Ashes of Love review (2018) Season One

Dan Wild

Childlike innocence and first-love blended with dark magic and high fantasy is a staple in Chinese drama. Like Ice Fantasy (2016), Ashes of Love is also based on a novel, in this case, Heavy Sweetness, Ash Like Frost, by Dian Xian. The Chinese title of the TV series, 香蜜沉沉烬如霜 (Xiāngmì chénchén jìn rú shuāng) could be similarly translated. Google opts for “Fragrant Honey …

Ice Fantasy review (2016) Season One

Dan Wild

Let’s start by saying that Ice Fantasy, or 幻城 (Huànchéng), is a guilty pleasure. The sets are creative, backgrounds and special effects are impressive, and later there are some unexpected plot twists. Let there also be a warning: it’s very cheesy. Dedicated fans of Chinese fantasy may appreciate its escapism, while those who prefer their epics to be …

Tientsin Mystic review 河神 (Season 1) Make way for the River God

Dan Wild

Fog swirls over a bridge in 1920s Tianjin. A well-dressed young man is fleeing a group of ruffians. He runs onto the bridge. He’s trapped. He jumps into the river. He struggles underwater, trapped by some seaweed. A long-faced man appears in front of him, upside down. The next day Ding Mao, son of the …

Review of The Untamed – 2019 Chinese fantasy series

Dan Wild

陈情令 Chinese fantasy epic drama At first it seems that not much is happening. The show strolls along for a few episodes as we get to know the characters and background. But something is different about this Chinese fantasy. The strength of the cast, the quality of the dialogue and the orchestral soundtrack make The …

Wu Assassins review – Netflix fantasy original

Dan Wild

Miniseries started flourishing in the 1950s. Now Netflix is breathing new life into the genre. I’m not a fan of spoilers. But I’ll reveal that this series is 10 episodes. The length of a miniseries generally varies from five to fifteen episodes, 25 to 45 minutes in length. Producers have the flexibility to develop plot and …

Once upon a time in Lingjian Mountain review

Dan Wild

Updated: 16/10/20 It takes a while to say the title (从前有座灵剑山) and this series takes a while to get going, but its quirkiness shines through. So did the warm, interesting characters, and sumptuous scenery and costumes. A big downside is the soundtrack editing and limited music often drowning out dialogue. And the cardinal sin of …

The Legend of the White Snake review (2019 TV series)

Dan Wild

I recently watched The Legend of the White Snake and it’s one of the best Chinese fantasies I’ve seen so far. At 36 episodes the length is just about right. It’s one fault – and something has to be done about this as it is also a problem in Ice Fantasy and Ashes of Love – is the …

The origins of John Polidori and The Vampyre: Byron’s greatest work

Dan Wild

I really started becoming fascinated with the Shelley-Byron circle during my English honours year at the University of Sydney. My mother read me the poems of Shelley as a teenager and I had already encountered William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge at school. The first wave of English literary romantics were interesting enough. Wordsworth with …