8 Addictive Boys Love C-Dramas & TW-Dramas To Check Out
“In our world, there are many people; there are people who share the same interests, there are people who dress the same, and there are people who like the same gender.” — a line from TW-drama “Red Balloon”
Boys Love (BL) dramas have become more common nowadays, though that is not to say that it has been an easy road for BL dramas to air. For those who are looking for more representation of different types of couples, here are some Chinese and Taiwanese BL dramas to watch!
As aforementioned above, screening BL dramas comes with a great risk of never making it to air or even having to go through extensive edits and cuts, and “Addicted” belongs in this category. This series follows Luo Yin (Timmy Xu) and Gu Hai (Johnny Huang) as their initial dislike of each other turns into a romance. They have plenty of time to interact as they not only attend the same school and class but are now step-brothers! Once Gu Hai and Luo Yin’s romantic interest in each other became apparent, the drama was pulled out and unable to complete its run. “Addicted” runs at a fast pace as Gu Hai’s forwardness propels their relationship into the next level, though viewers have had conflicting opinions on whether Gu Hai’s active stance in trying to engage Luo Yin in physical activities is consensual or not as Luo Yin often rejects the advances.
Start watching “Addicted”:
2. “HIStory 1” & “HIStory 2”
These two seasons are both an anthology drama series, in which episodes have separate story lines but remain under the same umbrella of discussing the topic of male-male relationships.
My Hero: Grim Reaper Bai Chang Chang accidentally collects the wrong soul; instead of Gu Si Ren (Jiang Yun Lin), he takes Lan Si (Patricia Lin). Realizing his mistake, he tells Lan Si how she can preserve her soul so she can reunite with her boyfriend, Mei Hero (Aaron Lai). She embarks on a seven day love quest to get Hero to fall in with her and kiss her so she can return back from the undead, but her biggest obstacle is making that happen while overtaking Gu Si Ren’s body. As she tries to win back Hero’s heart, she ends up finding out about Gu Si Ren’s unfulfilled love and discovers the unexpected reality of her relationship with Hero.
The episode contains some unbearable and cringe-worthy scenes (especially in the beginning), but the show’s endearing story lines of Hero’s self-discovery and Bai Chang Chang’s touching unveiling of his love make up for it!
Start watching “My Hero”:
Stay Away From Me: Feng He (Edison Song) has a chance encounter with Cheng Qing (Duke Wu), a celebrity running away from his hoard of fans, who soon finds out that Cheng Qing is his new step-brother. Feng He tries his best to get along with his new brother even though their personalities and ways of living do not mesh. When the misunderstandings disappear and romantic feelings begin to blossom, Feng He’s childhood friend, Meng Meng (Chiao Man Ting), attempts to get the two together; however, that pushes Feng He to face the fact that his relationship with Cheng Qing does not fit exactly into his life plans.
“Stay Away From Me” takes on a more serious tone than “My Hero,” but that’s not to say there isn’t room for comedy – especially with Meng Meng’s antics to create a romantic atmosphere for the two step-brothers. The direction for this drama has a heavier focus on Feng He as he contemplates and agonizes over what he should do about his interest in Cheng Qing.
Start watching “Stay Away From Me”:
Obsession: Shao Yi Chen’s heart breaks after his boyfriend Jiang Jing Teng (Bernard He) reveals to him that he is marrying Cai Yi Jun (Chen Yee). He runs out in tears over the betrayal and then dies from a car accident. Yi Chen (Teddy Ren) gets reborn again and is sent back nine years before his death, and he resolves to avoid getting into any kind of relationship with Jing Teng, but that becomes impossible as Jing Teng pursues him to no end. This episode deviates from the first two in that it steps away from the tameness of physical intimacy. As the title suggests, Jing Teng’s obsession with Yi Chen turns very physical and depending on viewers’ perspectives, it can be seen as either passionate or forceful.
Start watching “Obsession”:
Right or Wrong: While filming at school, Sheng Zhe (Zhang Hang) runs into Yo Yo, an eight-year-old girl trying to escape from a potential creep. He and his classmate take her back home to her irresponsible father Shi Yi Jie (Jiang Chang Hui), a professor who prioritizes work over spending time with his daughter. But Sheng Zhe’s meeting with Yo Yo’s father does not end there, as Shi Yi Jie ends up being a substitute professor for one of Sheng Zhe’s classes. Still busy with work, the professor hires Sheng Zhe as a nanny, and he helps Yi Jie become more involved in Yo Yo’s life. But the more time they spend together, the more Yi Jie realizes that he cannot live without Sheng Zhe. “Right or Wrong” focuses on a taboo relationship between a student and teacher with a fairly large age gap. For those that do not mind though, Yo Yo’s sub plot of forming a family again is heart-warming.
Start watching “Right or Wrong”:
Crossing the Line: This episode consists of two couples: a new student who gets recruited by the volleyball team that a senior student is coaching, as well as two step brothers who are very close but hesitant when it comes to telling each other their feelings. “Crossing the Line” effectively utilizes sports as a backdrop of the romantic plot line of these two couples, and it remains a cute tale of two couples that just need a little push in getting together.
Start watching “Crossing the Line”:
3. “Dark Blue and Moonlight”
Those that have watched “HIStory” may be familiar with the director, Adiamond Lee who has directed episodes from the anthology drama, but unlike “HIStory,” “Dark Blue and Moonlight” is a full series and centers around the love story of Hai Qing (Aric Chen) and Yan Fei (Ting Yun Wang). In “Dark Blue and Moonlight,” Hai Qing wishes to pursue painting much to his father’s disdain. While struggling to follow his dreams, he ends up meeting and subsequently saving Yan Fei from drowning at a swimming pool. They instantaneously connect but lose contact with each other. Throughout the whole series, Hai Qing and Yan Fei nearly meet once again, but the timing never works out quite right. The ending for this drama may come off as polarizing as the ending does not tie everything up. However, there are also special episodes that take place some time after the finale.
4. “Falling in Love with a Rival”
“Falling in Love with a Rival” (also known as “Counterattack”) depicts Wu Suo Wei (Feng Jian Yu)’s revenge against his ex-girlfriend, Yue Yue. After being together for seven years, Yue Yue dumps Wu Suo Wei thinking she can do better. Catching his ex-girlfriend with another man (Chi Cheng), Suo Wei comes up with the idea of seducing Chi Cheng so that he dumps Yue Yue and ultimately hurts her. Of course, Chi Cheng has a greater preference towards men than women and takes Suo Wei by surprise as he has no reservations about crossing the line. The drama follows a generally comedic tone with numerous of failed plans and twists coming Suo Wei’s way.
5. “Love to Our Youth: He Falls in Love with Him”
In this drama, Xiao En (Lin Yu Pin) starts to question whether her boyfriend Xin Yu (Yorke Sun) is cheating on her with their senior Pin Jia. It does not help that he has been acting suspicious, and that Pin Jia (Lyla Lin) always seems to be around him. After following Xin Yu, Xiao En sees him with a man and confronts him about their relationship. Unexpectedly, this does not focus on the developing feelings of Xin Yu and Wei Jia (Li Deyn), but rather it illustrates the process of Xiao En finding out and accepting the end of her love. For those looking for a series that focuses on a new perspective, this would be a great start.
6. “Yandai byway no.10”
Liang Ze (Luo Yi Hang) and Hang Hang (Gong Zheng) meet after Liang Ze asks Hang Hang, a pet store owner, to look after his chinchillas. The show details Hang Hang’s growing attraction for Liang Ze while the other party remains laughably oblivious. When Hang Hang reveals his feelings, Liang Ze struggles to process how he feels, especially since he has only dated women. Eventually, the two find themselves unable to see eye-to-eye about their relationship, and the show takes a more dramatic turn.
“Yandai byway no. 10” is based on a novel, so those who watch the show and find the ending unsatisfactory can read the novel’s ending. Also, check out the special, which includes extra scenes of Liang Ze and Hang Hang.
7. “Red Balloon”
In “Red Balloon,” Li Xiang Wan (Tao Xu) transfers to a new school while hiding the secret that he is gay. He meets Xia Zhi Chen (Edward Chen) whom he asks to be a model for his pictures. Their friendship kicks off when they meet again (this time as roommates) and the feelings of friendship turn into something more. The two eventually separate after getting caught by Zhi Chen’s father only to reunite as adults when Zhi Chen is married and has a child.
Running parallel to their school romance is Xu Yang, a male student who is openly gay. He battles with the students picking on him and the lack of support from the school. Despite how grim the plot sounds, this drama is uplifting and sweet. The stories resonate the message of being true to who you are and unabashedly loving whom you love. An extra bonus is the absolutely lovely soundtrack that plays well into heartbreaking scenes.
8. “Mr. X and I”
Similar to “History 1” and “History 2,” “Mr. X and I” contains four different real-life stories of male-male relationships. This series in particular is worth watching for actually being steeped in the reality of gay relationships in China and the way they illustrate the tremendous stigma that still exists. Prepare tissues before starting this series!
Us Against the World: Song Xiaoke is an easy target for bullies but his friend Liang Haoran always tries to protect him. One day a girl confesses to Haoran, and he jokingly replies that Xiaoke is his wife. Rumors spread the next day about Xiaoke being gay, which incite the students to beat up and harass Xiaoke until Haoran comes to defend him.
Beijing Beijing: Lei Xiaoliang and his partner part ways after his parents find out about their relationship. A time jump occurs, and Lei Xiaoliang ends up working in the cold city of Beijing, far away from his home in Fujian. Life in Beijing is not as glamorous as he expected, but he finds warmth once again when he finally reunites with his love.
The Groomsman: Lixiang and Jiaming have just celebrated their anniversary together and get called by Jiaming’s mother to eat with her. During this meeting, she tells Lixiang that she treats him like a son and hopes that Jiaming can have a “complete” family and give her a grandson. Lixiang gives in to her subtle hint, and in a private conversation with Jiaming agrees to be groomsman at his wedding.
Promise You a City: A man moves to an unfamiliar city to be with his partner but cannot secure a job. The pent up frustration leads him to drink excessively and contact someone unknown strangers, which angers his partner enough to leave. Following their breakup, he returns back to his hometown and reflects on his feelings regarding his relationship and the city.
Despite the strong regulations on BL dramas, there are surprisingly a growing number series coming from Taiwan and China each year, and these are just a few choices to watch!
Hey Soompiers, which BL drama would you recommend? Let us know in the comments below!
isms is a big fan of Asian dramas and loves watching variety shows.
Currently watching: “Suddenly This Summer”
Looking forward to: “Pillow Book” and “Unexpected“