I have been watching lots of Chinese dramas recently, but mostly the fantasy/historical genres. Only Side by Side with You is a modern day story with an interesting setting. I have never watched a drama with a leading lady who is running a drone company, and I was intrigued by the idea of such a geeky revenge plot. Read on to hear why I keep watching despite some cheesiness.
Awesome fight scenes
I love well-choreographed action scenes, and this drama definitely delivers. The kicks, punches, twirls and feints could be set to music and it would feel like watching a music video. So, it was kind of unrealistic when the girl and guy who had just met for the first time in the parking garage turn to each other and nod, as if in perfect agreement they will simultaneously jump on top of that car together while holding hands, but the quirkiness of this drama is part of its charm.
When I read that the leading lady owned a high tech drone company, I was kind of expecting them to be like military-style drones. I almost laughed when they revealed the drone she carries around with her everywhere. I swear I just bought a very similar model for one of my kids last Christmas. Still, they manage to make it feel like they have proprietary technology, and the many ways they use the drones and drone footage feels fresh and fun.
I was not familiar with William Chan before, but I am finding him kind of adorable. He is supposed to be a bad guy seeking revenge by seducing the woman his rival (played by Li Xian) loves. Sadly, the woman keeps friend-zoning him and he appears to be falling into his own trap. He has a boyish grin that is really captivating, and since in one scene he is listening to his real life self on the radio, we also get to appreciate his singing voice. I read he was the winner of singing/talent competition and that is how he got his start. I have not watched any other shows he has been in, but I look forward to seeing more of him!
There are a couple of different bromances that are brewing. The main one is with the love rival, Chang Jian Xiong, but there is also a younger brother-type (played by Zhang You Hao–remember the Fox Aunt’s housekeeper in Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms? That’s this guy). They are really quite fun to watch.
William Chan and Bai Bai He have crazy good chemistry. I am twenty episodes in and all we have are a few longing looks, some drunken antics, and a hug, but they are sizzling. Actually, William Chan seems to have chemistry with all of the male leads too.
I am just a sucker for smart shows that wink and nod to the audience. First, there are a number of puns based on misunderstanding words that don’t make sense in English, but are very funny in Chinese. My elementary level Chinese is probably only catching a few of them, but some of them would seem so nonsensical, so in these cases they are explained by the subbers. In addition, there is a reference to a famous actor (William Chan) and a shoe-tying scene while in military garb that many Kdrama viewers will likely take note of if they watch. One of my favorite scenes is of Shi Yue (William Chan’s character) exercising in front of Kung Fu Panda.
So, I have been watching on Viki, and I think the reason I am enjoying this so much is because of the comments. Just when I think I am the only one annoyed with the second lead, someone will comment using salty language and few choice phrases I could never think up on my own. Sometimes I laugh at the comments about some of the questionable fashion choices. This is not a drama to take too seriously, so I highly recommend watching it with the comments on!
I am really enjoying this drama. There are a few scenes that will make you shake your head. I am not sure why she pulled her drone out in the middle of the fight scene and the bad guys went after the drone instead of the lady with the controller, but…despite some of the cheese, there are some very entertaining moments. I love that it has some hidden layers and depth. Although it has a fairly trope-like premise (wronged man seduces the girl his rival loves) it somehow feels fresh and different. If you are intrigued by corporations that celebrate by having a military-style laser tag contest, girls who seem to have no time for boys playing silly games, and a leading man who woos his girl by taking her in a flight simulator, then this show is for you.
If you are watching, please comment below!
Until Next Time…
Dramas With a Side of Kimchi