Playing Ep 01

Comedy, Wuxia


In a masterful blend of fiction and historical facts, an acclaimed wuxia author's final work unfolds the tale of an unusual hero whose rise to notoriety is fuelled by fortuitous events and shrewd schemes.

The story commences with an astute, lazy youth who has grown up within the lively walls of a brothel in Yangzhou. Convinced he has absorbed all the wisdom about heroism from the conversations he overheard at a local teahouse, he sets his sights on becoming a hero himself. His first step on this path is an impulsive decision to come to the aid of a down-on-his-luck gallant man. This chance encounter lands him an opportunity to travel to Beijing, where a much grander narrative awaits him.

Once in the capital, a twist of fate leads our protagonist to impersonate a minor eunuch in the imperial palace. It is here, amidst the royal quarters, that he stumbles upon the young emperor engaged in solitary combat practice. The street-smart young man and the emperor spar, only to strike up a friendship that would seem improbable under normal circumstances.

As the series unfolds, the young man from the brothel serves as an indispensable ally to the emperor. His skills and wits are essential in the emperor's quest to eliminate a menacing court official, quell a formidable rebellion, and navigate a sea of intricate political challenges. All the while, he harbors a secret allegiance to a covert organization that opposes the ruling dynasty, a fact he must mask to safeguard his double life and fulfill his dual obligations.

Episode Name Date Added
Episode 09 Nov 12, 2023
Episode 08 Nov 12, 2023
Episode 07 Nov 12, 2023
Episode 06 Nov 12, 2023
Episode 05 Nov 12, 2023
Episode 04 Nov 12, 2023
Episode 03 Nov 12, 2023
Episode 02 Nov 12, 2023
Episode 01 Nov 12, 2023

What people are saying

  • FastZebra49

    Overall 9.5

    Story 9.5Acting 10Music 8.5Rewatch Value 10

    This review may contain spoilers
    Prepare yourself for an uproarious journey through one of the most delightful dramas I've had the pleasure of watching. This series is a laughter-inducing powerhouse that is guaranteed to capture the heart of any comedy enthusiast. From the onset, one might be daunted by the number of episodes; yet, before you know it, you're swept up in a wave of mirth, speeding through each one with a constant grin plastered across your face.

    If time is not on your side, you...

    could indulge in the highly acclaimed film adaptations, split into two parts. They are somewhat bite-sized if we are to compare, delivering a good dose of chuckles, but if you're after the full experience, the TV series is superior in wit and quality by leagues.

    Curious onlookers can scout the synopsis for a taste of what's to come, though it skirts dangerously close to spoiler territory. Not that it could deter from the charms of the show. Adapted from Jin Yong's inventive narrative, "The Duke of Mount Deer", the series spins the tale of a cunning, if slightly licentious, commoner thrust into a world swirling with martial arts drama and political intrigue. Bereft of true martial prowess, our protagonist relies heavily on his sharp wits and serendipitous fortunes. The internal monologues of the main character are a prime source of laughter, yet the comedy runs deep and fluid throughout the script.

    This street-smart hero's interactions with the esteemed Kang Xi Emperor form the crux of the series, while weaving through the tapestry of real historical backdrops and figures from Chinese lore. Personally, the show has contributed to my Chinese history knowledge, making learning as entertaining as it is informative.

    From its infancy, the series impresses with a young cast that is nothing short of extraordinary. Their performances are so convincing and heartfelt that one would hope they've been lavished with awards. They bring an authenticity to the first segment of the episodes, and while their transition to older actors may leave you nostalgic, rest assured, the latter cast holds their own commendably.

    However, it's not without its minor flaws. As the end approaches, you may encounter a handful of scenes that seem to trudge along, losing some of the initial spark. Nevertheless, the finale is crafted to leave a satisfying afterglow, balancing joy and sorrow while subtly delivering potent reflections on the era's societal clashes.

    It's a no-brainer recommendation. Make some time, dive into this series, and believe me, expressions of gratitude will be heading my way soon enough.

  • CalmKingKong

    Overall 9.5

    Story 9.5Acting 9Music 8Rewatch Value 10

    Be warned, the following text may divulge plot intricacies.
    A superlative rendition! Before delving into the merits of the television adaptation that has stirred a tempest of opinions, it's vital to consider the literary roots of this tale. The renowned narrative, often associated with the Wuxia genre, marches to the beat of a different drum with its protagonist—a far cry from the martially proficient archetypes—navigating predicaments with a sharp mind and cunning rather than brute strength. The original narrative artfully intertwines a symbolic struggle within...

    its title: a power struggle emblematic of the celestial order versus the tumultuous life of the commonfolk under tyrannical rule during a historically tumultuous era.

    Far from merely revolving around the protagonist’s array of companions, the tale earnestly explores intricate relationships, espionage, and the protagonist’s internal tug-of-war between loyalty to the throne and the camaraderie with insurgents. This yarn is woven into the rich tapestry of a historical epoch, blurring the lines of fact and fiction.

    This television series, I must say, eclipses other screen translations in its fidelity to the revered text. It must be noted, however, that there were editorial decisions that might ruffle a purist's feathers, leading to a convoluted narrative for the uninitiated; omitted scenes leave lacunae that the actual chapters would fill. Idealized, the series could have expanded far beyond its episodic offerings and indulged in further story development.

    A slight divergence places emphasis more on the protagonist’s numerous romantic liaisons than on the cunning political maneuvers of its source material, catering, perhaps, to the predilections of a modern audience seeking a less demanding viewing experience. Interestingly, the cast chosen for this visual interpretive dance is studded with arresting beauty, though some performances hint at inexperience.

    The portrayal of youth in the storyline's infancy shines with potential and sets the stage superbly for the adult iterations to take the helm. While personal favoritism among the female characters is inevitable—mine being Shuang Er and Princess Jian Ning, while Ah Ke less so—each adds to the richness of the narrative tapestry.

    It’s also worth addressing that, indeed, pacing stumbles in the final chapters, lowering the bar set by earlier episodes. Indeed, had I a guiding hand, certain plot threads like the Russian subplot and the island cave episode would have been pruned, exchanging them for more high-stakes confrontations that align closer with the narrative's heart.

    To counter points of contention, remember our protagonist is rigged with survival insurance, albeit less so than what is common in contemporary narratives. His is a tale of survival through street-savvied strategy, with the less savory aspects of the plot, like the controversial drugging scenario, being moments of misjudged tactics rather than malice.

    In conclusion, notwithstanding the few wrinkles in storytelling and character interpretation, the series stands as a remarkable achievement, especially considering its pre-production period. It receives my wholehearted endorsement as a must-watch adaptation but do steer clear of the version, which in my opinion, falls significantly short of the mark.