“A Dream of Splendor” Airs to Positive Reception

As Crystal Liu Yifei‘s (劉亦) anticipated comeback costume drama in 16 years, A Dream of Splendor <夢華錄> made waves upon premiering online. Besides reaching 2 billion in viewership, it also rose up microblogging platform Weibo as the most hotly searched term.

Motivational Plot
As a
pair of quarrelsome lovers, Liu Yifei plays Zhao Pan’er, the outspoken lady boss of a teahouse, while Chen Xiao (陳曉) plays Gu Qian Fan, a deputy imperial envoy. Premiering to good reviews with viewers hooked to the leads’ onscreen interactions, the first eight episodes enjoyed high viewership and enthusiastic response, with audiences clamoring for more!

Adapted from a Chinese opera by Guan Hanqing named Zhao Pan’er’s Flirtation Saves a Courtesan <趙盼兒風月救風塵>, the female-centric motivational story tells of how Zhao Pan’er is betrayed by her fiancé Ouyang Xun, and goes about seeking justice at the city of Bian Jing. There she meets Song Yin Zhang who was cheated in marriage and abused, Sun San Niang, who tries to take her own life due to a troubled marriage. With the help of Gu Qian Fan, the three become bosom pals and work to expand the tea garden business. Empowered in life, each is motivated to pursue their newfound happiness.

Strong Production Values Reels in Viewers
Liu Yifei’s character Zhao Pan’er is seemingly invincible, not only knowledgeable in art of tea brewing and dance, but also fights off unexpected bandits skillfully. Having met all sorts of persons while managing the teahouse, she was able to see through the ill intentions of a man introduced by Song Yin Zhang from just the latter’s dice-throwing hand gestures, in an enjoyable scene popular with viewers.

Liu Yan (left) and Jelly Lin Yun (right) play long-suffering women, saved by teahouse lady boss Liu Yifei from troubled marriages.

Another pro liked by viewers is the original voice acting by the cast which contributed to character development, in addition to the high-quality makeup, styling and costumes. Also impressing viewers is the film-like cinematography of the drama, which was mainly shot on set and hence created a sense of authenticity wthout resorting to post-production editing, “trumping (other) period idol dramas over the past 2 years”.

Fans Poke Fun at Liu Yifei Being Called a “Country Girl”

Nicknamed “Fairy Sister” and known for her celestial looks, fans found it ludicrous that Liu Yifei’s character in the drama is teased for being a country bumpkin and village girl, with Chen Xiao saying he needs to head to a winery to have his eyes washed purportedly after setting eyes on her.

Disbelieving netizens responded with comments the likes of, “Call me a country bumpkin anytime if I had her looks”, “Fairy Sister’s legendary looks are second to none in the mainland entertainment industry” and “Gu Qian Fan should go get his eyes checked”. Reminiscent of how actor Louis Koo (古天樂) was similarly critiqued for being ‘unremarkable’ in the TV drama Against the Bade of Honour <圓月彎刀>, netizens laughingly commented at how there was “unremarkable Louis Koo then, and country girl Crystal Liu now”.

Source: Upmedia

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  1. Love the cast!! Cannot wait to start watching… I really enjoy many of Chen Xiao’s projects…he is a talented actor. Liu Yifei is a hit or miss for me but she is very beautiful thus I feel she is a good pick. This looks like a worthy drama…well produced.

    1. I really liked him in Nothing Gold Can Stay. He had a hysterical guest role in Longmen Express too. I think I will watch this after I finish Daybreaker. I need a good romance drama with an adorable actor.

      1. Do share with me how you are enjoying this drama…Li Yifeng is not a actor I enjoy watching but I do like Song Yi… I find her very pretty…

      2. @Hohliu Day Breaker is interesting to me because of the layers of mysterious motives. If a question is answered, 3 more would come up, which is kinda frustrating but also keeps me engaged.

        I haven’t seen any of these actors before. I heard LYF’s Mirror of Twin Cities was not good and he was wooden there. Here, he seems more grounded. Song Yi is gorgeous but her screen time is peripheral. Lucky there aren’t too many action scenes with her because the way they filmed it was not very believable. I would say this is more of an ensemble cast because although they are the leads, I am more interested in the other 3 guys.

        Stephen Fung has great presence and charisma. Gong Hai Bin plays dark and tortured well. These 2 are the very grey characters and suspenseful backbone of the drama. Samuel Gu’s Liang Long is wickedly entertaining.

        It is the typical procession of bad guys, where one dies and the next one comes till we get to the ultimate big bad. So far the bad guys have been believably threatening enough. But it’s really a mental battle between the 4 guys that makes it different than your usual Hong Kong undercover.

  2. This is a good drama. I like all the actors especially Chen Xiao.
    He is a very good actor. Chen Xiao looks thinner in this drama than in “Simmer Down”. I’m looking forward to see more of his work.

  3. This is actually my first time watching LYF. She’s ok. I do like the fast pace, costumes, music, and Chen Xiao. He’s such a versatile actor.

  4. Love the story which was adapted from a famous Yuan Dynasty playwright Guan Hanqing. It’s refreshingly different from the all-too-cliched tropes in current costume dramas. The cast and production values all get high grades.

  5. This drama is getting so many good reviews, I will have to give it a try! This pairing does make me wonder if their respective versions of the Return of the Condor Heroes would’ve been better if they’ve just been casted with each other to begin with. Huang Xiaoming and Michelle Chen were such miscasts for me.

    1. Chen Xiao wasn’t in show biz at the time the first version was cast with HXM and LYF. In the other version, CX personally requested Michelle Chen to be cast as female lead, which paved the road to marriage in real life.

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