Oh well, it’s about time I picked up a palace drama AGAIN. After a break from internal strife of ancient China, I’m tempted again by Glory of Tang Dynasty. So here I am, raving about it after a speed watch of 12 episodes.
Watch value: 3/5
When this aired, I was quite busy being in love with Ten Miles of Peach Blossom. I gave it one episode before calling it quits. Why was that?
- It’s a little politically saturated. I can understand basic Chinese, just enough to watch normal conversations but when they start the court dramas and talk about strategems, I’m lost like a sheep. I tend to skip those parts a LOT and just watch where the main couples come in or like interesting parts.
- I’m not very familiar with Jing Tian (main female lead) or Allen Ren (the main male lead). So that pulled my motivations down a little.
- I was busy with Ten Miles of Peach Blossom. Wait, I think I said that already.
Currently, I’m not watching anything from China so I was craving for some Chinese haha. After reading some review about this drama which spoke about how nice the main male lead was, I decided, it’s time to give it a try. Thanks, cnewsdevotee!
Basic outline of the story is (off with my crappy summarizing skills, please bear with me): Shen Zhen Zhu (Jing Tian) is the daughter of a noble family, selected to become Li Chu’s concubine. Li Chu (Allen Ren) is the eldest grandson of Emperor Xuan Zong who then laterrrrr becomes Emperor Dai Zong. Well, that comes way after because they happen to undergo one of the tumultuous times in Tang Dynasty also known as the Rebellion of An Lu Shan. Shen Zhen Zhu has a childhood friend, An Qing Xu (Mao Zi Jun) who is a one-sided love with her and completes our main love triangle.
Zhen Zhu herself has a long time crush on her saviour (who saved her from drowning while she was young, leaving behind a jade piece) but hasn’t been able to find him since. However for plot reasons, she decides to gamble one last time to search for the man of her dreams before she marries. Drama fate brings our main leads to meet each other on the way and Li Chu falls for her. Zhen Zhu of course fails to find the man of her dreams but she is pulled into political strife when her whole family is assassinated except for her younger brother, who is missing. Believing that she would be able to find the real murderer, she marries Li Chu reluctantly. Over the course of her marriage, they have sweet interactions that build their mutual trust and respect slowly.
What I love is that the acting is able to hold up the plotlines. I haven’t seen the main leads much but they are doing a hella fine job holding their forts. Allen Ren is a surprise because I’ve actually seen him a little in Legend of Chusen but he’s actually plenty capable of being in character here. Jing Tian has already has experienced being lead in Legend of BanShu but it’s the first time I see any of her projects as well. Girl has acting chops. In terms of character, I love how all our main characters are multifaceted and have brains. Zhen Zhu has wits but due to lack of familial backing, she is restricted and she knows it. Li Chu is the son of a crown prince but he is not spoiled. He is a budding emperor of his own rights. As much as he loves Zhen Zhu, he doesn’t spend all time romancing because boy has a nation to worry about.
Another captivating factor is the cinematography. There are certain scenes that slow play and give us just enough time to fall in love with the moment. Over done, it may come out as sappy but just done right, I felt like I was right there, falling in love too. Costumes are sometimes flashy but thankfully not worn our Zhen Zhu but other antagonistic characters so okay. Overall, the set is comfortable on the eyes and there’s enough aesthetic to keep me watching.
What I’m not fancying is the once again, the court drama and political warfare. How I deal with it is I skip stuff. Skipping feels good, don’t judge please >< There’s also the premonition that things are going to get ultra angsty ahead. I feel like I’m venturing into the dangerous roads when I watch these dramas because I’m such a coward, I run away when it gets super angsty. Last thing is, it’s followed Legend of Chusen by making a season 2, coming to a total of 90 whooping episodes. I don’t know if I will be able to finish this but I finished Empress of China (80 + episodes) so maybe I’ll survive.
One character that is important and has yet to appear is Wan Qian‘s Dugu Jing Yao. She seems to be pivotal and helpful to Li Chu, also harboring a one-sided crush on him. However, she’s a female warrior so I bet at least she’ll be straightforward about it and plot less. She’s just this dark horse I’m looking forward to because she seemed so badass in the trailer.
So watch or not watch? I think it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but if you love ancient series, I think this might stand the test of time. It’s got sufficient quality in it (also a hell of quantity 0.0) provided the plot doesn’t go haywire. I think it’s getting harder to survive because the threshold for ancient C-dramas just keeps going higher with the lavish productions and the amount of actors who are returning to silver screen projects (exp: Zhou Wei and Legend of Ru Yi). However, I think it’s good to pass by time with while I wait for more dramas to come out. ‘crosses fingers and hopes to come out alive from this’