I watched Go Ahead (以家人之名) back in August/September as it was airing and I loved it so much. Even though the year’s not over yet, it’s absolutely one of my favorites of 2020.
More than anything, Go Ahead is a story about healing, and how important family and friends are. This show is so emotional, and frequently had me laughing out loud and tearing up in the same episode. The pacing was great until the very last episode, which offered a rushed and tidy conclusion. Normally I’d side-eye that 46-episode count, but I would’ve watched additional episodes of Go Ahead. It’s available on YouTube and Viki with English subtitles.
Go Ahead begins with the start of Li Jianjian, Ling Xiao, and He Ziqiu’s bond as kids before jumping to them in high school. Normally I’m eager for the characters to age up, but the childhood and high school episodes are so impactful and well-paced. Li Jianjian is played by Tan Songyun (aka Seven Tan), who I’ve been a fan of since The Fox’s Summer. She excels here at both the humor and the emotional moments, and really pulled off both the high school and young adult look so believably. I love Jianjian’s silliness, her love of sweets, and her career as an artist! It’s so rare to see a main character who is happily living as an artist. Despite her silliness she’s not naive, she’s used to diffusing tension and easing pain with humor, and she’s a loyal friend who stands up to bullies.
It’s time for me to catch up on writing some reviews! Skate into Love aired in March-April of this year and is available with English subtitles on YouTube and Viki. This is based on a novel but I haven’t read it so I can’t make any comparisons.
This drama had a great mix of romance, humor, and characters who pursued their dreams. Wu Qian (Janice Wu) plays the female lead, who gave up on her speed skating career after an injury but regrets it. At university, she encounters her childhood friend, played by Zhang Xin Cheng (Steven Zhang), who is the star of the hockey team. There are realistic obstacles relating to both their dreams and relationships, and for the most part, no prolonged misunderstandings. However, some supporting characters were too one-dimensional and with a total of 40 episodes, I lost interest as the series went on.
As you may know, I really like Wu Qian. I loved last year’s Le Coup de Foudre, but dropped The Brightest Star in the Sky due to awful writing. Her character in Skate into Love, Tang Xue, is close to the character I wanted her to be in The Brightest Star in the Sky: someone who speaks her mind unapologetically and stands up for herself. So many Chinese dramas in this genre have female leads who are naive and sweet, who keep their heads down. Tang Xue is the opposite, but she is still fiercely loyal and kindhearted. I liked her friendships and her determined efforts to regain her speed skating skills, and she genuinely reflected about herself when faced with the realization that she may have been perceived as a bully.
I have never seen Steven Zhang in anything before, but I thought he did a great job with his character Li Yu Bing’s humor. The enemies-to-lovers dynamic between Tang Xue and Li Yu Bing was fun to watch, but when they got sappy, I’m sorry but it was too much for me. 😂Their misunderstandings were due to poor communication, but due to their youth, I guess it was realistic!