Top 10 Chinese Dramas in First Half of 2021
Many anticipated dramas have already aired in the first half of 2021. While some have trended during their broadcast, very few actually achieved phenomenal success. Below are the10 most watched dramas in the first half of 2021, with some surprises in their rankings:
10. My Best Friend’s Story <流金歲月>
The dual heroine drama starring NiNi (倪妮) and Cecilia Liu Shishi (劉詩詩) engages viewers with its realistic modern theme on female friendship and personal growth. My Best Friend’s Story‘s broadcast volume exceeded 1.6 billion as viewers enjoyed its smooth storyline, emotional scenes, and exquisite fashions.
9. Word of Honor <山河令>
With online views of 1.8 billion, acclaimed boys’ love (BL) drama Word of Honor ranks low on the list much to everyone’s surprise. However, this is because the drama is exclusively aired on Youku in China, which has been known to have poor playback performance compared to larger streaming platforms. Despite this, Zhang Zhehan (张哲瀚) and Gong Jun’s (龚俊) strong chemistry is well-recognized, and the drama has generated billions of discussion threads on Weibo and Twitter.
After streaming internationally on YouTube, Amazon Prime, and Viki, Word of Honor is coming to Netflix on May 28, 2021.
8. The Rational Life <理智派生活>
The older woman, younger man romance portrayed by Qin Lan (秦嵐) and Wang Hedi (王鶴棣) achieved views of 2.43 billion. The Rational Life‘s beautiful storytelling and chemistry between the leads unexpectedly overcame the initial concerns of their age gap.
7. The Long Ballad <長歌行>
Starring Diliraba Dilmurat (迪麗熱巴), Leo Wu Lei (吳磊), Zhao Lusi (赵露思), and Liu Yuning (刘宇宁), they certainly draw in a large number of viewers for The Long Ballad. Despite being the trendiest and most promoted drama in April, The Long Ballad did fall slightly short of expectations as total views were less than 3 billion.
6. You Are My Hero <你是我的城池營壘>
One of the sweetest modern dramas aired recently, the cute love story between a doctor and special forces captain made many hearts flutter. Played by Ma Sichun (马思纯) and Bai Jingting (白敬亭), they impressed viewers with their acting and chemistry. Raving with positive reviews, You Are My Hero‘s views exceeded 3.585 billion.
5. Rattan <司藤>
The sci-fi fantasy romance turned heads with its refreshing premise and good-looking leads Zhang Binbin (張彬彬) and Jing Tian (景甜). Rattan reached a volume of 3.95 billion views as viewers got hooked into the couple’s romantic sparks.
4. The Sword and the Brocade <錦心似玉>
Starring Wallace Chung (鍾漢良) and Tan Songyun (譚松韻), the arranged marriage romance was one of the most talked about dramas online. The Sword and the Brocade broadcast volume broke the 1 billion mark in the first week and wrapped up with 4.79 billion. Viewers were largely attracted to its realism, character portrayal, and the sweet blossoming romance.
3. My Heroic Husband <贅婿>
This unexpectedly sweet historical romance warmed the hearts of viewers with the lovely chemistry between actors Guo Qilin (郭麒麟) and Song Yi (宋轶). My Heroic Husband‘s cumulative broadcast volume exceeded 4.356 billion views, breaking records in iQiyi and is described to be one of the must-watch historical dramas in the first half of 2021.
2. Legend of Fei <有翡>
Led by Zhao Liying (趙麗穎) and Wang Yibo (王一博), the novel-based adaptation accumulated 5.408 billion views. Despite heavy criticisms for Legend of Fei relying on the cast’s popularity, the combined influence of the leads along with the highly read novel Bandits written by Priest still attract significant attention.
1. Douluo Continent <斗羅大陸>
With the hottest actor Xiao Zhan (肖战) as the lead, how could ratings possibly not be on the top for Douluo Continent! Its cumulative volume recorded 5.446 billion views despite few promotions. While the majority of viewers tuned in because of Xiao Zhan, the drama had decent rhythm and possessed many highlights.
Source: Beauty 321
This article is written by Minna for JayneStars.com.
Only watched an episode or two of some of them and gave up. The only one completed was The Long Ballad. #7 that’s depressing. haha lol….The Sword and the Brocade ?? This even made it to the chart? OMG…Do people really like BL?
Surprisingly, I finished My Heroic Husband (entertaining!) and Douluo Continent (this was due to lack of options lol.)
I like Rattan so far, but I haven’t been able to finish. But this is the drama that deserves best costume, hands-down. I haven’t seen such beautiful qipaos or refreshing outfits on an actress for a really long time. The drama’s costume designer deserves all the accolades s/he gets. The Long Ballad, I can’t get over how lithe Leo looks. He doesn’t have the convincing stature of a warrior, so I passed. The Sword and Brocade, I don’t like Wallace Chung. Word of Honor, it didn’t really drive me to watch on, to be honest. Once it got to the first climax where ZZS found out WKX is his junior brother from the same sect, the drama lost its appeal to me. Not sure why.
@coralie The Long Ballad. Did you try a couple of episodes of it as this Leo Wu was said to have work out for 4 months for abs and such for 2 shirtless scenes so people finally see him as as grown up in this role. I only remember him as a kid never seen his movies/series so I went in w/no expectations anyway. He did seem young in his Tang costumes but his tribal Grasslands costumes/hairstyles made him look so much older and not lithe. He seemed pretty convincing as a god of war leader but there were some shots he definitely looked young and esp those BTS. He does look like a typical 20 yo at the time of filming. But still it was not a bad look considering he was not the original actor to be casted and the original one didn’t even look cute or anything.
@wm2017 I watched until episode 10, so I did try. I even read part of the manga lol, you can tell I really tried to get into it. Btw, the Ashile Sun in the manga has more masculine mannerisms and acted like a brash warrior, quite a contrast from the refined (and I still think lithe) appearance of Leo Wu. When I say lithe, I mean someone like Luo Yunxi. If I didn’t see his ab photos, I wouldn’t know so many muscles hid beneath his clothes! I’m a fan of Leo so it hurts me to say he wasn’t playing the part I imagined.
@jayne Oh yeah, Doulou Continent was definitely slow to build up; I had to repeat episodes 1 a couple of times because the intro had me snoozing lol. But lack of options, so. The pacing does get better though. I generally like underdog/leveling up heroes, which is how I finished “Battle Through the Heavens” even though it sucked. Douluo had the novelty of the characters’ powers, the CGI effects and the action choreography, all really well done. The team spirit thing was also pretty cohesive. Some surprises here and there, but if those three factors don’t appeal to you, then you can skip without missing anything.
@coralie Fair enough!! I always tried like 2 episodes and if I didn’t it I dropped right after. Lol….Perhaps I didn’t read manga or expected anything so I was surprised to find it engaging as I really hardly ever watch historical dramas and I have never watched anything in completion of Diliraba’s drama’s either even thou she’s always cute in all of them. So it was a nice surprise that I was able to finish it even thou it slacked esp towards the end and the leads are like 2nd leads towards the end as well but whatever. lol….No drama is ever perfect. Anyway, Luo Yunxi I had to goggle him to make sure that was the one you were talking about. I watched an old series of him because Bosco was in it and he looked pretty cute/good looking back in the day. What happened to him now? He looked malnourished or what? haha lol…Like super skinny or something I don’t know he looks kinda weird to me now? I was like is that same person? haha lol
@coralie Appreciate your feedback on “Douluo Continent”–I’ll give it a second chance when there’s time. The CGI did look good in the trailer!
@coralie aww you were just getting to the good parts! I really started getting into the show after all the warfare and tactics started. Also i think Leo didn’t look good in the Tang costumes at all, especially the ones with the weird t-shirt looking collars (did not look historically correct at all lol) the shape just emphasized his narrow frame. His grasslands look were MUCH better.
@coralie I thought the first two episodes of “Douluo Continent” were a bit slow…does the pacing get better for later episodes?
I just finished watching the ending of “The Long Ballad”. It was not a perfect drama, and there were some slower moments in the middle of the drama, but overall it was very enjoyable mainly because of Leo Wu. I wish there were more martial arts scenes to show off his athleticism.
My favorite in the first half of the year isn’t on the list: The Imperial Coroner. It is rated highly on Douban. Would recommend to anyone who likes suspense period drama though the cast is quite unknown and the costumes and props are budgeted.
@bearbear I am watching that too! It’s a really interesting story so far. It’s nice that all the characters are clever and not full of drama against each other.
@potatochip Indeed! And no wishy-washy relationships development or meaningless love misunderstanding! I watched it with skepticism and ended up watching the first few episodes in one sitting when it was released. The drama has completed but I haven’t had time to catch the remaining 10 episodes, hope it keeps it’s quality till the end.
There are flaws in the acting but much tolerable than the bad, expressionless wooden acting that is quite common in the young leading actors and actresses these days.
@bearbear Yes, the actors are still raw, especially the lead actress. Apparently the dubbing is off at times too. But they are so much better than TVB’s young actors already. The second male lead really makes me laugh with his smirks. I am up to episode 23, story has been so intriguing.
@potatochip Not only better than some of the TVB younger actors but some of the mainland ones as well. I actually like her a lot in “Young Blood” (one reason why I attempted to watch the first episode of this). The supporting male is funny and looks better than the male lead in their official costume but the male lead grows on me. I actually enjoy the scenes between the two guys most.
@bearbear I’ve been seeing clips of this show on my youtube feed and can’t decide if I should commit lol…the FL has a bit of that ditzy look/acting style that annoys me but the storyline seems interesting and reminds me a lot of Kusuriya no Hitorigoto (an amazing manga btw)
@jintianxiayue she shows her ability at work for sure though she isn’t the smartest at other times. The female leading acting needs improvement but the three young cast (leading and supporting) are relatively unknown, having participated in very few drama as supporting characters (think the ML was a ML before) so I am willing to bear with the acting which is still watchable.
Maybe you want to try the first few episodes. I too started with skepticism then before I knew it, completed whatever episodes were available at that time. It’s the storyline.
Never read the manga you mention, the last I did read suspense manga or watch one was Kindaichi anime which I love. Is Kusuriya adapted into anime?
@bearbear I’ve been out of touch with Asian dramas lately and appreciate the recommendation. I started The Imperial Coroner last night and was up way past my bedtime! Looking forward to more.
@ladyzhuge so happy you tried and enjoy it! I have been recommending to others but most remain disinterested because the cast is so unknown. According to the director, they spent a lot of time preparing it but they were so tight in their budget that the initial leading actress (not sure who) turned down because of the pay. They also had to get their fellow actors and actresses friends to help to play a role at very low fee.
What I like most about this drama is the storyline and the main and supporting characters are likeable. I just hope it remains good till the very last episode.
@ladyzhuge I too watched last my usual bedtime during the first night watching it. Luckily it only released a few episodes back then.
@bearbear “watched past”. Unable to edit.
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