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Recommendations for Chinese TV


Sass9

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Hello all, first I wanted to introduce myself since this is my first post. I've been studying Mandarin Chinese for 3 and a half years in school (I took last year off so that set me back a little). I love the language and the Chinese culture, or at least what I know of it. I plan to go to Beijing soon to improve my speaking skills and travel around China.

I love TV and movies, so I decided that I wanted to find a Chinese TV series that I can get into. I want to do this for entertainment, but more importantly to improve my listening and general language skills. I've been looking around online but I'm pretty lost. Thankfully I stumbled onto this site.

I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations for a good Chinese TV series in Mandarin (preferably with a Beijing accent since I'm pretty sure that is what I have been learning and I plan to go to Beijing. But in general do accents matter that much if it is still Mandarin? Are they that different?) I would also prefer English and simplified Chinese subtitles- I know this narrows it down a lot but I would appreciate any help.

I've been looking at yesasia.com to try and find a good series to purchase but like I said, I'm kind of lost (Most of the cool looking series seem to be in Cantonese). I don't really mind the genre as long as its entertaining.

Thanks again! Any help at all would be greatly appreciated.

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At least one of the episodes (Hana-Kimi) has a version English subtitles, but it has a strong Taiwanese accent (and traditional character Chinese subtitles). I find that Chinese subtitles are more useful, as long as your level is high enough to make use of them.

You could have a look over at d-addicts.com, they have lots of fansubs, but mostly for Hong Kong, Japanese, Taiwanes and Korean shows.

But in general do accents matter that much if it is still Mandarin?

Most mainland shows will be in standard Mandarin, which is probably what you're looking for. In general, the dialect is not a major problem, understanding fast colloquial speech is (or bookish language for some historical shows) . Some shows will use a stronger Beijing accent and Beijing colloquialisms (usually shows taking place in Beijing), but it's rarely a problem in terms of clarity.

Taiwanese shows will usually have Mandarin with a Taiwanese accent, which takes a bit of getting used to it (if you're used to the Mainland standard), but is not a big deal either.

The only other MAJOR dialect used for TV shows is Cantonese, but some of those are dubbed into Mandarin for the mainland audiences too. We have some of these in our First Episode Project, like "The Bund" and "Virtues of Harmony".

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I think Soldiers Sortie has fansubs in English.

I know you're not bothered about genre, but assuming you could choose, what would you prefer? Romance, cops and robbers, sit-com, etc? There's a lot of stuff out there, maybe we can help you narrow it down.

Heartily recommend the First Episode Project, especially due to Renzhe's many and excellent word lists.

And welcome to the forums!

Edit: Watch this so I can see what other people think of it!

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The only other MAJOR dialect used for TV shows is Cantonese, but some of those are dubbed into Mandarin for the mainland audiences too. We have some of these in our First Episode Project, like "The Bund" and "Virtues of Harmony".

Mainlander Tv is awful :twisted:

hehe

Go with the voiced over HK series

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I know you're not bothered about genre, but assuming you could choose, what would you prefer? Romance, cops and robbers, sit-com, etc? There's a lot of stuff out there, maybe we can help you narrow it down.

Martial Arts, sci-fi, and any high school or college based drama would probably be at the top of my list if I had to choose. But it seems like all the cool looking shows in those categories are in Cantonese or from Taiwan.

My main concern is watching something that is so different from what I've been learning that it sets my progress back or is not ideal for learning/entertainment (which is why I'm trying to avoid strong accents).

But thanks so much for all the help so far, the responses have been great! I'll check out all the suggestions.

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Sci-fi there's not much, but First Episode 8: 魔幻手机 Magic Mobile Phone springs to mind - it's maybe better described as fantasy, but it has time travel and future technology and so on. Martial arts I'm not sure about, will let someone else make a recommendation there. High-school or college - First episode 11 - 奋斗 is about a bunch of just-graduated college students, might fit the bill.

For learning purposes, I'd recommend 奋斗 of those two - you're more likely to benefit from learning how to say 'Sorry, Lu Tao, but I'm breaking up with you' and 'Dad, why can't you just accept the bribe' than 'Oh no, the demon's escaped again. Quick, back to the 25th century.' At least I assume that's the case.

If you do end up watching anything of our First Episodes, please do post even if it's just to say 'watched it, rubbish' - it's nice to know someone's paying attention.

Edited by roddy
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Martial Arts, sci-fi, and any high school or college based drama would probably be at the top of my list if I had to choose. But it seems like all the cool looking shows in those categories are in Cantonese or from Taiwan.

Not really. The recent wuxia (kung fu fantasy) series coming out of the mainland are generally of good quality, we watched 天龙八部 (Demigods and semi-devils) and 笑傲江湖 (Smiling, proud wanderer), both of which are good. But wuxia series (and anything taking place in the past, really) tend to be more challenging in terms of language.

I think that much of it depends on what series you watch and what your tastes are like. I've found pop-series from Taiwan to be far too childish and many Hong Kong comedies just plain cheesy, but in general, the production is better on average. There's plenty of crap coming out of the mainland, but also some really good shows, if you find them.

Of course, nothing's stopping you from watching a Taiwanese show or a HK show dubbed into Mandarin. I find the latter a bit confusing though, as the subs don't always follow exactly what's being said, and the sound quality is not always great.

Anyway, if you decide to watch one of the shows we've covered (which I recommend because it will be easier), you can check out the difficulty rating to pick out shows suited to your level.

Edited by renzhe
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Martial Arts, sci-fi, and any high school or college based drama would probably be at the top of my list
Haha, then First Episode 8: 魔幻手机 Magic Mobile Phone is exactly what you're looking for. It has a healthy mix of sci-fi, martial arts and the main characters a bunch of recent graduates.
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