Palace intrigue dramas have been scarce in the past few years, so it can be hard if you are looking for something recent similar to The Story of Kunning Palace. However, many classic Chinese dramas fit this bill. Here are three of my favorite classic dramas, ones that give you similar vibes and hours of palace intrigue entertainment.
Nirvana in Fire (Viki)
Just like in Kunning Palace, the romance takes a back seat to politicking and revenge. But you won’t miss the romance much since this drama contains one of the best romances to grace my TV screen in the 14 years I have been watching dramas. In Nirvana in Fire, we have the story of Lin Shu, the only survivor of a political coup. Determined to get revenge for his fallen comrades, Lin Shu changes his features and returns twelve years later to right the wrongs of the past. Hu Ge and Wang Kai have amazing chemistry and are brilliant in this show. Nirvana in Fire is a drama you will want to binge, so make sure you have a big chunk of time when you start this.
The Rise of Phoenixes (Youtube)
Birth secrets abound in this drama where we see the fight between brothers for the throne. Add in a cross-dressing female lead, who helps one of the princes in his quest for revenge/power, and you have the perfect binge drama. It will also introduce you to one of my favorite Chinese actresses, Ni Ni. I also consider this one of the most beautifully filmed dramas I have watched. The sets and clothes are all intricate and luxe–beyond your usual drama. Perfect for those of you who like your dramas with a little glam.
The Story of Yanxi Palace (iQIYI, Viki, & Tubi)
One of the last big palace dramas to come out (before the Chinese government started the strong regulations on historical dramas) was Story of Yanxi Palace. This drama was a juggernaut at the time and easily the most popular Chinese drama internationally. The story follows a girl searching for the truth behind her sister’s murder. This leads her to the palace, and to the notice of the Empress, who takes her under her wing. If you want revenge, smart heroines, and swoony romances, with a huge dose of political intrigue, then this is a must watch drama. **Be sure you watch the original drama and not the money grab of a sequel that was thrown out a few years later.**
There you have it: my all-time favorite palace intrigue dramas, full of backbiting, bickering, murder, and romance. Do you have one that I didn’t mention? Be sure to let me know what it is in the comments below! Follow the blog and check back for more drama discussions.
Till the next drama binge,
Dramas With a Side of Kimchi