Can’t lie; the only reason I even knew this movie was coming out, was because Greg Hsu had stolen my heart good and proper in Someday Or One Day, and I just.. really wanted more of him on my screen, y’know?
I rarely ever watch a show just for the sake of an actor anymore, but I’ll tell ya this: Greg Hsu was THE reason I put this movie on my list, and then made sure to look for it. Heart-eyes can be powerful things, heh.
They say that sometimes, the journey is more important than the destination. I’d say that this is true, of this show.
The Rise of Phoenixes is (apparently) quite well-known for its less than ideal ending. That’s why I was reluctant to start this one, too. I mean, who in their right minds would watch a 70-episode show, knowing that it’s unlikely to end well, right?
But bittt assured me that I would fall in love with Chen Kun after watching this show, and that made me quite curious. I’m always ready to be a swooned-out fangirl, eh? Ha. So I dipped my toes into episode 1, became intrigued quite quickly, and then I got properly sucked in. By the time I hit narrative rough spots, I was attached enough to Show’s positives, to keep on going.
In this review, I’m going to attempt to lay it all out for you, so that you can decide whether this one would be worthwhile for you, too.
It’s been 5 years since I became inspired by Chinese epic Nirvana In Fire, to put more C-dramas on my drama plate, and I think I’m finally coming to terms with the fact that modern C-dramas require their own specific lens.
My current conclusion is that a lot – not all, but most – of the C-dramas with modern settings (vs. period dramas) aren’t actually designed to be taken seriously. At least, I find that this perspective helps me the most, when it comes to maximizing my enjoyment of a C-romcom.
And this particular C-romcom is.. more palatable than average, I think.
I started watching this drama because of all the enthusiastic tweets and related spazz that I saw others heaping on it. Everyone seemed so highly amused by this show, and I didn’t want to miss out. You guys know my FOMO is real, right?
But as I watched this show, I was bemused to find that I was, at best, enjoying this one in a very moderate fashion. I began to wonder what I was missing, since everyone before me seemed to have nothing but love for this show. That curiosity kept me going (ie, kept me from actually dropping this show), even though I found myself taking long breaks between episodes. I didn’t feel the loss of this show on my screen much at all, since, as you probably know, I usually juggle a whole plateful of shows at the same time, and so I had plenty of other dramas to keep me occupied between episodes of this show.
It was only at the episode 19 mark, when I decided it was time to finish this show already, and write its review, that I hit on one of the key things I’d been missing. It wasn’t my viewing lens; it was my viewing technique.
A show that’s light, breezy and really rather slurpable, with a nice handful of thoughtful nuggets thrown in for good measure, Find Yourself might not be the kind of Amazing Drama that shifts the world under your feet, but it just might be the comfort food marathon that you need.
With a rather charming noona romance at its center, and endearing friends and family to round it out, this drama world feels a little bit like a family drama with romcom leanings. Our noona romance starts off pretty heady and cracky, but eventually gives way to an emphasis on soul-searching and finding your own truth. In the end, this gives us a story that feels nicely balanced, I think.
Even though the fangirl in me would’ve loved to have stayed in heady, cracky territory, the comparatively more muted later stretch, allowing our characters space to figure themselves out, is what makes this story and our characters feel more real than fairytale. And, who doesn’t need a down-to-earth fairytale right now, right?
PS: Did I mention there are cute pups in this show? And that they make repeated appearances? <3
Let me preface this review by saying for the record, that The Longest Day in Chang’an is widely praised and loved, and is a bona fide hit with audiences in and out of China. In fact, a number of you have shared with me how much you love this show. And with good reason; Show is very, very solid, which I’ll talk about shortly.
Let me also say, that personally, my experience of watching this show felt akin to a very ordinary girl trying to date, understand, and make a relationship work with, an intellectual, aloof, highbrow, take-me-or-leave-me sort of guy. It’s the kind of thing that I’ve seen work out lots of times on my rom-com drama screen, but.. this didn’t quite pan out the same way for me, unfortunately. From start to finish, it felt like a fair amount of work to me, spending quality time with this show, and try as I might, this never blossomed into true love, sadly.
The bad news is, this is one of those highly raved C-dramas that I ended up checking out based on the buzz alone, and once again, I didn’t end up loving it as much as everyone else seems to.
The good news is, unlike shows like Well Intended Love and Where The Lost Ones Go, where I not only failed to understand the shows’ appeal, but ended up strongly disliking both shows, I feel like I can understand why people like Go Go Squid. And, I even ended up enjoying it, albeit in a more muted fashion than most.
After 41 episodes out of Show’s 60, I’m finally calling it quits on Ashes Of Love.
Admittedly, part of my brain is a little reluctant to drop this one, because, “Loads of other folks loved this one! What if you’re quitting before it gets good again?” and “You’re already two-thirds of the way through! What a waste, of the 41 episodes you did watch!”
Try as I might, though, I just can’t muster up the interest to continue with episode 42, so it’s gonna hafta be the end of the road with this one, for me.
Remember when so many of you asked me if I knew of a show that’s similar to A Love So Beautiful? Back then, I felt like nothing really fit the bill, but now, I can finally say that this lil show does feel like it’s a reasonably close relative of A Love So Beautiful.
It’s true that this one’s much more about friendship and family than it is about romantic love, but the world in which these characters live feels like it’s plausibly just a couple of neighborhoods away from A Love So Beautiful’s drama world, in the same nostalgic time period to boot. Both big plus points for me personally. I’ll admit that these characters didn’t come alive for me right away like the characters in A Love So Beautiful did, but I can honestly say that by series’ end, they’d gotten deep enough under my skin, that I was sincerely reluctant to say goodbye.
Which is why I think that if you loved A Love So Beautiful, then this one’s solidly worth a look.