Chinese Drama Recommendations

As a starter guide:

  1. Nirvana in Fire (2015): my all-time favorite, a historical drama with an intricate plot about a man’s mission to clear his family name
  2. Story of Yanxi Palace (2018): a historical drama about a quick-witted young woman rising to power in the palace as she seeks revenge
  3. Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms/Eternal Love (2017): a visually stunning fantasy story about immortals and a love that persists through three lifetimes
  4. A Love So Beautiful (2018): an extremely popular coming-of-age drama about a high school student’s crush on her smart classmate
  5. All Is Well (2019): a thought-provoking modern drama about the complexities of adulthood, family, and generational differences
  6. When A Snail Falls in Love (2016): a suspenseful crime drama centering around the Violent Crimes Unit (very light on romance despite the title)
  7. Scarlet Heart (2011): the classic time travel drama about a young woman who finds herself transported to the Qing Dynasty among the many princes fighting for power

Below, I’ve listed everything I’ve watched categorized into Modern Day, Historical, and Fantasy. The ‘tag’ column contains keywords that may help you decide if it’s something you’re interested in. Five stars ★★★★★ means it’s an all-time favorite, and anything three stars ★★★ and above means I enjoyed at least some aspect of it.

Modern Day

This excludes crime & mystery dramas. In that genre, I’ve seen When A Snail Falls in Love, Love Me If You Dare, and Love’s Lies.

DramaYearRatingTags
Unrequited Love2019★★★★★college, friendship
All Is Well2019★★★★family, adulthood, business scheming
Boss & Me2014★★★★office romance, rich male lead, male CEO
Go Go Squid!2019★★★★esports, pursuit of dreams, friendship, older man younger woman, first love
Le Coup de Foudre2019★★★★childhood sweethearts, smart male lead, cold male lead, high school to adulthood, friendship, side couples
Love O2O2016★★★★college, smart male lead, smart female lead, video game
A Love So Beautiful2018★★★★high school to adulthood, smart male lead, friendship, side couple
Sm:)e2018★★★½movie business setting, famous male lead, trauma/phobia
To Be With You2019★★★½rich male lead, family drama
I Hear You2019★★★cold male lead, rich male lead, fake relationship, female lead with career goals
Accidentally in Love2018★★★college, secret identity, famous male lead, rich female lead
Across the Ocean to See You2017★★★office romance, female CEO, cold female lead
Delicious Destiny2017★★★chefs/restaurant setting
Fall in Love2019★★★fake relationship, science fiction twist, side couple, business scheming
The Fox’s Summer2017★★★office romance, rich male lead, fashion industry
In Youth2019★★★business scheming, office romance, friendship, public relations firm
Meteor Garden2018★★★college, rich male lead, friendship
Put Your Head On My Shoulder2019★★★college, first love, cohabitation, side couple
Sweet Dreams2018★★★office romance, florists, rich male lead
Love Is Deep2019★★½female lead with career goals, side couple
The Evolution of Our Love2018★★½friends-to-lovers
Because of You2017★★½melodrama, complicated family
Love Actually2017★★½adulthood
Royal Sister Returns2017★★½melodrama, rich male lead, rich female lead
Master Devil, Do Not Kiss Me2017★★½high school, rich male lead
The Demon Master2019★★½college, rich male lead
Nice to Meet You2019★★½melodrama, jewelry business, business scheming, complicated family
Old Boy2018★★½adulthood, father-son relationship
The Brightest Star in the Sky2019★★music industry
Here to Heart2018★★smart male lead, male CEO, childhood sweethearts
Pretty Li Hui Zhen2017★★smart male lead, childhood sweethearts, secret identity, fashion magazine setting
Love & Life & Lie2017★★melodrama, complicated family, rich male lead
About Is Love2018college/young adults, rich male lead, trauma/phobia
Conspiracy of Love2019revenge, business scheming, science fiction twist, side couple
Stay With Me2016adulthood, business scheming, enemies-to-lovers, second chance romance, amnesia, fashion industry
Summer’s Desire2018childhood sweethearts, second chance romance, rich male lead, amnesia, love triangle
Our Glamorous Time2018office romance, fashion industry, business scheming
Memories of Love2018
Season Love2017
Sweet Combat2018
Only Side By Side With You2018
Well-Intended Love2019unbelievably awful premise

Historical

Please note, fantasy is separate from this category and is below this section. If they had historical aspects but a stronger fantasy element, I placed it in fantasy.

DramaYearRatingTags
Nirvana in Fire2015★★★★★political intrigue, seeking justice, hint of romance
Nirvana in Fire 22017★★★★★political intrigue, brothers
Story of Yanxi Palace2018★★★★★palace, harem, seeking revenge
Scarlet Heart2011★★★★½political intrigue, time travel, palace
The Story of Minglan2018★★★★½childhood to adulthood, palace-adjacent
Legend of Yun Xi2018★★★★poisons, cold male lead, arranged marriage
The Rise of Phoenixes2018★★★½political intrigue, girl disguised as boy, multiple kingdoms
Untouchable Lovers2018★★★½palace, cold/cunning male lead, arranged marriage
The Princess Weiyoung2016
General & I2017
Legend of the Phoenix2019ordinary girl, palace

Fantasy

DramaYearRatingTags
Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms2017★★★★immortals
The Journey of Flower2015★★★½immortals, demons
Lost Love in Times2017★★★½time travel, prince
Legend of Fuyao2018★★★½adventure, multiple kingdoms, hidden identity, prince
The Love Knot: His Excellency’s First Love2018★★★supernatural, modern day
My Amazing Boyfriend2018★★★supernatural, modern day
Fighter of the Destiny2017hidden identity
The Flame’s Daughter2018
The Eternal Love2017time travel
The Starry Night, The Starry Sea2017merman
Oh! My Emperor2018time travel