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The Grand First Episode Project. . .


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I'm splitting this into a new thread to make it easier to notice and to edit in changes. This is a continuation of our Grand First Episode Project, and will be merged into the main thread once we're finished. Everybody is welcome to watch along, whether for studying purposes, out of boredom, or for serious scientific research.

Keep in mind that there is a detailed difficulty ranking of all shows so far which you can use as a guideline when choosing shows to watch. If you have trouble, here are the watching instructions

We try to keep a steady flow of new interesting shows, if you know a really good one, you can recommend it. Of course, you can watch any of the shows you find interesting at your own pace and use the threads for help. Don't forget to post in the discussion threads though!

士兵突击 The kid from 天下无贼,盲井 and 暗算 joins the army ( Discussion - Emule - torrent - youtube - youku )

空镜子 Two sisters in Beijing fall in love, fall out of love, marry, etc. ( Discussion - Emule - youku )

武林外传 A motley crew of scoundrels and ne'er do wells accidentally open an inn ( Discussion - Emule - torrent - youku )

微笑Pasta Taiwanese urban romance ( Discussion - youku )

神探狄仁杰 Tang Dynasty detective stories ( Discussion - Emule - youku )

我爱我家 Much-loved family sitcom set in 90s Beijing ( Discussion - Emule - youku )

落地请开手机 A flight attendant, her family, a group of mobsters, and a lost mobile phone ( Discussion - Emule - youku )

魔幻手机 Time traveling mobile phone meets Journey to the West ( Discussion - Emule - Sohu HD )

家有儿女 Family comedy. Husband and wife remarry, creating a chaotic and fairly easy to follow household ( Discussion - Emule - youku )

康乾盛世秘史 Drama aboot the Jesuit Castiglione becoming the court artist in Beijing. Stars Dashan ( Discussion - Emule - youku )

奋斗 Follows the trials and tribulations of a cohort of fresh graduates in Beijing ( Discussion - Emule - tudou )

好想好想谈恋爱 The Chinese Sex in The City ( Discussion - Emule - youku )

暗算 Secret unit attempting to detect and decode transmissions by Nationalist agents in the early 50 ( Discussion - Emule - youku )

编辑部的故事 A younger Ge You stars in a classic early 90s (?) series about a struggling magazine ( Discussion - Emule - youku )

中国式离婚 Marriage and divorce - mostly divorce - in modern China ( Discussion - Emule - youku )

北京人在纽约 Jiang Wen stars in a tale of Chinese emigrants making their way in New York ( Discussion - Emule - youku )

金婚 50 years of a Chinese marriage. Although you only get one year in the first episode ( Discussion - Emule - youku )

狼毒花 A hard-drinking, womanizing ruffian takes on the Japanese army, mostly single-handed ( Discussion - Emule - youku )

5号特工组 A team of special agents work to fight the Japanese in late-30s Shanghai ( Discussion - Emule - youku )

美味关系 Cooking and romance in modern Taiwan ( Discussion - Emule - youku )

狂花凋落 International secret agents set their sights on a figure crucial to China's space program ( Discussion - Emule - youku )

天龍八部 Martial arts and intrigue during the Northern Song dynasty (Jin Yong adaptation) ( Discussion - Emule - youku - tudou - torrent )

上海灘 Newcomer to Shanghai accidentally saves the life of a leading businessman's daughter. Oldie goldie ( Discussion - Emule - youku )

孽子 Dark Taiwanese drama about a young gay man dealing with societal pressures ( Discussion - Emule - youku )

亮剑 Fighting the Japanese during the 2nd world war ( Discussion - Emule - youku )

雍正王朝 Qing dynasty, historical, with skylee's recommendation ( Discussion - Emule (no subs) - youku )

双面胶 An idyllic marriage changes after husband's mother moves in, muyongshi's recommendation ( Discussion - Emule - youku )

醉侠张三 "Drunken Master Zhang San" light-hearted comedy/adventure about a young gongfu master ( Discussion - Emule - youku )

走向共和 "Towards the Republic", late Qing, early Republic historical series with skylee's recommendation ( Discussion - youku )

少年包青天 Song dynasty martial arts/detective stories ( Discussion - Emule - youku )

花樣少年少女 Taiwanese Manga-based high-school gender-bender entertainment ( Discussion - Emule rmvb - Emule avi - youku )

大明王朝 1566 Ming dinasty, historical ( Discussion - Emule - youku )

意難忘 "Unforgettable", a popular Taiwanese romance, calibre2001's recommendation ( Discussion - youku )

笑傲江湖 - Another famous JinYong Wuxia adaptation ( Discussion - Emule - youku )

皆大歡喜 "Harmony", Ming dynasty romance and intrigue, calibre2001's recommendation ( Discussion - youku - tudou )

与青春有关的日子 "better than 奋斗", pioneers included ( Discussion - Emule - youku )

野蠻奶奶 II "Wars Of In-Laws II". The sequel to a beloved comedy show, calibre2001's recommendation ( Discussion - tudou )

丑女无敌 The Chinese version of US show Ugly Betty. ( Discussion - Emule )

子夜 Shanghai business/military intrigue ( Discussion - Emule - tudou )

锁春记 Unusual claustrophobic family drama ( Discussion - Emule - ku6 )

我们俩的婚姻 romance and marriage drama ( Discussion - Sohu HD - youku - Emule )

射雕英雄传 Legend of the Condor Heroes ( Discussion - Emule - youku - tudou )

倾城之恋 Love in a fallen city, Based on an Eileen Chang story ( Discussion - Emule - youku )

雾都魅影 PLA vs. Taiwan spies, kung-fu style ( Discussion - Emule - tudou )

秘密图纸 Gritty modern military spy show ( Discussion - Emule - youku )

大生活 Tragicomedy starring a Sichuanese mechanic with penchant for getting in trouble ( Discussion - Emule - 56.com )

俞净意公遇灶神记 A feel-good family morality fable set in the Ming dynasty ( Discussion - Emule - youku )

我的青春谁做主 Modern youth drama riding on the success of 奋斗 ( Discussion - Emule - youku - Sohu HD )

局中局 Company finds an unlikely double to pose as an ill manager, onebir's recommendation ( Discussion - Emule avi - Emule rmvb - youku )

潜伏 A KMT agent engaged to a communist sympathiser ends up undercover behind enemy lines ( Discussion - Emule - tudou )

我们的八十年代 A fresh graduate comes to work in a salt factory in the 80s ( Discussion - Emule - youku - sohu )

蓝色档案 Another spy show, but this one is set in Shanghai during the 40s (!!!) ( Discussion - youku )

.....continued in the next post .......

Edited by renzhe
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软弱 Miss Irresistable meets Mr. Irresistable. But he's married to her sister. Uh-oh. ( Discussion - emule - tudou - youku )

特警出击 Elite police squad fighting terrorists in Hong Kong ( Discussion - emule - youku - tudou )

惡作劇之吻 It started with a kiss. In a Taiwanese high school. ( Discussion - Emule1 2 3 - youku - mysoju )

迷雾 urban corruption thriller from the director of 潜伏 ( Discussion - Emule avi - Emule rmvb - youku )

狙击手 WWII sniper series with 陆涛 from 奋斗 playing a KMT soldier ( Discussion - sohu )

白色巨塔 Taiwanese hospital drama and romance ( Discussion - tudou - youku )

家 Based on 巴金's famous novel. ( Discussion - youku )

痞子英雄 A modern Taiwanese police drama ( Discussion - Emule - youku )

我是一棵小草 Student cheating on his girl returns, but an unhappy incident throws everyone's life into disarray ( Discussion - 56.com )

神雕侠侣 Return of the Condor Heroes, Jin Yong adaptation ( Discussion - Emule - youku - English subs )

给我一只烟 Edgy modern romance/drama focussing on the life of KTV girls / 小姐 ( Discussion - 56.com - tudou - sohu )

重案六组 A modern police show. Regular coppers, not super agents. ( Discussion - youku - tudou HD - Emule RMVB )

长恨歌 Based on 王安忆's novel ( Discussion - Emule1 - Emule2 - youku )

蜗居 Controversial drama about housing troubles and adultery ( Discussion )

东方朔 Historical comedy about a famous Han Dynasty official ( Discussion - CCTV - Ku6 - Emule )

雾里看花 Drama about antique traders ( Discussion - Emule )

倚天屠龙记 Final installment of Jin Yong's Condor Heroes wuxia trilogy. (Discussion - tudou - Emule )

Good stuff, am downloading 雍正王朝

Edited by renzhe
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My friend recommended a show called 双面胶 recently to me and i haven't had the time to watch it but I trust their recommendation to a degree (meaning it will probably be a tear jerker but hey I could be wrong :roll: )

Say it in the store the other day and the basic synopsis was a husband and wife got divorced and had a child, one (or both can't remember) remarries and it is dealing with the struggles they new couple faces as they both expect the other to give their all in the relationship but due to the fact of the child and the ex there is other responsibility and so forth and so they it documents those types of struggles. Worth a look I think.


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It's great that you guys are planning to watch 雍正王朝. But the youku link above leads to a version that is without sub-titles and I think learners would find it quite difficult. I've jotted (see below) some of the more difficult terms of the 1st act of the 1st episode and I think it would be better if you could watch it with subtitles.

太子 四阿哥 胤礽 (name) 救災 修河堤 皇阿瑪 英明睿斷 朕 兒臣 泛濫 殫精竭慮 傾力 治河 督撫 奏折 當務之急 降旨 戶部 國庫 胤禛 (name) 奉旨 越俎代庖 九阿哥 胤祀 (name) 無糧可調,無款可撥 杯水車薪 御覽 玄燁 (name) 虧空 庫銀 直隸 燃眉之急 欽差 籌款 賑濟 宗室 六百里加急 啟奏

Do tell me if I worry too much.

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Here are my suggestions for the difficulty of the shows I've seen, taking into account the discussion where applicable:

1 - 士兵突击: Upper intermediate (non-standard accent) - VST

2 - 空镜子: Lower intermediate (Beijing accent) - VS

3 - 武林外传: Very advanced (cultural references, classical language, fast) - T

4 - 微笑Pasta: Lower Intermediate (traditional subtitles, Taiwanese accent) - SE

5 - 神探狄仁杰: Upper intermediate (classical language, chengyu) - V

6 - 我爱我家: Advanced (Beijing accent, fast, cadre language) - VT

7 - 落地请开手机: Lower intermediate (some gangster-speak) - VS

8 - 魔幻手机: Intermediate (but with references to 西游记) - VS

9 - 家有儿女: Lower Intermediate (but a wide range of topics, often new vocab) - VST

10 - 康乾盛世秘史: Lower intermediate (with some English and Italian) - S

11 -奋斗: Intermediate (colloquial Beijing speech) - VST

12 - 好想好想谈恋爱: Upper intermediate (fast, colloquial) - VT

13 - 暗算: Upper Intermediate (military/political vocab) - VS

14 - 编辑部的故事: Advanced (no subtitles, colloquial) - S

15 - 中国式离婚: Intermediate - VS

16 - 北京人在纽约: Lower intermediate (but no subtitles)

17 - 金婚: Lower intermediate - VS

18 - 狼毒花: Lower intermediate - VS

19 - 5号特工组: Intermediate - VS

20 - 美味关系: Lower intermediate (Taiwanese accent, trad. subtitles) - VSE

21 - 狂花凋落: Intermediate (but the first 10 minutes are hard) -VS

22 - 天龙八部: Upper intermediate (wuxia, some classical phrasing) - VSE

23 - 上海灘: Lower Intermediate (trad. subtitles) - S

24 - 孽子: Lower Intermediate (trad. subtitles) - S

25 - 亮剑: Advanced (heaps of military/political vocab) - VS

26 - 雍正王朝: Very advanced (imperial/historical language, complex plot) - VS

27 - 双面胶: Intermediate (Shanghainese accent, some Shanghainese dialect, fast) - VS

28 - 醉侠张三: Intermediate (mostly simple, but with some classical-style language) - VS

29 - 走向共和: Upper Intermediate (political language, chengyu) - V

30 - 少年包青天 Advanced (classical language, chengyu) - VS

31 - 花樣少年少女 Elementary (traditional subtitles) - VSE

32 - 大明王朝 1566 Advanced (imperial/historical language, complex plot) - VS

33 - 意難忘 Lower Intermediate - VS

34 - 笑傲江湖 Intermediate - VS

35 - 皆大歡喜 Advanced (chengyu, older vocab, unclear) - VS

36 - 与青春有关的日子 Upper Intermediate - VS

37 - 野蠻奶奶大戰戈師奶 Intermediate (dubbed, trad. subtitles) - VSE

38 - 丑女无敌 Lower Intermediate - S

39 - 子夜 Intermediate - S

40 - 锁春记 Lower Intermediate - S

41 - 我们俩的婚姻 Upper Intermediate - S

42 - 射雕英雄传 Upper Intermediate (wuxia, no subtitles) - S

43 - 倾城之恋 Intermediate - V

44 - 雾都魅影 Intermediate - S

45 - 秘密图纸 Intermediate - VS

46 - 大生活 Upper Intermediate (simple vocab, strong accent, bad sound quality) - S

47 - 俞净意公遇灶神记 Lower Intermediate (classical language in later episodes) - S

48 - 我的青春谁做主 - Intermediate (colloquial Beijing speech) - SE

49 - 局中局 Elementary - VS

50 - 潜伏 - Advanced (spy/political vocab, complex plot) - VS

51 - 我们的八十年代 Intermediate - VS

52 - 蓝色档案 - n/a

53 - 软弱 - Intermediate - VS

54 - 特警出击 - Intermediate - VS

55 - 惡作劇之吻 - Intermediate - VSE

56 - 迷雾 - n/a - VS

57 - 狙击手 - n/a - S

58 - 白色巨塔 - Intermediate - VS

59 - 家 - Lower Intermediate - VS

60 - 痞子英雄 - n/a - VS

61 - 我是一棵小草 - n/a - VS

62 - 神雕侠侣 - Upper Intermediate (generally OK, but with some bookish/rare words and phrases) - VSE

63 - 给我一只烟 - Upper Intermediate (some chengyu, colloquial) - VS

64 - 重案六组 - Intermediate - VS

65 - 长恨歌 - n/a - VS

66 - 蜗居 - Upper Intermediate - S

67 - 东方朔 - Intermediate - VS

68 - 雾里看花 - Upper Intermediate - VS

69 - 倚天屠龙记 - Upper Intermediate - VE

These are just suggestions, feel free to correct.

Rough guideline:

- Elementary - stuff for people who have a grasp of everyday vocabulary

- Lower Intermediate: simple, clear and basic vocab

- Intermediate: more slang, specialised vocab

- Upper Intermediate: chengyu, specialised vocab, often fast and unclear speech

- Advanced: Fast, colloquial, slang, dialects and/or classical language, requires a high-level skill

- Very Advanced: You need near-native skills to make sense of this

V = Vocabulary list available

S = Plot summary available

T = Transcript available (or a subtitle file)

E = English subtitles available

These are not perfect, but I've tried my best to keep them comparable, so an Advanced show will likely be more difficult than an Upper Intermediate, which will be more difficult than a Lower Intermediate. Hopefully this can help people pick shows suitable for their level.

Edited by renzhe
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Sounds good! Thanks skylee for that, it will be a huge help.

Also thanks Renzhe for all the hardwork you have been putting in!

I will be heading back to the states for a couple months and this is going to be priceless for me being away from my daily practice!

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Sorry but the description that I gave early about 双面胶 is very wrong....That's what I get for believing the back of a pirated DVD casing...anyway...

from Sina




  婆婆传统思想严重,希望以自己的生活方式去影响改造上海媳妇,这些思想与丽鹃现代的生活方式完全冲突,婆媳之间的矛盾与日俱增,摩擦不断升级。在亚平的父亲因病住院后,婆媳之间因为利益之争而彻底决裂,俩人变得水火不融。即使在丽鹃为亚平生下儿子之后,婆媳关系仍然没有得到缓解。小家伙的一句 “妈妈坏”将家庭推到悬崖边缘。丽鹃因怒失言,将亚平母子逼上无家可归的境地,亚平在其妈妈的鼓动怂恿下,丧失了理智,疯狂地将拳头砸向了丽鹃……

It also has a bit of Shanghaihua in it so that may interest some people.

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I probably messed up something with my installation then, I'll look into it.

EDIT: Got it.

While looking for the next show, 醉侠张三, I could only find a verycd version which claims to have no subtitles (youku has them). This is strange, because I remember it having subtitles. I'll have to download an episode just to make sure. If somebody else is faster, let us know.

Edited by renzhe
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  • 2 weeks later...

The show after next, "Towards the Republic" doesn't seem to be on verycd. It shows up if you search for it, but the link takes you to a generic page. Could be that it was deleted.

Anyone have any source for downloading this? If we can't find it until next week, I'm thinking about pushing this back in our schedule as people outside of China have reported trouble when trying to watch on youku.

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Yeah, that one's good, thanks.

Unfortunately, no downloads so far for people like me who prefer to download it. I prefer to download because there's no buffering, the quality is better (clearer subtitles) and it's easier to pause, jump back and forth, etc.

Hopefully we'll find some download link in the next week or so too.

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