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Completed
Triad Princess
20 people found this review helpful
Dec 12, 2019
6 of 6 episodes seen
Completed 2
Overall 6.0
Story 5.0
Acting/Cast 7.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 4.0
I can't believe Netflix released a first "season" with six episodes that are ~40 minutes (the final episode is only 34 minutes!) and ended it on a CLIFFHANGER. These six episodes of Triad Princess not only felt like only part of the story, but they felt extremely rushed and at times disjointed.

I really like both Jasper Liu and Eugenie Liu and the premise of this series sounded like fun - gangster's daughter meets and falls in love with the actor she's always fangirled over! The action scenes in the show are purely comedic, cheesy and just for fun. Sometimes it's over the top, but I can accept that. Eugenie does a great job portraying Angie, a fierce, bubbly young woman who tries to forge an independent path for herself. On the other hand, Jasper's character Yi Hang felt underdeveloped. He's a cute, charming, popular actor who loves elephants. That's all I got really. Their relationship developed UNBELIEVABLY quickly. Emphasis on unbelievable as in "I absolutely did not believe it." In comparison, I found myself liking Eddie Kim much more and thought the actor who plays him, Tsao Yu Ning, was excellent.

A lot of interesting side stories are introduced - Ding Ding, Ling Yun, Sophia, etc - but none of them are developed nearly enough. If Netflix releases more episodes (I mean, they'd BETTER!), then I will definitely continue watching. There's so much potential.

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Completed
Love is Deep
9 people found this review helpful
Aug 22, 2019
40 of 40 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 5.5
Story 5.5
Acting/Cast 6.5
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 3.0
This drama showed some promise initially, but unfortunately became really frustrating. I watched the last half of the drama pretty halfheartedly and I can't believe how awful the last few episodes were. My reaction to the final episode was REALLY?!?!

The male main character Ning Wei Jin is a talented young surgeon, and although unexperienced with love, he is reliable, caring, and mature. I personally didn't swoon over him but he was excellent boyfriend material. I liked his relationship with his younger sister Ning Wei Xuan and his best friend Gao Ren.

The female main character Ding Ding pursues her dream of designing pet toys and I was rooting for her as she navigated the challenges of running her online shop and creating original designs. (If you love cats, you might like this drama because there's cat pillows, cat cartoons, a cat cafe, and a pet cat.) I loved her loyal, humorous best friend, Xiao Feng, who gave the BEST advice. You could always count on him to call her out on her behavior. Basically, anytime the ex-boyfriend came back into the storyline, it would cause an issue between the main leads, but they (mostly Ding Ding) never seemed to learn and grow from it. It seemed pretty hypocritical on Ding Ding's part given how she felt when she saw Ning Wei Jin with his close female friend.

Ning Wei Xuan is a really energetic, lighthearted character who relentlessly pursues her brother's best friend Gao Ren. Their scenes initially are so much fun - the highlight of the drama for me - and had me laughing out loud. However, there was a point when she really crossed the line and I no longer found her antics funny. I really wanted her to reflect over her actions and grow up a little. Also, while I loved Gao Ren, the introduction of the other doctor really showed how immature he was in comparison...

In conclusion, if you decide to give this drama a try and are tempted to drop it halfway through, I recommend dropping it.

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Completed
Royal Sister Returns
11 people found this review helpful
Jan 16, 2018
36 of 36 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 5.0
Story 4.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 3.0
I was really excited for Royal Sister Returns because I loved Ady An in Autumn's Concerto and  my preference is for modern dramas. Ady An and Zhu Yi Long are great as the leads for Royal Sister Returns - they're charming, funny, and have great chemistry.  I loved that her character was  determined and motivated in pursuit of her dreams. So why did I give this drama such a low rating? While it started out really enjoyable for the first ~14 episodes,   the story then took several infuriating turns. The villains were unbearable (I can't handle the spoiled brat characters that are so common in Chinese dramas), and the worst drama cliches were utilized. As if that wasn't enough, the final plotline was so absolutely ridiculous. Just thinking about it makes me angry  all over again. I do think of the main couple very fondly, and just try to pretend that the latter half of the drama never happened.

Regarding the music, I loved the song  Crazy Love sung by the lead Zhu Yi Long.

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Completed
Conspiracy of Love
9 people found this review helpful
Aug 24, 2019
24 of 24 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 4.0
Story 3.0
Acting/Cast 6.5
Music 4.0
Rewatch Value 2.0
Wow, what did I just watch?? I liked the first 9 episodes. When the story seemed to be about the female lead trying to uncover the truth/get revenge using all kinds of methods and entering a partnership with the male lead, it was enjoyable. They were an even, balanced match - both smart and driven, with their own goals. I thought they were a pretty cute pair. The male lead's best friend is also a fun, kind-hearted character.

But after episode 9, the plot becomes increasingly convoluted and nonsensical. There are so many different people involved, their motives were murky (I never did understand Xia Yu Xuan), and the science fiction aspect was pretty far-fetched. From episodes 13-21, the plot just kept going back and forth with no progress, and then in episodes 22-23, the characters finally just explain everything. The final episode was disappointing; I was hoping for some fun scenes to reward me for getting through 23 episodes of ridiculousness. If you are watching for the romance, you'll be especially frustrated.

Note: On iQiyi, this drama is separated into two seasons of 12 episodes each.

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Completed
Sm:)e
6 people found this review helpful
Oct 26, 2018
24 of 24 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 5.0
Rewatch Value 7.0
Initially, I spotted Sm:)e on YouTube but ignored it because the thumbnail made it seem like a fantasy drama (and the styling of the title looks so dumb), when it is actually a modern day drama set in the acting/movie business. I found it immediately enjoyable. The male lead, Shu Han, is cute and endearing but also sad and lonely due to his fear of skin contact with other people. The female lead, Xiao Xing, is someone you want to root for because she refuses to give up on her dream. I was laughing out loud, and before I knew it I was already almost done with the drama! A lot of Chinese dramas really drag on unnecessarily, so this was a nice change.

There are a lot of new faces in this drama, and I liked the cast and all the characters (except for one). I especially liked An Ge, and was glad that they made him so reasonable and kind. The manager, Jiang Ye, was awesome and she really stole every scene she was in. Despite a case of "everyone falls in love with the female lead," it was pretty obvious from the beginning how the characters were going to end up being paired off, except for Xin Yuanling, who happens to be the only character I didn't care for. The drama just never made me care about his character, so I never felt torn or felt bad for him.

There were a number of moments in the drama that seemed illogical or unrealistic (for example, minor spoiler: when everyone goes off to eat in the middle of shooting and they leave her tied up?) but I could overlook it until around episode 19. The plot escalates quickly in a very messy, convoluted way, and the drama didn't adequately convey how certain events affected various characters. The rest of the drama was pretty underwhelming.

Overall, watching Sm:)e was very entertaining and enjoyable - just don't expect too much from it. And it's *only* 24 episodes!

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Completed
Go Go Squid!
5 people found this review helpful
Aug 3, 2019
41 of 41 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.5
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 8.0
Go Go Squid doesn't have the best character development, writing, or romance, but I genuinely enjoyed it from start to finish. It made me laugh out loud and didn't have any stressful storylines. I was surprised by how much it focused on the male character Han Shang Yan's story, from the heartbreaking dissolution of Team Solo in the past to his dream of winning a championship in the present. I initially thought Go Go Squid was about esports but it's actually about a specific type of cybersecurity competition that was pretty interesting.

My favorite parts were Han Shang Yan's scenes with the K&K boys (97, Demo, and Grunt scenes have a lot of rewatch value, lol), Hu Yi Tian (omg that New Year's dinner scene), and his former Team Solo teammates (although there were way more flashbacks than I expected). I personally like Li Xian a lot and thought he played the character well. Han Shang Yan's not a cold person, he's just very serious and focused, and has grown used to being quite solitary.

As for Tong Nian... first of all, I'm not a huge Yang Zi fan so I was concerned before I started watching that I might not like this drama. However, she doesn't even get her own storyline aside from falling in love with Han Shang Yan. I'm actually kind of disappointed because there was a lot of potential with her online singing and her studies/projects, but it faded into the background. I don't like characters that are too naive and I hated the 'love at first sight' aspect, but I found her character tolerable just because there were so many other characters that I did like.

I loved Xiao Mi and Ya Ya (although her expressions were a tad over-exaggerated) and wished they had more scenes! Ai Qing aka Appledog was also a great character and I loved her short hair and fashionable outfits. All in all, a really fun watch.

EDIT: I've bumped up the music score because I really loved the opening song "A Nameless Person (无名之辈)" and Yang Zi's Milk Bread song is cute.

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Completed
Love Actually
5 people found this review helpful
Jun 28, 2018
43 of 43 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 5.0
Story 6.0
Acting/Cast 6.0
Music 5.0
Rewatch Value 4.0
Initially, I made it through episode 9 before I abandoned this drama but later I decided to finish it. I've enjoyed Joe Chen's dramas in the past, but 2016's Stay With Me was one of the worst dramas I've ever watched (and I only watched the entire series because I love Wang Kai - but what was he thinking???). I found the personalities of the lead characters to be way too overwhelming, too loud if that makes sense. I also didn't want to watch the male lead Ding Ren Jian's life unravel.

Well, this month I couldn't find anything else I wanted to watch so I decided to give the series another try, and I decided to start at episode 14. I finished the series in 10 days and let me tell you why: Wang Yi Bo. I found his character Zhi Wei to be funny and endearing and despite how spoiled he initially is, he grows up a lot throughout the series and he treats An Qing Huan (Joe Chen) sincerely. I also really liked Gavin Xie as An Qing Huan's best friend. I always appreciate loyal friends in Chinese dramas because there's frequently so much scheming and backstabbing. The villainous character was played very well though.

Aside from Wang Yi Bo, what I liked is that the romance in this drama wasn't some love at first sight, destined to be together storyline. It felt realistic, developed over time, so even if I didn't like the characters I could appreciate their relationship. EXCEPT I hated Ding Ren Jian in the end. He was so inconsiderate and he didn't even realize it. It felt realistic and true to his character, but it was a pain to watch. Also, I did appreciate the drama's emphasis on working hard, not giving up, being brave enough to keep trying.

In conclusion: if you're bored or really like any of the cast members, give this a try. Be prepared to skip/skim. Would I recommend it to a friend? No. Was it the worst drama I've seen? No.

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Completed
Fall in Love
4 people found this review helpful
Aug 1, 2019
30 of 30 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 5.5
Story 6.0
Acting/Cast 7.0
Music 6.5
Rewatch Value 3.0
Initially, this drama felt like a breath of fresh air. It's very different from any Chinese drama I've watched that's set in modern day. The female lead is so mysterious and composed, and I was compelled to watch due to curiosity rather than any investment in the main couple. Individually they are both nice characters, their relationship is sweet, but I didn't feel like they had any chemistry. I wanted answers about her identity and past, and ultimately found the storyline disappointing and too simple. The last few episodes felt rushed and irrational. However, there were many moments that made me laugh out loud and some fun side characters (A Jiu, Er Yang).

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Completed
To Be With You
4 people found this review helpful
Jun 7, 2019
65 of 65 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 7.0
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 5.0
The first half is fun and enjoyable and I loved it, but the latter half is an emotional roller coaster where the dramatic storylines that have been building up unfold. By the end, I was just exhausted.

The two leads play their characters with intensity and spot-on humor, and have excellent chemistry. The premise of this drama isn't anything new: the rebellious male lead is a contender for successor of his father's company, the female lead is hardworking, kindhearted, with an exuberant personality. (Give her a chance, in the first episode she does seem a little over-the-top.) For the supporting characters, the Li family and Si Yu's dad were great.

This drama includes shady characters, scheming, family turmoil, revenge, unrequited crushes, etc. I can enjoy these sort of ~dramatic~ storylines when they aren't too frustrating or ridiculous. Some aspects of the latter half had plot holes or lack of believability in certain settings, especially the hospital scenes, and there were an excessive number of flashback sequences. Unfortunately, character development in the latter half is pretty much cast aside, which was unfortunate since many characters had a lot of potential.

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Completed
About Is Love
7 people found this review helpful
Feb 4, 2019
30 of 30 episodes seen
Completed 1
Overall 5.0
Story 5.0
Acting/Cast 7.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 2.0
I dropped this drama after 20 episodes, and several weeks later decided to give it another chance and finish it. Some people did love this drama so I just want to offer my differing opinion. I've also added a comment using the spoiler tag that specifies many of the moments that drove me crazy in this drama.

I can't stand how the male lead, Wei Qing, continuously manipulates the female lead. His actions are indefensible and go too far, again and again, but I continued on because the female lead, Zhou Shi, has a backbone. She calls him out on it and those scenes were very satisfying. She is gullible and not the brightest, but she stands up for herself and sticks to her principles. But then he toys with her again. I find him to be very condescending, and as their relationship changes throughout the drama, including an employer-employee relationship, there is always a power imbalance with him having the upper hand. She even says this at one point - but waaay too late in the drama for it to be developed upon. Even near the end, he has his assistant lie to her! Also, she is an art student but for most of the drama I felt like I didn't know what her own goals were.

The conflict with the male lead's mother felt too contrived. Her words were so harsh and every time they show the flashbacks I cringed. It's not that I don't believe a mother can hate her own son, but I just never felt like I understood it. There are also scenes that are completely nonsensical - for example, when the Wei Qing's uncle invites all his ex-girlfriends to the fancy business event. And it seemed like they didn't know how to fill the episodes at the end and decided to totally change Zhang Shuai's character to add an obstacle?? There were also certain storylines that were underdeveloped or just abruptly ended.

On a positive note, I liked the friendship between Zhou Shi, Fei Fei, and Qiu Jing. They are very different individuals but genuinely supportive of each other. Fei Fei and Qiu Jing gave Zhou Shi good advice and were honest with their concerns. Ming Cheng was also rather condescending to Zhou Shi (or maybe just treated her like a little sister), but I do like Qiu Jing and Ming Cheng's pairing. I didn't really care for the Fei Fei and Ning Fei pairing because, either because of his casting or wardrobe, he came across as a helpless, sheltered child too much.

Regarding the OST, upon further consideration, I do like the songs, it's just that I didn't like the drama so I don't think of the songs particularly fondly.

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Completed
Joy of Life
3 people found this review helpful
Jan 20, 2020
46 of 46 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.5
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 10
This is my favorite drama of 2019. Dramas in historical settings are often too tragic or stressful, so the humor in this drama was a breath of fresh air! It's funny without being silly. That's not to say this is a comedy though, as the political intrigue is intense. The plotting is intricate. Zhang Ruoyun is seriously stellar as Fan Xian, a laidback, smart, and sarcastic young man who doesn't want anything to do with court politics but finds himself inevitably pulled in. He treats his friends with loyalty and respect. He's also very smart, but the great thing about this drama is that he's not the only one. There are so many formidable characters. I can't wait for the second season.

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Completed
Crocodile and Plover Bird
3 people found this review helpful
Dec 20, 2019
50 of 50 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.5
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 7.5
I'm pleasantly surprised by how quickly I watched this and how much I enjoyed it! I watched most of it without subtitles so I didn't fully understand all the scientific/business aspects of the storyline, but that doesn't matter to me since what I loved was the romance and the characters.

I loved every single scene between Chen Bo Lin and Zhang Tian Ai as the main characters Zhou Erwen and Li Nanen. Zhou Erwen is a serious, principled, and stubborn genius working determinedly on an ecological project with Gao Mu, Wu Suowei, and Yu Buji. He frequently makes decisions on his own, alienating his teammates. When Li Nanen goes to France to study architecture, she meets the four of them and it becomes her goal to join their project. Li Nanen is lively, upbeat, and relentlessly pursues her dreams. Although Li Nanen and Zhou Erwen's personalities initially clash, they learn from and inspire each other. Their relationship develops at a great pace with so many heartwarming moments. That's not to say there weren't obstacles between them—there are MANY, including some classic c-drama tropes (sigh)—but I had faith that they would be able to overcome everything. They thoroughly won me over and I would rewatch all their scenes.

Aside from the two leads, I liked every major side character except for one: Wan Wei. She's awful from start to finish, and I'm warning you so you don't get your hopes up about her. I liked the project team members; their relationships with each other were nuanced and sometimes tense. There are also multiple side couples, exploring how love isn't always enough, how people can change (for better or worse), and how sometimes you only love the idea of someone.

Surprisingly, there was a lot of action in this drama, like scientific espionage and corporate scheming. It definitely helped build urgency and kept the drama moving at a fast pace. In the last five episodes, I thought (and hoped) things would wind down but it was dramatic all the way until the very end.

Also, just want to mention that since much of the drama takes place in France, there is a lot of French spoken. I have no idea if the French lines were written or spoken well, or if the translations were accurate.

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Completed
I Hear You
3 people found this review helpful
May 28, 2019
24 of 24 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 6.0
Story 6.0
Acting/Cast 6.0
Music 6.0
Rewatch Value 3.0
This review may contain spoilers
*Spoilers are only in the last paragraph, regarding the ending*

I enjoyed I Hear You up until episode 17, as a lighthearted drama without any elements that made me angry or annoyed (which feels pretty rare with Chinese modern dramas). I personally enjoy the 'pretend couple becomes real' trope. From episode 17 onward, I felt like the plot lost momentum and then finally, several elements of the final two episodes really bothered me.

Ye Shu Wei (Riley Wang) is a successful and talented violin maker who doesn't like other people, and he grows a lot throughout the show as he begins to care about Bei Er Duo (Zhao Lusi). Bei Er Duo is kind and determined; she has a dream of becoming a voice actress and her goal is to study abroad in Japan. I loved that she was always studying, working hard to improve herself, and wanted to rely on her talent not connections. Ye Shu Wei and Bei Er Duo slowly grow to care for each other, and since they are both inexperienced in love, they feel like an even-leveled match despite him being rich and successful. But to be honest, their relationship is pretty boring. There were some cute moments and some cringey moments but nothing memorable. I actually felt like Shu Wei put much more effort and heart into their relationship, in trying to understand her, encourage her, and prepare surprises for her. (But Riley Wang's stony-faced acting bored me.)

Shu Wei and Er Duo agreeing to be on a couples competition show seemed like a far-fetched premise but the characters Yu Sheng and Tang Li help make it a little believable since they are the producers(?) for the show. Tang Li's character arc is fantastic and is the one great thing in this show. I loved that she faced her feelings head on, stuck to her principles, and worked hard to find her own happiness. Her storyline wasn't what I expected, but she articulated it well when she explained her decisions to Er Duo. The maturity of her character was such a sharp contrast to Er Duo's childish behavior.

*SPOILERS BELOW*
As for the last two episodes... it made no sense, how did those two women get Er Duo's phone number? The teacher's daughter, ok fine, I can maybe believe that but the colleague's girlfriend?!?!?! That made no sense. Why did other people feel like they had the right to blame Er Duo for Shu Wei's choices? I liked that Er Duo sat down with him at the beach and talked about it honestly but why did Shu Wei not respond? Even though Er Duo returned the ring, it felt so inconclusive. (Also, if he really wanted to give up violin making/didn't care about that major violin order, I can respect his choice.) The last straw for me was how Er Duo chose to separate from Shu Wei. They had checked in their luggage and he was being paged for the flight so it just made no sense on so many levels. At the very least she could have sent him a text message after clearing security. The last scene was so strange and inconclusive. I wish that instead she had said at the beach, hey don't come to Japan with me, don't give up your work and let's date long distance for now and see how it goes...

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Dropped 11/20
Well Intended Love
11 people found this review helpful
Jun 7, 2019
11 of 20 episodes seen
Dropped 0
Overall 1.0
Story 1.0
Acting/Cast 7.5
Music 5.0
Rewatch Value 1.0
I am shocked by how many people loved this drama. I don't mind a dramatic storyline or even a far-fetched premise, but in this case it was appalling and manipulative to an unforgivable extent. Had they included scenes of the entire ordeal, no one would be shipping the main couple. I wanted to continue the drama to see how this is handled, but based on other reviews, it would only frustrate me further.

Up until this point, I had thought this drama was enjoyable. I loved Chu Yan and his friendship with Xia Lin.
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Completed
Unrequited Love
2 people found this review helpful
Aug 1, 2019
24 of 24 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.5
Story 10
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
I have not read the novel and didn't recognize any of the cast members, but I LOVED THIS. This is probably the first modern Chinese drama in a long time that I enjoyed from start to end.

I was initially concerned that it would be too sad/unbearable to watch given the title, but I was laughing so hard within the first couple episodes. This drama is set in college and explores not only unrequited love but missed opportunity, timing, regret, and second chances - but it's much more about the present and the future than being wrapped up in the past. It doesn't focus only on the main character's relationship and there are many storylines centering around other characters. There's a serious, reflective feeling to this drama that emanates from the main female character's maturity and self-awareness. I loved Luo Zhi so much - I'm not saying she's a perfect person (who's not flawed?) but I found her so relatable and admirable - and I loved her relationship with Sheng Huai Nan.

For me, I really like a strong cast of supporting characters and friendship is one of my favorite themes. I loved Luo Zhi's relationship with her roommate Bai Li, and Sheng Huai Nan's group of close friends, Zhang Min Rui. Although I didn't love every single storyline (Shui Jing's was my least favorite), I appreciate how it conveyed the complexity of feelings and relationships, and how things aren't black and white.

The episodes are about 30 minutes, which made it so easy for me to keep hitting 'next episode'. At 24 episodes of this length, I think it could have actually used a few more episodes to develop the final storylines more. But like I said, I loved this drama, would rewatch it (rare for me), and I think I'll look for the novel!

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