Zhuge Liang finally appears in new stills for The Advisors Alliance

The Advisors Alliance became less addictive ever since the awesome Cao Cao (Yu Hewei) and Yang Xiu (Zhai Tianlin) passed away, but these new stills have definitely piqued my interest for part 2 of the drama.

Part 2 will focus on Sima Yi’s conflict with Zhuge Liang (Wang Luoyong) and Cao Shuang (Du Yiheng). His deteriorating relationship with the Cao family eventually paves the way for the Sima family’s coup d’état.

The Advisors Alliance: Howling Tiger, Roaring Dragon is set to air sometime in the Fall.

Behind-the-scenes: (1), (2)

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Aaron Kwok, Wang Qianyuan, Liu Tao star in upcoming crime thriller

Peacebreaker 破·局 is an adaption of South Korean crime action thriller A Hard Day, and stars Aaron Kwok (One Night Only) as a police officer who tries to cover his tracks after committing a crime. Wang Qianyuan (Lost in the Moonlight) costars as the mysterious man who knows his secret, and Liu Tao (The Advisors Alliance) makes an appearance as Kwok’s wife.

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Jackie Chan fights terrorists in latest co-production

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Jackie Chan v. James Bond, coming worldwide on October 13 and in China on September 30

Jackie Chan’s latest co-production, The Foreigner starring himself, Pierce Brosnan (007 franchise) , Liu Tao (The Advisors Alliance) and Katie Leung (Harry Potter), is directed by  Martin Campbell (Casino Royale ), and is the first co-production that   I actually want  to watch.

See trailer to get what I mean:

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

Promo Round-up: The Advisors Alliance

The Advisors Alliance takes viewers to the ever-popular Three Kingdoms era, and this time the entire story will be told from Sima Yi’s (Wu Xiubo) perspective. Liu Tao (Ode to Joy 2) plays his fierce wife Zhang Chunhua while Janine Chang (Midnight Diner) plays Bai Lingyun, a spy from the Cao faction and Sima Yi’s concubine. Xiao Shunyao and Tan Jianci from M.I.C. costar as sons Sima Shi and Sima Zhao.

On the other side we have the Cao household, led by Yu Hewei (I Am Not Madame Bovary) as warlord Cao Cao and Li Chen (variety show Keep Running) as Cao Pi. Tang Yixin (Psychologist) and Zhang Zhixi (Three Heroes and Five Gallants) star as the latter’s consorts.

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More anti-corruption dramas in the pipeline

In the Name of the People 人民的名义 acquired a mass following when it aired, and has turned out to be THE national drama of the year, breaking 6% ratings during the latter half of its run (these days, dramas that surpass 1% are considered hits). Its success has led to the production of several more propaganda dramas that focus on corruption in government agencies.

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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.

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Couple stills for Ode to Joy 2

Season 2 of Ode to Joy has released stills of the five ladies Liu TaoJiang Xin, Wang Ziwen, Yang Zi and Qiao Xin and their respective pairings. I’m still interested in checking out the premiere, though I’ve been keeping hopes low after season 1 fell short of expectations.

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Stills for The Advisor’s Alliance

After seeing stills like these, I come to appreciate the sheer variety of costuming styles that exist in China and how they grow side by side.

The Advisor’s Alliance 军师联盟 has released stills.  Starring Wu Xiubo, Li Chen, Liu Tao, Janine Chang, Tang Yixin, Zhang Zhixi, Zhai Tianlin, Yu Hewei, and Zhang He, I will admit I’m getting a bit impatient for a more official release date.

More stills below the cut.

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