Where to watch: YouTube, Viki
Sometimes comfort lies in the deliciousness of a well-told revenge drama. At some point in China’s distant, fictional past, a war breaks out and a general and his son, Lin Shu, go to battle. But during the course of the war, the general is framed for taking part in a rebellion that resulted in the death of 70,000 soldiers.
Twelve years later, Lin Shu — now unrecognizable to those who knew him before — returns home, seeking revenge and justice. It’s all very “Count of Monte Cristo,” with heaping doses of political intrigue and the frisson of watching whip-smart people try to outmaneuver each other.
There’s something supremely satisfying in seeing the intricate strategies unfold and the political chess game play out. Beyond that, the show, which is in Mandarin (English-subtitled version available), allowed me to brush up on my neglected Chinese language skills and bond with my mom, as we watched together. You’d think a story this plot-heavy wouldn’t stand up to repeat viewing but it does, marvelously, allowing us to reenter this engrossing world to catch details missed the first time around.
— Janet Tu, assistant features editor