by Benevolentia , November 5, 2020
81

Starter Kit: Taiwan

~ Part Three ~

Taiwan dramas are my personal bias. Their storytelling techniques, and the way they are able to portray human emotions, allow them to produce breathtaking and one of kind content - they can not be replicated. Not having strong censorship, compared to Korea and China, they are open to exploring wider themes. Taiwan Dramas have a way of creating completely unrealistic circumstances for their character and having them behave in a realistic manner creating some of the most heartbreaking moments. Taiwan dramas have a great back catalog of dramas from 2001-2015, usually marked by a lower budget and ridiculous circumstances. Since 2016 Taiwan dramas have increased their production budgets and have been working harder to create more original content. I highly recommend both, you shouldn't miss out on either of them.

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Dramas For Beginners

Taiwan dramas don't necessarily have a wide range of dramas available, usually not releasing more than ~ 60 dramas a year. This limitation may mean you only have around 6 Taiwan dramas each year, depending on your own personal preferences.

Taiwan dramas have a wide range of a possible number of episodes per drama, usually 13 - 30, with an episode runtime of approximately of 1hour. Taiwan will sometimes half the run time and double the number of episodes.

Here are my recommendations if you are a newcomer to Taiwanese Drama. I selected them according to different tropes and genres that I believe to be beginner-friendly to a newcomer in Taiwanese dramaland. 

Cross Dressing:

Bromance

Tags:  Hidden Identity, Strong Female Lead, Boss/Employee Relationship, Steamy Kiss, Tomboy, Bromance, Mafia, Secondary Couple, Passionate Kiss

Youth: 

Devil Beside You

Tags: Step-siblings Love, Bad Man/good Woman, Love Triangle, College Life, Nice Stepfather, Nice Stepmother, Fast-Paced Romance

Pre-2015 Contemporary:

You are My Destiny

Tags: Marriage Of Convenience, Pregnancy, Steamy Kiss, One-night Stand, Rich Man/Poor Woman

Cohabitation : 

Just You

Tags: Cohabitation, Boss/Employee Relationship, Housemates, Office Romance, Cheerful Woman, Hidden Relationship, Sismance, Hate To Love

Post-2016 Contemporary : 

Someday or One day

Tags: Time Travel, Second Chance, Mental Illness, Parallel Dimension, Heartbreak, Love Triangle, Youth, Healing, Rain, Death Of Lover

Mystery/Law: 

Meet You @ 1006

Tags: Possessive Male Lead, Gullible Female Lead, Wrongfully Accused, Steamy Kiss, Jealousy, Infidelity, Time Manipulation, Roommates 

Crime Thriller:

 Black And White

Tags: Slight Romance, Mafia, Police, Bromance,  Action, Comedy

Family Drama: 


Tags: Gun Violence, Strong Female Characters, Journalist, Lawyer, Tearjerker, Death, Journalism, Sibling, Sismance, Mental Health

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Know Your Actors

Get to know some great actors and actresses that have a great track record of always delivering enjoyable stories and performances. Most successful Taiwan actors will appear in Chinese dramas as well, so be sure to check out not only their Taiwanese dramas but also their Chinese Dramas.


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Know Your Basics: Language

Spoken Mandarin, written Traditional Characters. Taiwan dialect is Hokkien, which is most of the time prevalent in Taiwan dramas. 

Due to the many different dialects in China, there will always be Chinese subtitles available on ALL films, even a variety of tv shows. I am a big fan of the subtitles and hoped all Asian dramas had them. (I've actually found it so uncomfortable now if the drama does not have Chinese subtitles - something is missing). 

Buzz Words

*Words that don't have English direct translation 

“ 请 “ Qing = meaning please, but more often is a word to add politeness 

“加油” Jia You = word of support or encouragement.

“乌鸦嘴” wu ya zui = literally meaning crow mouth, means to “jinx”, saying something unfortunate will happen and it ends up happening. 

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Know Your Basics: Culture

Taiwan Religion

The most common religions in Taiwan are Buddhism and Taoism, and will sometimes play a part in TWDramas, most commonly in the form of moon divination blocks (Jiao Bei) and tailism.

*Two crescent moon shaped blocks used to seek the direction of the gods for certain problems, one side is bulged (yin) and the other flat (yang). One bulged side (yin) and one flat side (yang) facing upwards represents a positive ‘Yes’ reply. Both bulged surfaces (yin yin) facing upwards indicate a ‘No’ reply. Moon divination blocks are often used by the characters to help them make a life-altering decision, for example for becoming a "celebrity's bodyguard".

*Tailism or Amulets are worn by character to help in some paths of life (i.e education,  health) or used for protection.

BL In Taiwan

Taiwan has a large range of BL Dramas and recently this has been the main selling point for Taiwanese Dramas. The term BL, or ‘boys love’, originated in Japan. In recent years the genre has spread like wildfire. Taiwan & Thailand, in particular, are the current leaders in creating provocative content that explores a variety of LGBTQ themes and relationships.

OH My Da Ma

Taiwan, like the other Asian cultures, will address people with “titles” instead of directly with names to add closeness. When addressing your seniors or mentors, they will be addressed as Qian Bei, this adds respect. Commonly when meeting someone's parents or even the local corner store worker, they can be addressed as aunty, uncle, or depending on their age grandpa, grandma.

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Where to Watch Your Drama

Most TWDramas that are popular can be found with English Subtitles on Viki and Netflix, but sadly they don't offer a broad selection if you are interested in more than what is just popular. 

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Quick Tips

  1. Maybe wait for the binge, TWdramas release usually only one episode per week, unlike Kdramas and Cdramas that will release multiple episodes each week. These episodes are addicting though, so depending on your preference, for your own sanity, maybe waiting for the whole drama to be released is the way to go. 

  2. Skip Opening /EndingMusic Clip: The Music Clips of TWDrama of often filled with spoilers, so if you don't want any, be sure to skip.

  3. Suspend your disbelief: TWdrama are ridiculous sometimes but they are great fun.

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Questions

If you are a veteran of TWdramas:

  • How did your TWdrama Journey start?

  • Do you have any tips for any newcomers?

If You are a newcomer to TWdramas:

  • Are there any questions for us to settle any of your inquiries?

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Thank You For Reading! Continue Your Drama Watching^.^ 

-Until Next Time-

Editors: BrightestStar(2nd editor)

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