The language difference, the number of episodes, the subtitles: starting Chinese dramas can be very overwhelming. There are also so many genres to choose from. Don’t worry; you have me!  Here are some C-dramas that are perfect for beginners.

  1. 1 School/College

    A Love So Beautiful 致我们单纯的小美好 (Zhì wǒ men dān chún de xiǎo měi hǎo)

    Episodes: 23

    Year released: 2017

    If you love light, youthful and heartwarming love stories, “A Love So Beautiful” is a must-see. I recommend this show as your first C-drama. 

    This drama is about two high school classmates, Chen Xiaoxi (陈小希 Chén Xiǎoxī) and Jiang Chen (江辰 Jiāng Chén). Chen Xiaoxi has a big crush on Jiang Chen and tries her best to get him to like her. This drama brings out the warm fuzzy feeling you get when you like someone. 

    It is easy to understand and the translations on Youtube and Netflix are also very accurate. If you are into this type of school drama and want something light hearted, this is the one for you! 

    Watch the trailer below:

  2. 2 Contemporary

    Ode to Joy 欢乐颂 (Huān Lè Sòng)

    Episodes: 42

    Year released: 2016

    Wait, wait, wait! Before you scroll past this one because of the 42 episodes, let me explain to you why you should watch it. 

    This is a contemporary drama; therefore, the language used is also very modern. There’s no extra background knowledge you need to have before watching this drama. 

    “Ode to Joy” is about the lives of five modern women who live on the 22nd floor of an apartment complex called “Ode to Joy” in Shanghai. They all have different backgrounds, ages, personalities, lifestyles and careers. At first their relationships start off rocky, but they eventually become great friends.  

    The main reason why I really recommend this drama is not only because you can learn everyday conversational Chinese. There are also many social problems that are presented in this drama. Thus you can learn about Chinese culture as well as the language. 

    Give the first episode a try:

  3. 3 Historical

    The Story of Yanxi Palace 延禧攻略 (Yán Xǐ Gōng Lüè)

    Episodes: 70 

    Year released: 2018

    Yes, it is a whopping 70-episode-long drama. Many C-drama beginners get very frightened by the number of episodes. However, I guarantee you that if you are into historical romance or palace-fighting drama (宫斗剧, Gōng dòu jù), you will love “The Story of Yanxi Palace.” 

    This drama is about the adventures of Wei Yingluo, who entered the Forbidden City to investigate the truth behind the death of her sister. 

    Every shot in this drama is so stunning; it really captures the Forbidden City beautifully. You can tell the costumes, accessories, sets and filters are all meticulously selected. They are so pleasing to the eye. 

    Compared to other historical C-dramas, “The Story of Yanxi Palace” is simple to understand and more light hearted. This drama is beginner friendly and perfect for those who want to get into historical C-dramas.

    Check out the trailer:

  4. 4 Pure Romance

    Love 020 微微一笑很倾城 (Wéi Wéi Yī Xiào Hěn Qīng Chéng)

    Episodes: 30

    Year Released: 2015

    If you are into something that is pure sugar, you have to watch “Love 020.” It is about the lives of two students who are computer science majors. They meet through an online game and eventually decide to see each other in real life. 

    This is such a wholesome drama. The characters are lovable and “Love 020” isn’t like other dramas where the main female character is weak. The main female character Bei Weiwei (贝微微 Bèi Wéiwéi) is very strong and smart. 

    Get ready for your heart to be warmed!

  5. 5 Rom-Com

    The Romance of Tiger and Rose 传闻中的陈芊芊 (Chuánwén zhōng de chén qiānqiān)

    Episodes: 24

    Year Released: 2020

    I cannot fully express my love for this drama; this has to be one of my favorites. “The Romance of Tiger and Rose” stars Zhao Lusi, the queen of comedy. It is light hearted, comical, touching and so cute. 

    This drama is about a screenwriter named Chen Xiaoqian (陈小千, Chén xiǎoqiān) who ends up stuck in her own script. Because “The Romance of Tiger and Rose” is a blend between contemporary and historical, you can learn contemporary phrases and historical phrases. 

    If you are looking for something funny, light and bubbly, this drama is definitely the one to go to. 

    But first watch the trailer:

    When you are ready for more dramas, check out these five dramas to instantly cure your boredom. If you are up for a challenge, here are five Chinese historical dramas to watch. Stay tuned for more C-drama recommendations!

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Amie Lin

Amie Lin is currently attending Hunter College double majoring in Mandarin and Media Studies. She is such a foodie and loves Chinese dramas.
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