'The Long Season' shows glory of Chinese drama with laughters, touching moments
Published: May 03, 2023 10:50 PM
Promotional material for <em>The Long Season</em> Photo: Courtesy of Tencent Video

Promotional material for The Long Season Photo: Courtesy of Tencent Video

A recent joke goes that half the population in China enjoyed their May Day holidays by traveling across the country, while the other half were glued to the screens to catch the latest episodes of Chinese drama The Long Season

Streaming on Tencent Video since April 22 as the first one of its X Theater project, the latest work by director Xin Shuang has gained a high score of 9.5/10 on Chinese rating platform Douban with an opening of 9 points.

Praised as a guiding light for Chinese dramas, the show has captured audiences with a suspenseful story and tight plotting as well as hinting at new possibilities for high-quality Chinese-made TV productions. 

While it tells the story of a murder case that remains open for nearly 20 years, the suspense drama doesn't follow in the footsteps of past dramas by portraying Northeast China as a cold and forbidding atmosphere. Instead, it presents the warm, sunny, bright and vibrant autumn in Northeast China, or Dongbei in Chinese, as well as the enthusiasm, positivity, optimism and humor of local people.

The reason for the show's popularity lies in the director's mature approach and storytelling cinematography. More importantly, it meets Chinese people's demand for quality productions that deliver positive messages, such as the theme of the show: "Move on, don't look back." 

No matter what kind of dilemmas we encounter in life, facing them with a positive attitude is the best way to solve them. Putting such characteristics in a crime story makes the show stand out from its peers. 

The leading role Wang Xiang (Fan Wei) loses his son and wife as well as his job while helping the police solve a murder case in the 1990s,possibly in Liaoning¸one of the three provinces in Dongbei, as the setting implies. But he doesn't give up hope and has the courage to live on and search for the truth with two friends of his over the following years. 

A Dongbei native, Xin the director knows Dongbei culture quite well. With simple, plain and delicate brushstrokes, the drama presents the various difficulties and choices that the leading roles encounter in the city, and how they face and solve them. 

The realistic style allows the audiences to feel empathetic as they put themselves in the shoes of the characters. At the same time, there are also humorous and warm elements in the drama that make audiences laugh out loud while being moved. This balance makes the show very addictive and watchable.

After the last episode was aired on May 1, the score of the drama on Douban rose again by 0.2 points in just two hours. The mystery behind the case matters never mattered, it was the persistence and letting go when facing the "unbearable heaviness of life" that have attracted the audiences. The record-breaking score shows what audiences look for from Chinese directors and actors. 

The fast development of Chinese dramas has built China into the country with the most TV productions in the world. It has also gathered the finest talents and scripts that are deeply rooted in Chinese culture and Chinese people's life, leading to fine works like The Long Season

With a good opening like The Long Season, streaming giant Tencent Video has great ambition, as we hope to see more and more promising works from the platform.