Review of New Historical Drama: Under the Microscope

In the thousands of years of Chinese civilization, there were not only the conquests and games between emperors and generals, but also the brilliant and practical institutions and mechanisms created by professionals and low-level clerks.

The author Ma Boyong has distilled six wonderful stories from local histories and ancient texts to form the book "The Great Ming Dynasty Under the Microscope".

Review of New Historical Drama: Under the Microscope

The storyline is full of reversals, the number of characters and relationships, as well as the richness of the detailed descriptions, while adding to the difficulty of the drama adaptation. Because the historical evolution is completely different from the concentrated competition in the drama.

In the original, Shuai Jiamo (帅嘉谟) in the silk tax case is considered the male lead, but he just appears occasionally. He is more like Ye Wenjie in "Three-Body", who ignited the fuse for this whole affair.


01 Smart Adaptation of the Original

In the drama, the silk tax case was preserved, but the main characters have richer personalities.

During the Wanli period of the Ming Dynasty, a citizen of Renhua County, Jin'an Prefecture, Shuai Jia Mo (帅家默, played by Zhang Ruoyun. In the drama, the names of the characters are replaced, but the pronunciation is close) discovered that the silk tax that the county had been paying for a hundred years was a tax that should have been shared by eight counties.

Review of New Historical Drama: Under the Microscope

And this matter actually has a relationship with his father's unjust death back then. Based on his family's emotions and obsession with correcting wrong figures, Shuai Jia Mo decides to find out the source of the tax revenue, and the obstacles that await him are from many sides.

In the original, it was a showdown between the counties' bulletin and the instruments. The county's arithmetic master, Shuai Jiamo (帅嘉谟), discovered the problem and submitted it upwards to get the county's support. The prefecture tried to stall the problem first, but then had no choice but to initiate a debate among the counties on official documents.

After a few rounds, the matter had become more complicated and thus provoked civil unrest, with various acts of autonomy and riots appearing. In the end, the court compromised the tax burden of several counties, while those who led the riots were punished.

Review of New Historical Drama: Under the Microscope

Writer Ma Boyong can find more details and human nature from the seams of history. In the original, the magistrates and advisors of the various counties focus on the examination and reasoning around the silk tax, which can be described as brilliant.

And with the rewriting of screenwriters Ma Boyong and Zhou Rongyang, these abstract instruments become confrontations in the prefecture courtroom, ensuring professionalism without weakening the conflicts between the counties.

The procedures and rules in the courtroom, the grammar and wording in the official documents, the changes in the tax items, and the procedures and processes in the files, these are all very professional matters. This also allows the audience, who is far away from the Ming Dynasty, to immerse themselves in the real cases of ancient times.

Review of New Historical Drama: Under the Microscope

And these arguments and protests involve real interests, essentially a zero-sum game. If the tax of Renhua County is reduced, the other counties will have to share the excess.

Thus, the magistrates, who were hidden behind official documents in the original, made their appearance in the drama and engaged in a verbal battle face to face. This change shows that the creators are well versed in the characteristics of different literary mediums, and the episodes were created with just the right amount of transformation.

Review of New Historical Drama: Under the Microscope


02 New Settings in the Drama

In the original, the silk tax case was written on the basis of "Si Juan Quan Shu (丝绢全书)" written by Cheng Renqing (程任卿), which can be classified as a popular history book. The context of the events is quite clear, but the characterization is not its focus.

Review of New Historical Drama: Under the Microscope

History books are often a record of events, many real people's original faces and internal waves can not be speculated. But the drama is different, the exciting story and vivid characters can not be missing.

The good thing is that the basic right of screenwriters is fiction. Most of the names in "Under the Microscope" have been harmonized and reset, numerous characters have been merged and adjusted, and there are many new settings.

Review of New Historical Drama: Under the Microscope

In the drama, several new settings were added.

  • Shuai Jia Mo is burdened with a family feud.
  • Feng Biyu and Feng Baoyu.
  • The struggle between the newly appointed governor of Jin'an Prefecture, Huang Ningdao, and the officials of the eight counties under his jurisdiction.

And the shift in the successive camps of the litigator Cheng Renqing (程仁清, played by Wang Yang) has become the ambush of the case.

Renhua County paid more taxes, and the governor Fang Maozhen should have supported Shuaijiamo's action to defend his rights, but he secretly cooperated with other counties, want to quell the incident.

Review of New Historical Drama: Under the Microscope

Several other counties magistrates also have their own characteristics. Mao Panfeng, the magistrates of Langxi, is a acute and strong person, Deng Siqi, the magistrates of Tongyang, is well-versed in economic regulations, and the assistant magistrate of Wancheng County, Ren Yi is resourceful. They are constantly hindering the actions of Shuaijiamo in order not to increase the tax burden of the county.

The Huang governor wanted to establish his authority by investigating the truth about land taxation among the people through the silk tax case. He is Shuai Jia Mo's biggest supporter. On the surface, Shuai Jiamo requested for the people to get rid of the maladministration. Secretly, all the forces out of the trick, to block the evidence.


03 New Historical Drama Type

Generally speaking, Chinese historical dramas are mostly about emperors and generals, and the main content is about building a successful career and political games. And costume dramas mostly feature folk or harem characters, with emotional entanglements and legends of rivers and lakes as the main content.

Review of New Historical Drama: Under the Microscope

In recent years, a new type of historical drama has emerged, which can also be called a modified costume drama. Compared to traditional historical dramas, it has much more narrative freedom, with elements of martial arts, espionage, and strange genres incorporated, as well as a better narrative rigor.

There are two main genres: one starts with Ma Boyong's novel, represented by "The Longest Day In Chang'an" and "The Wind Blows from Longxi", which tells a thrilling story of anti-spy and espionage without changing the direction of history. One to Guo Jingyu team as the fulcrum, the masterpiece is the "Strange Tales of Tang Dynasty", with characters and stories that are half imaginary and half real, full of weird and treacherous atmosphere.

Review of New Historical Drama: Under the Microscope

Both genres have grown with the development of video technology, whether it is the restoration of the ancient style of the Three Kingdoms, the re-creation of the style of the Tang Dynasty, or even the imagination of all kinds of weird images that can be presented. These works are built on the basis of solid koans.

From the original to the drama, "The Great Ming Dynasty Under the Microscope" has generally been transformed from reality to fiction, but it still presents a strong style of micro-historical drama.

Review of New Historical Drama: Under the Microscope

At the grassroots level, the political ecology between prefectures and counties presents a complex political ecology, perhaps even more complex than within the imperial family. More crucially, there is finally a drama that brings to light the tax and litigation practices of the Ming Dynasty, the harm done to the people by the tyranny and maladministration of history. About mortals, heroes, politics, economics, officialdom, and folklore. "Under the Microscope" can be considered as the pioneer of civil history drama.

From the recent new dramas on iQiyi, "The Knockout", "Why Try to Change Me Now", "New Life Begins", "Wild Bloom", "Strange Tales of Tang Dynasty". The video matrix with drama series as the core competitiveness is beginning to form.

No subject matter bias, retaining classic drama genres, but keeping genre innovation. Market feedback is certainly the most accurate judgment, but by the time market feedback really comes out, the work is already unchangeable. The real foresight is to discover the potential subject matter in advance and select the right artist to build it into shape.

Review of New Historical Drama: Under the Microscope

Review of New Historical Drama: Under the Microscope

Review of New Historical Drama: Under the Microscope
Review of New Historical Drama: Under the Microscope

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4 Comment(s) A文章作者 M管理员
  1. Xivvy

    ohh that part about the new drama genre is rlly interesting! i loved both those dramas in your example of the first new type of thriller-historical!

  2. aliety

    Nice sharing👍

  3. pelangis821

    Tayang diplatform mana ini

  4. pelangis821

    Sepertinya menarik