War serials get a reality check

By Xu Fan ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-11-06 08:15:59

War serials get a reality check

[Photo provided to China Daily]

Some war series launched in the past two months have won audience acclaim.

The Red, a 48-episode serial aired by four major channels, received a rating of 9.2 (with 10 being the highest on, a popular online forum where users evaluate creative endeavors. The series is set in today's Shanghai, and its characters look back on the war.

Red Sorghum, the 60-episode drama based on Nobel laureate Mo Yan's eponymous novel, has topped the ratings since its Beijing Satellite Channel premiere on Oct 27, online research company Croton's figures show.

However, critics doubt the shift toward realistic portrayals and fidelity to history will last.

TV critic Li Xingwen doesn't expect outlandish productions will disappear.

"Market demand determines production. Most young viewers want heroes who wear cosmetics and wield weapons too advanced for the period ... Legends and style are more appealing."

For example, Kangri Qixia-although harshly criticized on major online forums-raked in a 200 percent profit by selling each episode for 2 million yuan ($285,700), Southern Weekly newspaper reports.

The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television says as many as 116 TV series-most of them about the war-were shot from January to September.

National Defense University PLA China professor Xu Yan says producers who churn out outlandish serials aren't to blame. TV programs' administrators should know more about the period, quotes him as saying.


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