Ongoing 40/40
MoonRabbit
16 people found this review helpful
Aug 27, 2021
40 of 40 episodes seen
Ongoing 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
This review may contain spoilers

Can Ideal and Reality align?

I watch this drama because of curiosity. It received quite a well received review. And I always like SunLi and Mark Chao.
To be honest, I have dropped episode 1 twice, but after I finished the 2nd episode, I binge it during the weekend 12 episodes straight.

The drama follow story of SuXiao, a young cost engineer, that was put as a scapegoat by her line manager. At the same time, she caught her boyfriend cheat on her. So she lost her job, she lost her boyfriend. Coming from ordinary family, alone in a big city, but yet she want to keep her ideal and morality. She later entangled with many office politics. Many people telling her to be 'flexible', to compromise with her ideal, learn to play along and understand human's heart. Desire to exchange her belief to makes thing better is strong, but can her perseverance be stronger?

I somehow relate with her character. Coming out from university, people will start corporate ladder. You met many people along the way, some can be friend, some passerby in your life. Eventually, how good, how bad, these become a learning experience. Life itself is a war and workplace is another kind of war. How much you want to win the war, exchanging your soul for that one purpose. How people flocking at the side of power. Nobody is forever friend and nobody is forever enemy.

At the end of the day, the show is a very good show compared to most workplace drama. It doesn't mean that all workplace will be like that, but if you are attentive, you should be able to see one or two things happened in your workplace.

I will close it with few idioms, the higher you climb, the harder the fall. The higher you get up the mountain, the stronger the wind blows. And it is lonely at the top.

-- added after watching the full series --

There are bits that I enjoyed about the drama. The office politic feels real. The intense, the suspense, the acting. Yea, the acting is the best part. There are moments that you will just hold your breath. There are moments where there is not even a BGM. Pure acting. And you can feel it, the emotion, it feels real.

However, towards the end, it do feel rushed. They are adding major conflict while trying to close the lose ends. It is all in the last 3 4 episodes of the drama. Some of the incident can't be justified with the timeline. It is showing conflict but do not really show the resolution. Some things are implied but not properly elaborated, this cause difference in perception of some resolution. Some big words mentioned (like merger, IPO, liquidation, etc), but not balanced with the normal professional process. I understand that they can't suddenly introduce external auditor, external lawyers, internal legal team, bankers, administrator, liquidator, validator, consultant etc during the last 3 4 episodes, while they are squeezing 10 episodes in (I heard it supposed to be 50 episodes). Let alone, divorce process, selling house/cancellation of purchase, or even asset division.. I am not even sure if these whole things happened in days or months.

Overall, it is still enjoyable. It tried it best to portray real work environment. Common corporate conflict. Those that expecting love line, it may feel bit rush and have an open ending /interpretation. It is still a solid 9 for me.

Thank you.



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Ongoing 39/40
Lohankuo
18 people found this review helpful
Aug 31, 2021
39 of 40 episodes seen
Ongoing 1
Overall 9.5
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.5
Rewatch Value 9.0

Ideal living

I love this drama.
This is my first review.
One of the most riveting modern Chinese dramas that I have watched in a long time. No need for any of the bells and whistles like fantasy fairy lands, CGI, nice fancy costumes/makeup, kung fu choreography, original songs. Even without all that, this drama still stands out. Why? Story is riveting, uplifting, storytelling is logical, and the actors deliver in portraying characters brilliantly.

What drew to me to drama to begin with was SunLi. I have not watched any of her previous dramas before so was curious why she’s so famous. And after watching her here in this show, I now know why. The first few episodes were difficult to follow, but I stuck with my rule of thumb on watching at least 5 episodes, and if I didn’t feel invested by then, I was out. But not with this one. After the 3rd episode, it was game on!

The title of the drama is The Ideal City, and it delves into the theme of what is the ideal way to succeed, and what do you do when you get there. Does the end justify the means?
It follows the story of a young woman (SuXiao) living in the big city of Shang Hai, and how she makes it in a male dominated industry despite the many adversities she has to face.

It’s natural for people to want to succeed, to climb the ranks of the corporate ladder, make more money, and to be respected. But what will you do to get it? How low will you go to get what you want? Ideally, we should strive and work hard to get what we want in life, but so many times, some people cut corners to attain that outcome.
Many times, it’s those at the bottom of the corporate hierarchy who suffer the consequences of the decisions of those above.

SuXiao is a principled woman who is talented in her field of work.
From the get go, she is served with wave after wave of injustices. Betrayed professionally and personally by those she loves and trusts. What I love most about her is that even though she is struck hard by these people, she does not stoop down to the level of her rivals. She does not use their methods to beat them.
Also, she doesn’t stay down. She picks herself up, soldiers on, and takes up any opportunities she’s given, proves her worth, and thrives.
To me, SuXiao’s journey and response embodies power through resilience and hard work.
She did it fair and square. She was a victim of unfairness, but she rose as a victor.
Life knocks her down, but she got up. Step by step she rises and proves her worth with sheer hard work. She shuts the mouths of critics by her actions.
Full of dignity and integrity in life and work.

She is the ideal.

But not everyone can enjoy the same idealistic journey.
Some others made it to the top by utilising inglorious methods like: back-stabbing, holding others back deliberately to not let them outshine you, taking credit for other people’s work, bribing, framing, scheming, and just knocking others out of the way to get to the top.
It’s ugly, dirty, desperate, and simply despicable. It’s unideal.

Also, when you get to the apex. What do you do? What is the endgame for all the headache associated with corporate boardroom struggles, mind games, schemes?
Be a vortex to seek to hoover in more money for yourself? Or should you look at how you can pull others up to be on the mountain with you.
It’s the reasonability of those higher up to be transparent, expose truth and administer justice.

I may be a bit philosophical in my drama review, but what I enjoy most about this drama is that it holds a mirror out to the audience and asks “what will you do to get what you want in life?” What this show reminds me of is that ultimately you are in control of your own destiny. Whatever your background, whether you have billionaire father, education, or a poverty stricken family to support.
Everyone has baggage to carry. Life is hard for everyone.
You can wallow and whinge, throw pity parties for yourself and continue in your state of victimhood.
OR you can after you fall down, re-evaluate how you can do it differently, and dust yourself off and try again. It is ideal to choose the latter, even though it may be a rough and hard journey, and, to not leave a trail of resentment and disgruntled people to get there.

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Completed
dfuller
5 people found this review helpful
Feb 7, 2023
40 of 40 episodes seen
Completed 1
Overall 9.5
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 9.0

This C-drama is amazing

The title says it all. I stopped watching American television long ago (note, I am an American) over how dull it had become with unoriginal ideas and retreads (tire reference) of old ideas over and over again. Then, I discovered K-drama. From K-drama,to C-drama with Lucky's First Love, Legally Romance, Love is Sweet, Cupid's Kitchen, and oithers.

The Ideal City is one of the most original, riveting dramas I've watched and one of the best in terms of cast, acting, and story.

Who knew that corporate construction company politics could be made into such an endearing drama? No explosions, no guns, no over-muscled Hollywood types. The Ideal City is just that. The story and writing completely engaged my suspension of disbelief. I binge watched forty episodes with one sleep break in between. The pace was consistent, not faltering, in engaging my senses and interest.

The cast? I'm in love with all of them. Top notch acting by all involved. Sympethetic characters and perhaps, characters one would want to loathe. Yu He Wei portraying a sleazy(?) CEO... Betty Sun (Sun Li)... wow, her portrayal just kept hitting in every episode. Mark Chao (Zhao Yu Ting)... great and sympathetic. My favorite character? Du Juan, the secretary, played by Yang Chao Yue... while a minor rolel, Yang Chao Yue simply gave a memorable performance. If there was ever an award for Best Portrayal of a Secretary in a Supporting Role? Yang Chao Yue wins, hands down.

Production wise? Good camera work. The skyline scenes with the weather... The music? I liked just about every song in the show. I'll buy the soundtrack when I can find it.

My biggest disappointment? 40 episodes. I would have preferred a more conclusive ending. Maybe the producers wanted to end the show there or not? Still, a must watch.

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Completed
Becky
4 people found this review helpful
Oct 19, 2021
40 of 40 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
This review may contain spoilers

Masterpiece on workplace politics

I used to think that China can't portray the workplace realistically in dramas, until I saw Ideal City. Although some of the major events in the story felt unbelievable, the characters' reactions and character developments are quite on-point and very realistic. Finally a workplace drama that really focus on the workplace and tell it like it is.

This is set in the construction industry, our heroine is a cost engineer-- she does the budgeting, costing and oversee construction projects to ensure it does not exceed budget. I think it is brilliant to choose this industry, quite an unknown field and most viewers would not know how accurately the work is portrayed 😅 What makes the work settings believable in this drama is the dressing and make-up. Sun Li had on very light make-up and her clothes are standard office wear. There was this scene of Mark Chao changing footwear when he reached his home, he was wearing sports shoes with suit and tie-- realistic dress code as he had to visit construction site very often. And the office settings are not overly beautified or expensive, look like regular office.

The heroine, Su Xiao, is an independent and smart office worker. We watched how she did her best at work and was sabotaged, how idealistic she continued to be and relentless in keeping to her moral codes and work ethics, yet still managing to make a comeback and climbed up the ranks. She never gave up nor accept the toxic work culture, keep holding onto her own beliefs and refused to become "one of them".

The storytelling is fast-paced and have some really clever plotting and scheming, and plot twists!! It was quite an exhilarating watch for me. Although the romance is very little in this drama, that is alright for me, as the focus is on the work and politics. And wonderful acting by all the actors!! Even Yang Chao Yue whom I was worried for, they gave her a character that has YCY playing herself 😅 Her role was really cute and adorable in drama, brightens up the screen whenever she appears!!

I would have rated this 10/10 except for the last arc. It felt like a rushed ending or maybe that wasn't the original ending....? The events that happened in the last few eps were quite confusing, and overly idealistic. Su Xiao had a very grand, "all-for-one, one-for-all" theory but realistically speaking it is not possible to execute that. Her being able to convince the CEO to accept that proposal was really stretching the reality for me..... I was quite upset with her, wish she would have let Xia Ming did what he had planned, it was going well, and her proposal although is great for everyone, if it failed in the execution, would turn to bad situation for Xia Ming and his uncle. They wanted to have the freedom to run Tian Ke the way they envisioned, separating from HQ is the better alternative. But we'll never know if Su Xiao succeed in eradicating the toxic in the management system, if staying back was good for Xia Ming as drama left it at that.

And I think they cut too much of Hongmei's scenes 🤨 Might as well not even include her scenes in the ending, rather then giving viewers a "why, what happen?" feeling.

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Completed
mayhemf
3 people found this review helpful
Sep 19, 2021
40 of 40 episodes seen
Completed 2
Overall 8.5
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 6.0
Rewatch Value 5.5

Gripping workplace drama!


I loved the whole corporate setup. It depicts corporate workings, politics and the inner workings of holding companies and subsidiaries exceptionally well. It was hard to define right vs wrong as there is never a solution that pleases everyone in a company. Is it shareholders? Is it employees? Do employees matter when the company will shut down if it doesn’t make profits?
Due to this, I could never tell which character is good vs bad. They all seem to work in what they believe to be right in their own way.

The biggest strength of the drama is casting, in addition to writing and screenplay. This is my first drama of Sun Li and she really made me believe in her journey. An idealist straight shooter working her way in a corporate world. I could relate to her. Extremely smart and hardworking but very rigid as she struggled with networking and people skills.
And then there is Xia Ming, played to perfection by Mark Chao. An extremely smart engineer who is a class A genius in manipulation and working the system. He is ruthless when it comes to others and works on his agenda.

OTP: There is hardly much romance. But the slow burn romance makes you crave for more. When they finally get together the kilig moments were worth all the wait. Even the angst was well done. As professionals with polar opposite beliefs and conflict of interest they handled this as mature as possible.
The ending felt a bit rushed. Would have definitely liked a few more episodes.

And Mark Chao is 😍🥰😘

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Completed
MysteryMel-Bookish
2 people found this review helpful
May 23, 2022
40 of 40 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.5
Story 9.5
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 9.0

Gem: critical thinkers & character development delight

Story: not new, just a business sector not often portrayed in dramas.- The construction industry.
Super intelligent female crapped on by men personally & professionally, bounds to heights of achievement to re-engineering a company.
Actors: ML & FL stunning maturity & mental acuity abound. All actors were perfectly cast and shined.
Music: well choreographed to mood & story.
RW: yes -
Final point: if you are looking for a drama with no child play acts, silly characters, light & easy storyline & romance, DO Not watch. This is
As compelling & depth of acting as NiF , YAnxi, this is a must. Highly addictive drama.

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Completed
Devo2
1 people found this review helpful
Oct 18, 2021
40 of 40 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 7.0

At last something different

I got curious about this series when I saw the poster, showing middle-aged and elderly people, something unusual for Chinese dramas these days. I had not watched Chinese series in quite some time, really tired of the twenty-something surgeons, CEO's, lawyers, hardened police detectives, etc....Ridiculous. The ageism in Chinese shows really got bad these last years. That's also the reason why my friends in China, all above 45, usually don't watch Chinese series anymore. But here we have something fresh and to a certain degree, realistic. It portrays the struggle of a quite capable woman employed at a Construction company and her struggle to achieve success, and respect as well, in a male-dominated industry. Making matters worse is her treatment by some elderly managers solely because they are older than her. There is no usual "rags to riches" story where by the 6th episode she starts climbing the corporate ladder only to end as CEO or just rich by the last episode. No, this shows the daily work, frustrations, backstabbings and gossip in a big corporation. Almost no situation gets resolved in the "usual Chinese Drama" way, that alone makes it much more interesting to watch, and more life like. Example would be her love life. Add to it the gorgeous views of Shanghai periodically sprinkled through the episodes and you have a worthwhile show to watch.

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Completed
fooDog
0 people found this review helpful
Aug 1, 2022
40 of 40 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 8.0

worthy plot driven psychological thriller

I didn't know anything about construction, but I really enjoyed this. It's tied for best Sun Li drama with Nothing Gold can Stay, for me -- the two protagonists have a similar feel.

The facts straight up: the first four episodes were no good. Too many people introduced and seemingly random things happening. That is why it doesn't get the full 10.

However, subsequently, the story really started to take on life and center itself on Su Xiao's struggle. From that point on, the plot was really well executed, especially building up to Su Xiao and Mr. Chen's epic conflict. Slowly it showed more and more of the whole company. This series is more tightly plotted than Nothing Gold can stay; being more introspective, having longer to flesh out characters and having only one male protagonist. Also it has a lot of time lapse sequences that are very natural to the plot.

The pacing is also great, unhurried up to the last minute. Up to episode 39 I was thinking to myself, there's no way to resolve all this within the next two episodes. And I was right, because it didn't give Su Xiao quite as satisfactory an ending as I would have hoped. It seems like some of the original content was cut, which is a shame. However the ending we got in that very last episode was still acceptable.

I do have small nitpicks. Everyone values Xia Ming so much even when Su Xiao is imo more competent than him. Maria and He Congrong's stories are incomplete. Wu Hongmei's ending didn't make sense. But these are small nitpicks, all in all, well done and impressive!

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Dropped 26/40
Itzy in your area T
2 people found this review helpful
Mar 20, 2023
26 of 40 episodes seen
Dropped 0
Overall 3.0
Story 3.5
Acting/Cast 7.5
Music 3.5
Rewatch Value 1.5
This review may contain spoilers

Fake strong female lead

Was so excited about this drama bc of Sun li as a strong women against men but no that was just like a side story. At the start she is this strong, honest girl but for the ML she destroy her morals and become his pet. And her female friend drop her bf to become a concubine for the president. They try to sell these strong women but at the end of the day they get dominated by the men around them and forgot who they were for them. So avoid this drama at all cost mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
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The Ideal City (2021) poster

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  • Score: 8.1 (scored by 383 users)
  • Ranked: #1884
  • Popularity: #5914
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