Today also happened to be the day before new year (除夕)in the lunar calendar. I would like to wish everybody a happy, healthy and prosperous dragon year. Instead of the usual heavy subject matter, I would like to talk about something more light hearted. I am in a holiday mood today so I will address some concern about the lack of creativity in TV broadcasting in China. Instead of using academic discussion I will simply provide a link to a hot TV series that has taken my sister by storm. She is the one that actually sent it to me. In fact she considered this love/history drama so good that it triumphed all works from Taiwan and HK (of course that’s her personal view).
The TV series is “步步惊心” or “步步驚心”loosely translated as “Startling by Each Step”, I know the translation is always so corny. It is about a modern girl who went back through time to the later reign of Qing Kangxi period. If you are familiar with this period, you will know the palace intrigue that took place. Although it is considered science fiction, the costume and cultural aspect is very accurate. The author of the original work is 桐华. She did an awesome work by inter-weaning love and politics into the story.
The series and many other mainland works received rave review in Taiwan and HK. Just do a traditional Chinese search on the title and you can gauge the responses. There are many who commented that due to the control of the government, creativity is dead on the mainland. I strongly disagree with this statement. The censorship is on a certain standard that fall out of the mainstream acceptable norm in the mainland be it political or cultural. In my view this limitation actually spurred even more creativity. If the US already has a Jerry Springer shows and a bunch of other reality TV or show that use controversy, sex or violence to sell, why should China offer a bunch of more of the same? Is violence and sex necessary to tell a captivating story? Another question, why should China become a copy cat of the west or a replica? The series has English subtitles. I feel that watching Chinese TV or movies is also another way of understanding the country and culture.