Warning: This article *may* contain minor spoilers
I was mildly cautious about picking up this drama, not only because so many of the Chinese dramas I'd tried to watch in recent time had ended up as somewhat of a letdown, but because the writer's previous work includes Find Yourself, a drama which I had been greatly anticipating, but ended up one of the most frustrating dramas of earlier this year. Where Find Yourself lacks though, Go Ahead largely excels, and I'm here to try and tell you why you should absolutely be watching this delightful gem of a drama!
If you hadn't already noticed, this drama has not just one, but two stunningly handsome male actors at the helm, Song Wei Long (Find Yourself, In A Class of Her Own) and Zhang Xin Cheng (Skate Into Love, Symphony's Romance). And let me tell you, the visuals are no joke. It's indeed possible that the first time I saw them on-screen I had to pause to catch a breath because their visuals were that impactful. Alongside our striking duo, we have quirky and cute female lead Tan Song Yun, who rounds off the trio nicely, the three delivering the perfect dynamic that is one of the finest strengths of this series.
The plot is one of the drama's strongest points. With the power to both warm and break your heart, it's a healing story, telling the journey of three children as they grow into adulthood, a five-strong "found family" who have each been dealt a bad hand in life. The bond between all of the characters is one of the most sincere and heartfelt portrayals I've seen in a very long time, with the cast playing off each other's brilliant chemistry to deliver such an interesting, compelling and beautiful backstory.
The story follows three unrelated troubled youths, each individually scarred by the shadows of their past, who band together to make one dysfunctional but loving family as they deal with their past catching up with them, all while struggling with the prospects of a daunting future. Eldest brother Ling Xiao, second brother He Zi Qiu, and youngest sister Li Jian Jian find themselves inseparable and have a tough journey as they have to learn to cope with the anxieties of living apart from one another and finding themselves while supporting each other.
Tong Song Yun is the young spirited Li Jian Jian, who moves into the neighborhood with her doting (and simply amazing) father Li Hai Chao, a noodle shop owner. Being an only child in a motherless household, she happens to grow into quite a strong, feisty individual, though her upbeat personality and positivity towards life are unrivaled by everyone.
Song Wei Long plays the new neighbor and only child Ling Xiao who is initially introduced as a young, quiet, introverted boy. His parents are in the midst of a rough patch, which leaves him feeling afraid, unwanted and pushed aside, leading him to be closed-off and undemanding, never asking for nor taking even that which he needs.
Zhang Xin Cheng is the loveable and strong-minded He Zi Qiu, a young boy who was introduced into the Li family due to their parents' intention to marry. Although at first, there is tension between Jian Jian and Zi Qiu, they both learn to accept one another as they learn to share the same household.
Where Go Ahead shines is the exceptional acting led by an outstandingly strong cast, who have blown me away with their strengths in portraying such a wide range of emotions; it's evident the cast themselves have strong bonds outside of the show also.
I won't go overboard in selling this drama for its eye-candy alone, as there is so much more to it than that, but that being said I (surprisingly) had found myself with the terrible second lead syndrome. :') Personally, I'm not really bothered who is the ultimate endgame for this drama, I would easily take Zhang Xin Cheng for myself, however.
One thing I love about this drama is how relatable it is to a wide variety of people, whether you're a parent who has dealt with the hardships of watching your child grow and leave the nest, or a teenager who has coped with the anxieties of student life, growing older, or losing those near and dear to you. This drama has it all, and I feel like it covered a lot of complex scenarios such as grieving for a loved one, coping with loneliness, and learning to ask for help when you need it. You'll probably experience a wide range of emotions yourself, including anger, hate, sadness, relief and pure joy as you empathize and relate to each of the characters.
I'd categorize this drama as somewhere along the melodrama genre, but the series itself caters for a wide audience, with a mix of comedy and romance amidst the usual 'drama'. You can absolutely expect to find yourself fighting tears at some point or another, as Go Ahead is exceptionally good at tearing into you emotionally before warming your heart once again.
I've only currently watched 10 out of the 40 episodes that this drama is expected to air (with currently only 15 subbed as of this point in time) so I cannot speak for whether it will continue to exceed my expectations or become a disappointment further down the line. However, I can honestly say this has become one of my favorite dramas that I've seen in a very long time, and therefore I urge you to check it out, especially if you love found-family scenarios and coming-of-age concepts. 40 eps may seem like a lot, but out of the 10 I've watched it's honestly flown by and I feel like by the end I'm gonna be sad and struggling to say goodbye to these loveable characters.
Watch this if:
You love either Song Wei Long or Zhang Xin Cheng. Or both.
You enjoy heartwarming family dramas that promote healing and finding oneself.
You're a sucker for painful, angsty and heart-wrenching stories.
You really liked Find Yourself (or even if you didn't!)
You can put up with potential love triangles.
You love a good bingeable series.
This is possibly my favorite currently airing series as of this moment in time, and I am absolutely certain that anyone who picks up this wonderful series will be raving about it within the first few episodes.