China’s TV industry wins audiences’ hearts with high quality series
Published: Jun 10, 2024 07:29 PM
Promotional material of 'The Double' Photo: Courtesy of Youku

Promotional material of 'The Double' Photo: Courtesy of Youku

Since its debut on Chinese streaming platform Youku on June 2, Chinese TV series The Double has become a hit, making Youku one of the top three downloaded free apps in the Apple App Store on Friday and Saturday. 

Before this, a number of series had landed on overseas streaming platforms, winning overseas audiences. 

Chinese costume dramas such as The Double are becoming known around the world for their high quality and Eastern aesthetics rooted in the fine traditional Chinese culture. 

With the rapid rise of the internet and social media, these series have been exploring new youthful paths for the contemporary transformation of the traditional culture.

The beauty of China's excellent traditional culture presented in these costume dramas is not only externally represented through visual symbols, but also internally embodied in the value system upon which the stories are founded.

In the drama The Double starring Wu Jinyan and Wang Xingyue, the creative costumes and designs are based on the personalities of the characters and classical Chinese aesthetics.

The expansive and dramatic story of The Double also gave the production crew greater creative freedom and rich sources of inspiration. Yao Zhijie, the artistic director, said in an interview that the series uses a large number of Chinese classical designs instead of being limited to a certain time period. In his view, refining the essence of culture and matching its style are the top priorities for visual expression. According to the styling and make-up team, a variety of hairstyles are used in the series, integrating extremely fine production techniques such as coppersmithing, jade carving, and bone carving to ensure that the jewelry on display is gorgeous and elegant, exquisite and refined. These details also raise the visual experience and audience expectations to a whole new level.

Costume dramas with common values befitting all mankind and a grand world view are more likely to resonate emotionally with overseas audiences and shape China's image as a great country. Traditional Chinese culture advocates "love" and "righteousness" between people, which has been absorbed into the spiritual core of many costume dramas.

For directors Bai Yunmo and Ma Shige, it was quite challenging to present a story about betrayal and revenge in The Double. The defeat of the superior villains by the poor lead roles is something that audiences love to see due to a common desire for justice.

What audiences feel is cool about the show is not a single moment, but the growth of the characters, the presentation of beauty and the integration of contemporary values. 

Coolness is just the emotional surface presented by the drama, but what really shines is the growth of women who overcome challenges and achieve success. 

The character Xue Fangfei, played by Wu, knows that there is a price to pay for seeking justice. She is not afraid of being injured and bleeding. Looking at her close friends who died trying to help her, she knows that she must persevere until the day the justice she seeks is found.

The audience can feel the brilliance of independent women that this show wants to convey. As the plot develops, Xue Fangfei's growth and courage to fight against the villains resonates even more deeply with many female audiences of all ages.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.