C-Dramas To Watch In January 2017 -- What Chinese Dramas Should You Be Checking Out This Month?

When it comes to East Asian television in general, Korean television pretty much has it locked down for international success. Ever since Hallyu began, all forms of Korean TV shows, especially K-dramas and K-variety shows, have become very popular around the world. The year 2016 was surely a testament to that fact as K-dramas like Cheese in the Trap, Descendants of the Sun, Uncontrollably Fond, Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo, and others were highly sought out among K-drama fans who do not live in South Korea, specifically those who live in China.

Thanks to Hallyu sources and streaming sites that favor Korean content, we are able to provide a monthly article on what K-dramas that fans should be watching, with the latest being released for January, 2017.

Ice Fantasy, Hunan TV
"Ice Fantasy" starring Feng Shaofeng and Ma Tianyu was one of the more popular C-dramas among international C-drama fans. The fact that Victoria Song of f(x) played a major role in the drama appealed to K-drama fans. [Image by Hunan Broadcasting System (Hunan TV)]

However, K-dramas will eventually have competition to worry about as other East Asian countries improve their television content for international appeal. Out of all of them, China is poised to become a viable contender with C-dramas, as they are becoming more popular internationally. Just last year, God of War, Zhao Yun, Ice Fantasy, When A Snail Falls In Love, My Amazing Boyfriend, Imperial Doctress, The Princess Weiyoung, and others were popular among international viewers.

"The Princess Weiyoung" stars Tiffany Tang and Luo Jin. The C-drama recently concluded and was one of the more popular C-dramas to air for 2016 to 2017. [Image by Shanghai Dragon Television (Dragon TV)]

With the fact that C-dramas are starting to make a name for themselves, K-drama fans might be interested in checking out a couple of shows this month. The question is, which shows should be watched? Fortunately, this article will provide a list of C-dramas that are currently airing for one's viewing pleasure. Before diving into the list, there are some things about C-dramas people need to know, especially those who are familiar with the way K-dramas are setup.

  1. C-dramas are often single series, but they often have far more episodes than most other East Asian dramas. The only country to beat them in sheer number of episodes is the Philippines.
  2. C-dramas are shorter in length per episode. Where K-drama episodes clock in about an hour, C-drama episodes are about 15 minutes less.
  3. Though C-drama episodes are shorter, more are aired per week. Sometimes, viewers can get an episode every single weekday. Usually, four episodes release every week.
  4. C-dramas tend to tell stories at a more detailed and slower pace. Where K-dramas are often dynamic in delivery, C-dramas like to paint the picture for the next scene.
  5. Finally and most importantly, C-dramas are notorious for their open-ended or interpretive endings. Simply watch all of Ice Fantasy of Scarlet Heart to understand this detail.
Now that the basics on C-dramas have been covered, here are the following C-dramas that fans, both veteran and newbies, should be checking out. Only C-dramas currently airing are listed, simply because Chinese television stations are often limited in the information they give out about their shows including debut dates.

General And I

The first C-drama on the list is from the Hunan Broadcasting System (Hunan TV) and is titled General And I. Also known as A Lonesome Fragrance Waiting To Be Appreciated and Gu Fang Bu Zi Shang, this drama stars Angelababy as Bai Ping Ting and Wallace Chung as Chu Bei Jie. It is the only period drama on this list.

Bai Ping Ting is a maid who is recognized as a genius during a time when men are considered the superior gender. As a woman both beautiful and intelligent, Bai Ping attracts the attention of the undefeated warrior Chu Bei Jie, who falls in love with her at first sight. However, in a time when the Jin, Yan, Liang, and Qin states are all warring, the two lovers are more than just star-crossed, but are likely fated to kill each other. Not to mention, the two also have more than a few secrets between them.

General And I will run for a total of 62 episodes on Hunan TV. For those who do not have access to Chinese channels, the C-drama can be viewed exclusively on DramaFever. Two new episodes will upload on weekdays, meaning there will be eight episodes per week.

Stay With Me

The next C-drama on the list is also by Hunan TV and it is titled Stay With Me. Also known by its literal titles Fang Qi Wo or Zhua Jin Wo, it is a fashion romance starring Chen Qiao En as Li Wei Wei and Wang Kai as Chen Yi Du.

After an accidental drowning, Li Wei Wei, a famous fashion designer, loses parts of her memory, which stop right before she turns 23. The boyfriend she remembers has now become her ex and rival, and instead, a stranger is her fiance. Li Wei Wei does not believe that she broke up with her ex, Chen Yi Du, and investigates the reason to as why they did. Her fiance, Qi Cheng, in order to protect and rekindle his relationship, uses all methods to prevent Wei Wei from her investigating. During her investigation, Wei Wei discovers that due to the hectic lifestyle of adulthood, she has lost the innocence of her original dreams. It was this very reason as to why she and her ex broke up. The now-30-year-old Li Wei Wei has decided to change her lifestyle. She plans to regain her purest emotions and dreams, as well as finding true love.

Stay With Me ran for a total of 45 episodes on Hunan TV from October to November, 2016, but it is finally getting an international airing, exclusively on DramaFever. Right now, only 39 episodes are available to watch but the rest will release eventually.

Pretty Li Hui Zhen

The third Hunan TV C-drama on this list is titled Pretty Li Hui Zhen. Also known by its literal title Piao Liang De Li Hui Zhen, it is the Chinese adaption of the popular 2015 K-drama She Was Pretty, starring Hwang Jung Eum and Park Seo Joon. It stars Di Li Re Ba as Li Hui Zhen and Sheng Yi Lun as Bai Haoyu.

Li Hui Zhen used to be gorgeous, but years of declining family fortune added much pain to her life, and her looks slowly drifted away. Her friend, Bai Haoyu, on the other hand, was once an ordinary looking guy and grew up to be suave, successful, and immensely likable. So when she comes across him years later and witnesses their reversal of fortune, Li Hui Zhen is too embarrassed to even meet him and instead asks her stylish friend and roommate Xia Qiao to assume her identity.

Pretty Li Hui Zhen will run for 36 episodes on Mondays and Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on Hunan TV. For those who do not have access to Chinese channels, it can be viewed exclusively on Viki.

Love & Life & Lie

The only C-drama on this list from another Chinese network besides Hunan TV, Love & Life & Lie is a drama by the Zhejiang TV (ZJTV). Also known by its literal title Yu Jian Ai Qing De Li Xian Shen, it is a romance drama starring Chen Xiao as Li Yao Nan and Zhou Dong Yu as Liu Xin Tong.

Liu Xin Tong is an optimistic girl who comes from an impoverished family. But when an accident occurs, Xin Tong and her mother are forced to move into the home of the wealthy businessman, Ji Bai Jun. There, Xin Tong lives with the two Ji kids, the spoiled Zhi Zhen, and the sweet Zhen Yu, and also meets their friend, Li Yao Nan. When both Xin Tong and Zhi Zhen fall in love with Yao Nan, can Xin Tong overcome all of the obstacles to be with her one true love?

Love & Life & Lie will run for a total of 38 episodes on ZJTV. For those who do not have access to Chinese channels, it can be viewed exclusively on Viki. Two new episodes will upload on weekdays, meaning eight episodes per week.

[Featured Image by Hunan Broadcasting System (Hunan TV)]