So, we were pleasantly surprised with the results of our two-week-long survey on the “Top Ten Chinese BL Dramas”.
While most fervent BL fans might not be Chinese BL enthusiasts (because they are scripted as Bromances and devoid of the romance element), the results were unprecedented and are a blatant display of the admiration that the said genre enjoys. We conducted three different surveys to judge the “Top Ten Dramas” in Chinese/Taiwanese/Thai BL. Shockingly enough, the survey for Chinese BL received increased amounts of responses. As such, we are equally pleased to share the results. So buckle your seatbelts as we take you on this fun ride!
10) Till Death Tear Us Apart
This show ranked lowest for obvious reasons. It wasn’t because of the lack of chemistry between the main leads, but the inadequate promotions. So, probably most Chinese BL fans don’t even know that this show exists. The drama stars Danny Jiang and Kevin Yan in major roles as childhood sweethearts. Surprisingly, in an industry, where actors don’t prefer to reprise BL roles, Danny and Kevin have acted in two BL shows. Their previous show “Love is More Than a Word” (which was a BL adaptation as well) suffered from an abysmal script. Till Death Tear Us Apart however has a better storytelling and the chemistry between the main characters is palpable. Set in the republican era, the story focuses on Liu Yu Sheng (Danny Jiang) who hails from a rich family. After studying abroad, he returns home to find his inheritance stolen by his other family members. To make a living, he has to work as a teacher at a small school. In this hopeless state, he meets a dear, old friend Zhou Yao Hua (Kevin Yan). Zhao Yao Hua like most Chinese aristocrats harbors a hatred against communists. Liu Yu Sheng has connections with communists. Thus begins Yu Sheng problems as he struggles to choose between love and his responsibilities. The romance is swoon worthy as Yao Hua leaves no stone unturned to improve his childhood friend’s lifestyle. Both actors have a sweet chemistry and the show is definitely worth watching!
9) Advance Bravely
Adapted from the novel Advance Bravely by Chai Ji Dan, the show features popular BL actor Simon Gong alongside handsome hunk Jason Xu. Their chemistry is sizzling hot and even blatant censorship couldn’t dim the sensuality. Xia Yao (Simon Gong) born into a wealthy family with renowned ancestry, is a playboy who has turned over a new leaf. Yuan Zong (Jason Xu) is an ex-soldier from the special forces who opened a bodyguard training company after being discharged. Unexpectedly, Yuan Ru, Yuan Zong’s little sister falls for Xia Yao’s charms. But she finds it difficult to break down his barriers. She seeks help from Yuan Zong, who ends up falling for Xia Yao instead. From the first time they met, the underlying sexual tension is visible. Yuan Zong’s stoic, disciplined demeanor is a direct contrast to Xia Yao’s lively attitude. The differences in their personality is a stark contrast and watching them grow closer was a truly enjoyable experience.
8) The Sleuth of Ming Dynasty
When I first started watching this show, it was because I was intrigued about the chemistry between the main characters, Tang Fan and Sui Zhou. Secondly, the fact that this show is a Jackie Chan production guaranteed some suave fight choreography and I wasn’t disappointed. Unlike most Chinese BL, there was no addition of annoying female love interests. Fu MengPo as the formidable Royal Guard is competent. Darren Chen’s portrayal of titular role Tang Fan was praiseworthy. While Tang Fan is certainly the brains, Sui Zhou is the brawn. Together they are undefeated and also insanely romantic. Another intriguing character is Wang Zhi, portrayed by Liu Yuo Yang. Despite being a eunuch, he yields considerable amount of power and influence in the Royal Court. His loyalty to the Emperor and devotion towards to the Royal Consort Wan were unparalleled. While the storytelling might seem lacking, the actors infuse the drama with a definite energy that glosses over the inadequacies in the script. The drama solely focuses on the concept of found familial relations- Tang Fan and Sui Zhou’s makeshift family with Dong, their strong friendships with Dora, Wuyan and Dr. Pei. This show will be forever etched in my mind because of its realistic portrayal of love and acceptance. The drama had an open ending and although it has been two years, loyal fans are still awaiting the news about a possible sequel.
Will an abrupt ban erase the popularity of the show which established Chinese BL monarchy on the global platform? I beg to differ, because Addicted is one such show. Despite suffering a severe blow by the Chinese censorship, this drama still continues to be in the limelight. The combustible chemistry between the main actors Xu Wei Zhou and Johnny Huang Jing Yu could be the plausible reason. In order to rein in control over the younger generation (which could be possibly misled by the homoerotic content), the Censor Board not only blocked the last three episodes of the show, but the main actors were banned from appearing in public together. The ban still holds and so does the rancid censorship.
The drama is based on the cliche “Enemies to Lovers” trope with an odd mix of “Stepbrothers identity”. While Luo Yin (Xu Wei Zhou) is the poor yet brilliant student, his new stepbrother Gu Hai is the exact opposite. They often get embroiled into countless arguments (without being aware of each other’s true identity). The storyline doesn’t offer much and the sole reason to watch this show is the undeniable romance between Luo Yin and Gu Hai. Author Chai Jidan (who wrote the original novel) is currently working with media giant YouKu on a subtle downgraded version, which will obviously be marketed as bromance. I’m not sure if I want to walk down that path again, because remaking would be a major disrespect to the original. Fingers crossed!
There is something to be said about a romance that spans over 10,000 years as one waits patiently to meet his loved one. Shen Wei and Zhao Yunlan’s love story is indescribable and leaves you feeling wounded. It’s tragic and yet unforgettable. The story is based in a dystopian universe where humans inhabit a planet called Haxing. They are devoid of any kind of magic and co-exist with aliens races like Yashou Tribes (shapeshifters) and the powerful Dixing clan (who are cursed to live underground devoid of sunlight). The drama focuses on the war between the two factions of the Dixing clan- one led by evil twin Ye Zun while Shen Wei is the righteous twin who upholds law and order. Shen Wei is a Dixing Royal, second-in-command to the King and the up bringer of justice. He is revered by both Dixings, Yashous and the humans. Shen Wei hightails as a Professor, while he is on Haxing to keep an eye on the Dixing’s rebels who try to break the peace treaty between the two clans. Zhan Yi Long and Johnny Bai portray their characters with a brutal honesty. They effectively portray their character’s emotions and feelings for each other. The second lead couple Chu Shu Zhi and Guo Chang Cheng have an equally enviable relationship and are adorably sweet. Although Guardian suffers from inconsequential glitches that mar the production quality, the show is definitely a worthwhile watch for the BL enthusiasts!
5) Winter Begonia
Winter Begonia is a classic that needs to be savored slowly and enjoyed with time. Although the context might seem quite dry (because it is based in the Republican era and majorly focuses on the popular art form, the Peking Opera), the show’s brilliant cinematography coupled with its vibrant sets and excellent casting make it a truly stunning experience. The drama focuses on the beautiful relationship between the main leads Shang Xi Rui (Yin Zheng), a popular Opera Performer and Cheng Feng Tai (Huang Xioa Ming), a wealthy businessman. Their first meeting emits sparks and Cheng Feng Tai is enamored with Shang Xi Rui’s portrayal of “Consort Yang”. The attraction is pliable from the moment they meet and their journey is marked by trials and tribulations. As both of them work together to rebuild the famous Shui Lou Yun Opera House, their fates get entwined. The show chronicles their earnest efforts to revive the Opera Arts while they face various struggles due to the Japanese invasion. The chemistry between the main characters is exemplary, as Cheng Feng Tai’s naked admiration makes his feelings quite obvious. Shang Xui Rui on the other hand has a rebellious attitude, but is entirely devoted to
Cheng Feng Tai. These two make an unique couple and the icing on the cake is the fact that even Cheng Feng Tai’s wife Fan Xiang Er bowed down to their love for each other. I’m yet to meet a man who looks at me the way Cheng Feng Tai does. Like Shang Xui Rui has hung the moon!
4) SCI Mystery
Frankly, I was quite surprised with the results of the survey. Because being able to beat a classic like Winter Begonia is a huge deal. That’s what makes this science thriller truly bold and delicious ! Adapted from the novel “SCI Mystery Collection”, the show stars popular actors Kido Gao and Ji Xiao Bing in major roles as Police Chief Bai Yu Tong and Dr.Zhan Yao. The storyline utilises the concept of clinical psychology to solve crime cases, as Dr. Zhan acts as the Psychological analyst. Yu Tong and Bai are childhood friends and although the show starts with their altercation, Bai is immensely protective of Zhan Yao. Their differing temperaments often lead to arguments, but that doesn’t change the fact that they care about each other. Even their parents understand and acknowledge their close relationship. Bai and Zhan Yao are each other’s biggest strengths and weakness as well. While the main couple have a scintillating chemistry, the second main couple Bai Chi and Zhao Zhen have a comparable romance. The fact that by the end of the first season, these two couples are already living together is testament of their relationship. The prequel ended on an abrupt yet exciting note, signaling the promise of a future sequel. Recently, SCI Mystery’s official Weibo posted updates about the sequel and fans are eagerly awaiting news about the second season.
3) Word of Honor
Two complex personalities meet under strange circumstances and are forced to protect The Mirror Sect’s orphan and heir, Zhang Cheng Ling. If the storyline was just simple as this, then the show would be sorely lacking. But the invariable differences in their nature and the resulting magnetic pull they experience spells a lifelong promise and romance. The resigned Chief of a former assassin organization, Zhou Zhi Shou is awaiting death as he spends his last days wandering dressed down as a beggar. Wen Ken Xing on the other hand is the highly erratic and arrogant Chief of Ghost Valley. Complete opposites, these childhood sweethearts are separated due to their destiny. And yet decades later, they reunite. While WKX obviously recognizes his Senior instantly, ZZS is riddled with confusion and attraction. The constant pull and push plays a major role in their love story, as we have several side characters and their storylines running parallel. If you have read the original novel, this adaptation should be high on your watchlist. It has immense rewatch value simply because of the dynamics between our heroes and the antagonist Zhao Jing. Simon Gong and Zhang Zhe Han have an indomitable chemistry onscreen and they share a great camaraderie offscreen (which was pretty evident in their recently concluded theme concert). Each character has a separate storyline, are riveting and will leave you spellbound.
2) The Untamed
My first tryst with the world of Chinese BL- The Untamed is a story of resurrection and love that transcends time and tide. There couldn’t be two characters who are as different as Lan Wan Ji and Wei Wu Xian. Based on the fantasy webnovel by popular author Mo Dao Zu Shi, the story chronicles the life and history of main character Wei Wu Xian as he experiences life shattering realities and betrayals. The interesting facet of this show is the engaging familial relationships between the characters. It could be Wei Wu Xian’s adorable bond with his elder adoptive sister Jiang Yan Li; their trust and belief in each other. Or Lan Wangji’s respect for his elder brother Lan Xi Chen. While the show takes us on a journey where these two characters meet in their teenage years and grow closer; the most intriguing aspect is Lan Wangji’s longing for Wei Wuxian. He spends sixteen long years waiting for Wei Wuxian while raising their adoptive son Lan Si Zhui, who grows upto to be as formidable as his revered Father. Although all witnesses point to Wei Wu Xian’s deviation towards to the evil path, Lan Wangji’s feelings never waver. He stays true to his word and supports Wei Wuxing wholeheartedly. Both Xiao Zhan and Wang Yibo have an undeniable chemistry which shines throughout. The Untamed is definitely a classic retelling with enchanting music and equally beautiful characters.
1) Killer and Healer
This hidden gem is shockingly the winner of our poll. I’m sure this news is going to sweep through the entire fandom and resonate amongst the ardent fans of this drama. I’m one of them. Killer and Healer has won hearts, because of its realistic depiction of romantic inclinations. Jiang Yue Lou’s unbridled desire for good doctor Chen Yu Zhi and their ill-fated romance will forever be etched in our memories. While the unexpected ending was unsatisfactory and left the entire fandom disgruntled, it doesn’t change the fact that the “Yue Lou-Yu Zhi” couple are certainly well celebrated. Jiang Yue Lou is a temperamental Police Chief, while Chen Yu Zhi is a kind-hearted Doctor. These relatable differences in their nature act as a healing balm in their journey, as their fates invariably get entangled. While the main lead couple reflect positivity and mutual respect, the second lead couple Zhan Junbai and Boss Yu have a nerve wrecking romance. Their love story goes through several stages of betrayal and distrust before ending in death. Even in death, Zhan Junbai couldn’t let go of Yu. Although the love story was tragic, the actors portraying the characters became quite popular, thanks to their chemistry. Truly phenomenal and commendable, Killer and Healer is definitely a winner!
We will back with the results of the survey for Top Taiwanese and Thai BL dramas, so keep watching this space for future updates!