Kmuse’s Musings: Chinese Dramas One Should Skip

s2tz.pngThose of you who follow the blog know that I am a huge fan of well done Chinese (mainland) drama.  Something about the pacing and unique cultural characteristics of their common tropes just does it for me.  It also doesn’t hurt that the majority of their leading men and woman are a tad bit older. Not that I don’t openly admit that I have biases many years younger than myself, but sometimes it is just nice to enjoy an age appropriate lead.  However, I am going to switch gears for once and do a post on Chinese Dramas that bored me to tears and are worthy of a skip.  Because life is just too short to watch 50 episodes of something that is the drama equivalent of a Valium.


Keep in mind that these are dramas that I watched enough episodes (at least half or more) to know if I enjoyed them or not.  And when that equals to around 25 hours a series, that is more than enough time to know if this is a boring/mediocre show.  If you feel that I missed something by quitting too early (although I probably won’t watch even then) be sure to let me know why in the comments.  You never know when your explanation or outlook on a show might inspire someone to give it a try (or skip it as the case may be).  Everyone has different tastes which is why it can be so much fun debating dramas.


Singles Villa


**SYNOPSIS:  Joe, Jiro and Xu Lu live in a condominium where its residents are forbidden from falling in love, and anyone who violates the rule would be evicted from their apartment. Against all odds, Joe and Xu Lu fall in love with each other and begin an underground relationship. Thrown into the mix is Jiro who plays Xu Lu’s childhood sweetheart, thus starting an unfortunate love triangle.

My Thoughts: How did the writer manage to take a concept that pretty much writes itself in terms of romantic hijinks and tomfoolery and make it into a boring pile of tropy mush?  I would like to know that answer myself since I was so excited going into this show.  How hard is it to create a romance over living in a community where you have to stay single or pay a fine?  But instead of shenanigans we get a boring and annoying leading lady.  This is one leading lady who you don’t have to wonder why she got dumped.  I only wished I had dumped this drama before completing the whole thing.

The Vigilantes in Masks


**SYNOPSIS:  Li Ge Xiao is skilled in martial arts and has the brain to match it. In his former life, he was a high ranking Marshal with great law enforcement authority. But after his enemy framed him with false crime and executed his family, he went on the run. Years later, he came out of hiding to help a former colleague recover stolen gold for disaster relief. With his new partners, thief Yan San Niang, grafter He Xiao Mei, and muscle Chai Hu, they formed a bandit called “Yi Zhi Mei” that robs the rich and the corrupted and gives to the poor and the helpless.

My Thoughts: I got half way through this drama and just called it quits.  It is not that it is horrible, per say, but that does not mean it is good either.  I guess if I had to put a word to describe this viewing experience, it would be a solid “meh”.  And to classify a Robin Hood style story as only “meh” says a lot.  I felt that it robbed me of my time and I was happy to cut my losses at 18 hours.

Yunge from the Desert


**SYNOPSIS:  During the Western Han Dynasty, an eight-year-old Emperor Zhao of Han meets a girl Huo Yun Ge (daughter of Huo Qu Bing and Jin Yu from Ballad of the Desert), who rescued him from the cold of the desert. Ten years later, Huo is now a beautiful young woman, who could not forget the boy she saved. However, the emperor has long forgotten Huo, and with a new love in his life, Xu Ping Jun. The heartbroken Huo later meets a handsome Meng Jue, only later to find herself embroiled in a power struggles within the imperial palace.

My Thoughts: I loved “Song of the Desert” and assumed that I would enjoy the story of that OTP’s child.  Sadly, I didn’t.  Love triangles are developed and the writer, once again, tries to give the viewers two valid men for our leading lady to love.  Only, it ends up feeling less like love and more like temporary infatuation as our leading lady flits between the two swains.  Add in enough noble idiocy breakups to choke a horse, and you pretty much have this drama down to a tee.  Save yourself the crankies and just push skip when this comes onto your queue.

The Legend of Qin


**SYNOPSIS:  The Legend of Qin follows through the Qin dynasty time when the Emperor of the Qin, King Zheng conquers the other 6 nations and unified the whole of China to the rise of the king of Western Chu, Xiang Yu, who capture the capital city, Xianyang. The story circles around a young protagonist, Jing Tianming who carries the blood of a hero turning from a weak and ignorant young boy into a great hero, who single-handedly changes the process of history.

My Thoughts: I am usually a fan of wuxia-style dramas.  Especially when it is a magical tale of warriors becoming legends and finding their fated place in the world.  So let us take a quick look at our checklist for a good Wuxia.  #1 A cool concept.  Check.  This is an actual  adaption of a famous and popular Chinese anime.  I  usually love anime converted to dramas since the characters tend to be really well rounded.  #2 Hot guys.  Check, check, and check.  Hot guys on both the good and evil side are present and accounted for.  #3 An interesting storyline ……………….  (insert sound of crickets chirping throughout dramaland) …………… And we have officially arrived at our problem.

The characters are so boring they literally have nothing to do.  And the plot line you would think would be the most entertaining ends up being a dud of epic proportions.  The young boy, who has all these amazing powers inside him, is a total wuss and an annoying wimp.  You would also assume that there would be character development while he learned to harness his powers right?  Wrong.  We go through episode after episode of the cast telling the guy he needs to get his powers taken away rather than learning to use them.  If I wanted to be nagged by a parental figure, I would call my parents.  I don’t need to spend 50 hours watching it done to someone else.

The Imperial Doctress


**SYNOPSIS:   Set in the Ming Dynasty under the rule of Emperor Zhu Qi Zhen, Tan Yun Xian comes from a long line of medicine practitioners, her family having served as court physicians for several generations. However, the practice for female physicians came to a halt when many were framed for abusing the form. Yet, Yun Xian is determined to learn medicine and so she does in secrecy, except things become difficult when her paths cross with the Emperor himself.

My Thoughts:  Why oh why is Tan Yun Xian the blandest and most boring woman doctor in the history of drama doctors?  She is supposed to be all about breaking rules and running about being all taboo.  Instead, the only thought in my mind is “how much longer til Wallace Huo is back on my screen? ” That does not say much for the drama’s story and also, there is sadly, way too little Wallace Huo for my tastes.

This is one of those shows that I am not finished with.  In fact, I am only a fourth of the way through and might actually continue to watch.  At least, I will if any reader can actually confirm that we shift away from our leading lady’s vapid portrayal of China’s most famous female historical doctor.  So if you are a fan of this drama, convince away since I do feel a bit bad at putting this into my “on hold” list.



**Synopsis used from My Drama List

9 thoughts on “Kmuse’s Musings: Chinese Dramas One Should Skip

  1. I really wanted to like The Legend of Qin, I tried, I really did but the main character was so annoying that I found myself wanting to fast forward through half of each episode. I wanted him to grow up, become strong but that just never happened. I was so disappointed.

  2. Ge Nie and Rong Er are the most interesting of Qin. Though we like the action when it is there, it is rather boring otherwise. Singles? No worries, I don’t watch modern Chinese dramas often. Imperial Doc, we still plan to try to watch but we really want to watch Zu which is taking forever to sub along with Three Heroes and Five Gallants. The others we totally agree. Ice Palace starts next month! Thank goodness!!

  3. Oh, Singles Villa 🙁 Anything Jiro appeals to me – at least gets me to watch SOME of it. I simply couldn’t continue with this. Poor Jiro 🙁 That stupid girl 🙁 🙁 That ridiculous melo villainess :0 Yechhh

  4. Imperial Doctress, Actually, I like Tan Yun Xian. I think her character seemingly bland and very refined would be her protection in that culture. Because, if she was bold and aggressive, in your face and tough, she would have been slaughtered (I think), Yet, as gentle as she appears on the outside, she is determined, dedicated and unwavering. I am only frustrated as usual with the dirty tricks, slandering and court treachery, which wears me out with angst, so I have to take a short vacation from the show.

    • I also loved Imperial Doctress and have watched it twice so far. Tan Yun Xian’s character was awesome and I loved how they handled her relationship with the emperor without adultery but they still had a beautiful relationship. Now the emperor’s brother I totally hated by the end and still he gives me bad vibes when I see him elsewhere since he was such a horrible character in this drama.

  5. haha…waiting for wallace huo scenes…i totally get that ^^ he is my favorite tw/c actor and do this everytime he’s in something. it’s like ok, he’s here yay! popcorn! haha
    i finished imperial doctress and am not sure whether you will like its plot and pace enough to recommend finishing. there are some incredibly angering developments to the story and you just think, what the actual fck! and throw things. the end was satisfying enough in it’s way. wallace huo doesn’t leave; but they use him sparingly enough for awhile. it’s ironic because he is one of the most, if not the most; important central themes to the story. nuff said! ^^
    i just lived through a week of flu, sorta; and watched ‘legend of the ancient sword’ a wuxia with li yi feng and a solid cast of talented actors. it was enjoyable and very pretty; though it had it’s share of drawn out stuff and the usual accompanying weird absence of intimacy (what is that? why cant they kiss in a wuxia? hugs, hugs, hugs. bah.) and tragedy. wuxia loves tragedy, too. fatalists! haha ^^

  6. I came across your post by chance and I can see how “Imperial Doctress” and “Yunge from the Desert” may seem boring. As a sucker for historical dramas and strong female leads, I did finish watching both shows. I believe the screenwriters had trouble keeping the historifal facts with the romantic plot, so it looked confusing for us viewers to recognize at a glance which male our female leads would be shipped with.

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