New Chinese period series focuses on women’s power
Creating a ‘Legacy’
Published: May 29, 2022 05:00 PM
Promotional material for <em>Legacy</em> Photo: Courtesy of Huanyu TV

Promotional material for Legacy Photo: Courtesy of Huanyu TV

Promotional material for <em>Legacy</em> Photo: Courtesy of Huanyu TV

Promotional material for Legacy Photo: Courtesy of Huanyu TV

"From loving our own family to loving the bigger family that is our motherland, the character grows up in the TV series and comes to understand the concept that where there is a country, there can be a home," actress Wu Jinyan, who stars in the 45-episode Chinese period TV series Legacy, told the Global Times.

In this series, Wu, who played the leading role Yao Zijin in the 2022 hit history series Royal Feast, plays the second daughter in the Yi family, which owns a department store in Shanghai.

Coming together

The series that debuted on May 19 and based in Shanghai during the 1920s to 1940s focuses on the Yi family's three daughters - Yi Zhongling (Qin Lan), Yi Zhongyu (Wu) and Yi Zhongxiu (Zhang Nan) - and demonstrates the power of women as they unite together to save their family and support their country during turbulent times.

As their brother decides to become a doctor, the three daughters are up to inherit the position to run the business from their father. 

The three daughters are competitors at the beginning and even have some misunderstandings between each other when competing for the right of succession.

Wu explained that her character is like a hedgehog with a hard and barbed exterior because of her miserable childhood, while her heart is soft and is longing for love.

These leading characters all experience growth during the series. In 1941 when Japanese invaders occupy Shanghai, the father is killed for supporting patriotic anti-invasion activities and refusing to kowtow to the occupiers. In order to realize their father's wish of rejuvenating the country through industry, the three women finally unite and overcome difficulties together.

Wu is no stranger to shows focusing on the power of women as she is appearing in the third season of Sisters Who Make Waves on Mango TV, which gathers Chinese female entertainers together and allows them to show off their talents. She said that while she was on the show, she saw the various charms possessed by women and is trying to challenge herself to make a breakthrough.

"I think the two shows are similar in that the women in both are all uniting together to fight against difficulties and fulfill a unified goal," Wu said.

Family culture

Wang Wei, director of the series which is aired at China's streaming platform Youku, said that Chinese "family culture" is another focus of the work and that this can be reflected in its Chinese title, Chuanjia (lit: Pass down through the family)

"This also refers to passing on love. This love includes love between relatives and love of the motherland. Audiences can understand Chinese people's views on love through the series," Wang said.

"We hope that the hard work and self-created business of fathers can be passed down from generation to generation like our family now, but sometimes it can be more than a business. It can be a family belief or spiritual heritage," a Chinese netizen commented in a review of the show on Chinese media review platform Douban.

To better recreate the atmosphere of the times, the production team spent around five months building sets for the Yi family house and four months for the department store.

Costumes are another highlight. The production team designed various cheongsam, a kind of traditional Chinese dress, for the three female characters to show their different personalities. For example, Wu's clothing includes works of modern art because of her educational background.