TV Binge: All I Want For Love Is You (满满喜欢你, 2019)

All I Want For Love Is You (满满喜欢你, 2019)

all i want for love is you

Cast: Yu Han Liu, Zhao Hua Lu, Yin Jun Liu, Zhi Xun Xie, Yan Qing Sun, Xin Yu Han

A story full of laughs follows sanda fighter Gu Xiao Man and school genius Zuo An as they chase after love. Graduation is fast approaching for 3rd year high school student Gu Xiao Man. Unlike your average school girl, she is a sanda fighter who wins medals at the sport but not in class. Because she wants to continue to be schoolmates with her idol Zuo An, she decides to give the same effort to academics as she does to sanda. Her hard work combined with Zuo An’s efforts to be her personal teacher pays off and they get into the same university. There’s nothing sweeter than to have your crush crushing on you and their story continues on. – MyDramaList

Where to Watch with English subtitles

QUOTE/SCENE

STORY

All I Want For Love Is You is a simple love story. It starts off with neighbors where Gu Xiaoman likes her neighbor Zuo An. However, he is such a genius and she’s really just good at her martial arts that she feels like she will never be able to get his attention until one day, she accidentally rips his track pants and from then on, she catches his attention. Despite his cool exterior, he finds different ways to help her out to get to spend more time with her. However, they never truly find the timing or the courage to tell each other.

All I Want For Love Is You

All this is fairly similar plot line for these youth romance that runs from high school to university romance and following their dreams. There’s a lot of unrealistic things that happen here. That usually isn’t a problem since TV series are meant to have that magic to them that resolves issues making it hopeful and happy for the viewers as well. The story here has a good deal of fluff and it does also have some light-hearted moments. However, it does also have a lot of drama in order to create misunderstandings. There is two rivals, one who likes the girl and one who likes the guy, the former one is a lot more fun to watch than the latter.

The unique element done here that adds some fun comedic elements is that Gu Xiaoman dreams up these ancient China scenes where she plays this martial arts female hero and its all the fantasies that she has as she falls in love and then the misunderstandings which propel further into certain situations. Its a fun little mix-up to the story and gives this series a little more charm.

The story actually is fairly harmless and does a decent job at being an okay dose of light fluffy drama. The only issue that I can’t quite decide is a good or bad thing is how it decides to throw in some additional issues as the ending 2 episodes to give it a dramatic twist, which felt a little too contrived but at the same time, if that scene didn’t exist, the main female lead wouldn’t have been able to show her best acting skills throughout the entire series with a lot of depth. As of now, I’m still debating that point.

LENGTH/PACING

All I Want For Love Is You

Episodes: 32

Running at 32 episodes, there’s shouldn’t be pacing problems and yet, All I Want For Love Is You has that issue. One of the main issues is that the chase takes too long. The couple only get together after 80% of the series is done, which is absolutely crazy as it gets a little tiring and frustrating to watch them dance around their obvious feelings for each other and then go through various misunderstandings created by third parties. There is a good bit of stuff happening to these two main characters, whether its to do with school or friends or new acquaintances or love rivals and so on so forth. The question is whether its interesting enough to keep it fun. This series is aimed towards the youthful genre and usually its meant to more light and fluffy and yet this one seems to have a lot of drama and misunderstandings, making it a tad overdoing it at times. This series could easily have cut a few episodes to make a little more tight-knitted and paced better.

CHARACTERS/CHEMISTRY

All I Want For Love Is You is essentially a first love story and in many cases, finding their true love as their first love. With that said, this lies heavily not only on how the story sets up different plot points but also chemistry. Because this is a shorter series, there are less characters and pairings to look at.

Gu Xiaoman & Zuo An

all i want for love is you 3

The main couple here is Gu Xiaoman, played by Zhao Hua Lu and Zuo An played by Yu Han Lu. These two do have quite a good chemistry. Their acting skills are decent and their characters are structured to be more distant with Xiaoman being more shy but brave and Zuo An, the cooler introvert loner. Both their characters have their insecurities and their burdens which has time to develop and together, they change each other for the better. They just take  a little too long to actually get together. It builds up some good moments and they do have a decent chemistry. There’s an awkwardness between them and their first love reenactment that actually does work pretty well and the main development in character in terms of opening up definitely is in Zuo An who definitely is rather smart and sly to catch her in the most unexpected moment.

ChiYao La & Zhan Yue

all i want for love is you 5

The couple that starts off from dislike is the norm in most series. This time, its used for the secondary couple who actually are both best friends of Gu Xiaoman. These two are definitely the ones who break up the tension sometimes in the situation as they both have this silliness to them. Especially when they bicker. There are some pretty fun moments with these two. Although secondary male lead Zhan Yue, played by Yin Jun Liu, starts off as interested in childhood friend Gu Xiaoman and takes a slightly ambitious turn, the roles takes a nice turn with the help of the secondary female lead Chi Yao La, played by Yan Qing Sun. Just like the main couple, they spend most of the series as frenemies and as their friendship grows and their care for their best friend, they find motivation in each other to help each other reach their dreams together.

Love Interests: Sun Anning and Shen Chen Yang

all i want for love is you 4

Both Gu Xiaoman and Zuo An have their hurdles in their getting together. Gu Xiaoman as mentioned before starts off in high school with Zhan Yue liking her and trying to stop her from being with Zuo An (along with all the other girls who liked the school genius). However, the one who definitely made a bigger impact is Shen Chen Yang, a rather eccentric character as he has a pig as his pet but of course, also has a little deeper to his story as he hopelessly falls in love with Gu Xiaoman and of course is all quite unrequited because Gu Xiaoman only ever likes one person. He acts like the childish, attention grabbing sort of guy and a bit of a clown but has quite the character that creates an impression.

On the other hand, Zuo An’s childhood friend Sun Anning, played by Xin Yu Han, is a girl that likes him a lot and expects to be with him. Her story becomes a manipulative story of the usual variety where she acts a certain way but under that elegant and friendly exterior isn’t really what you’d expect. You can say that she does a good job because her character is very annoying and something of a mean girl with her two little minions at her side in some shots but then, she was just slightly frustrating to watch.

OVERALL

All I Want For Love Is You is a harmless series. It doesn’t do a whole lot to make itself stand out as the story itself isn’t unique enough. Its cast is young and they do decent in the chemistry department with what they have but as much as these characters are rather fluffy and lighthearted and its quite the romantic comedy style, they do add in a few dramatic twists to give it some substance. Its a fairly average viewing experience but one that will fulfill that quick dose of cute youthful romantic comedy story. It just seems to run around the chase a little too much for its own good, creating more drama than is needed and puffs itself up more than necessary. Still, they do manage some nice moments but in the long run, its not something that really is one to revisit.

Trailer
(because I can’t find any music videos)

What's Up 2020: Week 4

Welcome to this week’s What’s Up as we look back at the previous week, Week 4! Its been a crazy January so far and I’m going to have to first apologize for the infrequent posting schedule and the delay of this one being posted up later than usual and the lack of, you know, actual writing stuff. I will talk more about it in the January Adventures at the end of this week. However, Week 4 was okay. Last week was still in half crazy phase so still managed to get some time to relax. Let’s check it out!

READING

Currently reading: Buried in the Past

Buried in the Past is a pretty good book. So far, it hits a lot of elements that I like about both the story and how its executed. I’m actually almost done reading it at around 70% or so and its been able to capture my attention that I want to read it whenever I have a moment.

PLAYING

overcooked 2

Currently playing: Glass Masquerade DLCs, Overcooked 2

My recent obsession with playing Glass Masquerade and then finding the DLCs on Lunar New Year Sale on Steam took over my gaming habits despite needing to play something else (which I didn’t end up starting). However, Glass Masquerade is such a relaxing puzzle game that I honestly can’t help but to play it during this mega busy time at work to destress a little in small doses. Other than that, the husband and I are still trying to get through Overcooked 2. We enjoy it so much and yet, we also only play a few levels per sitting so it might take a little while longer on the currently playing section.

WATCHING

Crawl
  • Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong (2015 rewatch, Review)
  • To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018 rewatch, Review)
  • The Guardian Brothers (2016)
  • Crawl (2019)

I’m going to say this right now: Nothing beats watching creature features as fun little relaxing movie night. At least in my world that applies. Of course, nothing also beats rewatching romantic/teen comedies that I love which is pretty much what happened this past week with movies. Obviously, the two rewatches are my faves and thats why they tend to show up frequently in the watching section as rewatches but then To All The Boys: P.S. I Love You is releasing on Netflix on February 12th so call it prep..not that I need it since I’ve watched it so many times already.

Talking about new movies though, Crawl was a boxing day purchase and its been one that I’ve been looking forward to watch as a 2019 catch-up. I have to say that its one that was a lot of fun to watch. Sure, there’s some coincidence in the set up of the whole situation but they make a decent effort to make things logical enough. Plus, the alligators are done so well and there’s a decent amount of tension. I’ll be doing the creature feature eventually. The busy schedule pushed a lot of stuff behind so I’m not sure whether this will happen after the Valentine’s marathon (which should be coming up at some point).

BINGING

ashes of love
  • Ashes of Love (2018)

Currently binging: Who’s the Murderer 5, Eternal Love of Dream, Master in the House

After 63 episodes of Ashes of Love, I finally finished it. Well, physically I did, I guess but mentally, I’m not. All those last few episodes of bawling my eyes out has made this one stick in my system a whole lot longer than I expected. Why am I using past tense because who am I kidding? Its still circulating in my system that I need to rewatch my fave scenes. Still, regardless of that, the busy schedule has stopped me from making too much progress in the new series, Eternal Love’s “sequel” called Eternal Love of Dream. Its recently aired so that one is going to take a while to get all released but I literally just started episode 1 so I can say the tone is nice. I think they chose a good director (same as Ashes of Love) to do this one which is much more light-hearted couple. However, its hard to judge anything with one episode so I’ll talk more about it next time.

That’s it for this (late) What’s Up for Week 4!
Its been a hectic week and expect the same for next week’s recap!
However, things should get back on track soon (hopefully)!

TV Binge: Eternal Love (三生三世十里桃花, 2017)

Eternal Love (三生三世十里桃花, 2017)

Eternal Love

Cast: Mi Yang, Mark Chao, Ken Chang, Dilraba Dilmurat, Vengo Gao, Maggie Huang, Vin Zhang, Alan Yu, Lawrence Wang, Bambi Zhu, Wayne Liu

After a devastating war, the immortal tribe paid a heavy price to seal the demon lord. 70000 years later, in an attempt to re-seal the demon lord who broke free, Bai Qian was sent to the mortal realm. In the mortal world, she meets Ye Hua and falls in love with him after forgetting about her life as a goddess. Ye Hua gifts her the name of Su Su. Su Jin, who is jealous of Ye Hua’s love for Bai Qian, intentionally creates a series of misunderstanding between them and causes Bai Qian to lose her eyes. Thinking that Ye Hua has betrayed her, the devastated Bai Qian jumps off from the Zhu Xian Terrace. At her request, all her memories have been erased and she forgets Ye Hua. Hundred years later, the two meets again as deities. Another lifetime another world, Ye Hua recognizes Bai Qian but the latter remains indifferent. Three lives three worlds, her and him, are they fated to bear an entangling love? – MyDramaList

Eternal Love is currently available on Netflix (as on January 15, 2020)
You can also find it on Youtube via Croton Mega Hit Channel with English subs.
Below is the playlist:

STORY

ten miles of peach blossom

Adapted from the novel of the same name by Tang Qi and later translated, titled To The Sky Kingdom, Eternal Love aka Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms is the most watched Chinese Drama in China to date. The C-drama tells the story that spans over Three Lives, Three Worlds (as the Chinese title calls it) and as its about the love story that happens between the many trials and tribulations between Fox King’s youngest daughter Bai Qian and Nine Heaven’s Prince, Ye Hua. Their story is told over the events of the Sky Kingdom: Nine Heavens, Ghost Tribe, Kun Lun Mountains, Fox Clan and other fantasy lands as well as the mortal world. Suffice to say that, the story itself might sound a little back and forth with its focus on the three lives and three worlds for these two characters and their love stories.

eternal love baiqian

However, the story is done well that it gives room for each of the characters to grow and each love life in each world has their own depth. Plus, the supporting characters also have a good amount of entertaining filler to guide these characters. Between good and evil, love and trust, and the schemes and power balance, the story has a lot to love. It has its frustrating moments with some of the scheming characters but overall, its done really well.

LENGTH/PACING

ten miles fighting

Episodes: 58

58 episodes is the norm for a Chinese drama of this calibre. Anything set in the fantasy world and such always has the 50 or more episodes attached to it. Its something that doesn’t always work depending on what the story interpreted is. Surprisingly, while there are some small moments that feels like the plot stays or simply some characters being frustrating as times because of their stubbornness or whatever character trait (which I will talk about in the characters section below), the story does move forward.

It does so by giving it enough places to move around these fantasy worlds. Between the rigid rules of the royalties in Nine Heavens to the much more relaxed Fox Clan’s Fox Burrow  setting to the dark Ghost Tribe and the beautifully enchanting Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms owned by the Phoenix God, the story shifts from its political elements of war between good and evil to maintain peace and the romances and friendships that happen between the characters and with that, its own set of misunderstandings. There’s a decent amount of action scenes which are well-executed and the dialogue is done naturally, while giving it a good amount of space for building the chemistry between the characters.

CHARACTERS/CHEMISTRY

eternal love dilraba

If you haven’t noticed, characters and chemistry are my favorite parts of TV series and with Eternal Love and its 58 episodes and different worlds, we’re in for a ride in this section as there are some really good ones to highlight and talk about.

Bai Qian & Ye Hua
(and their 2 other lives/worlds)

eternal love 1

I’m not going to lie that its a little hard to totally figure out which romance this whole Three Lives and Three Worlds was initially for Bai Qian and Ye Hua but they do make an effort to point it out at the end which is pretty cool. There’s a lot to love about these two as their different romances each have a different sort of feeling whether its the type of love or the conflicts that happen that cause them to break apart and in the end, solidifies their love more by the end. Its the first time I’ve seen Yang Mi in this sort of role and she is so pretty in her various outfits and they match well with Mark Chao’s character in his various prince transformations. Mark Chao’s character becomes one that changes in his personality and not so much the lives prominently so its easy to quickly feel and connect with his character quickly.

Dong Hua Di Jun & Bai Feng Jiu

eternal love fengjiu dijun

While the main couple was done really well, this supporting characters of Bai Feng Jiu, the rare nine-tailed red fox niece of Bai Qian portrayed by Dilraba Dilmurat and Dong Hua Emperor Lord who is has lived so long that he has let go of emotions. These two are the focus of the sequel coming up this year. Suffice to say that they were done very well. Their romance is one that is not only fun because of Bai Feng Jiu who is a bit clumsy and naive but will do anything for love but facing Emperor Lord who seems to care but not reciprocate affections, it turns into a roller coaster of emotions that probably hits even harder than the main couple.

Li Jing

ten miles li jing

Li Jing is the second son of the Ghost Tribe Emperor and ends up taking over when his father’s war against Nine Heavens fails. He is a character that is one that isn’t very ambitious but at the same time, a rather frustratingly silly character as he constantly gets led astray by Xuan Nu, a childhood friend of Bai Qian who uses a prettier face to gain attention. Li Jing also is the first person that Bai Qian falls for romantically but due to Xuan Nu’s action, it causes them to break apart. Li Jing is not exactly a bad character. He actually fills up some of the spaces well as Xuan Nu is one of the “bad gals” who orders harm because of jealousy. Li Jing becomes a fairly tough character who stands up for peace and rights as the Ghost Tribe King and has a bit of character development that suits him well.

Bai Zhen & Zhe Yan

eternal love alan yu

I’m a huge fan of Alan Yu as an actor. There’s something very unique about him that I enjoy about him and as Bai Zhen (Alan Yu), the fourth son of the Fox King and the older brother of Bai Qian, he pops up occasionally in a very carefree and relaxed way randomly and yet him and his best friend (who seems like they have a special relationship) Zhe Yan (Ken Chang), a Phoenix Immortal both spend time together drinking peach blossom wine and playing Reversi and then randomly have arguments that makes Bai Zhen run off to his palace in the Northern Seas. These two are something of a comedic relief as well as surprisingly insightful guidance for all the characters and the myriad of dilemma.

There’s a ton of other characters that we could also talk about but I’m going to leave it at these top ones that truly appealed to me. However, one of the bad ladies in this one is the woman who loves Ye Hua called Su Jin and her role was to create a lot of the misunderstandings and misguidances that lead to a lot of the drama happening. As frustrating as her character was because she was able to get away with it because of her status, it was all merited because she was a character that had nothing to like.

OVERALL

Eternal Love is a much easier mountain to climb than expected. Other than the elements that I talked about for the story depth and the great fantasy world that is presented here with gods and fairies and spirits and a roundup of some well-written and well-developed characters, it also has some lovely visual effects. Every scene is done really nicely. Sure, some of the flowers might look a little fake in some scenes but overall, its done relatively nice for TV dramas. At the same time, as I was researching this up, the costumes are actually rather intricate with each one done by hand to show off the details for each of the characters plus all the sets were newly built to not have any replicas. Not to mention, the soundtrack here is amazing. Every song is so great that I almost wanted to share it all. Eternal Love is definitely one of the better Chinese dramas out there. Sure, its a bit long but it has enough content to make it really nice. If you watch the behind the scenes, its actually a pretty involved process between the actors and the director with how they work the script and how each scene is done. All things great for bingeworthy TV.

MAIN THEME

TV Binge: The Brightest Star in the Sky (夜空中最闪亮的星, 2019)

The Brightest Star in the Sky (夜空中最闪亮的星, 2019)

brightest star in the sky

Cast: Z. Tao, Janice Wu, Jun Feng Niu, Xi Yue Cao, Jin Song Wang, Lan Qin, Chloe Zhao, David Chen, Yi Ling Li, Jin Cheng Zhang, Ji Jia Liu

As singer-songwriter C-POP star, Huang Zitao plays a role of a recalcitrant idol who debuted and become famous since he was young. He deeply likes music and keeps persistent, that is similar with Huang Zi Tao. This time Yang Zhen Zhen is a newbie manager who just starts the work. Being a newbie staff, she faces various obstacles but she never gives up her music dreams. – MyDramaList

Where to watch it with English subtitles

QUOTE/SCENE

the brightest star

STORY

The best stories in dramas are those where both of the characters are made better because of the things they go through while they are pursuing their own dreams. The Brightest Star in the Sky is one of the few Chinese TV dramas that remember that the story is about two young adults who are pursuing their dreams and helping each other in the process. Their meeting was unexpected and it does feel like there is a certain coincidence to it but the central story is about the idol star Boxu Zheng (Z.Tao) trying to achieve his dream of making C-pop music so that the world can see the talent in Chinese music but his company always trying to sculpt him into something else and his struggle to find his footing and his way in the entertainment industry. At the same time, he ends up having Zhenzhen Yang (Janice Wu) as his assistant who turns to work in the music industry to find another option to still work in music while not having enough talent to perform music or become a singer.

The Brightest Star in the Sky

Their love story grows because of working together and understanding each other throughout the series. The love story is never a focal point while there are some cute moments between the two, its focus isn’t that and its what gives this story its unique angle, making it less of a forced situation but one with  more depth to grow both of these characters (as well as the supporting characters), making them easier to connect with.

LENGTH/PACING

Episodes: 44
Length of Episodes: 40 minutes

44 episodes definitely ranges on the higher end of TV series and will also suffer a little bit of dragging on. Fortunately, The Brightest Star in the Sky overcomes this for the most part. It still has some parts that linger such as a good chunk in the first quarter which is just struggling through the very frustrating love interest with Zhenzhen and Zhirui as they both tiptoe around the situation until fate just passes them by in some ways. For the most part, the drama does keep fresh new struggles and dilemmas to show up to play around with the characters and set loyalties. The most annoying bits might actually go to the actual management of the Star Entertainment with the CEO, his wife and the new VP that comes into the office and creates a somewhat fake love triangle. There are some issues here and there but luckily it remembers its focus on its two main leads and their story so when they are in the scenes, it always has a nice feeling to the scene especially as the characters develop.

CHARACTER/CHEMISTRY

The Brightest Star in the Sky

With that said, the characters in this series, whether its the main leads or the supporting characters are done fairly well. There are some typical roles like Boxu Zheng is the son of a rich businessman so his father has the typical role of being against his dreams and wants him to take over the family business while the sister stands by his side. The main family drama occurs in this level and actually is pretty fun at times to watch and also some of the more predictable elements of the story. Another element here is the character that plays a good friend of Zhenzhen, Gu Ye who ends up being the mentor to Boxu and sends him into a better training for his dreams. Gu Ye, played by Hong Kong actor Jin Cheng Zhang, is actually one of the best segments of the series throughout as it has both comedic moments but also inspirational and guidance to the younger characters.

The Brightest Star in the Sky

The second story line is the second male lead Zhirui Yu, played by Junfeng Niu who is the love interest of Zhenzhen at the beginning but also makes his sacrifices for his success in becoming a music. His character is one that is actually a bit frustrating as he always falls into this circle of bad things and of making decisions that he later seems to regrets. However, his character works best at the beginning and the ending episodes. The same goes for the girl playing Zhenzhen’s roommate and best friend, Xia Yuan (Xi Yue Cao) who ends up being quite the positive character until one little section nearing the end that makes her a bit more frustrating to watch.

brightest star 2

Finally, the main couple is the final one that probably the one that I’ve talked about the most as to how I feel about it. Boxu and Zhenzhen actually works really well together. While the series doesn’t the love in the forefront, they give it enough room to feel their natural connection to each other as soulmates and partners and lovers as their romance grows through their understanding and eventually has some really fun chemistry between the two people. Its a very positive relationship.

OVERALL

The Brightest Star in the Sky is a really well done TV series. Its plot is well-executed with its main plot being about following dreams intertwined with a romance between two young adults. Its done in a fun and comedic way for the most part but with some drama and struggle. It shows the difficulty of stardom and being an idol while in the entertainment business. At the same time, it tries to be a positive type of relationship as the two characters grow together. At the same time, where there are some by the numbers plot points, the characters are done rather well whether its the main leads or the supporting ones. The only elements that might be lacking are some of the not so well done visual effects.

MAIN THEME

What’s Up 2019: Week 47

Tranquil Dreams (49)

Wow! Time is flying! Especially with festival coverage hanging in the air! Another week is done and we’re only 5 weeks away until the year ends. Its crazy to think about that!

This past week has been very heavy on WATCHING and trying to catch up on some gaming, although a lot of straying off path. Let’s check it out!

READING

love potions and other calamities

Currently reading: Love, Potions & Other Calamities

Zero progress in reading this past week! I did try to but it has been a lot of the other things taking over the usual reading time I would have.

PLAYING

Rusty Lake Hotel

  • Cube Escape: Paradox (Review)
  • Rusty Lake Hotel

Currently playing: Afterparty, Rusty Lake Roots

Gaming has been moving forward a little more. I really wanted to wrap up the Cube Escape: Paradox completely before continuing anything else. And I got that done and even managed to take a breather from writing to start and finish Rusty Lake Hotel. It was a playthrough but still so much fun to play. Its a lot more grounded in the puzzles than Cube Escape: Paradox and that is why I prefer it over to Cube Escape: Paradox. With that said, the Rusty Lake world is a fun place to dive into with all its twists and oddities.

WATCHING

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

  • Paradox: A Rusty Lake Film (short, 2018)
  • Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000)

Not a whole lot of normal viewing as expected. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon is a continuation for recording for Movies and Tea. We still have a few episodes until we get there so I’m not going to say much about it but I definitely appreciate it a lot more this time than the last time I saw it back in the theatres in 2000 when I was much younger.

Blood in the Snow Festival

Majic

  • Funny Frights (Shorts Program, Review)
  • She Never Died (2019, Review)
  • Dead Dicks (2019, Review)
  • Sky So Blue (short 2019, Review)
  • One in Two Place (short 2019, Review)
  • Songs My Mother Taught Me (short 2019, Review)
  • Break In Break Out (short 2019, Review)
  • The Nights Before Christmas (2019)
  • Emerging Screams (Shorts Program, Review)
  • Majic (2019, Review)
  • Hunter’s Moon (2019)
  • Giltrude’s Dwelling (short 2019, Review)
  • EXT (short 2019, Review)
  • The Remnant (short 2019, Review)

Blood in the Snow Festival started a bit iffy for myself but its been a very strong last few movies so far. I wrapped up the week watching two very solid films: Majic and Hunter’s Moon. Both are unique in their own regards. The first with a great script and you can read the review now, so I won’t go too much into it. The second is a unique premise and how it was executed and also had a nice level of fun. I’m a bit behind on the reviews for the Festival but it’ll be done very soon.

BINGING

我们恋爱吧

  • Relation Ship (Season 1, 2019)

Currently binging: When I Grow Up, Viva La Romance (Season 2), Lipstick Prince (Season 2), Chase Me, Nailed It! Holiday (Season 2), Who’s the Murderer (Season 5)

I’ve started a lot of things that are ongoing or just finished but as the festival is taking up a lot of time, I just haven’t had as much time to catch up. Relation Ship actually wrapped up its first season of the reality show. While I have a few critics on the structure of it all and the feasibility, they did manage to give it a pretty fun time while feeling rather genuine. I’m ready to put together a huge post on this type of shows for fun. Its been in the planning for a while but decided for this to finish before discussing it.

That’s it for what’s up with me!
What have you been reading/playing/watching/binging?

TV Binge: You’re My Destiny (Fated to Love You/命中注定我愛你, 2008)

You’re My Destiny (命中注定我愛你, 2008)

fated to love you

Director: Ming Zhang Chen

Cast: Joe Chen, Ethan Juan, Baron Chen, Bianca Bai, Ai Zhen Tan, Bruce Chen, Jessica Song, Jack Na, Mei Xiu Lin

An ordinary girl marries a handsome heir after she became pregnant with his child from a one night stand. – IMDB

Updated Nov.15: Available on Netflix (Canada)

STORY

You're My Destiny

Back in 2008, You’re My Destiny was a big deal. I only remember because a lot of people were talking about it but I was in the phase of moving away from Taiwanese dramas so I never caught onto it until last year and recently rewatching it this year.

You’re My Destiny, which I remembered was called Fated to Love You is about an ordinary working class girl called Xin Yi Chen (a name that they emphasize is about as normal and regular as there are a ton of them in every location) who is what they would call a “sticky note girl”, who is a girl that just follows other people’s instructions and helps every way they can and doesn’t’ have a personality of her own. The set-up is that she goes on a cruise with her boyfriend to hopefully hold his heart but then due to all kinds of coincidences, she ends up meeting a the sole heir of a personal hygiene (most known for their natural soap) company Cun Xi who has been ditched by his girlfriend Anna and also through all kinds of coincidences, has a one night stand where she later finds out she gets pregnant and they are asked to get married. Can a baby bring together two people who don’t love each other?

LENGTH/PACING

Episodes: 39 episodes
Episode length: 40 minutes

39 episodes for any romantic comedy/drama series is always a bit on the long side. You’re My Destiny definitely feels like it runs a bit too long. It was much more fun before the whole separation, which while was needed the whole part in Shanghai went on probably a few episodes too long. The character development needed the shift but at the same time, the whole coming back together process in the portion after then took up a lot of time and felt like it dragged on for too long for the sake of adding in unnecessary drama, even though it did make the effort through it to take its time to address all the loose ends from Dylan (2nd male lead character) search for his sister and settling Cun Xi’s girlfriend situation as well as giving his assistant, his grandma and Xin Yi’s sisters all having some kind of wrap-up.

CHARACTERS/CHEMISTRY

As with most TV dramas, its all about the characters and their chemistry because that is what builds their ships. You’re My Destiny, where this is the original version, has some really nice characters. It has a lot to do with its cast. The ones that excel has to go to Joe Chen as the female lead as well as one of Baron Chen’s first roles as the second male lead as Dylan. Ethan Juan as the first male lead Cun Xi actually out of character design is the type of character that is hard to fight for because he treats Xin Yi really bad for the majority and is a rather selfish character, bad in communicating his feelings or even being honest with his feelings.

You're My Destiny

The first pairing to look at is the first female/male characters, Xin Yi and Cun Xi who has a fairly gradual development in their relationship especially as they get married due to an accidental pregnancy. However, it goes through a lot of bumps as it starts off with the anticipation of a divorce after the whole deed is done. Suffice to say all Cun Xi’s idea and the way he treats her makes it hard to root for his success in the second half of the series when it takes part when Xin Yi transforms herself into Elaine after a story plot transition. While parts of his resentment does make sense, its also a very spoiled character for Cun Xi that makes his character difficult to like, but elevates the other supporting characters like his grandmother or assistant that points these things out to him as he slowly (I mean really slowly) figures things out.

You're My Destiny

The next pairing is the rather one sided love of Dylan (played by Baron Chen) to Xin Yi which is brought together some kind of destiny as well. Dylan is the typical type of fantastic second male lead that feels very perfect both in his more mature approach to different dilemmas and being there for Xin Yi whenever she needs help and is neglected, as well as his willing to help her achieve her happiness regardless of his own and trying to make Xin Yi better. Everything that you’d want from a relationship for a lovable female lead like Xin Yi who feels very innocent but is somewhat bullied in her relationship. Call him her guardian angel or her ultimate support and backup but they were the relationship that we want to happen but of course, doesn’t.

There are some sweet moments between both of them regardless of the couples. Was there great chemistry between any of these pairings? They are some very good swoon-worthy ones. At the same time, some of the chemistry between the family relationship especially bringing in the element of Cun Xi’s grandmother who is the overdramatic and manipulative element that propels the story forward as well as Xin Yi’s family from her sister’s in-laws to her 2 sisters to her mother all adding quite a lot of comedic elements here. And well, there’s this somewhat square relationship so we can’t ignore Cun Xi’s actual girlfriend Anna who also wasn’t present enough but felt like she had a similar type of character to Cun Xi due to her selfishness and living by her choices and trying to play the pity card when things don’t go to her plans.

OVERALL

You’re My Destiny 2008 is the original version of this story made in Taiwan and holds the record for a highest average single episode rating. No doubt Joe Chen and its array of supporting cast with a lot of acting credits at the time of the airing that brought in a lot of its initial hype, this drama really shines because of her role as Chen Xin Yi. It brings out a type of girls and the chemistry works a lot because of her character development and the balance of comedy and romance. The series does do a change in between as the main couple separates and it can get frustrating watching now with the whole bad communication causing a lot of the issues here especially by the male lead that makes the story drag on at times. The series itself could definitely have benefited from wrapping up the last 10 episodes faster paced. Does it quite live up to its hype? I have to say that in the 2000s, there’s a lot of other series that probably delivered better especially on rewatchability. I rewatch this one mostly for Joe Chen and Baron Chen’s performances and the hilarious grandmother role that cracks me up all the time.

MAIN THEME

Other info related to You’re My Destiny, there are two remakes of this series: the first is a Korean remake in 2014 called You Are My Destiny and the second is a Thailand remake in 2017 called You’re My Destiny. 

What’s Up: Week 45

Tranquil Dreams (47)

Another week has gone by and we are into second last month. As things calm down a little, its slowly getting the projects back on track.

READING

Proximity

Currently reading: Proximity, Legends of the Exiles

Moving along with Proximity nowadays. Legends of the Exiles was put on the backdrop for now just because of re-evaluating upcoming blog tours and prioritizing what needs to be done. Both of them are still on my reading list right now and hopefully will be done. Proximity is a lot of fun to read so I’m definitely hoping to find a lot more time to just sit down and focus on finishing it up and see where the story goes.

PLAYING

Cube Escape: Theatre

  • Cube Escape: Theatre
  • Cube Escape: The Cave

Currently playing: Cube Escape: Paradox

I’m working through the last few games in the Cube Escape series to wrap up the Game Warp second half of reviews. Its really coming along in this second playthrough of the Cube Escape games as the story is piecing together really nicely and I’m seeing it all in a better picture. Cube Escape: Paradox is currently a first playthrough and its proving to be much longer with two chapters and I’m only on Chapter 1 right now and also much harder than its predecessors.

WATCHING

Eat Drink Man Woman

  • The Wedding Banquet (1993)
  • Eat Drink Man Woman (1994)
  • My Teacher, My Obsession (2018)
  • Sense and Sensibility (1995, Rewatch) Review

The main focus of this past week has been primarily the new season of Movies and Tea as we dive into non other than Ang Lee. We have had quite a few recording sessions for it so with wrapping up Father Knows Best Trilogy and then Sense and Sensibility prep, its taken up most of my viewing schedule.

No worries though, Blood in the Snow Festival is just around the corner and I’m doing some remote coverage so that’s coming up very soon as I need to work out the review schedule.

BINGING

Bromance

  • Bromance (2015)
  • Soft Memory (2019)

Currently binging: Lipstick Prince (Season 2), When I Grow Up, Viva La Romance (Season 3), Wait, My Youth (2019)

A productive week in TV binging for sure as I properly finished binge watching Bromance which was a ton of fun and really  got me incredibly involved by the end of it although I kind of guessed the ending (which really isn’t too hard as it was fairly obvious at a certain point). At the same time, Tencent’s Soft Memory also wrapped up. Bromance definitely has my heart as the series that really built up to something a lot of fun, plus there was a lot of romance and comedy and Megan Lai and Baron Chen really sold their roles really well. Either way, the TV Binge post will come up eventually. I’m stopping to make promises when as I have so many of those piling up. I did start up Wait, My Youth (called My Youth when it first aired on  whichever channel on Youtube that I can’t remember right now) and that’s been a lot of fun.

That’s it for this What’s Up!
What have you been reading/watching/playing/binging?