Yang Mi, William Chan and Xu Kaicheng’s fantasy series Novoland: Pearl Eclipse 斛珠夫人 just started airing last November 10, but in a short span of a mere three days, the series has already garnered more than 360 million in viewership on the Tencent platform. Once its hits primetime on Beijing TV this November 13, can you imagine how much higher it would be? The series also consistently nabbed the top #1 spot based on Vlinkage rankings since its premiere.
In Novoland: Pearl Eclipse, Yang Mi stars as a young merwoman named Ye Haishi whose entire village was slaughtered because of people’s obsession with the pearls created from merpeople’s tears. Luckily, she happens upon court official Fang Zhu (William Chan) who takes her under his wing as his disciple. Haishi disguises herself as a man and eventually ends up as the emperor’s (Xu Kaicheng) personal guard.
“Faithful to the Original”
As far as first impressions go, reception is split between those who say there’s nothing interesting about the story line and those who say it’s pretty good. In fact, a quick look at Douban sees votes that are either on the low end (1-2 out of 5 stars) or on the high end (4-5 stars). However, response from fans of the original Xiao Ruse novel from where the series is adapted from appears to be mostly favourable.
According to book fans, Pearl Eclipse has managed to remain faithful to the original storyline thus far and that whatever “add-ons” written in served to enhance the plot quite well. Moreover where as worldbuilding can sometimes take too long, the writers were quite intentional and were able to explain the heroine’s background without taking more than 40 minutes to lay it all out. Then there’s the relationship between the hero and the heroine which viewers say developed quite naturally. It wasn’t too weird or too abrupt that it appears quite forced.
Visually, Novoland: Pearl Eclipse has been described to be a feast for the eyes with the character’s exquisite costumes – not to mention fish scales and mermaid tails, the perfect foil for the story’s aquatic theme. Likewise, the drama’s special effects seem to have been well done and realistic. Mind though that these are impressions based off of the few episodes that have aired thus far. Whether the series can keep up its momentum is a different matter.
Pearl Eclipse also marks Yang Mi’s return to the costume drama genre after three years making fairly modern-ish dramas (although she did feature in a few episodes of Eternal Love of Dream), not to mention a drama reunion for her and William Chan 7 years since both starred in Sword of Legends.