On the whole, in the past, "romanticism" is the main theme of Chinese costume dramas, but from the list of 2022 historical series, the "realism" genre of historical subjects, may be an important breakthrough in the drama market in 2022.
From the market's perspective, differentiated competition is the greatest motivation for the revival of historical series. Not only do viewers want to have other choices than realistic themes, but even historical themes have the expectation of continuous innovation and upgrading. We can see that almost all Chinese mainstream video sites have historical drama projects.
Historical series is now returning strongly
Earlier, costume dramas and historical dramas were distinct. Historical dramas were often based on famous historical figures and had a more strict historical basis.
The characters in costume dramas, on the other hand, are not strictly limited to whether they are real people or purely fictional, and there is no requirement for the plot to fit with history.
Over the past decade, costume dramas have flourished while historical dramas have gradually withered away. The ancient costume dramas: Imperial drama, Wuxia drama, and Xianxia dramas occupy a large market share. Historical dramas, which focus on the life and work of emperors and generals, are relegated to the sidelines.
But in fact, historical dramas are the subjects that can best reflect the creative strength of Chinese dramas. The good thing is that the historical series has not returned to silence, and the good thing is happening.
List of historical series to be broadcast in 2022
|Drama||Main Role||Historical Prototypes||Original||Author|
|Tian Xia Chang He||Luo Jin/Yin Fang/Liang Guan Hua||Kangxi Emperor/Jin Fu/Chen Huang||/|
|The Imperial Age||Feng Shao Feng/Chen Bao Guo/Zhang Feng Yi||Hongwu Emperor/Yongle Emperor||/|
|Han Dynasty Epic||/||Emperor Wu of Han/Emperor Guangwu of Han||/|
|Yang Ming Zhuan||/||Wang Yangming||/|
|The Wind Blows From Longxi||Chen Kun/Bai Yu||风起陇西||Ma Boyong|
|Qing Ming Shang He Tu Mi Ma||Deng Lun/Bai Yu||清明上河图密码||Ye Wen Biao|
|Da Ming Under Microscope||Zhang Ruo Yun/Qi Wei/Wang Yang||显微镜下的大明||Ma Boyong|
|Liang Jing Shi Wu Ri||Deng Lun/Li Qin/Zhang Wan Yi||两京十五日||Ma Boyong|
|A Book Is Born||Li Sheng/Zhang Weina/Huang Xuan||枉是便宜卖纸人||Ma Boyong|
|Strange Legend of Tang Dynasty||Yang Xu Wen/Yang Zhi Gang/Gao Si Wen||唐朝诡事录||Wei Fenghua|
However, change always requires a process. From the list of cdrama released by each important broadcasting platform this year, historical dramas are still few and far between.
There are "Tian Xia Chang He" in production and "The Imperial Age" which has been completed.
Written and directed by Zhang Ting, "Tian Xia Chang He (天下长河)" tells the story of Jin Fu and Chen Huang, the famous minister of the Qing Dynasty, paired together to govern the Yellow River for half a century. The story of the struggle between people is easy to write, but to tell the story of the struggle between people and the flood is not very easy.
Nowadays, the creative trend has changed, and more and more historical figures with deep feelings are becoming the main characters.
Zhang Ting adjusted the script this time, on the one hand, to strengthen the professionalism of water resources, on the other hand, to remove those superficial and stray "entertainment".
"The Imperial Age (山河月明)", directed by Gao Xixi, finished filming in 2018 and has been in a long period of revision since then. The direction of the adjustment was to remove the imperial struggle lines and conspiracy theories, and reflect more of Zhu Yuanzhang and Zhu Di's philosophy of governance.
In the return of historical dramas, CCTV has given full play to its leading role as a mainstream media. On the broadcast list of CCTV historical series of 2022, "Han Dynasty Epic" and "Yang Ming Zhuan" are listed, attracting people's attention.
"Han Dynasty Epic (大汉赋)" reflects the historical changes from the people's perspective, and comprehensively shows the great state of the 400 years of Han Dynasty at its peak. "Yang Ming Zhuan" takes the legendary life of Wang Yangming as the carrier, and presents the life of Wang Yangming in a panoramic way.
"Han Dynasty Epic" is divided into two parts, the upper part is "Emperor Wu of Han" and the lower part is "Emperor Guangwu of Han". Not only has it greatly improved the specifications of historical cdramas, but it is also a model innovation in the creation, which is expected.
"Yang Ming Zhuan (阳明传)" is a biography of Wang Yangming. The so-called Three Immortalities (三不朽, the first is to set a very high moral standard for future generations. The second is to establish merit, bring benefits to the country and the people, and eradicate evil. The third is to present noble ideas or show them as a way of thinking by writing them down); only a few people in the five thousand years of Chinese history can do it, and Wang Yangming is one of them.
In the drama, Liu Heping as a literary advisor, written by Shen Jie and directed by Zhang Yongxin, basically gathering the "dream team" of Chinese drama creation.
Liu Heping's status in a historical drama goes without saying, as the two classics "Ming Dynasty in 1566" and "All Quiet in Peking" can illustrate; Shen Jie became famous in 2018 with "White Deer Plain" and "Feather Flies To The Sky", two realistic dramas; after continuous directing "The Advisors Alliance" and "Awakening Age", Zhang Yongxin has become the brightest new star of historical dramas. With such a strong creative team, "Yang Ming Zhuan" has whetted the appetite of the audience.
While "Tian Xia Chang He" and "The Imperial Age" are refurbished from the previous generation of historical dramas, "Han Dynasty Epic" and "Yang Ming Zhuan" are historical dramas that stand to begin writing in a new creative cycle. They both have a chance to gain audience popularity.
Fundamentally, historical subjects, because of their antiquity and distance, are out of the general people's intellectual horizon and do not have too many value boxes, possessing greater room for play. At the same time, the long and winding river of history, with many historical events and characters to be picked up, is a fertile soil for the wonderful drama to grow.
The flourishing of pan-historical series creation
The above are historical dramas in the traditional sense. Let's open our horizon a little bit and count costume dramas with legendary but fun and serious elements as pan-historical dramas. We can find six such productions on the 2022 historical drama list: "The Wind Blows From Longxi," "Qing Ming Shang He Tu Mi Ma," "Da Ming Under Microscope," "Liang Jing Shi Wu Ri," "A Book Is Born," "Strange Legend of Tang Dynasty."
"The Wind Blows From Longxi (风起陇西)" was written in 2005 and is Ma Boyong's debut novel. It is about two "minor characters," Chen Gong and Xun Yu, who write heroic legends in the spy war between Shu and Wei during the Three Kingdoms period.
The drama is directed by Lu Yang and stars Chen Kun and Bai Yu in the lead roles. Lu Yang is a film director, so he must pursue the image in making series. His past works reveal an interest in political wrestling and dynastic intrigue.
"Da Ming Under Microscope (显微镜下的大明)" tells the story of six grassroots political events of the Ming Dynasty, which are hidden in the stacks of paper. Reading the book, you will feel ancient China's highly developed institutional design and the ubiquitous conspiracy against the system.
The ready-made idea for this adaptation is to tell it as a unit drama with real names. The story is good enough, but the difficulty is how to understand the abstract institutional evidence and text through the language of the camera.
"Liang Jing Shi Wu Ri (两京十五日)" and "Da Ming Under Microscope" are related, and Ma Boyong took the unused parts of the information he collected for the latter and wrote a new story: the thrilling story of Zhu Zhanji (later Xuande Emperor) on his way back to the capital from Yingtian.
This history was presented in the drama "Ming Dynasty" and is somewhat legendary. In Ma Boyong's work, such a story is enhanced by the injection of mind-blowing and research. Between reality and fiction, charm is born.
"The Longest Day In Chang'an" can be used as a reference for the adaptation of this drama. Make sense of suspense and history enough, and it will capture the audience. With a strong thread running through the whole story, it will avoid repeating the mistakes of "The Longest Day In Chang'an." Screenwriter Chang Jiang has created "The Advisors Alliance," so it is worth waiting.
The more interesting one is "A Book Is Born (大明书商)." As prose, it is interesting. It is loose and trivial and not confined to the Ming Dynasty as a story. Concentrating the stories of the booksellers of all dynasties on "A Book Is Born" requires a lot of original work to fill the plot volume.
There are also two suspenseful dramas. "Qing Ming Shang He Tu Mi Ma (清明上河图密码)" is a new style suspense drama, adapted from the novel of the same name by Ye Wenbiao.
The famous Northern Song Dynasty painting "Along the River During the Qingming Festival" has 824 characters. In the drama "Qing Ming Shang He Tu Mi Ma," each of them has a name, and each has a preoccupation. Seemingly peaceful and prosperous, but in fact, there are killing opportunities. In the hawker's hawking, spies and assassins from Jin, Liao, Western Xia, and Goryeo have lurked, pulling the curtain on the overthrow of the Northern Song Dynasty ......
"Strange Legend of Tang Dynasty (唐朝诡事录)," adapted from the original book of the same name by writer Wei Fenghua, is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2022.
It tells the story of a series of strange and unusual events in the Tang Dynasty. Chang'an, the General of Jinwu Guard, Lu Lingfeng, and Di Renjie's disciple Su Wuming work together to solve the case, uncovering the truth under the irregular surface, conveying the firm belief in breaking superstition suppressing evil.
Throughout the six pan-historical series, Ma Boyong is undoubtedly popular to the base of creative strength and sees the scarcity of creative talent for historical stories.
It is relatively easy to write fictional, time-travel, immortal stories, but it is challenging to write works with evidence. It's not an easy task to adapt an internet novel that is based on the name of an ancient person, to use brainstorming instead of evidence-based kung fu, to use emotions and desires instead of thinking, and to adapt it into a serious and interesting film and television work, and then present a wonderful work for the audience.
It is not difficult to see that in 2022, historical series is returning to the viewers as essential elements such as "intangible cultural heritage" and "promotion of traditional culture." The deep-seated reason behind this is the contemporary youth's identification with traditional culture, and the vast classical civilization is also an essential source of constructing this identification. This "cultural confidence" trend will only strengthen in the future and will be embedded in all types of "Chinese dramas" in various forms.
Complete list of historical dramas of 2022: