While we are still debating over the Chinese Censor Board’s obstructionism when it comes to Boys Love dramas, various production houses have spread their wings in that genre, which is fast becoming a global phenomenon. While Thai and Taiwanese BL are more broad-minded in their depictions of male on male romantic entanglements, Mainland China is still far behind. However, that doesn’t change the fact that these dramas, referred to as “Bromance” dramas, have very high production values that secretly hint at the taboo relationship between their main leads or daringly project their affections.
—Edited by TheFNGee
After the success of “The Untamed,” several shows like “Winter Begonia,” “The Sleuth of Ming Dynasty,” and “Forward Forever” followed in the footsteps of their predecessor. The producers have unabashedly made attempts to highlight the romance between their male leads, albeit in a subtle manner. The recently aired drama “Hikaru Na Go” even changed the original script to project a subtle romance between the main leads Shi Guang and Yu Liang. Taking advantage of this lucrative business, popular streaming portal IQIYI has ventured into the unknown. Yes, trying to beat their best competitor Tencent Video, IQIYI has an interesting line up of women-centric or “Girl’s Love” or “Sismance” (informal – a close but non-sexual relationship between women) dramas set to premiere in 2021, which are touted to take the industry by storm.
Dang Jia Zhu Mu 当家主母
Starring popular female leads, Jiang Angel and Yang Rong, also known as “The Matriarch,” the show portrays the story of strong-willed women who, despite being archenemies, work together to promote the art of weaving.
The drama is set during the Qing Dynasty, where Gusu’s weaving industry dominates the textile industry with its embroideries. The Ren family of Suzhou is particularly popular for their style of weaving. The master of the house, Ren Xuetang, has a gentle personality. At the opposite end of personalities, his wife Shen Cuixi is headstrong. One day, Ren Xuetang unexpectedly gets into an accident while trying to track down smugglers. With his whereabouts unknown, Shen Cuixi endures her grief, as she does everything to rein in control over the family business. She later joins forces with her rival Zeng Baoqin as they put on a united front against their enemies to protect the art of weaving from a rapid decline. IQIYI has released some interesting posters of the female leads, and their chemistry appears quite poignant and daring. I’m wondering what the Chinese Censor Board will say about this? The show will have 24 episodes and is set to premiere in 2021.
Dear Missy 了不起的女孩
This new show is one that I’m really looking forward to. First, the drama stars the two beauties, Li Yi Tong and Gina Jin, and secondly, it is being marketed as a loose adaptation of the popular American sitcom “Gossip Girl.” Yes, you heard it right. Dear Missy might not have the original content and will take a detour, but the storyline seems interesting.
Also known as Liao Bu Qi De Nv Hai, Dear Missy is a classic retelling of best friends Lu Ke and Shen Si Yi’s journey through life. They both have contrasting personalities but are each other’s closest friends. Their friendship ends after graduation, but nine years later, they meet and reconcile while working for the same magazine company. The two encourage each other, face difficulties, and overcome the setbacks in work and life together. The show will have 36 episodes and is set to premiere in 2021.
Couple of Mirrors 双镜
If you thought that GL dramas would be mild romantic parodies, then IQiyi is certainly going to shock your senses with this robust crime thriller. Also known as Shuang Jing, “Couple of Mirrors” is a suspense drama about the friendship between the main leads, Xu You Yi and Yan Wei. Starring popular actors Zhang Nan and Annie Sun, the drama follows the journey of a well-known author and an assassin, who support and encourage each other as they carve out their own paths. IQIYI has released some stills which paint quite vibrant dynamics between the two main leads. It’s obvious from the pictures that their relationship is beyond friendship and more than Sismance.
My Best Friend’s Story 流金岁月
Adapted from the popular Hong Kong-based show “Last Romance,” My Best Friend’s Story revolves around two women with different backgrounds and personalities who forge a deep friendship as they support each other through hard times in life.
Set in 20th century Shanghai, Zhu Suo Suo is born into poverty and is taken in by Jiang Nansun’s family. The two girls became close friends. After they step out into society, Zhu Suo Suo quickly made a name for herself in the workforce with her talents and exemplary performance. Jiang Nan Sun continues to pursue academics, earning a reputation as an intellect. However, the Jiang family later meet with financial troubles and quickly fall into despair. Zhu Suo Suo helps Jiang Nan Sun settle into the workforce by assisting her with living accommodations and work opportunities. With her hard work and knowledge, Jiang Nan Sun gradually transforms into an outstanding white-collar lady. Liu Shishi plays the affluent family girl Jiang Nan. On the other hand, Ni Ni will play the character of Suo-suo, whose only goal in life is to be rich and uses her beauty and wiles to achieve just that. The two main leads are gorgeous and are said to share a warm camaraderie.
IQIYI has released official stills for the show, and they are so warm-toned and classy that I’m dying for the show’s premiere. Also known as Liu Jin Sui Yue, the anticipated sitcom will air in 2021 and will be 45 episodes in length.
Fighting Youth 正青春
Romantic interludes in the workplace? We have found the right drama for you! Fighting Youth tells the story of corporate rookie Zhang Xiao Yu, and how through her extraordinary talent, she manages to earn the appreciation of Lin Rui, the Sales Division Director of a renowned cosmetics company, SW. The path isn’t easy, and both of our main leads are pitted against each other. The storyline focuses primarily on how they endeavor to change each other’s lives while supporting their cause. There are very few shows which focus on office politics or how women have to face severe hurdles to reach a higher-level position.
The upcoming sitcom’s main character is Lin Rui, portrayed by actress Yin Tao. Lin Rui is a sales Director in a reputed cosmetics company. Because of her achievements, she is touted to replace the current company boss Shu Wan Ting (actress Liu Min Tao). Unwilling to step down from her position, Shu Wanting cannily appoints Lin Rui’s rival Fang Jing (Zuo Xiaoqing) as Sales Director to lead a new Department. Caught in the middle of this messy set of office affairs is Lin Rui’s newbie assistant Zhang Xiaoyu (Wu Jinyan), who, despite the politics, manages to bloom both career-wise and romantically. The show is set to premiere on December 31st, 2020, and IQIYI leaves no stone unturned with its marketing strategy. The show’s new stills depict the office dynamics quite well, and I’m looking forward to catching up with this drama as soon as it premieres.
Keep watching this space as we bring you more updates from the world of “BL & GL.”