The Legend of Mi Yue

March 5, 2016

Original Title: 羋月傳

Country: China

Format: TV Drama

Episodes: 81

Broadcast Year: 2015

Production Company: Dragon TV

Starring: Betty Sun, Tamia Liu, Alex Fong, Huang Xuan, Gao Yunxiang, Ma Su

My Rating:

After the Chinese palace intrigue drama Empresses in the Palace rocketed to fame all over Asia in 2011, the same team (or the same director at least) came back with a second series, The Legend of Mi Yue, in 2015. While the two stories are vastly different and set in different time periods, the same high budget quality and attention to detail is present. As I mentioned in my first impression of this drama, the story moved at a snail’s pace and I slowly chugged along through all 81 episodes. Finally, I am finished so please read my review of The Legend of Mi Yue.

Synopsis

In the State of Chu during the Warring States period of China, there was an ill omen that a certain baby in the palace will grow up to be a tyrant. Nothing came of it when that baby, named Mi Yue, turned out to be female as women cannot rule. But it didn’t stop Empress Wei from giving her a hard time. Mi Yue grew up to be a bold and carefree princess and befriended her half sister, Mi Shu, Empress Wei’s daughter. When Mi Shu was married off to the Qin Kingdom, Mi Yue followed as part of her sister’s dowry and eventually became Mi Ba Zi of Qin. Through various misunderstandings however, the sisters’ relationship began to crumble. The power struggles that ensued set Mi Yue’s fate to become the first Empress Dowager in China’s history.

DramaWiki

The Good

  • Excellent casting choices and acting
  • Lavish costumes and cinematography
  • Interesting story

The Bad

  • Very slow pacing

Review

The Legend of Mi Yue is an interesting story in that it attributes the beginning of China’s unification to one person’s doing and to a woman at that, even though it was originally the will of Emperor Huiwen of Qin. Because this story is only based on real life events and people, it’s hard to say how much of the plot is actually fact. But as a drama, it certainly was fascinating and entertaining! This is another example of why I love watching Chinese period dramas because it made me curious about what really happened in history and prompted me to start researching.

The young sisters Mi Yue and Mi Shu enjoy a moment together. © Dragon TV

The young sisters Mi Yue and Mi Shu enjoy a moment together. © Dragon TV

The first half of the drama is about Mi Shu and Mi Yue’s relationship. This was one of the highlights of the show and one that I enjoyed watching. I enjoyed the characterization of the two sisters because it was so realistic. They shared a bond that no one could break and even risked their lives for each other at one point. But over time, through various misunderstandings and gossip, their relationship slowly fell apart. I really like them as characters because they’re very well-rounded with different strengths and weaknesses. Even when Mi Shu became bad, there was still reason behind her actions and her feelings.

Mi Yue as Empress Dowager Xuan. © Dragon TV

Mi Yue as Empress Dowager Xuan. © Dragon TV

Betty Sun returns as the lead character, Mi Yue, opposite Tamia Liu who stars as the good-girl-gone-bad, Mi Shu. I really enjoyed Betty’s acting in Empresses in the Palace and thought it couldn’t get any better but it does. There were many tearjerker moments here that made me want to tear up thanks to her superb acting skills.

Mi Shu as Empress Huiwen. © Dragon TV

Mi Shu as Empress Huiwen. © Dragon TV

Tamia’s acting was even more fantastic as I got to see her transform from the angelic good girl who cannot scheme to the power-hungry Empress Huiwen of Qin. I believe this was her first performance as a villain? She nailed it. The other cast members also delivered awesome performances. Worthy of note is Gao Yunxiang who plays the king of Yi Qu as I believe the character’s personality is directly opposite that of the actor’s.

Mi Yue and Emperor Huiwen. © Dragon TV

Mi Yue and Emperor Huiwen. © Dragon TV

The latter part of the drama focused on how Mi Yue started to unify the various states of China and is mainly about politics and war. Being 81 episodes long, the drama really dragged on even though each episode was crucial to the plot and each character that Mi Yue met was important in one way or another. I felt that some scenes were expanded for far too long which made it too melodramatic for my tastes.

More Information: DramaWiki

This is my drama review and is entirely opinionated. Your opinions may differ. Any offense caused by my rants and ramblings is unintentional. Thank you for understanding.
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