The results for the two-week-long survey were quite uncanny.
While we were pleasantly surprised with the audience’s decision when it came to Chinese BL, the results for the Taiwanese BL poll are quite decisive. Since the fandom is more stealthy, the responses were per se as expected. We are delighted to announce the deserveing winners. Without further ado, let’s lift the curtain over the “Grand Reveal”!
10) HIStory: Obsessed
I definitely have mixed feelings about this show. Although the chemistry between the main lead’s Jiang Jin Teng (Bernard He) and Shao Yi Chen (Teddy Ren) is sizzling hot, it is difficult to digest the fact that their relationship is indeed “Toxic”. Since the reincarnation theory doesn’t hold much clout, Shao Yi Chen’s constant efforts to avoid Jiang Jin Teng takes precedence over the storyline. While his fickle attempts are half-hearted, Jiang Jin Teng is an obsessive force to reckon. The sexual assault scenes will leave you reeling from shock, as Jiang Jin Teng continuously asserts his dominance. The actors have an excellent chemistry, no doubts about it. But the script suffers because of the excessive illicit scenes, who are distasteful. The show’s title bears remembrance, but the relationship edges on an abusive tangent (which could have been avoided at least in the finale episode). Since Jiang Jin Teng’s actions are deemed romantic, the power tilt hinges on obsessive imbalance. I’m not sure why anyone would want to date such a guy? This show is definitely a one-time watch.
9) Because of You
Although I have read quite a few mixed reviews about this show, it will forever remain one of my favorites. The main reason was that is the simmering chemistry between main leads, Yuan Jun Cheng and Lin Xun. Portrayed by handsome actors Lee Shi Kang and Hsu Mu Ji, this couple have an indescribable charm. In real life, they are close friends and their social media interactions will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy. The storyline follows the love lives of the Yuan brothers, each of whom have the same father but different mothers. Jun Cheng is the eldest and beneath his cold exterior, he is kind-hearted and lovable. The storyline focuses on the changing dynamics between the three brothers as they fall in love with their respective partners and learn to appreciate each other. The second brother Yuan Jun Dao (Will Chang) has a sensual romance with his close friend Yang Xiang (Leo Kuo), while the youngest Yuan Jun Ping finds his own sweet pairing in classmate Yan Yue (Wells Su). Each of their stories runs parallel and although there are some glitches in the script, the show is overall an enjoyable experience.
8) HIStory2: Crossing the Line
We have two contrasting characters in a varsity set up, who play the “Pull and Push” game until they end up falling for each other. Qiu Zi Xuan (Zach Lu) was an excellent volleyball player in the past, but he had to give up on his dreams due to his injuries. He still participates in the training and helps his juniors while watching them improve. During the training, he meets a new transfer, Xia Yu Hao (Fandy Fan). Yu Hao has an awful temper and gets easily infuriated with people who make him angry. Despite these flaws, he strives to acquire what he persistently wants to achieve. This show starts with “Enemies to Lover’s” trope, but gradually these two characters grow closer as they begin to influence each other’s behavioral patterns. Zach Lu and Fandy Fan have an unassuming chemistry and though the age difference was viable, it doesn’t affect their romance. Although their love story does seem a little fast-paced; for the considerable runtime, it is well written.
7) Papa and Daddy
This was one of my favorite BL dramas of this year, for obvious reasons. Popular streaming portal GagaOOLala are winning accolades with their new project “Queer Up the Volume”. Papa and Daddy made quite an impression with its refreshing casting and riveting script. Focusing on major issues that plague the LGBTQ community like surrogacy and adoption, the show was a perfect mix of innate life lessons and bitter realities with a pinch of salt. Although the main actors Melvin Sia and Mike Lin did a commendable joy portraying their character’s eccentricities and struggles, it was the child actor Kai Lin who won everyone’s hearts. The show touched on several issues like “Inculcating pride for your sexuality”, “Familial Acceptance” and “Redefining Healthy Relationships”. The show however ended on an abrupt note and there has been no confirmation about the next season. I’m in love with this sweet, adorable family, so the sequel is definitely anticipated!
6) HIStory3: Make Our Days Count
Two years ago, the entire Taiwanese BL fandom exploded in a frenzy when one of the main character’s in this show was killed in a car accident. HIStory3: Make Our Days Count gained global recognition because of the unhindered chemistry between the main leads Xiang Hao Ting (Wayne Song) and Yu Xi Gu (Huang Juan Zhi). The drama was so popular that the couple became a trendsetter and people were anticipating their “Happily Ever After” in the finale episode. They obviously deserved it, because Hao Ting and Xi Gu’s journey wasn’t easy. Yu Xi Gu is an orphaned school student, brilliant in studies but financially lacking. Hao Ting was the school casanova, loved by everyone. Chance encounters and arguments end in Hao Ting developing feelings for Yu Xi Gu. The depiction of their romance was quite realistic, as Hao Ting tries hard to win Xi Gu’s trust and affections. He even fights his own parents, to win their approval. These two went through hell and were meant to be together. So, when the finale episode gave us a twisted, painful overture, the scriptwriter and director ended up taking the fall. The other couple Sun Bo Xiang (Wilson Liu) and Lu Zhi Gang (Thomas Chang) comparatively had a better ending to suffice. HIStory franchise has recently announced a sequel to this show. But I’m unsure about the premise, since Yu Xi Gu was obviously pronounced dead. A replacement to this character will only lead to more mayhem. Fingers crossed!
5) We Best Love: Fighting Mr.2nd
Fighting Mr.2nd can easily be rated as one of the most popular sequels in the history of BL dramas. The show had an intense portrayal of complex human emotions, ranging from miscommunication to inferiority complex. While the main lead’s Zhou Shu Yi and Gao Shi De went through hell, trying to reestablish their old connection; the second lead couple Pei Shou Yi and Zhen Xuan fight their personal demons to strengthen their bond. I’m in love with the variant characterization and enamored with their storylines. Shu Yi and Shi De are both intellectual geniuses, but when it comes to matters of heart, they are either insecure or terrible at communicating their thoughts. The show gave us a chance to delve deeper into their flaws and the underlying romance was beautiful. We must also appreciate the fact that the drama didn’t foreshadow Pei Shou Yi or Zhen Xuan mental disabilities and worked that in their favor. Although the show ended on a positive note, I’m hoping for a third season where we get to watch these characters embark on their final journey!
4) We Best Love: No.1 For You
Gao Shi De and Zhou Shu Yi have a lot in common, they are top ranked students in their own departments. They are competitive and also constantly at each other’s throat. Or atleast that is Shu Yi’s perspective. Unaware of Gao Shi De true feelings or intentions, Shu Yi treats him as a rival. Their romance hinges on the “Enemies to Lovers” trope, but mostly it is a tug of war between misplaced emotions and dormant desires. Although Gao Shi De uses simple tricks like blackmail to draw Shu Yi’s attention, their dynamics is entertaining and will leave you in high spirits. I will forever remember Shu Yi’s confession scene, because his expressions were so raw and painful. Sam Lin and Yu truly embody their characters and their comfortable chemistry is the biggest plus point of this global phenomenon. A possessive Shu Yi is a joy to watch and the journey might be difficult but not without rewards. Gao Shi De on the other hand displays teenage fear and insecurities, which is quite obvious amongst youngsters. The storyline is character driven, realistic and unassuming!
3)HIStory 3: Trapped
One of the most enterprising ventures in the HIStory franchise, Trapped is a mafia romance that spells revenge, love, separation and more. For the first time ever, we have two diverse characters in a BL drama, who are forever at odds with each other. Meng Shao Fei (Jake Hsu) is an honest and disciplined cop; while his romantic interest Tang Yi (Chris Wu) is a mafia boss. Their journey begins with doubts and mistrust, which leads to major misunderstandings and rebuttal. As they slowly transverse the set boundaries and grow closer, Tang Yi learns to trust Shao Fei. Our honest cop on the other hand, tries to understand Shao Fei’s fears and dormant fears. They grow acceptant of each other’s shortcomings and fall in love. While our main lead couple wage a war with their emotions; the second lead couple Zhao Li An, portrayed by Kenny Chen and Jack played by Andy Bian are sweet and uncomplicated. Despite being from variant backgrounds, our innocent cop ends up falling for his assassin lover. Unlike most HIStory shows which are flavored with explicit sexual scenes (but lack meaningful script), Trapped must be applauded for his brilliant storytelling and praiseworthy casting.
2) Be Loved in House: I Do
This on-air drama was met with mixed reactions, but I’m truly enjoying this show. The story focuses on the unusual office dynamics between new director Jin Yu Zhen (Aaron Lai) and Shi Lie (Hank Wang). The refreshing pairing has a sparkling chemistry and although their relationship is still in early stages of development; Yu Zhen and Shi Lie make a handsome pair. The story focuses on Seisei Studio, which is in danger of going bankrupt. Yu Zhen takes over the studio and fervently establishes the “No Dating Rule”. While his office colleagues are left in dismay, Shi Lie as the team leader take over the initiative to change their new Director’s mind. Their relationship goes through various ups and downs, but Shi Lie slowly grows to appreciate Yu Zhen’s efforts to stabilize their firm’s financial situation. The second lead couple Yan Zhao Gang (Liao Wei Po) and Wu Si Qi (JN Yu) have already began dating. Their romance was abit fast-paced, but I love watching them together. They are shy, adorable and sweet. Looking forward to the next episodes, because it promises jealousy and love declarations!
1) HIStory 4: Close To You
The winner was quite obvious from the beginning, as we started with this survey. The current fan favorite, Close To You became popular because of the undeniable chemistry between main actors Charles Tu and Anson Chen. Xiao Li Cheng and Teng MuRen are role models and trendsetters in the BL world. From redefining healthy relationships, facing societal rebuke, and being respectful of each other’s boundaries; Xiao Li Cheng and MuRen’s journey chronicles the problems faced by most people in the LGBTQ community. Despite their different personalities, our main couple find a middle ground and seek strength from each other. Their relationship is realistic, humble and enjoyable. While the show courted a lot of controversy due to the stepbrother romance, it doesn’t affect the existent storyline that majorly focuses on the main couple. I’m guessing people loved watching Li Cheng and MuRen’s romance so much, that they slowly grew accepting of Ye Xing Si and Fu Yongjie’s love story. Though the fandom stands divided on this stance, HIStory 4: Close To You surely deserves to be the winner of this survey!
We will be back with the results of the Thai BL survey very soon. Keep watching this space for further updates!