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: 浮士德的微笑
Quick Summary: Lei Xin Yu (Eugenie Liu) is a kindhearted girl whose mother flees the country after a company scandal, leaving her penniless and alone. Zhao Yi Ting (Marcus Chang) seeks revenge for Xin Yu’s mother’s treatment of his family in the past and manipulates Xin Yu into his life in order to find her mother.
Stream It: Viki
Recommendation: Skip It
I was browsing Viki for something to watch and the pretty promo image caught my eye. I’ve skimmed through the first seven episodes and I am sorry to say that I’m extremely bored. I find Xin Yu’s character to be too weak – it’s fine if you’re a good person but you should also have at least a little common sense. The first couple episodes made me cringe and the way she speaks like a child gets on my nerves.
Yi Ting’s character is far more interesting, as he is very deliberate in his actions, and I am curious if Xin Yu’s mother is truly a villain or if there’s been someone else pulling the strings behind the scenes all these years. I’m not that curious but there are only 19 episodes so perhaps I will pick this back up one day.
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.
Korean Name: 치즈인더트랩
Brief Summary: Cheese in the Trap is centered around university students Hong Seol (Kim Go Eun) and Yoo Jeong (Park Hae Jin), as his personality and past get in the way of their relationship. In particular, his past association with Baek In Ho (Seo Kang Joon) and Baek In Ha (Lee Sung Kyung) prove to be hard to break.
Stream It: DramaFever
Recommendation: Watch It
I can’t remember the last time a drama disappointed me this much. If it had been terrible from the beginning, that would be a different story, but Cheese in the Trap was so promising in the beginning. It felt like a breath of fresh air. I’m still rating this a watch because the premise was fantastic, but prepare yourself to be extremely displeased when you’re finished!
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.