Chinese Name: 御姐归来
Quick Summary: Ai Mi Er (Ady An) is the sole heir to EMT Group. When her father tries to force her to marry as a business alliance, Ai Mi Er runs away to search for the ex-boyfriend who disappeared without a word several years ago and unknowingly ends up working for the younger brother (Zhu Yi Long) of her intended fiance.
Stream It: haven’t seen this with English subs anywhere
Recommendation: Watch it until episode 27
**Don’t worry, spoilers will be clearly marked.**
The 2009 Taiwanese drama Autumn’s Concerto starring Ady An and Van Ness Wu is one of my all-time favorites. Ady An was fantastic in that drama, and I’ve always hoped that she would do another modern drama so I was really excited when I heard about Royal Sister Returns. I couldn’t find it with English subtitles anywhere so I gave up and just watched it without subs.
Royal Sister Returns starts off very promisingly – sure, you have some over-the-top dramatic elements (for example, Ai Mi Er’s security detail) and some terribly annoying characters (the villains), but it’s a Chinese drama. That’s to be expected. The great thing was that both lead characters, Ai Mi Er and He Kai Xin (does anyone really name their child this?!), are both likable and funny, especially together. He Kai Xin’s friends are also absolutely hilarious. Even though I found He Yi Kun and Qing Qing’s storyline boring, I still appreciated it. However, ultimately Royal Sister Returns is ruined by a series of utterly ridiculous and cliched plot lines. I wish the drama had resolved and ended after episode 27. The final episode was especially awful.
Also, I just realized that the actress who plays Qing Qing was Su Jin in Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms (aka Eternal Love). And the actor who plays Fang Ge was Manager Bai from Ode to Joy?
Chinese Name: 狐狸的夏天
Brief Summary: Gu Cheng Ze (Jiang Chao) is the adopted son of the Gu family and president of the family’s company. In order to motivate Gu Jin Yun, the lazy, partying Gu family heir, he hires the girl who broke his heart seven years ago, Li Yan Shu (Tan Song Yun).
Stream It: YouTube
I’m really enjoying The Fox’s Summer! Li Yan Shu is hotheaded and sly, but also talented and hardworking, and the more you learn about her past, the more you like her. Gu Cheng Ze is your classic smart and motivated but unfeeling CEO. I’m sure you can tell where this is going. And yet, even as I’m about 11 or 12 episodes into this drama (I’ve been watching episode after episode so I’ve lost track of which one I’m on), I can’t help but think I would have also loved this drama if it had gone in the other direction. My next thoughts are spoiler-ey though so…
Chinese Name: 漂亮的李慧珍
Brief Summary: Bai Hao Yu (Peter Sheng) returns to China to reconnect with his childhood friend Li Hui Zhen (Dilmurat Dilraba), but mistakes her best friend Xia Qiao (Sierra Li) for her. Embarrassed that she is no longer as pretty as Bai Hao Yu remembers, Li Hui Zhen begs her friend to pretend to be her and meet with him once to give their friendship closure. However, after struggling to find a job, Li Hui Zhen receives a coveted internship only to discover that her boss is Bai Hao Yu.
Stream It: Viki
Recommendation: Skip It and Watch the Korean Version
I really liked the original Korean version, She Was Pretty, so I was really excited to watch the Chinese remake. However, at 40 episodes, Pretty Li Hui Zhen was just not worth it. Maybe if it had been 20 episodes I would have recommended it.
Dilmurat Dilraba‘s Li Hui Zhen is very, very quirky but rather than being annoying, actually grew on me. She has a kind heart and tends to be pretty meek, but the moments in which she speaks up for herself are glorious. It’s Peter Sheng as Bai Hao Yu that I felt was the most lacking. He’s stone cold with no emotions for almost the entire drama. I never felt a connection between him and Li Hui Zhen and instead it felt like he was simply clinging to his memories. The flashbacks of them as children were the highlights of their relationship. I only knew what he was feeling because of his phone calls with his friend.
Also, can I just say that I have been seeing Zhang Bin Bin (aka Vin Zhang) a lot recently?! He was charming and funny in Pretty Li Hui Zhen and I thought he was well-cast. I was just thinking that he was overdue for a leading role and I see that he’s starring in a period drama with Dilmurat Dilraba!! Perhaps I’ll write a post dedicated to him soon.
Chinese Name: 微微一笑很倾城
Quick Summary: Bei Wei Wei (Zheng Shuang) is the beauty of the computer science department whose skillful online gaming abilities catch the attention of Xiao Nai (Yang Yang), who is not only smart and athletic but also the most popular guy on campus.
Stream It: DramaFever
Recommendation: Give It A Try
I know this drama was extremely popular and people rave about it, and I did watch it all, but I’m sorry to say I did not love it. I still recommend that it be given a try since so many people did love it.
I liked the uniqueness of the drama centering around an online game, that the female lead was not just beautiful but also smart, and that there wasn’t any ridiculously drama plotlines. Both characters were also surrounded by a strong group of friends and I enjoyed these characters a lot.
However, there are just so many times when we hear a lot of thoughts that in Wei Wei’s head but she doesn’t say them out loud. So in reality, she’s said like three words. But that’s nothing compared to Xiao Nai, who sometimes doesn’t even say anything at all! This just drove me crazy. But I guess it’s better than two main characters who never stop talking about dumb things.
Chinese Name: 他来了,请闭眼
Summary: Jenny (Ma Si Chun) takes a translating job for Simon (Wallace Huo), a criminal psychologist who has recently returned from the U.S. As he begins to assist the police on cases, her role grows into assisting him, and they fall in love. (I know, this is a short summary but I’d rather give less away!)
Number of Episodes: 24
Stream It: Viki
Quick Thoughts: This felt like a mix of the BBC/PBS series Sherlock and the CBS show Criminal Minds so if you like either of those, definitely give this a try. The cast and characters were very strong and compelling – I especially appreciated that Jenny wasn’t weak and useless. The cases were serious and sometimes gruesome, and really made the series riveting.
Chinese Name: 放弃我，抓紧我
Summary: Li Wei Wei (Chen Qiao En) and Chen Yi Du (Wang Kai) are bitter rivals in the wedding dress industry, but a long time ago, they were very much in love. Li Wei Wei has become cold and ruthless, and her employees fear her, but her childhood friend Huo Xiao (Qiao Ren Liang) has always been by her side hoping that she will one day return his feelings for her. When a near-drowning results in Li Wei Wei losing seven years of memories, the kind and lighthearted Li Wei Wei returns…
Number of Episodes: 39
Stream It: DramaFever or Viki
Recommendation: Save Yourself, Skip It (Unless You Love Wang Kai)
Quick Thoughts: This started out promising, cute and funny, but it soon began to give me a lot of whiplash, often within a single episode, and I felt like it just kept going on in circles. If I didn’t like the cast so much, I probably would have abandoned this drama.