Jiang Xin, Liu Tao are bff’s in Ode to Joy


Who knew? Female bff’s who don’t cat-fight over some guy exists in Chinese dramas.

But you know who aren’t besties in this show? Jin Dong and Wang Kai. Having the two of them being in a show and not having a single scene together is almost as cruel as having Idina Menzel be in a musical and not have a song (I know, it’s been 8 years).

Known for producing dozens of amazing male leads in every show, Shandong TV and co. (The Disguiser, Nirvana in Fire, All Quiet in Peking) is unfortunately one of the worst in their ability to write good female roles. Usually if you’re a female character in one of their dramas, you’ll be lucky if your IQ is above 80 or if your life revolves around anything other than a male. If you’re both, then you are probably an antagonist.  Ode To Joy 欢乐颂  is hoping to change that as their first drama with a predominantly female leading cast.  Introducing the sisterhood that is Liu Tao, Jiang Xin, Yang Zi,  Wang Ziwen, and Qiao Xin.   Opposite them are Zu FengJin Dong,  Wang Kai,  Zhang Lu, Zhang Xiaoqian and a mysterious male lead (rumored to be Luo Jin) who better be really amazing for anyone to pick him over Zu Feng and Jin Dong.


Going against the trend of most sisterhoods that consists of a strong women, a girl-next-door, and a tomboy, we got ourselves three independent women whose goal in life is not love.

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Translation Tuesday: Shu Ting’s To Oak


Love –
not only loving your majestic figure,
but also the stance you firmly hold,
the earth under your feet.

To Oak 致橡树 is a classic love poem that paints love as two trees standing side-by-side, supporting each other while remaining individuals, a love that is based on a common faith and goal that is beyond the surface.    Misty Poet Shu Ting wrote the poem in response to a traditional view of  love based on idolization and self-sacrifice, in particular by the female in the relationship.

I’m going to apologize in advance appropriating feminist poetry for a pair coming out of an amazing but unfortunately misogynist production team, but this poem fits the platonic love that is Ming Lou (Jin Dong) and Ming Cheng (Wang Kai) in The Disguiser so much.  So close are their dreams that they can finish each other’s paintings of their ideal home; so deep their trust that they have had absolutely no secrets to each other even though they’ve had not a single honest conversation with anyone else in the show; so connected their souls that the main mode of communication is gazing into each other’s eyes.

To Oak
by Shu Ting
translated by idarklight

If I were to love you —
I would never be the vines of the morning glory,
borrowing your tall branches to flaunt myself
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Zheng Shuang, Hawick Lau pretty in pastel in new trailer

It’s okay.  You don’t have to be decked like a peacock to be pretty…

Chronicle of Life, starring Hawick Lau, Zheng Shuang, Zhang Binbin, Michelle Yim, Zhang Zhixi, Zhang Xiaochen, Wang Ruoxin, and Cheng Yanqiu, has released another batch of stills and its first trailer, showing mastery of color control and proving that not everything has to be colorful to be pretty.

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Song Yi as The Black Widow in the Disguiser


First a courtesan then an assassin, Song Yi’s character has the innocence of a child even in the most turbulent of times and the most tragic of lives.

Deadly and seductive yet sweet and innocent at the same time, Song Yi 宋轶’s character  won over the audience with her charm and beauty in The Disguiser.  Nicknamed The Black Widow for killing her husband on their wedding night, Yu Manli  was pardoned from a death sentence in exchange for becoming a secret agent.  She is paired with Hu Ge‘s character in her missions and the two become life-and-death partners.  Alas, his love is too idealistic and has no room for a girl from the streets like her.

The Central Drama Academy graduate recently signed under fellow alumni Zhang Han‘s workshop and will be collaborating with him in upcoming drama The Legendary Tycoon 传奇大亨  about the Shaw Brothers.  I also highly recommend the second part of The Lovebirds series , for which she plays a female lead in the second part.


The best wedding photo.

Photo cr: xueqingdaren@Weibo
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Little Door Gods releases English trailer



When the Guardians of Homes start losing their jobs in modern society, one group of gods try to wreck havoc to make themselves needed again.

Following the most successful season of Chinese animation,  the highly anticipated (by me, anyways)   Little Door Gods 小门神 released another trailer, this time with English subs!  The animated feature follows a pair of door gods looking to save their jobs as people lose their faith.  The film airs on January 1st next year, and is the first feature animation from startup Light Chaser Animation. Hopefully the story is as good as it looks and there’ll be more to come!

Ying’er takes a go as the foxy(?) Daji

Sigh… with the way things are going, eyeliner has come to indicate ravaging beauty in dramas…

Korean-Chinese collaboration The Gods has competition in the fantasy-comedy Ne Zha and Yang Jian, starring Wong Cho-lam, Gao Yunxiang, Ying’er, Linda Chung,and Chen Zihan.  Both dramas being based on Investiture of the Gods, it will be interesting to see the different takes on the story. Though, in my opinion, some of the costuming in this version varies widely from interesting to okay to groans…

More stills below the cut.

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The Disguiser releases stills of Hu Ge, Jin Dong, Wang Kai

If you have seen this show and did not fall in love with Jin Dong’s character, I will offer myself to let him shoot me. Actually, I’ll gladly have him shoot me anytime.

In the cutest family of double and triple agents, the Ming family must guard against each other while trying to protect each other at the same time. Even in their own home, each of the Ming family members must put on multiple disguises to hide their true identities.

Remaining funny and heart-warming while being fast-paced and intense,   The Disguiser 伪装者 is the best drama of the year for me so far.  This show is definitely a must even for those who avoids Republican-era shows at all costs (i.e. me) for their darkness and political overtones. With amazing acting (from some) and great character profiles, even the antagonists are clever, multi-dimensional, and worth-loving.

Call me maybe? cr: Weibo

Call me maybe?                               cr: Weibo

Added to that is one of the most perfect character duos in a drama ever, Ming Lou (Jin Dong) and Ming Cheng (Wang Kai) .  The pair of triple agents got the looks, the style, the wisdom, the humor, and hearts of gold.  Despite my fondness for Hu Ge,  who heads the other plotline of the drama,  Jin Dong and Wang Kai’s plot provides so much contrast in the level of writing and acting.  Not a word of dialogue is wasted in their plotline, and a lot of their scenes consists of them just looking at each other, but  so many layers of emotion that comes through the screen that they really hit you. Their voice acting is so good that even the Peking Opera part in the show are voiced by the two themselves.

Publishing this post that jjss08 drafted in June but never got around to translating the plot since I still can’t find the words to express how awesome it is. (Seriously, I have almost 2000 words written on this show that will probably never be published) -idarklight

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Trailer for The Legend of Miyue

Sun Li attempts to re-assert her dominance as the Empress of eye shadow…

Trailer 2 for The Legend of Miyue has been released.  Starring Sun Li, Liu Tao, Huang Xuan, Jiang Xin, Ma Su, Gao Yunxiang, and Alex Fong, this trailer is really spoiler-y so I will simply link to it here.  Other than that, not many more still have been released so far.