Over and over again, I have tried to get into Chinese and Taiwanese dramas to try and understand the hype over them. The plot tends to be cliched, too melodramatic, too juvenile, or just plain idiotic. Then there's the acting (rolls eyes). A cardboard cutout would have more charisma and acting skills than most of them. Movies tend to be better both in plot and acting. So I'm starting to think that dramas are for the young, pretty actor with no acting skills and movies are for the more respected skilled actors.
So help me out and prove me wrong. Just to give you a base on who I consider good Chinese or Taiwanese actors, here are some of them: Berlin Chen, Aaron Kwok, Zhang Ziyi, Tony Leung, Qi Shu, Andy Lau. As you can see most of them work entirely in movies.
Also here are lists of Chinese and Taiwanese dramas I have dropped, barely had the patience to finish, actually liked.
Love O2O (I have no idea why it has such a high score. It's boring with shitty acting)
Big Red Riding Hood
Boss & Me
Love Through a Millennium
Master Devil Do Not Kiss Me
Murphy's Law of Love
Rock 'n' Road
Barely had the patience to finish:
Skip Beat! (it was probably the first Asian drama I've watched so I had low standards then)
In Time With You
So can anyone recommend Chinese and Taiwanese dramas with an actual good plot (preferably romance) AND actual decent acting from at the very least BOTH leads? You can check my Favorite Romance list (mostly comprised of Korean and Japanese dramas) for ideas on what I like.
Eternal Love (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms) and Nirvana in Fire are the BEST Chinese dramas I've ever seen. Their high score is actually warranted. Day and Night is also amazing but there is no romance as its a cop show but the acting and production quality is up there with movies (just watch the 1st epi and you'll see what I'm saying).
But yea I must agree with you that good Chinese and Taiwanese dramas are hard to come by.
I understand what you mean about poor acting in Chinese dramas (personally I haven't seen any problems in Taiwanese dramas with acting so far) but I think I can help you out! Since I've seen quite a few Chinese and Taiwanese dramas myself. All of my recommendations will be romance dramas because that's all I watch.
Stay with me.
Fifteen years waiting for migratory birds.
Because of you.
A love so beautiful.
Meteor garden (2018)
Loving never forgetting.
Meteor garden (I recommend watching this original Taiwanese version before the new Chinese remake)
I don't know if you would like history or wuxia drama, but are the best in the Chinese dramaland. If you want to try I recommend you:
Ashes of Love (Wuxia)
Eternal love (Wuxia)
Rookie Agent Rouge (Historical, Republican era)
Battle of Changsha (FULL of emotion, I cried) - (Historical, - Sino/Japanese war)
Scarlet heart (The original version of Moon Lovers) - (Historical, Qing Dynasty)
The Princess Wei Young (Historical, Northern Wei)
I haven't watched a lot of Taiwanese drama, are too much melodramatic and full of clichè for my taste but there are few really good:
Autumn’s Concerto (the best Taiwanese drama by far)
In a good way (slice of life, not a typical cup of tea)
The perfect match
P.S. C-Dramas are slower than Korean or Taiwanese drama, the first 4/5 episodes are like a "prologue" where you can meet all the characters, even more episode in few dramas, but when you go over these ones the plots are more complex and give you a lot more emotions than the other ones.
China has some of the most awesome narrated story with brilliant acting, but these dramas are the ones that have none/less romance...
Nirvana in Fire
All Quiet in peking
Battle of changsa
Ode to joy (season 1 and 2)
Ten miles of peach blossoms
As for taiwan, aside from Mars and In time With You, try:
Fated to Love you
Black and white
The way we were
BUT, i just wanna kinda answer about Love O2O. I adore that drama soooo much. And you are right, its not acted well. Yangyang is gorgeous but yup, he has a loooong ways to go and Zheng Shuang did better but not by much. But they felt perfect for each other with their own brand of chemistry. But for me the main reason is that, I am a sucker for coming of age dramas. And it was an overall nice light and feel-good drama that you can sit back and not be too burdened by usual noble sacrifice/misunderstanding plots.