Every year, the most explosive, buzzworthy, and actor-elevating genre undoubtedly belongs to costume dramas. This is why every year, costume dramas flood the market, attracting both investors and actors. In the upcoming lineup of Chinese video platforms in 2024, costume dramas have earned an incredibly important position. In this article, the highlights of the costume dramas that will soon be aired on Tencent Video and Youku Video.
1-Costume dramas on Tencent Video
Among the upcoming lineup of costume dramas on Tencent Video, they have the fewest number compared to the other four major Chinese video platforms, with only 14 productions. However, there are still plenty of potential blockbusters among them, most of which are sure to become highly-discussed hot dramas.
The Legend of Shen Li
Leading the pack is the director Deng Ke's "The Legend of Shen Li," starring Zhao Liying and Lin Gengxin. It is adapted from Jiu Lu Fei Xiang's novel "Ben Wang Zai Ci." The reunion of these two actors reminds people of "Princess Agents," as the second season of that show is still eagerly anticipated. Audiences can only temporarily relieve their longing through "The Legend of Shen Li."
Zhao Liying's talent is beyond doubt, as she successfully transformed herself with two major leading roles in 2022, "Wild Bloom" and "The Story of Xing Fu," earning widespread recognition for her acting skills. This time, she plays Shen Li, the queen who was born with a magical pearl in the demon realm. She is free-spirited, bold, and unrestrained, which perfectly matches Zhao Liying's own personality.
"The Legend of Shen Li" tells the story of Xing Zhi (played by Lin Gengxin), the last emperor living in the celestial realm, who single-handedly turns the tide in the war between immortals and demons. Since then, he has disappeared from the world, leaving no trace. Shen Li, the queen born with a magical pearl, is targeted by the claws of political marriage, on her thousandth birthday. While fleeing, she is transformed back into a phoenix and falls to the mortal world, severely injured. In her unconscious state, she is mistaken for a fat chicken by a human peddler, who plucks all her feathers and locks her in a cage for sale. Later on, Shen Li is bought by Xing Zhi. As they spend time together, they gradually develop feelings for each other, and their fates become tightly intertwined.
With continuous release of promotional materials, the number of bookings for "The Legend of Shen Li" has already exceeded 4 million. The reunion of the main cast, the author of the original work serving as the screenwriter, and the experienced director in costume dramas make it difficult for this show not to become a blockbuster.
Lost You Forever Season 2
As the follow-up to the biggest hit of 2023, "Lost You Forever," the second season is eagerly awaited by the audience. Unlike other female-centric romantic dramas that solely focus on love, "Lost You Forever" adopts a multi-narrative approach to explore the protagonist Xiao Yao's choices and attitudes when faced with family, friendship, and love. Each of the three male characters has their own unique qualities, so no matter which one you love, you can always find what you like.
The second season of "Lost You Forever" unfolds with the following plot: In order to unify the world, Cang Xuan sacrifices her personal feelings for the throne, Xiang Liu dies in battle to protect justice, and Xiao Yao helps Cang Xuan achieve his great ambitions before hiding away with Tu Shan Jing. Cang Xuan, who is yearning for the unattainable, devotes all her energy to governing the country because he knows that as long as the world is at peace, his Xiao Yao can be happy and well.
With the return of the original cast, the biggest hidden danger has been eliminated. The female lead Yang Zi is already a representative of reputation and popularity in the costume drama field, and the popularity of the three male actors has also risen to a new level. The second season is sure to be even more anticipated. In terms of the plot, based on the related materials, some classic scenes have been altered, which to some extent changes the characters' positions and traits. This is definitely a frustrating situation for fans of the original work, and we can only hope that there won't be any major changes.
Yong Ye Xing He
Adapted from the popular work "The Guide to Capturing a Black Lotus," produced by Stellar Media, the company behind "Love Between Fairy and Devil" and "Love You Seven Times," starring Yu Shuxin and Ding Yuxi, both of whom have their own representative hit costume drama works. Therefore, "Yong Ye Xing He" has garnered much attention since its announcement.
The plot of "Yong Ye Xing He" mainly revolves around the mischievous girl Ling Miaomiao (played by Yu Shuxin), who accidentally enters the novel mission system. In order to return to the real world, she must complete the system's assigned key mission - to capture the mysterious and emotionally unstable young man Mu Sheng (played by Ding Yuxi). Along the way, they join forces with Mu Yao (played by Zhu Xudan), a member of the demon-catching family, and Liu Fuyi (played by Yang Shize), a demon hunter. They embark on a journey, overcoming obstacles, leveling up, and gradually resolving the enmity between humans and demons, rewriting their fated ending and saving the world.
But the future of "Yong Ye Xing He" is uncertain. First, fans of the novel expressed dissatisfaction with the casting choices, and the author of the original work said, "Since the name has been changed, please separate the book and the drama." This caused a clash between fans of the novel and fans of the actors. The underperformance of "Love You Seven Times" also significantly decreased the accumulated anticipation for Stellar Media.
Under the guidance of a professional screenwriting team, Stellar Media's cdramas have all undergone extensive polishing by the team. Even with the original work as a reference, the screenwriting team will still make adjustments, which raises the issue of major changes.
"Love Between Fairy and Devil" gained an elevation of values after the alterations, while "Love You Seven Times" lost its light-hearted and joyful essence after being altered and became something entirely different. There are rumors of adjustments to the female lead's storyline in "Yong Ye Xing He," which has sparked discussions among fans. Whether these changes are good or bad, we can only wait until the show airs to find out.
Love of Nirvana
As a popular candidate for the male lead in costume drama, Ren Jialun holds many popular works such as "Under the Power", "The Glory of Tang Dynasty", and "One and Only". This time, he collaborates with Li Landi again in the ancient costume drama "Love of Nirvana".
Xiao Wuxia, the young lord of Yueluo City, has endured humiliation and hidden in the Liang Kingdom for many years. He takes on the alias Wei Zhao and carries the reputation of a wicked minister. Wei Zhao, in order to uncover the truth about his family's past, attempts to abduct the only living witness of the case involving the Crown Prince Qi, but his carefully arranged plan is destroyed by the sudden appearance of a young girl named Jiang Ci.
Taking advantage of the situation, Pei Yan brings the severely injured Jiang Ci into his residence, hoping to find the destroyer behind it all. Jiang Ci, with her innocent and lively nature, is moved by Wei Zhao's tragic background and sense of national righteousness, and the two develop feelings for each other as they spend time together. In the end, Wei Zhao, Jiang Ci, and Pei Yan put aside their personal grudges and join forces to fight against Emperor Xie Che of Liang, realizing their wish to protect Yueluo City and establish a clear and bright world.
In the drama, the male lead is depicted as a young lord who endures humiliation and infiltrates enemy territory. Ren Jialun's portrayal takes people back to the nostalgic era of the Little Prince Nan Chen. Li Landi's performance in "The Starry Love" left a deep impression on the audience with her mischievous image. This time, she plays the female lead Jiang Ci, a kind-hearted and free-spirited woman in the martial world. The roles are well within the comfort zone of the two actors, and their chemistry is enhanced. Additionally, with the author Xiaolou personally serving as the screenwriter, there should be no need to worry about the plot.
The Rise of Ning
After the role Cang Xuan, Zhang Wanyi stars in two more ancient costume works: "Liu Zhou Story" with Wang Churan and "The Rise of Ning" with Ren Min. "The Rise of Ning" is adapted from Wen Tan's "Shou Fu Yang Cheng Shou Ce", which is well-known novel with a strong fans foundation. Director Mai Guanzhi, known for his works "Chinese Paladin" and "Love and Redemption", which have become timeless classics, brings a sense of reassurance with his team of creators.
Raised in a separate courtyard, Luo Yining, the daughter of the Luo family, has never been bound by the constraints of traditional etiquette. She repeatedly lends a helping hand to her "third brother" Luo Shenyuan, unable to tolerate the bullying he endures from others. Gradually, she discovers that Luo Shenyuan, who appears to be destitute, is actually talented in both literature and martial arts. Having suffered from heartbreak, Luo Yining is determined to break free from the confines of her home and the control of others, aspiring to establish her independence by utilizing her own strengths. In the bleak situation of the Luo family, Luo Shenyuan's mentor dies as a result being falsely accused, and Luo Yining has been seeking the truth ever since.
Grateful for Luo Yining's warmth and support during her business endeavors, Luo Shenyuan gives his full support when she encounters difficulties in her shop. Luo Yining also gradually understands the significance of Luo Shenyuan to his mentor, and their relationship deepens. With Luo Shenyuan's help, Luo Yining not only brings the culprit who harmed her birth mother to justice but also manages her business in an orderly manner. Luo Shenyuan, encouraged by Yining, participates in the imperial examination and emerges as the top scholar, uncovering the truth behind the old case. In the end, they successfully clear their mentor's name, bring the mastermind to justice, and live a carefree and peaceful life.
Legend of the Female General
Starring Zhou Ye and Cheng Lei, "Legend of the Female General" is adapted from Qianshan Chake's novel "Rebirth of a Star General". It tells the story of He Yan (played by Zhou Ye), who is forced to disguise herself as her cousin He Rufei from a young age. Through a series of fortuitous events, she enters the military camp and achieves great success, becoming the General Fei Hong. However, when her cousin He Rufei recovers, they both return to their original positions. In order to keep this secret forever, He Rufei tries to harm He Yan.
When He Yan wakes up again, she finds herself back on the training ground. She swears to live for herself in this life, reclaiming what she has lost. Once again, she disguises herself as a man and joins the military camp. This time, she encounters Xiao Jue (played by Cheng Lei), a former schoolmate who appears cold on the outside but is gentle at heart. Together, they fight against treacherous villains, aid the weak, and defend the country.
Both lead actors have been steadily rising in recent years, and although they may not have high levels of popularity, they have good rapport with the audience. Director Jiang Jiajun's representative works, such as "The Myth" and "The Longest Promise", are beloved by viewers. "Legend of the Female General" has a more innovative theme and is more in line with the current preferences of the audience. It is believed that the drama will achieve good results after its release.
In addition to the mentioned works, Zhang Wanyi and Wang Churan's "Liu Zhou Story" features an intriguing character in the form of a female bandit leader, and the lead actors have exceptionally high looks. Gao Weiguang and Xuan Lu's "Love and Sword" is a rare martial arts comedy that is refreshing to see. The upcoming costume dramas on Tencent Video should not be underestimated.
2-Costume Drama in Youku: Diverse Styles
In the lineup of Youku's dramas, there are not many yet-to-be-aired costume dramas, only a total of 15. In early 2023, "The Starry Love" emerged out of nowhere and became the dark horse of that year, receiving both critical acclaim and popularity. Among this year's upcoming costume dramas on Youku, there are also some with great potential to become dark horses. Let's take a look together.
The Legend of Jewelry
The one leading the pack and most likely to become a hit is "The Legend of Jewelry," a collaboration between Zhao Lusi and Liu Yuning. This drama is adapted from the novel "Zhu Lian Yu Mu" by Tan Tianyin.
The plot is as follows: in early Tang Dynasty, the girl Duanwu (portrayed by Zhao Lusi) escapes from the pearl field to avoid humiliation. At a critical moment, the poet Zhang Jinran comes to her aid. In order to uncover her origins, Duanwu joins the merchant Yanzijing's (portrayed by Liu Yuning) caravan and uses her resourceful mind to engage in lucrative jewelry business. She also forms a deep friendship with the lady Yue Yunxiu. With Yanzijing's guidance, the girl who only understood pearls opens the door to the world of jewelry. However, Duanwu is unwittingly drawn into a life-or-death game set up by Yanzijing and nearly loses her life.
To uncover the truth, Duanwu goes to Yangzhou and gains fame. Together with Yue Yunxiu, they establish the Mingjing Platform and use jewelry horse equipment to break the local jewelry merchants' monopoly in the guild, introducing colored gemstones into the popular white jewelry of Yangzhou, broadening the local aesthetic. Duanwu becomes the leader of the guild on the day she achieves her goal. However, she is betrayed by her former ally Zheng Zhiheng and falls into a desperate situation. Fortunately, she is rescued by Zhang Jinran. After escaping, she confronts Zheng Zhiheng and once again turns the tables, reclaiming her position as the leader of the guild and leading the Yangzhou guild to new heights in the realm of jewelry art.
A young girl rises to success and achieves a remarkable career, following a complete growth trajectory. This storyline is beloved by contemporary audiences. The clever and intelligent character traits of the protagonist, as well as the compatibility between Zhao Lusi and the role, are also noteworthy. Interestingly, "The Legend of Jewelry" is also set in the Tang Dynasty, just like Liu Yuning's previous drama. Coupled with familiar makeup and styling, it easily evokes memories of the characters Leyan and Haodu from "The Long Ballad," endearing themselves to the audience. The lovable, kind, and determined Leyan left a deep impression on many viewers.
The Princess Royal
With the success of "My Journey to You" and "Story of Kunning Palace," Zhang Linghe has officially entered the ranks of top-tier actors in the realm of costume dramas. He continues his efforts in this field by collaborating with Zhao Jinmai in "The Princess Royal."
This drama is adapted from the novel "The Grand Princess" by Mo Shubai and tells the story of Princess Li Rong (portrayed by Zhao Jinmai) of the Xia Dynasty, who shares a dream with the current prime minister Pei Wenxuan (portrayed by Zhang Linghe). They transform from enemies to close friends, friends to lovers, regain trust, and embark on a joint career. From being joyfully antagonistic lovers to becoming soulmates who marry first and fall in love later, their story finally achieves a reconciliation after going through numerous trials and tribulations.
The screenwriter Rao Jun, who has worked on dramas such as "The Journey of Flower," and "Ancient Love Poetry," is known for his romantic, beautiful, and ancient style writing style, which many people associate with him. He is a highly experienced screenwriter in the realm of costume dramas. The director Gao Yijun has also directed multiple period dramas such as "The Prince of Han Dynasty" and "The Empress of China."
Compared to previous dramas that relied on actors to generate popularity, the creative team behind "The Double" is evidently more eye-catching. The director, Lu Hao Ji Ji, is best known for our familiar work, "Go Princess, Go!," with its absurd plot and cheap production design. Nevertheless, it became a blockbuster drama and launched the careers of actors such as Zhang Tian'ai, Sheng Yilun, and Peng Yuchang. Lu Hao Ji Ji has thus proven his directorial abilities. Additionally, the original author, Qianshan Chake, serves as the screenwriter, personally ensuring the quality of the storyline. It is believed that there will be no major deviations.
In terms of the cast, Wu Jinyan and Wang Xingyue play the lead roles. In the drama, Xue Li, the daughter of a wealthy and content county official, loses everything after a great upheaval. She is saved by Jiang Ruoyu, the daughter of the Minister of Personnel, and takes on Jiang Ruoyu's identity to return to the capital. With the help of Xiao Hang, the Duke of Suguo, and others, she overcomes numerous dangers, tirelessly fights against injustice, ultimately rescues her father who is unexpectedly imprisoned, and assists Xiao Hang in upholding justice and protecting the common people, thus reclaiming a beautiful life.
Kill Me Love Me
Wu Jinyan also stars in another costume drama, "Kill Me Love Me ," co-starring Liu Xueyi and adapted from Hei Yan's novel of the same name. Prince Murong Jinghe (played by Liu Xueyi) of the Great Yan Empire leads the Wei Bei Army to reclaim the lost territory of Qingzhou. However, after a triumphant entry into the city, a massive fire suddenly breaks out. Rumors spread throughout the city that Prince Murong Jinghe, bearing a grudge against the people of Qingzhou for their alleged betrayal of the Great Yan Empire, ordered the burning and massacre of the city upon his arrival. Consequently, he goes from being a just and respected general to a despised butcher. In the midst of the devastating fire, Mei Lin (played by Wu Jinyan), a young girl from Qingzhou who has lost her loved ones, swears to seek revenge and vows to kill the person responsible for the city's slaughter.
In addition to these dramas, "Kill My Sins" is a precious original script directed by Wang Wei and written by Zhou Azi. Currently, only a concept poster has been released, and the cast is yet to be confirmed. However, the suspenseful storyline has already generated much anticipation.
Over the 2024, many of Mo Shu Bai's works will be adapted for the screen, including "The Princess Royal," as well as Youku's "Cang Lan Dao" and Mango TV's "Cang Shan Xue." However, the directors, screenwriters, and lead actors for these productions have not yet been determined, making it difficult to predict their success.
Costume dramas have always been a battleground for the entertainment industry, and 2024 is destined to be a year filled with a profusion of such dramas. It is somewhat regrettable, however, that all dramas have listed above are adaptations of novels, with relatively few original scripts. Among the dramas mentioned above, are there any that you are looking forward to?