Latest News:  

English>>Life & Culture

Desperate concubines

By Lu Qianwen (Global Times)

08:21, January 28, 2013

The Legend of Zhenhuan (File photo)

Related Reading:
>> Will Americans be fans of Chinese TV drama?

Popular costume drama 'Legend of Zhen Huan' to air in the US

The most popular Chinese TV opera series of 2012 would undoubtedly be Legend of Zhen Huan, which depicts a fictional power struggle between the concubines of an emperor during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). The red hot TV drama not only swept the Chinese mainland, Taiwan and some Southeast Asian countries like Singapore and Malaysia, but it is now marching into the US market.

"It is expected to be broadcast on several US television stations in about six months," said Zheng Xiaolong, director of the show. As a veteran TV director in the country, Zheng's other works include Desire (1990, Zheng was the producer), A Native of Beijing in New York (1996), and Golden Marriage (2006).

"The US company watched Legend of Zhen Huan with English captions and were satisfied with it," Zheng told the Global Times in a phone interview, but he refused to disclose the name of the US company or the local television stations that will broadcast the show.

"They will re-edit the opera into six episodes, each of which will last from 90 minutes to two hours, and some new music will be added," said Zheng.

Power struggles

As a 76-episode drama, women take the lead roles and deliver the utmost of intrigue and scheming among the concubines of the emperor in ancient China. In the opera, Zhen Huan, a concubine played by famous Chinese actress Sun Li, beats all others and even the empress with her wisdom and courage, finally rising to the top position that a woman can reach in the ancient imperial palace.

Actually one reason the show was so hot in China last year is its delicately designed plot that greatly stirred up the audience's curiosity about the power struggle between those concubines.

A famous and beautiful cast of actresses, fancy costumes reflecting a certain period of old China, and an addictive storyline greatly contributed to the show's popularity among Chinese audiences. But to a US audience, the story will come from a completely different cultural background, and domestic producers are still anxious to find out how Legend of Zhen Huan will be received.

Director Zheng is certainly confident: "China has so many ancient costume TV operas, but none of them have been as popular as Legend of Zhen Huan," he said.

Besides the good story and skilled acting, Zheng attributed its success to the righteous historic values presented in the opera. "It is not a simple ancient love or idol story. It reflects the cruelty of feudal society including a tragic end for almost everyone in the opera including the emperor himself (who was cheated by his concubine and raged to death)," said Zheng.

"Through presenting the ruthless power struggle in the imperial palace during ancient China, the opera does not just criticize the feudal system, but also issues a warning for the current era," he further analyzed.

【1】 【2】

We recommend:

Beijing is in silver and white

Girlhood photos of Chinese stars revealed

A trip to sunshine sanctuary in Beihai

How sweet! Stunning pure ad girls

China's largest 'capsule hotel' opens in Qingdao

La Perla Spring Summer 2013 Lingerises

A young artist's life with wolf cub

Banquets at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse

Olympic medalist Michelle Kwan marries


Leave your comment0 comments

  1. Name


Selections for you

  1. PLA air force conducts air raid drill in S. China

  2. Y-20 gives air power a push

  3. 2013 Ilopango Air Show kicks off

  4. Apple retail stores hold sales activities

  5. In photos: Instant noodle & Spring Festival travel

  6. Shanghai takes a bite of Diaoyu Islands

  7. People on way home during Spring Festival

  8. Li Na faces falls, defeat light-heartedly

  9. Chinese prepares for Spring Festival

  10. Bright neon portraits of exotic life underwater

Most Popular


  1. Princess's unique perspective for cultural integration
  2. Who is to blame for death of 38 hostages in Algeria?
  3. US needs to rethink rebalancing
  4. Chinese consumption grossly underestimated
  5. Western debt addiction poisonous to world
  6. Only dialogue can melt ice between China, Japan
  7. Teacher says 'left-behind' children need respect
  8. Scientist wants food waste criminalized
  9. Japan's policies helpless to economic resurgence
  10. Why does shortcut mentality prevail in China?

What’s happening in China

China's weekly story (2013.01.21-01.27)

  1. Sansha taking shape with projects
  2. Foggy weather to afflict central, eastern China
  3. Chinese transport strengthened for travel rush
  4. Some things old, some things new
  5. The other new China