2024's Highly-Anticipated Chinese Dramas: A Treat for History Enthusiasts

For the audience, Chinese dramas base on history have been absent from the screen for a long time. In the early 21st century, historical dramas once dominated the scene. From "The Yongzheng Dynasty" to "The Kangxi Dynasty," from "Han Wu Da Di" to "The Rise of the Tang Empire," historical dramas have always been a popular and successful genre. However, with the shift in audience interest, the influence of historical dramas has gradually declined. Additionally, due to the involvement of significant historical themes, the lengthy review process and the difficulty in getting approval for such projects have further hindered their development.

2024's Highly-Anticipated Chinese Dramas: A Treat for History Enthusiasts

Under various constraints, historical dramas have entered a period of decline, with a limited number of productions and less enthusiastic market response compared to before. However, it is gratifying that in 2023, a number of historical dramas have been approved, started filming, or obtained shooting permits, indicating a revival of historical dramas. These 11 upcoming historical dramas in 2024 are expected to reignite the audience's enthusiasm for the genre. These works can be roughly divided into two categories, one focusing on historical figures and the other on significant historical events.

Whether it is about individuals or events, these works focus on the development of history, extracting typical characters and events as the main storyline. This has delighted history enthusiasts, who are eagerly anticipating how contemporary dramas will interpret the past. So, among these 11 historical dramas, which ones will become blockbusters?


1 The Unforgettable Figures

The achievements created by emperors and generals are often passed down through the ages, making their extraordinary lives a favorite theme of historical dramas. In this list of upcoming historical dramas, there are renowned ministers and scholars, which greatly raises the audience's expectations.


Feng He Jin Qi Zhang Ju Zheng

This is an adaptation based on the Mao Dun Literature Prize. As the most influential prime minister of the Ming Dynasty, Zhang Juzheng has been both praised and criticized in the centuries following his death, making it difficult to evaluate him. Previously, in 2010, "Wan Li Shou Fu Zhang Ju Zheng" was aired. The differences between the two versions are expected to become a topic of discussion after the release of this drama.

2024's Highly-Anticipated Chinese Dramas: A Treat for History Enthusiasts

The screenwriters of "Feng He Jin Qi Zhang Ju Zheng" include Chang Jiang and Li Jie. In recent years, Chang Jiang has been involved in the screenwriting of "The Advisors Alliance" and "The Long Ballad", especially "The Advisors Alliance", which has a new interpretation of Sima Yi's image, so the audience is also looking forward to a more innovative screen image of Zhang Juzheng.


The Story of Wang Yang Ming

Directed by Zhang Yongxin, the director of "Awakening Age," this drama tells the life story of the legendary scholar Wang Yangming. It chronicles his demotion and exile, his enlightenment at the Dragon Field, the pacification of the rebellion led by Prince Ning, and the establishment of the school of heart. With the success of "Awakening Age," the audience has great confidence and expectations for Zhang Yongxin's historical dramas.

2024's Highly-Anticipated Chinese Dramas: A Treat for History Enthusiasts


Zhang Qian

As a prominent figure in the reformist movement at the end of the Qing Dynasty, Zhang Qian made significant contributions to the development of industry and commerce in China. However, there has not been a TV drama that focuses on him as the protagonist, which is regrettable. Zhang Qian actively promoted industrial development throughout his life, but his aspirations were not fulfilled. He passed away due to overwork, leaving behind regrets.

2024's Highly-Anticipated Chinese Dramas: A Treat for History Enthusiasts

Zhang Qian has previously appeared on Jiangsu TV's 2023 slate as a major historical theme. What's more appetizing is that the drama has been kept under wraps, and even the official poster has not been released.


Zhu Ge Liang Zhuan

As a well-known figure in Chinese history, Zhuge Liang is the embodiment of wisdom. Through the widespread popularity of "Romance of the Three Kingdoms," his loyal service to Liu Bei, his wholehearted dedication to assisting the successor, and his efforts during the Northern Expeditions have become topics that people love to discuss. However, "Zhu Ge Liang Zhuan" aims to explore more historical information and reinterpret this timeless statesman.

2024's Highly-Anticipated Chinese Dramas: A Treat for History Enthusiasts

According to the registration information, "Zhu Ge Liang Zhuan" involves details such as Liu Bei's trust in Fa Zheng but distancing himself from Zhuge Liang, which differs from the mainstream narrative and may spark controversy among history enthusiasts. It is precisely because "Zhu Ge Liang Zhuan" is different from "Romance of the Three Kingdoms" that it piques the audience's curiosity.


Legend of Wu Zi Xu

This drama tells the story of the Wu clan in the state of Chu during the Spring and Autumn Period. After suffering a great catastrophe, Wu Zixu was forced to flee to another country. In the end, he settled in the state of Wu, assisting two generations of monarchs in achieving greatness. Unfortunately, due to the suspicion of the King of Wu, he was forced to take his own life, marking the end of the legend of this renowned general.

2024's Highly-Anticipated Chinese Dramas: A Treat for History Enthusiasts

This drama started filming as early as August 2020, directed by Hong Kong director Fan Sau Ming, and starring actors such as Sheng Yilun and Kan Rangzi. There are relatively few dramas focusing on characters from the Spring and Autumn Period, so it is hoped that this drama will fill that gap.


2 The Way of Success and Failure

Chinese history emphasizes "learning from the past to understand the present," and historical dramas continue this approach to history. For a period in history, in addition to the time, place, and people involved, the significance of its successes, failures, gains, and losses, as well as the lessons learned, are highly valued. Among the upcoming historical dramas that focus on historical events, some depict the glorious golden age of a certain dynasty, while others focus on specific historical developments, thus encompassing both the macro and the micro.


Peace in Palace, Peace in Chang'An

"Peace in Palace, Peace in Chang'An" not only tells the story of a specific dynasty but also involves the historical ups and downs from the end of the Sui Dynasty to the beginning of the Tang Dynasty. It portrays the rise and fall of a dynasty, showcasing both the arduous battles to pacify the world and the harmonious relationship between rulers and ministers like Wei Zheng and Li Shimin. The scope of the drama is quite broad.

2024's Highly-Anticipated Chinese Dramas: A Treat for History Enthusiasts

The cast includes Li Xuejian, Wang Jinsong, Zhang Hanyu, Shu Chang, and others, making for a stellar lineup. The screenwriter, Dong Zhe, has received high praise in recent years for his works such as the TV dramas "The Volunteers" and "The Imperial Age," particularly "The Volunteers," which has an impressive rating of 8.3 on Douban.


The Epic of Tang Dynasty

This is another Chinese drama that delves into the era of the Great Tang Dynasty. Due to its large scale, it is divided into two parts: "Po Zhen Yue" and "Wei Feng Yin." It is said to have fascinating war scenes and aesthetic expressions, making it a historical drama that appeals to modern aesthetics.

2024's Highly-Anticipated Chinese Dramas: A Treat for History Enthusiasts

According to the revealed information, "Po Zhen Yue" mainly narrates the remarkable military achievements of the founding of the Great Tang Dynasty, while "Wei Feng Yin" focuses on how the Great Tang Dynasty flourished after the Xuanwu Gate Incident. Li Shimin plays a pivotal role connecting the two parts, serving as the thread that runs through the historical context.


Han Dynasty Epic

The format of "Han Dynasty Epic" is similar to "The Epic of Tang Dynasty," also divided into two parts, highlighting the splendor of the Han Dynasty. However, what is innovative is that the two parts combine the Eastern Han and Western Han, forming a complete picture that comprehensively reflects the magnificence of the two Han Dynasties.

2024's Highly-Anticipated Chinese Dramas: A Treat for History Enthusiasts

The first part, "The Emperor Wu," narrates the glorious achievements of the Eastern Han Dynasty under the "Rule of Wen and Jing" rule, encompassing both domestic governance and the extermination of the Xiongnu, expanding the territory. The second part, "The Emperor Guangwu," tells the story of Liu Xiu's uprising against Wang Mang, reestablishing the Great Han Dynasty and achieving the "Guangwu Renaissance." The structure of the entire drama is quite innovative, and it is one of the rare historical dramas that involve Liu Xiu.


Swords into Ploughshares

According to the information revealed, "Swords into Ploughshares" is a project by Huace, and the theme of this historical drama is set in the early years of the Song Dynasty, telling a relatively obscure history - the submission of the Wuyue State.

2024's Highly-Anticipated Chinese Dramas: A Treat for History Enthusiasts

In history, the Wuyue State was a regional power during the Five Dynasties period, and in the process of unification during the Song Dynasty, the Wuyue King assessed the situation and voluntarily submitted to the Song Dynasty, achieving a peaceful reunification, which can be regarded as a remarkable story.


Jiang Shan Da Tong

This drama is registered by Shanghai Jiujiu Culture and involves a relatively lesser-known period of history, which is the reform of Empress Dowager Feng during the Northern Wei Dynasty. As one of the few female rulers in Chinese history, Empress Dowager Feng insisted on embracing Han civilization, eliminating the barbaric customs of the Northern Wei Dynasty, and leading the country towards civilization and strength.

In addition, this drama focuses on reform and sinicization and also involves minority ethnic groups such as the Xianbei in Chinese history, making it relatively sensitive. How to handle the relationship between historical materials and artistic processing is a great challenge for the creators.


The Thirteen-Hongs in Canton

This drama is produced by iQiyi. The Thirteen Hongs was a unique institution in Chinese history, which was a specialized organization responsible for foreign trade in Guangzhou during the Qing Dynasty. Due to its unique industry and the collision of Chinese and Western cultures, its development history contains many stories worth telling. Coupled with the current trend of cultural going global, "The Thirteen-Hongs in Canton" can be considered a timely work.

2024's Highly-Anticipated Chinese Dramas: A Treat for History Enthusiasts

The director of "The Thirteen-Hongs in Canton" is Cao Dun, whose previous work, "The Longest Day in Chang'an," was both critically acclaimed and commercially successful. He should be well-equipped to handle such a historical drama.

Historical dramas have been silent for a long time, and it is time to present works that can stand out and establish their reputation. A healthy drama market should leave room for historical dramas. Over the years, the audience has been calling for it, and the market is waiting for it, lacking only a breakout hit. These 11 upcoming historical dramas are at the forefront, with their themes and star-studded cast being captivating enough. Will a blockbuster be born in 2024? Will the popularity of historical dramas be reignited? The answers will be revealed after their broadcast.

2024's Highly-Anticipated Chinese Dramas: A Treat for History Enthusiasts

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