I haven’t had too much exposure to Chinese dramas yet, but these are some of my thoughts on differences between Chinese dramas and Korean dramas, in particular, historical dramas.
What I love about Chinese dramas are the strong female characters. Whether they are good or bad, they make decisions for themselves. Some can fight and even if they can’t, they hold their ground against the men. They’re intelligent and speak their mind. In Korean dramas, I don’t get the same feelings. The female characters are very much like damsels in distress and require men to save them.
Now this concept exists in both Chinese and Korean dramas, but I feel it’s more apparent in Korean dramas. For example, the recent Ruler: Master of the Mask: Ga Eun, the main female lead, got herself into trouble more than she helped the Crown Prince. In Scholar Who Walks the Night, they tried to pass off the female lead as someone who was strong and worked hard to care for her family, but once she met the male lead, she became weak and couldn’t protect herself.
In Lost Love in Time, the female lead sacrifices her happiness in order to set things straight (this is a whole other issue that I could on and on about). But she makes decisions to help those around her. She can fight to protect herself, and she tries hard to protect those she cares about. From what I watched of General and I, with Angelababy and Wallace Chung, the female lead was portrayed as a very intelligent individual who was a military strategist. She was able to win battles against armies of thousands. It’s amazing to see these types of characters.
Chinese dramas also have characters that are morally questionable, whereas Korean dramas tend to have very straightforward characters. They’re either good people (who sometimes may have to make hard decisions-but that doesn’t make them bad) or they’re bad people who deserve punishment. Whether it’s known to the characters in the drama, we–as the audience– know if the character is good or bad.
This is harder to determine in Chinese dramas. It’s not as black and white. Characters can sometimes treat their loved ones with great care, but be absolutely evil towards others. Some of the decisions they make are harmful towards many, yet makes sense when one thinks from their position. This makes the stories more interesting and less predictable.
For those who are more familiar with Chinese dramas, what are your thoughts? And what are some other differences you see?