Many people had high expectations when news of Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi starring in her first TV drama in her two-decade-long career made headlines. A number of people even believed that the series, titled Monarch Industry would be as popular as the Story of Yanxi Palace.
Unfortunately, expectations fell flat and the show was hit with a series of bad reviews, ranging from its many plot roles to the laughable costumes that have been condemned for being “a disgrace to Chinese history”.
According to 8days.sg on January 31, the bad press has led ratings for the show to drop so much that video streaming platforms have reduced the fee to watch its episodes in advance.
Normally viewers have to pay three yuan (SGD0.60) to unlock an episode on such Chinese platforms but the fee has been reduced to one yuan (SGD0.20). Despite the low price, netizens remain unimpressed and have condemned the producers for resorting to quick fixes rather than admitting the flaws in the drama.
“I wouldn’t even bother watching it even if you release all the episodes right now for free,” one netizen fumed. “I felt my brain cells dying when I tried to make sense of this drama. That’s how bad it is,” said another.
Born on February 9, 1979, Zhang Ziyi is a Chinese actress and model. Her first major role was in The Road Home (1999). She later gained international recognition for her role in Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), which was nominated for 10 Academy Awards.
Zhang has also appeared in Rush Hour2 (2001), Hero (2002), and House of Flying Daggers (2004). Her most critically acclaimed works are Memoirs of a Geisha (2005), which earned her nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama, the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role; and The Grandmaster (2013), for which she won 12 different Best Actress awards, becoming the only Chinese actress to receive the highest number of awards for a single film.
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