Chinese historical dramas are considered some of the most cinematically astounding, versatile, and creative dramas in the world. Their fantasy depictions, for example, generally go beyond people’s imaginations, with bright colors, grand costumes, and breathtaking structures sometimes leaving viewers speechless.
The biggest thing, however, that draws people back to watching Chinese historical dramas would be the wonderfully written characters that pull at your heartstrings every time.
From daughters destined for great things but born into struggling families, to men faced with the decision between love and their country – there’s no shortage of great characters to obsess over.
The 10 Best Chinese Historical Dramas
If you’ve been waiting for a sign to get started, this is it. We’ve curated a list of some of the best Chinese historical dramas that you can start bingeing on this weekend!
- My Heroic Husband (2021)
- Ever Night (2018)
- The Untamed (2019)
- Song of Phoenix (2017)
- The Princess Weiyoung (2016)
- The King’s Woman (2017)
- General and I (2017)
- Legend of Lu Zhen (2013)
- The Sword and the Brocade (2021)
- The Rebel Princess (2021)
1. My Heroic Husband (2021)
Unlike most Chinese historical dramas, this is a witty comedy that melds together modern characters in a historical setting.
Ning Yi is a successful modern-day businessman. One day, he mysteriously gets transported back in time and finds himself in the body of another man who is set to get married into a family of cloth merchants.
He somehow finds himself adapting modern business methods for the business and it soon begins to flourish. He also becomes a savior for his friends who have been taken advantage of by corrupt local businesses.
Before he knows it, he finds himself involved in matters of the state and truly begins to question why he is there.
2. Ever Night (2018)
This action-adventure Chinese historical drama boasts the works: enigmatic characters, beautiful cinematography, and fight sequences that will have you holding your breath.
After the family of Ning Que is ruthlessly slaughtered by a general, he manages to escape into the wilderness (just barely) and survives purely on his wit. He gradually hones his fighting skills, and one day rescues a baby girl from a pile of corpses. They immediately become inseparable.
Ning Que goes on to join the military and eventually discovers some deep dark secrets that threaten to change the entire course of his life.
3. The Untamed (2019)
The Untamed is considered to be one of the greatest Chinese historical dramas by many Chinese drama enthusiasts. Its intricate and delicate plotline has got people hooked from episode one, and the epic bromance is on another level.
Wei Wu Xian and Lan Wang Ji are two sides of the same coin. They’re considered the prodigies of their respected clans and become fast friends on and off the battlefield.
One day, they discover a secret that threatens the legacy of their ancestors. In the journey to expose the secret and restore order, Wei Wu Xian shockingly dies.
Years later, he is reincarnated. He reunites with Lan Wang Ji and together they work together to solve murder mysteries and more.
4. Song of Phoenix (2017)
Song of Phoenix is about an infamous Chinese poet, Qu Yan, who falls in love with a slave girl. The difficulties of their social statuses are heightened by the uncertainty caused by the Warring State times.
However, like many seemingly star-crossed lover dramas, they work hard to face all obstacles thrown at them – all whilst Qu Yan is faced with the monumental task of saving his country.
5. The Princess Weiyoung (2016)
The Princess Weiyoung had to be one this list of the best Chinese historical dramas!
It’s an adaptation of the popular novel ‘The Poisonous Daughter’. The refreshing thing about this drama is that the main lead is a kind-hearted royal princess who, through her wits, purity, and determination, succeeds in a world dominated by men.
Feng Xin’er’s entire royal family is violently slaughtered, and Feng Xin’er goes into hiding. She somehow ends up in the enemy’s palace and assumes the identity of Li Weiyoung, the daughter of the evil prime minister.
This drama masterfully weaves in vengeance, love, and heartache through its politically-heavy plotline.
Read More: The Best Chinese Romance Dramas
6. The King’s Woman (2017)
The King’s Woman is a complex drama that involves themes of betrayal, revenge, and love triangles.
The story is centered around Sun Li, the granddaughter of a prominent military commander. Her ethereal beauty captures the eye of the Qin Emperor, Ying Zheng, and she is forced to leave her home and enter the palace.
There, she joins the harem and slowly but surely earns their respect through her righteousness and strong character.
However, she harbors a secret from her past love life that could threaten her existence in the palace.
7. General and I (2017)
This story is based on the intense rivalry between Bai Ping Ting, a war strategist from the Yan Kingdom, and Chu Beijie, the general-Prince of the Kingdom of Jin. Whilst they initially butt heads, they eventually fall in love and realize they’re not so different after all.
However, being from rival kingdoms means there are many trials that lay ahead of their paths, with the biggest one of all being how much they’re willing to sacrifice for their country.
8. Legend of Lu Zhen (2013)
Legend of Lu Zhen is yet another Chinese historical drama that has a strong female lead that you’ll fall in love with almost immediately.
Le Zhen is a confident woman who aspires to become the first female Prime Minister. She uses her wits and intelligence to rise quickly rank.
She has a fateful encounter with the Crown Prince and slowly but surely, they fall in love. However, their social statuses might present too big of an obstacle for them to overcome.
When faced with the most difficult decision of her life, what will she choose, love, or her dream?
9. The Sword and the Brocade (2021)
General Xu Ling Yi agrees to an arranged marriage with Shi Ni Yang. What he didn’t know he signed up for was a strong, outspoken, assertive woman who will fight for equal rights for women.
Fortunately, they fall in love, and with the support of her husband, she is able to open her own workshop. Meanwhile, Ling Yi is tasked with the incredibly difficult duty of fighting to save his homeland.
This is a beautiful drama that depicts love and companionship in a wonderful light. It shows that with strong support from your soulmate, you can achieve your dreams.
10. The Rebel Princess (2021)
Starring the ever-so enigmatic Zang Zi Yi, The Rebel Princess is about the fascinating pairing of a young woman who is married off to a general.
Wang Xuan is a steadfast, strong woman who fights for what’s right. Xiao Qi is a general with humble beginnings who wants to bring peace and prosperity to the nation.
Together, they decide to enter into a marriage for the good of their country. However, through various trials and tribulations, they grow as a couple and learn to love each other.
As they face adversities presented by their enemies and the rest of the world, they begin to realize they can really only rely on each other.
So, what are your thoughts on the best Chinese historical dramas we’ve just listed above?
We know that the fandom of these dramas is incredibly passionate, so if you have your own recommendation, we’d love to hear about it in the comments section below!
Whether you’re a seasoned viewer or someone who’s just looking to get started on Chinese historical dramas, we’re sure that any drama you pick from this list with blow you away.
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