Those most anticipated TV series of 2016

By Global Times - The Paper Source:Global Times-Agencies Published: 2016-1-3 18:23:01

Promotional material for Ice Fantasy Photos: CFP

Although the new year has just begun, screens both big and small are already bustling with films and shows looking to become the biggest hit of 2016. While Mojin - The Lost Legend seems well on its way to setting records when it comes to film, a number of contenders have already begun enticing audiences on small screens. 

Looking back at the year 2015, the majority of popular TV shows were adaptations of online novels. From The Journey of Flower to The Legend of Mi Yue, shows based on online literature IPs did not just become top-grossing productions, but also have helped lauch the careers of a number of young actors and actresses.

Looking at this year's TV lineup it looks like characteristics of previous successful shows, such as beautiful costumes, shows targeting female viewers and a reliance on star power, are expected to continue in this year's productions, while period shows and urban dramas will continue to build upon their already huge audience bases. 

'Jade Dynasty'

Adapted from the eponymous popular online marital arts novel written by Xiao Ding, drama Jade Dynasty looks like it will be a definite hit. Apart from the fact that original novel has been dubbed by some critics as the best martial arts novel since the era of Jin Yong, the drama boasts a cast of red-hot stars including Li Yifeng and TFBOYS. With such an huge built in fanbase, unless the show deviates completely from the original material it seems impossible for it not to cause a stir among TV viewers.

Of course deviating from the original material doesn't mean an instant disaster. While the recent adaptation of The Lost Tomb, also starring Li Yifeng, was highly criticized by fans of the original novel, it enjoyed incredibly high viewership numbers.

The drama began filming on December 5 and is scheduled to hit the airwaves on Hunan TV later this year.

'Ice Fantasy'

Many readers born in the 1980s may still recall the excitement they felt when reading Ice Fantasy in youth literature magazine Meng Ya (Lit: sprouting) in the early 2000s. Written by highly acclaimed author Guo Jingming, the novel is a fantasy story taking place in a world divided into two lands, one of ice and another of fire, and centers around the struggles between the two lands.

Now this publishing industry sensation is about to take on the TV market. One of the biggest productions this year, the drama has dedicated quite a lot of time and money on its special effects so as to recreate the fantasy world from the novel. The producers have even hired veteran Hollywood art director Dan Hennah, whose works include The Lord of the Rings films and The Hobbit, as art director. From the several posters released so far, the show does seem to fall in line with the atmosphere of the novel.

The drama began filming in August and is expected to hit Hunan TV this summer.

'Chinese Paladin 5'

Fantasy costume dramas Chinese Paladin 1 (2004) and Chinese Paladin 3 (2009) successfully allowed this game-based franchise to gain a foothold in the world of TV. This year's Chinese Paladin 5 is expected to maintain the franchise's high quality. Produced by Tangren Media, which built its reputation on the Chinese Paladin series, these dramas launched many of the actors and actresses that appeared in them to idol status. After Hu Ge and Huo Jianhua, will Han Dongjun, who will play the lead in Chinese Paladin 5, be the next big Paladin star?

The only concern facing this show is that the overall environment for period dramas has changed rapidly over the past two years. In the current era of TV and film productions depending highly on big name stars, the lack of big names associated with Chinese Paladin 5 has fans of the series feeling a bit nervous about its performance.

Filming since July, the drama is expected to debut this summer.


Spy dramas have had a tendency to attract young idols over the past two years. Sparrow, based on famous screenwriter Hai Fei's original novel, will be no different as it sees Li Yifeng and Zhou Dongyu in the lead roles. For those who are worried that the show is just trying to get by on looks can breathe a sigh of relief, as the original novel is well-known for its appealing storyline and quality characters.

Besieged by the prevalence of period dramas, Sparrow is expected to bring spy dramas back to the forefront this year.

The drama is expected to hit Hunan TV early this year.


Workplace dramas also seem to be making a comeback. It seems that since Go Lala Go! in 2010, shows focusing on the job market haven't attracted much attention. However, among the various urban dramas premiering this year, two workplace dramas are highly anticipated.

Simultaneous interpretation is a job that has been the successful subject of many Hollywood productions, but rarely has it made an appearance in domestic productions. Translator, starring Huang Xuan and Yang Mi, is expected to change this status quo.

Readers familiar with the original novel may understand the difficulty in adapting this novel. Sensitive plot lines about prostitution and drugs pose a difficult challenge when it comes to bringing this written work to the screen considering current broadcast regulations. As such, how much of the original novel will be kept in the adaptation is a concern for many fans.


An urban drama, Hunter is definitely aiming to be drama of the year. Depicting the lifestyles and careers of China's gold-collar workers, Hunter brings talented actors Hu Ge, Zu Feng, Sun Honglei and Zhang Jiayi together into one cast, while also featuring the direction of well-known director Jiang Wei, whose works include the highly acclaimed Lurk (2008) and Do Not Talk to Strangers (2001).

After demonstrating his acting skills in the popular Nirvana in Fire last year, Hu now has a chance to prove he has what it takes to star in a show set in modern times.

Newspaper headline: New year, new drama

Posted in: TV

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