Taiwanese dramas Nowhere Man and Triad Princess, and an adaptation of Yangsze Choo’s colonial-era Malaysian novel The Ghost Bride, mark Netflix Originals’ first Chinese-language series – and they look pretty good to us
Netflix original programmes like Stranger Things, The Crown and House of Cards have been huge hits all over the world.
Now, for the first time, Netflix is producing a series of Chinese-language programmes to tempt viewers to its service. Here are the first three on the way.
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The first Netflix Original programme made in Mandarin, Nowhere Man launched on October 31. Shot and produced entirely in Taiwan, the story centres on Ah Quan (played by Joseph Chang), a death-row inmate awaiting execution. However, a strange encounter causes him to experience alternate timelines, leading to his escape from prison to protect his family.
"This has been a very special experience for me because Nowhere Man is such a special story where we need to weave crime, dream state and reality in one. To be able to fulfil the artistic vision we have, it is important to work with the team like Netflix because they care that we stay true to the authenticity and the creative intent of the story," said director DJ Chen.
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Coming to Netflix on December 6, is another Taiwanese drama, Triad Princes. Neal Wu's story focuses on Liu An Qi (Eugenie Liu), a daughter who has had to endure life in the shadow of her illustrious gangster father. Offered the chance to take a gig as the undercover bodyguard for a famous actor (Jasper Liu) " one she just so happens to have a crush on " Liu jumps at the opportunity to make a name for herself and to get closer to her idol.
Speaking of his collaboration with Netflix, director Neal Wu has commented, "There's usually lots of disagreements, which are healthy and normal. What I've found extremely helpful is the directness and precision of feedback that Netflix provides, and clear communication of expectations. It's amazing to see how Netflix's own internal culture is reflected in the way they work with creators; I enjoyed the efficiency and effectiveness, and without ambiguity, it creates more space for creative discussions."
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The Ghost Bride
Premiering on January 30 next year, The Ghost Bride is based on Yangsze Choo's novel of the same name. Set within the Chinese clans of British colonial Malaysia in the late 19th century, Li Lan is the daughter of a bankrupt high society family. In a twist of a fate, she receives an invitation from the wealthy Lim family to be a ghost bride for the family's only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. Agreeing to the arrangement secures Li a position in the Lim household but the arcane ceremony draws her into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife.
Director Yuhang Ho reckoned the rich historical setting will be key to his series' success. "In this day and age when people are watching TV on-demand and across multiple devices, the stickiness of a piece of content no longer relies on plot alone, but also needs to focus on world-building, so audiences can immerse themselves in a particular time and space."
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