How can I even call myself a fan of Hu Ge if I don’t even attempt to write about his (currently airing and much anticipated) drama, Lang Ya Bang (琅琊榜). After watching the first ten episodes (twice!) without fast forwarding even once, a great feat in and of itself for me, I’ve decided to pull my blog out of retirement and recap this drama.
I’m hoping to take this blog on a more serious route, as I’ve reread most of my older posts and cringed at the squealing mess. Hopefully, as a decade-old fan of Hu Ge, I will be able to go through the recaps without too much emoting and fawning. There is certain quality in this drama that’s deserving of genuine praise and thoughtful summaries.
As a way of introduction, Lang Ya Bang (2015) is based on the novel written by Hai Yan (海宴). The Shandong Film and TV Group that produced the drama, as well as the carefully-selected cast, made an obvious, and dare I say successful, effort to stay true to the original novel (rumors are that a fan had gifted the novel to Hu Ge two years ago in an effort to persuade him to play Mei Chang Su – and boy am I glad he did). The casting is fairly brilliant, with Hu Ge as Mei Chang Su/Lin Shu/Su Zhe, gorgeous Liu Tao as Ni Huang, recently popular Wang Kai as Xiao Jing Yan, adorable Wu Lei as Fei Liu, and the list goes on.
Plot-wise, there are many summaries floating around the web, so I won’t spend too much time going into the details. Basically, General Lin Xie was framed for treason (a la Yue Fei and the Yang family warriors), and he used his last breath to tell his 17-year-old son, Lin Shu, to live on, before the great general perished with his seventy-thousand strong Chi Yan army. Years later, Lin Shu, now Mei Chang Su/Su Zhe, has become the head of the Jiangzuo Alliance, and has undertaken the thankless task of pushing his childhood best friend, Prince Xiao Jing Yan, to become a dark horse contender for the throne. Mei Chang Su carefully plots the downfall (Zhuge Liang-style) of the current crown prince and the Prince of Yu, Prince Xiao Jing Huan, in order to pave the way for Xiao Jing Yan. Ultimately, Mei Chang Su’s loyalty to Xiao Jing Yan is grounded upon their early childhood friendship, and Lin Shu’s desire to right the wrongs committed against his family.
Lang Ya Bang is truly a beautifully-made drama, and the recaps that follow (no promises on whether or not I can finish recapping all 55 episodes) represent my hope that more people will be able to appreciate the intricacies of the plot and the deliberate acting by the characters.
Side Note: The series is airing two episodes/day. Raws update on Qiyi and YouTube at noon (EST), and EngSubs are slowly being added on Viki. No commitment from my end about the pacing of the recaps, but hopefully I can outpace Viki.