Seen the online show about the reluctant surgical veterinarian who gets a dog? Or the series about a man who defeats his nation’s enemies with a cleaver? Or how about the heart-wrenching family drama with strong female roles?
If you lived in China, you probably know or have seen these television shows on Youku.com, a video-sharing website similar to Netflix and Youtube combined. With 500 million monthly visitors, it’s not uncommon for a top show to receive tens of millions of views. By comparison, Youtube receives about 1 billion unique visitors each month.
Here’s a snapshot of the current top ten television videos on Youku for the week:
10. Young Sherlock（少年神探狄仁杰), 16.6 million views
This 40-episode historical crime drama stars Bosco Wong as the renowned Tang Dynasty (618–907 AD) detective Di Renjie. The crime drama tells a story of the young detective official after taking the government’s civil service examination as he solves a series of mysteries, with help from his sidekick, Yuanfang (aka. Dr. Watson). A can’t miss is Di Renjie’s ‘elementary’ catchphrase: “Yuanfang, what do you think of this?”
9. Left Hand Cleaver (左手劈刀), 19.1 million views
The 70th anniversary of the victory of Anti-Japanese War has been a big theme for television dramas this year. In “Left Hand Cleaver,” a series by Beijing Television and three other film companies, features Long Fei, a Red Army soldier who fights Japanese invaders with his amazing skills at the sword (that somehow got translated as cleaver in English). Viewers have been transfixed with Long Fei’s story of becoming a spy for the enemy to implement a secret mission, until this identity is compromised.
8. Hero Dog (television version)(神犬小七 TV版), 25.9 million views
“Hero Dog” is a romantic comedy of how pet dog, Little Seven, was given to pet hospital surgical intern Ai Liang by his ex-girlfriend. Little Seven helps Ai Liang overcome rifts with the hospital’s director and his sparring partner and ultimately find love.
7. Xiucai Encountered Soldiers (春江英雄之秀才遇到兵), 31.5 million views
The war against Japan is also the backdrop for “Xiucai Encountered Soldiers” which brings together four heroes: An impetuous warrior, a scholar, an opera singer, and a soldier who must each use their special skills to defeat the enemy. The drama tells the tale of two love stories that unfold along with themes of sacrifice, patriotism, conflict, and conspiracy.
6. My Wife is the Queen (我的媳妇是女王), 35.1 million views
This soap opera follows the lives of three strong women who must overcome life’s challenges and tribulations to create peace in their families. For example, one of the lead characters is a journalist who reports on illegal business activity that leads to the bankruptcy and imprisonment of her mother-in-law. After her time in prison, the mother-in-law demands that the journalist leave her son.
5. The Disguiser (television version) (伪装者 TV版), 37.5 million views
This thriller was produced by the Shandong Television Media Group and Dongyang Midday Sunshine Television Limited and tells a story of three siblings during Wang Jingwei’s leadership of Japan’s puppet regime in China. Forces from China’s Communist Party, the Kuomintang Party and Japanese invaders face off in this dramatic spy story.
4. Warriors on Fire (铁在烧), 41.6 million views
This story follows three friends, a Red Army soldier, a Kuomintang battalion commander, and a bandit before they each took radically different roads in life amidst the winds of change during the Anti-Japanese War. It’s a story about betrayal, repentance, brotherhood, and patriotism.
3. Diamond Lover (克拉恋人 TV版), 75.2 million views
This Chinese version of “Ugly Betty” follows Mi Duo who suffers a tragic traffic accident and must receive plastic surgery. Through work and love, Mi Duo grows physically and emotionally to realize that beauty is only skin deep.
2. My Best Ex-boyfriend (最佳前男友), 83.1 million views
This love square by Jeffrey Chiang follows the story of two ex-lovers who meet up again accidentally, and realize they still have feelings for each other. Their story is complicated when their current girlfriend and boyfriend also have a connection to each other. The drama stars Jerry Yan, Maggie Jiang, and Ng Cheuk Hai.
1. The Journey of Flower (花千骨TV版), 200 million views
This extremely popular historical story tells the love story of kung-fu master Bai Zi Hua and his disciple Hua Qian Gu who must unite to fight against enemies and fate. The series, called Hua Qian Gu in Chinese, stars Wallace Huo and Zanilia Zhao, and the trailer was released to high praise at the Cannes TV Festival. It was adapted by an online fiction story of the same name by author Fresh Guo Guo.
Watch the 15-min trailer of the Journey of Flower in English: