10 Best Series in 2021 to Watch To Ride The C-Drama Wave

C-entertainment is known for producing big-budgeted web and television series. From sweeping fantasy, historical series, to modern romance genre, drama from the mainland China, no doubt, are uniquely mesmerizing. 

The wuxia and fantasy series are so breathtaking it sets C-Drama apart from the rest of the television series shown in Asia. Total entertainment in its finest form!

However, C-entertainment is not only known for its stunning costume/historical drama but also for producing high quality modern series. 

The year 2021 had some of the best C-Drama ever shown locally and internationally. 

If you need catching up, and looking for some to binge over the weekend, we listed 10 of the best C-Drama aired in 2021, critically-acclaimed, highly rated and praised by drama reviewers for its serious tight plot and coherent storyline. 

And because C-Drama is more popular in the costume genre, we only picked three modern drama to include in the list, to give more room for costume drama recommendations. 

Updated list, replacing "Imperial Coroner" with "Sword Snow Stride". The latter got higher rating and positive reviews that Imperial Coroner.

1. You Are My Hero (Modern) - China's adaptation of K-Drama's Descendant of the Sun - According to MyDramaList, "a well-written piece complimented with talented casts". 

Sandra Ma and Bai Jingting in You Are My Hero

The story centers on Dr. Mi Ka (Ma Sichun or Sandra Ma) and Captain Xing Ke Lei (Bai Jingting), and commences when a jewel heist occured where Mi Ka was there. Xing Ke Lei responded to the situation. They met a few years later when they were both on a mission. Mi Ka as a surgeon and Xing Ke Lei as part of the SWAT team. 

2. One and Only (costume/historical) - Starring Ren Jialun and Bai Lu, it tells the story of a loyal general who was raised by his brother, the emperor, but never desired power. He made an oath to never marry, however, Cui Shi Yi (Bai Lu) turns his world upside down. 

Ren Jialun and Bai Lu in One and Only

Shi Yi has a childhood trauma that leaves her unable to speak. To help mend the strain between the empire and the Cui family, he takes her as his disciple, but as days go by, softens his heart and forms a strong bond with her, which led to a series of entanglements.

3. Word of Honor (costume/fantasy) - A bromance type of story, Word of Honor is based on the novel, Faraway Wanderers and starring Gong Jun and Zhang Zhe Han). 

Gong Jun and Zhang Zhe Han in Word of Honor

This series is quite lucky because it aired before Zhang Zhe Han was involved in a controversy that prompted his career to go haywire. The two embark into an adventure to uncover the conspiracy behind the Glazed-Armour, a key to unlock a powerful armory. 

4 The Long Ballad (costume/historical) - This is a slow-burn romance drama in the backdrop of historical context. Starring Dilraba Dilmurat as Li Changge and Wu Lei as Ashile Sun, the story commences when Changge's entire family were killed. 

She escapes to the north of Tang to seek military support from her father's remaining allies to extract revenge against her uncle, who would become Emperor Taizong. 

Wu Lei as Ashile Sun and Dilraba Dilmurat as Li Changge in The Long Ballad

Along her journey, she meets a handsome general who camouflages as a traveling merchant to spy on the military activities of the Tang empire. 

Eventually, friendship blossomed but their opposing loyalties to defend their clans gave them so many heartbreaking moments. Eventually, they must decide whether to remain loyal to their families or fight for their feelings.

5. Falling Into Your Smile (modern) - Adapted from the web novel, "You're Beautiful When You Smile", this is a youth, eSports drama starring Xu Cai and Cheng Xiao. It is one  of the most popular idol drama from mainland China in 2021.

Xu Cai and Cheng Xiao in Falling Into Your Smile

6. My Little Happiness (Modern) - A light romance-comedy about a determined young woman with dreams of becoming a lawyer, and a handsome surgeon who finds himself in need of legal aide. 

Xing Fei and Tang Xiao Tian

She tricks her mother that she's studying abroad and even takes an internship in a local law firm. Things get messy when the handsome surgeon becomes her first client. Starring Xing Fei and Tang Xiao Tian.

7. The Sword and The Brocade (costume/historical) - This is a story about an arranged marriage between a general named Xu Ling Yi (Wallace Chung) and a concubine's daughter named Shi Yi Niang (Tang Son Yun). As a concubine's daughter, she is of low-rank in the palace, however she is an outspoken woman and has a dream to pursue.

Wallace Chung and Tang Son Yun in The Sword and The Brocade 

She believes that a woman is free to pursue a life she deserves, so she hones her embroidery skills hoping someday it will be put in good use. However, destiny has other plans.

With the circumstances beyond her control, she finds herself put in a marriage alliance with General Xu Ling Yi. After becoming his wife, Yi Niang suffers in an unfriendly world within her husband's family and must use her strength and skills to win their trust without sacrificing her dreams.

8. The Rebel Princess (costume/historical) - Along with The Long Ballad, The Rebel Princess was nominated at the Seoul International Drama Awards in 2021 in the Best Serial Drama category.

Set in the fictitious Cheng dynasty, Wang Xuan (Zhang Zi Yi), a daughter of one of the powerful men in the court, sets to marry the Crown Prince against her wishes as her choice is the Third Prince, Zitan.

However, the usual imperial corruption intrigues disrupted the plan and she ends up marrying a low-born but powerful general, Xiao Qi (Zhou Yiwei) who was made a prince. They co-reigned and together must fight the deadly scheme hatch against them.

9. Sword Snow Stride (costume/historical) - Starring Zhang Ruo Yun, Hu Jun, and Teresa Li also known as Ling Geng Xi. It's a story about Xu Fengnian (Zhang Ruo), an unassuming son of the ruthless King of Northern Liang Xu Xiao (Hu Jun). 

Xu Fengnian puts in the center of a deadly power struggle and went through challenges, and eventually growth, to live to the expectation of his father to become the King of Northern Liang.

Synopsis from Rakuten Viki: "This historical drama tells the story of the King of Northern Liang (Hu Jun) at a time of great upheaval in China. Steppe kingdoms have risen with deadly intent and rebellious uprisings threaten to distabilize the realm in the south. Against all odds, Xu Xiao has managed to defeat them all. 

Meanwhile, his unconventional, free-spirited son and heir Xu Feng Nian (Zhang Ruo Yun) has spent years on the road, honing his horse skills and fighting prowess. Along the way, he meets the double sword-wielding martial arts expert Nan Gong Pu She (Zhang Tian Ai), a woman who becomes his confidante.

Zhang Ruo Yun and Teresa Li in Sword Snow Stride

Also joining the royal household is a woman named Jiang Ni (Teresa Li). At age 12, she joined the court of the Northern Liang. However, she is actually the princess of a rival kingdom, and could be harboring deep sentiments of revenge. 

When Xu Feng Nian has to take to the throne, some at court worry that he will not be able to follow in the footsteps of his father. But things come to a head when the party has to travel to another province to fight a decisive campaign, the outcome of which could determine the very future of the realm

10. Novoland: Pearl Eclipse (costume/fantasy) - The fourth installment of the Novoland series. It stars Yang Mi and William Chan. Just as Hai Shi (Yang Mi) witnesses the execution of her father and the entire village, the first minister, Fang Zhu (William Chan) arrives and saves them. 

Yang Mi and William Chan

He offers Hai Shi an opportunity to stay, disguising as his male disciple. Hai Shi wants to extract revenge against Emperor Di Xu (Xu Kai Cheng) for killing her father. Eventually, she earns herself the position of the emperor's personal guard and starts her plot of revenge.

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