Most Popular Cdramas Online from 2009 Onward

When judging the popularity of television dramas, the go-to statistic has always been the drama’s ratings (收视率). Also known as audience measurement or television viewership, a drama’s ratings show how many people tuned in — the higher the number, the more people turned on their TVs to catch the latest episode.

With the rapid development of new media, however, ratings can no longer illustrate the entire picture when it comes to drama popularity. More and more, people are turning to online streaming or downloading in order to get their drama fix, which means a shift in criteria may be necessary.

Recently, Sina published a list of findings from Vlinkage, a Shanghai-based consulting company that monitors data regarding videos and new media in China. Founded in 2012, Vlinkage has amassed what they call China’s most complete information database on actors, movies, and TV dramas, which they then use to evaluate the entertainment market.

In their article, Vlinkage lists 48 dramas that have received more than 1 billion views online. To put this in perspective, that’s how many views Psy‘s “Gangnam Style” MV reached on YouTube five months after it was uploaded. That’s one video. This is 48 dramas, and the one topping the list has almost 7 billion views.

Unfortunately, the parameters of Vlinkage’s study are a little vague. For instance, it’s implied that the view count is for all of each drama’s episodes, but the article doesn’t state which website(s) they used to gather information. Was it Youku, Tudou, Sohu, LeTV, PPTV, etc., or some combination of the above? Furthermore, does downloading count, or only streaming? And did they have a cut-off point for older dramas? (I put “2009 onward” only because the oldest drama on this list is from 2009 — the study doesn’t say if they paid attention to when dramas aired.)

I’m assuming Vlinkage’s base audience is mainland Chinese netizens, although it definitely would have been interesting to see overseas statistics and trends. Then again, judging from the frequency with which drama uploads get pulled from YouTube, it might be impossible to get an accurate number.

With those caveats, here’s the list, along with some interesting discoveries:

Name of Drama Views (billion)
1 Legend of Zhen Huan (后宫甄嬛传)
Sun Li, Chen Jianbin, Ada Choi
6.878
2 New Huan Zhu Ge Ge (新还珠格格)
Li Sheng, Hai Lu, Zhang Rui, Li Jiahang
4.469
3 Bu Bu Jing Xin (步步惊心)
Liu Shishi, Nicky Wu, Kevin Cheng, Yuan Hong
3.200
4 Three Kingdoms (2012) (三国)
Chen Jianbin, Yu Hewei, Zhang Bo, Lu Yi
2.981
5 Beijing Love Story (北京爱情故事)
Chen Sicheng, Tong Liya, Li Chen, Zhang Yi
2.860
6 Palace (宫锁心玉)
Yang Mi, Feng Shaofeng, Mickey He
2.682
7 Xuan Yuan Sword – Rift of the Sky (轩辕剑之天之痕)
Hu Ge, Jiang Jinfu, Liu Shishi, Tang Yan
2.647
8 All Men Are Brothers (Water Margin) (新水浒传)
Zhang Hanyu, Yan Kuan, Chen Long, Wang Jianxin
2.271
9 Special Arms II: Edge Drawn (我是特种兵之利刃出鞘)
Wu Jing, Hou Yong, Xu Jia
2.243
10 Temptation of Going Home (回家的诱惑)
Choo Ja Hyun, Ling Xiaosu, Rain Lee
2.149
11 Waking Love Up (爱情睡醒了)
Roy Qiu, Tang Yan, Qi Wei, Jones Xu
2.113
12 Flying Wooden Donkey (怪侠欧阳德)
Xiaoshenyang, Zhao Benshan, Li Sheng
2.042
13 My Daughter (夏家三千金)
Tang Yan, Zhang Meng, Qi Wei, Roy Qiu
1.972
14 Affairs of a Married Couple (夫妻那些事)
Huang Lei, Chen Shu, Liang Jing
1.942
15 The Bride with White Hair (2012) (新白发魔女传)
Nicky Wu, Ma Su, Louis Fan
1.908
16 Heroes of Sui and Tang (隋唐英雄)
Winston Chao, Yu Shaoqun, Dicky Cheung
1.907
17 Swordman (新笑傲江湖)
Wallace Huo, Chen Qiao’en, Chen Xiao
1.849
18 AA Lifestyle (AA制生活)
Li Xiaolu, Ma Su, Ren Zhong
1.783
19 Palace 2 (宫锁珠帘)
Du Chun, Mickey He, Yuan Shanshan
1.684
20 Schemes of a Beauty (美人心计)
Ruby Lin, Wang Likun, Yang Mi
1.638
21 Drawing Sword (2012) (新亮剑)
Huang Zhizhong, Ren Quan, Guo Jinglin
1.542
22 iPartment 3 (爱情公寓 第三季)
Chen He, Lou Yixiao, Sun Yizhou
1.536
23 Men (男人帮)
Sun Honglei, Wang Luodan, Huang Lei
1.465
24 Special Arms (我是特种兵)
Gu Zhixin, Wang Kuirong
1.376
25 Forensic Heroes III (法证先锋3)
Wayne Lai, Maggie Cheung, Aimee Chan
1.375
26 The Legend of Crazy Monk (活佛济公 第三部)
Benny Chan, Lam Tze Chung, Ye Zuxin
1.362
27 The Magic Blade (新天涯明月刀)
Wallace Chung, Baron Chen, Zhang Meng
1.351
28 Snow Leopard (雪豹)
Wen Zhang, Tao Feifei, Du Yuming
1.350
29 The Colours of Love (女人的颜色)
Ling Xiaosu, Xu Yun, Lu Fangsheng
1.342
30 World of a Beauty (唐宫美人天下)
Zhang Ting, Li Xiaolu, Mingdao
1.317
31 Beijing Youth (北京青年)
Li Chen, Du Chun, Ma Su
1.315
32 Forever Designation (永不磨灭的番号)
Huang Haibo, Wang Lei, Li Jian
1.303
33 Sealed with a Kiss (千山暮雪)
Hawick Lau, Ying’er, Wen Zhengrong
1.286
34 Unbeatable II (无懈可击之高手如林)
Hu Ge, Tang Yan, Qi Wei, Roy Qiu
1.229
35 Rules before a Divorce (离婚前规则)
Bai Baihe, Jia Nailiang, Gao Lu
1.220
36 The Happy Life of Jin Tailang (金太狼的幸福生活)
Li Xiaolu, Wang Lei, Song Dandan
1.194
37 Family, to the Nth Power (家N次方)
Song Dandan, Zhu Yuchen, Fiona Wang
1.194
38 Journey to the West (2011/2012) (新西游记)
Wu Yue, Nie Yuan, Zang Jinsheng
1.185
39 Chinese Paladin 3 (仙剑奇侠传3)
Hu Ge, Yang Mi, Wallace Huo, Liu Shishi
1.161
40 When Puberty Hit Menopause (青春期撞上更年期)
Du Chun, Ma Yili, Dong Xuan
1.157
41 Naked Wedding (裸婚时代)
Wen Zhang, Yao Di, Zhang Kaili
1.141
42 Advancing Under Fire (向着炮火前进)
Nicky Wu, Gan Tingting, Wang Xin
1.131
43 A Unique Militman (民兵葛二蛋)
Huang Bo, Gao Hu, Tong Yao
1.116
44 Hot Girls (麻辣女兵)
Wang Yang, Wang Yu
1.107
45 Lives of Omission (潜行狙击)
Damian Lau, Fala Chen, Michael Tse, Bosco Wong
1.106
46 iPartment 2 (爱情公寓 第二季)
Chen He, Lou Yixiao, Sun Yizhou
1.089
47 Refueling Mother (加油妈妈)
Mike He, Crystal Chang, Song Fengyan
1.031
48 Village of Love 4 (乡村爱情4)
Zhao Benshan, He Shufeng, Xiao Shenyang
1.021

Various interesting notables:

  • At #1 on the list and with 76 episodes, Legend of Zhen Huan averages 90 million views per episode.
  • Swordman (#17), the most recent adaptation of Jin Yong’s Xiao Ao Jiang Hu, currently holds the record for making it past the 1-billion-views mark in the least amount of time. It began airing on February 6th of this year, with its finale on March 1st.
  • Forensic Heroes III (#25) and Lives of Omission (#45) are the only two non-mainland dramas on the list.
  • There are 21 city-themed dramas, nine of which are related to family issues. Ten of these are city-themed idol dramas (e.g. iPartment, Beijing Youth).
  • There are 18 ancient/period dramas, with four “purely period” (i.e. non-wuxia) in the top ten.
  • Wuxia dramas include Swordman (#17), The Bride with White Hair (#15), and The Magic Blade (#27), all of which sparked a lot of discussion and led to an upsurge of interest in wuxia dramas. (Whether you think these dramas are worth the discussion is up to debate.)
  • The most recent remakes of Three Kingdoms (#4), Water Margin (#8), and Journey to the West (#38) are all on the list. However, the 2010 remake of The Dream of Red Mansions isn’t.
  • There are eight war/army-themed dramas, and one drama about village life.
  • Idol actors star in 22 of the dramas, even though the drama’s theme may not be the typical “modern romcom” idol drama.
  • This wasn’t mentioned in the source article, but I do think it’s interesting that the top three dramas are ones where the main lead is female.

According to Peng Fuli, the founder of Vlinkage, we can learn a few things about the online drama market based on this data:

  1. Idols = views. Drama fans may sometimes complain about the unnecessary casting of Pretty Face Who Can’t Act (fill in your name of choice here), but if you look at this list, you can see that many of them star at least one “idol” actor with an extremely strong fanbase. Peng believes that actors have a bigger impact than subject matter does when it comes to online views, since there is more overlap among the target audience: after all, young people are more likely to follow idol celebrities and to watch dramas online. 80% of online viewers fall in the 15-45-year-old age range; in contrast, 48% of TV audiences are older than 45.
  2. The drama’s broadcasting channel determines its online popularity. To Peng’s surprise, the only CCTV drama on the list was Special Arms (#24), which aired in 2011. The rest of the list is pretty much dominated by shows from Hunan TV, Jiangsu TV, and Zhejiang TV, with fourteen of them airing exclusively on Hunan TV. A list of the top ten most viewed dramas online from January to March 2013 featured three each from Hunan TV and Jiangsu TV. Like with the previous point, this is mostly due to an overlap among the target audience. Hunan TV excels at idol dramas, and its television audience is generally younger than that of CCTV.
  3. A drama can be considered successful online if it garners 400 million views. There were 800 dramas aired on TV in 2012, and yet only 48 dramas have reached 1 billion views online. Among this list, 28 of the dramas aired before 2012, which means about 2.5% of the dramas aired in 2012 enjoyed such spectacular online success. To Peng, making it past the 1-billion-views mark is considered exceptional. For those aiming for just “excellent,” 400 million views is your target. Unfortunately, he doesn’t offer any explanation on why the magic number is 400 million.

Anyway, any thoughts on the Vlinkage study? How much of an impact do you think online streaming and downloading will have on TV dramas in the future? Were you surprised to see any of the dramas on this list, or do you think the list is missing a particular one?

36 thoughts on “Most Popular Cdramas Online from 2009 Onward

  1. Pingback: “Muggle vs Genius” to air this week! | Cfensi

  2. good article. now i’ll know which one to watch.
    it’s hard to decide on a new cdrama to start on.
    atleast I know the popular ones are worth a try.
    xie xie cfensi

  3. Kind of off topic, but I always separate actors into cliques when I judge a drama’s popularity and target audience (does anyone else do that? lol)
    Tang Yan, Qi Wei, Tong Liya, Yang Mi, Liu Shishi, +/- Li Xiaolu
    Hu Ge, Yuan Hong, Wallace Huo, Lin Gengxin, Jiang Jinfu
    Chen Sicheng, Li Chen, Du Chun

  4. There are some serious shockers in this list; specially Refueling mother and Beauty of a world… I definitely think fans of Idol actors have a lot of say in how many online viewers ends up watching a particular show; irrelevant of if they’re actually good or not. I’m not one to judge and say these shows aren’t good; more just the fact that I didn’t think they were popular at all. Some of these shows aren’t talked about much in blogs and some are even unknown to me. I think the trick is that these show hold names like Ming Dao, Mike He, Wallace Huo, etc. So even if they may not be the best China has to offer, the view count still ends up soaring hight because fans just want to see their favorite star. I’m guilty of such biases myself. Its still a very interesting list though.

    • I definitely agree Refuleing Mother was a big shocker, but I think Beauty of a World was a pretty big deal with a lot of promotions and re-aired on a lot of channels.
      While it’s true that a lot of these shows have idol actors, I think it’s also important to realize that plenty of shows with the same actors are not on the list. For example, Chen Qiaoen, Mingdao and Luo Jin’s other Yu Zheng drama.. Mike He’s drama with Deng Jiajia (equally boring, but at least prettier) also flopped terribly.
      Correlation =/= causation, and while it’s true that fans drive some viewership, I don’t think they’re necessary or even that important (even Super Junior’s movie flopped because it was plain bad).
      I’m still not convinced that any idol artist in China has the strong enough reputation to drive up popularity, and content/production >>> everything else.

      • I’m still not convinced that any idol artist in China has the strong enough reputation to drive up popularity

        idk, Nicky Wu might give you a run for your money, since he’s become everyone’s darling after BBJX… but I think he straddles the line between “actor, period” and “idol actor” anyway. (And Xing Ming Shi Ye seems to be performing badly in Taiwan, so idk.)

        Anyway, I agree that even idols can’t rescue a truly dreadful series, although there’s a low-percent chance that the series will still take off if you pick the right combination of idols and/or insert a good amount of wtf-ness to ensure that people talk about it (*cough* Swordman).

        • Nicky Wu’s weibo fandom is so scary(in an impressive way).
          Swordman was pretty well-produced by idol drama standards. I just can’t handle the fact that it was marketed as a remake and not a spin-off. T_T

      • Maybe I’m a little bit behind but I haven’t really heard much about Beauty of a World. But I did look it up a bit, just to see how it fared, and like you said, it did seem to be extremely popular…

        I believe the Qiao En, MingDao drama you are referring to is Beauties of the Emperor. I would be truly shocked if that ever came about in a list like this simply because that show did not generate a whole lot of publicity – even online. It was banned by the SRAFT for a while, and the names had to be changed – I think. So fans that were waiting for it, lost interest. None of the actors seemed really engaged in promoting it either, and it aired in hardly more than 3 channels. As for Mike He’s other show, I don’t think I heard of it at all…

        I do agree that quality and content are extremely important, but there’s some fire power of Idol actors that encourages a lot of fans to watch these shows online. But that being said, promotions, publicity and marketing is also very important. Idol actors can’t alone bring audiences, as you did mention.

        • I actually realised Tang Yan has a lot of drama in that list around 4? And her latest drama x女特工 is almost crossing the 1 billion mark! So I guess it proves that idols can attract viewerships at least in her case.

          • Oh dang, I didn’t even notice that! And she was actually in Chinese Paladin 3 as well (I didn’t include her name because there were too many other stars, lol), so that makes five dramas. o_O Six, if Agent X continues to perform well.

          • I agree with idarklight, Tang Yan’s company really knows how to pick dramas.

            But I also think she got lucky with her cast members in all her dramas. e.g. everything was pretty much done right in Chinese Paladin 3, but (imo) Xuan Yuan Sword and Unbeatable II was horrible. If the last two drama has different cast it would not have done as well, it was really the combined star power of the cast that brought in the views. I’m surprised My Daughters it didn’t do as well as Waking Love Up, which is basically a poor remake of Frog Prince. But I think it was after My Daughters and right before (or during) Waking Love Up that the Roy/Tang Yan dating rumor started, that probably helped with the viewership. As cute as Roy&Tang Yan are in those two dramas, I prefer her with Luo Jin (acting-wise). I feel like Luo Jin brings out the serious actor in Tang Yan (Beauty in Troubled Times & Agent X).

            Sorry for the rant. I saw Tang Yan’s name… lol

            • LOL Unbeatable II’s success was definitely only because of the stars. I don’t even remember the plot… but I would totally rewatch it, just to see the cast and the awesome chemistry (between Hu Ge and Roy ;D).

              The general impression I got was that people liked Waking Love Up better than they did My Daughter because it was waaay shorter and a lot more straightforward. And there were more likeable characters and cuter scenes. My Daughter just dragged whenever Zhang Meng and Baron Chen were on screen, plus Roy and Tang Yan were pining after each other for, what, 50 episodes? It was fun to watch the first time, but it’d be hard to rewatch. :/

        • Just curious, did you watch Beauties of the Emperor? I’d be surprised if it were to appear on this list too, since I don’t think I’ve heard anyone talking about it. I was shocked when DramaFever picked it up for subbing, because they usually pick high-rating and high-profile dramas, at least for their twdrama projects. Nooo idea how Beauties of the Emperor got onto their radar.

          • Yea I did watch parts of it; skipped most of the middle. It was pretty high profile actually, around the 2011 time. Then I believe Ming Dao went to complete his service and the drama got held by SRAFT so the hype died… I only mentioned it because it was mentioned in one of the replies. I don’t think it would make a list like this – if it does (most likely through the star power of MingDao and Qiao En), it would take at least a year because it released just last year december.

            Also, its a Cdrama, even if the leads are both Tactors. Its a C-production, and mostly everyone else is Cdrama actors. I think a lot of people were waiting for the subs in viki, and since they weren’t doing it, DF may have gotten quite a few requests. There are also quite a few big names in the show, like Luo Jin, Yuan Shan Shan, Chen Xiao, etc.

            • Yeah, I remember seeing people post about it (probably Ming Dao/Qiao’en fans, lol), but then never heard anything after that… I wasn’t even aware until recently that it had aired. Guess that’s a good lesson for producers — you may have idols in your drama, but make sure it doesn’t get held up by SARFT! xD

              I know Beauties of the Emperor is a cdrama. It’s just that DF’s Chinese-language projects have mostly been twdramas, so I was making conclusions based off their choices there. But it seems they’re going for more of a variety with their cdrama projects. A lot of them I haven’t even heard of.

              • LOL, it was pretty huge when it got announced initially – because it was another MD-QE show (those two are always stuck together like glue – wasn’t he the producer of SOP as well??), but also cz it was a Yu Zheng drama. When has his dramas ever not created some sort of uproar amongst either fans or the SARFT themselves LOL. He literally altered so much history, I was horrified. Although all the actors did commendable jobs in their roles, and made some sense so it was worth the time. Unlike that other YZ drama that just aired… -.-

                Yea, I believe they subbed Summer fever – which I never heard of till someone mentioned it in tumblr a few days ago.

  5. I’m really happy to see JSTV drama up there, HNTV need someone to challenge their position in the youth demographics. I feel like HNTV Is so used to dominating the younger demographic without challenge because of their strong variety show viewership that they aren’t trying hard enough to improve their drama production. JSTV is trying their best to air original mainland produced idol drama, but HNTV is just recycling kdrama plots and depending on their own popularity and actors’ fanbase.

    • OH my god. You took out my words out of my mouth. I’ve seen a lot of hunan tv shows with either french/italian or english subtities. I notice that some of their action scene filming techniques are extremely amateur. The storylines are often copies of kdramas. I also don’t really like their versions of the hanfu and the qipaos in their historical dramas. It’s too bright for my eyes. The overall acting ability is not as high as other networks. However their stronger ability to market and its closer relationship with taiwanese networks and celebrities allows them to get further than other networks. However recently I think JSTV, Shandong TV, Anhui TV, CCTV, Dragon TV and Shenzhen TV has slowly caught up to them on this aspect. I truly hope Hunan TV can make up their own scripts, use more mainland actors by giving them a chance, and LOL. Improve their action scene filming techniques.

  6. I’ve always found Vlinkage’s data a bit sketchy, too, especially since it doesn’t say much about how they count things, and since different sites might count viewership differently.
    But this article suggests that they pull their data from these eight sources: youku/tudou/xunlei/Letv/qiyi/QQ/PPTV/Sohu
    http://www.vlinkage.com/news/2142

    • Yeah, I wish they’d included something about how they got these stats, but I guess they want to protect their trade secrets, haha. I do think it’s cool that online drama viewing is being analyzed, though, since I’m like totally dependent on the Internet to watch dramas. Too bad my laptop hates streaming videos from all eight of those sites. xD

  7. I was really happy when I saw that LZH was #1. BWAHAHA. Just a minor typo, but it is 76eps not 72.

    I really like the way you broke down the ratings into observations that go beyond the numbers. About the popularity of idol dramas, I guess that they get more attention because of the idols’ diehard fanbases! I suppose that in general though, a lot of viewers are initially attracted to the drama because of the cast rather than the synopsis. Kinda weird now that I think about it.

    • Ah, the resident LZH expert! Haha, jk. ;) Thanks for the correction — I’ve edited the post.

      Re: idols vs synopsis: I used to think that was weird, but then I looked at my own drama watching habits, and I’m definitely drawn more to dramas that feature actors I like, even if the synopsis might seem meh. lol. I think that’s one of the reasons I have so much difficulty “getting into” non-Chinese/Taiwanese dramas — I’m not familiar enough with the artists, so I just don’t care.

      • Haha, I WISH I was a LZH expert! :P

        I’m not really a fan of many idols so I’m not that into the idol dramas. But I am a fan of other actresses/actors, so if they are in a drama it will definitely pique my interest!

  8. lol at cctv. CCTV should probably change their formatting. A lot of their broadcasted stuff are for the older generation and their format is for more of the people who lived through the cultural revolution and the 1970’s reform era. The new growing young generation are not interested in that stuff b/c they never lived through it. However I do understand that CCTV has a hard job of having to please not only the old and new generation, they need to please the people living in the rural and developed areas and their interests are VERY different. CCTV also needs to please all of the ethnic minorities too so their topics, shows, etc. has a hard job of trying to please everyone and touch upon all of these people’s interests. After all, its not state tv for nothing. CCTV should go rethink their strategy and maybe consider taking care of their employees/presenters/etc. more since just recently a massive amount of its famous presenters/actors left such as Sa Beining and went to other tv networks.

    • I feel like CCTV doesn’t need to worry too much about its hosts leaving since that tends to happen frequently in TV channels. A few years ago there was a number of people (Ma Ke, Li Hao, etc.) who left Hunan, and then last year or so Zhu Dan left Jiangsu. Also, I don’t think Sa Beining left.

      Over the years, CCTV has had a lot of positive changes in being more updated. It could be that people who watch CCTV simply don’t watch things online that much. Maybe they prefer watching it on TV or buying dramas. But it’s kind of inevitable that with increased commercialization in China, artificial monopolies like CCTV will lose their monopoly power.

      P.S. I would like to see how “A Bite of China” ranks amongst these. I feel like everyone Chinese I know has watched it.

      • Sa Beining recently signed a contract to Shandong TV. And I just feel CCTV should put out less dramas that keep revolving around topics and eras that people don’t tend to be able to connect to with the new generation. I feel CCTV does some of the best jobs in terms of script for whatever topic compared to other tv channels doing the same kind of topic but CCTV just needs to catch up a little bit more and be more open. :D

        • That was a rumor. It was in fact Wang Kai and not Sa Beining: http://media.people.com.cn/n/2013/0412/c40606-21108000.html

          As long as CCTV isn’t actively trying to stop entertainment *cough* their embarrassing Korea-China concert every year *cough*, I think the best strategy for CCTV is not to try to be “hip” through entertainment, but to focus on specializing through things they have a comparative advantage at. I would personally rather they develop their documentary channel and their more serious law & economy reporting. There’s more than enough provincial channels who can compete in entertainment that there’s no need for CCTV to jump on the bandwagon.

          • HAHAHAHAHA!!! I think I’ve seen the 2011 Korea-China concert before. It must have been deadbeat embarrassing for you chinese. I didn’t understand why China couldn’t have sent its youthful and popular actors, singers, etc. to the concert. It would give those koreans a taste of the new Chinese industry.

  9. So much Qing-dynasty dramas in the top T_T
    I feel like the Idols = views argument is flawed, because many of those top idols didn’t make it to the top until after the dramas air’ed. In fact, many of these dramas feature people who were barely know before the dramas aired (iPartment, Temptation series,most of the military dramas). The one that I find the most surprising is Refueling Mother, though, because that was terrible from the first minute, so the combination power of Hunan TV + Mike He must be really great to pull that drama through.

    • I think this is where you see more clearly the distinction between watching dramas on TV and watching dramas online. I agree that series like iPartment essentially launched the careers of the stars, so you can’t really say that the series became popular because of the idols in it. But with online streaming/downloading, dramas still have an opportunity to gain new viewers and fans even after they’ve stopped airing on TV. And if the actors became popular because of the series, then new viewers/fans will search up the series because they’ve heard their friends and peers talking about the actors. So that might be what the article was getting at…?

      Also, I’d never heard of Refueling Mother before I read the article, but just looking at the synopsis and the name made me wonder why the hell it was on this list. xD Did not know Mike He had that much star power, lol.

    • Depends on what you are into. Some people still haven’t grown out of idol-ish dramas and still like honey-sweetness so this is not for them… This drama is probably a bit more cruelly realistic… from a human relations standpoint… and for people who are a bit tired of idol dramas and that kind of stuff it is very refreshing.

      • As someone who is not a fan of intrigue dramas at all, I don’t think this drama is for people who are simply tired of idol dramas. It’s certainly not overly simple like idol dramas, but I don’t think Zhenhuan’s world is particular realistic, neither.
        In general, I think if you like intrigue dramas, this is probably at the top of the pack, but if you don’t like that genre, there’s no reason to watch it.

    • As darklight said, it’s not a completely realistic drama and it’s not for everyone. But it feels much more realistic than the typical sappy period dramas…and I’d say you should try it out if you like darker, more serious dramas. If you prefer happy upbeat dramas then it probably wouldn’t be for you.

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