Find out why everyone’s raving about these historical and romantic dramas
Mainland China is killing it with their dramas lately. You probably realised that when even your friends who aren’t strong in Mandarin can’t stop talking about Story of Yanxi Palace.
Epic romance, scheming concubines, scandals in the family, amazing fight scenes – these are just some of the ingredients that make Chinese dramas so seriously addictive. Thank goodness almost all of them are over 50 episodes long, so the binge-watching can go on and on. Find your next obsession in these seven Chinese romantic and historical dramas that have captivated audiences all over the world.
1. Story Of Yanxi Palace (延禧宫略)
If you only watch one Chinese drama this year, make it Yanxi Palace. Set during the Qing dynasty, the period drama centres on a young woman who enters the Yanxi Palace of the Forbidden City as a maid, seeking to investigate her sister’s death. She wasn’t expecting to get sucked into the world of backstabbing and jealous concubines who would do anything to move up the “imperial ladder” and become Emperor Qianlong’s favourite. Sounds like a million melodramas you’ve seen before? Well, you haven’t seen a palace intrigue take such a compelling feminist direction. We get distinct and well-rounded female characters (which include Hong Kong’s Charmaine Sheh, who delivers a gripping performance), who fight to survive in the cruel and patriarchal imperial society. With historically authentic costumes and sets to boot, it’s no wonder a record-setting 530 million people tuned into China’s streaming platform iQiyi for the drama in one day.
Start watching the show here. For now, only the first five episodes have English subtitles.