Promo Round-up: My Heroic Husband

My Heroic Husband features Zhang Ruoyun as a calculating businessman who is reborn in ancient times as the titular husband Ning Yi (Guo Qilin). He marries Su Tan’er (Song Yi), daugher of a rich merchant, and together, they build a business empire. Jiang Yiyi, Gao Shuguang costar, while Zhu Zhu and Tian Yu guest star.

The 36 episode drama releases 2 episodes every Sunday to Tuesday on iQiyi.

Ending theme by Zheng Yunlong, Trailer 2

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Promo Round-up: The Qin Empire IV

The Qin Empire IV is the final instalment of the acclaimed historical drama series, and focuses on the unification of China by Qin Shihuang (Zhang Luyi). Costars include Duan Yihong, Li Naiwen, Zhu Zhu, Xin Baiqing, Zhu Zhu and Vivian Wu.

The drama airs 3 episodes daily on CCTV-8 beginning tonight.

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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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Review: Serenade of Peaceful Joy

Serenade of Peaceful Joy is an uneven mix of brilliance, dullness, and utter confusion that leaves me both hating and loving it at the same time.

Have you ever wondered why there are so many TV series about Emperors who excelled in war and conquest but so few about those in times of peace? It’s easy to feel the burst of adrenaline in conquest and the suffering caused by war, but how do you get the audience to feel peace or economic prosperity? There’s no moment to declare “victory” in peace nor “winning” in the economy (unless you have a five-year plan).

This is perhaps why the ruler of one of the most economically and culturally prosperous reigns in Chinese history- – the Emperor Renzong of Song – has never been depicted as a main character before. Director Zhang Kaizhou and scriptwriter Zhu Zhu tackle this difficult subject with varying success in Serenade of Peaceful Joy (formerly Held in the Closed Castle).

The series has two main focuses – there’s the palace drama with plenty of creative liberties, and then the court drama that feels like a dramatized documentary. The family of the narrator for the original story, the eunuch Huaiji, connects the two to the outside world to occasionally show how small choices in the palace can have huge ripple effects in the real world.

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Mini-Review: The first five minutes of Serenade of Peaceful Joy is all substance but no serenade

Beautifully designed, written, and acted, Serenade of Peaceful Joy is unfortunately held back by poor directing that leaves way too much work for the audience.

I have so many thoughts about Serenade of Peaceful Joy aka Held in the Lonely Castle that I feel like I need multiple posts to cover even the first few episodes, so here is the first one focusing on the very first five minutes of the drama.

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?”

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Qi Wei, Tony Yang’s medical drama releases stills

Breath of Destiny 一起深呼吸 stars Tony Yang and Qi Wei as medics deployed to a desolate island in the South Pacific as part of China’s foreign aid program. They’re met with a huge storm and extreme weather as soon as they arrive, and must race against time to save the locals as well as uncover a the truth behind a conspiracy.

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Promo Round-up: The Best Partner

Upcoming legal drama The Best Partner stars Jin Dong as a succesful attorney and Lan Yingying as a budding lawyer. The drama’s supporting and guest star lineup features Liu Mintao, Zhu Zhu, Tian Yu, Dai Xu, Sun Chun, Wang Ou, Wu Yue, Vivian Wu, Yuan Quan and Qiao Zhenyu, just to name a few.

The 48 episode drama airs daily on Dragon TV/Beijing TV beginning tonight.

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Jin Dong, Lan Yingying’s legal drama releases first stills

First stills are here for Jin Dong and Lan Yingying’s The Best Partner, a workplace drama that can probably do without a love line between the main leads. Sun Chun, Tian Yu, Liu Mintao, Zhu Zhu, Dai Xu and Vivan Wu costar. Wang Ou and Wu Yue guest star. [Extended Synopsis]

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Zhang Luyi unifies China in new trailer for The Qin Empire IV

The latest trailer for the fouth and last instalment of the The Qin Empire TV series introduces Ying Zheng’s (Zhang Luyi) conquest in more detail, and introduces new cast members that weren’t featured in the introductory teaser. Liu Jun costars as Zhao Dan, Vivian Wu as Ying Zheng’s grandmother Lady Huayang, Wang Qingxiang as Ying Zheng’s great-grandfather Ying Ji and Ye Xiangming as Lao Ai.