Lately, I have watched a good number of Chinese TV dramas. While I enjoy the shows – more because of my Chinese background and I can relate better – most of them tend to be too lengthy.
Take Eternal Love (2020) as an example. 58 episodes equate to 58 hours of entertainment. I reckon a number of subplots could easily be edited out into perhaps 30 episodes (or made optional maybe… imagine a future of TV viewing whereby viewers get to define how concise the show they wish to watch).
All in all, story writing is top-notch. Chinese TV dramas are prone to plot flaws or plot holes. This love story spans over “three” lifetimes by and large makes sense. For those who are familiar with Chinese fantasy such as the path to immortality, the trials that entail, cultivation and essence, etc., Eternal Love is authentic.
The real gems of this TV drama are the leading actor and actress Mark Chao and Yang Mi. Their onscreen chemistry is believable. Yang Mi is such an elegant actress. Every bit of her acting I can see was carefully orchestrated. I look forward to their scenes, which is where the problem lies. The rest of the scenes are just not as good. Most of the supporting actors are just not as good. Hence my first observation, this TV drama is too lengthy.
Another flaw I would like to call out though is that the women of this TV drama are not well represented in today’s world. Men are too dominating. Most if not all the battles are won by men. Women are either hopelessly not as useful or purely wicked. In today’s standard, I am finding it hard to relate. Most of the time, I would just sigh or facepalm.
Also, if I were the scriptwriter, I may have wrapped up the story in a more grand and triumphant way, one that is worthy of 58 episodes of wait. Then again, I am not.
And why ain’t there more Yang Mi’s work on Netflix or Viu? That is disappointing.