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Chinese dramas put new meaning into reality TV


Source: Xinhua    Published: 2018-4-5

Around 40 percent of prize-winning TV dramas at the Feitian Awards this year were based on real life situations, an astonishing renaissance for realism in Chinese TV.

The 31th China TV Drama Flying Apsaras Awards, also known as Feitian Awards, China`s biennial version of Emmys, was held Tuesday night in Ningbo, east China`s Zhejiang Province.

Series screened in the past three years depicting working life in cities, anti-corruption campaigns and the difficulties of relocation were the big winners this year.


One of the most popular TV series last year was "In the Name of the People," which followed the ongoing campaign against corruption.

This new realism is indicative of China`s growing cultural self-confidence, said screenwriter Wang Liping.

TV should reflect mainstream social values, said Wang, who disliked the once ubiquitous pop stars and morbid fantasies of China`s prime time entertainment.

In a materialist society, we need thought-provoking dramas, which leave a lasting impression, she said.

Telling a story with a realistic theme is key to both popularity and industrial development, said Gao Yunfei, chief of Shanghai Radio and Television Station.


China is now the world`s largest TV series producer and market. More than 300 dramas consisting of over 10,000 episodes were made annually in the past few years, though few of incontrovertibly high quality.

Li Shengli with the Communication University of China, said the shift toward realism is particularly timely as overseas TV productions have attracted the young Chinese audience, in direct challenge to domestic productions.

Creative ideas do not come out of nowhere and should come from Chinese culture and real life, said Li Jiuhong, a Feitian Award-winning producer.

Li believes domestic producers have begun to pay more attention to story and style instead of only thinking about profits.

China`s TV drama industry still has issues to solve. Producers need a viable market and more original scripts, said literature professor Zhang Yiwu of Peking University.

Artists should think of the social benefit of their work first, said Nie Chenxi, head of the national TV regulator, who expects more government support for TV dramas.

Zhang Yiwu is a senior fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.

Key Words:China   TV   reality   Zhang Yiwu  

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