24th Magnolia Awards

White Deer Plain was nominated in every single category, and took home three awards. He Bing took home the top acting award for his performance in The Love of Courtyard, though he was equally impressive in White Deer Plain (I really need to pick this show up again).

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XDRAMAsX’s 2017 Drama Review

2017 was a much better year for dramas in general (I’m actually more excited for 2018-2019, as all the movie actors are returning to the small screen), with several shows hitting it out of the park in terms of ratings and/or online popularity.

Web dramas really started to gain traction this year – in fact, I’m marathoning two right now, and each one stands out for various reasons, whether it be high production values or tight storytelling. These online shows have become an outlet for creativity due to the strict censorship rules applied to television dramas, though SARPPFT has decided to nip it in the bud by making web dramas undergo the same rigorous process before premiering online. Hopefully the streaming sites continue to come up with quality fare in the future despite the roadblocks that are being put in place.

WARNING: Long post ahead.

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Zhuge Liang finally appears in new stills for The Advisors Alliance

The Advisors Alliance became less addictive ever since the awesome Cao Cao (Yu Hewei) and Yang Xiu (Zhai Tianlin) passed away, but these new stills have definitely piqued my interest for part 2 of the drama.

Part 2 will focus on Sima Yi’s conflict with Zhuge Liang (Wang Luoyong) and Cao Shuang (Du Yiheng). His deteriorating relationship with the Cao family eventually paves the way for the Sima family’s coup d’état.

The Advisors Alliance: Howling Tiger, Roaring Dragon is set to air sometime in the Fall.

Behind-the-scenes: (1), (2)

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The Advisors Alliance: Howling Tiger, Roaring Dragon trailer

Part 2 of The Advisors Alliance 大军师司马懿之虎啸龙吟 has released  a trailer, and it looks much more exciting than how the first one ended. The quality of part 1 went  down half way through when Cao Cao died and Sima Yi got involved in a love triangle, though I still recommend it for Cao Cao and the cute Cao Pi-Guo Zhao ship.  Hopefully season 2 will focus more on   strategy and nation-building (and the Sima sons) instead of unappetizing love triangles

The Advisors Alliance review: ep. 1 -4

Cao Pi: Here’s your sword back.
Guo Zhao: This isn’t mine.
Cao Pi: It was mine. Now it’s yours.   #HowToGift101

Episode 3,  scene X:   Yang Xiu ,   the ambitious antagonist in the first few episodes, had just kicked off a dying Sima Yi into the river.  He is relieved, proud of what he has accomplished.

When he is left alone , he  turns to see his hands in the dimming night.  There’s blood on his hands.  He realizes what he has done, betraying his father’s trust and hope for a Han alliance, murdering at least two men.  He screams into the night.

The scene is representative of how The Advisors Alliance 军师联盟 has so far treated its characters – as complex and contradicting human beings.

With a rich set of characters, a fast-paced plot, thoughtful but colloquial dialogue, and just the right amount of romance and humor mixed in,   The Advisors Alliance is probably the best scripted ancient drama in the past couple of years. (more…)

Promo Round-up: The Advisors Alliance

The Advisors Alliance takes viewers to the ever-popular Three Kingdoms era, and this time the entire story will be told from Sima Yi’s (Wu Xiubo) perspective. Liu Tao (Ode to Joy 2) plays his fierce wife Zhang Chunhua while Janine Chang (Midnight Diner) plays Bai Lingyun, a spy from the Cao faction and Sima Yi’s concubine. Xiao Shunyao and Tan Jianci from M.I.C. costar as sons Sima Shi and Sima Zhao.

On the other side we have the Cao household, led by Yu Hewei (I Am Not Madame Bovary) as warlord Cao Cao and Li Chen (variety show Keep Running) as Cao Pi. Tang Yixin (Psychologist) and Zhang Zhixi (Three Heroes and Five Gallants) star as the latter’s consorts.

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M.I.C. Tan Jianci, Xiao Shunyao sign acting deals with Wu Xiubo

Weird out by how brother-like the M.I.C. boys were, Wu Xiubo signed Tan Jianci and Xiao Shunyao on the spot to play his sons.

Wu Xiubo was such a big fan of his family in The Advisor’s Alliance that he signed management deals with all the main male characters.  That’s right, in addition to Wang Dong (who plays his brother and who you might remember opposite Dilraba in Diamond Lover),   Wu Xiubo’s two sons in the series –  M.I.C. boyband’s Tan Jianci and Xiao Shunyao- now have acting management deals!  Don’t worry, they’re still managed by Taihe music-wise.

During the press conference for the drama on June 8th, Wu Xiubo said that they had looked at many actors for the role of the brothers, but none of them had chemistry with each other.  Watching Jianci and Yaoyao eat before their audition, Wu Xiubo  was  struck by how close they were.  “Even by looking from the side, the way they ate and interacted with each other were so much like real brothers. I thought it was so strange,” Wu said.     He then gave them a script to read and hired them on the spot.  So happy to know that M.I.C. still loves each other (especially given the recent Top Combine fallout). 

Following playing Sima Zhao,   Jianci stars as the Emperor to the Sima family,  Cao Pi , in  Tangren’s new Three Kingdoms drama.  Meanwhile, post his Sima Shi gig,  Yaoyao  is currently filming an idol drama with Fan Shiqi.

Congrats, boys! Now please go record your group album already. IT’S BEEN FIVE YEARS.

A kiss for you, a kiss for you, a kiss for all my sons!