Princess Agents 楚乔传 [Drama Review]

August 04, 2017

Like many viewers, I fell into the trap and got addicted to Princess Agents. As a fan of the many actors and actresses (Zhao Liying, Lin Gengxin, Shawn Dou, Li Xin, Ian Wang, etc) in the drama, I watched each episode on the day it was aired until Episode 54 (cut version). That was when I realized the TV station was butchering the series with 10-minutes+ recap and only 20 minutes of new content. Around Episode 54, I started becoming confused with the plot and also the rumors of a second season. I enjoy watching happy endings that have a closure because I don't want to spend 40+ hours on a drama with an open ending that doesn't even have a second installment ready to be aired. I think only TV adaptations of Gu Man's novels successfully capture the original storytelling.

My Review7/10 stars

It could have been a second Nirvana in Fire but because of the choppy editings and horrible script writing, it failed. There were so many things that could have been elaborated more or cut out:

Elaborate more/Add purpose:
- Xiao Ce (played by Deng Lun - like watching him after Because of You): Such an interesting character but he turned into Chu Qiao's savior --- he is supposed to be very smart, could have been Mei Changsu's (Hu Ge in Nirvana in Fire) equivalent

- Princess Xiao Yu's one-sided love for Yuwen Yue --- they've mentioned it in the beginning and then 30+ episodes later, they decided to bring it up again and attempted to close the loose ends by rushing it towards the end

- Where are Chu Qiao's sisters' Xiao Qi and Xiao Ba (everyone is asking)???

- I wanted to know more about Yuwen Yue's family secret --- what happened to his mother? The grandmother of Yuwen Huai appeared for ten minutes, said something and then disappeared!

- What happened to ending slavery? The drama basically lost focus --- if the storytelling was more organized, the drama could have easily told Yan Xun's story, focused on Chu Qiao's secret identity, and the goal of ending slavery (which started the whole drama when Chu Qiao was placed in a hunting ground with wolves).

- Chu Qiao's identity: They introduced Zuo Baocang, Zhan Ziyu, Xia Chong --- they are all interesting characters, can you not bring them in and leave them hanging?

- What was the point of introducing the evil concubine who knew about Chu Qiao's identity when her identity was not even the central focus of the story?

- The love story of Yan Xun's servant and this other girl --- why was this even incorporated? WHAT IS THE POINT OF THIS??? WHY ARE YOU WASTING TIME ON THIS WHEN YOU COULD HAVE USED THIS TO CLARIFY THE OTHER UNEXPLAINED PARTS?

- As a lot of YouTube users commented, Chu Qiao Zhuan turned into Yan Xun Zhuan ever since Yan Xun's family was massacred. I understand that it was a turning point in the story but can you move on --- I get it, I sympathize with him after that scene in Episode 23. I basically skipped all the scenes of Chu Qiao and Yan Xun still in prison after all that drama.

What I Liked:
- I liked the villains in the beginning: Yuwen Huai, Yuwen Xi, Zhao Xifeng, Wei Shuyou, Jin Zhu --- I thought it was fun watching them since they always seemed to fail
- The four main leads --- I just like their acting especially a huge fan of Zhao Liying and Li Xin
- The initial focus of the story: the female lead's mission to end slavery and figure out her secret identity --- I thought she would go on a journey to discover her identity but she didn't even care a bit, aren't you curious, girl?
- The opening song and all the insert/ending songs were all pretty good --- I liked listening to them

This could have been a breakthrough drama of the year with breakthrough roles. Will I rewatch this in the future? Most likely not but if I do, it will be up until the tragic death of Yan Xun's family. After that, it went downhill. I rather watch Zhao Liying's other dramas, Boss and Me and Legend of Lu Zhen.

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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Oh thank god someone shares my opinion!

    I have heard good things about the novel so I was really looking forward to the drama. I love binge-watching so I kinda wait till they have 20+ eps and at that time, everyone seemed to love it so I started watching. Love love all the main leads. I've seen Zhao Li Ying in both Lu Zhen and Boss&Me, but this is the first time I've seen her being so cool and not so dizzy lol.

    Then things gradually gone south after that. I got thoroughly annoyed by many characters' decisions and the sloppy edits and stupid things that got thrown in.

    I normally stick it out till the end but then I heard about the ending... so I just give up on it now. Damn! Wanna ask the producer to give me back my time. They got so much potential but ruined it!

    You are kind to give them 7/10. I'll give them 5 at best...

    1. Yeah, I was hooked from the start and then when I found out what the TV station was doing to the series, I decided to stop watching and instead skim through some episodes. There was nothing to be excited about when only 30 minutes was aired each day.

      I am definitely going to choose my dramas more wisely in the future. I realized I haven't finished two of Zhao Liying's summer hits --- hopefully her future projects are better than her previous works.

  3. Chaierie, i heard the english translation of the novel was stopped. I wonder if you can continue the translation just like TPWY? So much angst for this drama, make me really curious to read the original novel and buried the bad memories 😥😦😭

    1. I've actually looked into this since I also have bad memories because of the ending. The translator is still translating and it seems like she is working on the next five chapters. Be patient :)

      I think it is better to concentrate on one novel now since we don't lose focus. But if the translator stops translation in the future, I might consider picking it up!

  4. The start was boring but got more interesting later on. I like Chu Qiao's character. She doesn't hesitate to kill the bad guys when she has the chance, and always strive to do the right thing regardless of what other people around her think.

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  6. Note: I deleted my comment and made some edits.

    Thanks very much for sharing your insightful review. We have the same opinions of the drama. I anticipated a high quality production drama, from watching the impressive trailer. I watched every episode, just to get to the final outcome. The drama plot was lethargic, and some episodes dragged, and the flashback filler detracted from the plot.

    Yue Yuwen was stiff as the lead hero, and Chu Qiao's superhero talents were surpressed. Yan Xun became the antihero and later, the megalomanical villain, and Princess Yuan Chun went from clingy princess mad villainess princess. Credit should be given to Shawn Dou and Li Qin for showing the widest acting ranges in the drama.

  7. Like seriously I really don't like how dis drama end, its so annoying will yuewen just die like that and what will become of yanxun and who will xing er end up with,,, I only want an happy ending for xing er and yue wen not like this 😥

  8. I like Yan Xun and Chu Qiao together... if only Chu Qiao understands him and talk to him nicely.

  9. To the above comment about Chu Qiao not understanding Yan Xun and 'not talking to him nicely'... You probably didn't really watch the drama, did you? Compared to any drama/show/work ever, I was so surprised by the level of understanding from the female MC towards a character acting antagonistic, that she said multiple times that she will always forgive and understand him, no matter what he does, because she knows how he became that way. It's just that at the end, instead of fighting fairly on the battlefield (or maybe it didn't even have to be fair), Yan Xun used her to set up a trap for Yuwen Yue, and that was her last straw (not because of romantic feelings, but because she owed YWY so much already, and didn't want to be the reason he died). Don't get me wrong, because I love this level of understanding, forgiveness, and loyalty. I also like how even though the drama centres on revenge, it doesn't teach some stupid life lesson about how it's wrong.

    Also, to the blogger: Try Rookie Agent Rouge. It's on Viki and Netflix. Even though it's similar to PA in the tragedy aspect, but it has a decent ending and an amazing cast. It's Sino-Japanese War I taking place mainly in Old Shanghai. The sets are great and realistic, and there's a slow, subtle romance with Lu Yi's and Zhao LiYing's characters. There's also the Story of Minglan with ZLY coming soon, if you're interested

    1. OMG I agree with you. You're on the spot with how CX felt about YX killing YWY. I think form early on, in her mind she was prepared to side with YX to fight YWY in the battlefield. That was how she imagined their end would be that they would fight because of their own belief and faith.
      I admired CX for her dream and fight for what she believes in and for what ever feeling she had for YWY, it didn't stop her.


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