The Love Knot: His Excellency’s First Love (2018) poster

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  • Score: 8.0 (scored by 2,795 users)
  • Ranked: #1408
  • Popularity: #632
  • Watchers: 5,842

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Completed
bbaek
20 people found this review helpful
Jun 17, 2018
25 of 25 episodes seen
Completed 2
Overall 6.0
Story 6.0
Acting/Cast 6.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 5.0
The series overall was a good length – I mostly enjoyed the storyline, characters and pacing. Everything seemed to fit together well in the bigger scheme of things. Except.. The ending. I was let down. The drama built itself up so much that I was so excited, but the writing and execution failed me. (discussion of ending on bottom)

There were times the acting was very off, especially with Victoria, she seemed to only express sadness and Johnny could barely show any emotion on his face. The writing was sometimes sloppy, with too many unnecessary moments, so much time was wasted on the ex-friends when I wish they could've fleshed out Qianhua/Zhaosong a bit more and they glossed over the r*pe scene after it happened.. Felt like Wangxuan was an addition that wasn't necessary – they didn't even treat her character right! I liked the use of flashbacks, it was interesting to see how everything has changed from then to now. Except episode 24 - a flashback to the 80s/90s of Pipi's parents were extra weird, but I guess it was done to provide Johnny with much needed extra screentime.

Despite these flaws, I still liked the drama – throughout the series, I liked the interactions of the characters, especially the two boys and Xiaoju - which gave us the right amount of humour. The pacing was good, issues weren't dragged out and sorted in appropriate timing.


Now the ending. Felt like they completely ignored everything that happened and did a 180 on what viewer's wanted and expected. Bad writing and bad execution. Barely tied any loose ends. Awkward time jump. Like, there were mention of the south/north war - but now that he's a fox/human without powers or memories, what are the fox clan left to do? Meeting of Helan Xi and Pipi after six months was awkward and could have been executed much better.

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Completed
purplebanana6
16 people found this review helpful
Jun 20, 2018
25 of 25 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 7.0
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 6.5
Rewatch Value 6.0
Overall, this Chinese drama was well-made and it didn't have as much cringy scenes as other Chinese dramas. The production values, dialogues, and CGIs were great quality. Now, onto the storyline, the story started out interesting, hooking us in with young leads. The young leads were so cute and honestly, I always looked forward to the flashback in the beginning of each episode because we were able to connect with the characters and how they grew over the years. I liked the first half of the series, when the leads were building relationships step by step and getting closer to one another. But for the second half of the series, the writing somehow changed direction, there were so many plot holes. Especially ep 24, it was totally unnecessary and the biggest plot hole was when Helen was able to see during day times. Then, ep 25 rolled around, the ending felt out of place and rushed. Not only the drama finished with a huge cliffhanger but the leads were pretty much strangers in the end. I don't know if the series renew for a season 2 because if not, I'm really disappointed. The ending could be nicely wrapped up if only PiPi's ex-boyfriend and her "best friend" did not take up much screentime (I always skipped whenever they popped up on the screen).
All in all, this drama would be in my top 20 favorite Chinese drama because of the plot, pacing, and chemistry but I don't think I will rewatch it anytime soon.

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Completed
NakamotoKjesin
17 people found this review helpful
May 24, 2018
25 of 25 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 7.0
This is the first Victoria drama that I actually not just like but LOVE. As much as I love Victoria, and her acting is good, because of the story, chemistry between the leads and other things, I didn't like any of her previous dramas. This one though, I didn't expect much when I started but WOW. This drama surprised me. I actually LOVE it a lot. And The male lead, I don't even know what to say except that I LOVE HIM. The story is great. The pacing of the drama is nice. Even the side romance between the fox brothers and the friend at cafe is interesting. The acting is solid. And the OSTs are so beautiful and fits the scenes perfectly.

I would love to see Victoria and Johnny together as leads in other dramas in the future. Their chemistry is explosive and so natural. First time feeling this kind of chemistry with Victoria and her male lead.

Edit: So I finished the drama and I kinda didn't like the ending. But still a great drama.

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Completed
alldramaaddict11
4 people found this review helpful
Jun 15, 2018
25 of 25 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 7.0
Story 6.5
Acting/Cast 7.5
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 6.0
Another cdrama that had a promising premise but was completely turned to crap by the halfway mark. There are lots of cute bits between the leads but I'm afraid that's not going to be enough to forget about how terrible the rest of the plot went. As far as supernatural dramas go, this one had a really intriguing backstory behind the fox clan, and a great way of telling that backstory without the annoyance that flashbacks usually give dramas. I can say I really thoroughly enjoyed this drama up until the middle of the series. After that, I can't even remember how many times I rolled my eyes and thought to myself "....reeeeally?" while watching. I haven't seen any of the actors in previous works but I know of Victoria's acting controversy and all I can say is she was decent in this drama. Her character had such little character development. The male lead is the run-of-the-mill flat, mysterious-smart-rich hot guy. I can't really attest to how great he was acting-wise because his character is so limited in expression and stiff but he's hot and has a great voice so I guess that counts for something. Their chemistry always felt a little off despite how sweet some of the exchanged dialogues were. They didn't have that spark to them. All the other side characters (aside from the 2 "brothers" ) were annoying as hell. This may be a good watch if you throw away some logic (ok maybe a lot).

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Completed
IUshiii
4 people found this review helpful
Jun 30, 2018
25 of 25 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 8.5
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 7.5
The story flow is quite perfect. Characters acted well there. I actually liked all the characters there. Their roles are good. I don't see any flaws in the story except for the last few episodes. I just find them weird, I don't really like the ending, felt like incomplete to me as well. If I'm not wrong, this plot is came from a novel (??·????), the ending was exactly like that. There is a continue of the story in the second novel (???????). I hope to see a second season drama for this. I just don't feel so good for that ending... However, overall, everything is good, the story is quite well connected and understandable. If there is really a second season of this drama, I would recommend you guys to wait for the second season to complete before you start this drama. The first season ending was really weird like what everyone is talking about... I would really change the ratings if there's really second season of this drama :). I'd really enjoyed it.

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Completed
MyDramaObsession
4 people found this review helpful
Jun 22, 2018
25 of 25 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 4.0
Story 4.0
Acting/Cast 6.0
Music 6.0
Rewatch Value 2.0
I'm going to just be brutally honest and tell you what I wish I had known/realized before starting this drama.

Firstly, this is not a drama to me this is a web series. I don't honestly know if it really was a web drama but everything about it from production quality on screams mediocre to lower end web drama. I'm not saying that web dramas are bad, on the contrary I prefer sweet fluffy romantic comedies so I really love a good short sweet squee fix! I also love supernatural/fantasy genre, webtoons/manga and anime so I actually really like some of the storylines in web dramas more than what you can find in most regular drama. I really just needed to put that out there because of the series length, media and other creative marketing it seemed like it was a shorter higher quality production (at least shorter than most regular fantasy Chinese dramas). Unfortunately, I bought into the hype and was slightly disappointed.

After you realize what it is the second most important thing to know is that the production was failing before it finished. The number one comment you'll read is that the first and second half of the series feel like entirely different shows and it's 100% accurate in a very literal sense. The show started filming at least two weeks behind production schedule because of casting and other complications. Unfortunately, the lead actors schedules were fixed to begin with and couldn't be altered so somewhere an executive decision was made to start with half the story and write as they went to fill in the gaps where the leads could not be. So essentially the story initially is being told from the lead characters perspectives but switches to being narrated by secondary cast mid series.

It's very unfortunately that all this backlot stuff happened because the story was very interesting and actually pretty entertaining to start with. The fated romance story and even the intricate mythology really gave me high expectations. I really love how the current and back stories weaved into each other, the younger versions of themselves were especially adorable. To be very honest I almost wish if they had to fill the space with secondary characters they would have just stuck with the younger actors for a clearer narrative. At least it would have kept the intimate perspective of the lead characters. However, instead the lead interactions become scarce and nonsensical in much of the conclusion.

Because of all the mentioned above the main storyline lost most of its initial momentum and really started feel draggy. The chemistry of the leads started becoming more frustrating/awkward and by the end there was so much that was left unresolved or quickly concluded it was very disappointing. Everything ended tragically anticlimactic from the initial build up and they threw away much of the potential subplot and interesting details for a quick ending. If you dislike plot holes, open endings and storylines that dead end for no good reason you will probably not like this drama. It really had some good ideas but because of poor production choices it just ended in an odd and disappointing way.

I wanted to comment on the drama introduction before I concluded my review. I really don't comment much on opening/closing montages because honestly they are often long and are victim to my fast forward button after the first few episodes. (Unless the music is good and then I might play it every other episode) The repeated narration on every every episode as the introduction was so damn annoying! I understand the need to fill space and the mythology was very unusual/complicated but that introduction made the beginning feel unpleasantly longer to me. I'm not against providing background details but that was just not flattering. I think the reason I wanted to mention it was because on the flip side I loved the closing montage! (It really had the supernatural vibe of show introductions like Forever Knight, Charmed, Angel, etc if your familiar) I wish they would have made the ending montage the introduction because it was much more appealing. I was actually more excited by the ending sequence and it made me want to continue watching the show. It really isn't anything important but i thought it really just highlighed all the wasted potential this show had and that makes me both sad and pissed off.

So in conclusion this show isn't the worst but it isn't great. My rating might seem extreme but I feel it really is called for here. I'm okay giving a mediocre story or low budget production a better rating because it is what it is. However, to me this was not really a complete story. I don't want to be to savage with the writer but it felt like the story just gave up instead of resolved. To me that is unacceptable if you want sympathetic consideration for trying. As completely insane as it sounds I'd rather have seen them bring in the younger cast and have had them add another lifetime onto the final half of the series. I mean it's a fantasy and the possibilities are limitless! Body switching, alternate reality, time jumps, etc you can easily use other actors and keep the lead perspective focused. I mean really the final special was pretty absurd and lackluster. If you are going to go out cray cray go all out and regret nothing unapologetically. Ha ha!

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Ongoing 14/25
dramalover55
15 people found this review helpful
May 30, 2018
14 of 25 episodes seen
Ongoing 5
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 10
Just watch the show!!! Honestly, I'm not a fan of Chinese dramas because of the dubbing and stuff. But this show, boy, it is just addicting. And even though the storyline is a bit predictable and like clique-ish, the leads pull it off so well. The relationship between the two leads progresses at a good pace and the chemistry is off the charts. It is one of the few Chinese dramas that is modern and fantasy without all the overacting. And don't even get me started on the dialogue. It is one of the things that I rarely pay attention to, but damn some portions are just so sarcastically funny that I can't help but go back and keep rewatching it. Overall watch it, you will either LOVE IT or just LIKE IT. I'm currently on episode 14 and I just hope it freaking ends well.

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Completed
KeopiCafe MaidandButler
2 people found this review helpful
Aug 8, 2018
25 of 25 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.5
Story 8.5
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 6.0
I came into this drama because of Johnny Huang, I never heard of this guy but seeing him in the trailer was enough to make be watch the show. As for Victoria, I avoid her shows like the plague, but for once I wasn't done with her acting within the first 10 minutes. To my surprise I actually liked her a lot in here. The plague has been cured!!

The story was great- perfect balance of melo, comedy, villain scenes, romance and friendship. I know the other reviews scored the story low, but honestly I felt that it was consistently top-notch and had me getting pretty obsessive about the show. The only reason why it's not a 10 is because up till the last episode, the drama producers went lazy or something. The ending was rushed and left me a bit unsatisfied that the show is leaving me in this way. But I overlook this last episode because, ultimately, the closure made it seem like a happily ever after was possible- it just wasn't spelled out on screen for us. So calm down, it could've been worst.

The cast was a 10, especially Helan Jing Ting and his two foxy minions- loved their scenes to death! If they ever make a show solely around the shenanigans that these 3 get into, I would be the first to watch. The camera work and the ending theme song gave the show a slightly darker/eery feel, only slightly, which was like the finishing touch to make me a fan.

I'm not a fan of rewatching stuff, but for this I am willing to rewatch the scenes with HLJT and his minions.

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Completed
Nicki
2 people found this review helpful
Jun 22, 2018
25 of 25 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 6.5
Story 6.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 5.5
This review may contain spoilers
*Sighs*

I decided to sit and marinate before I wrote this review because I didn't want hostility or judgement to be my voice. So after waiting about two hours I realized that the more I waited, the angrier I got. This isn't a terrible drama. It's decent and utilizes a lot of tropes to propel the plot forward. It's kind of a typical fanatsy romcom. I won't get into details about what upsetted me the most about this drama because that would be spoilers but to sum it up, all that build up with no pay off. The ending was unsatisfactory.

I started this drama randomly one day when I was drunk and clicked on the first thing that dramafever assaulted my eyes with on the main page. Fortunately, I believe it had just started that week so I watched all four. I wasn't compelled by the main leads, but rather the secondary characters.. I found that I stuck around because I wanted more of them. Naturally the standouts would be the trio (the idea of this polyam relationship on an asian drama was very new to me) and Qian Hua. Therefore, I was less than please by what we got as their end.

The acting was okay. I do think Victoria was the weakest one and I can't comment on if she's grown or not because i have never seen anything with her in it. I will say that I have heard she is not very good, but I didn't find her acting to be unbearable. I'm not sure how much of it was her abilities or the way the character was written. A standout for me was Bai Jia. I could feel every emotion she held without her even opening her mouth. I also liked the one particular scene with the Fox actress.

Overall, a decent drama with a decent storyline and decent acting. Not sure if I would rewatch.. Not sure if I would recommend. .... I mean some parts of the story was a little YIKES and don't even let me talk about how uncomfortable episode 24 actually made me..... To me this drama seemed like Twilight without the vampires.. OHMYGOD it IS twilight. like so many things felt very twilight. Mind blowN right now... I mean i've never actually watched a full twilight movie but we all know sh*t that happens there. Anyways, watch it or don't.... You're not missing much either way.

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Completed
rheabiel
1 people found this review helpful
Jun 23, 2018
25 of 25 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 6.0
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 3.5
Music 2.0
Rewatch Value 3.5
The story could have been better if it was all set in the historical set up I believe.

Also, I dont know if its just me but I think the drama isn't a grand scale drama, like most chinese dramas starring a well known star, you can see it has a very limited budget from the set up and the very simple back drops and castings. I dont know why Victoria hops on in this kind of drama but well, good thing is it has made her a hot search actress even made it to top 3 search in Vlinkage.
I really cant get the "LOW, SEEMINGLY MONOCHROMATIC TONE" of the drama. Victoria;s very low tone acting, even if she is angry, surprise, sad, happy, its all LOOWWW TONE and her voice is SOO SMALL like I dont know how to describe it. Johnny Huang is the same, his acting is really weird, not really in a bad way but his acting is really of LOW TONE, buahaha I dont know how to put in the rights. His facial expressions, even if he is angry, jealous, surprise, mad, theres very minimal reaction and acting you can see from him.
I dont like the way the voice acting and tone of Victoria and Johonny Huangs acting lol. The drama is low budgeted but they lucked out.
The story is good but dull at the same time. It lacks life, yes thats it. The story lacks life coming from their main stars. Sigh, next time if there is season 2, cant they have it filmed in China? or maybe they could choose a better location, better costumes, and more settings?

My rating is 7.

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Completed
o hx
1 people found this review helpful
Jun 11, 2018
25 of 25 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 7.5
Story 9.5
Acting/Cast 7.0
Music 7.5
Rewatch Value 5.5
i really love the story plot and the chemistry between the main leads. However, i was really upset with the ending and the lack of scenes dedicated to the main leads. I read somewhere online that because the female lead was replaced at the last minute (it wasnt victoria initially), there was a lack of time to film the drama. Also, the main leads didnt have time to film the remaining scenes, after a certain number of episodes... Hence, the flow of the ending was too abrupt. Many unanswered questions and a really upsetting ending. Sigh, it could have been a good drama, but all ruined because of the ending.

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Completed
Aaki_PanAsian
1 people found this review helpful
Aug 13, 2018
25 of 25 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 4.0
Story 5.5
Acting/Cast 4.5
Music 3.5
Rewatch Value 3.0
This show is the perfect example that underlines the IMPORTANCE OF A GOOD SCRIPT AND A CRYSTAL DIRECTION, which in this case severely lacks. There were umpteen number of flaws in "The Love Knot: His Excellency's First Love". The show started with a promising plot line but the latter episodes proved me otherwise. The positive aspects of the show included its exquisite production & aesthetic value, interesting story and an elaborate cast. The two protagonists, Victoria Song and Huang Jingyu fit their characters well. But the supporting actors were the real stars of the show especially Leo Li, Li Shen and Liu Yong Xi. I have to give a special mention to all the child actors in the show, they gave a tough competition to their adult co-actors. All of them have a bright career ahead (I'm hopeful about that).

Now the issues.....where do I begin. Firstly, the story had serious narration and script issues. Maybe the novel is better (I don't know, haven't read it), but the script let the plot down. I personally don't mind too much past sequences, but the script did not deal with the historical sections well. The fragmentary presentation of critical past events came up in episodes randomly and failed in driving an effortless present day narration. The bumpy past-present transitions became annoying after a point and led to dilution of my interest for the overall show. Secondly, some sub plots were absolutely unnecessary. The sub plot involving pi pi, tao jilin and tianxin was given almost the same importance as the main plot of the show, i.e. Pipi and Helan's pseudo tragic love story. By the time the makers of the show dwell in the relationship dynamics of the two protagonists, a lot of episodes had already passed (they seriously tested my patience). Thirdly, the show had soooooooo many lose ends and unwanted elements which the makers could have ignored or dealt better with. The Left High priest and Tushan angle of the story was given a poor treatment, even though they were very critical for furthering the plot. The writers (according to me) could not sincerely convey the complexity of these two characters. They both had a lot of raw emotions, motives, desperation & determination; but along the way their characters lost their intensity and started looking very one dimensional.

Fourthly, the makers for some reason gave very less screen time to Helan's character (for gods sake he's the titular character of the show!). Questions: Why was he portrayed so restrictively ? Why did he look so helpless half of the time (even though he had crazy powers) ? Why did he seem like a guest character in his own freaking story ? Why weren't there any scenes that could tell us more about his complicated inner psyche/world or his 900 year experience on Earth? We knew from the beginning of the story that he is an all powerful leader of the southern fox clan with the possibility of taking over the whole of the fox clan, but I don't recall a single scene where I was convinced that he was truly powerful. He seemed more like a modern day leader who was accepted by his people for his socio-political views (like any modern leaders in any country). The magical aspect of the show was not at all represented by this character. Also, why was this character shown so less ! I would have loved to see him more proactively interacting with the other characters and contributing in the progression of the story.

And finally, our main couple lacked chemistry and impact. For any good romantic drama, the leads need to have an alluring charm. They are the crown jewel of a queen's treasury. The treasury might have the best treasures from across the world, but there is always one jewel that catches the attention of the public. In a romantic drama, the lead pair is that jewel that attracts audiences and instills passion in the story. I don't think Victoria Song or Huang Jingyu were that much at fault, its the patchy writing that led them, down. There were some scenes where both of them shined, and portrayed good acting skills. But the secondary treatment of this romance robbed the wow factor of the show.

The direction of the drama was not at all innovative, even though the story seemed ambitious. I personally had very big hopes after seeing its trailer. All in all it can be watched once, but it doesn't have a big re-watch value. Also, I feel people like me who have seen more than 50-60 Asian dramas, this show will be at most mediocre (I lost interest midway).

P.S: The ambiguous ending was not annoying because of the two leads but the failure to address the future of my favorite trio from the show.



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