I have a confession - I wasn't particularly interested in BBJX, the other 'woman time-travels to Qing to witness the fight for succession among Kang Xi's sons' drama. I love Liu Shi Shi, who plays the protagonist, but the trailers didn't grab me in any way, and Nicky Wu, the Fourth Prince and one of two male leads, is simply not my cup of tea in Qing get-up (now, if we are doing modern, we are talking!)
And yet when it recently started airing, every single person on my flist who watches cdramas, started raving about it. So, with some curiousity, I decided to watch the first episode. And the result was I fell in love, irrevocably so, within the first two minutes. It's gorgeous (one of the most gorgeously filmed dramas I've ever seen), well-acted, well-written, with a wistful tone throughout. And it's smart! It's a tragedy that doesn't forget the brain.
The story revolves around a modern woman who suffers an accident and wakes up as Ruoxi, a Manchu noblewoman in the later part of Kang Xi's reign. Throughout the story, she ends up getting involved with the (in)famous nine princes and, trying to prevent the bloody succession fight, might inadvertently bring it closer. I believe she interacts with most of the princes, but the two main ones for the story are the Fourth Prince and future emperor (Nicky Wu) and the Eighth Prince (Kevin Cheng. Where has this man been all my life? GORGEOUS).
Before I get on to anything else, I want to address the big elephant in the room - Jade Palace Lock Heart. For those who have watched Jade Palace Lock Heart, the set-up is startlingly familiar (though here her OTP is Four). A lot of people I've seen who love BBJX are people who really disliked JPLH. I am here to assure my fellow JPLH lovers that it is possible to love both. Because I do. The thing is, despite the similar plot, the story itself is very different. JPLH made me think of a cracky, shippy, giddy shoujo manga. BBJX is an introspective period piece. Each has a place in my heart. Both have strong heroines, gorgeous men (though as a Feng Shao Feng fangirl, even all the princes in BBJX put together do not trump him for me :P). If you want a more traditional love story, JPLH is the better bet (BBJX gets very messy and appropriately period-complicated). But BBJX is so very smart and subtle and nuanced and gorgeous. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Oh, and a word on Nicky Wu. While I still think that Qing style does him no favors, I am kind of adoring his Four whenever he is on screen. He and LSS have amazing chemistry and his on-screen presence is compensating for the looks. Even if I am still Team Eight. Because Kevin Cheng - oh my God. Oh my God. I think I need to watch Ghetto Justice asap.
Have the song from closing credits. It serves as a good preview of the drama, to see if it's your thing:
I have just watched the first ep and need more like a crack addict needs more.