Chinese TV creates wave of foreign fans
Many Chinese TV dramas have been introduced into Japan in recent years. [Photo/Mtime]
Seventeen years ago, the South Korean hit television series, Autumn in My Heart, was all the rage in China, marking the beginning of hallyu, or K-pop culture.
There is no denying that South Korean culture, from makeup to fashion style and from music to films, has a huge following in China and Asia as a whole.
However, as many Chinese TV and film makers come up with new ideas and abandon the stereotype of learning from foreign counterparts, a new wave of Chinese culture is sweeping the world, gaining attention from foreign viewers.
Poster for the TV drama, Princess Agents [Photo/Mtime]
Ancient spy drama attracts foreigners' attention
"I really like this magical drama and I usually only watch Korean dramas or movies but I have to admit the Chinese actors are really talented and the story is wonderful," says Canadian online user Sara Rojas on YouTube.
The magical drama she refers to is Princess Agents, a costume detective drama that first aired on the Hunan TV channel on June 5.
Set against the backdrop of chaotic times during the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534) when innocent citizens are often kidnapped and turned into slaves, the drama follows a woman, Chu Qiao, as she rises from a lowly slave to a successful military strategist, as well as a female general in the people’s hearts.
Princess Agents releases two episodes a day from Monday to Thursday, and foreign online users can watch its English version six hours later on YouTube.
Even at such frequency, quite a few fans complain about the slow updates.
"Oh my Gosh! It is really killing me to wait for the English version. I just love the drama so much that I cannot wait to see the latest episode. I hope that kind Chinese users can quickly translate the Chinese versions in time to ease my pain of waiting," says 23-year-old Sey KompungCham on YouTube." Also, the actress Zhao Liying is very beautiful and I am a big fan."
尽管以这样的频率播放，也有不少影迷抱怨更新太慢。“哦，我的天哪，等待英文版本的更新真是要了我的命啊，我就是太喜欢这部剧了，我根本等不及要看下一集。我希望中国能快点把英文版的翻译好，以此来舒缓我等待的焦虑”这位23岁的Sey KompungCham 在Youtube上说到。“而且，女演员赵丽颖很漂亮啊，我是她的头号粉丝”。
YouTube account for Princess Agents [Photo/Mtime]
To appeal to foreign viewers, producers have set up an official YouTube account that boasts over 15 million views and 125,000 followers by July 12. Each episode attracts over 60,000 hits on average.
Chu Qiao has risen from rags to riches thanks to her guts and persistence. [Photo/Mtime]
What makes the drama a hit?
First, the timely updates and uploading of English versions contribute a lot to the drama's spreading.
"One of the greatest challenges for Chinese TV series' going global is the language barrier. As there are huge differences between eastern and western civilization, foreign people barely understand the plot without the help of translation," says professor Zhang Jingdong from the Communication University of China.
Since its premiere on the Hunan TV channel, Princess Agents manages to upload the latest episode in English within six hours on YouTube, gradually accumulating a bigger viewer base.
Second, the innovative story content and fantastic visual effects add some glamour.
At the beginning of the drama, the lead character Chu Qiao, together with other slaves, is belittled and preyed upon during a hunt by the aristocrats, solely for fun.
The ugliest nature of human beings is exposed to the fullest extent in the drama and some foreigners who are eager to know about ancient tyrant culture are interested in following the story.