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Ongoing 73/73
The Story of Ming Lan
77 people found this review helpful
Feb 9, 2019
73 of 73 episodes seen
Ongoing 0
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 10

The Flower That Blooms In Adversity Is the Rarest One of All

The Legend of Ming Lan is a very complex and meaningful slice of life drama. My review is split into two parts: a summary and analysis.

I. Summary
The synopsis is misleading. ‘Mistreatment’ is a very general statement. That can mean anything. The titular character suffers from neglect from her family; her grandmother fills that need: she loves her and cherishes her. The titular character is both sensible and practical: she acknowledges the reality of her situation and the world she lives in and chooses to be smart about it instead of letting it define her. The titular character makes the deliberate choice to blend into obscurity: her mission is to avoid attention because she learned at a very young age that standing out can invite danger and I think this is a way of taking back her control of her life in the best way she can. She presents herself as a submissive, dreamy person never interested in the things that make others scheme. As a result people think she is nonthreatening and even foolish for not wanting more i.e. 'ambitious'. Thus, about half of the drama instead focuses on her family and the personal actions of her relatives. Like a sponge she absorbs everything, learning about peoples behaviors, tricks, motivations and good/bad choices. On the other hand Gu Ting Ye (future husband) experiences a lot of abuse from his family, but his gender means he can’t take Ming Lan’s route—there are different expectations on him—and as a male, physical punishment is far more common. The second half then follows Ming Lan after she begins married life and how she works very hard to protect her family, support her husband, and finally step into the limelight as a formidable person who will fiercely protect the people around her and is unafraid to seek justice in an eye-for-an eye kind of way (for extreme crimes) instead of burying them. The second act really steps up the ante as Ming Lan has much bigger fires to put out and the stakes and risks are bigger, especially since her husband becomes important to emperor, and that carries a risk all on its own (i.e. the higher you rise, the harder you fall).

II. Analysis
I do not think everyone would agree with me that this drama is perfect because I strongly believe that whether you love, like, or hate it boils down to personal preference. For example, I did not like the drama Love 020 because it was not my style—too light—but it succeeded in what it intended to deliver very well so I ranked it an 8. In contrast, Perfect Couple was not only not my type but I think poorly executed so I gave it a low rating. This drama more than succeeds in what it wants to do and I loved it. With these examples I want the reader to know I am trying to be frank and fair with my review but I truly enjoyed the show so there may be some bias.

For you, the reader, I think there are some important things you may wish to know before making this 70+ episode commitment:

1) The titular character does not receive the majority of screen time in the first half (in my opinion). The titular character does not receive the majority of lines. The titular character is the focus of the show though.

2)The drama uses the rigid moral rules of the day as a source for conflict regularly. Filial piety, virtue, family reputation, and roles (being a good/bad daughter; good/bad wife; good/bad son; good/bad citizen)

3)The writers/directors (I think) attempt to tell a strongly character driven drama, meaning conflict is resolved through dialogue. Characters are consistent. Events don’t disappear from the story line, they stay with people for the rest of the show. Just like people, characters remember. Characters are impacted by choices other people make, sometimes in a life changing way. The last ten episodes are more action based as big end games begin to unravel and play out.

Conclusion:
I have a deep appreciation for this story. I think the acting was amazing, the writing and presentation, down to where people stand in a given scene, was done with remarkable attention to detail. Characters are intelligent and not easy to trick. The acting was extremely believable.

If you want a love story told on a grand scale (Ashes of Love, Eternal Love) this may not be for you because romance is just one of many aspects of this drama. In addition, if you want something light, I would steer clear. But this is not a palace drama (Empress of China) because the plotting is not anywhere near that level, and throughout all 70+ episodes, only a couple of people die—people are not dropping like flies.

For those looking for romance, I cans say that an important aspect of Ming Lan's character is she never wants to inconvenience anyone or rely on others. The male lead prove through his actions that he is someone she can inconvenience and rely on so their love story is sweet.

I think potential viewers should consider these points because often people start a drama and are frustrated with plot and speed. Others may call it a slow burner but it never felt that way to me. I eagerly await(ed) each new episode and the episodes flew by. I never fast forwarded. I don't know what to watch after this!

Finally,
I am making a project to review every episode, so if you have questions about plot you can find them there but just be warned these episode summaries contain massive spoilers. Because of a bug that has not been fixed yet, I can't have paragraph breaks so I have used the (.............) method to delineate breaks.

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Autumn's Concerto
3 people found this review helpful
May 16, 2016
34 of 34 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
Don't know why 'family' is a tag for this. More like epic soap opera of awesome. They used I think every single plot device for a soap opera and pulled it off.

This is strange, but I liked that they had a female lead with darker skin--it was refreshing. I also kind of like the sadistic nature of the male lead--I know a lot of people object to this. But I like what I like.

I thought the two had such amazing chemistry that I actually checked to see if they were dating in real life. And I was utterly shocked (pleasantly) to see an actual bed scene--it blew me away because asian dramas are sooo strict about this.

And my god was that kid adorable. I did sometimes find her passive role to be annoying, but it worked with his extremely...emo and angry personality. He was very mad at the world, and his treatment of her in the second half, was so interesting to watch because he wanted to punish her but it was clearly a ploy to keep her near him and finding reasons to keep her around.

I think he steals the show because her role was so passive. But I liked that the show made an effort to address sexual harassment/rape but it was interesting too given the male leads own questionable treatment of the female lead. I can't say if it was grounded in reality or merely expoitive or appealing to fantasy but it got me, hook line and sinker.

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Eternal Love
10 people found this review helpful
Apr 2, 2017
58 of 58 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.5
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 8.0
What an emotional roller coaster! Having just finished, here is my review:

This story explores two primary romance plots with several sub plots woven in. The overall theme of the story is that of soul mates, and love surviving even death.

What I Liked:
I deeply enjoyed the layered relationships of BQ. The relationship with her mentor is central to the story as is her relationship with his twin, Ye Hua. Through these relationships the female lead explores many different levels of emotion. We see a youthful side when she is a student; then as an adult she becomes more closed off in order to guard her feelings. BQ is an extremely capable woman, the leader of the foxes as its queen, but she values relationships the most and struggles with forgiving wrongs. She is fair but also not one to suffer an insult; she dishes out double what is served to her. Ye Hua is obedient to his grandfather as he is the heir however his one act of defiance--falling in love with a mortal (BQ, forced to leave as a mortal with no memory of being a goddess) creates a ton of complicated problems. this story reflects their very complicated journey.

What I Loved:
the second love story features BQ's niece, Fengjiu, an impulsive and romantic red fox (the only one of her kind) who seeks to repay Donghua, a god as old as time with no parents (he just sprang into being). He also has no emptions and no interest in anyone or anything. I enjoyed their love story more than the main, perhaps because their obstacles seemed to be insurmountable. These two, it seems, have no fate together. Even BQ is fated to be with YH. Their story follows Fenjius efforts to gain Donghua's love and is just as complicated as BQ/YH.

What I also Liked:
This drama's villains are not as obvious as other shows. Yes there were living people but it seemed that one of the biggest villains in the show were things that you have no control over (fate) or things designed to protect others (rules). The rigid rules of the celestial court proved time and time again to undermine these people. And fate, well...who can go up against that?

My favorite living villain?
Undoubtedly Xuan Nu beause I thought she had a lot of depth.

What would I like to see:
If anyone sees my posts or discussion boards, or reads my episode views, they know that I am an enormous fan of DH/FJ. I have read this dramas sequel (the pillow book) and would be very happy if they made it into a show. If that doesn't happen, at least the novel exists.

Final Words (acting)
I think that the cast did a great job. Every actor was perfect in their role and I don't think anyone would have been better in their roles. I know a lot of people were drawn to YH but...the gent who played DH is my favorite. I do think, however, that the young woman who played BQ hands down wins for best actress and overall did a wonderful job as BQ. Of course, because I am biased, the actress who plays FJ is my favorite however her character, I think, might be easier to play.

I did not give this show a perfect 10 because some parts dragged, and some parts I sped through a little. But most of the show I watched. I recommend it to anyone interested in dramatic stories with great dialogue, great action, good acting, and a deep appreciation for the melodramatic (because this show uses almost every plot device that one might see in a daytime soap)

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Gu Family Book
6 people found this review helpful
May 14, 2016
24 of 24 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 6.5
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 4.5
Music 5.5
Rewatch Value 5.5
I thought this drama was below average. I liked the idea/plot but I did not think that the actors executed it well. I especially did not like the second half. It felt very campy-- when I think they were going for something more lighthearted--and trust me, I know campy as I watch a lot of wuxia. I would like to see a sequel but not in the modern era/instead I would like to see something about the father--and his fate.

In addition to the plot, I found the plot devices to be poorly executed. Yes, kdramas recycle plots a lot but that doesn't bother me. It just felt very forced and not very genuine. But I think a lot of people disagree with me and that is perfectly fine. Not everyone likes the same stuff.

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A Frozen Flower
4 people found this review helpful
Apr 24, 2017
Completed 0
Overall 9.5
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
What I Liked:
Sex is not filmed in a gratuitous way. Some people were surprised by the sex in this film, but it plays an enormous role in the story. Consider: the stability of the kingdom right now depends on the production of an heir. Internal rebellions and attempts to assassinate the king, even ministers petition that he abdicate, are causing chaos. Everyone knows that the king is interested in men, not women. They know the head of his personal guard is the one warming his bed at night, and this is why there is no heir.

The Queen's most important duty is producing an heir. She can't do that because the king cannot fill his end of the bargain. But to protect his image, she blames herself publicly so he does not lose face. She must endure so much humiliation because of him.

Then, to add insult to injury, he sends his favorite lover to bed her! Why he thought this was a good idea, is anyone's guess. Still, the Queen for the first time experienced physical passion and the Guard, well, he realizes that maybe he has been ill used by the king. After all, he has groomed him since he was quite young, and maybe he is only sharing the king's bed because he feels he must, out of obligation. Out of respect and a different kind of love...but he has never questioned it until now....It's also kind of twisted how the king could even ask him to do this....he just wants the child she has to look like him which is kind of romantic but so...selfish.

What I liked:
How each time he came to her bed, he essentially worshiped her body. I don't know if he insta-fell in love with her or if he just didn't want her to feel uncomfortable, but he tried to make her feel good and focused on her needs which was really nice considering she didn't want to be there and neither did he (I guess that changed...)

Also....the feeling of watching him fall in love with her and thinking THIS IS NOT GOING TO END WELL....but not caring....So sad...It isn't like he can break up with the king and be with her...and how he tries to steal glimpses of her....*sigh*

What I Loved:
When the Queen took the initiative! She was taking back control of her body! Especially in a time when women had zero control in those matters!

What I found to be REALLY Strange:
The emperor sat outside and listened to them have sex. Why would you subject yourself to that?

Overall Opinion:

The acting was great. It's hard to make a film with this much sex not seem like it is being exploitative. It was filmed very beautifully. The emotions were captured well. It was very well done. The only other film that I have seen with this amount of sex in it that was also able to film sex without it being exploitative was Monster's Ball (an American Film) obviously a very different film but still very good.

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Completed
Novoland: The Castle in the Sky
4 people found this review helpful
Apr 15, 2017
28 of 28 episodes seen
Completed 1
Overall 6.5
Story 6.5
Acting/Cast 6.5
Music 2.5
Rewatch Value 6.5
This is a difficult review to write. Here is why:
1.The show was clearly meant to be longer, but for reasons unknown, it was cut to 30 minutes. As a result, the editing isn't good and somethings do not make a lot of sense.

2.The actors clearly did their best but I think they need more experience. It didn't have that kind of effortless flow seen in other dramas

3.The costumes...were not good, nor were the sets

4.There so many plot holes....and it was very predictable

Overview:

Li Fuling/Ling'er is a young girl who is best friends with a guy, Tianjun. He is receiving education at the star court, along with another guy, Tianyi. There personalities are night and day. Tianjun is kind, honorable and respectable. Tianyi is ruthless and stoops to low means to achieve his ends. He seems like a bad guy. But there is a reason for this: Tianyi inherited the throne of wingkingdom at a young age. Worse, he was told he would never get wings (something needed to ascend the throne). His uncle, the regent, appears to want him dead. On the other hand, Tianjun's mother, the empress of humankind, is very ruthless however this means Tianjun never had to get his hands dirty...

These are the central characters in the show. Everything goes back to Ling'er, who happens to be the incarnation of the shooting stars flower goddess. Legend says that when she is united with her mortal lover (also incarnated) she will release pollen, giving the wingkind the ability to fly but unfortunately she will turn to ash.

As the story progeses, she and Tianyi fall in love. He also happens to be her incarnated lover. But because he wants her to live, he tries to put distance between them. On the other hand, because of a series of events, Tianjun descends into madness and becomes obsessed with forcing Ling'er to be by his side.

This is the story of these people. There are a number of subplots, related to the empress and Ling'er's father, a young man named Yu, and a princess of the sky kingdom.

What I liked:
Excluding memory loss, so many dramatic plot devices are used in this series. And so many people die in this series. It was also a different story. So i gave it a shot.

What I hated:
The show did not have a lot of depth. The characters were pretty 1 dimensional, the villains weren't well developed. This is because of the script, I think. The actors did their best, but need a few years to improve. It is clearly targeting a younger demographic.

What I REALLY hated:
the ending song. It has absolutely no place in this series. I also hated the poor editing.

My overall opinion:
Watch this show for something light. If you don't compare it to other shows and don't expect much it can be a fun watch.

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Cuo Dian Yuan Yang
4 people found this review helpful
May 16, 2016
25 of 25 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 8.5
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
I just finished Journey of Flower and was looking for something new to watch. This is not like journey of flower, but still good. I certainly think the actress reminds me of Ariel Lin at times. Not too campy. A bonus is that there is really no love triangle with the leads (yay!).

1. It drags a little around episode 16, which felt kind of like a filler episode. I also disliked the opening song and thought the youngest brother was kind of annoying/campy.

2.On the left, we have Shi Wu Ji who is brutal, cold, and wears the same black robes as if to communicate he is someone whom one does not f*** with. He is 29. Revenge is his game, as his entire family minus siblings were murdered during a fire. What makes him a bit more human are the little things, like the fact that he has no sense of direction and easily gets lost and won't admit it, but remains silently serious while others tease him--

3.On the right, we have Su Huan Er/Lang Yiu, who is 18, and is the ignored and unrecognized daughter of a very conniving, money hungry man. She is described as 'servant' but is more like a lady's companion to her sister Huan Er whose place she takes to marry Shu Wi Ji. She is both unconventional, incredibly cute, impudent, and yet not annoying (rare, to play this role and not be annoying). She is not perfect, and has an agenda of her own, and wants to protect her family because her father now recognizes her. She firmly believes he is innocent.

4.Shu Wi Ji suspects that the Su family is responsible for his parents deaths. This is revealed in the first episode. Hence his marriage is more about revenge, i.e. finding a way to spy more easily on the family.

5.The romance builds nicely, and at a refreshingly quick pace but given the first half is 25 episodes, it makes sense. It is nice to see Shu Wi Ji go all god of war when his beloved Su Huan Er is in danger.

6.I watched this for the romance--there was a lot of on screen hugging, kissing, make-out scenes and references to love making and then the screen would of course go dark and not show us what they were doing...but we knew *grins* at one point he actually says that he has to show her how he feels with his body and then he carries her to the bed xoxoxo AND the female lead is a little aggressive in her kissing/not submissive :D

To sum up, I adored the male leads icy bad assness and the female leads bubbly personality and to watch them both change and and grow together. At last, a male lead who is not afraid to talk about feelings! He clearly struggles to express himself....I have been following this actress ever since I watched Journey of Flower and thus far have not been disappointed//when she called Shu Wi Ji it sometimes sounded like Shifu to me lolz

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Completed
The Flame's Daughter
5 people found this review helpful
May 2, 2018
52 of 52 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 7.0
I hope this is helpful.

I decided to watch this drama because I like the female lead's acting overall. I was skeptical when I saw Vic Chou as the lead because I thought that they had a big age gap and I had never seen him act so I didn't know if he could compete with Veng, who is extremely popular with viewers. Not only was he able to do this, but I think the character was written for him. I have not read the novel but was told that the novel has a different ending from the drama.

This drama is a story about revenge and justice. It is a romance, but the romance is not central and constant, like in Eternal Love, nor is it one sided like in Journey of Flower (I use those two as a baseline in my reviews a lot). But it's there. For many of the episodes romance plays second to whatever conflict our characters are seeking to understand and solve. Because for most of our characters, relationships have to be put on hold because they have a 'greater good' to do.

I don't want you to think that there is no romance in the show, there is, I just think that the way it is shown is not very direct--there is not a lot of intimacy between the characters, although the writers are very clear that he loves her and he shows through his actions.

Moving into the actual story:
I think the show has three strengths: it's dialogue, character development, and overall writing (though there are moments that leave much to be desired, like most dramas, it isn't perfect). Now why do I think this?

First, the overall plot is consistent, with only a few plot holes. The show builds up a conflict, it is seemingly resolved, only for another issue to immediately replace it and these in between episodes can seem a little slow but the pay off is good as you see everything come to fruition and the scenes unfold. Every character, including the antagonists, have traits that work to their advantage and disadvantage, and many antagonists are believable foils to the leads in a way that compliments the script. In CONTRAST, a drama which I think really failed to do this was The King's Woman, for comparison, but I think many people would disagree with me. I think that the number of names can be confusing as some people have multiple aliases, and I think that you need some patience for the show to reveal itself to you because we learn at the same pace as the viewer. Sometimes the writers do the thing where they make you think one thing, then via flashback we learn that it was all a set up and planned to be different--some people might not like this.

Dialogue is good, not mind blowing or anything, but good. I think the character with the best dialogue is the male lead, whose flirtatious sense of humor and teasing personality is really refreshing. He isn't obnoxious or annoying, he is just the right amount of coy. The dialogue stutters a bit when it almost is trapped by character consistency--the antagonist is VERY crazy, and always seems to say the same thing, in the same way, as does Ji, who is almost a cardboard cut out of honor. Characters with less screen time are made interesting when they do appear on screen unless their role is less as an important person but more representative of an idea; Xiao Feng had super boring dialogue but his entire character was sort of like a stand in for every innocent person who experienced injustice.

Character development is done well. Almost every character is different at the end of the series, they all learn something, and they all bring something to the show to balance it. The female lead cares for her friends, but it makes her reckless and impulsive. There are consequences to this. This is the kind of character development I mean.

I think, other than the reduced intimacy and focus on good v. evil, viewers may have problems with how the relationship between the two leads is framed. He is 100 percent devoted from day one, and it takes the entire series before this is fully explained, and she eventually falls in love with him but it takes time because at the start of the show she is trying to save her relationship with another man--played by an actor that many, many viewers are a fan of. Some people do not have patience for a female lead who doesn't immediately fall for a male lead who loves her. She isn't ungrateful towards him, but she has a reason for her actions, just like him. That's all I can say.

I am not going to divulge much of the plot because I don't want to spoil anything. I will reveal character names and bios without spoiling anything.

Main Characters
Ru Ge: The Daughter of the flame lord. Is caring, believes in justice, friendly, smart. Can also be reckless and impulsive and overly trusting. Grows a lot.

Yin Xue: Owner of the brothel Blossom House. Is very coy, flirtatious, and in love with Ru Ge, which baffles her because they have never met. Will do anything to keep her safe, possesses a lot of skills and is also known as the number one beauty.

Zhan Feng: Ru Ge's cousin and former fiancee. He is serious, a perfectionist, and grew up with her. Appears to be a bit prickly and is very ambitious. Although not official, it is widely believed he will be the next flame lord.

Anye Jue/Second Madame/Third Madame: The Second Madame of Thunderclap Set and Third Madame of Dark River Palace. Is very loyal to Anye Luo and is very capable.

Anye Luo: The primary antagonist. Believed to be dead, but has emerged from seclusion. His motives are not clear, but it appears to involve controlling the various pugilist sects from behind the scenes.

Anye Ming: Second Mistress of Dark River Palace, dead, and Zhan Feng's mother.

Zhan Tian: God brother to Flame Lord Li, father to Zhan Fang, dead, former leader of Flame Villa.

Master Lei: Heir to the Thunderclap Sect, a wanderer who speaks his mind, is sarcastic and something of a trouble maker; direct and impatient. Is looking for his half sister, Anye Jue's daughter who was placed at Flame Villa.

Wu Dao Xiang: She is the third mistress of Top Blade City, very headstrong and skilled in martial arts. She has been spoiled and raised by her two older brothers and has a crush on Yin Xue (not in annoying way)

Wu Xia: The leader of Top Blade City is confident, clever, and slightly flamboyant. Always has a fan and likes the ladies; he enjoys collecting beautiful women. Loves his family. Seeks revenge for his father's death by depression after he lost the title of head of the pugilist alliance.

Wu Hen: Second master of top blade city, is Wu Xia's right hand man and is more serious and stern. Cares about his family.

Ji: A disciple of Flame Lord, has hero worship of Zhan Feng, and is in love with Xun Yi. Is very loyal and just. Sometimes may seem simple minded.

Xun Yi: Ru Ge's personal maid and best friend.

Die Yi: Ru Ge's personal maid and close friend. She is in love with Zhongli.

Zhongli: Leader of the Azure Hall, Flame Villa's spy network, and is very serious and socially awkward. In love with Die Yi.

Yi Ling: Housekeeper of Flame Villa, personally serves Flame Lord and is his god son.

Xiao Feng: A young boy who is the heir and grandson of Thunderbreak Manor's leader.

Yin Ling: A beautiful courtesan who Zhan Feng is currently in a romantic relationship with; he abandoned Ru Ge for her.

Phoenix: A beautiful and extremely practical courtesan.

Yu/Senior/7th prince: Ru Ge is very close with him. He is in a wheel chair, cannot walk or hear but can read lips. He is also extremely smart, clever, and in charge of the imperial army. Is in love with Ru Ge but does not tell her.

3rd prince: Jealous of 3rd prince, wants the throne, and plots endlessly. Has a lot of authority in politics.

----These are the primary characters---

The main sects are:
Top Blade City
Flame Villa
Dark River Palace
Thunderclap

The Imperial Court/Crown

This is a story of good v evil. Of outing pretenders a.k.a. people who seem kind but are not, administering justice, and chasing after love.



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Completed
Xi Die Yuan Yang
4 people found this review helpful
May 16, 2016
25 of 25 episodes seen
Completed 1
Overall 6.5
Story 6.5
Acting/Cast 7.0
Music 6.5
Rewatch Value 5.0
I liked the prequel much more, and I think that may make me biased towards this. Also, the multiple love lines seemed to be a bit too much. I would have instead preferred 50 episodes of Su Huan Er and our lovely male lead in the first half. They could have created an epic love story but instead kept it short at 25 episodes (sigh....). Again, it could have been the length of Prince of Lan Ling, which it sometimes reminded me of.

I will be honest, I fast forwarded through a lot of these episodes to watch the scenes with the leads in the previous season. I did like that there were some unconventional relationships, such as a prostitute and a wealthy man, and a noble woman with a non-noble/servant (doctor) but it was just not enough to capture my heart....or my interest.

Because I fast forwarded, please treat this review with a grain of salt--some of you may watch this and love it. This is just my opinion.

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Legend of Fu Yao
3 people found this review helpful
Dec 1, 2018
66 of 66 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 7.0
Story 6.0
Acting/Cast 7.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 6.0
This review may contain spoilers
I think that this drama was just 'okay' and I am unsure if anything could have been done to make it better because I think it was hindered by the style that the story was told in. However there were several things about the drama that were great. Below is a break down of how I rated the show. I give it a 7 but I felt more like a 6.5; I rounded up because I was worried about bias.

Pros
1) The jewelry and hair ornamentation, especially the latter, were fantastic. I haven't watched a show where I really noticed this but there were some scenes where the crowns on the women were the stars.

2)The male lead was both sensitive and very comfortable sharing his affections, something in dramas that is typically reduced to 'the serious sort' (think of Ye Hua/Eternal Love) and it was written and acted very well. In addition to this, the relationship between the two leads was one of equals and exhibited true devotion, something that any person who enjoys 'true love' romances will appreciate.

3)There weren't true sub plots but rather 'arcs' and so the other lead characters had interesting stories, especially the arc about Prince Fierce (Veng Gao). I personally think that this was the best arc because his character exhibited a great deal of character growth and development.

4) The music was very different and sounded Western, and it was very good. I liked it a lot.

5) The cinematography was great--it had some interesting angles that reminded me of some of the unique shots in the King's Woman.

Cons
1) The purpose of the costumes, I think, was to help the show stand out from other shows of its kind however I thought that a lot of the costumes were not very memorable and/or had more of a 'theatre' feel. A lot of them reminded me of power rangers.

2)The acting wasn't exactly bad; I think the characters did a great job, but a lot of the acting, especially the acting of the two leads, felt like telenovela over acting in one extreme or the exact opposite, like they were not impacted or effected by events the way a normal human might be.

3)People die abruptly and suddenly, people who are heavily involved in the plot, and their deaths are sudden and no one seems to care that they are dead in spite of the relationship they shared. Its as if they are written out of existence. Other characters are introduced and are important to the plot, but we see so little of them that we as the viewer are given very little reason to care about what happens them.

4)The style in which the story unfolds is very much like watching a stage play. As I said before, its as if there are arcs, and each arc focuses on a set of people. Although they are the leads, the male and female lead and their relationship are randomly added to remind the viewers of their love but it is a lot more like a political drama unfolding. Arc 1 is the mountain and we have characters established, Arc 2 is the Water Kingdom, Arc 3 is the desert, Arc 4 is the Winter Kingdom Arc 5 is the plough nation Arc 6 is the Emperor, Arc 7 is the final act. It isn't like shows like Journey of Flower or the Flame's Daughter or Eternal Love that had a lot of things co-occurring the plot is INCREDIBLY linear.

5)The plot itself is, for the most part, consistent but incredibly predictable. Normally not a problem for me however the length of the shows combined with the telenovela-like emotions (i.e. over acting) made the show lose its momentum and often I just wanted to fast forward (I didn't) in order to move in. This combined with the frustrating linear plot means that the answers you want, such as anything relating to Fuyao's past, aren't really answered until MUCH later.

6) A lot of things in this show are never answered and left forever in the realm of plot advancement and/or these things genuinely make no sense (beyond the normal suspending of disbelief for a drama). For example, at one point near the end of the show, all the main characters suddenly show up to assist Fuyao and we are expected to believe that a hamster, whose origin has never really been explained

Ultimately the show is okay but I really don't know if it could be improved based on the style in which it is told. I would call it a political drama with a subplot of romance and a splash of fantasy because very little magic actually is used in the show. The ending isn't great, but I wanted the show to be over very badly--it would have benefited by being shorter. The devotion between the characters is great, but the show is VERY LONG and Yang Mi plays a character who often does things that make no sense. My favorite characters were the villain, the Prime Minister, and I liked the relationship that Prince Fierce eventually has because unlike the main characters, theres has growth and development (and i think the point is that the male leads are perfect and understand each other perfectly).

For base line comparison, the Flame's Daughter was, like this, a political drama with romance more as a subplot however the drama was very well written with everything shown having an explanation, motivations were understandable, and filler seems minimal. This show did not have that. And if you compare it to dramas like Eternal Love or Journey of Flower...this one does not hold up.

I think that you will like this show if you are a huge fan of the actors and can ignore these flaws or if you are in it just for the romance. If you desire the totality of the show to make sense or if you care about writing, then you may notice these flaws. The dialogue is okay, if over dramatic (again, it feels a lot like watching a stage play).

Give it a shot; I wish my review was more clear and apologize if it isn't. I am sure the actors tried their best I just think that for 66 episodes this is just too much time however I felt obligated to finish it because it would have felt like I wasted time if I didn't.

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Completed
Perfect Couple
3 people found this review helpful
May 21, 2016
45 of 45 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 6.0
Story 6.5
Acting/Cast 5.0
Music 1.0
Rewatch Value 3.0
I watched every episode--if you doubt me check the discussion board in which i comment on every single episode. In order to avoid bias, my individual episode reviews were rated up one point.

I think that when this show turned into a melodrama, it began to capture my interest. I also think that the character of Housekeeper--their cousin--is what saves this show from being a total disgrace. I think that every character in this show had moments where they performed okay but overall the performances were lacking, and most of this I attribute to the script. I don't think that the two leads had a great deal of chemistry, but watch for yourself and judge.

I think this show is one of the most inconsistent shows, filled with painful comedy, even more painful music (that often ruined my ability to enjoy the show), and some of the most random and unnecessary filler that has graced television. The show was sometimes excellent, but most of the time it was mediocre or downright awful.

If you are looking for a light comedy, this show will eventually disappoint you as it turns into a melodrama. If you are looking for drama, this show will disappoint you with its slap-stick humor. If anything this show was like missing soda, cereal, and peanut butter in a blender--on their own, these are great but when mixed together it is just nasty. This show had no balance.

I give it a 6.0 overall. But I did rate some episodes as high as an 8.0 (remember, I added a point, so technically a 7.0 because i was rating the show against itself). However, a lot of people genuinely loved this show, so I encourage you to read the other reviews and watch the show yourself to see what you think. I wanted to drop this show but this was a personal challenge, to try something different.

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Completed
Miss No Good
2 people found this review helpful
May 16, 2016
14 of 14 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 6.5
Rewatch Value 8.0
I found this show to be hysterical. I really, really liked how eccentric she was and it was interesting given the male lead's utterly snobbish personality. He clearly did not know what to make of her. Kind of like Nodame Cantible.

The romance seemed a little rushed at the end--maybe if they had given it 20 episodes it would have been better.
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Completed
Pinocchio
2 people found this review helpful
May 6, 2017
20 of 20 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 7.5
Story 7.5
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 10
Rewatch Value 5.0
What I liked:

The story really pulls you in at the beginning. In the first half it did a good job of executing very emotional scenes in a believable way and the plot line was both consistent and to a certain extent not unbelievable. The characters were developing nicely and the music was excellent. I liked that they were trying to be a bit different in terms of camera angles and character growth. It made me laugh a few times

What I disliked
At the halfway mark, it really began to drag. It felt like it really lost the momentum of the previous ten episodes and, in my opinion, what could have been a fairly straight forward romance with the subplot of revenge/family issues all of a sudden turned into the kind of teen angst you see in high school with breaking up multiple times because 'I just want you to be happy' yadayada. I also believe that restorative justice is a great idea in real life but in a drama difficult to execute in an interesting way. In many ways it was too idealistic, but I don't judge it on that, just on its pacing. I half watched it because it became boring to me. I also did not like that it hastily ended with a wedding when they could have just, you know, continued dating.

What I loved:
The music. There was not a lot of out of place kpop songs, and the songs they did include (for the most part) were fitting in terms of mood. I disliked the ending song.

Rewatch Value:
Zero for me.

Would I recommend?
Yes. I think it is a solid investment of time. The value of the acting and overall script is enough that you won't regret it.

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Completed
Creepy
1 people found this review helpful
May 15, 2017
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 8.5
Rewatch Value 7.5
What I Liked:

There was no excessive blood or gore. The acting was very good. There is a difference in the second half in terms of the direction it takes. I am very good at guessing the end, and while I had an idea of two ways that it might end, because of some of the events that occur in the final 10 minutes I thought I had it figured it out...but I didn't. And that I liked. I liked the end too. It was very satisfying.

I also liked the portrayal of the villain in addition to his interactions with the neighbors. I enjoyed the way the story slowly opened up, and I thought it was interesting how the film in many ways was about the male lead coming into his own again.

What I disliked:
I thought there were a few strange inconsistencies in the story. One of the points the drama makes is the fact that the detective is very smart and is very educated in police matters, including the FBI in the states and their profiling techniques. That said, I thought it was strange that the police department never made a note of him as a consultant, which you can do. He was working with another detective on the side, but because of safety, typically you want to document everything, including where you visit if you are on the job, or following a lead, for safety issues. Some people don't do this in the show, and that made no sense to me.

What was odd:
I found it difficult to understand the detectives wife. I truly could not understand how her opinion of the neighbor seemed to change given how clearly bizarre and weird his behavior was. He did a lot of little things that makes you want to stay away from him, like invading your personal space and making weird requests.

Overall:
I would re-watch it and thought it was interesting, especially because of the acting ands script and the fact that there was hardly any blood or violence (although be warned, people die)(and there is no showing of torture or anything like that, which I like). it was a very psychological film.

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Completed
It Started with a Kiss
1 people found this review helpful
May 16, 2016
20 of 20 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10
My first foreign drama, so naturally this is biased. I have rewatched this many times. I think this one is at the top not because of the story, but the extreme attention to detail. These actors actually act like they are in high school, and the supporting cast is amazing, making it perfect. I found it to be very entertaining, laugh out loud funny, and moving. I especially enjoyed the interactions between Ariel and Joe, who had great on screen dating.

I liked how smart Zhi Shu was but how utterly awkward he was in relationships, but because of his beauty, he hides behind a cool and distant demeanor. I think he likes Ariel because of her fearlessness.

I do think that this show is interesting in that we have a female stalker, essentially, but because she is a woman no one is bothered by it//were it reversed everyone would be like oh my god stalker guy!

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