Mesmerizing is the word that comes to my mind when I recall some of my favorite BL dramas. It has got nothing to do with the storytelling or execution and everything to do with the “Setting/Location”. A drama’s success cannot be solely ascribed to its cast or interesting storyline. The overall look depends on the adjoining location that adds the requisite oomph factor needed to drive the narrative forward. Join us as we talk about our favorite locales in the BL dreamland!
Krishna Naidu’s Favorites
Never Let Me Go Series
This show is slowly gaining popularity on the social circuit and while most might attribute its success to the insane chemistry between the main leads and excellent direction, there is another feature that needs to be factored in. Set in the midst of a mafia world, the show has dulcet tones with grayish or brown undertones. The somber styling of the locations is testament to the morose state that interprets the character’s emotions. While Nueng’s palatial mansion holds too many secrets, it’s the poolside contour where he finds peace and solace in his late-night conversations with Palm. Their school is another location where NuengDiao’s nightmares come alive. But mostly, it is the parlour where both Nueng & Palm covertly and subtly express their desire for each other.
609 Bedtime Story
If you are watching this show, then you might realize that 609 Bedtime Story hinges on the multiverse concept (made popular by the Doctor Strange franchise). The entire storyline and romance revolves around the midnight encounters between the main couple where Mum time travels into a parallel universe to meet his lover, Dew. Although the story unfolds in the same apartment (609), the styling is quite different. While Mum’s apartment looks like a typical bachelor’s pad, Dew’s bedroom has more a somber yet comfortable look. The differences are incomprehensible and yet vivid. Even though there is a lot of back-and-forth time traveling, the setting makes it easier to interpret the time frame.
Whenever I think about KinnPorsche, two things come to my mind- rich and posh. Everything from the styling of the sets to the indoor locations scream extravagance. Being the first mafia romance in the history of Thai BL, Be On Cloud left no stone unturned to project the magnificence that is characteristic of the mafia world. It could be Kinn’s mansion with its undeniable opulence, or Vegas’s understated bungalow; the difference in their status was underlined appropriately and clearly. Most of all, I was enthralled with Porsche’s simple home, where he shares happy memories with his younger brother, Chay.
To Sir, With Love
A gay romance set in the Republican era, To Sir, With Love has obvious Chinese influence (since the members of the Five Dragons Guild are Chinese immigrants settled in Thailand). Tian’s palatial mansion is mostly the epicenter of the turbulent clashes that are on par with the insistent plotting and scheming. The opulence matches their social relevance, and each room is styled in accordance with that era. The romantic scenes in Tian’s bedroom or his office will forever be memorable, simply because they exist in a cocoon untouched by homophobia or social recluses. I also enjoyed the somber conversations between Tian and Yang in their lush gardens, which seem to be their comfort zone apart from their stepmother, Bua’s home. Each location leaves a foreboding feeling which can be connected to the characters and their emotions.
Yao Residence (aka BL House)
Dubbed as the official “Boys’House” in the Thai BL industry, Yao Residence is quite a popular location. Several BL dramas were shot in this stunning villa; most notable dramas in 2022 being Love in the Air (Payo’s home), The Tuxedo (Nawee’s home), Why You… Y Me? (Paul’s home) and Between Us Series (Win’s home). From the intricately decorated bedrooms to the granite tabletops, the villa is elegantly styled and beautifully fashioned. This location is mostly used to depict the said character’s rich lifestyle and social stature. It is undeniably one of my favorite setting in the BL world. You can gauge the popularity of this residence from the fact that they have a dedicated Facebook page solely for promotional activities.
One of the most popular period dramas in 2020, Winter Begonia chronicles the budding bromance between main leads, Cheng Feng Tai and Shang Xi Rui. As such, the locations for this historical romance were extravagant and expensive. No effort was spared in recreating sets that were resplendent of the Republican era. Since Feng Tai lives in a palace (previously belonging to a Prince), the set was built to highlight the regal grandeur. The lavishly decorated palace is a symbol of his social stature and the intricacies portray his rich lifestyle. Similarly, Shang Xi Rui’s theatrical performances betray the same splendor. Xi Rui plays the role of Consort Yang and as such, the stage displays the magnificence of the Imperial Palace.
Word of Honor
While not extravagant like its predecessors, the natural locales in Word of Honor were swoon worthy. It’s obvious that this show was produced on a tight budget, and yet the sets/locations were designed on par with the original content in the novel. There were compromises, but it didn’t affect the overall look; especially the location used for the beautifully choreographed fight sequence between Wei Wuxian and Zhou Zi Shu, was vivid and realistic. Starting from the lush green mountains, fields of cherry blossoms to the snow-clad mountains in the latter half, the settings in this drama were meticulously designed and built.
Killer and Healer
Another bromance that will be forever memorable because of its exquisite locations and intricate settings. The story revolves around the blossoming romance between Dr. Chen Yu Zhi and his temperamental love interest, Jiang Yue Lou. The settings were quite simple when it came to Yu Zhi’s clinic or Yue Lou’s police station. The difference lies in the fact that the detailing for the rest of the show replicates the Republican era and is invariably rich yet rustic. Antagonist Zhan Jun Bai’s palatial mansion and offices display similar splendour and represent his social stature.
180 Degree Longitude Passes Through Us
When it comes to Boys’ Love shows, a lot of weight is placed on different aspects. Like a memorable meal, variant foods are good by themselves, but it’s the whole experience together that cohesively creates something you can’t forget. The setting for a show is as important as the music in creating and maintaining the mood for a series.
The estate that is Inthawut’s home and the surrounding area of his property is my personal favorite. Largely because the series moves at a snail’s pace and provides too many exposition shots of the area, it takes place in. I didn’t mind the pacing because I was shown so much of the lush forests; the self-imposed isolation taking place inside that beautiful post modern mansion. The setting where a closeted gay man lives in one of the most lavish prisons of his literal own creation was morosely beautiful. The locales were eye-catching and spoke volumes on the older man’s maturity and dedication to creating a replica to his soul that no one is allowed to see until he permits it.
We will be back with an exciting new feature next weekend. Till then, keep watching this space as we bring you updates from the BL world!