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  • Join Date: November 1, 2023
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To fully understand my reviews, I should explain my preferences, since they have a major impact.

My reviews focus on the specific drama being watched, taking into account various aspects like acting, the chemistry between actors, casting choices, story, script, editing, direction, music, costumes, special effects, martial arts choreography, inconsistencies and epilogues/endings. It is a package deal. 

Credit: Love Like the Galaxy (Zhao LuSi, Leo Wu)

Historical Costume-period dramas are my weakness…

As an avid viewer of television dramas, I must admit that I have a particular soft spot for period costume dramas. Among them, my favorites are Chinese dramas (C-dramas) and Korean dramas (K-dramas)Something is captivating about the intricate costumes, the elaborate sets, and the rich historical contexts that transport me to different times and places. 

I enjoy watching everyday family life and political period dramas, as well as fantasy/wuxia/xianxia dramas. I also like to broaden my horizons and explore other genres, such as modern romance dramas. I also like teenage college dramas. So, from time to time, I like to switch gears and indulge myself if the general rating is above 9 but my main passion is historical costume-period romance dramas.

Gorgeous actors and actresses…

When it comes to romance dramas, there are a few key elements that can make or break the viewing experience. Firstly, the actors and actresses should be talented and well-suited to their roles, with undeniable chemistry between them. This chemistry should be supported by a realistic and inspiring story that draws the viewer in and keeps them engaged from start to finish. 

Xiao Zhan (The Untamed)

Ni Ni (Love and Destiny)

I tend to gravitate towards dramas that feature actors and actresses who possess striking physical appearances, ones that could be described as model-like in their attractiveness. However, I understand that beauty is subjective, and what I find appealing might not be the same for everyone else. When it comes to thrillers, I tend to gravitate towards more mature actors and actresses, as I find that their performances are often more nuanced and complex. That being said, I'm not opposed to younger actors, as long as their performances are not overly childish or immature.  In my opinion, a good performance must be evaluated based on its merit, regardless of the age or appearance of the actor/actress. However, when both acting skills and physical appearance are in sync, it's a match made in heaven!

I prefer dramas that feature seasoned actors (30+) playing mature roles with convincing performances. For me, credibility is a must, as not all actors can master every character in every drama. I also want a believable adult romance that is seamlessly integrated into the story. A few hugs and a single kiss with no passion do not satisfy me. I want a drama that can make me go through a range of emotions. As an adult, I am looking for dramas that cater to a mature audience. 

Age plays a crucial role in the storylines depicted in dramas, regardless of the young actors and actresses' exceptional talent and good looks. While certain genres, such as wuxia or xianxia, or even "college first love," are intended for younger audiences, others, such as palace or family dramas, are more suitable for older viewers. In my opinion, seasoned actors and actresses bring more depth to the story and characters, avoiding the immature and childish approach that younger actors and actresses, especially females, tend to display.

Although physical attractiveness is a major factor for me when selecting a drama, it alone is not enough to hold my attention. To make a lasting impression on me, an actor or actress must possess a combination of acting talent, charisma, and good looks. It's the perfect mix of these qualities that makes someone truly memorable, to the point where I become eager to watch every single drama or movie that they have starred in. In summary, while beauty is an important aspect, it is just one part of the package that makes an individual truly stand out in the entertainment industry.

Strong, witty, opinionated women lead…

I strongly believe that a love story does not require a woman to be bullied, and mentally and/or physically degraded. Such scenes are cringeworthy. While they can be a part of the plot, they shouldn't be repeated endlessly in every episode. As a viewer, I want to be able to relate to the female lead, and watching such scenes repeatedly makes me want to drop the drama altogether. 

Credit: Faith aka The Great Doctor (Lee Min-Ho, Kim Hee-Sun)

Weakness for seasoned charismatic males lead…

When it comes to male leads in stories, I have a weakness for characters who seem cold and unapproachable, but deep down have a kind and caring heart. I find it particularly enjoyable when a male character falls hard for the female protagonist, and there are some humorous and endearing jealous moments between them. I tend to prefer mature, charismatic, and attractive male characters over younger ones. Interestingly, I often find myself rooting for the secondary male lead in love triangles.

Age gap

In real life, in my opinion, age gaps are not an issue when it comes to true love. However, in dramas, actors and actresses portray different characters, and sometimes an age gap between them may be a concern. Even though it is not always the case, some actors or actresses may feel uncomfortable while performing a kissing scene with someone significantly older or younger than them. And viewers can easily notice that.

In some dramas, I saw actors kiss, and my first thought was, "Wow! He knows how to kiss, and I am grateful that they did not show a standoffish or awkward kissing scene.". They were both professional, and I didn't notice any awkwardness. Perhaps the age difference didn't show too much physically, partly because he still looked like a handsome man in his thirties. And perhaps it was because she is a true professional. Acting is essentially the art of portraying a character through pretense.

I always thought that it might be more difficult for young actresses. However, I acknowledge that this is a biased point of view and I cannot claim to understand what it is like to be in their shoes. Who knows if the male actor didn't find it difficult as well?

It's important to remember that our modern-day perspective may not align with the customs and norms of the past. For instance, in ancient times, it was common for older, generally wealthy or noble, men to marry teenagers who were around 15 or 16 years old. An unmarried girl over the age of 20 was considered unusual. Therefore, when watching period dramas, it's crucial to keep in mind the societal norms of the time. That being said, it's natural for us to relate to what we know and what we've been raised to believe, and this can influence our preferences.

I noticed something amusing - when a viewer enjoys a show and its actors, the age gap between characters is not a concern. However, if a viewer dislikes the actors or the drama, the age gap becomes a significant problem. I consider this to be biased and I admit that I am not immune to it.

Strong and fluid script…

To keep things fresh and interesting, the script must avoid falling into the trap of redundancy, with villains popping up left and right just for the sake of conflict. Instead, the story should have a clear vision and focus on the development of the main characters' relationship.

In my opinion, a truly remarkable drama should leave its audience with a sense of awe and a strong desire to watch it again. It should be able to elicit a range of emotions from the viewers and keep them engaged from start to finish. The characters should be well-developed and relatable, the plot should be intriguing and unpredictable, and the dialogue should be both natural and impactful. If a drama manages to achieve all of these elements and leaves a lasting impression on its audience, then it can truly be considered a work of art.

I require a happy ending, no exceptions…

No romance drama can be complete without a happy ending. It should be sweet, funny, and heartwarming, leaving the viewer (me) feeling uplifted and satisfied with the journey they've been taken on. 

I refuse to ruin my viewing experience. Therefore, I always spoil myself by watching the final episode first to determine whether the ending is satisfactory. On very very rare occasions, I don't spoil myself.

Credit: The story of Ming Lan 
(Feng Shaofeng, Zhao Liying)
Credit: New Life Begins 
(Tian Xi Wei, Bai Jumg Ting)

This is why  I am not fond of time travel dramas for one main reason: 99% of them end bittersweet. It is worse with a sad ending if one of the main leads dies, then I become extremely frustrated and upset. I invest myself in the drama, and therefore a sad ending is not acceptable. I also dislike 'happy for now' endings with a twist for another season that comes years later or not at all. Unfortunately, there are plenty of those, mostly because of Chinese censorship. 

Director, scriptwriter, production…

The director must possess the necessary skills to bring together all the elements of a production seamlessly. They should avoid directing the female lead in a way that portrays them as childish or immature, but instead, treat them as fully realized characters with depth and complexity. The director should use the script with a clear vision and not try using it to mix all genres. 

A drama is a drama. A comedy is a comedy. But a comedy dramatic is complete nonsense. I welcome some humor, but there is a fine line between appropriate and excessive.  A romance is slightly different because it can be associated with a comedy but also a drama. 

The ending is generally up to the director and scriptwriter. They have the power and freedom to end a drama on a sad or happy note. I see absolutely no justification to kill a main character at the epilogue or have a definitive separation. When I watch a romantic drama, I don't want a retelling of Romeo and Juliet!

A drama's success heavily relies on the talent of the scriptwriter. The writer's personality is reflected in the dialogues and story making them crucial components of a successful drama. If the drama is an adaptation of a web novel, the scriptwriter is responsible for translating the essence of the original story into the drama. However, despite a good script, several factors such as censorship, poor casting, lack of chemistry, and improper directing can lead to a disappointing drama.

The success of a drama depends also on several crucial factors, such suitable music, costumes, martial arts choreography, special effects, budget, scenery, construction, design, etc. Ultimately, the director's skill plays a crucial role in determining the final outcome of a drama - whether it will be remembered as a masterpiece or forgotten as a flop. A director is either a master of the craft or a beginner learning the ropes. Same with a scriptwriter.

Best drama so far….

One of the most impressive dramas I've had the pleasure of watching is "Joy of Life". What made this drama stand out for me is the exceptional symbiosis of every single element that contributed to its success. From the gripping story to the engaging characters, from the stunning cinematography to the perfectly timed music, every aspect of this drama was executed flawlessly. The plot was intricate and well-crafted, keeping me on the edge of my seat throughout. The characters were memorable and well-developed, each with their own unique personalities and motivations. The cinematography was breathtaking, with stunning shots and masterful use of lighting and color. The music was perfectly timed and helped to enhance the emotional impact of every scene. Overall, "Joy of Life" is a true masterpiece of the genre and a must-watch for anyone who loves a well-crafted drama.

Sadly, Season 2 did not reach the same level of perfection…

Read my full review for S1  HERE and my review for S2 HERE

Credit: Joy of Life 
(Wu Gang, Zhang Ruo Yun, Tong Meng Shi)

But I also loved many others..

  • Love like the Galaxy
  • Faith (The Great Doctor)
  • The  Untamed
  • The Story of Ming Lan
  • New Life Begins
  • Love and Destiny 
  • Love between Fairy and Devil
  • Who rules the world
  • Eternal Love
  • Hidden love
  • Chef Hua
  • Love a thousand years
  • Princess agents (except epilogue mainly due because S2 never aired)
  • Sungkyunkwan Scandal

And many more. See my drama list HERE.

Pet peeves…

As a viewer of dramasI have a major pet peeve that I find hard to overlook. Specifically, when a female lead acts like a 12-year-old teenager with pouting faces, baby voices, and childish immature play interaction with the male lead, it really bothers me. Even if the drama is a comedy, I don't think this kind of behaviour from the female lead is acceptable or entertaining. In fact, it's my biggest pet peeve when it comes to dramas, and I find myself easily dropping a drama because of it. I believe that a drama can be funny and entertaining without resorting to these kinds of immature behaviours.

As a mature individual, I dislike watching TV shows featuring inexperienced and immature actors and actresses. It frustrates me to the extent that I end up dropping the show altogether. The age of the actors is not the issue, but rather their commercial appeal. They are cast based on their ability to portray a childish persona, regardless of their actual age. While this may attract some viewers, I am definitely not one of them!

Credit: Love between Fairy and Devil (Dylan Wang)

I strongly dislike and condemn bullying, physical punishment, and humiliation. Even though I may be able to tolerate and overlook a few instances of these actions if they are necessary to the storyline in the first or second episodes, I have a very low tolerance for them. Furthermore, if the male lead is the one responsible for these behaviours, it is even more unacceptable and distressing to me. It feels like a case of Stockholm syndrome, which is not acceptable.

I don't do fangirling…

I believe it's essential to evaluate every drama objectively, without any favouritism or bias towards any actor or actress. Although I do have my personal preferences, I approach every performance with an open mind and consider various elements that can impact the drama's quality such bad pairing, bad script, bad directing. This approach enables me to provide a constructive and informative review that is fair. Therefore, it's unfair to compare different dramas and actors based on just one performance. if the issue becomes redundant, then I put the actor or actress on my black list along with the scriptwriter and the director.

Each drama is unique, and even if an actor is featured in multiple dramas, each one should be reviewed independently.

I absolutely detest standoffish kissing scenes!

Credit: Romance of a Twin Flower

Credit: Love and Redemption

In the dramas I watch, I notice two types of kissing scenes: those directed to be no emotion (left) and those that are tender and passionate (right). The former scene is usually portrayed as an innocent and virgin act (will I get pregnant if you kiss my lips?), while the latter displays adult physical attraction (let's make a baby!)

Standoffish kiss or Realistic hot kiss?

I find it extremely bothersome when characters in dramas engage in standoffish kissing scenes. It frustrates me when the scene lacks a genuine emotional connection between the characters, and the kiss seems forced or insincere. I believe that intimate moments between characters should be portrayed with authenticity and passion, rather than appear to be scripted or awkward.

Kissing scenes are requested by the director, who may want to emphasize the virgin pure nature of the actresses (electrified and shocked with open eyes also named the “fish kiss”) and the over-the-top male act (rushing but closed lips). This trend is particularly popular in China, where public displays of affection are still a cultural taboo in many places, and there may be censorship constraints. The idolization of young virgin girls in dramas is sadly very common and encouraged by Directors/Scriptwriters. Very unhealthy. Too rarely, I find directors looking for more authenticity and more credibility in the performances of mature actors and actresses who act more naturally.  

See my list of best kissing actors/actresses HERE

My ratings…

I have a very open mind, and apart from a few pet peeves, I am generally easy to please. If you look at my reviews and sort them by rating, you'll see that 80% of them are above 8 out of 10, with only a few below 5 out of 10. So, I don't give bad ratings easily.

  • 10, excellent, memorable, must watch and re-watch
  • Between 8 and 9.5…  good to very  good but something bothered me;  the last impression was enough to watch all episodes
  • Between 7 and 8, it is a mix of likeable and cringe-worthy elements, with a 50/50 split between the two. I probably fast-forward a few parts
  • Anything that is under 7 is not worth watching. My advice is to avoid it. Mostly dropped.

Every drama has its good and bad points, and I don't believe in perfection. I may give something a 10, but I will still criticize any cringy moments. I am all about emotions, and my reviews will reflect that.

Conclusion…

  • I vehemently detest Media Chinese Censorship. 
  • I am an LGBT+ friend/supporter.
  • I don't do fangirling. 
  • I dislike the long delays between seasons. 
  • I roll my eyes until it hurts each time I watch standoffish kissing scenes. Plain ridiculous.
  • I cannot stand childish leads (physical and/or acting), subpar voice acting, and cringy play. 
  • I prefer physically attractive actors and actresses who can express versatility, independence, sass, humor and passion.
  •  I have a soft spot with seasoned actors and actresses (30+)
  • I love deep male voices, but sadly not many. 
  • I am fond of historical romance with intricate stories, families and friends. If the hero is passionately in love, the better!
  • I enjoy historical fantasy, wuxia, and xianxia… when martial arts choreographies are done right
  • Sad and bittersweet endings leave a sour taste in my mouth and it is a no-watching for me. Happy endings are a must. 
  • I may know some dramas only because I am spoiling myself watching some episodes and the epilogues to check if they have a happy ending. 
  • I try to read the novels if I love the dramas
  • I try to avoid reading reviews or comments before watching and reviewing to prevent bias.
  • I also dislike scripts that lack coherence and chemistry between characters, obvious questionable choice of casting and pairing and poor editing and directing. 
  • OST is important. My personal taste is chorus and violins. See my favourites HERE

My reviews are and will be written accordingly.

To read my reviews, click HERE

To check my lists, click HERE

Credit: Love in the Moonlight (Kim You Jung)

Any bullying, direct insults and/or personal attacks made towards me under my comments or reviews will not be tolerated. I will report such behaviour and individuals will be blocked immediately. Let it be clear that I have zero tolerance for any form of immature behaviour and bullies.

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