Xu Kai, Li Yitong, Tan Jianci cast in Tang dynasty panorama

Not caving into the recent trend of looking to Japan for inspiration for Tang Dynasty aesthetics is a focus of the drama, how well do the first stills do?

Aiming to be a panorama of early Tang dynasty life, the latest Yu Zheng-produced drama features merchants, pirates, the military, and princes finding love and success in the early Tang dynasty.  Based on the script by author Fengnong, Journey of a Tang Dynasty Woman 大唐女儿行 began filming earlier this month with a young cast consisting of Xu Kai (The Legends) , Li Yitong (Bloody Romance), Tan Jianci (Secrets of the Three Kingdoms) , Fan Shiqi (Where the Lost Ones Go), Wu Jiayi ( Untouchable Lovers), and Jiang Mengjie (Sword Master) . The series has already been brought by Hong Kong channel TVB.

Xu Kai plays Cheng Chumo, the son of Cheng Yaojin and a profligate youth who chooses to make a name for himself after falling in love with Fu Rou (Li Yitong).    While he goes to fight pirates in the open waters, Fu Rou leaves behind her merchant family to become a master weaver in the palace.  There, she meets Prince Li Ke (Tan Jianci) and Marines General Yan Zifang and becomes entangled in the fight for the Crowned Prince. Fan Shiqi plays Cheng Chumo’s brother while Wu Jiayi plays his love interest, the Princess Qinghe.  Ma Yue and Miao Pu play the Emperor Li Shimin and the Empress Zhangsun. Together, the protagonists must fight on all fronts to save their families and the future of the Tang Dynasty.

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Friday Photos

The Legends‘ two female sect leaders have their own poster and theme song  to celebrate their friendship.

Posters, stills, photoshoots, and random photos that caught my eye this week.

Photos this week includes Angelababy, Cai Xukun, Liu Haoran, Wu Lei, Bai Jingting, Dilraba, Chen Wenqi, Ouyang Nana, Guan Xiaotong, Zheng Yecheng, Zhang Yunlong, Xu Kai, as well as Bai Lu X Xiao Yan for The Legends, Song Qian X Song Weilong for Love Actually, Chen Feiyu and He Landou for film With You.

First moving look at Song Qian X Song Weilong for Love Actually

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The Legends stills of Xu Kai as Moqing

” I want to protect Lu Zhaoyao, but also protect the earth and world that she loves” –  Moqing

Here is a new set of stills of Xu Kai as Li Chenlan / Moqing, the youth prophecied for wickedness who spent his life fulfilling the female lead’s visions of good. He’s very perfect person.

The Legends 招摇 is based on the book of the same name by Jiu Lu Fei Xiang and directed by Steven Cheng. It’s available on Youtube here and airs two episodes every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

Baby Moqing is such a sweetheart.

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Review: The Legends is a fast-paced wuxia rom-com with two great female leads

Featuring two female leads with character flaws and character growth, The Legends has one of the best written female friendships of late.

The Legends 招摇 might be the best wuxia-ish drama with a female lead out yet (I know, low bar), and the three leads might have my favorite drama lead dynamic since The Disguiser.  The currently-airing drama is still a funny, cute rom-com at heart, but it’s one of the few wuxia that treats its female leads’ ambitions no different than a male lead.  It  reminds me of Wicked the musical with its polar-opposite female leads who share a room and who change each other for good. One of them is pushed into wickedness after being called so by the leader of the land, but the other believes in her even after the world has deemed her wicked. The romance plot reminds me of The Disguiser, with the male lead being in love with not just the female lead but her visions for the world.

update: You should stop watching the moment Zhaoyao explodes because that is when the series also explodes as they go into original content. Everyone becomes out of character and the plot is a mix of cringe+boring+??? after that. 

Zhaoyao (Bai Lu) starts off as a young girl fed naive visions of helping her people “become good” by her mentor and first crush. Yet when he condemns to death an innocent youth prophecied for evil, she is horrified and rebels against him.  Her mentor ends up killing her grandfather while she saves the youth. After being told repeatedly she’s wicked by everyone, Zhaoyao chooses to become wicked. She sets out to build a ruthless empire, killing both her mentor and her old dreams along the way.

Five years later, the “righteous” sects gang up on her and she is killed. The youth she saved, Li Chenlan (Xu Kai), takes over her sect and rebuilds it in her original vision. When she magically returns from death, she finds that her acres of traps and torture equipment have all been converted to pastures and tools for the villagers. Enraged by this sign of betrayal, she goes back to her sect undercover and spends every day trying to seduce and/or kill Li Chenlan.  All this happens in the first five episodes! 

Zhaoyao: Who would be so shameless as to want to care for the most wicked person alive? Zhiyan: I’m that shameless.

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Friday Photos: Photographer Xiaoming

LOVE LOVE LOVE

With a super distinctive style of bringing frames into photos, photographer Xiaoming is a rising star with unique looks. Here are some pictures of his for Xu Kai, Chen Ruoxuan, Lin Yanjun, Sodagreen, Wu Tsing-Fong of Jikejunyi, Jiang Yingrong, Tia Ray, and Super Vocal’s Ayunga and Zheng Yunlong,
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Promo Round-up: The Legends

The Legends tells the story of Lu Zhaoyao (Bai Lu), the leader of the demonic Ten Thousand Killings Cult who is ambushed and wounded by the immortal sects, and ‘returns from the dead’ to exact revenge on her enemies. Xu Kai plays the loyal guard who has a crush on Zhaoyao, yet is misunderstood by the heroine to be a betrayer after he abruptly takes over her cult in the aftermath. [Extended Synopsis]

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The Story of Yanxi Palace is the most googled show of the year on Earth

All hail the Emperor.

Despite a large portion its audience using Baidu, The Story of Yanxi Palace 延禧攻略 is the most googled show of the year all over the globe. The tv series was the only Chinese name to make it on any of the lists on Google’s Top Searches of the Year released today.

The show has shot to fame its stars Wu Jinyan and Xu Kai, and re-launched  the careers of Nie Yuan, Qin Lan,  Charmaine Sheh, and most importantly producer Yu Zheng. After a successful online run, it received successful runs on TV in the mainland, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.  You can watch the hit show English subbed on Viki and Chinese subbed on Youtube.

Photoshoot round-up: couples

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Here are some recent photoshoots of people being cute together,  featuring Ma Sichun X Jing BoranWu Lei X Chun Xia, Zhang Tian’ai X Huang Zitao, Zhao Wei X Alec Su,  Wu Jinyan Xu Kai, Zhang Yuxi Kenji Chen, and Zhu Zhiling X Li Gengxi.   Which couple has the most chemistry?
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Wu Jinyan, Zhang Zhehan’s Zhaoge releases new trailer, stills to show off on-location scenery

Zhaoge is one of several stunning upcoming series shot on-location in Xinjiang. Others include Novoland : Eagle Flag, Ever Night: Dawn of the Empire, and Handsome Siblings.

Wow the cast of this Zhaoge 朝歌 has had done well since it started filming –   Li Yitong and Legend of the Condor Heroes,  Bai Yu in Guardian, Zhang Zhehan and Merxat in Legend of Yunxi, and then the current breakout hit of Wu Jinyan and Xu Kai in The Story of Yanxi Palace.

The Shang dynasty epic stars Wu Jinyan, Zhang Zhehan, Bao Jianfeng, Gillian Chung, Merxat, Xu Kai, Li Yitong, Puff Kuo, Jiang Yiyi, Hai Lu  , Bai Yu, Bai Lu, Chen Shu, Liu Min, Lian Lian, Deng Sha, Zhang Jianing, He Hongshan, and Liu Zhiyang.

Given their successes, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Zhaoge airing soon.

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