Joy of Life (2019) poster
Your Rating: 0/10
Ratings: 9.0/10 from 8,889 users
# of Watchers: 24,457
Reviews: 146 users
Ranked #51
Popularity #574
Watchers 8,889

Fan Xian is born in the ancient empire of Southern Qing with memories of the 21st century. He lives in a rural town as the illegitimate son of the Minister of Finance, raised by his grandmother. His mother, Ye Qing Mei, was once a celebrated inventor and the founder of the Overwatch Department, the country's spy network but was killed shortly after her son was born. Fan Xian has since been protected by a blind martial arts expert, Wu Zhu, his mother's bodyguard. He learned martial arts and the art of poison as a child, also assisted by his knowledge from the 21st century. After an assassination attempt, he decides to venture into the capital to find out more about his mysterious mother and why anyone would want to kill him, as he perceives himself to be an unimportant person. He also wants to know why he has memories of a sharply different era. In the capital, he accidentally meets Lin Wan Er, the sickly illegitimate daughter of Princess Royal, and falls in love with her. Unbeknownst to him, she is the woman the emperor chose for him to marry so that he would be the new overseer of the Royal Treasury, an institute Fan Xian's mother established in the palace and currently handled by Princess Royal. In the capital, however, he gets entangled in the intrigues of the Emperor and the two Princes, as well as the Overwatch Department, leading to him questioning his whole identity and inducing him to find his true life goals, abandoning his original intention to just "enjoy life". (Source: Wikipedia) ~~ Adapted from the web novel “Qing Yu Nian” (庆余年) by Mao Ni (猫腻). Edit Translation

  • English
  • 한국어
  • 中文(简体)
  • ภาษาไทย
  • Country: China
  • Type: Drama
  • Episodes: 46
  • Aired: Nov 26, 2019 - Jan 1, 2020
  • Aired On: Tuesday, Wednesday, Monday
  • Original Network: iQiyi Tencent Video
  • Duration: 45 min.
  • Score: 9.0 (scored by 8,889 users)
  • Ranked: #51
  • Popularity: #574
  • Content Rating: 13+ - Teens 13 or older

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Cast & Credits


189 people found this review helpful
Dec 14, 2019
46 of 46 episodes seen
Completed 10
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10

Humorous & Witty

OK, I admit, I came to watch this drama because of XiaoZhan. After the drama Chenqing Ling (The Untamed), I started to search for dramas by Xiao Zhan, and this drama is one of them. (By the way, if you haven’t watched The Untamed yet, you might want to check it out.)

Initially, at episode 1, I almost gave it up because it started off as a modern-day drama, so I thought; I had expected a historical wuxia drama. But very quickly within the first episode, it moves into historical settings and I was totally hooked since then.

Accordingly, this drama is adapted from a novel whose popular author has also written many other works including Ever Night. I have not read this particular novel (Joy of Life), but I understand that it is a super long novel, and the drama adaptation is planning for a five-year 3-season run, and we are currently in season 1. Whether the following seasons would run into any unforeseeable issues is anybody’s guess (such as the change of actors etc).

In the actual novel, it is supposedly a time travel story. But because such stories (time travel) are banned in China film production (I don’t understand why China wants to stymie such creativity), the production team has cleverly adapted the story by cutting out the time travel part hence passing censorship.

I must say, unexpectedly, this drama is so good! The story is interesting. The dialogues are funny and unexpected. The play of words and homophones, puns and use of chenyu (idioms) are hilarious, and yet witty, deep, meaningful and cultured. Too bad many of these wonderful characters (Chinese words) are lost in the translation and non-Chinese native speakers may not find the dialogues as wonderful as the native speakers do. Seemingly a light-hearted drama, but when it comes to emotional moments, the director has successfully squeezed out a tear or two from me. The acting is immaculate! I love the relationship Fan Xian has with his siblings and with others whom he considers as friends; it’s deep and genuine. Unlike most actors who act in historical dramas, Zhang Ruoyun has a presence day physique making him a perfect Fan Xian as he is supposed to be a modern man; his etiquettes are simply hilarious and Zhang delivers 100%. The supporting cast is equally good, in particular Guo Qilin who plays Fan Xian’s little brother; he is adorable and amazing. I hope to see more of him. I love the opening and ending OSTs, with the ending song being sung by Xiao Zhan, another talented actor and singer.

33 episodes in, I still haven’t seen a whiff of Xiao Zhan. Nonetheless, this hasn’t reduced the enjoyment I have got out from this delightful drama. Xiao Zhan plays a supporting role and for marketing purposes, his name is being displayed or used prominently to attract attention. I can understand why the team is doing this (Xiao Zhan is currently the hottest Chinese actor in China), but I find it deceiving and I can't say I appreciate it. This drama should receive the attention it duly deserves if being marketed properly, because it is indeed a great drama.


Finally Xiao Zhan appears at the end of episode 38. His screen time is so little that I haven't had enough time to make out of his character, and hence provide a correct assessment of his acting. Nonetheless, at the end of season 1 (episode 46), as expected, there are still tons of unsolved mysteries, new twists, plots within plots -- getting the viewers all hooked up for the next season.

If you are checking this drama out, do watch it. It’s amazingly wonderful. This is truly a wuxia story and the fighting choreography and qing gong are done beautifully. I can’t emphasize enough: it’s a MUST-WATCH!

Two thumbs up!!

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62 people found this review helpful
Dec 21, 2019
46 of 46 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.5
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 10
This review may contain spoilers
Something about this drama felt amazing and fantastic, I couldn't stop watching it.
It had a good amount of martial arts, humor and a great story line. This is only the first season!

Fan Xian is the main male lead of the drama. He is a smart, sarcastic, and cunning man. He knows how to speak his way out of things, he also have great martial arts skills. Did I mention he's quite funny as well? :) I just love his character so much! The actor did a wonderful job in playing this character! His subtle expressions are hilarious. XD
Aside from trying to find the love of his life at first sight, cancelling his engagement or..not cancelling it, Fan Xian has assassins coming after him day after day. The drama focuses on Fan XIan trying to figure out who is behind all these assassins, figuring out where he's from, and staying alive to be with his beloved Wan Er.

Uncle Wu Zhu (or should I say Xiao Zhu Zhu LOL♥) is the handsome protector who helped raised Fan Xian and was also a servant of Fan Xian's mother. Lets just say his martial arts is very monstrous. He is like a ninja, he comes and goes without making a single sound which can annoy Fan Xian - quite funny to watch. XD I really like his character for some reason, aside from the obvious handsomeness haha He is strict and mature albeit there were times when he went loose and either spoke like a teen or a tiny bit like a psycho due to memories that were triggered.

Wan Er is your typical fairy-like female lead. She's very elegant, and cute. She also likes chicken legs, and that is also how she met Fan Xian, unknowingly. She does not have much of a presence in this season, because she barely has any scenes. But she is an important figure in this drama because she's the daughter of a princess. However, this drama focuses majority on Fan Xian and his journey to solve the mysteries behind murders of his friends, the trunk that belonged to his mother, and assassinations. Wan Er is there only when Fan Xian went to visit her and other issues that involved her family.

The main villain is the grand princess and her nephew(s).S She's in charge of something that once belonged to Fan Xian's mother. Lets just say she doesn't want to let go of it.
However, she is not the only villain, there are many people who wants Fan Xian dead, including those who pretended to be his friend.

If you're watching this drama cause of Xiao Zhan prepare to be disappointed because you'll only see his actual face in the last 8 episodes or so. I assume he will be a main in the next season as his character is not what we think he is. Personally, I still enjoyed the drama without seeing much of Xiao Zhan.

Other characters worth mentioning is Wang Qi Nian, he's a chubby middle aged man but is a useful friend of Fan Xian. :) He joins Fan Xian in majority of his journeys. Fan Xian's sister, Fan Ruo Ruo is quite an interesting character, she's very smart and quick witted but can become clueless and slow(?) when it comes to Fan Xian. Its like she idolizes her big bro. But she can be dead serious when it comes to disciplining their little brother. I quite like her personality trait than Wan Er's.

Overall, I really enjoyed this drama. Its funny, and has great martial choreography. I didn't expect to love it so much,. it's one of my top two favorites of 2019!! Definitely recommend if you're looking for something fun to watch.

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  • Drama: Joy of Life
  • Country: China
  • Episodes: 46
  • Aired: Nov 26, 2019 - Jan 1, 2020
  • Aired On: Tuesday, Wednesday, Monday
  • Original Network: iQiyi, Tencent Video
  • Duration: 45 min.
  • Content Rating: 13+ - Teens 13 or older


  • Score: 9.0 (scored by 8,889 users)
  • Ranked: #51
  • Popularity: #574
  • Watchers: 24,457

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