Best Dramas Based in the Republican-Era (1912-1949) (and Up-Coming) φ(゜▽゜*)♪

I’ve Noticed a Popular Genre of Dramas in Chinese Entertainment recently seems to be 1920-50 dramas (Around the time of The Japanese invasion seems to be most popular) I have watched some of these and loved them! So I am Going to Share some Cdramas of this genre that you’re sure to love!




, something of a Chinese answer to BBC’s hit TV series Sherlock, will come to China’s small screen on March 21.
The 41-episode crime-drama series, airing with two episodes per night, will be broadcast on Beijing Satellite TV and the video-streaming site
Set against the backdrop of a fictionalized town in 1949, the drama centers on a private detective, who solves a series of mysterious killings and robberies with a common thread: a fleeing Kuomintang spy.

Rookie Agent Rouge

The Mystic Nine


Chongqing army’s trump card Zheng Yao Xian (Liu Yun Long) is known to be quick-witted and merciless. But in fact, he’s a special agent of the Communist Party’s secret service “Kite”.

Release Date: 2017-12-18
Main Cast: Liu Yun Long, Luo Hai Qiong, Li Xiao Ran
Genre: Suspense, Historical, War

Release Date: 2017-12-18
Main Cast: Liu Yun Long, Luo Hai Qiong, Li Xiao Ran
Genre: Suspense, Historical, War

My Bittersweet Taiwan

The story follows the lives of three boys from Taiwan Hsinchu Senior High School under the Japanese rule. Lin Qing Wen (Jasper Liu), Zhou Shao Zhen (Bryan Chang) and Zhuang Shi Geng (Hou Yan Xi) are childhood friends who grew up together and suffered under the Japanese colonial movement. The turbulence in lives and the brutality they faced under the Japanese rule awakens their nationalist feelings, which lead them to different paths.

Jade Lovers

Set in the 1930s, the story centers around Shen Chen Xi, the daughter of a former magnate whose family falls to ruin after going bankrupt. Her experiences thereafter help her grow from someone muddled in love to an inspirational goddess.
Bai Luo Han is a man treading morally ambiguous territory by working indiscriminately with both good and bad. Whilst he appears cold and calculating on the outside, inside is a kind-hearted manconstantly on the lookout for Chen Xi.

The Disguiser

Hai Tang’s Rouge Shines Through in the Rain (2018)

with Deng Lun

Siege in Fog


再見 (Zai Jian) :heart:


they call them Republican era dramas (1912-1949)

some really good ones

Too Late to Say I Love You (2010)

Battle of Changsha (2014)


謝謝你! :smile: Thank you for telling me the name of them, and I like the drama you shared! I looks really good!

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While I adore Kdrama, I avoid this period. I know that what the Japanese did was not nice at all – and they paid for it alright – but I can’t be a hypocrite, either. I did study Japanese in school and watched a bunch of anime. Is there anyone here who refuses to watch anime because of Japan’s dark history? So why then develop negative feelings with these movies and shows, which might prevent me from doing something that I enjoy?

Just my take, of course. :slight_smile:

I understand. :slight_smile: I Also Don’t like the fact really that a lot of them are Chinese-Japanese War (Or Korean-Japanese War), I Also think that the people aren’t really responsible for their Governments actions. I Actually prefer the dramas that are less focused on that topic, Like the Mystic Nine, I added it only because it was a popular Republican-era drama but I don’t like it.
However I really recommend to watch sparrow, Its really Good :slight_smile:


There are two more dramas I would like to mention - I KNOW we have more from this era, please forgive me if I have missed any!

  1. A Scholar Dream of Woman. 2015, China, 47 episodes. Currently close to completion in English with several languages working there. From 1927 through the late 1930’s…including the Japanese invasion of Hangzhou.

  2. Great Expectations. (2018, China. Waiting on the air date, previously expected in December!)
    This drama…we have trailers on the fan channel, and this has Yuan Hong in it. Why do I mention his name? Because the man generally is in really good dramas, and has a talent for historical/costume. :slight_smile: The Trailers are EPIC. It literally has something for everyone. Romance, martial arts, major struggles of politics and social change…! We think it’s going to be around 40 episodes or more of really good action!

So those are two more not on the list - I am not sure, but Switch of Fate also looks like similar era? :slight_smile:

GeNie of the Lamp


Good Choices! I was going to add A Scholar Dream of Woman, But I was afraid I Wouldn’t have enough room :smile:

Oh yeah, The Mystic Nine. :smile: But where is my The Lost Tomb second season ?! :thinking:


Republican Era dramas are my weakness.

Here is the list of the dramas I will always recommend:

Must-see dramas:

  • OMG. I could write books on Murong Feng portrayed by Wallace alone… watch it for the manchild torn between his desire for power and greed or a woman, EPIC. We have translated this drama here on Viki but it was a fan channel. The videos are available on YT - I have srt files stored if anyone is interested.

  • BEST. BROMANCE. EVER. For me, the only Hu Ge’s role that I adore, especially in those dramatic moments. but all characters are so well casted and portrayed that it is a real feast to watch

  • Pride and Prejudice set in a very interesting period, a hard lesson on how the world rips your innocence and youth from you, but a great watch because of the convincing acting

  • bromance, romance, thriller, mystery and Foye as a perfect example of a smirking ice block that thaws in the little hands of his spunky bride-to-be. a great ride, great shots and the subbed videos are available on Facebook, Dailymotion and Naver. I heard it is coming to Dramafever - we have lost our channel due to the copyrights.

  • suspense, demons, immortal priest finding his true match an adversary that you are scared of. very good acting, wonderful shots and one of the best opening/ending songs I heard.

  • if you love palace dramas, you will love this one about the constant struggle for power among the wives and concubines in a family that operates a famous pharmacy. men pale in comparison to the women and the costumes are out of this world. We have been able to fully translate this drama before it disappeared from Viki so the subtitles are still available and videos are on YT.

  • this is another brilliantly executed, women-driven drama, set in a world that amazes me. And the raspy voice of the brawler that is the male lead of the drama will give you chills. the good kind of chills :wink:

  • blame it on my weakness for Wallace but his dramas do have this special place in my heart. and when he is helping a woman to take over Shanghai, I am all onboard even if I know that Chinese dramas rarely end the way I would love them to :wink:

Second picks:

  • I actually prefer the second male lead than the actual star of the show but the story is solid although the female lead is really dull. but it is a show carried by men for their idols, so bring me the petty men and some snacks and I will be always a happy camper :slight_smile:

  • it is rather a war drama than a Republican one but the premise is pretty interesting and fresh and the main actor does a great job portraying someone with deficits that is trying to outsmart his enemies. I guess math can be entertaining :wink:

  • one of those themes Chinese audience loves the best - when youth love sacrifices itself for the sake of the nation. Long, sometimes boring and predictable, but nicely shot.

  • it has a very interesting plot and very nice costumes but is really hard to get one’s hands on.

  • Wallace in a double role. I do not need anything else.

  • the plot is pretty crazy but the acting is solid and the costumes are gorgeous. this is also the drama were I fell in love with the second male lead because who would not love to have a silent badass protector that loves us to death?

For the die-had fans only as they are pretty flawed… but beautifully shot:

  • watch it for bare-chested men and skip everything else. I mean it :wink:

  • costumes are great, Hawick is great as a cold and aloof Bai Lang but he quickly turns into a soaked puppy in love and the whole romance is so ridiculous that I repeat, watch it for the costumes. and the end song ;))

  • plotwise interesting but not so well executed. again, the flair of the times and the costumes are great

  • a hint on boy’s love set in a very flat story but the costumes, especially the ones that scholar wears are magnificent. a very dull acting and almost no “thrill” despite it being another"spy drama" but it is an easy watch and there are Eng subs available on Youtube

On my “to watch” list:

  • it is currently airing but I have not had the time to take a look at it. the costumes look great and the location is not Shanghai which is great because I prefer to learn about the traditional families’ transformations during the struggle rather than always following the very same street in Shanghai :wink: The acting… well, there are idols in it so it will not be epic but I do hope it will have a happy ending.

  • the sequel to Wuxin. It seems to be an equally delicious treat for the fans of the first season and the villainess is also deliciously styled :wink:

  • I heard only praises about this drama so I am looking forward to actually watching it :slight_smile:

  • young, restless and handicapped by the tremors of war? The young being Zhang Ruo Yun? sign me in. The whole drama is available on YT with Eng subs so grab it while it is there, although it is a war drama and not necessarily a social drama.

  • it has similar flair t it as War of the beauties so I am waiting for a chance to marathon it :wink:

  • it is airing right now and it looks really solid in terms of acting. - it looks like a mixture of Disguiser and a soapy story about an orphaned girl used in the game of spies and lies, but the costumes are great and one has never enough of Yuan Kai, right?

  • it just stopped airing and from the snippets I saw Chen Xiao plays his role pretty well, making me smirk with him and wanting to strangle him so

Honorable mentions - dramas I liked but would probably not rewatch:

There are definitely more dramas that I forgot about but my post is already outrageously long :wink:

I am waiting for Autumn’s Cicada, Great Expectations, Spy Hunter (a prequel to Disguiser), Please give me a Pair of Wings, and Siege in Fog ( although I fear it will not end well…).

And I would definitely avoid:

  • a great example how annoying characters can kill the joy of watching anything.

Apologies for a long post but you did hit my soft spot :wink:



I personally don’t think they have anything to do with one another. A lot of countries have done horrible things, it just a part of history. My favorite soccer team is Germany, but I watch holocaust movies and actually one of my favorite all time books is Night by Elie Wiesel. I still love the German soccer team and I consider actions during World War II disgusting and a lesson for everyone.

However, a lot of dramas around this time period do carry a strong anti Japanese sentiment. It is obviously encouraged by the government. I can’t really blame them since they use this as a method to encourage nationalism. It is part of their whole propaganda. Like look how hard we fought for our country, look at the sacrifices of your ancestors, etc. It personally doesn’t affect my feelings about the current Japan, but I can see how it could affect people who are relatives of victims of crimes committed during those wars.

This period does have very unique setting. For instance, most spy dramas and movies will occur during this period. Also, the shallow part of me likes their outfits :wink:

edit: Lost Tomb season two is coming up but with a different cast just fyi

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Have you seen All Quiet in Peiking? It is by the same director that filmed Nirvana in Fire/ Battle of Changsha and I really liked both of those but the premise looks so serious.

I read a spoiler about The New Snow Leopard in that Zhang Ruoyun’s character didn’t have a good ending, is it true? I would watch it for him but he usually has such a bad ending on all his dramas :sweat:

Wallace Chung in Too Late to Say I love You was amazing.

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The young people (oh boy, I sound so old) aren’t like that fortunately. I remember seeing this interview on Youtube where Japanese students were asked what they thought about the war period. They were all very confused. They said they were excited about meeting people from other countries and learning foreign languages. Frankly, I don’t like nationalism. Here on Viki, for example, there are no countries, just a bunch of awesome people united by their love for Asian drama. :heart_eyes::heart:


yes, I did :slight_smile: and the whole series is on YT with English subtitles, if someone is interested :wink: Wang Kai looks so young in that one. For New Snow Leopard… well… spoiler alert … he survives. judging from all the war dramas that normally end with main leads being killed off, I guess we can consider it a happy ending, although he does suffer a lot :smiley:


I dislike nationalism too but that is just how China works. They don’t really think about an international audience.
It is amazing the power of technology and how much better we are able to understand other cultures thanks to places like Viki :smiley:

they also have it on Netflix but I am always afraid to watch it since it seemed pretty heavy but Battle of Changsha was heavy and I really enjoyed it.

Thanks for the spoiler. I will add it to my list :wink:


you are welcome :slight_smile:
and… I have forgotten about one title!

It is like Too late to Say I love you - revisited and twisted. The hero is a real piece of art, his family… if you ever have the chance - see it (and if you need subs… you know where to find me, as Gone with the Shirt team translated it).


I Hope they will make season 2 soon, I Just wish Li Yi Feng would be in the cast still :frowning:

Love this Thread! :heart_eyes: thank you so much! I love this kind of drama so I will DEFINITIELY watch these! Also Who else thinks Autumn cicada’s pictures looks like Sparrow?

Autumn’s Cicada is a sequel of sorts (or the second part) to Sparrow. They may not be related but they will have a similar vibe and premises so we can categorise them as “related” of sorts.


I am anticipating this one since I like Allen Ren and spy dramas :slight_smile:

Other upcoming Republican dramas:

This one is a remake, not much information about it but it is a romantic drama.

Good cast so I am curious about it.

Plot looks interesting plus I like the cast.

And probably the most anticipated

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Sparrow and Too Late To Say I Love You are two sensations.

They are definitely MUST-SEEs.