Three underrated Chinese dramas


Below are three relatively obscure Cdramas on the internet. All three shows feature impressive acting and writing, yet are rarely talked about today. It could be because these are all older dramas and without English subtitles online.

xiao ao jiang hu

Laughing in the Wind (2001)

Chinese title: 笑傲江湖 (Xiao Ao Jiang Hu)

Starring Li Yapeng and Xu Qing, Laughing in the Wind is an wuxia drama featuring a gorgeous soundtrack and well-directed cinematography. The series delves into the concept of “justice against evil”, which becomes increasingly murky as the definition of who is good and who is evil reverses in the series. People thought to be enemies are revealed to help the protagonist, while those close to him are actually traitors. The drama challenges the viewers’ easy categorization of good people and bad people, and such black-and-white comparisons are rendered meaningless.

happiness as flowers

Happiness as Flowers (2005)

Chinese title: 幸福像花儿一样 (Xing Fu Xiang Hua Er Yi Yang)

Starring Deng Chao and Sun Li, this republican drama tells the story of a dancer in the army who falls in love with a soldier who has endured much pain in battle. The series highlights two approaches to romance – one that strategically favors social status and security, and one that values love, even if fate dictates it will not last. As towards which method is worth pursuing, the drama leaves open to viewers, presenting two stirring, yet flawed relationships as case studies to the audience. Despite the action one might expect in a republican drama such as this, the genre resembles more of a slice-of-life due to its exploration of themes such as long-distance relationships, trauma, and a woman’s ambition in light of the traditional role society has assigned to her.

she diao ying xiong zhuan

Legend of the Condor Heroes (1983)

Chinese title: 射鵰英雄傳 (She Diao Ying Xiong Zhuan)

Starring Barbara Yung Mei Ling and Felix Wong Yat Wah, this work features a breakout performance from the leading actress Yung. The original novel has been adapted into dramas many times, but I think Yung’s interpretation most resembles the sassy and clever nature of Huang Rong’s character in the book. The wuxia drama details the story of two families who are very close friends, and the two sons from the families who grow up to be very different people. There’s Guo Jing, who’s kind and a little clumsy, and Yang Kang, a scheming and more heavy-hearted individual. Essentially the story follows Guo Jing’s journey as meets many people, including Huang Rong, who falls in love with him at first sight. This series is worth a watch because it feels legendary. The supernatural scenes involving combat appear low-quality, but such concerns are easily dismissed when the actors’ movements and expressions say everything otherwise.


2 thoughts on “Three underrated Chinese dramas

  1. Miss Attache

    LOCH 1983 is my all time favorite Asian drama. Are you sure this is underrated? This version IS legendary, and more so can be said about Barbara Yung. Her performance as Huang Rong has been set as the standard to which other actresses who played Huang Rong in the later versions are judged against.

    I remember a friend raved about Laughing in the Wind, so I think I’ll check this out 🙂


    1. coffeenlucia Post author

      I put LOCH 1983 on the underrated list mostly because I felt like it isn’t a widely talked-about drama online, nor is it a well-known classic that people new to Cdrama would know about (compared to, say, the latest wuxia dramas). Barbara Yung’s performance in the drama is indeed phenomenal.

      Let me know what you think of Laughing in the Wind if you decide to check it out 🙂



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