Liao Zhai 2014: Review

(image credit: as marked)

Story 1 – Judge Lu (陆判)

Probably the most anticipated for me because of Qiao Zhen Yu yet I felt disappointed in it. Not because of the other cast or anything. I surprisingly liked Alice Ko in here since she hasn’t really clicked for me in her past dramas. Then perhaps it was just the plot or strange characterization that made it hard to relate for me. In here, she was really cute and funny as Qi Ting and was cunning and creepy as Jing Lan. The same for Liu Dong, portraying two roles so seamlessly alongside Alice. However, the plot was just dragging on and on between the Zhu sisters fighting over Tao Yue Ming that it didn’t appeal to me as much. Well, Qi Ting wasn’t fighting with her sister, but it seemed to shuffle back and forth between the love story so I wasn’t as interested in it as I would have.

Story 2 – Heaven and Earth (乾坤)

Surprisingly good. I was having doubts about this pairing of Cecilia Han Xue and Chen Long. Yet their chemistry was quite good. I enjoyed their story more because of the combinations of the battle in the demon realm and how the story eventually played out. What was funny was how my mom (who is a major fan of Norman Chui) thought that he was just in here for some side, unimportant character that needed to be rescued. However, when the twist came around, it was indeed quite chilling. It was a nice twist though. He had to be the big, bad guy. How could he just stand aside and play some small role, right? Nice. Bittersweet ending, but it wasn’t too tragic. Well, it was when the ending was unknown. But once the last scene rolled around, it wasn’t too bad.

Story 3 – Heng Niang (恒娘)

The chemistry between Lin You Wei and Kimi Li was so cute. At least initially. Having done the translations for the plot summary, I had expected the inevitable. However, that didn’t stop me from enjoying their cute moments. How she hugged him when she finally arrived at the town. He was so happy and hugged her back. Then there was also the part where she tried to act all civilized and polite with the courtesy, so of course, she didn’t eat as much. It was so funny watching her trying to find food and then finding food at last. I totally sympathize. How could anyone eat so little? The cutest part was how he placed a cup of water/tea on the table. It showed that the person who prepared the special midnight dinner for her was him. So she hugged him, so touched. Only he would understand her. It was really cute and nice. He told her not to hold back since it was her house after all, so she could eat all that she wanted. Indeed, so cute. It was hard to see how he could betray her later on. Yet when the scenes finally came around regarding the betrayal, I realized that it wasn’t what was let on in the summary. There were many factors to think about. So in the end, I sort of forgive them for the mess. I felt that after all that was said and done, Heng Niang and Tian Fu belonged together.

Poor James Wen, once again had to play the bad guy. Yet I think for this type of short story, it was all right. He didn’t disappoint. After all, they needed to cut Lin You Wei some slacks, considering how he had to play some not so likable characters in the past. It was about time he stepped out of the shadow, right? Somewhat dramatic but was entertaining enough with a mixture of fantasies and all. Not to mention how they got past the ‘time travel’ thing! LOL! If only it was that obvious to cut out, right? Nicely done.

Story 4 – Lian Suo (连琐)

Hilarious. At least at first. Because of how Royce Wong’s character, Yang Yu Wei, was so freaked out by the ghost haunting his new house. It was insane. He tried everything but it didn’t work. He tried to reassure his brother that he was fine, but of course, he was far from fine. The story was quite intriguing at various points, with both sweetness and bitterness. Plus other very terrifying aspects, once again visiting the theme of people sometimes are scarier than ghosts/demons.

Story 5 – Ye Sheng (叶生)

Sad, so sad. But it wasn’t too frustrating. Okay, it was in a way since there was a little more time before the ending yet the main guy died. But I think it wasn’t for nothing. The prince grew up still remembering him and still referred to him as his father. Talking about that, I especially like the relationship between Medic Ye and the young prince as father and son.

There were twists and turns about the plot and the unexpected thing led others to realize sometimes things weren’t what they were seen. Even if you think you got the story straight. A very touching story on many levels.

Story 6 – Kingdom of Female Demons (夜叉国)

*Can’t find it, will go back later since I am quite intrigued by this story after translating the summary.

Story 7 – The Flower Spirit (花姑子)

*Might go back later. (If I can find it.)

Story 8 – Maiden In Green (绿衣女)

Interestingly my favorite story among all. I was just curious about how Bianca would fend and how the story would be. I also have doubts about her pairing up with Calvin Li. Yet they were awesome. I loved them from the start. Their story was touching and quite real. I meant aside from the whole fantasy elements, lol. I know, sounds ironic. But their relationship with living in the mountains and taking care of his mom as a family was quite nice. Then the other elements made it quite tragic. What was nice about it was how the Taoist wasn’t such an uptight, not knowing the gray areas–like some other stories in the past had led on. He was quite cool and knew that there were actually good demons as well, not just outright lumping them all together. At least, it was when he realized what was going on after the initial disagreement. What was a bit ironic about the situation was how she was the demon at the beginning of the story yet in the end, he was the demon. How could they work it out? Well, I guess they waited for so long, they would find a way to get past that obstacle as well. Not to mention how they needed her father’s approval too.

So conclusion? I think it’s clear that story #8 is my ultimate favorite. Then story # 2, #5, #4, #3, and #1–in that order. It’s because I haven’t watched the other two yet so I couldn’t place them. But will go back for those later and possibly change my answer. Anyway, I would’ve placed #3 higher but I think because of some repeated stuff, I want to switch it out. Although #4 was quite frustrating at some points too, I think the overall sort of made it worthwhile. Even if it was really tragic. Number #3, only found Lin You Wei and Kimi Li cute. Although the story with the fox demons was intriguing but also frustrating so I didn’t care for it as much. And I already explained why #1 is so low on the list.

Liao Zhai 2014: The Flower Spirit (花姑子)

Young scholar Zhong Yang (George Hu) and Female Con Artist Xiao Man (Jiang Meng Jie) wouldn’t have known one another if it wasn’t through a fight/disagreement. However, when Xiao Man saved Zhong Yang’s grandmother from a snake demon (Ye Quan Zhen), Grandma Wang (Sally Chen) was more than happy. So it turned out that Zhong Yang, who was determined to hunt and kill the demon, was actually the son of the thousand years old snake demon, Su Huan. Years ago, he had sworn to severe ties off with his own mother. Xiao Man and Zhong Yang on their way in search of the demon, ended up developing feelings for one another. However, Grandma Yang had secretly tried to kill Xiao Man, luckily Su Huan had saved her. Although Su Huan was a snake demon yet loved Zhong Yang’s father dearly. It was because of Grandma Yang’s sabotage that resulted in a trap. Xiao Man went through various hurdles and luck before she was able to resolve past conflicts between the pair of mother and son. However, Grandma Yang executed some vicious schemes to kill Su Huan. Zhong Yang realized that a human’s mind was even more vicious than any type of demons, vouching to let the world know the truth behind it all.

Thiếu niên thuật sĩ Chung Dương (Hồ Vũ Uy) và Nữ Phiến Tử Tiểu Mạn (Tưởng Mộng Tiệp) không đánh không quen nhau. Nhưng khi Tiểu Mạn cứu bà nội của Chung Dương là Vương Thị (Trần Sa Lợi) từ trong tay của xà yêu (Diệp Toàn Chân), bà càng vui mừng hơn. Hóa ra người một lòng trừ yêu như Chung Dương bất ngờ lại là do xà yêu ngàn năm Tố Huyên sanh ra. Nhiều năm trước đây đã thề đoạn tuyệt quan hệ với tương sanh mẩu. Tiểu Mạn và Chung Dương trên đường đi tróc nả yêu và đã nảy sanh cảm tình với nhau. Vương Thị đã âm thầm muốn giết chết Tiểu Mạn, nhưng may thay đã được Tố Huyên cứu. Thì ra dù Tố Huyên là một xà yêu nhưng lại một mực tình thâm với cha của Chung Dương. Đó cũng bởi vì Vương Thị đã ngăn cản dẫn đến sự hãm hại. Tiểu Mạn trải qua bao nhiêu gian truân mới khiến mẹ con Chung Dương xóa tan hiềm xích của năm xưa. Nhưng Vương Thị lại thi hành độc kế sát hại Tố Huyên. Chung Dương rốt cuộc cũng hiểu được rằng lòng người so với yêu ma còn hiểm độc hơn nhiều, và thề sẽ đem chân tướng công cáo thiên hạ.

*All information was from Baidu, and all translations were by DTLCT.

*All images were collected around the net hence belonging to their rightful owners.