TW TV Series Worth Watching

I actually started this list like 2 years ago but didn’t want to post it just yet. Now, I thought what in the world, just go ahead. AND this is not an attempt to convince or manipulate people into watching it. Just something to share and add to this random blog. Some of them I attached links because I’d actually done the reviews for them at one point. Some are actually under its own categories so I won’t link it. Others? Might do discussions in the future but not sure.

This is the Taiwanese drama list – as the title indicated. I will post up the Mainland China and Hong Kong ones separately.

Ancient Dramas:

Gu Jian En Chou Ji 1984 (孤劍恩仇記) – Many people might not remember this one, but it was really good–despite being one of those with ‘lame’ settings in the days when Taiwan productions weren’t that convincing yet. But they had a great cast and the plot was really good for this one.

Bao Qing Tian 1993 – Who could forget this one, right? It was quite popular during its run, and the episodes got extended. One of the few shows that got extended but wasn’t unreasonable.

Ji Gong 1995 – Really funny but had a lot of underlying messages. So zen, so witty yet could be so crazy too.

Madame White Snake 2013 (白蛇外傳) – 40 episodes, but each episode was only about half an hour or less. It was enjoyable and sort of a parody to the “Madame White Snake” stories.

Shi Gong Qi An 1997 – It was so addicting, following the success of the whole Bao Qing Tian sagas. This also retained a lot of comedic moments to aid the plot along, so it wasn’t as depressing, but it wasn’t corny either.

Modern Dramas:

Angel Lover – 40 episodes later and I was still wanting more. Kudos to the production team for that. There were a lot of meaningful messages placed in without making it too corny. The people in here experienced very real problems in life and needed some guidance to get through and start anew, etc. The soundtrack was awesome also.

Black & White – Though when it came down to it, it was a 50/50 toss since the ‘romance’ part bugged me to death, must admit it was a really big production and they honestly put a lot of effort in the cases AND action scenes. NOT to mention the whole ‘conspiracy’ and the huge cast involved–regardless of grand names or not.

Bump Off Lover – I was really surprised it was that serious and dark–and was actually that good. It made me changed my views regarding TW dramas of recent and also of Angela. (YES, I wasn’t that into Angela until after I watch this one.) Probably one of those close to realistic dramas of recent years. Some elements might seem so exaggerated, especially with the twins being so different–as some people pointed out. YET it wasn’t impossible because of the catalysts involved.

Endless Love (愛∞無限) – I was surprised since I was just watching out of curiosity and because I want to support Will.

Devil Beside You – YES, for one of those rare times, I actually agreed with the general public about it being good – AND it had to do with both the storyline and the actors/actresses who portrayed the roles. I never read the actual manga SO do not know how accurate it was but the drama was good enough for me.

Home Run – One of those short and nice dramas from PTS.

Hua Yang Shao Nian Shao Nu – Again, NOT because I’m following the crowd, but more like I really agreed with how the plot was. Didn’t read the manga either but found it pretty good for the most part. I really felt the whole school atmosphere and typical rivalry between dorms, etc. It was madness but also interesting and meaningful if the surface was stripped down.

I Do? – A surprisingly good one though it had some of the usual cliche plotlines. Interestingly enough, it was also an adaptation from a certain romance novel. From what I heard, it had strayed from the novel (as usual) but still retained some essence of the storyline, making it bearable.

Just Singing And Dancing (K歌·情人·夢) – Regardless of what happened with the ratings (which I didn’t get why but I reminded myself I no longer care to figure it out, except for daily dramas that made more sense), this was a really nice one. Focused mostly on music. Yeah, it did repeat the formula with different members of the band trying to conquer some inner demons, etc. But it wasn’t too soapy. It kept it real for the most part about family conflicts as well. The singing and dancing at random times didn’t seem to be realistic with life, etc BUT it put a lot of artistic elements into it. They used new and old songs and remixes to make it even more interesting.

Liu Mang Xiao Zhang – Many people will disagree with me since it seemed to be non-existence. YET I felt it was one of those really up there because it was really short and made its point. The characters were nicely written–though the plot could be silly at times. But it was a romantic comedy at heart, right? I’m not placing it in because two of my favorites are in it BUT because it really made an impact for me with the storyline. (Click here and here for more discussions regarding the drama.)

Love Together (愛讓我們在一起) – Despite some of its frustrating parts (and most dramas have those), I felt it was pretty good. Maybe what made it convincing was the maturity of the cast involved.

Mei Ren Long Tang (美人龍湯) – I was more than surprised. I meant I only wanted to watch because of not being able to get past a Mike drama for a while now. This seemed hopeful, but I wasn’t expecting much. Yet Mike really surprised me in this one with his really good acting (past the usual cool, handsome guy exterior). The rest of the cast were as convincing. The story wasn’t that unbearable either since some of the frustrating moments moved faster than usual, which was a good thing. I liked how the pieces of puzzles were placed in and then resolved along the way. It wasn’t too dramatic yet wasn’t too boring either.

Peak Times – A BIG surprise for me. I only wanted to check it out half because of curiosity and half because of Eric Huang and Cecilia Han Xue. But I found myself pulled in by the excitement at first. Then the suspense dragged me along for the rest of the time.

Rookies’ Diary – I didn’t put it in because many of my favorites are in here. BUT because I felt it was very informative regarding military procedures. I learned a lot. And I do know there were fictional elements in there (DUH, I know) and possibly added to accompany the plot. Yet it was really inspiring. AND what made me love this even more was seeing how they had continued with mentioning some characters from part 1 in the sequel without needing to ‘kill’ or ‘cut’ them off completely. Sure, they had to sever the ties for one of the main leads to explain why he wasn’t around anymore. BUT the rest of the relationships didn’t change, i.e. Wu Yong/Xia Zheng Feng didn’t end up with someone else just because Xiao Yan/Xiao Xiao Yu wasn’t around anymore.

Sisters (姊妹) – YES, it was 60 episodes long. Yet I felt it was worth it since they explored a lot of relationships throughout the drama and focused mostly on sisters’ relationships (obviously), but it was different in a way, especially the ending. I felt the ending had actually helped a lot with convincing us of real-life situations because not everything was about ‘happily ever after’ or ‘everything could be worked out so the main couple could reunite once again’. (Sorry, I’m rolling my eyes now.)

The Magicians of Love – Ignore the fact that it was a SETTV drama and that it had many silly attempts to extend the episodes for ratings (YEAH, typical SETTV move), it had some foundation. Not to mention how the message of breaking past obstacles to reach one’s goal at the end seemed quite addicting at times. The characters weren’t flawless because they were actually human beings so it was that spot that made it somewhat more realistic than seeing the typical heroes and heroines like in the other dramas.

The New World – Excellent planning and directing where puzzles were concerned and how the plot was crafted. However, what disappointed me was the ending. Some of the characterizations were nicely written and were worth it. However, the suspense that was built up since the beginning and along the way was all for nothing after all. Yes, it was that frustrating and I probably won’t ever get over it. Yet I must admit, they did a good job in some areas. The romance side, it was kind of messy and dragging in some areas and wasn’t enough balance for me. So what was the point of placing it in? I think considering how I placed in some other dramas that probably frustrated me too, I think this one was a push forward for suspense drama. It could have been short like Xiao Hai Da Ren with some cuts here and there, then it would be good. Yes, this was from the same team that made Xiao Hai Da Ren.

Wayward Kenting – This is truly a classic. YES, one of those rare times I actually use ‘classic’ since I’ve been so sick of people using it at every chance they get to mock other dramas. Director Niu really brought to life some of the daily problems the characters were experiencing and made it so mesmerizing and addicting to watch.

White Robe of Love – Not because I’m an Adylan fan. But because I found it interestingly addicting as well. It seemed somewhat silly at first but was real enough through its depiction and how it was laid out. It didn’t reek of the typical ‘idol dramas’ elements. (As interestingly most Dylan dramas aren’t.)

Xiao Hai Da Ren – OMG, surprisingly amazing. This is one of those reasons why I think dramas DO NOT even need to be dragged out to be good. The way it was presented was very convincing and restored my faith in TW dramas in general. NOT that I want to completely put other dramas down, but this one proved that if they wanted to do something serious without all the dramatic sequences added to just ‘entertain’, they could.

Yuan Lai Wo Bu Shuai – Some people must have dropped their jaws by now. BUT I have to say that this drama reminded me somewhat of the university days and just school days in general. Crazy conspiracy and wild theories students tossed around. Sometimes it wasn’t as dramatic as implied in the drama YET it made sense because if you’re in that particular group, you automatically focus on just that group only. School gossips and many more. Then it was also about friendships, etc. A typical comedy that needed to look beyond those obvious scenes to enjoy.

NOTE: This post will be updated from time to time. Therefore, it will be included in the ‘Helpful Posts’ section to make it easier to locate–IF anyone’s interested in following. Also, keep in mind that I back-watch from time to time, some might NOT be on the list yet. Others, call it a difference of opinions–IF I didn’t put it on there.

White Robe of Love: Mo Fan or Qi Xiu Part II

I must confess that I was in the middle of watching the drama so I was still forming mixed opinions about various characters so my previous post about both guys was not the most updated to my thoughts. Since I finally finished it, I thought I approach the topic once again since I got the whole picture now. Honestly, it was very hard to choose at the end and I think both guys weren’t perfect and I actually like it that way. I like both equally now after learning more about Qi Xiu’s character.

Mo Fan was considered a daredevil in a sense that he could experiment regardless of the consequences yet he learned from his mistakes later on. He eventually understood the consequences and life was not about experiences but the importance of the precision of the procedure, the accuracy. Speed was one thing but accuracy was another matter. What was to Mo Fan’s advantage was he learned to recover faster when he’d fallen. Yes, the wounds were bad and the mistake irreversible. He was depressed and even drown himself in sorrow, even blaming himself for past wrongs. Yet he recovered and continued to fight once again. Like mentioned before, he was not perfect, but he was able to heal and move on, knowing that he needed to continue with his discoveries for other diseases’ cures and how mulling over it would not help.

Qi Xiu seemed to be quite hectic and serious at times yet I think it was because of Sun Qian that he learned to loosen up later. Yes, I think it was because of Sun Qian and not Yi Ning. He found love and cherished Yi Ning with all his heart yet he was very protective of her. But his perspective did not broaden. Mo Fan did try to change him by taking him out when they were still studying and insisted that he tried new things aside from his concentration on his studies. But they had distanced since the misunderstanding after Yi Ning’s surgery. It was actually Sun Qian who made him changed his perspective and learned to loosen up. He even admitted to her that he finally felt good for being a doctor because of the patients and their reactions toward him instead of thinking of them as his “cases” when he accompanied her to the mountains to take care of the children at this one school. What was even more admirable of Qi Xiu aside from his ability to see Mo Fan’s genius was his sense of morality. The scene where he and Sun Qian were captured, he even insisted on saving the guy who stabbed him before letting Sun Qian go for help. It was very admirable and not everyone could do it, considering what the other party had done. He was a true doctor, not just all talks or about fame. I especially liked the part where Qi Xiu took Sun Qian to the sea where he once waited for sunrise with Yi Ning and admitted to Sun Qian that he was not perfect or had such a mighty heart. The fact that he admitted it made him more admirable since he was down to earth and real, not pretentious like other characters who never cared to acknowledge the matter or ignored it in totality.

Regarding how Sun Qian had changed Qi Xiu, I think it would be the same for Mo Fan since Sun Qian had made Mo Fan realized he needed to move on from his love for Yi Ning and live for himself and being happy. Sun Qian had a strange and positive effect on both guys like Yi Ning once did when they were still at the university. It was interesting with the relationship between the four of them–even if things did not occur while Yi Ning or Sun Qian was not around (due to time or circumstances).

It was also quite interesting that only Sun Qian was the one who was able to persuade Qi Xiu into doing his own surgery and not Mo Fan. But it was understandable, considering how Qi Xiu was still stubborn about the whole matter and how Sun Qian would understand things from a girl’s point of view aka how Yi Ning would want it instead of how Mo Fan would put it as when he tried to force Qi Xiu into doing the surgery. However, due to a cruel twist of fate (or more logically what happened during the previous surgery) that Yi Ning did not remember Qi Xiu, causing even more delay for Qi Xiu’s surgery. If that had not happened, would Qi Xiu have survived because he would eventually go into surgery and recover? Or would it have been too late as well since he had delayed it for so long hence causing the breakdown of his system? My faith in Dylan’s acting restored during the scene when Qi Xiu finally reunited with Yi Ning again–to find out that she had forgotten who he was. It was a very emotional moment indeed. Also, the expression on Sun Qian’s face when she realized the reality of having to step back because she could not fight with the uncontrollable. Then the aftermath of things sinking in for them all, especially the talk between Mo Fan and Qi Xiu in the hallway. Also, the following scene where Mo Fan was taking Yi Ning to the labs for testing and checkups but Qi Xiu and Sun Qian could only look at them from afar, wishing they were with their significant others instead of just standing at the sideline.

I found it extremely ironic though that Yi Ning should think of Mo Fan’s change of hearts when he was distracted with the obstacle they were all in because of Yi Ning’s memory loss. Since the reality was she changed her heart and liked Qi Xiu, leaving Mo Fan behind first. Now that he started over again, she showed up and demanded an explanation. It was not her fault because of what she could not control but I found it extremely ironic of the situation. Another ironic thing was how Yi Ning made the decision to go into surgery so she could have a future with Qi Xiu (since she was fighting for a chance of possible cure in the future) but she came out of the coma to forget him completely. What was even sadder and more tragic was when Yi Ning finally remembered, Qi Xiu had fallen due to the liver disease and it was too late even if he finally knew that she had remembered.

On the other hand, I found the guys’ bonding more worth mentioning because Mo Fan was trying his hardest to get Yi Ning back on her feet again and to resurrect Yi Ning’s memory with different stories about Qi Xiu. Qi Xiu was also willing to let Yi Ning live in happiness with not forcing her to remember or causing her to suffer just because that was what he wanted the most. Qi Xiu did not rush her although he knew he only had a little more time. He wanted her to be happy and that was very considerate of him. It related back to him always protecting Yi Ning all these times and not just empty talks.

There were many other reasons why I felt I could not choose in the end but some of the reasons were mentioned above.

*All images were captured by DTLCT

White Robe of Love: Mo Fan or Qi Xiu?

I have to say that I’m never a fan of love triangles and find it even more unbearable when it is being weaved into the plot–whether it is part of reality or was put in for dramatic effects. Therefore, my sole purpose in this post is not about whether Yi Ning should be with Mo Fan or Qi Xiu since she should be with the one she loves the most. I just want to discuss both characters for the sake of the story.

Mo Fan is someone who usually uses laughter to mask his unhappiness. He seems to be lively and doesn’t care about anything yet his compassion for others could not be denied. He’s a genius and he could get careless about matters but he’s very serious about his talents. He’s more daring when it comes to experiments and is willing to take any type of risk. The fact that he is confident of his abilities contributes to the reason why he would take even higher risks. He is not perfect and sometimes weak (because he gives in to others’ requests too easily) yet it makes him admirable because of what he does. He’s brave and invincible because he believes in what he does. Yes, he loses his confidence when he fails (with his theories and is not able to help someone) but he quickly recovers and realizes what he should do instead of feeling guilty about it. He really wants to seek out the problem.

Tang Qi Xiu, on the other hand, is the type that is more expressive about his feelings and his personality is someone more gentle on the surface. Yet he seems disturbed at times. He could become irrational and stubborn. But there’s no doubt about his hardworking attitude and his care for others (which could be seen many times with patients). He is cautious with his actions and would never take risks to put others’ lives in danger. He’s somewhat of a perfectionist too. It might be because he feels that he is not talented like some people so he has to strive harder to achieve. He does not want to let himself go by being careless or leave rooms for mistakes. If he is not sure, then he doesn’t take the risk. He is the type that does not like to face the consequences knowing of possible negative outcomes. He doesn’t want to give others false hope. Sometimes he seems cold but he’s just serious about his work.

Who do I choose then between the two characters? Being a Dylan fan, I’m sorry to say I have to choose Mo Fan because I want to separate from characters and actors. Mo Fan is such a complex person. He is hard to understand at times but what he does for others is undeniable. To think that he has such a big heart to give up his dreams for the girl that he loves just so that she could be happy is something that not every guy could do. It could be considered dumb but I think I like him in that he could joke about anything but when it comes to a serious matter, he could promise and carry out that promise. Not that Qi Xiu cannot do it. But I feel that Qi Xiu is just too unreasonable sometimes. He has the right to fight for his future but he has this arrogant air about him that I do not like as much. People seems to pity Qi Xiu more because of what happened and how tragic things ended and I like his character also but I feel like Mo Fan’s kindness has surpassed everything. Many people could not sympathize enough with people like Mo Fan because he is so unpredictable at times but if one would just be patient and be more observant, one would know how good he is. If I choose Qi Xiu, it would be too much of a pity feeling than actually liking the character. Also, I think it’s very scary when Qi Xiu is mad. He’s so calm and sincere at times but when he gets mad, it’s unpredictable. Mo Fan is more predictable because he’s more lively so it’s expected if he would become intense about matters. Between the two, they have their predictability and unpredictability but I still like Mo Fan more. Though I do not deny that both are great because of how determined they are to fight for what they believe in. Not to mention that Mo Fan is not arrogant about his talents and Qi Xiu admits Mo Fan’s talent (and wants to improve himself even more so he could surpass Mo Fan) despite their conflicts and/or past misunderstandings.

Even though Sun Qian is really loud and sometimes annoying but she could see past Mo Fan’s playful nature and realizes his good sides. She’s curious at first but she has sharp eyes in that she could see past what others could not see. Sure, she really likes or even becomes overly obsessed with Qi Xiu at one point but she soon realizes what kind of person Mo Fan is and likes him for who he is–even if she doesn’t admit it immediately.

Perhaps it is better after all that Yi Ning ends up with Qi Xiu (though not really since we all know happened in the end) and Mo Fan with Sun Qian. Mo Fan needs someone more independent and supports him fully so he could freely pursue his dreams in finding cures for different diseases or studying different medical techniques. I’m not saying that he is not caring toward his loved one, but he seems more relaxed and seems to think that she could take care of herself while he is occupied with other matters. He just doesn’t show his love too often or slap it around all the time hence causing misunderstandings from other parties. Qi Xiu is more attentive in taking care of his loved ones and he could do just that for Yi Ning since she is easily lonely and needs someone who cares for her. I am not hinting at something but I finally understand why it is that way.

Go here for the second part of the discussion.

*All images were captured by DTLCT