Have you heard of the joke, “God created the world, everything else is made in China.” Well, looks like China has added another to their list of fast-growing products: Dramas. It was just last year when Story of Yanxi Palace became Google’s most searched TV show. Recently, it was reported by Variety that more than half of the world’s new TV dramas released each year are made in China (pun intended).
I remember that it was 10-15 years or so ago when my love affair started with the hit Taiwanese drama Meteor Garden which came full circle with the most recent remake starring Shen Yue and Dylan Wang. Then Korean dramas swept all over Asia to create the phenomenon known as the Hallyu wave. Where I live, everyone would tune into their locally dubbed versions of K-dramas or splurge on DVDs to catch released dramas from Korea, Japan and even Thailand.
As of late however, China has risen up the drama chain. If I’m being honest, I used to avoid watching C-dramas as I wasn’t a big fan of the flying stunts back then. (forgive me, for I have sinned) Not until the hit series A Love So Beautiful became popular that my eyes opened to a whole new world. I just knew I had to dig deep and boy did I not regret it.
My attention turned to the xianxia/wuxia/costume genres (which I initially had NO intention whatsoever of watching) but started gobbling up because of the likes of Three Lives Three Worlds Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms, Ashes of Love and The Rise of the Phoenixes. I was converted to this genre that C-dramas are more popularly known for.
It’s no wonder C-dramas are slowly gaining attention worldwide – what with their SVOD platforms iQIYI, Tencent and Youku making it more accessible for international viewership. According to Variety, around 300 new dramas have been commissioned by Chinese broadcasters and streaming sites in the past half year which is the equivalent for dramas from the rest of the world. That’s a lot. Granted quantity does not equal quality, but I hope for the latter because the good ones that actually stand out are that good.