You Are My Starlight (2020): Episodes 2-5 Recap

You Are My Starlight Episode 5

In episodes 2-5, Zhi Yao is unbothered by Shi Chu’s efforts to one-up him at the company, as he tries to figure out if Qin Shu is Qi Luo. Qin Shu is devastated by the news she learns about A Ze and retaliates against Zhi Yao, but learns some surprising things about what he has done in the past and present.

These are shorter recaps than the one I wrote for episode one, with no screen caps.

Continue Reading

You Are My Starlight (2020): Episode 1 Recap

I can’t resist a mysterious, melodramatic premise! You Are My Starlight (also known as Look Up There’s Starlight) is a Chinese drama that’s currently airing, with episodes available on Tencent Video’s YouTube channel. Strangely enough, there are no English subtitles for this one, even though they’re uploading with subs for basically all their other dramas—Forget You Remember Love, As Long As You Love Me, The Love Equations, Held in the Lonely Castle, Imperfect Love. Yes, Tencent has quite a lineup out right now!

Anyways, back to You Are My Starlight. 18 of 40 episodes are available, and I’ve watched 16. I was planning to go back to the beginning to write some brief summaries about what’s happening in each episode but accidentally wrote an entire recap for episode one. Now that I’ve watched this episode multiple times, I can say that it definitely hooks you quickly! There’s a lot of mystery, and the cast is very easy on the eyes. The lead actress Liu Jia is so pretty, and I’m liking all the actors! (One of them isn’t in this episode but his character is so fun.)

Recommended if you like: mysterious/tragic backstory, secret identity, and second chance romance.

Episode 1 Recap

Three years ago, Xue Qiluo (Liu Jia) was happily in love with Lu Zhiyao (Niu Zifan). She accepted his marriage proposal, only to discover soonafter that Zhiyao was marrying someone else. After being trapped in a terrible fire, she woke up heavily bandaged next to another heavily bandaged person. In the voiceover, she says she was given another chance at life…

Continue Reading

Review: Someday or One Day (2019)

Someday or One Day 2019

I heard so many good things about the 13-episode Taiwanese drama Someday or One Day that I had to give it a try, and I loved it. This is a very emotional, well-paced time slip mystery-romance. The beginning is extremely sad but by the end of episode three, I was HOOKED. It’s available on Viki with English subtitles.

The less you know about the drama before watching it, the better! The basic premise: Alice Ke stars as Huang Yu Xuan, a 27-year-old woman who is grieving after the death of her boyfriend Wang Quan Sheng, played by Greg Hsu. A strange occurrence leads to her waking up in the body of a high school student named Chen Yun Ru 10 years in the past, after someone has attacked her. Mysteriously, Chen Yun Ru and her classmate Li Zi Wei look identical to Huang Yu Xuan and Wang Quan Sheng.

This review is spoiler-free!

Continue Reading

Review: Find Yourself (2020)

Find Yourself 2020

I thoroughly enjoyed the Chinese drama Find Yourself, which is available on Netflix! It had me laughing out loud, loving almost every character, and relating to so many different storylines. I personally loved the Victoria Song & Song Weilong pairing, but there’s a great balance of other storylines aside from their romance. Although, I did find the ending rushed and would’ve loved more depth from certain characters.

Find Yourself centers around He Fanxing (Victoria Song), a 32-year old woman who has never dated, and the intern 10 years her junior, Yuan Song (Song Weilong) who pursues her. Although Fanxing genuinely likes him, she is aware of what family friends and society would say about their relationship. Her parents are anxious for her to get married, while her twin brother He Canyang (Zhang Yujian) has a never-ending stream of girlfriends. Meanwhile, her two best friends, Xiao Xue and Song Xue, have different relationship situations. At work, He Fanxing faces uncertainty as the company she works for is potentially being acquired.

Yes, He Fanxing is naive and sometimes quite silly, and you will shake your head at some of her actions. But not everyone has the same experiences at the same age, and she does learn from her mistakes. Plus, her silliness is exactly what Yuan Song likes about her. Yuan Song approaches the relationship with the passion of youth; I love his fearless pursuit of Fanxing even though I knew he couldn’t truly understand the societal and familial pressure she feels. However, I thought him being an intern at the company she works at would have probably been a bigger issue than the age difference!

Continue Reading

Favorite Chinese Dramas of 2019

I watched over 20 Chinese dramas that aired in 2019, and these are my recommendations. I’ve included links to where you can watch these dramas with English subtitles.

Favorite Drama of the Year: Joy of Life

With an intricate plot, Joy of Life balances humor and wit with intensity and emotion. Zhang Ruoyun stars as Fan Xian, who somehow has modern-day knowledge. When he is summoned to the capital for an arranged marriage, he gets pulled into court politics despite his intention to live a carefree life. A historical drama has never made me laugh so hard while also keeping me guessing. 100% recommend, and I’m eagerly awaiting the second season. (Available on Viki & YouTube.)


Most Popular Dramas: Go Go Squid! and The Untamed

These were both immensely popular and very solid dramas.

I didn’t expect a drama about cybersecurity competitions to be so fun, but Li Xian was perfect in Go Go Squid! as the driven, serious, and socially awkward boss of Team K&K. This is a drama about pursuing your dream, and I loved how his relationship with his former teammates and his mentorship of his young Team K&K members were a major part of the story. I actually felt that his relationship with Yang Zi’s character was the weakest part of the drama. (Available on Viki & YouTube.)

The Untamed was SO popular that I had to check it out, and I quickly understood why. Xiao Zhan is magnetic as the carefree and kind-hearted Wei Wuxian, and Wang Yibo is lovable as the stoic, principled Lan Wangji. The bond between them is deeply moving, and their theme song makes me want to weep every time I hear it. I did think there was a stretch from around episode 30-40 where the story was too slow. (Available on Viki, Netflix, and YouTube.)

Continue Reading

First Impressions: Rebirth of Shopping Addict (2020)

Rebirth of a Shopping Addict 2020

I’m calling this a “first impressions” post but I’ve actually watched all 20 episodes of Rebirth of Shopping Addict that have aired so far, which is exactly half. I’ve been watching on YouTube without subtitles but it looks like it’s being subtitled on this channel. This is the first 2020 drama I’m watching because I’m always on the lookout for a fun rom-com.

Note: there are no spoilers in this post! Anything mentioned is in the trailer, or is a minor detail.

First of all, the first two episodes are fairly cringey. The premise of this drama is that Gao Yang is a spoiled and privileged young woman with a shopping addiction who suddenly finds herself alone and penniless when her father’s company goes bankrupt and he flees the country. Gao Yang is played by Meng Ziyi, who you may recognize from last year’s extremely-popular drama The Untamed, and I credit her with being a major reason I kept watching despite the initial cringeyness.

Meng Ziyi is charming and likable, but her character Gao Yang sometimes drives me crazy. On one hand, I love the storylines where Gao Yang comes up with creative ideas, shows how diligently she can work, and enthusiastically faces any challenges that are thrown at her. Once she loses her wealth, she realizes that her entire life has centered around it and must find her independence, confidence, and talents. But on the other hand, this isn’t a true riches-to-rags story because things quickly work out for Gao Yang and she continues to make questionable financial decisions.

Continue Reading

Review: Vagabond (2019)

Vagabond

I marathoned Vagabond on Netflix over the period of three days! It’s extremely fast-paced and action-packed, with countless twists and turns. Lee Seung Gi and Bae Suzy are great in the leading roles, but several of the supporting characters were my favorite. Annoyingly though, Vagabond doesn’t conclude at the end of the 16 episodes and it seems that a second season may be produced.

The premise of Vagabond is devastating, pulling you instantly onto the side of the male lead, Cha Dal Geon (Lee Seung Gi). Every flashback hit me hard, so perhaps keep some tissues by your side while you watch this. However, while I commend Dal Geon’s fearlessness and feel for his grief, I also shook my head at his hotheaded temper and impulsiveness. Sometimes I wish he would be more cautious or thorough. I’m not a huge fan of Suzy but Go Hae Ri was a likeable, realistic character. She’s just someone trying to make a living and also do the right thing, and her instincts are good.

My favorite characters were supporting characters: Ki Tae Woong the serious, rule-abiding agent played by Shin Sung Rok. (I need to look up his other dramas now!) If you watched What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim? you’ll definitely remember Hwang Bo Ra. In Vagabond, her humor is on point as Gong Hwa Sook. Her character is less over-the-top here, and I appreciate that she is also a valuable member of the team rather than solely being comedic relief. Lastly, Lily, played by Park Ah In, is a charming, confident assassin. I loved her bickering with Kim Do Soo. They’re a fun pair to watch.

Vagabond doesn’t provide a lot of backstory for any character except Lee Seung Gi’s, but there are a lot of likable, interesting characters as well as compelling villains.

Continue Reading

Review: Triad Princess (2019)

Triad Princess 2019

I was really excited for Netflix’s new original Taiwanese series Triad Princess but unfortunately my feelings after watching it are: salty and disappointed.

I can’t believe Netflix released a first “season” with six episodes that are ~40 minutes (the final episode is only 34 minutes!) and ended it on a cliffhanger. These six episodes not only felt like only part of the story, but they also felt extremely rushed and at times disjointed.

I really like both Jasper Liu and Eugenie Liu, and the premise of this series sounded like fun—gangster’s daughter meets and falls in love with the actor she’s always fangirled over! The action scenes in the show are purely comedic, cheesy, and just for fun. Sometimes it’s over the top, but I can accept that because at its heart Triad Princess is a romantic comedy not an action thriller.

Eugenie does a great job portraying Ai Qi (Angie in the subtitles), a fierce, bubbly young woman who tries to forge an independent path for herself. On the other hand, Jasper’s character Yi Hang felt underdeveloped. He’s a cute, charming, popular actor who loves elephants. That’s all I got from him. The relationship between An Qi and Yi Hang developed unbelievably quickly. Emphasis on unbelievable as in “I absolutely did not believe it.” It seemed more to me like An Qi’s fangirl dream was coming true and Yi Hang liked the novelty of someone new and fun. Interestingly enough, An Qi’s mother was also a celebrity so there are parallels presented but they are not adequately explored.

When Yi Hang and An Qi quickly face their first obstacle, I was still in disbelief that they had already fallen in love. These obstacles are all told rather than shown—various characters tell the main leads about the challenges and sacrifices that their relationship will cause, but we don’t see the damage that should have already been caused. In addition, Jasper is working on a secret personal project and I would’ve thought that perhaps the storyline would be that An Qi feeling used. I’m just skeptical that An Qi sees past Yi Hang being this dreamy actor she’s always had a crush on, and realizes that he is a real, layered human being with flaws. He could be an elephant pajama-wearing jerk! I’m not going to automatically be on Team Yi Hang just because Jasper Liu plays him and he has a cute smile, alright?

In comparison, I found myself liking Eddie Kim much more and thought the actor who plays him, Tsao Yu Ning, was excellent. He’s sweet, caring, and patient to An Qi, and at the same time, you know he’s a gangster’s son and there must be more to him. He’s an intriguing character and his moments with An Qi feel more genuine.

In addition, a lot of interesting side stories are introduced, including An Qi’s friend Ding Ding, the actress Ling Yun, and Yi Hang and Ling Yun’s manager Sophia, but none of them are developed nearly enough. Ling Yun’s storyline seemed to demand the most urgency and yet it only came into play when it was convenient. There’s a cute m/m side romance, although the scenes felt overly dream-like.

If Netflix releases more episodes (I mean, they’d BETTER!), then I will definitely continue watching but I wouldn’t call myself a fan of this series at this point. There’s so much potential but we’ll see if Netflix can fulfill it.

Continue Reading

Triad Princess (2019): Episode 1 Recap

Triad Princess 2019

I’ve been so excited for Netflix’s original series, Triad Princess, because it stars Eugenie Liu and Jasper Liu. After watching two out of the six episodes, I’m really enjoying this action-romance-comedy. Six episodes seems so short, so my guess is they’re waiting to see if it does well before ordering a second season.

Drama Synopsis: Eugenie Liu plays An Qi (the subtitles say Angie), the daughter of a mob boss who runs away from home to avoid an arranged marriage. Meanwhile, Jasper Liu plays Yi Hang, a popular actor known for his charming, warm personality, and it just so happens that Angie’s fierceness melts into a fangirl daze every time she thinks about Jasper. When Yi Hang’s reported girlfriend and actress Ling Yun, played by Cecilia Choi, receives a blackmail letter, their manager hires An Qi to be Ling Yun’s bodyguard.

Keep reading for my recap of the first episode!

Continue Reading
1 2 3 11