10 C-Drama Releases in Autumn 2023. Which One is Worth Watching? Here's Our Thoughts

Chinese dramas in Autumn 2023

So how's your Chinese drama viewing experience this autumn season? (October - November 2023 drama). It's not really a season for big drama releases but we can still count on some good ones.

So here, we're sharing our thoughts for this year's autumn releases which one gives entertainment value based on our own watching experience.

Chinese drama for November 2023
Titles are arranged based on how we enjoyed the viewing experience

Chinese drama for November 2023

This review is just based on our own drama watching experience, as per our views on what we think is a good drama with a great value for entertainment. Our views might be different from others so you have the freedom to pick your own favorites. 

We chose these 10 series aired between October and November this year because these are the most discussed by domestic drama viewers. 

We arranged the titles based on how we enjoyed watching the play. We also included the drama score in Douban (but others don't have a rating yet) to gauze the preferences of domestic viewers. 

1. The Heart - Douban rating: 8.3. ADN rating: 8.5

Main cast: Mark Chao, Jin Shijia, and Mao Xiaotong. Personally, this is also my top favorite among the autumn C-drama releases. The Heart has good story material. This is actually a Chinese adaptation of the Korean drama, New Heart (2007). 

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

The Heart Chinese drama

I love the fact that this drama focuses more on the medical aspect with less romance, it allows viewers to delve better on the heart surgeon profession and the challenges they face everyday.  

The Heart Chinese drama
Jin Shijia and Mao Xiaotong in The Heart

I love the acting of the three main cast - Mark Chao, Jin Shijia, and Mao Xiaotong, they are so good in their respective roles. I was drawn into their characters the whole time. Streaming network: Tencent/WeTV

2.  Wonderland of Love - No Douban rating yet. ADN rating: 7.5

Main cast: Jing Tian and Xu Kai. Contrary to my initial thoughts about this latest Xu Kai costume drama, surprisingly, I find this series so fun to watch! 

I'm always critical of Xu Kai's dramas and the quality of his acting but Wonderland of Love is an exemption. I enjoyed the fight scenes and the interaction of the main cast. Compared to the Story of Kunning Palace, Wonderland of Love has more entertainment value. 

Wonderland of Love Xu Kai
Jing Tian and Xu Kai in Wonderland of Love

It also helps that Xu Kai is being paired with Jing Tian who is already a seasoned performer in the costume drama genre so everything so far is full of good vibes.

Love the fight scene choreography and the quick pacing of the story! It has so many difficult stunts and Xu Kai and Jing Tian are thrust into performing highly entertaining fight moves. 

I am so surprised at how good their chemistry is and how entertaining their interaction. In other words, they easily connect! Xu Kai actually delivers in this drama. Streaming network: Tencent/WeTV

3. Romance on The Farm - Douban rating: 6.6. ADN rating: 7.3

Main cast: Joseph Zeng and Tian Xiwei. Just finished watching this drama days ago and, well, despite its lackluster plot, I find Romance on the Farm a good watch this season. Perhaps because I love the fresh vibe of the farm life and the solid performances of Tian Xiwei and Joseph Zeng.

There are boring scenes in this drama and the eccentric Lian family exasperated me to death especially when they were bickering, but Tian Xiwei and Joseph Zeng have comical timing that gives energy to the story.

I also love the second male lead, Xing Ze (Wang Youheng), he is so charming, and his sheer jealousy towards Shen Nuo/Shen Yi (Joseph Zeng) is so cute to watch. The relaxing atmosphere of the rural area is also what keeps me rooted for this drama.

Xing Ze as Youheng 

In the opening episode, we knew that Romance on the Farm is a video game and Tian Xiwei's character took part in the simulation to test the viability of the game, so we saw her enter the scenario of the game and live with the characters.

Joseph Zeng and Tian Xiwei 

It feels like Lian Mae'er (Tian Xiwei) during the simulation let her mind float inside the video game and experience the real lives of the characters by entering into the scene. But it was not real. She didn't time travel. It was only an imagination. 

As Ma'er encountered the characters (in the video game), she knew their background, except Shen Nuo (Joseph Zeng), he seems so mysterious. His identity can't be recognized. 

It was later revealed that he is Shen Yi, the brother of an empress. I initially thought (episode 1) that perhaps, he is part of the company that creates this video game that's why his identity is unknown.

And voila! Indeed he is. lol!

Romance on the Farm Chinese drama
Ma'er is shocked to know Shen Yi is the CEO of the company that created Romance on the Farm video game 

In the final episode, when Ma'er comes back to reality after the simulation, she is surprised to see the face of the real Shen Yi in the organizational chart of the company. He is, after all, the CEO haha! In the finale, it was implied that Ma'er met Shen Yi although his face was not shown. Original network: iQIYI

4. Love is Panacea - No Douban rating yet. ADN rating: 7.2

Main cast: Luo Yunxi and Zhang Ruonan. Okay, I am not a Leo Luo fan. I didn't not finish watching any of his dramas. But in Love is Panacea, I find him quite good! 

Love is Panacea Chinese drama
Leo Luo and Zhang Ruonan 

I guess, he looks more appealing when he is in a modern drama than when he is in a costume drama. There's something off in her visuals when he is wearing wig and ancient costumes. 

Love is Panacea is a medical drama and so far I am enjoying the play. This is better than Bai Lu and Dylan Wang's Only For Love. Love is Panacea is streamed on Youku.

5. Scent of Time - Douban rating: 6.1. ADN rating: 7.0

Main Cast: Zhou Ye and Wang Xing Yue. This drama altered the premise of the original novel so that authorities would give it the green light for broadcast. 

According to C-netizens, drama authorities in China are no longer approving storylines that have insinuations of reincarnation and transmigration except for fantasy dramas because these concepts are too unrealistic. 

Scent of Time Chinese drama review
Wang Xing Yue and Zhou Ye in Scent of Time

In the original novel, Scent of Time tells the story of a hardworking woman, Hua Qian (Zhou Ye), who transmigrated into the world of the book she was reading when she fell asleep. And to her shock, she enters the body of the second female lead in the story who made terrible mistakes in her life so she needed to make up all those mistakes for the character to survive until the end of the story.

But the drama adaptation altered this plot to pass the review. So, Hua Qian, instead of reading the book and transmigrating into the world of the novel, is a woman who fell into a coma for two years, and while in that situation she dreamed of her life in retrospect and in the process, makes atonement of her mistakes.    

In the opening episode, she is seen being chased by guards, and, upon seeing her parents die, she wished to be given a second chance at life to change the course of her destiny. Then she lost consciousness. 

Later we knew that she was saved by Zhong Xiwu (Wang Xing Yue) and she fell into a coma for two years. What we saw for the next 29 episodes are just events in her dream while in a coma.

Huan Qian felt like she was stepping back in time to her wedding day two years ago and is about to get married. She then made an effort to undo all her past mistakes to alter her destiny and hopefully see her parents alive.

Zhong Xiwu kept her alive by letting her smell a special pill//incense that had a calming effect (in her dream, she kept smelling a strange scent of incense). When she woke up, Hua Qian looked for her parents, hoping she was able to change the whole event two years ago. 

Only to discover that no, all the events remain the same. She just went into a coma and had a dream of atoning for her past mistakes to redeem herself and appreciate the value in her surroundings. Nothing was altered. Only her views and change of character. 

Some of the important people she met in her dream, for example, Hua Rongzhou (Zhang Yi Jie), actually were not real people, they were just used as instruments to let her appreciate the value of kindness, love, and who really matters in her life.

What I don't like about this drama is Zhou Ye's stiff acting. She was fine in Back from the Brink and in the critically acclaimed movie, Better Days, but as Hua Qian, Zhou Ye looks like a freshman in the drama school who seems does not know how to deliver an on-point performance and has a hard time internalizing her role. 

Scent of Time is streamed on Youku (for domestic viewers) and HBO Asia (for international fans).

6. Story of Kunning Palace - No Douban rating yet. ADN rating: 6.7

Main cast: Bai Lu and Zhang Linghe. With all the hype this series received early this year, believe me, I am one of those costume drama fans who excitedly waited for this play. 

I love the director, Zhu Ruibin, I've been chasing all the dramas he directed down the years - The Long Ballad and Ashes of Love are my top favorites. But what a disappointment!

Story of Kunning Palace Bai Lu
Bai Lu in Story of Kunning Palace

Blame it on the dull screenplay and dry acting delivery, but the Story of Kunning Palace seems not what I imagined it to be. So strange for a Zhu Ruibin drama who is known for creating highly entertaining plays.

Bai Lu lacks soul and energy in this drama. She looked super tired all the time, weary, pale, and sleepy, she seemed like someone who was just compelled to be in this play. It could be her styling or makeup, but everything is just below average.

Bai Lu looked like Zhao Yingzi in The Promise of Chang'an who looked so old in her age and lacked chemistry with her male lead. She seemed cannot pull off a highly-charged performance.

Objectively, Bai Lu is pretty, she is good-looking with her cute eyes but there seems to be wrong with her styling in the Story of Kunning Palace. For others, this drama might be interesting but for some, this is totally forgettable.

I also did not find any sweet rapport between her and Zhang Linghe, to think they were rumored to be dating while filming this drama. But can't feel any spark when they interact.

I don't find any excitement also to continue watching more episodes. No thrill at all because the direction of the story is already given. 

In episode 1, it was revealed that "Story of Kunning Palace" is a novel written by a 21st-century fiction writer, also played by Bai Lu, and she argued with her editor to change the ending of the story because she did not like it.

Then she fell asleep.

The premise has similarities to An Ancient Love Song and Scent of Time. So it lacks excitement because there's really nothing new to look forward. The Story of Kunning Palace is streamed on iQIYI.

7. Bionic Life - Douban rating: 6.4. ADN rating: 6.6

Main cast: Song Weilong and Vicky Chen. This is a sci-fi drama with a Hollywood-style screenplay. Song Weilong's appearance in this drama is quite surprising as he was sporting a rugged look. 

The story is quite good and the play shows intense scenes and twists. But I have not finished watching this drama so I can't say more. This series has only 12 episodes and can be watched on iQIYI.

8. Ripe Town - Douban rating 8.5. ADN rating: 6.5

I watched the first 6 episodes of this costume drama (it only has 12 episodes) but could not really get into the story and I was ultra bored. 

Ripe Town Chinese drama

The pacing was super slow and there were scenes that I could not connect. Can't understand why domestic viewers find this drama interesting?lol! Well, based on the comments in Douban, most users were impressed with the production design and the authentic atmosphere of the ancient village. 

I was totally bored! So I dropped it. Based on the first six episodes I could just rate this drama with 6.5, but in Douban this is rated 8.5 which is tooo high for me! Mysterious Lotus Casebook, An Ancient Love Song, and Lost You Forever, are way better than this. Ripe Town is streamed on Tencent/WeTV.

9. Only For Love - Douban rating: 4.8. ADN rating: 5.5

Main cast: Bai Lu and Dylan Wang. I enjoyed the first two episodes but the succeeding episodes are repetitive patterns with nothing new to offer. It makes me yawn in boredom. 

However, compared to her demeanor in "Story of Kunning Palace", Bai Lu is much better in Only For Love. She has a bit of energy and her makeup speaks for her age. 

Dylan Wang and Bai Lu

What I don't like in Only For Love is the temperament of Dylan Wang. He is still a young boy to play the role of a CEO! It did not help the fact that he was wearing corporate suits and glasses to make him appear like a top executive. 

The role is so unfit in his boyish persona, so his acting is very forced and trying hard and he seems very conscious with his delivery, making this drama superficial, lacking authenticity, and without substance.

The story also is too idol! I mean what's with all those inappropriate cheesy moments? The male lead is a CEO and the female lead is also a professional and yet the story is trying to give us a vibe of a college boy and a college girl making ways to flirt on the campus.

It is also very obvious that the production is just trying to stretch the story with so many fillers. This could have been just 14 episodes. Only For Love is streamed on Mango TV.

10. Rising with the Wind - No Douban rating yet. ADN rating: 5.4

Main cast: Gong Jun and Elaine Zhong. The story of Rising with the Wind is too common and ordinary for me and after watching the first three episodes, can't find any reason to continue watching the drama. 

Nothing in the play captured my interest and I just kept yawning while watching the episodes. So I dropped it. 

Gong Jun can't still find a groove to ace a drama role since Word of Honor in 2021. So I am looking forward to Fox Spirit Matcher: Yuehong, perhaps Gong Jun has a better acting delivery there. Rising with the Wind is streamed on iQIYI.

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