The Heart and Romance on the Farm. Best C-drama Releases This Fall Season 2023

The Heart Chinese drama 2023

In Chinese drama, usually, the autumn season offers little enthusiasm for drama viewers to enjoy big-budgeted series as most of these are put in the summertime slot, the peak season of drama viewing.

However, there are drama releases in the last quarter of the year that we still can count on for a highly entertaining drama-watching experience. 

Some of the drama releases this October brought a lot of promises for entertainment value. Some of the standouts this autumn are Ripe Town (Tencent), The Heart (Tencent), Scent of Time (Youku/HBO), Bionic Life (iQIYI), and Romance on the Farm (iQIYI)

Zhou Ye and Wang Xing Yue in Scent of Time

In Douban, China's drama rating platform, Ripe Town achieved a very high rating of 8.6 on its final day of airing, which is commendable considering how Douban users often criticized the quality of Chinese series recently.

Actually, I've watched the first three episodes of Ripe Town, but it's not my type of story. I find it a bit slow and confusing. Scenes take time to transition and they are showing plot points that we cannot relate. 

Bai Yufan in Ripe Town

Some Douban users called it one of the best domestic dramas this year together with Mysterious Lotus Casebook, The Knockout, and The Long Season, but except for these three which I find really compelling, Ripe Town is so hard to appreciate lol! Perhaps, it's not really my type of story.

The three dramas I find super interesting this autumn season are The Heart, Romance on the Farm, and Bionic Life. But because I've limited capacity to do a marathon on three dramas, I prioritized The Heart and Romance on the Farm due to its interesting story. I've watched Scent of Time until episode 6 but it's not my type of drama.

The Heart

After watching 10 episodes, I found The Heart very interesting to watch with high entertainment value. It also offers a lot of wisdom and life lessons. This drama allows us to delve better into the complexity of the medical profession and the tough routine the heart surgeons face every day.  

The Heart Chinese drama 2023
Mark Chao, Jin Shijia, and Mao Xiaotong

I love this drama! And for 2023, this is my top C-Drama favorite next to Mysterious Lotus Casebook, An Ancient Love Song, and The Long Season. 

This is the remake of the 2007 K-drama, New Heart starring Ji-Sung, Jo Jae-Yun, and Kim Min-Jung, but I find the Chinese adaptation better than the K-Drama original because The Heart focuses more on the medical aspect of the story (with less romance) and the dynamics of the three main characters are more depth and riveting. 

The Heart Chinese drama 2023
Jin Shijia as Lin Yi and Mao Xiaotong as Fang Xiaoran

The Heart stars Taiwanese actor Mark Chao who plays Zhou Xiao Feng, Jin Shi Jia as Lin Yi, and Mao Xiaotong as Fang Xiao Ran. Xiao Feng and Xiao Ran are half-siblings while Lin Yi is Xiao Ran's love interest.

Apart from their tense relationship in the hospital, they have an interesting back story. Xiao Feng is cold towards Xiao Ran although the latter adores him and wants to mend their siblings' relationship which was eroded by past family events. Lin Yi is a careless medical genius but has a big heart for downtrodden people.

The Heart Chinese drama 2023

I love the fact that this drama's narrative centers on the tense lives of heart surgeons in the operating room, the complicated medical procedures, and the difficult back story of the main characters. Even the patients have a highly emotional back story that reduces viewers to tears.

The Heart Chinese drama 2023
Jin Shijia and Mao Xiaotong

This drama really lives up to its title. The Heart. Because it puts a lot of heart into the story. Xiao Feng and Lin Yi, although clash in beliefs and principles, are surgeons full of compassion, often going the extra mile for their patients. They are dedicated doctors.

It showcases the stressful lives of doctors, especially heart surgeons, and how they plunge into the constant battle of following hospital rules, code of ethics, and their life's principles.

In making critical decisions which one is more ethical for doctors - is it the hospital rules or saving the life of the patient? Lin Yi chose the latter when at one point he needed to save the life of one critical patient, trusting only his instinct and of course, his impulsiveness, which did not set well with his superiors. 

But he was able to save the life of the patient! So this dangerous situation where doctors need to make life-changing decisions to save their patients, ignoring hospital rules and code of ethics, and trusting only their instincts - makes us ponder how many Doctor Lin Yi are in the real world? Who is willing to sacrifice hospital rules just to save lives?

The Heart Chinese drama 2023
Jin Shijia as Lin Yi and Mao Xiaotong as Xiao Ran

I love the fact that this drama showcases the battles of heart surgeons, something we don't have an idea how it is to juggle time to respond to the call of their profession, the downside of exercising their profession by heart, and the things they can do to take care of their patients beyond the scope of their job.

This is a must-watch drama for everyone as it narrates the real-life situation of heart surgery, the complicated medical terms (that I constantly googled lol!), the tense situation in the surgery room, and the stressful lives of doctors. It's so amazing!

The Heart Chinese drama 2023
I have the best laugh in this scene haha!

The Heart also showcases the sad backstory of doctors. Zhou Xiao Feng (Mark Chao) and Fang Xiao Ran (Mao Xiaotong). Xiao Feng's mom left him when he was still young to start a new family, he harbored ill feelings toward his mother but Xiao Ran adored her older half-brother so much. She tries hard to mend the family relationship. She even followed him to work in the same hospital to be close to him.

Xiao Feng is a highly principled heart surgeon. He is hard-working, highly ethical, and dedicated to his job. His superiors admire him and have a high trust in him

Lin Yi (Jin Shijia) is the exact opposite. He is a genius and a highly skilled heart surgeon but he can be explosive, careless, impulsive, and hot-tempered, which creates tension with Xiao Feng as their principles on how to respond to their job often clash.

While Xiao Feng wants to handle things cautiously, minding the ethical standards of being a heart surgeon, Lin Yi is careless and impulsive, trusting his instinct instead of following rules. 

However, I love the unique, tense, and complicated dynamics of their characters. It gives energy to the story. There's always something to look forward to. Their constant bickering is highly entertaining. Sometimes I laugh. Sometimes I cried. Super awesome! 😄

And there are too many emotional moments. Especially when the scenes turn to the back story of the patients and the circumstances of why they suffer a nearly fatal event. Also the cold relationship between Xiao Feng and his mother. He is a wounded person, something that his younger sister, Xiao Ran, wanted to heal.

I love the acting performances of Mark Chao, Jin Shijia, and Mao Xiaotong. The best so far! The contrasting behavior of the characters they played added flavor to the story, making The Heart a compelling drama to watch this autumn.

Mark Chao is perfect in his role as a highly principled heart surgeon, Zhou Xiao Feng, who is making the balance of taking care of the patients while adhering to the ethical standard of his profession.

I love these two! They are so amazing in this drama. Mark Chao as Zhou Xiao Feng and Jin Shijia as Lin Yi

I love how Jin Shijia essays his role as an impulsive and explosive but genius heart surgeon. He is so cute I can't hate him despite his lapses of judgment on many occasions. I'm excited about his blossoming romance with Xiao Ran.

Lin Yi and Xiao Ran always bicker because Xiao Ran favors her brother, Xiao Feng, but we know how this will progress. 😄 I love the chemistry between Jin Shijia and Mao Xiaotong, despite their tense encounters, I can taste candies when they interact. There's a sweet spark everywhere!

Xiao Ran and Lin Yi heading to the exciting part 😂

This is not a romance-centric drama but I love how the script progresses and how the side romance of Lin Yi and Fang Xiao Ran is framed in the story. So cute! Can't wait to watch more episodes!

What I don't like is the English subtitles. OMG Tencent why! The English translation is giving me a real headache that I totally stopped reading and just focused on watching lol!

One time, the scene was so intense and super interesting but I didn't understand the subtitles except "brain damage". And it literally fell upon me. I felt would have brain damage if I continued reading their English subs haha! 

Romance on the Farm

This is another cute drama this autumn season. It's not a typical ancient drama with palace intrigues, revenge, or wuxia, this is a simple farm life with cute leads.

Romance on the Farm Chinese drama
Joseph Zeng and Tian Xiwei

Romance on the Farm actually is a video game and Lian Ma'er (Tian Xiwei) is participating in the user simulation/testing so she enters the story of the game to accomplish each mission and stay "alive".

Romance on the Farm Chinese drama
Joseph Zeng as Shen Nuo

However, Shen Nuo played by Joseph Zeng is not part of the characters of the Romance on the Farm video game so Ma'er can't figure out what's his real identity. He seems very mysterious. He was revealed later as Shen Yi, a younger brother of an empress.

I love how Ma'er and Shen Nuo interact! So funny and cute. Joseph Zeng and Tian Xiwei have explosive chemistry. They're so sweet to watch OMG!

Romance on the Farm Chinese drama
Xing Ze as Youheng

And I love the third wheel, Wang Youheng played by Xing Ze. He's oozing with so much cuteness! I love how he enters the scene, trying to fit in with the wacky moments of Shen Nuo and Ma'er. Two handsome in one drama gosh!

Romance on the Farm is so refreshing to watch as it showcases the lives of farmers, the rice fields, the harvest time, the freshness of living in a small village, the simple lifestyle in the countryside, the cool environment, and the traditional practices of people in the village.  

Romance on the Farm Chinese drama

But yes, Joseph Zeng, Tian Xiwei, and Xing Ze are so cute to watch. I love their sweet interaction and the jealous moment of Youheng when Shen Nuo gets near Ma'er is so cute and funny at times! 

I guess Tian Xiwei is Joseph Zeng's best female lead so far in the drama where he establishes a good rapport and sweet chemistry. They are so good to watch. 

And also, I loved the sense of humor of Joseph Zeng. He is the best in this category. He has good timing when acting comical.

However, despite the plot focusing on farm life, Joseph is still in his usual element of action, it still has several martial arts scenes to showcase his sword ability. His action scene balances the mundane life on the farm where older relatives often bicker on trivial matters.

Romance on the Farm Chinese drama
Xing Ze as Youheng

Romance on the Farm does not have a complex plot or any entanglements between characters. It's a simple story of two main characters staying in an eccentric family that cares nothing but finding spouses for their children to gain whatever "power" or "wealth" they think at the moment.

It's actually a very uninteresting story plot, but I love how Joseph and Xiwei play their respective roles, they're giving it at full speed, and they both have talents in comedic roles, they have timing in delivery, and they can really make hilarious scenes, making this drama a good watch this autumn season. Stress-free and just total entertainment. 

Romance on the Farm Chinese drama
Xing Zi as Youheng in Romance on the Farm

Romance on the Farm Chinese drama
Joseph Zeng and Xing Ze

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