gangsta boss. From his vest to his expert gun shooting poses, one simply cannot finish the series without mentioning just how utterly beautiful this man is. His love story with Sun Li’s Ms. Feng is tempered by her bad guy father among other happenings in Shanghai’s underworld community.
2. A Step-mother’s Heart in Spring: (Chun Tian Hou Mu Xin/春天后母心): This was a really addictive series. It was sweet and heartwarming as much as it was heartjerking. It’s about a woman (played by the very famous Liu Xue Hua) who unknowning marries a man who has three children. She soon falls in love with those children and accepts them as her own. They come the tribulations and stuff that she does through to save her step-children. Touching but way too sad. Although, people who watch it to the end will be happy to see Yan Kuan cameo.