Chinese dramas have gained immense popularity worldwide, captivating audiences with their intriguing storylines and talented actors. However, not all dramas make it to the end for various reasons. In this section, we will explore ten Chinese dramas that unfortunately got canceled, leaving fans disappointed and curious about what could have been. From production issues to controversies, these dramas faced obstacles that led to their premature endings. Let's delve into the world of Chinese entertainment as we uncover the stories behind these ten canceled dramas and reflect on what could have been.
1. The Empress Of China
The Empress of China is a 2014 Chinese television series that revolves around events in the Tang dynasty's 7th and 8th centuries, starring Fan Bingbing as the main lead, Wu Zetian, China's only female emperor (empress regnant). After only one week of the release of the drama, it was removed from the country’s platform. It was said that it happened because of technical issues, but netizens suspected that the cancellation was because of too much skin exposure of the female characters. The rumors seemed accurate when the series was back with edited scenes.
2. Full House
An ambitious screenwriter, she lives in a house named "Full House" that her late father built. Her two best pals dupe her into believing she has won a free vacation one day. They sell her house while she is abroad. She meets a famous actor on the airline. During her trip, they become acquainted through funny situations, and when she returns, she discovers that her house has been sold to him. In 2016, China applied a ban on all types of Korean waves due to political reasons. Eli Kim, who is a South Korean idol, acted in this drama, thus the drama was cancelled.
3. Jade Lovers
The plot revolves around Shen Chen Xi, the daughter of a wealthy magnate whose family falls into ruin after going bankrupt. Her subsequent experiences aid in her transformation from a love-struck misfit to an inspired goddess. The drama was a collaboration between Chinese and South Korean productions, and it suffered the fate of every project like this because of the Chinese ban on this kind of collaboration. And later, the drama was permanently canceled when its female lead was blacklisted by the Chinese authorities because of tax evasion and surrogacy scandals.
4. Gentlemen Of Eastern 8th
After a social media reaction accusing the show of being misogynistic and sexually disparaging, a Chinese TV series about the jobs and love lives of four men in their 30s was pulled from streaming sites. The remark "injured women are the most terrible animal; they have been bleeding for 10,000 years, yet they won't die" in one of the episodes upset some netizens, who saw it as a joke about female menstruation.
5. A Chinese Ghost Story
The story of the drama is about the love romance of cat spirit Nie Xiao Qian and scholar Ning Cai Chen. In accordance with the Shanghai tax authority, Zheng got her 160-million-yuan salary for acting in the TV program A Chinese Ghost Story through tax evasion, signing forged contracts, and submitting fake paperwork to the tax authority. This led to the authorities canceling the show altogether.
6. The Story Of Yanxi Palace
The Story of Yanxi Palace is a Chinese historical series that follows the trials and tribulations of a palace maid in the court of the Qianlong Emperor. Yu Zheng conceived it, with Zhou Mo writing the original screenplay, and it was then adapted into a novel by Xiao Lian Mao. An editorial in the Beijing Daily caused the drama to be banned. The editorial mentioned that the drama gives the wrong message to society by portraying glamour over hard work.
7. Night Wanderer
On a summer night in Shanghai in 2021, forensic specialist Zong Ying had an unexpected visitor at his house who claimed to be the owner of flat No. 699. He arrived in contemporary times every night since 1937, then returned in the morning with his Republic of China lawyer's certificate to prove his identification. Allen Deng, the lead actor in the drama, has been accused of tax evasion, and thus, the projects he is part of are cancelled including Night Wanderer.
8. Ruyi’s Royal Love In The Palace
Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace is a 2018 Chinese TV series based on Liu Lianzi's novel Hou Gong Ru Yi Zhuan. The series, starring Zhou Xun and Wallace Huo, follows Emperor Qianlong and Empress Nara's romantic and marital connection. The drama was criticized for promoting commercialism and views that aligned with Chinese values. The drama was banned locally, but it is still available internationally.
9. Drawing Sword
The film is based on Du Liang's novel "Bright Sword," which shows the story of a historical event in China's contemporary history, ranging from the Second Sino-Japanese War to the Second Nationalist-Communist Civil War to the Korean War. It depicts a group of army generals under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, commanded by Li Yunlong, who battled bloodily and achieved incredible war achievements in such a short period of time. It took three years for the Chinese media authorities to approve this drama, only to ban it even before half of the drama was aired. The drama angered its viewers for it’s incorrect historical depiction.
10. Graduation Season
The story takes place in the fashion industry. Deng Lun portrays an heir to an underwear corporation attempting to gain recognition for his strength, while Krystal plays a practical, clever, and independent fashion designer. They get off to a bad start but eventually develop affection for each other. This drama was completely cancelled because it was a Korean-Chinese collaboration and the Chinese have imposed a ban on such partnerships.