2023 Drama Rankings

Chinese dramas started 2023 with a bang, taking storytelling, acting and production values up a noticeable notch with greater diversity in  genres and some fantastic roles emerging for mature actors. In light of this, I have to raise the bar when it comes to rating dramas this year. Which makes me glad I decided to put together these ranking lists of dramas by year.  This makes it unnecessary for me adjust my past ratings. Just know that an 8.0 for me from 2019 is not as good as an 8.0 in 2023; it is just an 8.0 relative to other dramas in its vintage.

As the year draws to a close, to my surprise modern c-dramas  made great strides this year in terms of unique plots, amazing acting and riveting narratives. Half of my Top 10 dramas this year are modern dramas (and if Blossoms Shanghai moves up the list, more than half). The Long Season is almost a masterpiece and the only drama I rated 9.5 in 2023. The Knockout (#3) was a lot more popular but unfortunately the ending succumbed to propaganda and unfortunate censorship related cuts.  Fearless Blood is another top notch, shockingly violent Fargo-like dark comedy that I didn't expect in a c-drama and is under appreciated.

Costume dramas with a few exceptions were quite disappointing. Even the hauntingly beautiful Lost You Forever had notably flaws that made it impossible for me to rate it 9.5 even though it is my top costume drama for 2023. It is still a cut above than Ripe Town and My Journey to You which I also rated a 9.0. This year's dark horse is actually a small budget hidden gem An Ancient Love Song (8.5) that stood out for unforgettable, uniquely creative  storytelling, The idol costume dramas all ran into very similar issues including the overuse of delusional character types and wishy washy endings that try to be all things to all people. Even though I enjoyed many of them, I was unable to rate any of them that highly. 

PeachBlossomGoddess Jan 15, 2023
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  • The Long Season

    1. The Long Season

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 12 episodes

    9.5

    The winds of change.
    A suspense mystery set in a time of profound change.

  • Lost You Forever

    2. Lost You Forever

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 39 episodes

    9.0

    The Princess Bride.
    A beautiful, mysterious and immersive fantasy about loss and longing.

  • The Knockout

    3. The Knockout

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 39 episodes

    9.0

    The road to perdition.
    A riveting crime thriller.

  • Ripe Town

    4. Ripe Town

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 12 episodes

    9.0

    Confucius' last stand.
    A superb ancient suspense that will thrill hard core mystery buffs.

  • My Journey to You

    5. My Journey to You

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 24 episodes

    9.0

    House of cards.
    A dark and suspenseful wuxia with stunning aesthetics.

  • Under the Microscope

    6. Under the Microscope

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 14 episodes

    8.5

    The mountains are high and the emperor is far away 山高皇帝远.
    Ancient financial shenanigans.

  • An Ancient Love Song

    7. An Ancient Love Song

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 14 episodes

    8.5

    A timeless love story with no beginning and no end. 
    One of my Must Watch dramas of 2023

  • The Hope

    8. The Hope

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 30 episodes

    8.5

    Hope is not a strategy.
    A very special, inspiring and realistic drama about life.

  • Fearless Blood

    9. Fearless Blood

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 18 episodes

    8.5

    Today is a good day to die. 
    A mind-blowing, thrilling dark comedy Republican era wuxia.

  • Blossoms Shanghai

    10. Blossoms Shanghai

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 30 episodes

    Currently Watching

  • Parallel World

    11. Parallel World

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 38 episodes

    8.5

    In the land of the scorpion the rooster is king.
    A suspenseful, romantic desert fantasy adventure.

  • Story of Kunning Palace

    12. Story of Kunning Palace

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 38 episodes

    8.5

    May the baddest man win.
    A dark tale of revenge and atonement.

  • Mysterious Lotus Casebook

    13. Mysterious Lotus Casebook

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 40 episodes

    8.5

    Ask me no questions and I 'll tell you no lies.
    An action packed, dark jianghu murder mystery.

  • Young Blood Season 2

    14. Young Blood Season 2

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 27 episodes

    8.5

    The father, the son and the holy sheep.
    The long awaited and much anticipated Season 2 of the adventures of six young Song spies.

  • Till the End of the Moon

    15. Till the End of the Moon

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 40 episodes

    8.5

    Did you ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?
    An angsty date with the devil.

  • Thirteen Years of Dust

    16. Thirteen Years of Dust

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 24 episodes

    8.5

    Catch me if you can!
    A superb mystery cum police procedural..

  • The Starry Love

    17. The Starry Love

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 40 episodes

    8.5

    Flower Power.
    A hilarious xianxia spoof.

  • A Journey to Love

    18. A Journey to Love

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 40 episodes

    8.0

    Drink the finest wines, look at lovely girls, make the best friends, and fight glorious battles. 
    Of spies, assassins, king and country and times gone by.

  • Imperfect Victim

    19. Imperfect Victim

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 29 episodes

    8.0

    Just Say No.
    A thought provoking drama about consent and  victim blaming.

  • Destined

    20. Destined

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 40 episodes

    8.0

    Who's your daddy?
    An unlikely couple's journey in times of chaos.

  • The Ingenious One

    21. The Ingenious One

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 36 episodes

    8.0

    Liar's Poker.
    A new wuxia revenge conspiracy.

  • A League of Nobleman

    22. A League of Nobleman

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 29 episodes

    8.0

    Cat's paw.
    Ancient conspiracy with lots of hot men. 

  • Back from the Brink

    23. Back from the Brink

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 40 episodes

    8.0

    How to train your dragon koi.
    A very comical and enjoyable xianxia.

  • I Belonged to Your World

    24. I Belonged to Your World

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 20 episodes

    8.0

    The saddest happy story.
    An unconventional sci-fi romantic comedy.

  • Pledge of Allegiance

    25. Pledge of Allegiance

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 24 episodes

    8.0

    Dead men tell no tales.
    An intense historical suspense thriller that is not for casual watchers.

  • Warm on a Cold Night

    26. Warm on a Cold Night

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 36 episodes

    8.0

    Lukewarm.
    A fantasy conspiracy, mystery and romance.

  • The Lonely Warrior

    27. The Lonely Warrior

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 24 episodes

    7.5

    To the ends of the earth.
    A suspenseful and chilling cop thriller.

  • Faithful

    28. Faithful

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 25 episodes

    7.5

    Those who seek revenge dig two graves.
    A sobering and heart wrenching story about the high cost of justice.

  • The Forbidden Flower

    29. The Forbidden Flower

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 24 episodes

    7.5

    Let life be beautiful like summer flowers...
    When a first love meets a last love.

  • Three-Body

    30. Three-Body

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 30 episodes

    7.5

    The bugs will inherit the earth.
    A contemplative exploration of the mysteries of the universe.

  • Who Is He

    31. Who Is He

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 24 episodes

    7.5

    The hunt for a serial killer.
    An interesting police procedural based on two high profile true crimes.

  • Miss Chun Is a Litigator

    32. Miss Chun Is a Litigator

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 20 episodes

    7.5

    An appealing lawyer.
    A little bit of mystery, romance and a smart ancient female litigator.

  • The Mutations

    33. The Mutations

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 12 episodes

    7.0

    An Oriental Odyssey.
    A short fantasy suspense thriller.

  • Wonderland of Love

    34. Wonderland of Love

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 40 episodes

    7.0

    How a leader of men becomes a follower of a woman. 
    A bland cocktail of romance and game of thrones.

  • The Legend of Zhuohua

    35. The Legend of Zhuohua

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 40 episodes

    7.0

    Women should not rule the world. 
    An funny empowerment rom com that turns into political melodrama in the back half.

  • Gone with the Rain

    36. Gone with the Rain

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 37 episodes

    7.0

    My dear, I don't give a damn. 
    A Tang dynasty Gone with the Wind.

  • Echo

    37. Echo

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 13 episodes

    6.5

    Everybody lies. 
    A suspense thriller that turns into relationship counseling.

  • The Legend of Anle

    38. The Legend of Anle

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 39 episodes

    6.5

    Dumbed down to the point of fatousness. 
    An impossibly boring revenge tale to avoid.

  • Beauty of Resilience

    39. Beauty of Resilience

    Chinese Drama - 2023, 36 episodes

    6.0

    Identity Theft.
    Just another vapid run-of-the-mill xianxia.

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