The costume fantasy drama "Lost You Forever", written by Tonghua and directed by Qin Zhen and Yang Huan, starring Yang Zi, Zhang Wanyi, Deng Wei, Dai Luwa, and Wang Hongyi, has come to an end on Tencent Video. A tumultuous journey of watching the drama has thus concluded.
For a wonderful drama like "Lost You Forever", the audience never stops urging for more updates. The speed at which it is aired is often very fast; twenty days of binge-watching quickly pass by. However, the longing and reminiscence in the hearts of the viewers are also enduring feelings that stretch like vast mountains and rivers. From today onwards, Xiaoyao's yearning bids farewell temporarily while the viewers' yearning has just begun.
What viewers yearn for is Xiaoyao (played by Yang Zi), who embodies their ideal image of a female protagonist; it is the different emotional patterns between the female lead and Cang Xuan (played by Zhang Wanyi), Tushan Jing (played by Deng Wei), Xiangliu (played by Tan Jianci), Chishui Fenglong (played by Wang Hongyi), which stimulate their imagination about intimate relationships; it is also the authentic plotline with highly unified production aesthetics that evoke fascination with Chinese bad ending style.
Undoubtedly, "Lost You Forever," which premiered in the late summer season as an ancient costume drama series, captivated its audience's hearts. Since its online release, it quickly broke all records on the Tencent Video platform. Then, it began dominating various data platforms, listened first, saving itself from being overlooked among other summer costume dramas.
This kind of heat coupled with overwhelming public opinion hasn't been seen for a long time. All these undoubtedly point to one thing: "Lost You Forever" is truly a hit in this summer season TV market. Behind every successful hit series, is not only gaining popularity among audiences but also benefiting the industry itself. In today's ancient drama market, what did "Lost You Forever" do right?
"Lost You Forever" revitalizes the summer season
The broadcast trend of every hit series is different. Some start off slow but make a remarkable turnaround, while others start strong and keep soaring. "Lost You Forever" belongs to the latter category; whether it's Tencent Video's internal data or external data platforms' rankings, it clearly shows this point.
On the night of its premiere on July 24th, this drama became the fastest drama on Tencent Video to surpass 27,000 in popularity value. Soon after, it became one with highest popularity value in 2023 among all dramas aired on Tencent video that year.
It also sparked a strong desire for discussion and interaction among viewers. The number of interactive comments within the platform exceeded 200 million, with delayed records set in 2023 as well. It reached top position. In the nineteenth episode, the single-day number of interactive comments reached an astonishing figure of twenty-seven million.
The use of customized expressions broke a record by reaching one million in no time, making it most popular daily interactivity amount recorded from Tencen video since the beginning. "Lost You Forever" external data also overwhelms any competition during summer season line up.
It is worth mentioning that, the peak popularity values of "Lost You Forever" on various major data platforms are higher than last year's peak valueof "Love Between Fairy and Devil". It has become top one for single day playback index for new dramas over past two years, and even topped single day playback index list among all summer-season dramas played over past two years. Data and public opinion both confirm that "Lost You Forever" is truly blazing fire. Even reviving dull days within current summer season lineup.
As we all know, in terms of capturing audience attention, film and television series have always had a complementary relationship. This summer, the film market has had a strong presence while the series market has been lacking any hit shows. The appearance of "Lost You Forever" has redirected a considerable portion of audience's attention back to the series market, winning a victory for the dramas and reigniting viewers' enthusiasm and trust in ancient costume romance dramas.
More than romance drama
To unravel the mystery of "Lost You Forever", we must start with its high-level romantic narrative. This drama is adapted from Tong Hua's novel of the same name, and tells the story of Ji Xiao Yao's turbulent journey in Qing Shui Town, named Wen Xiao Liu, and her emotional entanglement with Cang Xuan, Tu Shan Jing, Xiang Liu, Chi Shui Feng Long. Who is Xiaoyao missing about? And who is missing about her? This emotional suspense is introduced at the beginning and runs through the entire story.
Xiaoyao is strong and gentle, having gone through hardships. With Yang Zi's delicate acting skills, the audience can see her rich inner world. Cang Xuan played by Zhang Wan Yi portrays loneliness and determination, his love for Xiaoyao being tragic yet profound across time. Tu Shan Jing played by Deng Wei is proud yet gentle, not caring about societal norms but constantly nurturing love and accompanying the female lead. Xiang Liu portrayed by Tan Jian Ci shares an original soul connection with the female lead that no one can deny.
In terms of character development, "Lost You Forever" has no disposable characters; each character has their own charm and distinctiveness. The viewing experience is smooth without any unfounded love stories; every couple's emotional clues are clear to see. The initial couple does not necessarily represent the final couple; their relationship evolves alongside the growth of the female lead. The highlight lies in how this dynamic aligns with love's fluid nature.
Data shows that Xiaoyao was Tencent Video’s first female character in 2023 to surpass 20 million internal views. The surface storyline of "Lost You Forever" seems like a ancient dream tale where four male characters all fall in love with a single woman while within it hides a modern story of redemption and growth where the female lead is constantly tormented. When immersed in the romantic narrative, the audience can deeply empathize with the female lead.
In the realm of romance, a female lead's heart is like a universe; her emotional history becomes an epic tale. Although "Lost You Forever" falls into the romance genre, it goes beyond simple love stories. Its emotional scope covers not only romantic love but also family bonds, friendships, and patriotic sentiments. It delves into a profound sense of destiny and the protagonist's struggle against fate. It encompasses grand themes of home and country that create strong tension within its romantic context, penetrating deep into viewers' hearts and providing them with a rich viewing experience.
Romance drama cannot exist without moments of love and separation intertwined with sweetness and cruelty. These elements are all present in "Lost You Forever". The essence of romance lies in maximizing viewer empathy to understand various people's journeys through life. "Lost You Forever" achieves this by combining a weighty storyline with intense competition while capturing each character's burning emotions. This grandeur complements the intricate thoughts and feelings that accompany every twist and turn in the female lead’s journey, ultimately igniting powerful viewer empathy.
New historical drama model comes to fruition
Historical dramas are essential but have left viewers wanting more for too long. "Lost You Forever" has achieved its success not by chance but through careful planning. Tencent Video chose to adapt "Lost You Forever" because it features a modern female lead as well as an emotionally relatable local setting. In terms of production value, the drama adheres consistently to its creative concept which blends grounded historical drama aesthetics with traditional Chinese notions of love.
The script is like a seed that determines whether or not a project possesses great potential. From Tong Hua herself overseeing its adaptation, the script respects both original spirit style while making necessary concise adjustments. The plot unfolds at just right pace, giving characters time to develop their emotions. At this drama, fans of the original novel and drama fans can coexist harmoniously.
The casting and performances accurately match the characters' appearances, personalities, and emotions. Yang Zi as the female lead establishes a dynamic balance with rising actors Tan Jian Ci, promising newcomer Zhang Wan Yi, Deng Wei, and others. The end result is that actors have great respect for their roles, serving the creative vision of the production team and shining brightly.
After its release, "Longing" has kept up with current trends by adopting various innovative techniques to engage viewers. For example, on its premiere day, it combined a thrilling plot twist with fan voting, allowing viewers to vote separately for four couples. Subsequently, the drama invited fan suggestions and launched interactive feature to provide an outlet for viewers' emotional investment, creating a positive atmosphere for interaction.
In conclusion, "Lost You Forever" has excelled in adaptation, casting, production, and promotion. It is a project where all factors have come together perfectly, resulting in excellent combining. It is also a classic case study that has found new ways to create romance within this industry's changing landscape after an era of quality over quantity.
Following this turning point in the industry, traditional approaches no longer work for historical dramas. "Lost You Forever" values script adaptation and production more than just relying on IP popularity; casting suitability takes precedence over star power or popularity. Everything now revolves around respecting viewers and adhering to storytelling principles. Undoubtedly, this success provides valuable methodology which can be utilized in creating historical dramas moving forward.