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posted on 14 April 2015

Empresses in the Palace

Written by

Hello from China!

About one year ago, I had concluded that "there is a great 'cultural renaissance' in China" (America: What's Really Going On in China?). Three months after that, I compared China with America in movies and TV shows (The U.S. vs. China: Movies and TV Shows). Now, I have something very concrete to offer: 'Empresses in the Palace' coming to Netflix!

1. Empresses in the Palace

Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia - Empresses in the Palace:

Empresses in the Palace, also known as The Legend of Zhen Huan and Hou Gong Zhen Huan Zhuan (simplified Chinese: 后宫甄嬛传; traditional Chinese: 後宮甄嬛傳), is a Chinese television series based on the Internet novel of the same name. It first aired in China on 17 November 2011.

The original version (in Chinese) consists of 76 episodes, each about 45 minutes long. It was a huge hit not only in China, but also in East Asia (e.g. South Korea and Japan) and South Asia (e.g. Singapore).

It's now available with English captioning!

2. Empresses in the Palace in English

The Netflix version (with English captioning) consists of six episodes, each about 90 minutes long. So it has been heavily condensed from the original, obviously. But it was well done, overall, with the main story kept intact.

3. Discussion

I watched both versions, in their entirety! I watched the Chinese version because of its popularity, and yes, I was hooked. I watched the English version (@Netflix) in order to write this article.

Despite the fact that much of the beauty of the [classical] Chinese language in the original version is lost in translation, unfortunately and understandably, I still highly recommend it to Westerners, as it will engender a much deeper understanding of China: her history, culture, virtue (e.g. patience and creativity), politics, sophistication, and the modernization underway as exemplified by the production of this TV series.

Most importantly, it will prepare Westerners for the forthcoming transformation the world has never before seen: the world shaped by an Eastern country: China.

Oh, by the way, my favorite Chinese TV series remains the Three Kingdoms. Not only haven't I seen anything like that in the West, in terms of strategy and sophistication, for example, it is also highly relevant today. For more, read: Three New Kingdoms. I hope it will also be available in English soon.

4. Closing

Below is a highlight of "Empresses in the Palace" available on YouTube (i.e. free):

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