Produced by Yu Zheng and written by screenwriter Zhang Wei, this is the counterpart to his previous popular series Female Prime Minister. The story tells of the niece of the first female prime minister Ban Zhao. The titular Ban Shu earns her way up to become a teacher at the Royal Female Academy formed by the Empress Deng Wei. However, her job in the court becomes much harder when conspiracies begin to take place, as a result she decides to leave the court to spread the Han culture.
Cast & Credits
The thing that I love about this drama is the superb cast. The actress who played Banshu is not a very popular actress but I must say, she exceeded by expectations! Banshu is a very rash and cheerful girl, and the actress played the character really well. Really love it. The actor who played Wei Ying is also not a popular actor but I am charmed but him. He has the looks, the charisma...and his daily outfit in the drama is a white robe (prince charming), I am not surprise that his character managed to charm so many female characters in the show coz I am here being separated by a screen and could still get charmed. His acting skills are just bonuses.
Banshu's character can be a little rash at times and her actions are often exaggerated but I love her so much! She doesn't really know the palace etiquette and doesn't act like the normal gentle female teacher (????teacher who tutors the female students), but this is what make her special. She often does not care abt her image and behaves how she wants to behave. But what makes her so likeable is that she is so selfless. She cares a lot abt Wei Ying although he always reprimand her, places people before herself, saves her students' lives more than once despite them not liking her, and so on. Although she is very strict with her students and punishes them even though they are all daughters of high ranking officials, she is actually doing them good. For example, she makes them run around the court yard after seeing them all skinny and frail and she even gave the child emperor a good beating after the males students from ?? (an imperial all boys school)played a prank on her. It's very heartening to see her managing to earn the utmost respect of all students in the end.
The empress dowager in the story is not your typical evil old lady. She is actually quite young. She's the one who instructed Banshu to tutor the female students and gave her the permission to change the way the girls behave. After that, she ordered Banshu to teach the males form ?? coz she's disappointed that only 2 students signed up for the imperial exams and that all professors in charge of teaching the male students are all on sick leave (including Wei Ying) because of the palace fire. She sent Banshu coz she knows that Banshu fears nothing, not even high ranking officials' sons or daughters, and Banshu's duty is not only to teach poems blabla, but also instill the students of both schools good moral values.
Wei Ying is a ??? teaching the students of ??? He is very loyal to Liu Xuan (??, his lover whom he could not save. Hence, he is always stuck in the past and could not forget abt Liu Xuan. He even waters the plants that Liu Xuan had planted for 3 years straight without fail. In the end, he realizes that his love for Xuan has reduced to friendship and the one he loves is actually Banshu.
There are some characters who are there for some comedic effect, such as Huo Heng and Yao Juan. Yao Juan is another female teacher who is always taken advantage of by the students coz she is short-sighted and timid. She often walks into things because of her bad eyesight but that's okay, she's also very loveable.
Her first meeting with her 'brother-in-law' (husband of her cousin), Wei Ying, starts them both off on bad footing. Due to the way that she was raised, Wei Ying (played by Zhang Zhe Han, who also portrayed the young Lin Shu in 'Nirvana in Fire'), has ill feelings towards her culture due to his belief that they left his wife to die.
Over time, their feelings of mistrust and disdain turn to friendship...and maybe even something more. However, instances arise that make this road a bumpy journey.
The drama is full of comedic misunderstandings, mainly caused by Ban Shu, as well as emotional rollercoasters of love, life and family.
The love aspect of this drama is clearly present, but isn't so overpowering in the sense that there is constant love rivalry. Everything works itself out in a timely manner, and audiences can be assured that they won't spend most of their watching time wanting to pull their hair out.
Ban Shu Legend has been toted as the younger sibling (but I believe more like cousin) to The Legend of Lu Zhen. In terms of the period setting and strong female heroines. I can see the similarities, but I wouldn't recommend watching this drama if you're hoping for another Lu Zhen.