iQiyi Light On returns with a new line up of mystery dramas

iQiyi has recently released a teaser featuring its upcoming mystery thrillers:

  • Gold Panning – Liao Fan, Chen Feiyu.
  • Who Is The Murderer – Xiao Yang, Dong Zijian, Zhao Liying
  • Wisher – Feng Shaofeng, Wenqi
  • The PavilionDuan Yihong, Hao Lei, Zu Feng, Wu Yue, Bai Yufan. Nineteen years ago, the Xuan family’s youngest sister is murdered, and the family is splintered. Almost two decades later, the broken family reunites after the oldest brother becomes the suspect of a fresh murder.

Last year’s Light On program gave us two critically successful dramas in The Bad Kids and The Long Night – any guesses as to which dramas will stand out from the pack this year? (My pick is The Pavilion, based on cast performance alone)

Political intrigue drama For the Holy Guiguzi now on Youtube with English subs

For the Holy Guiguzi stars Duan Yihong as Gui Guzi, a Warring States politician and strategist who works to abolish slavery. Qi Wei (No Secrets) costars as the calculating princess of Han, Zu Feng (Remain Silent) plays Gui Guzi’s classmate and Ni Dahong (All Is Well) plays the King of Han.

All 52 episodes are now on Youtube (Eng subs in progress):

Huang Bo, Zhou Xun star in Cao Baoping’s new film

Across the Furious Sea 涉过愤怒的海 is the third film in director Cao Baoping’s Burning Hearts 灼心 series, and stars Huang Bo (Crazy Alien) as a fisherman who finds out his daughter was murdered while studying in Japan. Meanwhile Li Miaomiao, the victim’s boyfriend and biggest suspect, has avoided persecution by returning to China with the help of his parents.

In Laohuang’s original novel, the protagonist is a man determined to avenge his daughter, though the film will focus more on family, reconciliation and redemption. Zhou Xun (Last Letter) and Zu Feng (The Mask) costar.

Review: Forever Young is a poignant love letter to the world

 I cried three times in the process of editing this review. This sweepingly beautiful but simple ode to Tsinghua University is a tear-jerker for all seasons.

Set against one of the most stunning visuals of the year, Forever Young 无问西东 tells its simple tales with an incredibly romantic lens that makes it difficult not to admire.  Director Li Fangfang (Heaven Eternal, Love Everlasting) always manages to play my emotions just right to evoke all my emotions for the world she captures.

The film from centers around four loosely connected stories of six characters (played by Wang Leehom, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen, Huang Xiaoming, Tie Zheng, and Chen Chusheng) facing their true selves through making difficult choices, from scary ones like life-and-death decisions to the even scarier decision of picking a college major. Continue reading

Promo Round-up: Game of Hunting

Hu Ge’s most anticipated drama since the end of Nirvana in Fire in 2015Game of Hunting follows protagonist Zheng Qiudong’s journey from an idealistic entrepreneur to a skilled headhunter.

However, the path is far from smooth – his business fails after Bai Liqin’s (Zu Feng) death, and the teaser suggests he also spends time in prison after being betrayed by girlfriend (Jian Renzi). Thankfully Qiudong befriends wise inmate Liu Liangti (cameo by Sun Honglei), who points him in the right direction after he is released. The 45 episode drama begins airing tonight.

Drama opening theme (I’m intrigued by all the symbolism):

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Hu Ge’s Game of Hunting begins in new trailer

Hu Ge’s new drama Game of Hunting 猎场 (previously translated as Hunting Ground) is finally going to see the light of day after a lengthy legal dispute between the production company and broadcasters Hunan TV and LeTV, and has released an official trailer ahead of its premiere in the third quarter of the year.

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Review: Ode to Joy Season I

As Ode to Joy II  欢乐颂 2 is geared up for release, here’s a review of season 1 of the hit series from 2016.

Witty dialogue and a cast of memorable characters make Ode to Joy one of the most fun sit-coms in a while.  Unfortunately, the  series is often dogged down by attempts to shift to a melodrama that makes the ff button a necessary friend.

The series focuses around the unlikely friendship between five women who share a floor in an apartment complex in Shanghai. There’s Andi (An Di?), the business professional with a fear of human touch, Qu Xiaoxiao, the heiress fighting  for the family inheritance,  Fan Shengmei, the gold-digger with an entitled family, Qiu Yingying, the happy-go-lucky college grad,  and Guan Ju’er, the ordinary white-collared girl who has never said no in her life.

Coming from a misogynistic rural  family, Fan Shengmei (Jiang Xin) is vain, self-centered, but also righteous and protective. She would lie to help out a friend, but also to save face. The first lets her befriend the women in the apartment complex, but the second gets her in trouble  as she falls for men who use her vanity to play her.  When she falls in love with a  man faked his own wealth to date her, she is caught between love and vanity.  Imperfect, complex, and sharp-tongued, Fan’s characterization is perfect.

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For the Holy Guiguzi releases uber long trailer

… and we have a winner for the most spoiler-y trailer of all time…

For the Holy Guiguzi, starring Duan Yihong, Qi Wei, Zu Feng, Xu Qiwen, Ni Dahong, Zhang Zhizhong, Wei Zhen, and Cecilia Yip, has recently dropped a really long trailer. It’s so long it comes in parts… really… with English subs.  Don’t ask me why the third one only lasts 1 second…

Long Trailer: 1, 2, 3, 4

 

 

Fools of love trailer for Ode to Joy

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Get used to seeing this pair, because they’re going to be collaborating for two more seasons of Ode to Joy and at least one of detective series When a Snail Falls in Love 如果蜗牛有爱情.

First of all, I’m kind of impressed by their use of English songs in the two trailers so far. Hopefully this bodes well for their rather large OST (all the girls and maybe Wang Kai have their own song). Second, can everyone but maybe Jiang Xin please get a new stylist? There is absolutely nothing young and hip about any of Wang Kai’s outfits.

I still think Ode to Joy 欢乐颂  could be ground-breaking in being a female-centric modern drama that isn’t solely-focused on romance (despite this trailer),  so I have high hopes for this series. I like the end message of the trailer, if anything else.  All the leads have signed up for season 2 and 3 for this drama, so that should indicate the script is really good (or they were emotionally blackmailed).

The series has been pushed back for an April 18th release, and still stars Liu Tao, Jiang Xin, Yang Zi,  Wang Ziwen, Qiao Xin, Zu Feng, Yang Shuo, Zhang Lu,  Wang Kai, Jin Dongand Zhang Xiaoqian,