Corner Café

February 24, 2023

【Random Ramblings】The Chinese BL-less Dramas

Filed under: Miscellaneous & TV Shows,Music — SeaDragon @ 12:00 am

The year 2021 was designated by netizens as the year of BL Adaptation 101 (耽改101) in China after a profusion of BL novels were being adapted or in the process of being adapted into bromance dramas (BL dramas were banned a few years earlier in China), with a few adapted dramas already completed filming and ready to be aired.

In February that year, Word of Honor 山河令 which was adapted from the BL novel Faraway Wanderers 天涯客 by Priest went to air and became an instant hit. However it suddenly became very quiet by mid year with no new BL adapted bromance dramas being aired. Then news started to filter through that these bromance dramas were being banned and a number of completed dramas were having difficulties getting through the Chinese censorship board even though they were bromance dramas. They were being censored even with the slightest suggestion or hint of any “friendship” between the two protagonists! In the end, they either have to butcher or re-shoot many scenes under questions, but still to no avail, they were all being shelved and none of these dramas were able to be aired. By the end of 2022, many believed that we will never get to see any of these dramas.

However on January 30, 2023, one of these dramas was dropped unexpectedly out of nowhere without any fanfare or publicity with the first 10 of its 29 episodes that day. The drama in question is A League of Nobleman 君子盟 which is adapted from the novel The Mystery of Zhang Gong 張公案 by 大風颳過. Even though this novel was categorised as BL, it was also tagged as No CP (couple) which means the novel itself has no plotlines on romantic relationship but kept strictly to mystery solving plotlines only.

Farewell 別 (A League of Nobleman opening theme song) – Jing Boran 井柏然

The sudden release of this drama series was a surprise to all as the filming was completed in 2020 and had to change its title name from the original novel name in 2021 in an attempt to pass the censorship by disassociating itself from the novel it was adapted from, but was still forced to sit on the shelf and unable to air for more than a year. The release of the drama series was also good news for the viewers as that could indicate there maybe a relaxing in policy to this type of dramas and more of these dramas may finally be able to get to air.

Things started to move very quickly, hot on the heels of A League of Nobleman, another drama Justice in the Dark 光•淵 also premiered unexpectedly on February 18, 2023. It also dropped multiple episodes that day, the first 8 out of its total of 30 episodes. The series is adapted from the BL novel Silent Reading 默讀 by Priest. It also has a change of its drama title name from its original title The Light in the Night 深淵 to Justice in the Dark 光•淵 just before its release. Again this BL novel is heavy on crime solving plotlines and the relationship of the two protagonists only blossoms towards the end of the novel. Therefore the adaptation of these two novels into bromance? (colleague) dramas were probably easier than those that focused more heavily on relationship plotlines, and we can guess why they were the two dramas that were able to make it to air finally… so far. There is also the sense that both these premieres were trying to keep as low a profile as possible as if they were afraid the dramas could be taken down as quickly as they were allowed to air if too much fuss was made! But that didn’t stop them from being the hot topics online in recent weeks…

With the release of these two shows, maybe we can hope that the highly anticipated Immortality 皓衣行 and the one I really want to watch Chasing the Light 左肩有你 may finally get to see the light of day soon?

Update April 7, 2023: Talk about doing a 180° turn, there has been rumour of a BL series with ABO plotline being filmed in China the last few days. I was very sceptical about it until I saw a concept trailer on YouTube! This is quite impossible seeing Justice in the Dark is already facing problems releasing new episodes after the initial 8 episodes… The only way they are able to film this rumour BL-ABO series is that it has to be produced outside China… Anyway let’s wait and see…



  1. This is crazy, I was wondering there were so many supposed to be released but still haven´t. Thanks for the explanation. I will check those 2 out.

    Comment by Ali — April 5, 2023 @ 3:09 am | Reply

    • However not very good news for Justice in the Dark, it is currently in limbo after releasing the first 8 episodes, no new episodes have been released since! Luckily A League of Nobleman managed to air all episodes in succession by the end of February.

      Comment by SeaDragon — April 5, 2023 @ 8:59 am | Reply

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