Watching Chinese series is a great way to improve your Mandarin listening skills. The key is to find a show you enjoy that will motivate you to keep watching regularly. iPartment is an extremely popular Chinese sitcom that can be challenging for new learners due to its puns and cultural references. However, it is still a fun show to watch.
1. Empresses In The Palace
This is the one that really got me into ดูซีรี่ย์จีน. It focuses on the life of Zhen Huan a concubine who spends her time planning the next imperial harem, advising the Emperor on royal matters and warning his wives the consequences for scheming against each other. She is the best character because of her ruthlessness that instilled fear in any concubine who dreamed of going against her. Also because of the fact that she surrounded herself with stupid minions (think Huang Hou, Hua Fei and Duan Fei) who ended up killing themselves or getting caught by the king, thus bringing down her.
2. Take My Brother Away
Inspired by a manhua written and illustrated by You Ling, this is a hilarious school comedy about a brother and sister pair. The show revolves around Fen and his younger sister Shi Miao, whose violent tendencies are mostly directed at her idiot older sibling. Despite being a comedy, Take My Brother Away has far more serious moments as well. It explores family issues Fen and Shi Miao have to deal with, including their father’s irresponsibility and alcoholism. The two siblings bicker constantly but they genuinely care about each other. Their relationship makes for a heartwarming and funny drama that’s worth watching.
3. Ashes Of Love
Ashes of Love is a beautiful and epic drama. The chemistry between Jin Mi and Xu Feng transcends multiple lifetimes and impossible obstacles to create an unforgettable romance. The story centers around Jin Mi, a grape fairy who was fed a pill when she was born that prevents her from feeling or recognizing love. She is naive and innocent and has no clue about romantic implications or decorum of the Heavenly Realm. She gets caught up in a love triangle between Xu Feng and his older brother Run Yu. Despite the fact that he is engaged to someone else she blatantly clings to him.
4. The Palace
Roman Polanski has had his ups and downs, but he’s never made anything quite as soul-destroying as this Eurotrash hotel farce. It’s a dismal end to a career that included Repulsion, Knife in the Water and Chinatown. It’s New Year’s Eve in Switzerland, and this plush Alpine hideaway is hosting a veritable cast of cretinous characters. From John Cleese as a 97-year-old Texan plutocrat to Mickey Rourke stropping like a madman, the guestlist is a grotesque roster of chumps.
There are some quips and one-liners (mostly delivered by the hard-working Hansueli, who looks like Mads Mikkelsen with less of a chin) but they’re never funny or insightful enough to offset the tedious, overwritten script.
5. Love O2O
Unlike other dramas with gaming in the plot, Love O2O uses the game play as an element of the story rather than just a backdrop. It’s a great show for anyone who loves to play video games and wants to learn Chinese, because it uses gaming vocabulary in the dialogue! Xiao Nai first notices computer science student Bei Wei Wei () at a PC cafe not because of her looks but because of her amazing gaming skills. He is immediately smitten and vows to win her heart online and offline.
6. Love And Redemption
Si Feng passes the thirteenth level of hell but his master tells him that he can only see Xuan Ji again if he gives up his love for her. He is so devastated that he poisons her. Afterwards, she hugs him back even though he knows she’s a demon. He then helps her capture a dragon demon. They are in danger when the demon tries to kill her but she’s saved by Si Feng again. He notices her blue powers activate. Apparently she used to be a god.
7. The Bad Kids
Based on a novel by Zijin Chen, this murder mystery follows three kids and their homicidal math teacher. While there are a few too many convenient coincidences, Chen has built a compelling and intriguing plot where a stereotypical “good kid” from a broken family, Zhu Chaoyang, begins to understand and even emulate his homicidal teacher, Zhang Dong Sheng. The 12 part series made waves when it premiered on iQIYI (China’s Netflix-like streaming service) in June 2020 and has been lauded for its acting, pacing and script. It also doesn’t shy away from the more heavy topics such as depression, bullying and divorce.
From food documentaries to a romantic comedy, these Chinese shows will keep you engaged and entertained. Many of these come with subtitles for a foreign audience, making them easier to follow. Put Your Head on My Shoulder is a fun drama about an accounting student and her genius physics classmate. It has a feel-good vibe that will leave you smiling.