Sports has always been a good means to bring people together and such is the case for the three-part series Project S that is based on the popular Thai drama, Project S The Series.
While the Thai drama included archery, the Chinese adaptation focuses on only three types of sports. The first one is about badminton, a sport close to my heart. Side by Side 极限17 羽你同行 follows the story of several youngsters and their love for badminton.
The Thai drama it is based on focuses on two people who are cousins, one of which is an autistic teenager who is often bullied. He joins his cousin in the badminton team and ends up being better than him which causes a strain in their relationship though it’s unclear how much of the story will be kept in the Chinese drama.
It stars Leon Leong, Rocket Girls member Yang Chaoyue and Jackey Zhu Zijie. To be honest, I’m anticipating this for two reasons, the first being badminton which is a sport I grew up playing and second being Meteor Garden star Leon Leong.
The second one is about skateboarding. Skate Our Souls 极限17 滑魂 revolves around a young man suffering from depression.
Because his dad wishes for him to get a better education, A Bu and his father migrate from the South to the big city. A Bu has a hard time adapting to his new lifestyle and has difficulty keeping up in school. He starts to develop insomnia and cannot sleep. When four skateboarders approach A Bu to let him try skateboarding with the intention of seeing him make a fool of himself, A Bu does fall flat on the floor. However, he does not feel a single ounce of pain and for the first time in a long time, he sleeps well. A Bu’s dad thinks that skateboarding is bad and forbids his son from playing the sport. He pursues it anyway through the encouragement of Su Shan who’s a teacher-in-training, but an accident causes him to contemplate quitting. Will he find the courage to stand up again?
The main lead is XNINE’s main dancer Guo Zifan with Ancy Deng Enxi as his leading lady. Also in the cast are Yi Ran and fellow XNINE member Emn Chen Zexi.
The last installment for the series takes us to the world of volleyball. It’s pretty interesting to know that the main actor, Zhu Zhiling is also in The Prince of Tennis. Hmm, seems like he’s made for these kinds of roles. He’ll be joined by another Rocket Girls member, Xu Mengjie.
SPIKE 极限17 扣杀 follows the story of an underdog volleyball team. In the Thai drama, it features a volleyball team that has reached the final round for the country’s biggest competition and bags second place. The team promises to make a comeback the following year but sadly, their ace player transfers to the winning school. The new team captain, fueled by bitterness and anger from their teammate’s departure, is even more determined to win this time while their coach recruits a freshman who may or may not be of help because of his personal issues. The cast also includes Qiu Hongkai, Si Waige, Zhang Yihao and Aaron Xue Zeyuan.
This particular mini-series reminds me of the popular Japanese anime, Haikyuu which I also happen to like so all the more reason for me to tune in!
While there may be differences, the Thai original and its adaptation seem quite uniform in promoting the impact that sports can have in a person’s life. The Chinese version sticks to the same realistic themes that range from sportsmanship to family dynamics to the darker undertones of depression that were quite emotionally impactful. Hopefully, the remake also connects with viewers in a meaningful way.
Release Date: August 13, 2019 (Side by Side), September 10, 2019 (Skate Our Souls), September 24, 2019 (Spike) Tencent, Mango TV
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