What a well-written opening scene that begs for better directing and editing. Even in this short opening, scriptwriter Zhu Zhu shows her ambitions to create dramatic effects while trying to showcase the uniqueness of the rule of reason that marked Emperor Renzong’s rule in what’s essentially a bioepic of the emperor. Unfortunately, Zhu Zhu’s epic is constrained by Zhang Kaizhou’s directing (or lack thereof). I have no idea what is going in his mind in some of the creative decisions.
The drama opens with the frazzled wet nurse of the Emperor Renzong hurrying through the Palace. Immediately we get that something is up. The scene cuts to the emperor finishing up a calligraphy piece of the “Classic of Filial Piety“, and then asking her to come in. We see that the wet nurse is scared by this meeting, and the Emperor Renzong turns abruptly. What’s this meeting about and why is she so scared while he so calm? The tension builds and both the nurse and the audience expects anger or blame, but all we hear is a soft-spoken question: “What do you think of my calligraphy?”
Here’s a compilation of the much more enticing TV spots for Serenade of Peaceful Joy (formerly Held in the Lonely Castle), focusing on the relationships between the Emperor (Wang Kai) and his Empress (Jiang Shuying), favorite concubine (Wang Churan), daughter (Ren Min), and first love (Crystal Zhang Tian’ai), as well as that between the Princess and her first crush (Ding Jiawen), husband, eunuch (Bian Cheng), and father.
The drama has been moved back to April 7th due to a national day of mourning for victims of the coronavirus on April 4th.
So SARFT has decided to give Held in the Lonely Castle a new name, and the historical drama is now going by the name Serenade of Peaceful Joy 清平乐. The new name is the title of a popular song during the Song Dynasty commonly used by poets to pen lyrics of common life, a reference to the peaceful and prosperous reign under the Emperor Renzong, in part perhaps due to the high and lonely standards the Emperor held for himself and his family. Wang Kai plays the emperor stuck between a rock and hard place, while Jiang Shuying costars as his empress.
The 69 episode drama airs daily on Hunan TV beginningApril 6 April 7.
Despite the name change, there is definitely not an iota of joy in the new trailer below.
Hunan TV has released previews for some of its 2020 shows. Do note that schedules and even broadcasters are subject to change due to updates to censorship policy and budget. Which dramas are you looking forward to most?