Year End Drama Review 2020 Day 6: A Bunch of Dramas

Yes, I will be doing one more post tomorrow and that will basically be my number one drama of the year. 2gether was a very strong contender for that and maybe in my heart tomorrow’s drama and that one are tied. This post will cover all the rest of the dramas I managed to watch all the way through and didn’t feel like writing up a whole post on. Although, I am quite certain on some of them I could. Let’s go!

2018 Chinese Drama Original Sin
Andrew Yin as Li Lu and Ronald Zhai as Chi Zhen

Original Sin (2018)

This Chinese drama aired from December of 2018 to January of 2019 on iQiyi. I think I watched this on Viki…it doesn’t matter where really. Anywho, I actually found myself enjoying this drama the second time I tried giving it a watch. Given it’s ending I was ecstatic to learn it is going to have a sequel and I wonder how they are going about it. But on the upside, the original cast is coming back. Yay!

So Andrew Yin stars as Lu Li. He’s a cop handling murder cases and he has a tragic past in that his father who was a famous music professor has been jailed for killing a string of young women (I can’t recall offhand if there was something more than that). Then we have Ronald Zhai as Chi Zhen. He’s involved in the underworld and has bad blood between he and Lu Li originally and I believe that is partly because he’s the reason Chi Zhen was disbarred permanently. We later learn that his older sister was supposedly murdered by Lu Li’s father. We learn later that of the women Lu Li’s father was supposed to have killed, Chi Zhen’s sister is not actually one of them.

This whole drama is a course in politics, police corruption, and revenge. It also focuses on the bond of friendship, family, and love. Lu Li is at odds with his mother because of her devotion to his father in spite of everything. He obviously has a bad relationship with his father. The police officer he looked up to the most was murdered. His family fell apart and his ex-wife remarried to a man he doesn’t really like. The head of their department is really a skunk trying to destroy Lu Li and he brings in Chi Zhen into the force to help take Lu Li down. Chi Zhen is quite smart and great at handling cases.

Lu Li isn’t stupid, but he let’s his anger and emotions consume him too much while Chi Zhen is more levelheaded. Even when Chi Zhen realized who Lu Li was and saw Lu Li’s life spiraling more and more out of control…he couldn’t kill his now best friend. It’s a fairly complicated plot, but they do a good job of unravelling it all. We end this season which Chi Zhen on his way to be with the bumble bee he loves only to get shot and it’s up in the air if he’s going to live or die. He was also planning on giving himself up because he did end up murdering the evil antagonist (NOT in the line of duty) although I really thin Lu Li and he could have agreed on keeping mum on it since that man did almost kill Lu Li, but whatever. Lu Li’s attitude grated at me quite a bit as he just seemed like a giant ball of fury most of the time. Even if he had his reasons, it did grate after awhile. Ronald Zhai as Chi Zhen was great. He showed a great range of acting from skeezy club owner who doesn’t care about anything to showing his deep down emotions.

Do give this drama a try. You can watch it on iQiyi or Viki.

2020 Chinese Drama I've Fallen for You

I’ve Fallen for You (2020)

This Chinese drama was a comedy filled with silly moments. Esther Yu played a smart yet supremely silly girl on the lookout for her childhood sweetheart who agreed to meet her and marry her when they grew up. Liu Yi Chang plays Zhao Cuo, the son of a magistrate known for his bad behavior. On her way to find her true love, she comes across three candidates, one is Zhao Cuo, the other is Bai Yi Fei, and the third is He Zhen.

Esther Yu does a good job of playing a bright and upbeat girl who is oddly obsessed with autopsies (she did technically grow up in a coffin house). She met a boy when she was younger and they made a vow to each other and since then once she reached marriageable age, she did everything she could to ward off suitors. On the day of her wedding to He Zhen, she runs away as she believes Zhao Cuo is her beloved older brother from childhood. They end up married with her using another’s identity. She ends up helping his father solve a bunch of cases.

It’s funny as He Zhen didn’t really want to marry her either until he finds out she’s the girl he’s been on the lookout for from childhood. He then rushes out to meet her and of course since they were originally engaged, her marriage with Zhao Cuo is broken off…too bad the two are already in love after going through thick and thin and working hard to solve a conspiracy. And what a conspiracy.

He Zhen is really an imposter who took over Zhao Cuo’s original identity. Zhao Cuo was hiding out in San Qi’s village and became good friends with her after his father was murdered. He Zhen was watching and waiting to take over his life. He was jealous of Zhao Cuo’s friendship with San Qi and one day he was able to wear a mask and spend a day with her. So the fireflies she is always referencing aren’t from Zhao Cuo, but He Zhen. However, the beloved older brother from her childhood was really Zhao Cuo after all. Once all of this comes to light, they manage to overthrow the imposter, Zhao Cuo regained his original position, and everyone lived happily ever after…well not He Zhen, but that’s to be expected. I didn’t like how even though she was so smart, they still made her seem so dumb…but I did like how Esther Yu’s San Qi wasn’t a girl in need of saving, but the one doing the saving most of the time.

You can watch this on YouTube, iQiyi, and Viki.

2020 Chinese Drama Maiden Romance
Sebrina Chen and Zhang Ling He

Maiden Holmes (2020)

Oh, the anxiety waiting for the next episodes. I overall really, truly loved this drama. What I did not like where stupid plot points put in…like our leading lady trying to kill our leading man because of a misunderstanding she didn’t even bother trying to clear up or rationally thinking about. Granted…it did have to do with the annihilation of her entire clan, but at the same time…she should really have known better. Plots like that in dramas, which happen WAY too frequently, always irk me. They are really rarely necessary.

Anywho, we have Sabrina Chen (queen of gender bender roles apparently) playing Su Ci who is a young and bright detective. Her real identity is Bai Yi An, the sole survivor of the Bai clan that was killed after being framed for murdering the emperor. Of course, women can’t be detectives, so she is masquerading as a man. She actually did look like she could pass for a young man more so than some women in dramas. She becomes entangled with Pei Zhao, played by Zhang Ling He, while investigating a case. He, too, has a hidden identity. Not many people know he is really Prince Qin who was injured in a war and forced to give up his military powers. These two befriend and join forces with Xie Bei Ming (Zhang Jia Ding) and Dong Ru Shuang (Wang Yi Zhe).

They go through thick and thin together and manage to uncover a huge conspiracy to depose the emperor and kill all of the ministers. It happens that the person behind this plot is Prince Qin’s royal uncle and Bei Ming’s foster father. Of course that leads to a hugely conflicted Bei Ming who feels he is underserving of friendship and love with the people since he’s been unintentionally betraying them all by reporting their happenings to his foster father in letters. Of course the evil plot is undone, Su Ci’s clan is exonerated, Bei Ming and Ru Shuang end up getting back together, and Su Ci is a recognized female detective who is married to Prince Qin. With 32 episodes, this did not get laggy or boring, just the two plot points vexed me, but not enough to hate this drama and our quartet had such great chemistry with one another.

You can watch this on YouTube or Viki.

2020 Chinese Drama In A Class of Her Own
Song Wei Long and Ju Jing Yi

In A Class of Her Own (2020)

If the plot of this drama seemed familiar to you, then it may be because this is a remake of Korean drama Sungkyunkwan Scandal. Ju Jing Yi plays Xue Wen Xi who masquerades as her brother Xue Wen Bin in order to earn money for her family since her brother is sickly. She catches the attention of nobleman Feng Cheng Jun, played by Song Wei Long. He wants her to go to an illustrious academy, but since she is in reality a woman, that’s a taboo.

However, she does end up taking the exam and getting into the academy. There she ends up befriending Lei Ao (Richards Wang) a rebellious classmate who takes her as his little brother and wants her to have nothing to do with two-faced nobles. He’s the son of a general and he blames his father for his older brother’s death. She also befriends Yu Le Xuan, played by Be Wen Jun, who is like her…not from nobility. Of course, he is masquerading with a fake title and he also has nothing to do with his own family. This quartet are constantly at odds with the president of the council, Han Sheng Zhi, played by Chen Yi Long, whose father is at the head of a giant conspiracy that has affected all of their families.

It’s cute to see Wen Xi doing her best to masquerade as a boy and having two of the three men in her life fall for her not knowing she is indeed female. Le Xuan is aware of her true sex sooner than the other two and he tries to create opportunities for her and the others. What is annoying is the cold wall that constantly comes up between Cheng Jun and Wen Xi due to jealousy and of course her being caught in a corner to protect her identity and family.

Shocker…everything works out and she clears her father’s name and Lei Ao learns the truth behind his brother’s death and his able to catch the mastermind. And of course Wen Xi is able to marry Cheng Jun. It was great to see the chemistry of our four, the family love of the Xues, and to watch everyone mature, even Han Sheng Zhi.

You can watch this on iQiyi and Viki. Depending on your country, maybe YouTube. For whatever reason, you can get the series clips, but not the full episodes in the US.

2020 Philippines Drama Boys Lockdown
Ali King and Alec Kevin

Boy’s Lockdown (2020)

This short web drama from the Philippines was short and sweet and totally relevant to the times. It showcased the fear, loneliness, and more which happened during lockdown periods during this ongoing pandemic. It wasn’t the greatest drama in terms of acting or plot, but it was overall cute and the acting wasn’t too horrible, although at times it was weak.

Ali King stars as Key Kalunsod. He’s an asthmatic living alone in an apartment with only a cardboard cutout for company…and the security guard. He does have constant contact with his ex-girlfriend and best friend virtually and he has his internet idol CCStrong that he loves to watch. He ends up meeting a guy wearing a similar mask as him (his ex made face masks with tiny dicks on them) and they have an instant connection. Key accidentally ends up with Chen Chavez’s (Alec Kevin) sister’s female medicine and from that moment on the two are crushing on each other. We then learn that Chen has had a crush on Key since he saw him at a garage sale before lockdown.

The two develop feelings for each other and become a couple. During this entire series, they did keep talking about safety measures and precautions. It was a cute little drama and worth one watch. I will say that when they had the pool scene and the two boys’ heavy breathing in their respective bedrooms read a little awkwardly, but hey, it wasn’t bad at all. The cast definitely has potential to grow if they get more work.

You can watch this short 6 episode series on YouTube.

2020 Taiwanese Drama Lost Romance
Marcus Chang and Vivian Sung

Lost Romance (2020)

Ah this drama…I overall liked it. There were obviously points that I did not like of course, but it was an enjoyable drama for the most part. This Taiwanese drama starred Marcus Chang, Vivian Sung, Simon Lian, Snowbaby, Kelly Liao, Jason Hsu, Pii Liu, Kiki Chen, Zhi Wei Tang, Sean Lin, Hsai Yao, and Hsu Yuan Kang.

The story is this: Vivian Sung stars as Zheng Xiao En, an editor at a failing romance publishing house. She and her gould friend Chun Tian spy on a CEO for healing when things go badly at work. What they don’t know is this capable CEO, Marcus Chang as He Tian Xing, is caught up in a huge family conflict. His older siblings inadvertently caused the death of his mother when they were children since she was the mistress breaking up the He family home. At first it seems as his older brother (played by Jason Hsu) isn’t nearly as bad as the eldest daughter (played by Ming Li), but it turns out he is the worst. Yes, his mother and sister enabled him to be the hidden evil he was.

So after Tian Xing is pushed off the top of his office building (how can anyone miraculously survive a fall from that high?) his spirit is transported into a novel that Xiao En is editing. She witnessed the whole thing but is too terrified to reveal the truth to the police and get justice for Tian Xing. She ends up with a high fever and is hospitalized with a strange coma. She also enters the world of the novel. Since she believes it to be a wholly made up world, she decides to start a revolt and instead of being the bridge that brings Situ Aoran and Chu Chu together.

In the realm of the novel she breaks out of her shell and is able to do things she could not do in real life. There are some characters that parallel between both the novel and real life. There are also characters that wholly belong to the novel, like Simon Lian’s Duan Mu Qing Feng. It’s weird to go between the office romance in the novel to the darker real life filled with a power struggle of He Ming Li, He Tian Jian, and Hu Chao Qin where Tian Xing’s life hangs in the balance.

It was great to see the growth of characters. I did feel bad for Simon Lian’s character. Once Xiao En comes out of the novel, she’s determined to give him the happy ending denied him in his original story, but that falls off so often, you feel bad that he’s been cast aside. I think they could have done more with that character but they didn’t.

Typical in many ways and refreshing in may ways as well. This is two dramas mashed together that ultimately combine at the end and the overall result is pleasing with a few snags. But I do like how they did change up the typical romance plots, so that was a plus. You need to check this drama out.

You can watch this on Viki.

I think that was it…

What do you think my top drama of 2020 could be?

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