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5 Awesome Chinese Dramas to Binge on Netflix Right Now 

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The holidays are here, and what better way to ring in the New Year than by bingeing on some of the best-rated Chinese dramas on Netflix. Whether you’re spending the next month solo or with loved ones, it’s always good to have some planned time to indulge. 

So make some tea, grab your dark chocolate, and check out five of the best Chinese dramas on Netflix. 

The One All Your Friends Have Seen: Eternal Love of Dream (aka Three Lives, Three Worlds, Pillow Book)

This was the most viewed TV show in China in 2020, according to Netease News, being watched 81.3 billion times. It’s not entirely surprising, since the prequel to the 2020 series, from 2017, which starred Yang Mi, was also massively successful.

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Adapted from the book Three Lives, Three Worlds, The Pillow Book by Tangqi Gongzi, Eternal Love of Dream stars Uyghur actress Dilraba Dilmurat alongside Gao Weiguang who also starred in the 2017 prequel. Dilraba plays Bai Fengjiu, the only nine-tailed fox (a frequent motif within East Asian mythology and folklore) in the world, who is attacked by a savage beast. She’s eventually saved by Dong Hua (played by Gao Weiguang), who is the first emperor of heaven.

What follows is a plethora of zany special effects, most notable among them being Dilraba’s transformations into fox form, as well as the story of blossoming love between the pair.

Watch Eternal Love on Netflix here.

The Classic Drama: Well-Intended Love

Starring Wang Shuang and Xu Kaicheng this drama has all the components of a classic Asian drama. Struggling actress Xia Lin (Wang) needs a bone marrow transplant and only young, rich, and handsome CEO Ling Yizhou (Xu) can help her.

But he’ll only do it if she marries him.

While the acting, chemistry, and setup are familiar, watchers be warned: many people find this drama distasteful because of the plot twist. We won’t spoil that for you, but let’s just say it involves some typically manipulative behavior that many Asian dramas portray in the name of angst.

Nevertheless, many people also love this drama and the dynamics between the two characters, making it one of the most popular dramas of 2019.

Watch Well-Intended Love on Netflix here.

The Not-Drama Drama: Day and Night

Day and Night is not the romantic drama that you might be browsing this list for, but it is certainly packed with drama and good acting.

The series is a loose detective procedural, following Guan Hongfeng (Pan Yueming) as he solves cases to exonerate his twin brother Guan Hongyu (also Pan Yueming). The twist? Guan Hongfeng is afraid of the dark. The incredible acting, intricate plot lines, and juxtaposition of the two brothers make this a compelling watch, trust us. 

Day and Night was actually the first show from Youku that got worldwide distribution, and its success in China (it has become one of the highest rated TV shows on Chinese reviews site Douban since its 2017 release) has resulted in a follow-up series which is set to screen in 2022.

Watch Day and Night on Netflix here.

The Historical One: Yanxi Palace: Princess Adventures

Story of Yanxi Palace has gotten a LOT of coverage since it debuted on iQIYI, with Netflix capitalizing on that success by rolling out this sequel at the beginning of 2020.

Yanxi Palace: Princess Adventures is a follow-up to the hugely successful show, which itself has garnered plenty of interest. One article online even called for Netflix to hurry up and show all of the series’ episodes.

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The sequel season is certainly abridged in comparison to the 70-episode Story of Yanxi Palace, with just six episodes currently on Netflix. While Story of Yanxi Palace followed the exploits of Wei Yingluo, who arrives in the imperial court to investigate her sister’s death before rising through the politics and machinations among various noble families in the court of the Qianlong Emperor.

Yanxi Palace: Princess Adventures, meanwhile, follows her daughter, Princess Zhaohua, and — while not as buzzy as Story of Yanxi Palace — has also been praised for its visuals and costume design.

Watch Yanxi Palace: Princess Adventures on Netflix here.

The Hidden Gem: The King’s Avatar 

Gaming dramas have been become immensely popular in China, and it’s no wonder, with the country home to over 600 million gamers, according to Statista.

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In The King’s Avatar, main character Ye Xiu is a trailblazer of online multiplayer game Glory. But when he gets forced off his professional gaming team in favor of someone younger and fresher, he works part-time at a local internet cafe — much less glamorous. When Glory launches its 10th server, Ye starts from the bottom, very quickly realizing that it’s much harder without sponsors or an in-game team.

The King’s Avatar then follows Ye’s journey as he tries to make his way back up from the bottom, charting the lessons he learns along the way. 

Watch The King’s Avatar on Netflix here.

Lakshmi Iyengar
    Lakshmi Iyengar is a Yenching Scholar studying health, economics, and modern China. Before moving to Beijing, she majored in Biomedical Engineering at Yale. Follow her on twitter @vlakshmiiyengar for insights on China and life