Nirvana in Fire 琅琊榜 is the best historical c-drama
in 2015, in recent years, maybe ever and that's saying a lot considering how dramas are a dime a dozen nowadays.
It is based on a popular novel by Hai Yan 海宴 but even so, its success was a slow burn that resembles the story's quiet pace which follows an intriguing character named Mei Changsu (Hu Ge) whose hidden motivations are revealed through subtle nuances that eventually explode into a full blown revenge.
In the simplest sense, NIF is about a physically weak man with an extraordinary will, methodically planning every step and enduring great hardships to exact vengeance. Transport the story into ancient China and we have the makings of an engaging political drama.
NIF is the guy-centric equivalent to the usual palace conspiracies that tend to revolve around women. I welcome the change that focuses on brotherhood as opposed to catfights since women of the palace are unfortunately often relegated to a lifetime of fighting over a man of power.
Gone are the days when Hu Ge was fresh meat 小鲜肉 because his performance in NIF along with the cast in its entirety is on another league, catapulting names such as Wang Kai, Jin Dong, Wu Lei and Wang Ou into mainstream popularity.
Liu Tao may not be my favorite actress but she is admittedly the best choice to play a warrior, truly embodying the essence of a female hero. Even the stellar crew made up of screenwriter Hai Yan, producer Hou Hong Liang and directors Kong Sheng and Li Xue have garnered attention for their work.
For synopsis, cast and other ratings, see 2015 historical c-drama recommendations.