Top 5 Chinese dramas that became popular overseas in 2019

By Wang Yiming
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, January 12, 2020
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Editor's notes: China has one of the biggest booming drama industries in the world. Dozens of new dramas are released every month, drawing in millions of viewers. In recent years, Chinese dramas have garnered more exposure and popularity globally. Many original series have been distributed overseas, bought and streamed on international video platforms like Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Rakuten Viki (the world's leading platform for Asian entertainment and culture) and MyDramaList (database and social community for Asian Dramas and Movies). 

From high-quality historical costume series to romantic love comedies, C-dramas have taken Asia and even the world by storm. has rounded up 5 of the most acclaimed C-dramas in 2019 (in no particular order) that have also proved to be smash hits internationally.

# The Longest Day in Chang'an (长安十二时辰)

[Photo courtesy of Youku]

Genres: Historical, Suspense

First aired: Jun 27, 2019 - Aug 12, 2019

Original Network: Youku

Available on: Amazon Prime, YouTube, Viki

Once it was aired on the Chinese online video platform Youku on June 27, 2019, the Longest Day in Chang'an, a high-quality detective thriller web series, became an audience favourite. Soon after in July 2019, it was not only released in other Asian countries, such as Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, and Vietnam, but also landed in North America as "paid content" on video streaming websites such as Viki, Amazon Prime and YouTube. This is the first time a Chinese drama series entered the monthly payment category in an American video streaming site.

Set in Chang'an, China's ancient imperial capital and the world's most magnificent metropolis during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE), the 48-episode series revolves around how detective-turned-prisoner Zhang Xiaojing (played by Lei Jiayin) and head of Chang'an's anti-terror department Li Bi (played by Jackson Yee), teamed up to stop a terrorist attack by a mysterious army in the capital on the eve of the Lantern Festival. The events in the drama series take place within a span of 24 hours.

Western viewers who have seen it are also hooked by its intense plot, awesome cinematography, as well as its exquisite and beautiful traditional costumes, makeup, and architecture that vividly and accurately portray life during the prosperous Tang dynasty. 89% of viewers on Amazon Prime gave it 4.8 out of 5 stars. A reviewer commented on IMDb, saying that it can be "considered the Chinese version of GOT", and praised the "the epic background stories, excellent acting, directing, elaborate scenes, and wonderful sound track".

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