By Karen and Cathy
Chasing DramasJun 29, 2023
In the know - Chinese Pop Culture News - The Battle for the Top Spot
For Chinese dramas and movies, having top billing or Yi Fan 一番 is a huge deal for actors or actresses. Well, at least the fans think so. Karen and Cathy discuss what Fan Wei 番位 or billing spots mean in the Chinese drama/movie world and what types of spats happen by fans who try to push for their star to get the top spot.
The Longest Day in Chang'An - Ep 13: The Black Ink
In episode 13, Cen Sen and Xu Bin finally discover the secret of Que Le Huo Duo - ink stones made from oil will be the catalyst to burn down all of Chang An. The lowly Yuan Zai meets with Feng Da Lun but quickly discovers that the woman the Blaze Gang captured is more than meets the eye. He seizes his opportunity to climb up the ranks. In the meanwhile, Li Bi turns his suspicions to Xu Bin.
In The Know - Chinese Pop Culture News - Drama with Livestreaming
Livestreaming is a particularly popular activity in China with many products being sold via livestreams on popular apps and social media platforms. Recently, one of the most famous livestreamers Li Jia Qi was embroiled in controversy with how he behaved during a particular session. Tune in to listen to what happened and learn more about the world of livestreaming in China!
The Longest Day in Chang'An - Ep 12: Grasping for Opportunities
In episode 12, Zhang Xiao Jing and Cui Qi resume their hunt for Wen Ran and the remaining Wolf Squad members. Long Bo has other plans for these Wolf Squad members. We are introduced to a very peculiar man, Yuan Zai, who is determined to grasp his opportunity to climb the ranks in Chang An. Li Bi in the meanwhile believes there's a mole within Jing An Si and publicly arrests Xu Bin in an attempt to find the mole. Things are looking grim for both Li Bi and Zhang Xiao Jing
In The Know - 2023 Summer Chinese Drama Recap - Winners and Losers
With the summer over, Karen and Cathy share then completely and entirely "objective" thoughts on the winners and losers from this slate of summer dramas. Interestingly, there was no massive hit this summer akin to The Love Between Fairy and Devil last year. Outside of Wei Da Xun, there wasn't any other major breakout star. Yang Zi held her own and brought decent popularity with Lost You Forever Season One but didn't quite capture the same magic. On the flip side, there were quite a few losers, some more serious than others. Take a listen and let us know your thoughts!
The Longest Day in Chang'An - Ep 11: Reading Between the Lines
An esteemed general/eunuch Guo Li Shi arrives with a decree from the Emperor for Li Bi which on the surface is congratulatory but is actually filled with his displeasure. Zhang Xiao Jing enlists the help of a special Chinese dog to follow Wen Ran's scent while Wen Ran brings her captors to meet Long Bo. Tan Qi brings Zhang Xiao Jing's message to the Prince of Yong who somehow immediately follows Zhang Xiao Jing's orders.
September 2023 Chinese Drama Updates - Xiao Zhan, Esther Yu, Zhang Lin He, all lead a slate of new dramas
Ending August and starting September, we have a new slate of dramas including The Legend of Zhuo Hua starring Feng Shao Feng and Jing Tian, Love you Seven Times starring Yang Chao Yue and Ding Yu Xi, Wrong Carriage Right Groom starring Tian Xi Wei and Ao Rui Peng, Sunshine By Me starring Xiao Zhan and Bai Bai He, and My Journey To You starring Esther Yu and Zhang Lin He. Listen to our latest podcast as Cathy discusses our thoughts on them!
The Longest Day in Chang An - Ep 10: "Complete" Victory
General Cui Qi announces via the watchtowers that they had complete and total victory in eliminating all members of the wolf squad. Which is entirely untrue. Cao Po Yan and Ma Ge Er are both alive and have abducted Wen Ran to boot. Zhang Xiao Jing awakes and with Tan Qi's help, cleans up to start his second chase. Meanwhile, the news of victory is impactful both to the crown prince and the right chancellor.
In The Know - Chinese Pop Culture News - Call Me By Fire Season 3
A new season of Call Me By Fire is upon us! 32 Brothers compete to form a new boy band! In this In the Know episodes, Karen and Cathy are excited to discuss the brothers, their history in the Chinese speaking entertainment industry, and the ones we are most familiar with! We have Jimmy Lin, Nicholas Teo, Tiger Hu, Cai Guo Qing and so many more!
The Longest Day in Chang An - Ep 9: Superstar Concert
Zhang Xiao Jing is getting beaten up by the wolf squad members and figuring out how to escape while Captain Cui Qi is treated to a stunning performance by the superstar Xu He Zi who performs her rendition of the Short Ballad.
The Longest Day in Chang An - Ep 8: Old Ties
Zhang Xiao Jing has chased the wolf squad members to Xiu Zheng Fang but unexpectedly meets the young woman, Wen Ran, who seems to know too much about the Wolf Squad. Through flashbacks and also Li Bi's investigation, Zhang Xiao Jing old connections with Wen Ran's father during the military are discovered. Meanwhile, general Cui Qi is dragging his feet to help Zhang Xiao Jing while encountering a grand parade.
In The Know - Chinese Pop Culture News - Back to School!
In our latest In the Know episode, Karen and Cathy discuss the top 3 Drama and Theater Academies that have shaped the Chinese entertainment industry. Alumni from these schools have since become household names and major stars. Listen to hear about what each school is known for and why so many apply to these elite schools!
The Longest Day in Chang An - Ep 7: Upping the Ante
After an intense standoff in the last episode, in episode 7, Zhang Xiao Jing finally obtains crucial information about Long Bo and where the Wolf Squad might be hidden. The courtesan, Tong Er, who wanted to elope with her lover, is devastated to find that she is once again discarded by the man she loves. For Zhang Xiao Jing, this information comes at a cost. He can no longer rely on his old men for any information and must seek out Long Bo alone. Li Bi meanwhile stakes his own reputation and life on this mission, upping the ante for the entire Department of City Security
In The Know - Chinese Pop Culture News - Latest Chinese Slang of 2023
Do you know what Xian Yan Bao means, what about Tai Ku La, YYDS, u1s1? Listen to our latest In the know episode on the trending Chinese phrases and slang that's taking over Chinese pop culture this year! Be on the lookout for these phrases in interviews and reality shows and perhaps you'll spot them!
The Longest Day in Chang An - Ep 6: The Underground World
In episode 6 of the Longest Day in Chang'An, to find information about the token, Zhang Xiao Jing must negotiated with the leader of Chang'An's underground, a one Ge Lao. The information has a cost and Zhang Xiao Jing must decide if he will betray one of his own for the safety of all of Chang An. Listen to our latest podcast episode on this intense episode and a surprise guest appearance in the drama!
August 2023 Chinese Drama Updates - Dilraba Dilmurat, Gong Jun, Yang Zi, Cheng Yi all lead a slate of new dramas
Karen and Cathy discuss 4 new Chinese dramas currently airing in August 2023. Dilraba Dilmurat and Gong Jun headline The Legend of An Le 安乐传. Yang Zi stars in the first season of 长相思 or Lost You Forever with Tan Jian Ci, Zhang Wan Yi, and Deng Wei. Cheng Yi stars in Mysterious Lotus Casebook 莲花楼 with Zeng Shun Xi and Xiao Shun Rao. Finally, the sequel to 2019's 大宋少年志 or Yong Blood is also airing. Listen to our latest podcast to hear our initial thoughts about these dramas!
The Longest Day in Chang An - Ep 5: Expanded Threads
In episode 5 of The Longest Day in Chang'An, we're finally introduced to the mysterious Long Bo and get a good look at the woman Yu Chang. They have nefarious plans in place. Elsewhere, two women, Wen Yan and Wang Yun Xiu, are marching towards the Wolf Squad hideout hoping to capture some of them but are quickly outnumbered. Zhang Xiao Jing must find more clues and comes to the famous red light district of Ping Kang Fang. Answers do not come by easily and he must travel to the underground for more information. Listen to our latest podcast episode for more!
In The Know - Chinese Pop Culture News - What does "oily" mean in Chinese media
In this episode, we explain to you what the term “Oily” or 油腻 in Chinese media means. The reason why 油腻 or Oily is so topical is because poor Yang Yang has been blasted as 油 or greasy for his portrayal as Song Yan in Fireworks of my Heart or 我的人间烟火. Some go so far as to call him the new Oil King. Listen to our latest episode on the origins of this phrase and how it's currently used in Chinese pop culture
The Longest Day in Chang An - Ep 4: The Political Games Begin
Zhang Xiao Jing warns of an impending fire apocalypse but the political factions must weigh his words against the larger chest board at play. The battle between the Crown Prince and the Right Chancellor. Everyone has chosen a side, except for Zhang Xiao Jing but he must chose for the subjects of Chang'An instead. Listen to our latest as to how various factions react to the news and the struggle for power of Jing An Si
In The Know - Chinese Pop Culture News - Breakout Star of the Summer Wei Da xun
We’re solidly in the middle of summer and we’ve had plenty of Chinese dramas air already that were hoping to be that breakout hit of the summer. But, there has been a single person who has exploded this summer.
Who is this person? It is Wei Da Xun! He skyrocketed to popularity based his guest appearance as Meng Yan Chen in Fireworks of My Heart which stars Yang Yang and Wang Chu Ran. Listen to our latest podcast episode to find out why!
The Longest Day in Chang An - Ep 3: The Mystery of the Apocalypse
Zhang Xiao Jing chases the Wolf Squad member right into a religious ceremony. However, in the ensuing chaos, innocent bystanders and the Wolf Squad member are killed. Zhang Xiao Jing hears of a clue Que Le Huo Duo but cannot decipher it. He's quickly apprehended and sent to jail for causing this commotion, but in reality, it is to save his life from the mob. Zhang Xiao and the scholar Cheng Sen figure out the clue - an impending apocalypse. Elsewhere, we are introduced the Right Chancellor Lin Jiu Lang who clearly states that he opposes the Crown Prince.
In The Know - Chinese Pop Culture News - Coco Lee
*Note: This podcast episode contains discussions on suicide, depression and other mental health related issues. Please skip this episode if this is content that might be triggering for you.
Acclaimed singer and performer Coco Lee passed away suddenly on July 5th. It was a shock to the Chinese entertainment industry and perhaps a bigger shock to everyone when the death was ruled a suicide. Coco Lee paved a path for Asian artists over the past 30 years of her career. In this episode we discuss her career and the current aftermath of her death.
The Longest Day in Chang An - Ep 2: The Chase Begins
Zhang Xiao Jing is officially released from prison to find the missing Wolf Squad. He leverages his old spy networks to find clues about who sold the maps of Chang'An to the Wolf Squad and gives chase when he finds one in the city. In the meantime, Li Bi and the Crown Prince must plan their next move against a looming threat.
July 2023 Chinese Drama Updates - SO MANY SUMMER DRAMAS - Xiao Zhan, Angelababy, Yang Yang, Allen Ren Jia Lun, Bai Jing Ting, Zhao Lu Si + more all have new dramas out
Karen and Cathy discuss 8, yes 8, Chinese dramas currently airing in July. Xiao Zhan brings The Longest Promise or 玉骨遥. Angelababy has 2 dramas out: Twilight or 暮色心约 with Ren Jia Lun and 尘缘 Divine Destiny with Ma Tian Yu. Yang Yang stars in 我的人间烟火 or Fireworks of My Heart with his rumored real life girlfriend Wang Chu Ran. There's also Destined 长风渡 with rumored real life couple Bai Jing Ting and Song Yi, Hidden Love or 偷偷藏不住 with Zhao Lu Si, Snow Eagle Lord or 雪鹰领主 with Gu Li Na Zha and Xu Kai and 闪耀的她 or Stand or fall with Qin Lan and Wang Yang.
The Longest Day in Chang An - Ep 1pt 2: More than A Lone Wolf
The escaped member of the Wolf Squad, Cao Po Yan, murdered an elderly man who scooped him out of the river and heads to a barber to shave his beard to better escape in the crowd. Meanwhile, Zhang Xiao Jing recovers a detailed map of Chang An that the Wolf Squad were seeking, indicating a bigger plot is afoot in Chang An, bigger than just finding the lone survivor of the Wolf Squad.
In The Know - Chinese Pop Culture News - Too much Tea!
There's been a flurry of scandals these past two weeks. Pop Idol Cai Xu Kun was exposed with having slept with a fan and ordering her to get an abortion. In Taiwan, multiple celebrities including former Fahrenheit boy band member Aaron Yan have been accused of sexual assault or harassment. The 28th Chinese Television Magnolia Awards were held last week and fans were rather discontent with the winners. Listen to our latest podcast episode for the latest tea!
The Longest Day In Chang'An - Ep 1 pt 1: Welcome to Chang'An
Karen and Cathy discuss the first 20 min of episode one of The Longest Day In Chang'An. They introduce the layout of the city and how "fangs" work as well as the curfew system during the Tang dynasty. They provide an overview of how time was announced then and then introduce the main characters of Zhang Xiao Jing and Li Bi. Zhang Xiao Jing is an inmate on death row selected by Li Bi to track down a member of the Wolf Squad who escaped capture that may be intent on causing harm in Chang An.
Chinese Drama Reviews: Xiao Zhan's The Youth Memories 梦中那片海 and DiliReba's Prosecution Elite 公诉
The Chinese entertainment industry's biggest stars had dramas air in June. Xiao Zhan had success with The Youth Memories 梦中那片海 and Dilireba educated us on cybercrimes with Prosecution Elite. Karen and Cathy provide their thoughts on the drama and some ratings commentary for how these dramas performed in their initial airing periods.
The Longest Day in Chang'An 长安十二时辰- Intro to the Drama
We kick off our 4th season of Chinese history through Chinese dramas by starting our discussion of the Longest Day in Chang'An 长安十二时辰。 Based off of a 2017 book of the same name, this drama was nominated for and won numerous awards for acting, cinematography, production design among others. We provide a high level overview of the drama, discuss the setting in the Tang dynasty during Emperor Tang Xuan Zong's reign and introduce the two main leads, Lei Jia Yin and Yi Yang Qian Xi.
In The Know - Chinese Pop Culture News - Recap of Zhang Zhe Han's Downfall - Visit to a Shrine
In our latest In the Know podcast, we discuss the events that led up to the blacklist of actor Zhang Zhe Han in 2021. Fresh off his success in Word of Honor, the future was looking bright for the actor. However, photos of him visiting a Japanese shrine were uncovered in the summer of 2021. The backlash online and the government was swift and severe. He was quickly blacklisted from the Chinese entertainment industry. Listen to our latest podcast to hear the whole story.
The Story of Yanxi Palace - Wrap Up: Final Thoughts
In our wrap up episode for the Story of Yanxi Palace with the history of Fu Heng, Emperor Qian Long, and our lead Wei Ying Luo! We then discuss the impact this drama has had on our main cast including Wu Jin Yan, Charmaine Sheh, Qin Lan, Nie Yuan, and Xu Kai. Finally, we share our thoughts on our favorite characters and stories in this drama! Come listen to our final goodbye to this drama
In The Know - Chinese Pop Culture News - Popular CDramas Censored/Removed in China
As we round out our discussion on The Story of Yanxi Palace, did you know that it, along with RuYi's Love in the Palace are both actually unavailable to stream in China? Both dramas were removed and may never be available for Chinese audiences. We discuss theories on why these dramas were removed as well as a few other dramas that are still available abroad but have either been edited or removed in China.
The Story of Yanxi Palace - Ep 70: The Purged Empress
In a final confrontation on the dragon boat, the Empress Nala is dragged off after she cuts her hair as a way to curse the Empress Dowager and Emperor. The Prince of He similarly receives his just punishment for treason. As for Yuan Chun Wang? His background is finally revealed even though there are several questions that remain. We wrap up episode 70 with a plot recap and a discussion on what happened to Empress Nala in history.
June 2023 Chinese Drama Updates - Dilireba stars in Prosecution Elites while Xiao Zhan leads Where Dreams Begin; Ju Jing Yi, Vin Zhang Bin Bin and William Chan also bring new dramas
In June 2023, the Chinese entertainment megastars Dilireba 迪丽热巴 and Xiao Zhan 肖战 take over Chinese network television with separate new Chinese dramas. Re Ba plays a prosecutor in Prosecution Elites 公诉. a modern day drama about online crimes. Xiao Zhan plays a young man from Beijing in the 70s in Where Dreams Begin 梦中那片海 alongside Li Qin 李沁. Ju Jing Yi 鞠婧祎 brings a fantasy drama Hua Rong 花戎, Zhang Bin Bin and Wu Qian star in the modern day romance Here We Meet Again 三分野 and William Chan is a firefighter in A Date with the Future 照亮你。
The Story of Yanxi Palace - Ep 69: Treason on the Dragon Boat
We're nearing the final episode! On the fourth southern inspection tour, the Prince of He makes devious plans to overthrow the Emperor. The Empress, while not fully aware of his plans, agrees to play along. She believes that the Emperor has fully abandoned her. At night, rebels storm the dragon boat and a large fire breaks out. With the Emperor and Empress Dowager nowhere to be found, the Prince of He almost declares himself ruler. He is shocked to find the Emperor still alive. The Emperor coldly points out his treasonous behavior. Everyone in the room, including the Empress, is about to be betrayed by an unlikely person. Listen to our latest podcast episode!
Till The End of the Moon (2023) 长月烬明 Chinese Drama Review
Karen and Cathy discuss their thoughts on the recently aired and popular Chinese fantasy drama Till the End of the Moon 长月烬明 featuring Luo Yun Xi 罗云熙, Bai Lu 白鹿, Chen Du Ling 陈都灵 and Deng Wei 邓为。
The Story of Yanxi Palace - Ep 67pt 2 + ep 68: The Unsuspecting Puppets
Tensions run high between the Empress vs pretty much everyone else in the palace with Yuan Chun Wang as the master puppeteer. In several well planned steps, he manages to make the Empress and Prince of He think that a coup might be the best option to preserve their power and authority. All of this happens while the Emperor and the rest of the palace are planning for another southern investigation trip, a grand affair to the south of China.
In the Know - Chinese Pop Culture News - Sisters Who Make Waves Season 4
We're finally discussing this new season of Sister who Makes Waves! This is a reality singing competition where 33 ladies over 30 compete to ultimately form a girl group! Each season, we get a variety of ladies from different backgrounds showcase their skills to form this girl group. These year, we have Ella from S.H.E., Ada Choi, our favorite actress Alyssa Chia, Amber from f(x), Japanese singer Mai Mizuhashi, Vietnamese actress Chi Pu, host Xie Na and so many more! Listen to our latest podcast episode as we introduce all 33 ladies and discuss our favorites and thoughts from the first couple performances!
The Story of Yanxi Palace - Ep 66+ 67pt1: Two Princes with One Shot
While Ying Luo and the Empress do not want to attack each others' children, the eunuch Yuan Chun Wang steps in and starts wreaking havoc. He skillfully leverages a damaged gun to severely injure the 5th prince and also remove the 4th prince from contention while also causing the Empress to become the subject of the Emperor's suspicion behind this attack.
May 2023 Chinese Drama Updates - The Ingenious One and Back from the Brink currently airing; Joy of Life Season 2 starts filming; Yang Mi leaves JiaXing
In May 2023, Chinese dramas the wuxia drama Ingenious One 云襄传 ft Chen Xiao and Mao Xiao Tong and the smaller budget fantasy drama Back from the Brink 护心 ft Hou Ming Hao and Zhou Ye are currently airing. More importantly, the highly anticipated season 2 of Joy of Life or 庆余年 has finally started filming 4+ years after the airing of the first season. From initial photos, most of the main cast has returned including Zhang Ruo Yun, Li Qin, Song Yi, Guo Qi Lin etc though Xiao Zhan's return remains a mystery. He was just cast as Guo Jing in a movie remake for Legend of the Condor Heroes. Elsewhere, Yang Mi has finally parted ways with JiaXing Media or Jay Walk Studios which she was a primary stakeholder of after helping start the company in 2012.
The Story of Yanxi Palace - Ep 64pt 2 + 65: Turning to the Princes
The drama time jumps to the 30th year of Emperor Qian Long's reign and we are now focused on the princes in the palace. Ying Luo has given birth to the 15th prince as well as several other children in the palace while also raising the 5th prince who adores his adoptive mother. Meanwhile, the Empress Nala, who has become hyper focused on maintaining her youthful look, has to contend with Yuan Chun Wang's badgering that she should act to ensure that her son, the 12th prince becomes the next Emperor.
Intro to the Ming Dynasty Chinese Movie: Piercing Heart Sword (刿心剑）
Karen and Cathy provide an plot overview of the movie, Piercing Heart Sword 刿心剑, and explore the historical setting during the Ming dynasty as well as the powerful Embroidered Uniform Guard or Jin Yi Wei, the organization that the main characters are a part of.
The Story of Yanxi Palace - Ep 63+64pt 1: Beautiful Thorns Revealed
After Ying Luo hits rock bottom, Imperial Concubine Shun or Chen Bi furthers her plan by creating the opportunity for Ying Luo to escape with Fu Heng from the palace. She sets it all up with both Ying Luo and Fu Heng and then immediately turns around and tells the Emperor. The day of the supposed escape, the Emperor stops the water tank Ying Luo was going to use to escape only to find her eunuch hidden inside. Ying Luo and Fu Heng both arrive separately to uncover Chen Bi's true motivations. Turns out, Chen Bi was selected as a pawn to enter the palace and hates Fu Heng for saving her life.
Chinese Drama Update - Till the End of the Moon Mid-Airing Pulse: When Expectations Are Too High
There's still 2 weeks left before Till the End of the Moon wraps up airing but there has been plenty of controversy both about the drama and about the cast. Karen and Cathy share what's been the latest commentary about the drama and also their viewing experiences which has been negatively impacted by the generally negative commentary mainly due to the extremely high expectations set for this drama.
The Story of Yanxi Palace - Ep 62: Rock Bottom
In episode 62, the tide turns against Wei Ying Luo. Shun Pin successfully manipulates the Empress Dowager and even the Emperor against Wei Ying Luo. Wei Ying Luo is essentially left for dead as the creepy Yuan Chun Wang makes sure that she is given no sustenance. Shun Pin turns her gaze towards Fu Heng and plants the seeds of possibilities with Wei Ying Luo. What is Shun Pin's end game? Listen to our latest podcast episode to find out!
In the Know - Chinese Pop Culture News - A Crazy Rich Asian Wedding!
On April 18th, Actor Shawn Do and Founder/ Social Media Influencer Laurinda Ho tied the knot in Bali. Laurinda's father was billionaire tycoon Stanley Ho's personal life was just as gossip-worthy as any Chinese drama. Listen to our latest podcast episode covering the couple and why the Chinese media has been obsessed with this wedding!
In the Know - Chinese Pop Culture News - What Type of Chinese Drama fan are you?
Given the popularity of Till the End of the Moon and the various fans it has drawn, Karen and Cathy give a brief run down of the different types of cdrama fans there are in the Chinese language! Let us know what type of fan you are or who you are a fan of!
The Story of Yanxi Palace - Ep 60pt 2 + 61: The Last Woman Standing
The pain in Ming Yu's chest from the silver needle Noble Consort Chun left in her body all those years ago is now starting to get worse, at the exact time Ying Luo is working to help Ming Yu get married to Hai Lan Cha. Ming Yu does not want to get married because she doesn't want to harm the ones who love her with her possible death so she decides to end her life instead. This is devastating to both Ming Yu and Hai Lan Cha but they don't realize that Concubine Shun may have had a hand in Ming Yu's death.
April 2023 Chinese Drama Updates - Till the End of the Moon, Miles to Go, Pledge of Allegiance and more!
The much anticipated Till the End of the Moon or 长月烬明 featuring Luo Yun Xi and Bai Lu will air Thursday April 6. Meanwhile, Miles to Go or 人生之路 featuring Chen Xiao and Li Qin has garnered high viewership ratings on network television. Other dramas to highlight include Ming Dynasty drama Pledge of Allegiance 山河之影 that is flying under the radar, Royal Rumors 花琉璃轶闻 and Falling Before Fireworks or 最食人间烟火色。
The Story of Yanxi Palace - Ep 59+ 60pt1: The Princess Reincarnated
Ying Luo finally meets the beautiful Chen Bi who has captured the Emperor's full attention but also the ire of the rest of the ladies in the palace. Ying Luo decides that instead of helping the Empress kill Chen Bi, she would step in to protect her. During the Empress Dowager's deceased daughter's memorial, Ying Luo comes up with a plan to save Chen Bi's life which involves her pretending to be the reincarnation of the deceased princess. This works for now in saving Chen Bi.