16 Most Popular Chinese Drama Reviewed by Domestic Fans 2021-2023

Most Popular Chinese Drama 2023

If you're looking for something to watch, try any of these most commented Chinese series in Douban, with at least 400,000 reviewers, from 2021 to 2023.

As much as we want to gather at least 20 titles, unfortunately, only 16 met the criteria. Domestic drama fans can be very picky with the kind of drama they want to spend time watching. If it does not catch their fancy they will abandon it.

However, cruising past 400,000 number of users rating the drama in Douban does not mean the drama is impressive. 

For example, Fireworks of My Heart and Falling Into Your Smile earned popularity in Douban not because domestic fans are fascinated but because they found these dramas beyond repulsive. 

With only a 1-star rating and a barrage of criticism, Fireworks of My Heart and Falling Into Your Smile became the most ridiculed Chinese series top-billed by liuliang stars in recent years. 

Here are the 16 Most Popular Series in Douban (from mainland China), including their rating, between 2021 and 2023:

1. The Long Season (2023) - Crime/Thriller/Family

  • Reviewers: 927,735
  • Rating: 9.4 
  • Main cast: Fan Wei, Qin Hao, and Chen Minghao
  • Director: Xin Shuang
  • Episode: 12
  • Original network: Tencent/WeTV

The Long Season Chinese drama
Qin Hao, Fan Wei, and Chen Minghao

The Long Season tells the story of a steel plant worker (played by Fan Wei) turned taxi driver whose longing to seek justice for his missing son leads to the discovery of murders, and those who are involved, which happened 20 years ago. 

2. The Knockout (2023) - Crime/Thriller

  • Reviewers: 901,870
  • Rating: 8.5
  • Main cast: Zhang Yi, Zhang Songwen, Li Yitong, Zhang Zhijian, and Wu Gang
  • Episode: 39
  • Director: Xu Jizhou
  • Original network: iQIYI

Most Popular Chinese Drama 2023
Zhang Songwen and Zhang Yi in The Knockout

Jointly produced by CCTV and iQiyi, The Knockout tells a story about China’s crackdown on criminal gangs. It follows a heroic criminal police officer, An Xin (Zhang Yi), who is constantly attacked by the protective umbrella in his struggle to resolve crimes. 

He is unable to bring the criminals to justice. Until the legal system was reformed and other government agencies launched a crackdown on corrupt elements.

3. Douluo Continent (2021) - Costume/Fantasy

  • Reviewers: 894,082
  • Rating: 6.4
  • Main cast: Xiao Zhan and Wu Xuanyi
  • Director: Yang Zhenyu 
  • Episode: 40
  • Original network: Tencent/WeTV

Most Popular Chinese Drama 2021
Duoluo Continent

Douluo Continent follows Tang San (Xiao Zhan) who has an extraordinary talent and wit. His father sent him to a martial arts academy to pursue his dream of becoming a great soul master. Later, he befriends Gu Xiao Wu (Wu Xuan Yi). They begin the long and difficult journey of cultivation together.

4. Reset (2022) - Mystery/Time Loop

  • Reviewers: 891,444
  • Rating: 7.9
  • Main cast:  Bai Jingting and Zhao Jinmai
  • Director: Sun Molong, Liu Hongyuan, and Lao Suan
  • Episode: 15
  • Original network: Tencent/WeTV

Reset Chinese drama 2022
Bai Jingting and Zhao Jinmai in Reset

Reset is a time-loop drama in which the characters are trapped in a situation that keeps repeating. It follows Xiao Heyun (Bai Jingting), a video game architect, and Li Shiqing (Zhao Jinmai), a college student. 

They are passengers of an ill-fated bus that is bound to explode. The story continues through time loops and they must find out the cause of the explosion to break the cycle.

5. A Dream of Splendor (2022) - Costume/Historical/Romance

  • Reviewers: 868,137
  • Rating: 7.9
  • Main Cast: Liu Yifei and Chen Xiao
  • Director: Yang Yang (female filmmaker not the actor)
  • Episode: 40
  • Original network: Tencent/WeTV

A Dream of Splendor
Liu Yifei and Chen Xiao

This was the drama comeback (on the small screen) of Liu Yifei after 16 years so it created an intense interest in China during its run. Her last TV drama was also a costume series, The Return of the Condor Heroes (2006).

Set in the Northern Song Dynasty, the story follows Zhao Pan'er (Liu Yifei), who runs a tea shop in the province. When her fiance dumped her for another woman, she moves to the city to confront him. However, she crosses paths with Gu Qianfan (Chen Xiao), the commander of the Imperial City Division who is on his way to an assigned mission. 

6. Love Between Fairy and Devil (2022) - Costume/Fantasy/Romance

  • Reviewers: 737,620
  • Rating: 8.1
  • Main cast: Esther Yu and Dylan Wang
  • Director: Yi Zheng and Qian Jingwu
  • Episode: 36
  • Original network: iQIYI

The Goddess of War sacrificed her life to seal the Lord Devil, Dongfang (Dylan Wang), who created chaos in the realm of the gods with his demon army. However, a prophecy predicts that he will be unsealed and can only be stopped by the Goddess Xi Yun. But Xi Yun, who was reborn as Xiao Lanhua (Esther Yu), unwittingly sets him free. 

7. Mysterious Lotus Casebook (2023) - Costume/Investigation/Wuxia

  • Reviewers: 620,265
  • Rating: 8.5
  • Main Cast: Cheng Yi, Joseph Zeng, and Xiao Shunyao
  • Director: Guo Hu and Ren Haitao
  • Episode: 40
  • Original network: iQIYI

Mysterious Lotus Casebook
Cheng Yi, Xiao Shunyao, and Joseph Zeng in Mysterious Lotus Casebook

Li Xiangyi (Cheng Yi), the leader of the SiGu sect, and Di Fei Sheng (Xiao Shunyao), the leader of the Jinyuan Alliance engaged in a deadly battle aboard a ship in the East Sea. They both sank into the bottom of the ocean. 

Ten years later, Li Xiangyi assumed the identity of a rural doctor, Li Lianhu, and gave up the martial arts world. But he accidentally met Fang Doubing (Joseph Zeng), an aspiring martial artist, who dragged him back to the jianghu. He also encountered again his nemesis, Di Fei Sheng who instantly recognized him.

8. Immortal Samsara (2022) - Costume/Fantasy/Romance

  • Reviewers: 593,960
  • Rating: 5.9
  • Main Cast: Yang Zi and Cheng Yi
  • Director: Guo Hu
  • Episode: 59
  • Original network: Youku

Immortal Samsara
Yang Zi and Cheng Yi in Immortal Samsara

Yan Dan (Yang Zi), a rare four-leaf lotus blossom, and her twin sister Zhi-Xi (Meng Ziyi) transformed into human form during the Jade Pool festival of the Supreme Emperor. They were saved by Lord Ying Yuan (Cheng Yi) when the demon clan attempted to kidnap them. 

Yan Dan later served the palace of Lord Ying-Yuan to become his immortal attendant. He appeared harsh and emotionless to her but actually cared for her. But love relationships are against heavenly doctrines & punishable by death.

9. Word of Honor  (2021) - Costume/Wuxia/BL series

  • Reviewers: 591,817
  • Rating: 8.5
  • Main Cast: Gong Jun and Zhang Zhehan
  • Director: Cheng Zhichao, Ma Huaqin, and Li Hongyu
  • Episode: 36
  • Original network: Youku

Gong Jun and Zhang Zhehan

This series was luckily aired before Chinese authorities banned BL-themed series. However, it did not escape from the harsh punishments of authorities when one of the main leads, Zhang Zhehan was "canceled" in China due to cultural controversies.

Zhang Zhehan was removed from the drama's Douban profile and other online publications in China and all his social media accounts on the mainland internet were deleted.

Word of Honor follows the story of the leader of the assassin organization, "The Window of Heaven", Zhou Zishu (Zhang Zhehan). He quits his position in pursuit of freedom with drastic measures. During his travels, he meets Wen Kexing (Gong Jun), Ghost Valley's reclusive leader who wants revenge. 

The two become entangled in various machinations within the martial arts world and eventually become soulmates, instrumental in each other's redemption. 

10. Love Like The Galaxy (2022) - Costume/War/Romance

  • Reviewers: 570,409
  • Rating: 7.6
  • Main Cast: Wu Lei and Zhao Lusi
  • Director: Fei Zhenxiang
  • Episode: 56
  • Original network: Tencent/WeTV

The story revolves around Cheng Shaoshang (Zhao Lusi), who was left behind by her parents when they went to war. As a result, she was raised by her scheming aunt and ignorant grandmother. 

With the return of her parents, she hoped her life would improve. However, years of estrangement have made it difficult for them to become a family. 

She met the emperor's foster son, General Ling Buyi (Wu Lei), whom she viewed as a cold and ruthless person. However, that notion changed, when she got to know him more. Through her interactions with Ling Buyi, she became involved in the mystery surrounding his family and his identity.

11. Age of Awakening (2021) - Republican era/CPP Propaganda drama

  • Reviewers: 497,300
  • Rating: 9.3
  • Main Cast: Yu Hewei, Zhang Tong, Zhang Wanyi, Ma Qiyue, and Ma Shaohua  
  • Director: Zhang Yong Xin
  • Episode: 43
  • Original network: CCTV (state-run TV channel)

Age of Awakening Chinese drama

This series focuses on the period from the New Culture Movement to the birth of China's Communist Party. It displays all attitudes of life during the awakening age, and follows the story of Chen Du Xiu and Li Da Zhao, along with other like-minded individuals. They founded the Magazine La Jeunesse which started the New Culture Movement during the infancy of the Republic following the collapse of the Qing dynasty. 

12. You Are  My Glory (2021) - Modern Romance

  • Reviewers: 483,654
  • Rating: 6.9
  • Main Cast: Dilraba Dilmurat and Yang Yang
  • Director: Wang Zhi
  • Episode; 32
  • Original network: Tencent/WeTV

Qiao Jingjing (Dilraba Dilmurat), an actress, met her high school crush, Yu Tu (Yang Yang), who worked in the aerospace industry, when she started endorsing an esports game. 

The two rekindled their love while participating in game endorsement activities. However, as they gain a deeper understanding of each other's living and working environments, they face more challenges and tests. 

13. Minning Town (2021) - Social Issues/Political drama

  • Reviewers: 443,541
  • Rating: 9.2
  • Main Cast: Huang Xuan, Zhang Jiayi, Yan Ni, and Tao Hong
  • Director: Kong Sheng and Sun Molong
  • Episode: 23
  • Original network: Dragon TV, Zhejiang TV

Minning Town Chinese drama

It tells the story of villagers from Ningxia who migrated and built Minning Town from scratch. The government wants to build rural housing land and encourages the farmers of Xiji Country to migrate or relocate. 

However, the conditions of the desert are too harsh. The villagers who moved there mostly left on the second day. Ma Defu (Huang Xuan) tries his best to get the villagers to stay and build the Minning Town. The Party Central Committee made a strategic plan to promote cooperation which identified Fujian counterparts to promote poverty alleviation work.

14. Three Body (2023) - Science Fiction

  • Reviewers: 435,565
  • Rating: 8.7
  • Main Cast: Zhang Luyi, Yu Hewei, Chen Jin, and Wang Ziwen
  • Director: Yang Lei
  • Episode: 30
  • Original network: Tencent/WeTV

Nanoscientist Wang Miao (Zhang Luyi) was invited to the joint operations center by police officer Shi Qiang (played by Yu Hewei), and then learned that the deaths of scientists seemed to be related to an organization called "Science Frontier (ETO)".

The operations center hopes Wang Miao will infiltrate the organization and investigate their connection with dead scientists and even a mysterious game "Three-Body". 

15. Fireworks of My Heart (2023) - Modern Romance

  • Reviewers: 421,675
  • Rating: 2.7
  • Main Cast: Yang Yang and Wang Churan
  • Director: Li Muge
  • Episode: 40
  • Original network: Mango TV

Fireworks of My Heart
Yang Yang and Wang Churan

Fire station chief Song Yan (Yang Yang) and emergency doctor Xu Qin (Wang Churan) got reunited after 10 years. They were forced to separate in their youth due to family opposition. They met again due to the nature of their respective jobs. 

16. Falling Into Your Smile (2021) - eSports/Modern Romance

  • Reviewers: 415,102
  • Rating: 3.2
  • Main Cast: Xu Kai and Cheng Xiao
  • Director: Qiu Zhong Wei
  • Episode: 31
  • Original network: Youku, Tencent

This is an esports drama. Lu Si Cheng (Xu Kai) is the team captain of an all-male ZGDX OPL team. He meets a fresh graduate gamer, Tong Yao (Cheng Xiao) who is obsessed with OPL.

Lu Sifeng learned the exceptional skills of Tong Yao so he thought having the first female player in his team could help score a major PR coup.

In Summary:

Most Popular C-Drama in Douban Each Year:


  1. Duoluo Continent - Costume/Fantasy 894,000+
  2. Word of Honor - Costume/Wuxia 591,000+
  3. Age of Awakening - Political/Propaganda 497,000+
  4. You Are My Glory - Modern Romance 483,000+
  5. Minning Town - Political/Propaganda 443,000+
  6. Falling Into Your Smile - Modern Romance 415,000+
  1. Reset - Modern/Mystery 891,000+
  2. A Dream of Splendor - Costume/Romance 868,000+
  3. Love Between Fairy and Devil - Costume/Xianxia 737,000+
  4. Immortal Samsara - Costume/Xianxia 593,000+
  5. Love Like The Galaxy - Costume/Romance 570,000+
  1. The Long Season - Crime/Thriller 927,000+
  2. The Knockout - Police Investigation 901,000+
  3. Mysterious Lotus Casebook - Costume/Wuxia 620,000+
  4. Three Body - Science Fiction 435,000+
  5. Fireworks of My Heart - Modern Romance 420,000+

Ranking the above series based on their Douban Rating:
  1. The Long Season - 9.4
  2. Age of Awakening - 9.3
  3. Minning Town - 9.2
  4. Three Body - 8.7
  5. The Knockout - 8.5
  6. Mysterious Lotus Casebook - 8.5
  7. Word of Honor - 8.5
  8. Love Between Fairy and Devil - 8.1
  9. Reset - 7.9
  10. A Dream of Splendor - 7.9
  11. Love Like The Galaxy - 7.6
  12. You Are My Glory - 6.9
  13. Duoluo Continent - 6.4
  14. Immortal Samsara - 5.9
  15. Falling Into Your Smile - 3.2
  16. Fireworks of My Heart - 2.7

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