Flashback: Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils 2003 stills

This still looks exactly like the illustrations in Jin Yong books.

Often lauded as director Zhang Jizhong’s best Jin Yong drama, his adaptation of Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils has all of his fortes without any of his weaknesses. A perfect combination of solid hand-to-hand combat and artistic license in the action choreography, a stunning cast in equally stunning on-location scenery, a focus on the grandeur of the stories but finally with nuanced relationships and chemistry between the characters. Hu Jun is truly one of the few actors who pulls off the rugged-at-large-soft-in-the-heart Xiao Feng, while Jimmy Lin’s idol-drama-take on Duan Yu makes him much more likable than the original character. Liu Tao’s Ah-Zhu was the first TV character who made me cry, while Jiang Xin’s Mu Wuantong remains her most gorgeous role to date. Chen Hao and Shu Chang also gave amazing performances as two complex female antagonists.

The impeccably cast series stars Hu Jun, Jimmy Lin, Gao Hu, Liu Tao, Chen Hao, Jiang Xin, Shu Chang, Liu Yifei, Yang Rui, Xiu Qing, Tong Chun-Chung, Christy Chung, Diana Pang, etc.

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CCTV premieres 14 episode drama about China’s COVID-19 response

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Heroes in Harm’s Way 最美逆行者 dramatises China’s response to the virus outbreak in Wuhan, and will feature 7 x 2 episode shorts. Leading actors include Chen Shu, Yang Zhigang, Sa Rina, Li Yixiao, Xu Jiao, Kan Qingzi, Cheng Taisen, Niu Junfeng, Ma Tianyu, Su Qing, Han Xue, Zhang Ming’en and Xiao Yan.

The 14 episode anthology series premieres on CCTV-1 tonight. Another COVID-19 drama is also slated to air later this month.

Promo Round-up: The Long Night

The literal translation is The Silent Truth.

It’s here! The much anticipated The Long Night stars Bai Yu as an upright prosecutor who is found dead in a suitcase. Liao Fan and Tan Zhuo costar. [Character descriptions]

iQiyi’s mystery thrillers have all been messed up by censors to some degree (apparently Sisyphus went back and forth between the editing room and SARFT 8 times), so I’m trying to keep my expectations low for this one.

The 12 episode drama will be English-subbed on the iQiyi app.

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Hu Ge begins filming Wong Kar-wai’s Blossoms Shanghai

Based on Jin Yucheng’s award-winning story, Blossoms Shanghai 繁花 tells the story of Ah-Bao (Hu Ge), a young entrepreneur eager to climb the social ladder during China’s economic boom. Tang Yan costars as one of his three love interests.

The 30 episode web drama is directed by Wong Kar-wai and written by Qin Wen (The First Half of My Life, Love Yourself) and began filming a few days ago. The director was previously attached to an Amazon-produced crime drama Tong Wars – that project has now been dropped.

Bai Yu, Song Zu’er, Mao Xiaotong play siblings in The Bond

The Bond 乔家的儿女 is an upcoming family drama that will span 30 years and stars Bai Yu as the oldest son of the Qiao family. He becomes the sole guardian of his four younger siblings after their mother’s death, and the children of the Qiao family learn to stand by each other through thick and thin.

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Xiao Yang, Zhao Liying, Dong Zijian cast in upcoming crime thriller

Photo by Yin Chao

iQiyi crime thriller Who Is Murderer 谁是凶手 comes from director Sun Hao (Joy of Life, Bad Guys Must Die) and stars Xiao Yang and Dong Zijian as police officers and Zhao Liying as a doctor. Initial sources reported the drama as an adaption of the Baiyin Murders. The original synopsis is translated below:

In 2006, rookie police officer Leng Xiaobing (Xiao Yang) comes face to face with the serial killer responsible for the rape-murders of eight women. However, he is unable to fire, and the killer disappears from sight. Ten years later, police academy graduate Xia Mu (Dong Zijian) joins the local detective team. Unbeknowst to most, Xia Mu is the sole witness of the last murder, and suddenly, all the clues begin to converge.

Yang Zi, Jing Boran cast in healing drama Psychologist

Yang Zi plays He Dun, the titular character in the loose adaption of Bi Shumin’s novel of the same name. The drama will follow the heroine’s growth trajectory as she comes to accept and understand her childhood trauma and learns to repair her relationship with her mother. Jing Boran costars as Qian Kaiyi, the co-host of He Dun’s radio show and her love interest.

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Cheng Yi, Zhao Yingzi’s The Promise of Chang’an premieres tonight

The Promise of Chang’an is a remake of 2003 classic The Secret History of Xiaozhuang and stars Zhao Yingzi, Cheng Yi and Han Dong in a Tang dynasty love triangle.

The 68 episode drama comes from the director-writer team behind this year’s xianxia romance Love and Redemption, and will release 2 episodes every Thurs-Sat on Tencent. English subs should be available on WeTV.