Okay, so I’ve been in a crazy book slump recently and that extends all the way to a strange drama slump. Work’s been crazy crazy stressful and I’ve just not been in the mood for watching nor reading anything… Except for Chinese dramas. Scratch that, one specific drama to be exact. It’s the strangest kind of slump that I’ve ever been in, but well. Maybe my brain got rewired and decided that it was time for me to get in touch with my Chinese roots, again.
So where do I start… I found out about The Glory of Tang Dynasty through weibo and watched the trailer on youtube. (If you’re new to c-dramas, by trailer, I really mean a 15 to 30min sneak preview of the entire show) From the trailer alone, it looked pretty epic, costuming, cinematography, plot… And interestingly enough, there wasn’t an A-lister cast to back up the drama. You have experienced actors but the main cast generally comprised of good actors, who weren’t exactly popular, especially amongst the younger crowd. That plus the fact that the male lead is pretty much new to the scene (his first lead role!).
Fast forward to me picking up the show. After watching just 2 episodes, I was in, hook, line, sinker. Despite the lack of a well-known cast, they had quite a few things going for them (compelling plot, gorgeous outfits, cinematography) and in China, they’re kinda the black horse right now. Granted, views wise, they still lacking behind waaaay more popular shows like General and I (just ended) and the direct competitor, Three Lives Three Worlds Ten Miles of Peach Blossom. But there’s a pretty strong following in their homeland and the male lead is enjoying an immense popularity surge, thanks to his decent acting and characterization. Definitely a win on that.
[Possible spoilers ahead]
The drama is set in Tang Dynasty and was adapted from a novel – Legend of Zhen Zhu. The novel focuses strongly on the life of Shen Zhenzhu (Empress Ruizhen), but the drama moves the focus a little more over to Li Chu (Prince of Guangping, eventual Emperor Daizong) and the historical events during that period. Granted, they did take some liberties with the timeline, but generally speaking, the drama wasn’t too bad in terms of accuracy. The first 30 odd episodes has its fair share of romance (yay for otp moments!) and politics. The romance moved pretty quickly, and our otp had their fair share of cute and angst. Now that we’re 40 episodes in, the angst is taking over in full force and reaching an all time high. Although I hate that our otp won’t be sharing the same screen for 10 odd eps, I’m actually also looking forward to the seeing how the Anshi Rebellion is being played out. And of course, for our second female lead, Dugu Jingyao ,to finally appear, much as I hate that she’ll be THE wedge between our otp.
I actually do want to recommend this show to everyone and anyone who would even listen to me (hence this post). I guess the biggest draw is definitely the chemistry between the lead characters, an interesting enough plot that’s generally true to history and the gorgeous gorgeous outfits. I could honestly do an entire post dedicated to the outfits of each and every character, but mostly our leads. One amazing thing about this production is that they spared no expenses on their props (300,000RMB on Li Chu’s sword, I’m speechless) and outfits, and it really does show.
Sadly, there’re no english subs out at the moment and I’m not quite sure if there even will be subtitles coming out any time soon. Woes of a show without a popular cast 😦 I have been toying around with the idea of doing episodic recaps, but it’s crazy time consuming and I’m not quite sure if anyone would even read them (hah). And of course, there’s also the issue of me not having written any sort of recaps before, so…
Buuuuut, if you’re not a fan of angst or sad endings, then stay far away from this drama. If history isn’t a good enough indication of how this drama would end, the cast themselves would tell you that everyone pretty much gets a bad ending. Yes, they actually said it pretty happily during the press conference, spoilers be damned.
And as a wise netizen on weibo said:
The only thing that’s angstier/more torturous than The Glory of Tang Dynasty is the next episode of The Glory of Tang Dynasty.
With that, I’ll leave you with some glorious photos, which I’ve already been spamming on Twitter.