Zhao Liying (Princess Agents) plays the titular lead in The Story of Minglan, an upcoming female-centric period drama produced by Daylight Entertainment, the company behind popular dramas Nirvana in Fire and Ode to Joy.
The matriarch of the Sheng family (Cao Cuifen) takes Minglan under her wing, and teaches her young granddaughter the ways of the inner courtyard, the only place most noble ladies will ever know. Minglan’s father (Liu Jun) values her half-sisters Molan (Shi Shi) and Rulan (Zhang Jianing) more, though our heroine eventually attracts his attention through her own wit and intelligence.
Minglan’s childhood sweetheart Qi Heng (Zhu Yilong) is the perfect second male lead who has an unrequited love for Minglan, while male lead Gu Tingye (Feng Shaofeng) is a pleasure-seeking noble who has already fathered two children with Manniang (Li Yixiao), a sly woman from the pugilist world who wants to become his principal wife.
Gu Tingye turns over a new leaf after becoming a trusted official of the eighth prince, though Minglan still has to deal with his scheming step-mother and concubine after marrying into his household.
70 episodes is way too long for a Zhang Kaizhou (Ode to Joy 2) directed family drama that focuses on the in-fighting between wives and concubines, though I may pull through for the actors and writers Zeng Lu and Wu Tong, the pair behind the much-lauded Battle of Changsha.