Types of Chinese dramas: modern, vintage and ancient

It is common knowledge that Chinese TV series or Chinese dramas or C-dramas offer various options and categories. However, most of us don’t know what the varieties entail.

To speak comprehensively, C-dramas fall into three main groups. Each of them can have several genders.

In this article, let’s see what are the types of Chinese dramas.

Modern drama:

Suggestive of the name itself, modern Chinese dramas depict stories set in today’s progressive ages. They cover various aspects of contemporary times, including the positives and negatives of adolescent life, political dominance, corporate society, the family sphere, etc. It can also represent global issues such as human influence on flora and fauna, mental health issues such as depression, and factors that could spawn wars.

Modern dramas can be both imaginary and based on true stories and generally encompass all genres that can be found on the market. The most common are romance, a part of life, action, adventure, horror, documentary, comedy, sports, suspense, and thriller. Using them, they can also speak up for discrimination and stigmas such as homosexuality and the rights of black people. They can spread awareness on various issues like rising student suicide rates.

Some well-known modern Chinese dramas include ‘The Mystic Nine’, ‘I Love My Family’, ‘Dancing in the Storm’, ‘The First Half of My Life’ and ‘Love Weaves Through a Millennium’. Some others are ‘Will I compare you to a spring day?’, ‘The ping-pong life’, ‘Our glamorous time’, etc.

Drama period:

These dramas represent the past and have a historical background from a vague or fixed time. They represent incidents that happened or could have happened in ancient times. The most frequent Chinese drama genres of the period are historical warfare, romance, suspense, horror, comedy, etc.

In period dramas, actors must wear costumes to accurately portray the historical context. As such, these dramas are also known as costume dramas due to the attractiveness of the cast.

Some examples include ‘The Spring River Flows East’, ‘Wu Xin: The Monster Killer’, ‘Too late to say I love you’, ‘Arrows on a bowstring’, ‘My roommate is a detective’, etc.

Ancient drama:

Although they are similar to period dramas, these dramas differ in the fact that they can portray real events and events from the past. Ancient Chinese dramas span various genres ranging from romance to war. They show the glory and ruin of kingdoms, the achievements of generals and war strategists, the workings of the inner courtyard or the harem, etc., with explicit details.

There are two main subdivisions or varieties of ancient dramas. Are:

  • Wuxia: Wuxia dramas depict the adventure of Chinese martial artists on the stage of ancient China. This genre is primarily fiction, featuring the superhuman feats and acts of duelists.
  • Xianxia: The dramas of Xianxia are very close to the dramas of Wuxia, but they represent immortals. Influenced by Chinese martial arts and mythology, Xianxia’s dramas have a touch of fantasy. In them, the characters can even fly with swords.

Some examples include ‘Towards the Republic’, ‘Romance of the Three Kingdoms’, ‘The Sleuth of Ming Dynasty’, ‘Novoland: The Castle in the Sky’, ‘Palace’, ‘The Three Heroes and Five Gallants’. Some others include ‘How much pain are you in’, ‘Li Wei the magistrate’, ‘Heavenly sword and assassin saber in drawing’, ‘Battle across the skies’, ‘Swordsman’, etc.

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