Drama Watchlist: 33 Costume Chinese Drama To Look Forward in 2024 and 2025

Chinese costume drama for 2024

Chinese drama productions have been known for their spectacular and mesmerizing costume series for decades now. In Asia, costume drama is really China's territory, so yearly their drama outputs are mostly in this genre.

Costume dramas are usually set in ancient China, either historical (the story has a touch of history) or purely fiction. It has sub-categories, mostly xianxia and wuxia. A drama becomes xianxia (fantasy) when the story talks about Chinese mythology, Taoism beliefs, and superstitions. while wuxia dramas focus on martial artists' adventures and heroism. 

This year, we have seen several costume series that truly excel, and thus, we are excited to wait for next year's releases.  So, we collated titles of upcoming costume series that are already done filming or currently in the pre-production stage to include in your drama viewing bucket list. 

Cheng Yi in Hero Legends 

We arranged the listing alphabetically in the spirit of fairness 😂

1. A Moment But Forever (iQIYI) genre: Xianxia/Fantasy

Main cast: Tiffany Tang and Liu Xueyi. Directed by Guo Hou (who won Outstanding Director of the Year for Mysterious Lotus Casebook at the Weibo TV and Internet Video Summit). 

Tiffany Tang and Liu Xue Yi

Plot Summary: In a war between gods and demons, a heavenly realm god used the artifact, "God's Left Hand", to seal the demon god, however, his hand was severed and the artifact fell into the human realm. It was retrieved by the leader of the Fox clan, Yuan Zhong (Liu Xueyi). 

The heavenly realm sent the divine maiden, Wu Shuang (Tiffany Tang) to the human realm to kill Yuan Zhong and retrieve the artifact. She disguises herself as a human and serves as a servant to Yuan Zhong.

2. A Thousand Peach Blooms Forever (Youku) sub-genre: Xianxia/Fantasy

Main cast: Vin Zhang and Sun Zhen Ni. Directed by Sam Ho (one of the three directors of Back From The Brink). Plot Summary: In ancient times, the human emperor, Zhao Ming (Vin Zhang), prayed for the people and sacrificed himself to fight against the divine world. 

After Zhao Ming's death, his lover, Chaos Pearl (Sun Zhen Ni), desperately saved a ray of his soul, setting up a situation of eternal reincarnation. Zhao Ming was reincarnated as Xie Xue Chen, the leader of the Immortal Alliance, and the Chaos Pearl was reincarnated as Mu Xuan Ling, the saint of the dark realm. The two met again in the human world, but they had forgotten their past and became rivals. 

3. Chasing The Moon (iQIYI) sub-genre: xianxia/fantasy

Main cast: Bai Lu and Ao Ruipeng. Directed by Zhu Ruibin (Director of Story of Kunning Palace, The Starry Love, The Blue Whiper, The Long Ballad, Ashes of Love, and many more hits). The supporting casts are pretty interesting: Chang Huasen (who starred in A Journey to Love), Dai Luwa (who starred in Lost You Forever), Quan Yilun (who starred in An Ancient Love Song), and Dai Si (One and Only, Ancient Love Poetry, The Flame's Daughter).

Plot Summary: A story of a woman's journey to immortality but along the way, she unexpectedly rescues a powerful demon god. They undergo struggles, manipulation, and eventually mutual affection. 

4. Chinese Paladin 4 (also known as Sword and Fairy 4) Tencent

Main cast: Chen Zheyuan, Ju Jingyi, Mao Zijun, Mao Xiao Hui, and Wang Duo. Directed by Yang Hsuan (who directed Eternal Love of Dream). This is based on the video game, The Legend of Sword and Fairy 4. See further background of  Chinese Paladin here

This is a prequel to Chinese Paladin 3 (2009), but a different set of characters. The story took place before the events in Chinese Paladin 3. 

It follows Yun Tian He (Chen Zheyuan), a young man who had been living alone on a mountain peak, who came across the young woman Han Ling Sha (Ju Jingyi), from a clan of short-lived tomb raiders, attempting to break into his parents' tomb, culminating in the destruction of the tomb, and setting him on a journey to the outside world to uncover his parents' past. 

5, Chinese Paladin 6 (also known as Sword and Fairy 6) Tencent

Main cast: Xu Kai, Esther Yu. Support: Fu Xinbo, Wan Peng, Bai Bingke, and Zhou Zhan. Directed by Liu Guo Nan (who directed Cheng Yi in Stand by Me). This is a sequel to Chinese Paladin season 5 (2016) but has a different set of characters and has a stand-alone storyline, and not a continuation.

The story follows two amnesiac youths, Yue Jin Zhao (Xu Kai) and Yue Qi (Esther Yu), who have been wandering the land in search of their identities and pasts, only for Yue Qi to lose all of her money to a member of the Risen Soul Cult. 

6. Dashing Youth (Youku) Sub-genre: wuxia/martial arts

Main cast: Neou Hou, He Yu, Xia Zheguang, Hu Lian Xin, and Jiang Zhen Yu. Directed by Chen Zhou Fei (director of The Forbidden Flower). This is a prequel to The Blood of Youth (2022).

Plot Summary: Bai Li Dongjun (Neo Hou) is a stubborn youth who shows no interest in martial arts. But he is good at winemaking and vows to become a wine expert to honor his best friend, Ye Yun, who was murdered. But destiny prevails and Bai Li Dongjun was compelled to study martial arts where he learned that Ye Yun survived and changed his identity to Ye Dingzhi. 

They were reunited and went on many martial arts adventures but later, Ye Dingzhi was used by others to launch a war against the Central Plains led by Bai Li Dongjun. The best friends found themselves warring against each other. 

7. Dawn of the Book of Heaven (Youku) Sub-genre; Wuxia/Martial arts

Main cast: Li Hongyi and Su Xiaotong. Directed by Jones Ma and She Lei. Plot summary: The story follows Hua She Feng (Li Hongyi) whose unconventional practice in medicine made people love and fear him. He was later accused of murder due to the deaths of many doctors. To prove his innocence and clear his name, he would participate in the investigation.

8. Everlasting Longing (Tencent) Sub-genre: Wuxia/War

Main cast: Angelababy and Song Weilong. Supporting roles: Wang Yiting and Ren Hao. Directed by Mai Guan Zhi (one of the directors of Love and Redemption starring Cheng Yi and Yuan Bingyan). 

Plot Summary: Jun Qi Lou (Angelababy), the daughter of a merchant, accompanied her father on a business trip and disguised herself as a man, Jun Fei Fan. She was kidnapped by Xuan Lei (Song Weilong), the leader of the Xuan tribe. Believing she was a man, Xuan Lei made her life miserable and accused her of being a spy. 

9. Flying Up Without Disturb (Youku) Sub-genre: xianxia/fantasy

Main cast: Li Hongyi and Lu Ting Yu. Directed by Roger Lau (director of The Destiny of White Snake, Lost Tomb 2, When We Were Young etc). Plot Summary: No available clear plot summary but basically it talks about a princess who accidentally entered immortality and met a man who was also undergoing cultivation. 

10. Follow Your Heart (iQIYI) Sub-genre: Mystery/Investigate

Main cast: Song Yi and Luo Yunxi. Directed by Yu Chungchung (director of Love is Sweet and Never Give Up). Plot Summary: While secretly investigating a case, Jiang Xin Bai, a proud prince and the head constable who suffers from face blindness, accidentally meets the unorthodox Yan Nan Xing, a female doctor who changes her appearance every month. 

11. Fox Spirit Matchmaker: Wang Quan (iQIYI) Sub-genre: xianxia/fantasy

Main cast: Cheng Yi and Li Yitong. Directed by Du Lin (director of Love You Seven Times and The Imperial Age). Plot Summary: This is the third chapter of the Fox Spirit Matchmaker drama adaptation. It focuses on the love story between a human Taoist warrior, Wang Quan (Cheng Yi), and the Spider spirit (Qingtong).

12. Fox Spirit Matchmaker: Yue Hong (iQIYI) Sub-genre: xianxia/fantasy

Main cast: Yang Mi and Gong Jun. Directed by Du Lin (director of Love You Seven Times and The Imperial Age). Plot Summary: The first chapter in the Fox Spirit Matchmaker drama adaptation. It tells the story of Tu Shan Hong Hong (Yang Mi), a fox spirit, and Dong Fang Yue Chu (Gong Jun), a Taoist disciple. 

Hong Hong saves Dong Fang Yue Chu. They join forces to restore peace between the human world and the spirit world. But their love story had a painful end. They promised to meet in another life which began the cycle of reincarnation.

13. Fox Spirit Matchmaker: Zhu Ye (iQIYI) Sub-genre: xianxia/fantasy

Main cast: Liu Shishi and Zhang Yunlong. Directed by Du Lin (director of Love You Seven Times and The Imperial Age). Plot Summary: This is the second chapter of the Fox Spirit Matchmaker drama adaptation. It follows the story of Dongfang Huaizhu (Liu Shishi) and Wangquan Hongye (Bai Ye in the original source manhua), the leader of a masked Taoist group. Looks like they are both humans. In the manhua, they are the parents of Wangquan Fuigi, who will reincarnate into Wang Fugui (Cheng Yi) in the Wang Quan chapter.

14. Guardian of the Dafeng (Tencent) Sub-genre: Historical/Fantasy

Main cast: Dylan Wang, Tian Xiwei, Li Yijun, and Yan Zidong. Directed by Deng Ke (My Heroic Husband, When We Were Young). Plot Summary: Xu Qian (Dylan Wang) who just graduated from the police academy, wakes up to find herself in a prison from a strange place. He was about to be sent to the frontier. He needed to change his fate and thus became a guardian. Tian Xiwei plays Princess Lin An.

15. Hero Legends (Tencent/CCTV-1) Sub-genre: Wuxia/Martial Arts

Main cast: Cheng Yi, Xiao Shunyao, Wang Qian Yuan, Zheng Yecheng, and Liu Yunlong. Directed by Vincent Yang (director of Royal Nirvana and Legend of Fuyao). Plot Summary: The story unfolds from a mysterious parchment scroll. 

Chinese costume drama in 2024
Cheng Yi and Li Yitong in Hero Legends

Chinese costume drama in 2024
Cheng Yi in Hero Legends

A group of influential figures, led by Lu Yun (Cheng Yi) go through twists and turns and bizarre fates, face the choices of love and hate, and finally realize their ideal ambition to serve the country. It is a work full of feelings about family and country, inheriting loyalty and righteousness, promoting traditional culture, and surging with passion and pride.

16. Hidden Charm (Tencent) Sub-genre: Historical/Action

Main cast: Zhang Wanyi, Wang Churan. Supporting cast: Liu Ruilin, Chang Huasen, and Zhu Zijie. Directed by Liu Guo Nan and Cong Xiao. Plot Summary: Liu Mian Tang (Wang Churan) suffered serious injuries under the attack of various evil forces and was rescued by Cui Xing Zhou (Zhang Wanyi), the Prince of Huai Yang. When Liu Mian Tang woke up, she lost her memory and mistaken Cui Xing Zhou for her husband, Cui Jiu.

17. In Blossom (Youku) Sub-genre: Mystery/Thriller

Main cast: Liu Xueyi and Ju Jingyi. Directed by Zhong Qing (known for idol modern dramas such as Please Feel at Ease Mr. Ling and Accidentally In Love). Plot Summary: In the sinful city of Heyang, Pan Yue (Liu Xueyi), marries Yang Cai Wei (Ju Jingyi), whom everyone despises. 

On the day of the wedding, Yang Cai Wei was killed. Pan Yue was framed as a murderer. However, Yang Cai Wei, strangely woke up in the body of  Shangguan Zhi who vowed to take revenge on Pan Yue. Only to discover that the real murderer was someone else.

18. Joy of Life season 2 (iQIYI) Sub-genre: Historical/Thriller

Main cast: Zhang Ruoyun, Wu Gang, and Li Qin. Directed by Sun Hao. Plot Summary: The story picks up where season 1 ended following the story of Fan Xian (Zhang Ruoyun) as he enters the palace service to investigate.

19. Kill Me, Love Me (Youku) Sub-genre: Historical/War

Main cast: Liu Xueyi and Wu Jinyan. Directed by Cheng Lu (who directed Back From The Brink).  The story follows Mei Lin, a girl who lost her loved ones in the fire ordered by Prince Murong Jinghe. Mei Lin became an assassin and her target is Prince Murong Jinghe to avenge the loss of her family.

20. Legend of Jewelry (Youku) Sub-genre: Historical/Business

Main cast: Liu Yuning and Zhao Lusi and directed by Xie Ze (director of Romance of a Twin Flower and Luoyang). This is Liu Yuning and /Zhao Lusi's second drama collaboration after The Long Ballad in 2021.

21. Legend of Rosy Clouds (iQIYI) Sub-genre: Historical

Main cast: Li Yitong, Joseph Zeng, and Deng Wei. Supporting cast: Riley Wang and Dai Luwa. Directed by Zhuo Shaojie. I always associate a drama with Joseph Zeng as something funny or a rom-com because most of the dramas he did followed this trajectory.

However, this sounds to be a female-centric drama with Li Yitong's character, Hong Xiu Li, as the center of attention. According to some C-netizens, the script of the drama adaptation altered the characters of Deng Wei and Riley Wang. In the book, Riley Wang's character Zi Jinglan is one of the main leads. But in the adaptation, Cha Shuo Xun (Deng Wei) becomes one of the main characters.

22. Legend of Shen Li (Tencent) Sub-genre: Xianxia

Main cast: Zhao Liying and Lin Gengxin and directed by Deng Ke. This is Zhao Liying and Lin Gengxin's second drama collaboration after The Princess Agents in 2017 so viewers are excited for its release. This drama is also produced by Zhao Liying herself so this must be very interesting and big! 

It tells the story of a female demon lord, Shen Li, who was born with a pearl in her mouth. She escaped an arranged marriage and was attacked and transformed back to her phoenix shape. She fell to the human world in a coma with serious wounds and later met Xing Zhi (who was the only one last god left in the world).
23. Legend of a Female General (Youku) Sub-genre: Wuxia/War

Main cast: Zhou Ye and Cheng Lei and directed by Jeffrey Chiang (the director of The Longest Promise). This is based on a rebirth novel and as the title would say it, Zhou Ye will play the role of a female general who will be reborn and join the army while Cheng Lei will play her cold commander.

24. Love of Nirvana (Tencent) Sub-genre: Wuxia/War

Main cast: Ren Jialun, Li Landi, and Jeremy Tsui. Directed by Zhou Yuanzhou. It looks like this drama has a love triangle. Wei Zhao (Ren Jialun) and Pei Yan (Jeremy Tsui) were at odds due to their warring states, and Jiang Ci (Li Landi) falls into the struggles between these two characters.

25. Love of the Divine Tree (iQIYI) Sub-genre: Xianxia/Fantasy

Main cast: Deng Wei and Julia Xiang. This is directed by Yin Tao and the script is written by Liu Fang, the same team who gave us Love and Redemption (who catapulted Cheng Yi to fame) and The Glory of Tang Dynasty ( who made Ren Jialun famous). 

The plot says that Mu Qing Ge, the leader of the Xishan Sect, sacrificed the Golden Core to seal the Ling Quan on her disciple Su Yi Shui to protect the people and prevent the chaos caused by the spiritual spring of demonic creatures. They will be reborn in the mortal realm.
26. Offering Fish (Youku) Sub-genre: Xianxia

Main cast: Arthur Chen and Wang Yinglu. Supporting cast: Wang Yiting, Gao Han, and Li Xinze. Directed by Wen Deguang. Plot Summary from Douban: After Sima Jiao (played by Chen Feiyu), the founder of the Gengchen Immortal Mansion who was sealed in the mountains for five hundred years, met Liao Tingyan (played by Wang Yinglu) who unexpectedly came to the world of immortality, he was overcome by his "salted fish" instinct of wanting nothing. 

Chinese costume drama for 2024
Arthur Chen and Wang Yinglu

From then on, Liao Tingyan began to guide Sima Jiao to be good step by step and became the person who changed him. In the process, they fell in love and experienced a love-hate entanglement spanning three lives in the fairy palace, the demon realm, and the human world. 

27. Snowy Nights: Timeless Love (iQIYI) Sub-genre: Xianxia/Martial Arts

Main cast: Joseph Zeng and Li Qin and directed by Ren Haitao and Leung Sing Kuen. It tells the story of Huo Zhan Bai (Joseph Zeng), a talented swordsman who was originally a disciple of the Tianshan Sect. He seeks medicine for his friend's son and meets Xue Zi Ye (Li Qin), the master of the Medicine Valley

Chinese costume drama for 2024
Joseph Zeng

28. The Grand Princess (Youku) Sub-genre: Thriller/Historical

Main cast: Zhang Linghe and Zhao Jinmai. Directed by Rao Jun. Looks like this is another rebirth story. Li Rong (Zhao Jinmai) married Pei Wenxuan (Zhang Linghe) for political reasons. He used her identity as a grand princess to establish himself. There's nothing between them but the quest for power. 

But a conspiracy made them to turn them against each other and die in each other’s schemes. However, when they woke up, they had actually returned to the year when they were 18 years old and Pei Wenxuan went to look for Li Rong. To be married again.

29. The Immortal Ascension (Youku) Sub-genre: Xianxia

Main cast: Yang Yang and Jin Chen. Directed by Yang Yang ( a female director who directed A Dream of Splendor and Imperfect Victim). The story follows an ordinary boy from a village who joins a minor sect in Jiang Hu and becomes an Unofficial Disciple by chance. With his mediocre aptitude, he must successfully traverse the treacherous path of cultivation and avoid the notice of those who may do him harm.

30. The Rise of Ning (Tencent) Sub-genre: Historical

Main cast: Zhang Wanyi and Ren Min. Directed by Mai Gunazhi. The story follows Luo Yi Ning who grew up in a separate mansion. She couldn't bear to see the bullying experienced by her "Third Brother" Luo Shen Yuan and vows to help him. Gradually, she discovers that Luo Shen Yuan, despite appearing down and out, was actually talented in both literature and martial arts.

31. The Story of Hua Zhi (Youku) Sub-genre: Historical/Business/Romance

Main cast: Zhang Jingyi and Hu Yitian. Directed by Zhu Ruibin (director of Ashes of Love, The Long Ballad, Story of Kunning Palace, The Blue Whisper, and The Starry Love among others). It tells the story of the eldest daughter of a prestigious family, Hua Zhi (Zhang Jingyi), who concealed her talents for fifteen years. But when the Hua family was on the verge of collapse, she had no choice but to reveal her true abilities and step forward to support her crumbling household.

32. The Story of Mystics (iQIYI) Sub-genre: Xianxia

Main cast: Neo Hou, Chen Duling, Chen Xiao, Tian Jia Rui, Lestin Lin, and Xu Zhen Xuan. Directed by Edward Guo (who directed My Journey To You). According to its profile in Douban, this drama referenced to the fantasy book, The Classic of Mountains and Seas. But no clear plot summary has been shared. It looks like this is another story of demons hunting demons.
33. Water Dragon Ballad (Hunan TV/Mango TV) Sub-genre: Xianxia

Main cast: Luo Yunxi, Lin Yun, Chen Yao, Xiao Shunyao, Jeremy Tsui, Ao Ziyi, and Bao Shang En. Directed by Chen Zhoufei. Originally, Tang Li Ci (Luo Yunxi) was a recluse, but he got involved in a murder case and was pulled into the disputes of the martial arts world.

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