When Justice of the Dark <光·淵> starring Chinese actors Zhang Xincheng (張新成) and Fu Xinbo (付辛博) started airing in February this year, surprised fans and viewers thought that China had relaxed its rules on “Danmei” or Boys’ Love (BL)-themed dramas.
Fan Express Disappointment
Alas, no further updates were made after episode 8 and after a painful five-month-long wait, and when the series was recently removed from the platform, it is likely that anticipated dramas such as actors Tan Jianci (檀健次) and Chen Zheyuan’s (陳哲遠) Winner is King, originally slated for a March release, as well as Leo Luo (羅雲熙) and Arthur Chen Feiyu’s (陳飛宇) Immortality <皓衣行> which had been scheduled for an end April premier, might well be permanently shelved. Having amassed billions of related discussions on social media, anticipation for Immortality has undoubtedly
soared to a new-high along with with Leo’s popularity spike from the well-received Till the End of the Moon <長月燼明>.
After being frozen for 2 years, Jing Boran (井柏然) and Song Weilong’s (宋威龍) costume drama A League of Noblemen <君子盟> was aired to fans’ ecstasy at the start of the year. The drama, previously titled The Case of Mr Zhang<張公案> had navigated censorship with the renaming. Following its release, Youku proceeded with an equally low-profile upload of 8 episodes of Justice of the Dark <光·淵>, an adaptation of Chinese author Priest’s novel The Light In the Night <默讀>. Despite the drama’s official Weibo profile publishing only a teaser poster of the series without any cast actors, throngs of fans had responded with much enthusiasm.
Alas, the wait for its remaining 22 episodes stretched from days to weeks and eventually months, leaving desperate fans hounding Youku to continue updates, but to no avail. Abruptly taken down by Youku on July 7, crew members confirmed it will no longer be aired, adding that they feel as pained with everyone’s efforts going down the drain, given the tremendous difficulties they had overcome on the filming set to bring the drama to fruition.
The Controversy around BL-themed Dramas
The massive popularity of BL dramas Word of Honor <山河令> and The Untamed <陈情令> led to China’s National Radio and Television Administration announcing “Dangai” regulations in 2021, stating that only dramas that alter their content, or have its name changed can be receive the green flag for airing.
Other dramas which face the same fate include Chasing the Light <左肩有你> and Guardians of the Lands <山河表里>.