TV industry celebrates year’s successes, studies challenges
AsNewYear’sDay approaches, the country’s TV industry is looking back on its smallscreen achievements and regrets in the past year — showcased when the 30th Flying Apsaras Awards were bestowed in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, onMonday.
Seventeen TV series stood out from 200 candidates, which entered the final round competing for the title “excellent TV series” in three categories: history, realistic theme and revolution theme.
The competition was launched in the early 1980s as the only state-level TV series award on the Chinese mainland organized by the government. The latest event reviewed productions since 2014.
The award-winners include historical drama, Nirvana in Fire, which has attracted millions of fans with its handsome actors and tantalizing storyline, and Deng Xiaoping at History’s Crossroads, a biographic series reviewing the former Chinese leader’s life.
China produced more than 15,000 episodes of TV series in 2015, perhaps a boom time for the industry.
“Today’s TV series in China tend to have a solid foundation in reality and try to match the pulse of society,” Gao Xiaohong, a media professor at Communication University of China, said at a TV innovation forum in Hangzhou on Sunday. She was referring to the general scenario of realistic dramas on last year’s small screen.
“The producers are willing to reflect a complicated society through common people’s happiness and sadness.”
For example, she cites the award-winning The Ordinary World, which deals with individuals’ destinies and love, and different social strata in a nostalgic tone.
As 2015 is the 70th anniversary honoring the victory in the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (193745), the war has become a pillar of revolution-themed TV series this year.
“Those TV series reflect the war in wide spectrum, which serves a good educational function,” saysMengFanshu, a researcher with the Chinese National Academy of Arts.
“But, it is not a good idea to fill our screens with productions on that war,” Meng says. “Some stories are basically not relevant to the war, but have the wartime as a background. That’s not to mention some irrational exaggerations in details that disgust audiences.
“Many works are still superficial. We still lack enough productions with higher-level thinking,” he says, lamenting the overwhelming tendency toward entertainment among such productions.
As for historical themes, Nirvana in Fire paves a new way for other followers in China, according to JiaLeilei, deputy director of the Chinese National Academy of Arts.
From Jia’s point of view, Nirvana in Fire represents how China’s history TV series directors are using online novels as references rather than orthodox literature, bringing new thought to the industry.
Shi Tongyu, a media researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, agrees that the impact of the Internet has become inevitable for TV series in China. “2015 witnessed Internetbased TV series beginning to win acceptance from mainstream critics.”
The industry has to accept that the involvement of the Internet has changed how TV series are made, and the trend will continue, Shi says.
Huace TV & Film, a Hangzhou-based studio and a
• Actress host of the forum, announced on Sunday it will introduce big-data analyses to decide the cast of its upcoming remake of the martial arts classic, The Legend of the CondorHeroes.
“We want to give the right to netizens to decide who will play the lead roles,” says Chen Pinxiang, a producer ofHuace. “Online games derived from the TV series will be simultaneously developed.”
It is only a part of the group’s ambitious plan to promote many fantasy TV series, which Ye Zhaojun, another producer withHuace, explains will echo the young generation’s pursuit of individualism.
The whole industry is talking about how to get good intellectual property to develop more derivatives.
“Nevertheless, as a broadcast server, Internet-based content is still unable to replace generations of TV producers’ aspirations. The professional TVseries-production process is still needed,” says Shi, whodoubts the prediction that the industry will be soon dominated by Internet tycoons.
But Zhu Xiangyang, chief content officer of Youku Tudou, a major online-video broadcaster, predicts that all TV series bred online with low quality will naturally be eliminated in 2016 as more elite teams begin to gather in cyberspace.
“Since online series have begun to charge rather than offer free service in 2015, more content of higher quality will appear,” he says.
Chinese actors Mei Ting (above) and Chen Baoguo are winners at this year’s Flying Apsaras Awards.