Here's Why Sword Fairy 4 and Sword Fairy 6 Bombed Domestically

Sword and Fairy Chinese drama

So here's another case of a highly anticipated drama that failed to take off. But why?

Two drama adaptations of The Legend of Sword and Fairy premiered just a day apart on January 17 and 18 - Sword and Fairy 4 starring Chen Zheyuan and Ju Jingyi, and Sword and Fairy (this is based on the Legend of Sword and Fairy 6) starring Xu Kai and Esther Yu.

Sword and Fairy Chinese drama
Ju Jingyi and Chen Zheyuan for Sword and Fairy 4

Whether it was a good marketing stunt to air these series around the same time or not is beside the point, the most noticeable outcome is that, both are not well received by domestic viewers.

Something strange because the previous Chinese Paladin (1 and 3) were considered classic and ultra-popular during its airing (2005 and 2009 respectively).

Now, drama critics in China said the latest two Sword and Fairy adaptations are monumental flops. Both editions failed to attract domestic viewers' interest, and apart from the main leads' core fans, the two plays did not have any word-of-mouth traffic.

So what happened? Where did these two editions go wrong? Both seem to have good budgets to fuel promotions, and the four main leads are traffic stars who have public charisma. However,  both plays have been bombarded by negative comments.

Sword and Fairy Chinese drama
Xu Kai and Esther Yu in Sword and Fairy 6

Most of the comments of domestic fans centered on the script - bad script to be precise, slow plot development, dull screenplay.

Esther Yu's audio became the source of domestic fans' displeasure, commenting it was too cringe to listen to her whining and babyish mumbling.

Here are some of the comments of domestic viewers in Douban where they vented their ire:






Okay, why local fans are annoyed with the latest Sword and Fairy live action? According to them, the previous Chinese Paladin (except the 5th adaptation) were well written and the main leads met their expectations. 

The Legend of Sword and Fairy video games targeted teenagers and young adults, and the characters of the story are in their teens. 

So actors must act playful and frolicsome and naive, but it seems the framework of the characters and how they should be acted are too much for the four main leads in the latest adaptations to absorb so they screwed the roles. 

Domestic fans argued that the main leads in Chinese Paladin 1 and 3, also acted playful but were able to internalize their roles smoothly without being silly. 

But well, it's unfair to compare performers as they have different sets of skills and styles of acting, and we cannot expect them to copy each other's mannerisms and approaches.

Ahh, perhaps, Sword and Fairy's storyline no longer fits today's audience mentality. Times changed and the demand for entertainment has also evolved. 

Except for drama fans aged 14-20, most viewers in the adult bracket are no longer fascinated with playful adventuristic dramas carried by idol stars. It's becoming too boring to watch. So. perhaps, this is where Sword and Fairy 4 and 6 adaptations tumbled.

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