March 3, 2024


Arts Fanatics

Types of Chinese Dramas – Modern, Period, and Ancient

It is common knowledge that Chinese TV series or Chinese dramas or C-dramas provide several choices and categories. However, most of us do not know what the varieties entail.

To speak comprehensively, C-dramas fall under three main groups. Each of them can have under it several genres.

In this article, let us see what the types of Chinese dramas are.

Modern Drama:

Suggestive of the name itself, Modern Chinese dramas depict stories set in the present progressive ages. They cover various aspects of contemporary times, including both the positive and negative sides of teenage life, political domain, corporate society, family sphere, etc. It can also portray global issues such as human influence on flora and fauna, mental health concerns like depression, and factors that could beget wars.

Modern dramas can be both real story-based and imaginary and generally cover all the genres that one can find in the market. The most communal ones are romance, a slice of life, action, adventure, horror, documentary, comedy, sports, suspense, and thriller. Using these, they can also speak for discrimination and stigmas such as homosexuality and black people’s rights. They can spread awareness on various themes like increasing student suicide rates.

Some well-known Modern Chinese dramas include ‘The Mystic Nine,’ ‘I Love My Family,’ ‘Dancing in the Storm,’ ‘The First Half of My Life,’ and ‘Love Weaves Through a Millennium.’ A few others are ‘Shall I Compare You To a Spring Day,’ ‘Ping Pong Life,’ ‘Our Glamorous Time,’ etc.

Period Drama:

These dramas represent the past and have a historical backdrop of either vague or a fixed era. They depict incidents that happened or could have happened in ancient times. The most prevalent Period Chinese drama genres are historical war, romance, suspense, horror, comedy, etc.

In Period dramas, the actors have to wear costumes to portray the historical context accurately. As such, these dramas are also known as costume dramas because of the cast’s attire.

A few exemplars include ‘The Spring River Flows East,’ ‘Wu Xin: The Monster Killer,’ ‘Too Late to Say I Love You,’ ‘Arrows In A Bowstring,’ ‘My Roommate Is A Detective,’ etc.

Ancient Drama:

Although similar to period dramas, these dramas differ in the fact that they may portray factual and actual events of the past. Ancient Chinese dramas encompass several genres ranging from romance to war. They show the glory and downfall of kingdoms, the achievements of war generals and strategists, the functioning of the inner court or harem, and so on in explicit details.

There are two primary subdivisions or varieties of Ancient dramas. They are:

  • Wuxia: Wuxia dramas depict the adventure of the Chinese martial artists in the setting of ancient China. This genre is mostly fiction, featuring the superhuman feats and acts of the duelists.
  • Xianxia: Xianxia dramas are close-knitted with Wuxia dramas, but they depict immortals. Influenced by Chinese martial arts and mythology, Xianxia dramas have a fantasy touch to them. In them, the characters can even fly on swords.

A few examples include ‘Towards the Republic,’ ‘Romance of the Three Kingdoms,’ ‘The Sleuth of Ming Dynasty,’ ‘Novoland: The Castle in the Sky,’ ‘Palace,’ ‘The Three Heroes and Five Gallants.’ Some others include ‘How Much Sorrow Do You Have,’ ‘Li Wei the Magistrate,’ ‘Heavenly Sword and Drawing Slaying Sabre,’ ‘Battle Through the Heavens,’ ‘Swordsman,’ etc.