I first took notice of Alan Yu (also known as Yu Meng Long) in my all-time favourite drama, 2017’s Eternal Love aka Ten Miles of Peach Blossom, as Bai Zhen, fourth brother of Bai Qian. While a supporting character, he could not leave the pivotal scene, when he dropped into the middle of a battle to rescue his sister, who would not leave the side of the dead Ling Yu. Throughout the entire show, he was always a voice of reason with his mischievous sister, not to mention, eye candy whenever he graced the screen.
Intrigued by his character, I decided to find more shows with him in it. Wow! Was this man born to play in C-Dramas or what? No one rocks the long hair and innocent face as well as him. Perhaps it is those boyish good looks, or lack of a smouldering tortured gaze, that make him so underappreciated as a heartthrob and romantic lead.
In Go Princess Go, Alan plays the character of Jiu Wang, the Ninth Prince, in a quasi-love triangle/power struggle with his brother and his brother’s wife, whose body is inhabited by the consciousness of a twenty-first-century playboy. Who doesn’t love the Ninth Prince’s sweet good looks or his incessant desire to live for the happiness of his beloved Zhang Peng Peng, not to mention his fabulous comedic timing? I found myself wishing for more hilarious scenes with his character and that of his sidekick Yang Yan, or more between him and Zhang Peng Peng in their covert meeting spot of the latrine.
I was entranced with the story of the Ninth Prince, the minute he and his future emperor brother had the very competitive chair race in one of the early episodes. Ninth Prince takes the art of passive-aggressive to new heights in this mostly humorous and sometimes dramatic show. Go Princess Go is more light-hearted than most C-dramas and Alan’s character brings just the right amount of sweet, serious, and silly to keep me entertained. (And sometimes laugh out loud...)
In Xuan-Yuan Sword: Han Cloud, Alan plays Bai Yi, who is actually Mu Yun (twin brother to Yan Feng or Han Yun). At last! A conflicted, tortured role for our handsome-faced actor. The story is of two brothers (or two halves of a sword), separated and reunited after time spent in very different situations. I’ll admit that I could only find a few episodes in English. What I do know is that throughout the episodes, Bai Yi is a tortured and brooding hero, wanting the reincarnation of his lost love. He made the character sympathetic and easy to love from the beginning even when he was being dark and dangerous.
Additionally, Mu Yun is a more interesting character on screen than the brother Han Yun, played by Leon Zhang. Don’t let the ending bother you even though it was a little strange from my perspective. Truth be told, Vengo Gao was fabulous during the last episode, which made up for the bizarre finale with the combination of the two brothers into one. Still, like the other characters Alan plays, Mu Yun has no fear and is willing to sacrifice everything for the greater good. (Sigh…)
In The Legend of White Snake, Alan plays Xu Xuan, a highly righteous physician who is out to rescue the world, or at least anyone he can find in peril. Whether they are dying from eating a poisoned apple, or stuck in a burning building, Xu Xuan is the kind and fearless hero who will do anything and everything in his power to save them. Being the sweet and lovable guy he is, he falls in love with the sweet and lovable Su Zhen, another upstanding citizen who just so happens to be a snake demon.
As far as I can tell, (I’m not done with the series yet), he is like a male version of Mary Poppins, and is “practically perfect in every way”. The show is a little sad with a lot of morals, therefore no smouldering looks, nor misunderstood heroes, or dark and brooding moments so far for this character. Still, he rocks the long hairdo, smiles that awesome sweet smile, and he definitely is not a wimp when it comes to putting his life on the line for a righteous cause. (Sniff, sniff, my hero...)
I must preface my thoughts by saying that this show is what started my obsession with C-dramas (thank you Netflix). There is nothing I don’t love about Eternal Love and I mean NOTHING. What is not to admire about Alan’s performance playing Bai Zhen or affectionately called, Fourth Brother? Having never had older siblings, I can honestly say that Alan has my vote for the best older brother. Who wouldn’t love having a sibling like Bai Zhen who checked up on his little sister at crucial moments, or rescued her from certain death? Alan’s performance was so consistently good that his character appeared to possess the right amount of supportive actions, teasing personality, and stern reproach when the scene called for it.
The bromance/ chemistry between Alan and Ken Chang who played the old Phoenix Zhe Yan was wonderful. They were two characters, who together, made every scene they were in so much more interesting. I loved their interactions with Bai Qian and Ye Hua, and no one could deny that Bai Zhen was loving and supportive to all his family, not just his little sister. Alan brought this character to life for me and every time he was on the screen he made the show that much more fun and interesting. (Yay for the big brother...)
Alan Yu, whether he is the romantic lead, brooding anti-hero, big brother type, or comedic sidekick, will surely always excel at the part. I look forward to watching more shows with him in them. His innocent good looks, talent, and comedic timing will ensure that audiences will be entertained (with English subtitles please) for years to come.