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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# The Story of Ming Lan (知否知否应是绿肥红瘦)

[Photo courtesy of Daylight Entertainment]

Genres: Historical, Comedy, Romance, Life, Family, Political

First aired: Dec 25, 2018 - Feb 13, 2019

Original Network: Hunan Satellite Television 

Available on: YouTube, Viki 

"The Story of Ming Lan" is a hit drama that stole the hearts of both Chinese and overseas audiences. This 73-episode series, now available on Viki and YouTube for global viewers, premiered in China in December 2018 on Hunan Satellite Television and completed most of its run in 2019. It was also translated and broadcast in Japan in October 2019. 

This slow-paced drama, as its title indicates, chronicles the life of Ming Lan (played by Zhao Li Ying), the 6th child of a concubine in the Sheng household during the Northern Song Dynasty period (960 - 1127 CE). It shows her growing-up years, from her childhood all the way into adulthood. Because of her mother's lowly position in the household, Ming Lan struggles to deal with her indifferent father as well as her stepmother and sisters who often bully her. She eventually rises to prominence as an influential figure in the Sheng family. 

With a beautiful soundtrack and cinematography, the series provides an insight into the everyday life of a family in the Chinese Northern Song Dynasty. It accurately exposes the domestic politics in a large and privileged household as well as the political machinations and schemes that take place in the imperial court. The drama also delves into the topics of family dynamics, gender roles, social norms, and marriage.

The Story of Ming Lan received a favorable rating of 8.9/10 on MyDramaList, 9.5/10 on Viki and 8.2/10 on IMDb. A reviewer on MyDramaList said the series is "a rich tapestry of Song dynasty life", adding that "each character and plot line, even the minor ones, have been written with so much raw detail that you feel every undercurrent of emotion simmering within." 

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