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.