The Autumn Ballad (2022) poster
8.0
Your Rating: 0/10
Ratings: 8.0/10 from 3,710 users
# of Watchers: 8,935
Reviews: 66 users
Ranked #2268
Popularity #1738
Watchers 3,710

The story of a witty young girl named Qiu Yan and a cold-faced duke named Liang Yi, who goes from battling each other with wits and boldness to understanding and accompanying each other. Qiu Yan is the least favored eldest daughter of the Qiu Manor. She managed to reap happiness step by step relying on her own efforts and wisdom. (Source: DramaWiki, Baidu) Edit Translation

  • English
  • Русский
  • Ελληνικά
  • עברית / עִבְרִית
  • Country: China
  • Type: Drama
  • Episodes: 34
  • Aired: Feb 5, 2022 - Mar 6, 2022
  • Aired On: Monday, Saturday, Sunday
  • Original Network: Tencent Video
  • Duration: 45 min.
  • Score: 8.0 (scored by 3,710 users)
  • Ranked: #2268
  • Popularity: #1738
  • Content Rating: Not Yet Rated

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Cast & Credits

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The Autumn Ballad (2022) photo
The Autumn Ballad (2022) photo
The Autumn Ballad (2022) photo
The Autumn Ballad (2022) photo
The Autumn Ballad (2022) photo
The Autumn Ballad (2022) photo

Reviews

Completed
PeachBlossomGoddess Flower Award1
55 people found this review helpful
Mar 12, 2022
34 of 34 episodes seen
Completed 35
Overall 8.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 7.5

Fresh twists on old cliches.

At first glance, Autumn Ballad looks like just another light historical romance featuring a strong, independent heroine with 21st-century attitudes and aspirations. Yet with a chock full of fresh twists on old cliches, this manages to surprise and delight with an all too familiar tale of a lowly illegitimate daughter who finds love most unexpectedly on her quest for self-determination. This well-told story with an authentic voice is carried by Xu Zhengxi and Qiao Xin's heartfelt performances which make me invested in their characters before I even like them.

What I like most about Qiu Yan is that she is really not that nice or always that smart. Phew, what a welcome relief from the all too common suffocatingly flawless heroines. This is where notably Yu Zheng's recent, much higher budget projects fall way short by comparison despite big-name actresses. Trapped and exploited by her low birth status, Qiu Yan is the anti-Cinderella - her stepmother is her fairy godmother; she gives as good as she gets to her step-sisters and her mysterious prince leaves her a fan at the stroke of midnight. She tries for the best hand from the cards she is dealt and if she has to use a few people or step on toes along the way, so be it. She can be as harsh, selfish, and unforgiving as she is brave, capable, and loyal. She schemes, miscalculates, and makes mistakes with real consequences for herself and for others. I don't always like or agree with her but can understand her desperation and humanity.

Liang Yi is a pretty gray character which makes him my kind of male lead. Beneath his icy, civilized veneer he is a calculating, manipulative, ends-justify-the-means kind of guy with an agenda and he plays a long game. His path crosses with Qiu Yan repeatedly over the course of his investigations as head of the powerful Firewood Bureau. From the get-go, Liang Yi sees through Qiu Yan's machinations with contempt and tries to frustrate her designs on Qin Xuan. But he stops short of throwing her under the bus, perhaps in silent acknowledgment of his own utilitarian nature. When their interest align they agree to collaborate and are unflinchingly honest with each other about what's in it for them. In doing so, they also reveal the better sides of their nature and as they grow on each other, I fall for them. Qiu Yan is no damsel in distress in need of rescuing and Liang Yi can be as much cad as a knight in shining armor. They are kindred spirits and when they join forces, the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. It is inevitable that conflict and antagonism spark mutual awareness and passion. Their repartee is witty and the dialogue humorously highlights universal truths about human nature and the role of women in society. Is it too contemporary to be realistic? Probably but who cares?

This drama ought to be the gold standard for how realistic, believable relationships should be developed and portrayed. Xu Zhengxi really captures the essence of how Liang Yi's feelings for Qiu Yan evolve from dislike and distrust to grudging respect and consternation when it dawns upon him that he added to her burdens. His ironic, disbelieving expression as he comes to terms with his feelings for her kills me every time. This is by far the best-acted, anchor performance in the drama, elevated by the OTP's undeniable screen chemistry. While Qiao Xin stages a convincing, empathetic complimentary act, she falls short in her crying scenes.

The supporting characters are also mostly well-written and I particularly appreciate the balanced point of view with respect to the sibling rivalry between Qiu Min and Qiu Yan. Both Qiu Min and Qin Xuan are less thoughtfully written but despite their character flaws, they both get a pretty raw deal. The writers seem to know how to design layered and interesting characters but don't know how to finish their stories. Too many characters get outcomes (good and bad) that are underserved. There are so many gratuitous deaths I wonder whether they were running out of money.

Though far from a masterpiece of suspense and intrigue, the overarching conspiracy that loosely connects the cases moves at a fast pace and is quite well conceived and not just contrived to allow the couple to discover each other. It is a story that has enough momentum and characters with agency that the ending should write itself. Instead, with about 6 episodes to go, the writing inexplicably deviates into flashbacks, forced angst, melodrama, and excessive plot twists that culminate in a just barely satisfactory ending. If not for the sag towards the end, I would rate this production that shines in spite of its modest budget better than a very enjoyable 8/10.

This is not a fairytale but that is what makes it so much fun. It is well worth watching for the fascinating and hilarious relationship dynamics alone.

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Completed
ChineseDramaFan
54 people found this review helpful
Mar 7, 2022
34 of 34 episodes seen
Completed 8
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 9.0

Fast Moving, Amazing Chemistry, Girl Empowering

The Autumn Ballad is an intriguing suspense romance story with strong male and female leads. Interestingly, the development of the story is almost distinctly divided into 3 sections: first section being both the main leads meeting and hating each other and yet they’re forced to work together to survive; the middle section being the main leads starting to warm up to and discover each other with many sweet moments together; the final section being they falling in love and fighting their adversaries hand in hand.

Qiu Yan (Qiao Xin) is not a conventional girl of her time. Having gone through a lot of hardship and heartaches growing up, she is strong, proactive and knows how to fend for herself without letting fate dictate her. During her mishaps, she meets Liang Yi (Jeremy Tsui) who is a ruthless cold hearted investigator. At first, Liang Yi thinks Qiu Yan a gold-digger, using her dirty schemes to land a big fish for marriage. After working with her to solve various criminal cases, Liang Yi changes his view of Qiu Yen and she begins to attract him. Mutually, Qiu Yan doesn’t like Liang Yi initially because she thinks he is cruel and heartless, but after working with him for a while, she realizes that’s just a façade he puts up to undermine others. Under that face is a kind and caring person who has helped her again and again. She begins to take an interest in him. Their interactions for the first 20 episodes or so really feel like a rom-com, with smearing and sarcasms against each other which is really fun to watch.

As they begin to develop feelings for each other, a few episodes are devoted to show their romance and this thrills many viewers. After episode 20 or so, it is an open fact that they are a couple without declaring their feelings to each other but each knows the other’s heart. They are almost inseparable solving mysteries and a huge conspiracy while saving each other’s life with their own. For many romance buffs, it is satisfying to see a couple that reads each other’s mind so well, and they give the viewers a lot of sweet moments; their chemistry rocks.

I didn’t quite like Jeremy Tsui when I first watched his work in Legend of the Phoenix. His pale face, sly smile had made me uncomfortable and I wasn’t even sure if he wasn’t an antagonist. But in this drama, I find his acting very believable with his minute expressions and overall charisma. I particularly love the scene when Qiu Yan tells him she’s the girl he has rescued years ago. His facial expression is priceless. Like many viewers, I am attracted and mesmerized by his magnetic deep voice, though some viewers criticize his unclear articulation in his dialogues. This is my first drama of Xiao Xin and I find her beautiful and natural. I really enjoy watching her especially when she starts her bickering with Liang Yi. Her look and emotions are adorable and convincing. The other characters are equally well executed by the cast.

My Verdict

I like this drama very much at the beginning for the first 20 episodes or so. Though I love their romance in the later episodes, somehow, the story starts to lose its appeal in the later episodes. There are still twists and turns, but no more surprises as things become predictable. Many unfathomable logic (such as how can one work closely with a person who has just killed the person who is like a brother to you?) starts to creep in. There are various such logic flaws throughout the drama – working with someone who has killed one’s loved ones. For the later episodes, Qiu Yan seems to be smarter than Liang Yi who has been a brilliant investigator in solving cases for years, and he is supposed to be the best who can see the bigger picture instantly before anyone else can. So it seems like a change in capabilities of the characters. As with the lazy writings of many Chinese historical dramas’ endings, this drama doesn’t escape the same fate. Quite a few of the prominent side characters perish unnecessarily. Though there are many plot twists which are unexpected, I find the final twist that causes the life of one of the characters rather needless. It leaves many questions marks on my mind.

Having said that, I have truly enjoyed this drama and its conspiring couple, both witty and share the same belief. These two love birds are like a pair of duets, always harmonizing each other. It is so good to watch this type of relationship. I also find Qiu Yan very inspiring as she doesn’t leave her life to her fate - she constantly reminds the viewers that.

This is a fine drama that I strongly recommend despite some of the flaws mentioned here.

BRAVO!

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Details

  • Drama: The Autumn Ballad
  • Country: China
  • Episodes: 34
  • Aired: Feb 5, 2022 - Mar 6, 2022
  • Aired On: Monday, Saturday, Sunday
  • Original Network: Tencent Video
  • Duration: 45 min.
  • Content Rating: Not Yet Rated

Statistics

  • Score: 8.0 (scored by 3,710 users)
  • Ranked: #2268
  • Popularity: #1738
  • Watchers: 8,935

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