Anticipated Series “Immortal Samsara” Drops Trailer
Starring Yang Zi (楊紫) and Cheng Yi (成毅), anticipation for period drama Immortal Samsara <沉香如屑> ran high and the xianxia drama was shortlisted by CCTV as one of the to-watch productions. However, a recent 12-minute long trailer triggered fan displeasure over the poor quality of its dubbing work – with the actors’ original voices overlapping with the dubbed voices, and the revelation of the entire plot progression which “left little to viewers’ imagination”.
1. Yang Zi’s Character and Styling Fail to Stand Out
Immortal Samsara is adapted from a novel of the same name by Chinese author Su Mo (蘇寞), and tells the story of Tang Zhou, Yan Tan and Yu Mo, who go on an adventurous trip and accidentally recover their lost memories. Tang Zhou and Yan Tan found out that they had a previous affinity, clear up their misunderstanding and get back together, joining hands to defeat evil à la sadistic Xianxia romance.
While the costumes, set, props and special effects in the trailer did not disappoint, and lead actress Yang Zi also performed up to her usual standards, her imaging and characterization in Immortal Samsara were not sufficiently differentiated from her previous acts in 2018’s The Destiny of White Snake <天乩之白蛇傳說>, Ashes of Love <香蜜沉沉燼如霜> and other xianxia dramas, and thus failed to impress fans.
2. Lack of Novelty
A key highlight of the drama is male lead Cheng Yi portraying three characters – the cold Ying Yuan, the wise and vengeful master Tang Zhou and the villainous Xuan Ye. While the trailer teased the charisma of the respective characters, the familiar themes of reincarnation, memory loss and sadistic romance prompted fans to poke fun at the production for simply lumping all the tried-and-tested xianxia plot elements together, with no breakthrough highlights. While it is unable to surpass the bottlenecks of the genre, Immortal Samsara could well become the representative work new-age xianxia drama if done well.
With the recent trend of historical idol dramas split into two parts, such as Ren Jialun (任嘉倫) and Bai Lu‘s (白鹿) One and Only <周生如故> having a modern companion series Forever and Ever <一生一世>, and this year’s The Blue Whisper <馭鮫記之與君初相識 / 馭鮫記之恰似故人歸> starring Dilireba Dilmurat (迪麗熱巴) and Ren Jialun also running two seasons, Immortal Samsara is riding on the wave in giving viewers two parts to catch.
3. Concerns about Dramatic Pacing
Reportedly totaling 80 episodes (released in 2 parts with 40 episodes each), viewers are apprehensive about the series being able to sustain their interest till the end. Besides concerns that it might suffer from unduly protracted storytelling that would dampen the drama’s overall ratings, fans of the two idols Yang Zi and Cheng Yi are also worried it might affect the reputation of the two leads.
Wait, wut? 80 epis? That can’t be right. Whatever happened to limiting series to 40 epis?
@Coralie The drama will be released in two parts, with 40 episodes in each part.
That’s still very long, but at least it gives viewers sort of a break. I have never watched any drama which has more than 50 episodes. The high episode numbers scare me.
Hopefully it will be good! Thanks!
Lol, no, it won’t be good, it will has so much focus on the second leads that ppl will whine about it like ashes of love, and with it breaks into 2 parts, many will not start until 2nd part starts or ppl will drop off and won’t be bother to pick up the 2nd season. YZ’s series is always long, I’ll pass. She can’t act, the story doesn’t seem to be that new or exciting, and with it being super long, it’s super water down!
80 episodes. Of romantic torture. I don’t think I can do it. My attention span is shorter as I get older.
Haha… same here. Definitely skipping this and stick to watching short clips on YouTube when it airs.
Longer drama can generate more income, whether it’s through selling the platform membership or to the tv stations. Inspire the regulations controlling the drama episodes, they are quick to split into part one and two like those dramas mentioned in the article.
And, I guess, therein lies the problem. When there’s money to be made, no one cares about quality anymore. I wonder if there’s any cost associated with having more than 1 season? Otherwise, what’s the point of having this rule instated to limit duration of dramas?
@BearBear @Coralie , I really hope we will see more well produced dramas. I read Yang Zi was not keen on this project but did out as the last project before she left her management company… She is keen to move on from such gene..But her management company was not flexible due to investors demand. I do not know how much truth that is to this news.
But “A Dream of Splendor” has given me some hope the industry may get better instead of getting worse…
@Hohliu Really? This was the last project she agreed to from her last agency? Aww that sucks that she didn’t want to agree…must be a sucky project. I will still watch cus I like her and I like him, and the plot is up my alley for angst and emotional payoff. I just hope fillers don’t kill all the time on it (wishful thinking perhaps.)
@Hohliu @Coralie heard about YZ having to take up this project as a farewell collaboration too when Jing Tian suddenly disappeared from the main casting lineup.
However, I’m starting to be skeptical in YZ is really diversifying her roles and moving away from period idol dramas with her latest filming of Lost you Forever. Haven’t read that novel but it sounds like yet another similar project.
On budget and cost, probably with longer dramas means having to pay the cast more if they are paid per episode but as a period drama, it will be more cost effective on the costumes, props and specially the setting that have been built for the production and being in used from episode 1 to 80.
Yea, I called it BS. Because the first drama YZ picked after she left her old agency is yet another pretty familiar drama, and guess what it’ll be 70ep long as well. So no, she isn’t trying to diversify her roles, and yes, I think she’s in it for the money rather than quality.
@Coralie I like Yang Zi’s projects too…in fact, the drama that got me interested in her was Battle of Changsha…she was very pretty in the drama, and her acting is very natural. So I will watch this too. just skip any draggy bits.
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