Several Chinese historical dramas which were supposed to be released this year got rescheduled or cancelled.
Goodbye My Princess was slated to air this week. However, on the morning of its Dec 12 premiere, it was announced that the schedule has been adjusted and that the release date will be announced separately. Similar postponements happened to Legend of Hao Lan, Peace in Palace, Peace in Chang An and The Legends of Monkey King.
The question on everyone’s mind is why are these shows being rescheduled? There seems to be a couple of reasons.
1. REVIEW AND REVISION.
When Legend of Hao Lan was cancelled, there were rumors that it had to undergo some changes for it to be aired and also rumors that it was to make way for a TV broadcast. Yu Zheng had denied it and said he wanted to redo the music score. This didn’t sound very convincing and we can speculate that the show is under review.
The comment of Director Lian Yiming of Peace in Palace, Peace in Chang An was very telling when he lamented over his show being postponed and that he won’t recognize it anymore if they change it again. We can assume that there were problems with the drama and thus had to be revised.
2. STRICTER ONLINE DRAMA REVIEW POLICIES
The reason for the cancellation of shows is almost always censorship. The review policies of online dramas have tightened in recent years.
Originally, online dramas, movies and network animations have a review policy of “self edit & self broadcast.” Recently, the Beijing Broadcasting and Television Bureau issued a notice to the industry: key network audio-visual programs were to be submitted to the provincial radio and television bureau for review after being filed by the production company. The review process includes the filming plan before the actual shoot and the finished film.
Some insiders have confirmed the new rules to be true. The new rules will be implemented in February next year.
As early as December 2016, the director of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (currently known as NRTA), Nie Chenxi, pointed out that “the online and offline circles should be constructed in accordance with the requirements of one standard, one ruler.” The standard of online drama review will be consistent with TV stations.”
It was emphasized that TV dramas and movies that have not passed the examination shall not be aired as internet dramas or online movies.
It is clear that these two causes (censorship and revision) will have far reaching implications in the drama industry that for a time gave more freedom to dramas airing online. Those that hope to be broadcast whether on TV or online will have to abide by the rules and censorship to be able to air. Those that don’t revise their content or fail to pass the review will get cancelled regardless of how good or star-studded the dramas are. We can only hope that this will not lead to further restrictions on creativity down the line.