Monday, May 3, 2021

Currently Watching in CDramaland!

Hilarious in the Extreme: Watching Miss Crow with Mr. Lizard (2021)

36 episode series on VIKI (click here to watch)

Seen episodes 1-12.

The series is new so not all episodes are released yet.

๐Ÿ’— Watch the trailer with English subs below! ๐Ÿ’—

Allen Ren and Fair Xing (from Put Your Head on My Shoulder fame) are the leads, and Chloe Zhao (villainous VP role in The Brightest Star in the Sky) plays Fair Xing's best friend (a super refreshing change for her since I've only seen her play a you-know-what).

Due to being a victim in a horrendous car wreck when he was in his early twenties, architectural designer Gu Chuan (Allen Ren) undergoes an experimental heart surgery that replaces his own heart with a mechanical heart that is only supposed to last around 10 years. Ten years into the future, not only is he living on borrowed time, but he can't drink alcohol, can't really exercise since it elevates his pulse, and, you guessed it, romantic intimacy is out.

While he's living his calm, boring, borrowed time life, Jiang Xiao Ning (Fair Ching) comes on board at his company as his PA and driver. And she brings with her a bright, positive breath of fresh air. What's more, even if his pulse is elevated due to agitation, when he touches her, he doesn't give her an electric shock the way he normally does if he touches anyone or anything when he's in that condition (I'm hoping he wears rubber-soled shoes).

So, what we have here is a romantic comedy in a business setting with a science fiction twist! 

I'm only 12 episodes in, but I am LOVING this series so far. 

This will be a slow-burn romance, I can tell already, and that's perfectly fine with me. There have been a ton of belly laughs so far due to the antics of everybody, including the supporting cast, and I'm just really excited to see where Miss Crow with Mr. Lizard goes.

Warning: For anyone who might be triggered, there are a few scenes of attempted sexual assault and sexual coercion (not from any of the main male characters) and it is not graphic, but it is scary. The ML shines quite a bit though and I appreciate that both the FL and the SFL are made of pretty tough stuff.

Wild Adventures with Z. Tao: Watching Hot Blooded Youth (2019)

58 episode series (Fully subbed) from 2019 on VIKI (click here to watch)

Seen episodes 1-22.

๐Ÿ’— Watch the trailer with English subs below! ๐Ÿ’—

My knowledge of Chinese history is absolutely zilch. So I have no clue how accurate Hot Blooded Youth. I also realize that it will be prejudiced a certain way, so, yeah, that's expected.

I do know that Hot Blooded Youth involves the Shanghai International Settlement as it was in what appears to be either the late 1920s or the early 1930s. So we have foreigners (in this case the French and the British) who are given an obscene amount of privileges running around and causing chaos in Shanghai, rather like America's extension of the diplomatic immunity olive branch. As I see it.

Then we have our hero character, Wu Qian (Huang Zi Tao), wreaking another kind of havoc. He's the Dickensian type of Dodger character, the Jack Kelly from Newsies, the street rat named Aladdin, or the Thomas from The Maze Runner. He's the crazy kid with the bloated ego and enough charm to woo the tusks off an elephant. All of this explains why I love him and why I've become a dedicated Z. Tao fan in the last 6 months. He plays the obnoxious, charming, snarky type of male hero that I like.

Wu Qian is a street rat, or as he calls himself, king of the slums. He rules over one particular street in Shanghai and takes care of all its inhabitants. But circumstances throw him in the path of He Hong Yi (Sophie Zhang), a dedicated member of a revolutionary group. Together they take on a crazy challenge that could either kill them or win them a fortune. Throw in Wu Qian's oldest and best friend Wei Cheng Feng (Liu Yu Ning) and you have a complete set, made even odder because Cheng Feng is a temporary police officer which should put him completely at odds with his BFF.

The series is dynamite to watch. I've never watched anything from China set in the 1920s or 1930s and I gotta say that they worked at it with the women's clothing. Not the FL since she's unconventional in her clothing choices, but all of the other gals (or even molls since a lot of them are involved with gangsters) are dressed in very accurate 1930s clothing, hair, makeup, the works. It's awesome.

The first couple of episodes are campier than the rest. The filming style is a bit like Guy Ritchie, especially the openers which change based on what "chapter" of the story you're in. You finish one chapter and it leads into another one. Like, where I am right now, Wu Qian has been falsely imprisoned in a maximum-security prison. One of his enemies wanted a pet of his rescued from the prison and he also happens to hate Wu Qian so he kidnapped him and plopped him in there as a replacement. It's amazing what money can buy.

If you have time and are at all fascinated with the 1920s or 1930s then you will probably love this series. If you're expecting romance, this isn't your drama. It may get romantic since there is a zing between Wu Qian and He Hong Yi, I don't know, but that's not the main plot point. It's also possible that everyone may die at the end. I won't know until I get there, and it is slow-going since watching this show is a marathon, not a sprint. But for me Hot Blooded Youth is like potato chips, one episode is never enough.

Warning: Definitely a PG13 or TV14 rating for violence. Especially once Wu Qian makes it to prison. You would have really thought Z. Tao was being tortured by the reactions he gave. I actually cried a time or two. I don't like watching anyone being tortured. But miraculously, like Jack Bauer from 24, Wu Qian heals pretty quickly. ๐Ÿ˜‰

In other news, Happy Birthday to Z. Tao! I'm a day late, probably 2 with the time difference, but I wish you absolutely the best as you turn 28, and I am so sorry for the loss of your father that has made this birthday more painful than it probably should have been. Praying for you, Baby Panda. ๐Ÿ’—

Li Ge Yang as the Male Lead: Watching Always Have, Always Will (2021)

24 (30 minute) episode series available with English subs on Amazon Prime with a subscription (click here to watch). Or it's also available on YouTube if you search.

Seen episodes 1-7.

๐Ÿ’— Watch the trailer with English subs below! ๐Ÿ’—

I usually don't go for the shorter episode series, but do make a few exceptions, like in this case, for Li Ge Yang! If you don't know how much I love him, read my review for The Love Equations where he plays a nerdy second male lead (I was afraid playing the SML would be his fate forever). And the FL played by Dawn Chen is silly but cute.

Always Have, Always Will is your typical college romance story between a cold guy Luo Yan and a warm girl Fang Li. They were enemies ( ? ) in high school, from her perspective, and she's fuming that he's at the university. Not only that but during a round of something that looks like spin the bottle but not quite, he has to kiss a girl of his choosing and he picks her. She's mortified and determined to enact revenge!

It's not a super original theme, and I'm not usually a fan of the colder ML syndrome, but Li Ge Yang could probably play almost any character and make me like him. The characters are rather silly and I wish the subtitles on Amazon Prime were better since I think that would clear up some confusion. Crossing my fingers that VIKI will take the series on as a project someday. Li Ge Yang is growing in popularity and he's got several ML roles lined up in the future, but this is his first male lead role ever so I'm cheering him on.

There are some unfortunate bullying tactics at use in Always Have, Always Will, but I expected that going in with the enemies-to-lovers theme. I'm excited for the moment when they can acknowledge that they like each other and not be at war. I mean, I can tell the characters are attracted to each other, but they're just a little ridiculous when it comes to showing it. His jealousy isn't very pretty and he gets snide and arrogant pretty quick, one of the least attractive attributes in a man, IMO.

But Always Have, Always Will is fun and overall pretty bubbly and just a fluffy watch. Nothing too serious going on so a nice break from reality.