Latest Remake of “Demi-Gods and Semi-Devil” Fails to Impress

Recent Chinese wuxia dramas have been attracting a solid following given the strong production values. However, the latest television adaptation of Jin Yong’s (金庸) classic novel Demi-Gods and Semi-Devil <天龍八部> – a popular choice for adaptation due to its intriguing story and colorful characters – have left fans sorely disappointed, with viewers giving it a historically low Douban rating of 3.5 – the worst rating in 40 years!

Poor Casting Choices to Blame?

According to reports, fans are most displeased with the series’ casting choices, commenting that lead actor Tony Yang (楊祐寧), who is known for tackling arthouse films, lacks the quintessential ruggedness of being dealt with life’s vicissitudes so central to his character Kiu Fung; with fans describing his performance in the drama as “greasy.”

Bai Shu as Duan Yu

Fans also took offense at Bai Shu’s (白澍) portrayal of Duan Yu, remarking that his side parting and ear stud styling made him “neither modern nor ancient.” They also pointed out how the actor’s slick aura was at odds with his character, a naive prince of Dali Kingdom, while many took brickbats at the director, whom they felt had made a “gross misinterpretation” by portraying Duan Yu here as an effeminate character in the series.

However, the most severe criticism was directed at Janice Man’s (文詠珊) portrayal of beauty Wang Yuyan, who had been previously played by Crystal Liu Yifei (劉亦菲), Idy Chan (陳玉蓮) and Carman Lee (李若彤). Labeling Janice’s Wang Yuyan as the version “most lacking in ethereal quality” so far, many pointed out that the Hong Kong actress was “more suited for modern roles,” while her lip-pursing and puckering to portray youthfulness also did not impress.

Out of the six remakes so far, the highest rated remake was TVB’s 1997 version, which has a score of 9/10.

Source: World Journal

This article is written by JoyceK for

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  1. i never think that janice man is the pretty type. she has a slim long figure good for modeling but not a pretty face. i don’t know why and how she got casted for the role also considering that she’s in her 30s.

    1. Well, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder like they say. I mean I don’t think she’s that pretty either but she’s decent enough to look at. If China can cast Michelle Chen as Dragon girl I don’t think casting JM is any worse? lol….If you remember that costar/ nowhubby of hers said she was the perfect dragon girl. Imagine that. I never like the series but her as the Dragon girl was all kinds of mess. haha

      1. Oh yes, Michelle Chen is a total turnoff. She gained no sympathy from me when she voiced out the stress and backlash she received before that drama was aired.

    1. Which is sad since they have more capital and more readily accessible beautiful nature to use for setting.
      Yet often enough, they choose the wrong cast or try to be “innovative” by changing or adding weird storyline. No one wants to watch Hong 7 Gong’s love life in ROCH just like no one wants to see Duan Yu wetting the ground (saw video comments on YT) after meeting his dream girl.

    2. I would not say so as ZJZ’s wuxia adaptions we’re very good. I think China can do very good wuxia adaptions if they have the right producer, director and everything else. I have seen some really wonderful wuxia and Xian Xia adaptations from China. You just have to watch the right ones.

    3. yeah, i love watching youtube how people roast wuxia dramas. alot of viewers think it’s bad too and say that w/ more money quality is in decline. like they focused too much on breaking out/ standing out then actual story telling. one youtuber said the clothing for a begger look brand new with details instead of roughened up how it really should be,

  2. I watched 2 episodes and gave up cause it was horrible lol. China really can’t do historical drama anymore

  3. Douban is filled with trolls and haters and does not represent general public. Ratings is what’s important. Anyway Jin Yong’s novels have already been remade to death so people will get bored of it eventually.

    1. While it’s partially true about the haters and trolls, the rating on DB usually gives a good indicator of general public opinion of the production quality. Good quality drama may not guarantee viewer ratings, just like award winning movie may not do well commercially.

  4. No idea how her performance here went, but I was actually hoping to see her play as Zhao Min from HSDS.

    1. I think it is because they are popular and have shot many newbies to fame. But they are getting redundant and extremely boring…

    2. Its for the new generation. Young folks dont like rewatching old series with actors who are now old. Least I didnt.

    1. Well actually I watched the 80s version too and that wasnt bad either but I prefer Wong yat wah as Kiu Fung.

  5. Contrary to others’ opinion here, I actually think Janice would’ve been an okay Wang Yuyan if her makeup artist didn’t do her dirty. They made her look more “made-up” than she should’ve been as a wide-eyed innocent teen. Although, I would say her acting is also kind of cringe when she’s acting petulant and trying to be shy. It’s very unnatural and def acting. I don’t agree that Liu Yifei is that much better (she isn’t even that pretty IMO), but at least age-wise, she fits the bill. And China definitely needs to give it a rest with the classics. They just can’t beat the originals, period.

      1. I agree. I think she is the prettiest version of the Dragon Girl even thou I don’t really watch the series. She’s not called “Sky Fresh” in Mandarin for nothing, I do feel she fits the bill of a goddess too unlike most of them who are dubbed being goddesses.

      2. @Linda @wm2017 LYF’s face looks like she has Botox…very one-dimensional and plain. But beauty is subjective. I don’t find Cecilia Liu pretty for the same reason…very plain and boring, but some will find her good looking.

      3. @Coralie You are right! That’s why it’s often said beauty is in the eyes of beholder. Cecilia Liu – You are not the only good who feels that way. I never find her pretty b4 or after her popularity to me she’s plain/very average at most. But you know sometimes people often find them attractive after a certain role they played. For instance, the husband of hers who paired up w her in that drama he is/was never good looking b4 or after he became famous as well but I remember comments on youtube he is as plain as can be but because they love the character he played in a series they automatically up his average as heck look to So handsome and male god. I remember thinking holy….him? lol ahhaaha

      4. Off topic, but Liu Yifei was totally miscast for Disneys Mulan for the very reason she is too pretty.

    1. @Megamiaow lol I think LYF is a total miscast for another reason, which is, she’s a terrible actress and can’t emote to save her life (too afraid to look ugly.)

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