Sunday mornings definitely demand some cozy moments, as you sip on your morning cup of coffee and read something to de-stress yourself.
As such, we are back with the third edition of our Sunday Feature “My All Time Favorite BL Dramas”. Our authors have made some interesting choices that will definitely leave you riveted. Without further ado, let’s check out their delightful choices!
Hikaru No Go
I have never been a huge fan of sports dramas. So, imagine my surprise when I got hooked onto this show, which is based on the ancient game of Go. Frankly, I’m not well acquainted with this game, since it is more prevalent in China and South Korea. IQIYI’s “Hikaru No Go” is one of those gems that will leave you spellbound with its magnanimous characters and brilliant storytelling. The show majorly focuses on main character Shi Guang’s journey of self discovery, as he endeavors to become the best Go player to help his mentor/best friend Chu Ying find salvation; while falling in love with his childhood rival Yu Liang. While the drama majorly drives the narrative by highlighting Shi Guang’s flaws and his attempts to overcome them, his sweet relationship with Chu Ying is much appreciated. Although Chu Ying is a wandering spirit; he is quirky, honest and caring. While I rejoiced watching Chu Ying grooming Shi Guang to become the world champion; Guang’s unhindered romance with Yu Liang is a dream come true. While most Chinese Bromances undermine the relationship between their main leads, Hikaru No Go became hugely popular because of the undeniable chemistry between Shi Guang and Yu Liang, which was beautifully scripted and wonderfully rendered by actors Hu Xian Xu and Hao Fu Shen.
Honestly, most Chinese BL adaptations always leave the fans exasperated or in trepidation . Thankfully, we have streaming portals like IQIYI, who are daring enough to produce dramas; that portray the romantic inclinations of their main characters with begrudging honesty. If you are a fan of “The Lost Tomb” series, then this show should be high on your watchlist. Adapted from Kennedy Xu’s popular book series “The Grave Robbers Chronicles”, each drama in this franchise follows main lead Wu Xie’s journey as he embarks on a journey to discover the forbidden secret hidden by his Uncle Wu San Xing. What makes this show different from the earlier installments is the marked difference in the chemistry between the main characters. Popularly known as “PingXie”; Wu Xie and his amnesiac immortal love interest Zhang Qiling are quite famous on the social circuits. While the earlier versions glossed over their relationship with subtle countenances of friendship, their romance is more viable in “Ultimate Note”. Apart from them, the show was hugely appreciated for the refreshing pairing of Xie Yu Chen (Xie Family heir) and the rogue hired assassin Black. The show majorly focused on Wu Xie’s rise to becoming the true Wu family heir, Zhang’s search for his missing memories and their never ending quest to find the key to gaining Immortality. We still have the same antagonists, with Cox Hendry being his old despicable self; the only downer was Ah Ning’s death.
Where Your Eyes Linger
Where Your Eyes Linger can very well be called as the stepping stone for modern Korean BL dramas. As such, the show was levied with huge amounts of expectations and anticipations. Frankly, I wasn’t expecting much because of the old Korean censorship, and yet this mini-series managed to surprise me in the most unexpected manner. The eight short episodes focus on the blossoming relationship between main leads Han Tae Joo and Kang Gook. We have two typical teenagers; one of them is an outright rich playboy while the other is his reserved bodyguard. These two played a dormant tug of war which was equal parts delightful and exasperating. As Tae Joo, newcomer Han Gi Chan has a magnetic presence and I’m disappointed that he has been on a recliner. Jang Eui Soo on the other hand portrays Gook’s reservations and fears with his perfect schooled expressions. While their kiss wasn’t phenomenal, WYEL set a formidable
precedent. I fell in love with the main character’s odd dynamics, enjoyed their hijinks and I’m still hoping that we get to see them together again in yet another refreshing premise!
HIStory3: Make Our Days Count
There are quite a few people who have a grievous reaction to this drama, because of its morbid ending. I do have the same love-hate relationship with this show; but that doesn’t change the fact that HIStory3: Make Our Days Count is still one of my favorite BL’s. This show touched on some reckoning aspects of LGBTQ representation and acceptance. It was fascinating to watch the unrepentant casanova Xiang Hao Ting fall in love with the school nerd Yu Xi Gu. Hao Ting didn’t struggle with accepting these new emotions (like most BL characters do). There was no trepidation or confusion on his part. He readily accepted his feelings and pursued Xi Gu in an entirely honest yet adorable manner. Although they have a sizzling hot chemistry, their relationship stems from mutual respect and trust. These two teenagers redefined “Healthy Relationships” and that’s the major plus point of this show. Rather than focusing solely on their forbidden romance, the drama also showcased Hao Ting’s gutsy nature as he fought with his parents to gain their acceptance. Hao Ting is rather admirable character and as such the finale episode left me dissatisfied where the once courageous guy is left as a shrunken shell because of Yu Xi Gu’s untimely death. They loved fiercely and the loss was unbearable. I wish that the scriptwriter had given them the “Happy Ending” they deserved instead of going for the shock value.
2 Moons 2
Being a proud “Earthling” belonging to main lead Earth Teerapat’s fandom, I’m rather biased towards this drama. When I first watched this show, I fell in love with his childlike exuberance and honest expressions. The rest as they say is history, because I fell in love with the rest of the cast as well. Adapted from the book of the same name, “2moons2” is the second installment in this franchise. Although there was a public uproar when the second season was announced with a cast change; Benjamin Brasier and Earth Teerapat coupled with the rest of their co-stars managed to turn the tide in their favor. Both stars had a stunning chemistry which was far better than the actors of the first season. Although the show ended on a cliffhanger and none of the actors will be reprising their roles in the upcoming third season, 2moons2 will always be the most celebrated sequel in the history of Thai BL!
Kaila Genevieve’s Favorites
HIStory 4: Close To You
Albeit being a magnet for controversy, this installment of the HIStory Series finds a special place in my heart. I found it quite daring and brilliant at the same time that two extreme poles of relationship dynamics were portrayed side by side in this series.
The story of YongXing CP, an epitome of toxicity, is about a younger stepbrother (Fu Yong Jie) who has been in love with his gay elder step-brother from childhood days. Fu Yong Jie’s character is intriguing to me in the sense that he presents a very hostilely straight-forward character. The elder step-brother Ye Xing Si presents a strikingly contrasting personality, has a secret he keeps hidden from his family and close friends of years – his queerness. His heart-wrenching coming–out story is a tear-jerker and strikes a chord with many from the community.
Which brings me to the CP that carried this show – Xiao Li Cheng and Teng Mu Ren; ChengRen as they are endearingly called. Their relationship ought to be the Bible for healthy relationships. From friends to lovers, a relationship based on solid foundations of trust, understanding and selfless love. Li Cheng falls first, but Mu Ren falls harder. The struggles of two previously straight-men discovering their growing affections for one another, while having to deal with their own inner conflicts and overcoming it all together is ChengRen’s story in a nutshell. Coupling Li Cheng’s eccentric and extroverted character with that of ice-king Mu Ren was such a power dynamics move on the part of the writers and it definitely boosted the couple appeal of this duo.
The series not only focused on the couples’ relationships, but also provided insight into their interactions with friends, family, coworkers and subtly touched upon the homophobic attitude prevalent in the conservative societies of the East.
I Told The Sunset About You
In the land of Thai BL where the lead is almost always an engineer who is otherwise straight save for that one cute boy with the queer magic wand, ITSAY and IPYTM are an Amazon forest with the richest oxygen! There isn’t a single thing I would change about these two shows. It focuses on the very realistic aspects of coming of age queerness discovery, the seemingly unending mental conflicts that come with it, and subsequent struggles of coming out.
I wouldn’t be lying if I say ITSAY remains closer to my heart than IPYTM. Everything about ITSAY is pure art. The setting of Old Phuket, its mesmerizing scenic beauty and the simple lives of small-town folk devoid of the glitz and glamour (and clamor as well) of the bustling cities, has to it a very innocent and humble appeal that engulfs the audience in an exotic daze. The cinematography, camera angles, colour-grading, direction and screen-writing are top-notch and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The story of two young boys – Oh Aew and Teh, set in the streets, beaches, and traditional houses of Phuket is replete with symbolism and imagery, and an emotionally nerve-wracking journey of love.
Oh Aew and Teh are childhood friends who fall out owing to a childish squabble. When they re-unite years later at a cram-school, they mend their broken bond and cruise into the days of teenage friendship. Pursuing the same dream brings the boys closer than ever as Teh offers to tutor Oh Aew for the upcoming college entrance exams. As they spend their days in each other’s close companionship, Teh finds his feelings and habits beginning to change. Teh gets embroiled in a constant fight within himself to come into terms with his queerness. He agonizes to strike a balance between his fears of familial, social acceptance and his love for Oh Aew, who pushes him to be brave about his feelings. Meanwhile, Oh goes through an emotional breakdown as Teh’s constantly wavering actions and words leave him in an anguishing state of confusion and despondency. Teh hits an emotional rock-bottom when he finally realizes that he must make a choice between losing Oh and coming out to his family. With the support of his family and friends, he takes baby steps out of the dark, narrow confines of the closet. The two boys reconcile and give to each other the promise of loyalty, trust and companionship as the sun sets behind Phuket’s lush green mountains.
I Promised You The Moon
As the first episode of IPYTM progresses, it is Goodbye Phuket and Hello Bangkok. Teh and Oh have both secured their admissions in top universities. They are happily and confidently in love. But like any other couples, the challenges of an adult relationship are scattered on their path like an obstacle race.
The common factor that keeps their relationship intact is the shared love for acting. But Oh soon discovers his shortcomings and growing disinterest in the art and diverges onto a new career of advertising, where he feels his skills shine through unlike before. IPYTM is in a way, a journey of self-discovery and development for Oh Aew. However, none of these changes sits well with Teh, who is himself deeply anxious about his professional and personal life. As the common interest that held them together faded into oblivion, Teh is no more able to connect with Oh Aew and vice versa. This does not affect Oh as much as it does Teh. The feelings that this newfound connection sparks in him kickstarts an angsty tale of achingly transforming feelings, cheating and heartbreak for Teh and Oh Aew.
The series however ends on a positive note which highlights the importance of a second chance and the need for the receiver to ensure it does not go wasted. Both Oh and Teh harbor lingering feelings for each other even months after the break-up. When they meet again by chance, those feelings find new spirit and cause a great deal of confusion and resentment in Oh. With the help of right and timely guidance from a friend, Oh introspects and decides to give Teh a second chance. This time around, Teh seems to be ready to cherish their relationship like he should have all along and the curtain falls to this phenomenal series, as the two love struck youngsters walk by the sea, hand in hand.
Lovely Writer The Series
Lovely Writer centers on the story of a novelist by the name Gene, who is still single in his 20s and is persistently questioned about his romantic life by his peers. He is under the constant pressure of his publisher, who urges him to write steamier scenes for his BL novel, without batting an eye about Gene’s interests in writing sci-fi and other works of fiction. The story explores various issues prevalent in the industry through Gene’s story.
Lovely Writer is a sardonic slap in the face of the ridiculous corporate gimmick that the BL industry has become. It unapologetically calls out on the forced Fan–Service that actors are made to do and the culture of toxic shipping by delusional fans. It also explores the struggles of having to come out to an orthodox family, and navigate through life while being in the profession of a novelist.
Gene’s and Nubsib’s relationship is probably one of the healthiest ever to be presented in a Thai BL series. The elements of consent, patience, understanding and communication are embedded into the roots of this relationship and send out valuable messages to the viewers. Unlike the usual trope where the uke constantly evades the seme’s advances, neither Gene nor Nubsib shies away from intimacy. This makes their relationship a lot more realistic and relatable for the audiences.
Gene and Nubsib’s journey is not a smooth sailing one. It is indeed emotionally tumultuous, with very real and practical problems that draw in the interests of the viewers. Undoubtedly a 9/10 in my opinion and definitely recommend it to every BL enthusiast.
I only have a few favorites dramas that touched my heart and introduced me to my bias’s for life, Saint and Mew. I cannot talk enough about these dramas they each of them influenced me differently. Enjoy !
Love By Chance
Love By Chance will always have a special place in my heart, as it was my very first BL and I fell in love with Saint Suppapong. This is a really feel-good sweet BL featuring the newbie actor Perth Tanapon. The storyline focuses on Pete, who is gay, and Ae who is not sure about his sexuality. They meet when Ae runs into Pete on his bike and they get knocked down. They meet again when someone is threatening Pete, and Ae steps in to save him. From there onwards, both grow closer as Pete explains about his ex-boyfriend’s threats and Ae helps him quite a few times. As Pete grows more confident, Ae starts developing feelings for Pete. Their relationship goes through various trials and tribulations. I truly love this drama and Pete and Ae (Saint and Perth) will always be special to me. My first BL, my first favorite couple, my first bias! This show opened me up to a whole new world of love, pain, and happy endings. I screamed when they had their first kiss, I cried when Pete felt the pain of possibly losing Ae and laughed when Pond acted like a clown. I did not like Tin until I realized he was lonely and that he wanted to be loved. So many emotions coupled into one show. Chronologically, this drama should have been filmed after TharnType, but it wasn’t. So I was a tad confused when I realized both the characters existed in the LBC universe too. Love By Chance is the one drama I watch, when I am feeling down and by the time it ends, I am in a good place. Definitely a worthwhile watch!
Cheat The Series
Cheat is an excellent drama and it is one of my favorite genres, dark, demon, angels. The cast includes some of my all-time favorite actors. They are so good together and the chemistry between all of them is fairly played off well off. This is a unique drama as it depicts a battle between “Good and Evil” and the apparent winner of this game. For most parts, Vee acts innocent and Jay takes advantage of it as he likes Vee. Vee has an agenda, but you don’t even realize it until the end. The five main characters are all intertwined with each other, Jay likes Vee, Jennifer loves Vee, Dong likes Vee; in one way or another, they have all had slept with Vee. Lies, jealousy, and deceit lead to Jennifer using witchcraft to make Vee fall in love with her. Vee has a very sheltered and unusual childhood and living with Sister, a religious Nun, who is very strict with Vee. When Vee meets Jennifer, Dong, Jay his life changes, and losing his innocence becomes the focal point of this drama. Jennifer gets pregnant after sleeping with Vee. Is Vee the father? Does she have a “normal” baby? Does Jay win over Vee? Does Dong win over Vee? What is Vee’s agenda? I am too excited for Cheat Season Two. I love this drama because it belongs to an intriguing genre. It takes you to the dark side of love and hatred. In the pilot episodes, I felt sorry for Vee. As such, the finale left me shocked. I never imagined that he would act in this way. I have rewatched this several times and each time I am amazed at how awesome this drama is. YOU NEED TO WATCH IT !!
Tharntype The Series
I have no idea of how many times I have rewatched this show from beginning to end. I love this drama and this is where I fell in love with Mew Sauppasit and Gulf Kanawut. There are some who did not like this series, but I LOVED it. The entire series revolves around Tharn, who is gay and Type, who hates gays. Once Type found out Tharn was gay, annoying Type becomes his mission. No matter what Type does, Tharn doesn’t leave and fights back. I love the interaction between Type and Tharn. You can see that Tharn likes Type, even though Type hates gays. Type got sick and Tharn took care of him without hesitation. Type thinks Techno is the one who took care of him, and when he finds out it was Tharn, he feels a little bad for all the things he did and apologies in a Type kind of way.
There is a moment when Type tells Tharn what happened to him as a child, and Tharn tells Type he is sorry and just holds him until Type pushes him away,
You get to go through their heartache, pain, happiness as you watch Type fall in love with Tharn. Type matures a lot and this is why I love this series. Type fights his hatred for gays as well as his feelings for Tharn. I enjoyed watching Type defend Tharn from Lhong’s schemes.
Season Two focuses on their reconciliation after Tharn misunderstands Type’s relationship with his younger patient, Fiat. I adored the special episodes and literally cried when they were finally married. My heart was full and HAPPY. I adore Mew and Gulf and love their friendship. I will always be their fan.
Night Time is only three episodes, but this show is amazing!
Time is caught in the middle of a gunfight and is shot by Night. When Time gets home, Night shows up. Night accepts his mistake and decides to take care of Time until his arm is better. Night already has a girlfriend when he is taking care of Time. With time, he starts to like Time’s innocence, sweetness. You watch these two fall in love and Night very soon realizes that he loves Time. He confesses his feelings and they get together. They are on their way out when they are pulled over by the police and Night is arrested. You see Time just standing there watching Night being taken away. I cried as I felt the sadness they both experienced. This was the shortest drama I have watched, but there was so much emotion and story packed in those three episodes. Night resisting the new feelings he is experiencing, his friends and girlfriend telling him it is wrong, that the things he is feeling are because of the quilt. Please give this one a watch, it is one of my favorites.
We will be back next week with yet another exciting new feature. So till then, keep watching this space as we bring you more exclusives from the Asian BL World!