XDRAMAsX’s 2018 Drama Review

I didn’t actually watch Secret of the Three Kingdoms, but Wan Qian‘s Fu Shou is so pretty I just had to include her in my post.

It’s that time of year again, when I collect all my thoughts on the dramas I watched over the past year. I vowed to watch many of the shows in the discarded list because they starred my favourites, conveniently forgetting that good actors cannot always elevate the quality of a drama.

On the other hand, dramas that weren’t initially on my radar ended up becoming the shows I was most invested in, probably because I had zero expectations going in. What are your thoughts on this year’s drama offerings?

Collection of Cfensi’s past reviews can be found here.

**Spoilers ahead, do proceed with caution.

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Promo Round-up: The Story of Minglan

The Story of Minglan stars Zhao Liying (Our Glamorous Time) as Minglan, the seemingly naive sixth daughter of the Sheng family, Feng Shaofeng (Detective Dee) as her husband-to-be and Zhu Yilong (Guardian) as the heroine’s first love. [Extended Synopsis / Main Characters] 

The 73 episode drama airs 2 episodes every Sunday to Thursday and 1 episode on Fridays and Saturdays on Hunan TV / Netdrama.

Promos: Long Trailer, Final Trailer 2Marriage, First Love, A Bite of…, The Concubine’s Daughter

Music: Do You Know? by Hu Xia and Yu Kewei (Zhao Liying and Feng Shaofeng ver.)

Opening theme (artist: Zhang Yu)

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Friday Photos

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A new still of Liu Yifei for The Love of Hypnosis to celebrate Daxue

Posters, stills, photoshoots, and random photos that caught my eye this week. This week is all mostly rising actors with a few drama stills

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Air date update, December 2018

The dramas with unconfirmed air dates will most likely air late December / early January.

That City, This Family 那座城这家人 – Dec 2
Starring: Ma Yuan, Tong Lei
Details: 44 episodes, daily drama on Hunan TV
Survivors from the Tangshan earthquake bond and form a new family.

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Stills and trailer round-up: Chinese Valentine’s Day edition

Dramas usually release a plethora of goodies on Chinese Valentine’s Day, and this year is no exception. Which shows are you looking forward to most?

Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace – Zhou Xun, Wallace Huo

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Second trailer and more stills for The Story of Minglan

The Story of Minglan has released an official trailer that gives us more insight into the schemes that concubines engage in in the inner courtyard so that their daughters can secure good marriages. Sheng Minglan (Zhao Liying) has a happy ending with Gu Tingye (Feng Shaofeng), while Qi Heng (Zhu Yilong) is the classic second male lead who doesn’t get the girl. [Extended Synopsis]

Has anyone counted how many times Daylight Ent has used Nirvana in Fire instrumentals as trailer music?

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First stills for Zhao Liying’s The Story of Minglan

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. 

[Extended Synopsis]

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Sinology Sunday: Drinking games and Poetry Flows

A “streamline” banquet in The Story of Minglan

If you’re watching The Story of Minglan, you might be able to see a fancy way of dining that involves placing food on a table with running water. Did people really eat that way? Well, rich Asians are going to be crazy.

This style of eating has two potential origins. One is from a popular drinking game dating back to at least 353 AD called 曲水流觞,  literally “In the winding stream flows vessels of alcohol”.   In this  popular drinking game (among fancy people)   you place a cup of alcohol on a floating device in the “river”, and wherever the cup stops, the person has to drink and compose a poem. If you can’t compose a poem you have to drink three extra cups.  The most famous recorded of such was such an event in AD 353 held by calligrapher Wang Xizhi where he wrote the famous Lantingji Xu.   You can see a depiction of this in The Secret of the THree Kingdoms. This origin is very well-documented, and is actually popular, but it was usually used for drinking games only and not full meals.

 

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The Story of Minglan releases teaser after just a month of filming

This is the fastest release of a teaser I have ever seen, and it actually looks really good. Daylight Ent deserves brownie points for using on-site recording (I’m hoping it stays in the final product, since most of the line reading is excellent) and a muted colour palette.

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