Drama Grab Bag

Another post! I’m on a roll! 😎 Or something. I’ve actually been watching stuff this month and for some odd reason they all happen to be cdramas. Drama Gods work in a mysterious way.

I finally managed to rewatch Of Monks and Masters with subs and it’s still as grand as ever. Still my favorite cdrama and the best historical “modern” (as in – not classic) wuxia I’ve seen to date. It’s also a testament to the prowess of the director and cinematographer that I was able to get as much of the plot as I did even without understanding any of the conversations. I think it was actually beneficial that I had to pay extra attention to just about everything I saw on my screen. Subs just added another layer to it. I believe this was my 3rd full watch of the drama and I’ve certainly watched e.g the last epi way more times than that. What struck me most this time around was how uncompromising Drama is in it’s depiction of ultimaltely, sometimes even tragically, flawed human beings. How hard it is to keep you innate “goodness” when there are temptations everywhere, when odds are heavily stacked against you or when you have been pushed into a corner with seamingly no way out. How unbriddled need for revenge and restitution will fester and slowly but surely poison everything. What do you do when there are no “right” choices to be made? How do you overcome soulsearing grief without turning to full on hatred and madness? Drama manages to tackle all this and more, in addition of telling an intricate and thrilling story… while also looking absolutely gorgeous. Well done! πŸ˜€ My ‘thoughts on’ posts here and here. Subbed YT playlist.

A Dream of Splendor is a drama I came across when browsing through cdramas to watch. It sounded reasonably palatable so I decided to check it out and ended up dramathoning the whole thing. πŸ˜† Not that this means it’s the best thing since sliced bread or anything I have’t seen before, just kinda addicting when you get going. But, for the life of me I can’t seem to remember much of it now, ha. Except that I really liked the main couple and there were quite a few pretty people in pretty dresses and pretty settings. So, here’s a short synopsis, mostly from Wikipedia:

Zhao Pan’er (a former dancer and slave) is the owner of a popular tea shop in Qiantang. She supported Ouyang Xu for 3 years before he went to Bianjing to attempt the imperial exam, promising to marry her once he passes. She discovers that though her fiancΓ© won third place in the imperial examination, he plans to wed the daughter of an official. Ouyang Xu abandoned her for his career. Unwilling to accept her fate, she decides to go to Bianjing and seek justice. On the way, she meets Gu Qianfan, an upright commander from the Imperial City, and they become entangled in a big case in Jiangnan. Zhao Pan’er rescues Song Yinzhang (a respected and gifted Pipa musician, considers Pan’er as an older sister), who was tricked into marriage and abused, and Sun Sanniang (a talented chef and Pan’er’s close friend), who was driven to suicide by her callous husband and son. The three ‘sisters’ travel to Bianjing together. In order not to be driven away from Bianjing by Ouyang Xu, Zhao Pan’er, Song Yinzhang and Sun Sanniang persevere through many hardships and develop a small teahouse into the largest restaurant in Bianjing.

You’ll find a more indepth info and thoughts on A Dream of Splendor in AvenueX’s YT-video. The drama can be found fully subbed in more than one place but here’s YT-playlist.

Annnnnddd to complete my “all Chinese drama grab bag”, let’s talk a bit about currently ongoing Love Like the Galaxy, that seems to have people going all gaga over it. Not a sliced bread either imho but I can attest to the appeal. This is a drama I took a note of already when I first heard of it, mainly because Leo Wu Lei is the male lead. I’d just watched him in The Long Ballad then and thought he was transitioning pretty well into doing more adult roles. I was interested in seeing what he’d make of this new role. Boy is just 22 but has acted most of his life, so he’s actually a veteran in that sense. He’s still got ways to go as an actor though, but there’s also plenty of time for him to hone his acting skills. I was pleasantly surprised of how engeaging Love Like the Galaxy turned out to be. Some episodes managed to make even grumpy old me all emotional. πŸ™‚ So far Drama’s been fluff for the most part but it’s quite well made fluff – there’s a difference. The setting and costumes are decent enough and none of the acting is so bad it’s offending. It’s a nice looking drama with some truly beautiful shots. As far as I can tell, the actors aren’t dubbed, which is a definite plus. The main characters are flawed but likeable and the antagonists have mostly just been amusing. There’s quite a bit of low key humor, which I like. My fave is the Emperor, who’s definitely not based on any real person, ha. He’s adorably funny, at least at the point I am now (ep 30). By all accounts the story is moving towards darker and angstier times but I believe the ending will be happy.

The story revolves around Cheng Shao Shang (Zhao Lusi), who was left behind by her parents when they went to war, and was raised by her scheming aunt. In order to shield herself from the constant abuse and mistreatment, she honed herself to be extra diligent. The plot starts with the return of Shao Shang’s parents. At first, she hopes that her life will improve after reuniting with them. However, years of estrangement have made it difficult for them to become family. As she lacked love her whole life, Cheng Shao Shang is both pragmatic and insecure when it comes to opening up her feelings to others. She soon meets the emperor’s adopted son, Ling Bu Yi (Wu Lei), whom she views as a cold and ruthless person in the beginning. However, that notion changes as she continually finds herself involved with him. Through her interactions with Ling Bu Yi, she unintentionally becomes involved in the mystery surrounding his family and his identity. (Wikipedia)

Drama is available at least @ Viki (up till ep 30) and YT (up till ep 21).



8 thoughts on “Drama Grab Bag

  1. Nice to see you watching more dramas! Galaxy seems to be an upgrade from Zhao Lusi’s previous outing, from the clips I saw. Wu Lei has some potential.

    • I’m back to work now, so drama watching time will be limited again. Summer vacation is always too short, no matter how many days it is. Galaxy has been pretty good so far, but it’s a tad too long so there’s still time for a nosedive. πŸ˜„

  2. And I’m happy to say that I’m watching both A Dream Of Splendor and Love Like The Galaxy! Ok, I’m wayyy behind everyone else, but at least I’m on both trains? 😁

  3. Timescout – I am with you on all of the above. I watched the subbed Monks and Masters and I am going back again as one was still not subbed when you first posted. I need the continuity of watching drama episodes in order. It is good enough to stand the ‘re-watch test of time’.

    I also enjoyed Dream of Splendor, but Love like the Galaxy may turn out to be my number 1 drama of the year. What started kind as a kind of dull CDrama year has heated up and I am quite happy with this!

    • Monks and Maters is truly one of those rare shows that will stand the test of time and repeated watches. I’ve picked up something new every re-watch so far.

      I hadn’t found a decent cdrama to watch since Under the Skin, so coming across two back to back was quite a happy accident. πŸ˜€

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