In the online drama market in 2023, realistic period dramas will shine. First, “Kurst” broke the circle, and then “Moses of the Plains” and “The Long Season” sparked heated discussions. Correspondingly, costume web dramas, which have always accounted for more than half of the traffic of the web drama market, rarely have breakthrough works that can trigger national topics, but there are also small but exquisite excellent works, which are represented by the following types.
Stills of “Nine Righteous People”
Modern drama in period costumes
Ancient costume is a big pot, and any theme or style can be put into it. Even if we are far apart in time and space, we can still think realistically.
The most popular ancient costume item in the first half of this year is undoubtedly “The Silk Case of the Ming Dynasty Under the Microscope”. The play directly points out the darkness of corruption in the grassroots government of the Ming Dynasty. Through the stubborn pursuit of the truth by a “calculator”, using the silk tax as an excuse, it goes through many ups and downs, and finally brings the intricate grassroots interest relationships to the surface, which can be cleaned up with weak personal power. It has eliminated the serious illness at the grassroots level where officials are protecting people at the expense of human lives, and restored justice and clarity to the people. In the play, the subtle interest relationships and worldly relationships in official circles are vividly described.
Zhang Ruoyun is the traffic code of ancient costume online dramas, and his image has always been cool and cool. This time, he used a sloppy look that subverted himself, playing the role of a math idiot with a superior IQ but a complete lack of understanding of the world. People were looking forward to it from beginning to end, but they never saw the moment when Zhang Ruoyun was dressed elegantly and elegantly. But as the plot progressed, the audience gradually calmed down, no longer looking forward to a reversal, no longer looking forward to a refreshing story, and honestly accepted that this was a realistic expression of ancient costume.
“Nine Righteous People”, which is based on a sexual assault case, is not the revenge drama that people expected. The nine righteous people who try to seek justice for those who were sexually assaulted are all ordinary people. The road to justice for the unjust victims is full of setbacks and frustrations. It is precisely this kind of hardship with a realistic texture that brings the audience closer to the unspeakable group of victims, allowing the audience to perceptually recognize the oppression and secondary harm caused to the victims by inherent concepts, pressure from public opinion, and the environment they live in. . In that sense, the show does a great job of bringing people into the topic of female protection in a less defensive way. Although it is an imaginary costume drama, it has great practical significance, so I would rather regard the costumes of this drama as a hazy coat to express the current reality.
The form of “Nine Righteous People” adopts a good form of alternating old and new time and space. The single episode is the past, and the double episode is the “present”. The advantage of this form is that it is intertextual and avoids the constant flashback. A sense of redundancy. This makes the plot very complete.
A suspenseful martial arts drama about teamwork
As adult fairy tales, martial arts dramas have always been an important category in costume dramas, and there is no shortage of audiences in any era. However, the aesthetics of the audience have changed with the development of the times, and their tastes have become more and more sophisticated. Traditional martial arts dramas with the works of Jin Yong and Liang Yusheng as the plot framework have been difficult to satisfy the aesthetic taste of contemporary audiences, so they purely focus on martial arts design. The traditional martial arts scenes are becoming increasingly rare, replaced by brain-burning plot dramas with a martial arts background.
This year’s two dramas, “The Legend of Yunxiang” and “Lotus Tower”, which are based on the grievances of Jianghu, are new martial arts dramas that are in line with today’s aesthetics. The focus of both dramas is not on the fighting scenes but on the suspense settings and plot reversals. The layout and plotting of every section in “The Legend of Yunxiang” brings intellectual pleasure to the audience, and every reversal in “Lotus Tower” leads the plot to a greater climax. The constantly reversing suspense plot itself makes the audience enjoy it, and the martial arts arena is just the background that carries the story.
The strategy and ingenuity of the new martial arts drama are certainly important points to watch, but the alliance formed in the process of seeking the truth and supporting justice is the heartwarming soul of the drama. The world is treacherous and full of dangers, but no matter how many storms there are, the protagonist will become extra confident and powerful because of the full support of his teammates. In “The Legend of Yunxiang” there is a revenge quartet, while “Lotus House” simply reduces the love scene to a background line, highlighting the brotherhood of the trio condensed in the battle.
Compared with lone heroes, team cooperation is more in line with the psychological appeal of contemporary people, especially young audiences. In other words, the main reason for the ever-lasting charm of the friendship and friendship in the martial arts world is its scarcity. “Lotus Tower” and “The Legend of Yunxiang” grasped this practical need, and therefore focused on the evolution of the characters’ relationships – from the initial mutual suspicion and calculation to the final mutual appreciation and trust, the emotional relationship progressed layer by layer. , the logic is solid, convincing and immersive, giving people warmth. This is also the emotional value that today’s martial arts dramas provide people as entertainment products.
In addition, the contrasting characters of the two dramas also bring full drama. The male protagonist Yun Xiang in “The Legend of Yun Xiang” has no martial arts skills at all, and the male protagonist Li Xiangyi in “Lotus Tower” has special skills but is as sick as a willow. The female protagonist Shu Yanan in “The Legend of Yunxiang” is calm and independent, and she is evenly matched with the male protagonist while complementing each other. The original villain in “Lotus Tower” turned out to be a simple martial arts idiot, who later became the male protagonist’s strongest support in his actions. It can be seen that the creators of each drama are trying hard to find breakthroughs and seek to transcend the classic martial arts facial makeup.
An ancient puppet show that highlights feminism
Costume idol dramas have always been popular in costume dramas, but after several years of aesthetic baptism, people are no longer interested in the sweet and sadistic plot of handsome men and beautiful women in “Three Lives Three Worlds” and the classic characters of “silly, sweet and domineering boss” exuberant. Therefore, although the number of ancient puppet dramas this year is still considerable, the reviews and ratings are generally not high. Sauvignon Blanc is a widely discussed exception.
The reason why this play stands out among the ancient puppet dramas is first of all because of the plot structure of one woman and four men. Some of the male protagonists in the play are extremely wealthy, some are extremely powerful, and some are unparalleled masters. Each has its own impressive background, and the characters themselves also have their own fatal charms. The same thing is that the three men all have rare looks, and they are all passionate about the heroine. There is also a rich and handsome non-staff member who accepts any of her requests freely and easily.
As soon as the play came out, many people called it a victory for feminism. However, a calm look shows that the heroine’s personality and values do not stand up to scrutiny. It is just that the several emotional relationships in the play satisfy different women’s yearning for romantic love. It has no real connection with feminism, which pursues equality and independence in reality.
The well-produced “Scorching Romance” is also a pure ancient doll that caters to the trend of feminism. The handsome and suave Prince God of War respects and supports the civilian girl who is determined to gain fame. While loving him, he gives her the absolute freedom to pursue her own self-worth. He is even willing to become an “outdoor concubine” in order not to affect the heroine’s palace career. This is It is clearly a Chinese version of the Cinderella fairy tale and does not have much practical significance. But this setting has been highly praised for meeting the psychological expectations of contemporary female audiences.
Although there is still a long way to go before a real heroine, the surging feminist trend in recent years has indeed increasingly affected the character settings and plot trends of film and television dramas. Although the heroines in this year’s ancient puppet dramas have different temperaments, their basic configuration is to be independent, intelligent, and capable.
In comparison, the character personality design and relationship settings in “The Legend of Yunxiang” are more modern. The heroine played by Mao Xiaotong completely breaks away from the stereotype of “silly and sweet”. Instead, she is thoughtful, rational and capable, and she is also full of calm examination of the hero’s feelings and is full of intellectual games. After both fell in the end, they neither relied on nor clung to each other, but stood side by side like two oak trees, admiring and supporting each other. (The author is an associate researcher at the Film and Television Research Institute of the China Academy of Arts)