Love Through a Millennium (相爱穿梭千年)
Synopsis: Based of the popular Korean drama Queen In Hyun’s Man, this Chinese version tells the same story of a love that happens between two people from different eras. Imperial scholar official, Gong Ming 公明 (Jing Bo Ran) accidently time-travels two thousand years into the present where he meets actress Lin Xiang Xiang 林湘湘 (Zheng Shuang). Their story is one of love, fate, and commitment.
Genre: Romance, Comedy, Supernatural, Drama
Network: Hunan TV
Duration: 45 min
Casting: Jing Boran, Zheng Shuang, Chen Xiang, Zhou Yu Tong, Huang Denny, Sie Evonne etc…
For those who don’t know, Love Through a Millennium is the Chinese adaptation of Queen In Hyun’s Man. That was actually for that reason and only for that reason that I started that drama -since I loved the Korean version. Queen In Hyun’s Man has been for a long time in my top 10. I was, therefore, both thrilled and afraid of starting Love Through a Millennium. In the end it wasn’t a bad adaptation. It was just too long for its own sake. All the twists happened too quickly, leading automatically to redundancy and boredom along the episodes. They did try to keep the same pace throughout the whole drama but it wasn’t always successful. If the new twists were welcomed and well-thought the drama quickly lost its speed nonetheless. I was exasperated to see Gong Min constantly shuttled back and forth between the modern world and the Han Dynasty. Even though I knew the scriptwriters had no other choice than do that -since there were too many episodes left- I was frustrated. Gong Min’s reasons to return in the past became weaker and weaker, making obvious the scriptwriters’ desire and struggle to gain time. QIHM was therefore more successful at keeping the audience’s flame alive. But Love Through a Millennium still had a cleverer approach of the story in my opinion. They chose to attached more importance to the historical part of the story. That was, for me, one of the main strength of the drama. The setting but also the story and the characters were better written than in the Korean version (truth to be said, I barely remember the historical part in QIHM). By doing so they gave stronger basis and more depth to the drama. Even though I had seen QIHM, Love Through a Millenniumstil l managed to surprise me by doing so. It would be a lie to say that I was always happy to return in the past, of course -especially when we stayed a whole episode in that period- but I can’t deny the fact that the characters of the Han Dynasty were overall better-developed than the ones in the modern world.
On the other hand, if I preferred the historical part of Love Through a Millennium, I can’t say that I preferred its romance. Kim Boong Do and Choi Hee Jin’s love story was way better. Gong Min and Xiang Xiang had as much cute scene as the QIHM‘s couple (even though not always as strong. I’m mainly thinking about the scene in the library where the heroine normally kisses the hero… here, in the Chinese version, she just gave him a poor and crappy embrace *big deception*) and I was rather seduced by them at first. But their chemistry somehow disappeared along the episodes -especially when they became a real couple. Their were sweet… but maybe too sweet for their own sake. Some of their scenes and dialogue sounded fake. Both actors expressed rather well their character’s love for each other but somehow something went wrong in the writing of their story. And I think it mainly came from Gong Min’s character (though Jing Boran’s performance was overall better than Zheng Juang).
Gong Min (Jing Boran) was in the end a bit disappointing. I liked him overall but when I gave a second thought to his character, I realised that many points had frustrated me during the drama. First of all his habit to constantly come back in the past, like I mentioned before. It seemed rather consistent at first: he needed to change history so as to protect the Empress. But after one, two, three….ten (it’s not actually the right number but I’m sure we were pretty closed from it, if not more) forth and back between 2015 and the Han Dynasty it quickly became annoying. But let’s move on another subject which bothered me just as much. I didn’t like Gong Min as a boyfriend. He made me cringe more than once with his behaviour and perfection. If at first the scriptwriters showed quite well the fact that he was a man from 2000 years ago, that point became less obvious afterwards -especially when he officially became Xiang Xiang’s man. The overall evolution of the couple was way too quick in my opinion. The couple went pretty quickly into skinship (well skinship…I’m not talking about big skinship) making the whole romance rather cheesy and fake. Gong Min was a man coming from an era were men and women could barely look at each other in the eyes. Even if he was a quick learner they should have taken the time to develop his growing love for Xiang Xiang (they had 24 episodes to do that! why the rush?). Besides the ‘push and pull’ part is what I usually prefer in a romance. Here it felt, quite simply, as if we were cut from it. As for Jing Boran, those cheesy scenes didn’t show him at his best. His performance seemed rather awkward at times. We could clearly read his love for Xiang Xiang in his eyes but the rest of his face seemed rather frozen and his dialogue in old dialect made his play rather clumsy. Those face expressions perfectly matched his character when he was still tight-ass but not when he was supposed to have evolved into a modern man.That’s too bad cause those scenes were important in the process of making me buy their couple, and they simply failed at doing it. I still believe the scriptwriters were mainly in fault here, and not Jing Boran (even thought he might have done better nonetheless). The actor showed throughout the rest of the drama that he was more than capable to express good emotions otherwise.
Xiang Xiang (Zheng Juang) was rather flat. She seemed quite similar to Choi Hee Jin of QIHM at first. Both of them embodied bubbly character and were therefore nice heroine. But in the end Xiang Xiang revealed herself to be rather plain compared to the other character. She was the only one to not evolve along the episodes. If Gong Min annoyed me on several point, he had at least a real story backing him up. Xiang Xiang was just the girl who waited his return in the modern world. That’s all. When he was there with her, she was all sparky and everything while she turned whole sad and tearful when he was leaving her. That translated perfectly well her overflowing love for Gong Min but that was rather boring to watch. I would have liked to see a stronger heroine -like she had let me thought in the first episodes (>>>SPOILER- for example she could have resisted Gong Min a bit longer when she decided to end their relation -SPOILER<<<). As for Zheng Juang’s performance it was not always well-balanced. Some of her expression were overplayed just like her character’s writing was too unsubtle. In other words Xiang Xiang wasn’t an annoying character but still a disappointing one.
Wang Mang (Cheng Xiang) was one of the character I preferred in term of performance and writing. He embodied both at the same time Gong Min’s enemy but also Gong Min’s childhood friend -just like he loved Ying Yue while being her enemy (gosh how I pited him and wished for him to have a happy ending with her. But he was always putting his foot in the wrong business making her despise him, gosh –‘). That dual facet of him made him interesting and deeper than any other character (Gong Min also had that feature but in less pronounced, that’s why I didn’t mention it for him). The most striking scene was when he had to shoot Gong Min with an arrow but slightly changed its trajectory so as to not kill him. It was in my opinion one of the best scene of the drama. It perfectly translated Wang Mang’s inner turmoil. On one side he was a really ambitious man who let himself being lead into awful plots against the Empress while on the other hand he deeply hated hurting his former friends to reach his goal. But what I liked about him was how strong he could be nonetheless. If he spared Gong Min’s life and pushed back the order to kill him as much as he could, he was still ready to do it as a last resort (or at least he gave me that feeling). On the other hand I didn’t really appreciated the turn his character took near the end. He came up as too melodramatic (>>>SPOILER- with his mother’s death and sudden remorse -SPOILER<<<). He had all his reasons to react like he did but it was too sudden. His love confession for Ying Yue came out out of the blue. It just added a melodramatic layer to his character since it was the climax of his repentance. I thought that it didn’t come at the right moment even if once again it was consistent. In the end his character lost his spark as he seemed to lose his importance to the plot. Chen Xiang did a splendid job with his character. His performance was the one moving me the most and I think that’s why I really liked Wang Mang.
Ying Yue (Zhou Yu Tong) was less interesting than Wang Mang but I had some affection for her nonetheless cause, like him, she managed to move me at some point. Her main flaw would be her redundancy. She spent all her time protecting Gong Min from Wang Mang and loving him in secret. Her devotion for Gong Min was in the end a bit tiring. Her character kept her consistency throughout the whole drama -which was a good point per se- but my strong desire to see her ending with Wang Man made her idolatry for Gong Min cumbersome. But the good thing about that was that she loved Gong Min silently at least. She was always there for him but never chased after him like a second lead -stuck in a love triangle- would have normally done. >>>SPOILER- I was actually a bit angry at Gong Min to see his lack of gratitude towards her in the end. He loved her like a sister, yet when she died he cried 5 seconds and then immediately switched on another subject: Xiang Xiang. I know that Xiang Xiang was important to him but Ying Yue protected him all his life. She was his childhood friend, his sister. Ying Yue’s charater was too quickly forgotten in my opinion. In the lasts episodes she was just mentioned once or twice -mainly because of Wang Mang- but that’s all. A shame. -SPOILER<<<
The other supporting role (Xiang Xiang and Yu Fei’s manager and Yu Fei himself) were rather irritating. They were supposed to be funny and if at first they managed to bring a slight smile on my face, it quickly faded along the episodes. The scriptwriters always used the same story and same trick to deflate the atmosphere while I’m not sure it was really necessary to do so. As for Yu Fei, I thought he would be more important to the plot. But he revealed himself to be rather useless in the end. Once he had finished to challenge and build Xiang Xiang’s character he quickly disappeared (not completely but it was all the same) -which was not to displease me either since I didn’t really care about him.
In short Love Through a Millennium wasn’t an unforgettable drama. I can’t deny the fact that I preferred the Korean version to that one but in the end it was nonetheless an interesting adaptation (with a nice ost). It had its ups and downs like every dramas, but overall it was a refreshing show.
Note de Whoovy: 7.5/10
Note de Dushbadou: 7.5/10
Note finale: 7.5/10