Number of episodes: 35 (33 counted)
Time watched: 24 hours 45 mins (16.5 “films”)
Okay, first of all; I love this series so much that this is the second time I’ve watched it all the way through. Before I get into any of that though, I’ll give a brief summary (from Wikipedia; I tried to write my own, but it’s very difficult):
Luo Qingchuan is a simple and kind-hearted girl from the 21st century. One day she accidentally travels through time and ends up in the 1700s, in the Forbidden City, during the reign of the Kangxi Emperor. She meets her favourite historical figure, the fourth prince Yinzhen, the future Yongzheng Emperor. However, she has to learn the hard way that history books do not always tell the whole story and her broken heart might just be mended by the most unexpected person. Her wit and knowledge of the future puts her right in the middle of the heated competition for the throne. Can she alter history? Whom will she fall in love with? Whom will she choose? (source)
Basically, the series revolves around Qingchuan’s surprise arrival in the Qing Dynasty and her life from there on out; but there’s a full cast working here and what this series does well is show how the different lives intertwine. If you know nothing about this era of history, you may find yourself a bit lost at times (I did the first time through, then I read the articles about the Kangxi Emperor on Wikipedia and it made much more sense), because they talk about politics a lot, but the romances between Qingchuan and her princes are lovely and exciting. There are too many plots for me to get into without spoiling it (and I don’t want to do that), but it’s a series not afraid to show the cruelty of its characters alongside their compassion; and I think that’s one of the reasons I enjoy it so much.
That being said, there are a few issues I take with it – most of which I think come from it being, essentially, a historical drama. Qingchuan begins as a passionate woman, who stands up to the Crown Prince in the very first episode as she tries her best to find her way home. She’s not all that interested in marriage or men; she loves her history books and has an ingenious mind. This aspect of her character seems to dull over time, which I do think is a conscious decision on her part, as years pass and she marries in an era when women were expected to serve their husbands. Sometimes she still manages to be devious, trying to secure a future for her husband and herself, but I think that they could have managed to keep more of her original character intact. The same goes for many others; though it’s not something that would put me off the series entirely.
I give this series: 4/5. It’s interesting, it’s funny, it’s sad… And it’s kind of useful for learning Mandarin, so long as you ignore some of the phrases that might be a bit redundant (奴婢该死 ;D)!