Review: Ever Night Episodes 1 – 12

The two leads’ daily interactions are adorable.cr: 不吃菜XBS

Pros:

  • the leads are super cute together
  • stylized fight scenes
  • original soundtrack by Roc Chen ( A Bite of China)
  • Song Yiren is perfect for the role
  • Chen Feiyu is charming and has some acting potential
  • Tong Yao’s gorgeous
  • the scenery
  • a couple of the supporting cast is great. My favorite is  Yin Taosheng as the head of the outpost at the beginning
  • first female director + scriptwriter for a male-lead Xianxia drama

Despite clear shortcomings, Chen Feiyu has some acting potential.

Continue reading

Review: An Yuexi lights up the world in You Color My World

 

A romance drama that takes “my world is gray without you” seriously.

I’m re-watching this, so I figured I should finally do a post on this little gem.   An Yuexi is once more a ray of sunshine in You Color My World 路从今夜白, a cute romance with an unique premise and pretty colors. You can watch it English-subbed on YouTube here.

The female lead is literally the only color in the male lead’s eyes.   Gu Yebai (Chen Ruoyun) is an artist who’s lost the ability to see color due to trauma until he met fellow student Lu Youran (An Yuexi). For some later explained reason, when she colors his paintings, he can briefly see color again. He soon hires her as a model and asks her to mix paint for him.     As their relationship progresses, everything she does affects how he sees the world.   When she is nice to him, his whole world is filled with  vibrant colors. When he feels like she doesn’t like him, his world is gray again.

Continue reading

Review: A Familiar Recipe Makes Happiness Chocolate Sweet Enough

Akin to a Hershey’s bar, Happiness Chocolate follows a familiar but still sweet formula for this drama drought season.

As a semi-Fu Xinbo stan, I must admit this is  the only drama of his I’ve managed to half-way finish. The currently airing Happiness Chocolate 幸福巧克力 was a surprising fit for this drama drought. It’s far from revolutionary, but the leads are cute enough that it fits well in the category of established idol dramas full of chocolaty sweetness.

Happiness Chocolate  is your standard idol drama featuring a happy-go-lucky poor girl and a  rebellious rich boy (but super friendly instead of obnoxious).  The story plays on a little twist in that at one point, no one liked the poor rich male lead.

Continue reading

XDRAMAsX’s 2017 Drama Review

2017 was a much better year for dramas in general (I’m actually more excited for 2018-2019, as all the movie actors are returning to the small screen), with several shows hitting it out of the park in terms of ratings and/or online popularity.

Web dramas really started to gain traction this year – in fact, I’m marathoning two right now, and each one stands out for various reasons, whether it be high production values or tight storytelling. These online shows have become an outlet for creativity due to the strict censorship rules applied to television dramas, though SARPPFT has decided to nip it in the bud by making web dramas undergo the same rigorous process before premiering online. Hopefully the streaming sites continue to come up with quality fare in the future despite the roadblocks that are being put in place.

WARNING: Long post ahead.

Continue reading

Review: Let’s Shake It Eps 1 – 7

006g7fS1ly1fasex5h0ryj31ux1uxhdu0

Potentially the weirdest drama I’ve seen in a while, but also one of the cutest.

Let’s Shake It 颤抖吧,阿部! is so strange  that it works.  The female lead is an alien slave trader, the male lead trains people to smash their heads with bricks, the other male lead is a cat half of the time,   and the director interjects the drama with random scenes of little kids poking fun at the plot.

When alien human traders Abu (An Yuexi) and Meow (Wang Yanyang)  crash  on Earth, they  take over the body of the recently murdered Tang Qingye and a cat to survive.   As they try to get rescued from Earth, they slowly uncover the real reason their spaceship was attacked and a plot to harvest humans for world domination. Watch as Abu gains sympathy for those she once thought sub-alien and even falls for her human adopted brother (Zheng Yecheng), who it turns out may be the heir to the throne.

Before leaving prom, the boys poses for a photo to remember the night.

Continue reading

Review: The King’s Woman Eps 1 -6

Love the costumes and the chemistry, not so much the plot.

With the perfect amount of bright colors and modern silhouettes without looking tacky,     The King’s Woman 秦时丽人明月心 first caught my eyes because of its look (and Dilraba).   The series  is adapted from the prequel to animation Qin’s Moon and retells the attempted assassination of Ying Zheng (Zhang Binbin), the king who’ll eventually become China’s first emperor,  by Jing Ke (Liu Chang), modified to become a huge love triangle featuring Gongsun Li (Dilraba).

The series opens with some classic clichés that they work in with mixed ability, including but not limited  to  having a  long-lost childhood true love that you’ve only met once,  no one recognizing the female lead is female, accidentally sharing a bed, the  rich guy pretending his underling is his superior because we all know relationships that start with lies end well,  and one or more lead’s guardian dying, but not before reminding them to hate their romantic interest for their parents’ sins.

Zhang Binbin is surprisingly (to me) the best actor of the bunch, and nails all the romance scenes, be it awkward first meetings, head over heels in love, or possessive creep.  Continue reading

The Advisors Alliance review: ep. 1 -4

Cao Pi: Here’s your sword back.
Guo Zhao: This isn’t mine.
Cao Pi: It was mine. Now it’s yours.   #HowToGift101

Episode 3,  scene X:   Yang Xiu ,   the ambitious antagonist in the first few episodes, had just kicked off a dying Sima Yi into the river.  He is relieved, proud of what he has accomplished.

When he is left alone , he  turns to see his hands in the dimming night.  There’s blood on his hands.  He realizes what he has done, betraying his father’s trust and hope for a Han alliance, murdering at least two men.  He screams into the night.

The scene is representative of how The Advisors Alliance 军师联盟 has so far treated its characters – as complex and contradicting human beings.

With a rich set of characters, a fast-paced plot, thoughtful but colloquial dialogue, and just the right amount of romance and humor mixed in,   The Advisors Alliance is probably the best scripted ancient drama in the past couple of years. Continue reading

Review: Ode to Joy Season I

As Ode to Joy II  欢乐颂 2 is geared up for release, here’s a review of season 1 of the hit series from 2016.

Witty dialogue and a cast of memorable characters make Ode to Joy one of the most fun sit-coms in a while.  Unfortunately, the  series is often dogged down by attempts to shift to a melodrama that makes the ff button a necessary friend.

The series focuses around the unlikely friendship between five women who share a floor in an apartment complex in Shanghai. There’s Andi (An Di?), the business professional with a fear of human touch, Qu Xiaoxiao, the heiress fighting  for the family inheritance,  Fan Shengmei, the gold-digger with an entitled family, Qiu Yingying, the happy-go-lucky college grad,  and Guan Ju’er, the ordinary white-collared girl who has never said no in her life.

Coming from a misogynistic rural  family, Fan Shengmei (Jiang Xin) is vain, self-centered, but also righteous and protective. She would lie to help out a friend, but also to save face. The first lets her befriend the women in the apartment complex, but the second gets her in trouble  as she falls for men who use her vanity to play her.  When she falls in love with a  man faked his own wealth to date her, she is caught between love and vanity.  Imperfect, complex, and sharp-tongued, Fan’s characterization is perfect.

Continue reading

Review: The Fox’s Summer

Clichéd and senseless but cute and watchable for the leads.

I’ve been looking forward to a Jiang Chao lead since 2013, and … The Fox’s Summer
狐狸的夏天 is kind of exactly what you would expect from him.  He’s hot, she’s cute, and they reenact every cliche idol drama device possible without too much attention to coherence.

I think the main plot of the story is about a fashion designer (Tan Yunsong) and her pursuit of her fashion  dreams. Or maybe her fight to win her mom and step-family’s love and respect?  Most of the time it’s about how she somehow ended up living with the President of her company while working for him as a maid, because even though she’s from a rich family,  has a good education,  is a famous designer, and becomes the chief creative director at one point, somehow she still can’t afford to pay rent?   Maybe it’s actually an ode to how expensive rent is in Shanghai.

The President (Jiang Chao) of this bra company, of course, is a 30-year-old  with OCD and is allergic to lies, so he decided that the best solution to get rid of his  opponent’s plagiarizing designer is to let her live with him?   In an attempt to keep his adopted brother interest in the company, Mr. President decides to hire his brother’s ex, our female lead.  Bringing back a woman who dumped your brother is exactly how to ensure his happiness.

There’s a couple of other angles in this love story, but you get the idea. It’s a co-habitation idol drama with lots of accidental sexual tensions and misunderstandings. Once you get past how annoying she is before they move in together, Tan Yunsong works her cuteness to her advantage. Jiang Chao’s good-looking enough for the role, and has just enough acting to make me not want a dubber, so the couple works.

Also, I really like some of her outfits. They made her look fashionable without being too over-the-top. Maybe it’s in contrast to how crazy some of the other women dress in the show.

The series is currently airing on Tencent, with the second season being released today.

Review: Above the Clouds

Dragged down by typical Yu Zheng formula of being framed once per episode, Above the Clouds nevertheless shows promise for Chen Xiao and the scriptwriter.

How nice is it to actually have a female lead not fixed on romances? Despite a love triangle and the inability to learn, the female lead of Above the Clouds 云巅之上  was surprisingly unwavering in her acting dreams, something rare in recent dramas that makes even the most powerful women motivated solely by love.  The series tells of a romance between accidental actress by day and maid by night Jian Xi (Yuan Shanshan), her boss and the least-paparazzi-conscious actor Tang Fei ( Chen Xiao), his rumored girlfriend and her acting rival Ji Qing (Jiang Menjie),  and a pop star with terrible hair ( Zhang Zhehan). Continue reading