So, in my continuing journey to watch more BL dramas out there, I recently watched Dark Blue and Moonlight from Taiwan. I thought I’d share my views on it in this post.
I think I am liking Taiwanese BL dramas the best thus far, although some Thai BL dramas are a close second. They are both generous with their kissing, but story wise, the only Thai dramas I’ve seen are coming of age/falling in love series, so those seem a bit juvenile to me. There might be other more mature Thai BL out there, but I haven’t looked into it too deeply and I always need my dramas to have a happy ending, so there is that added limitation. Chinese dramas are still censoring the L part of BL, leading us to lackluster bromances that leave most fans disappointed (Advanced Bravely anyone?).
Other reviews to follow. 🙂
Dark Blue and Moonlight
Credit for all pictures go to their Uploaders!
Dark Blue and Moonlight was a 12-episode Taiwanese BL series that aired from 11/21/2017 to 12/27/2017. Each episode was about 22 minutes long. The series was about Su Hai Qing (Aric Chen) and his aspirations to becoming an artist. It was about Yan Fei (Wang Ting Yun), a high level employee in a media company, and his live-in lover, Jimmy (Lin Charles); the two have been together for years, but Yan Fei still hides this relationship from his mother and the two seem to be on the brink of breaking up. It was about Chen Ping Jun (Tim Huang), who meets and falls in love with Hai Qing, but ends up losing him.
Ultimately, this story was about how Hai Qing and Yan Fei met, fell in love and achieved their happily ever after at the cost of hurting their respective partners immensely.
Hai Qing dreams of becoming an artist, but a disapproving father and a grandfather with dementia keep him tied down to reality. He is a temperamental person, and doesn’t think twice about having tantrums in front of his father for his refusal to pay for Hai Qing’s art classes or scolding his grandpa for ruining his paintings. He spends most of his time being moody because his father is always on his case about taking on a more practical career.
One day, Hai Qing meets Yan Fei at the private swimming pool, where Yan Fei is learning how to swim, saving his life when Yan Fei almost drowns. The two share a kiss in the locker room, and Yan Fei gives Hai Qing his number before leaving, telling him to call. Hai Qing’s phone is broken when he is bullied by other people, and he loses Yan Fei’s number. The two miss out on meeting each other a couple of times, and, eventually, Hai Qing gives up hope of ever meeting Yan Fei again.
Yan Fei is a temperamental man, who has been in a relationship for a few years with Jimmy. Regardless of the fact that the two are together, Yan Fei has hidden the true nature of his relationship from his mother, which frustrates Jimmy no end; the poor man has to leave whenever Yan Fei’s mother comes to visit or to pretend to be a friend/roommate. Yan Fei is a horrible boyfriend in other ways, as well. He has forgotten Jimmy’s birthday many times, even when Jimmy has a full on party for his birthday. The two have been trudging along, but Yan Fei clearly already has a foot out the door, as evidenced by his attraction to Hai Qing/his acting on that attraction, and Jimmy’s propensity of flirting with other men / maybe having affairs with other men, the thought of which doesn’t seem to bother Yan Fei that much.
Hai Qing starts to take art classes and meets Chen Ping Jun, when the other boy is modeling for the class as a part time job. The two develop a relationship, going from friends to lovers. Ping Jung becomes a part of the family, looking out for both Hai Qing and his grandpa. When Hai Qing’s grandfather dies and his father has to leave the country for work, Ping Jun moves in with Hai Qing, to make sure the other man is taking care of his health and his needs.
Ping Jun is a hard working student, he takes care of his many sisters, works hard at several part time jobs, and still makes time to take care of Hai Qing. The only one he doesn’t take care of? Himself. One day, Ping Jun’s sister brings him a modeling opportunity, and Ping Jun goes to model for Yan Fei’s company. It is during a birthday dinner with his sister, that Yan Fei (who has come to persuade Ping Jun to be a model) and Hai Qing (who has to come to meet Ping Jun’g sister) finally meet each other again. Hai Qing quietly gets drunk that night and goes to seek Yan Fei the next day at his company.
The two quickly begin a love affair, and Hai Qing spends the next couple of episodes vacillating between who he loves or, rather, who he loves more. Ping Jun discovers Hai Qing’s infidelity, but refuses to break up with him, just as Jimmy has been refusing to break up with Yan Fei. Eventually, Ping Jun falls sick and is in the hospital for a long time. Due to his guilt, Hai Qing seeks to avoid Yan Fei during this time, but Yan Fei is there to take care of him as he, in turn, takes care of Ping Jun.
When Ping Jun’s health improves, he breaks up with Hai Qing, knowing that it is time to let the other man go.
Jimmy finally allows Yan Fei to break up with him, telling him that he never cheated on Yan Fei, he only wanted to make the other man jealous.
Hai Qing and Yan Fei get together, and Yan Fei comes out to his mother.
Hai Qing then goes to the US (?) for his studies, and the two spend some time apart only to be reunited in the specials, where they seem to finding their way with a new relationship.
This BL drama was not the best, and I only gave it a 5/10 for the following reasons below.
The acting of all of the actors was very raw. I felt that some of them were better than others, but I couldn’t completely stop seeing the actors playing at being these characters, and not just the characters on the screen. This made it really difficult to immerse myself in the story.
Tim Huang, the one who played Ping Jun, was the best of the lot, and I felt his gradual breakdown and subsequent maturity in breaking up with Hai Qing was very naturally played.
I felt that there was something off about the editing. I don’t know much about this, but something didn’t feel right when viewing this drama. The jumps from scene to scene were very choppy. None of the scenes seemed to go really well together, and the tonal shift between the scenes was very abrupt.
Alternatively, sometimes the scenes went on for too long, the camera staying on Hai Qing’s painting or as the characters brooded, that it became boring and I found myself skipping forward.
No one song really stood out, but the music did seem to fit the mood of the drama.
The characters in the drama were problematic. I think overall a lot of people, me included, didn’t like the characters due to their temperaments and their selfishness.
Hai Qing and Yan Fei seemed to have this great love, and so the writer tried to justify all of Hai Qing’s subsequent actions by saying, “Look they have a great love. They can’t help themselves,” but I didn’t buy it. He was a selfish little brat, who hurt poor Ping Jun horribly because of his indecisiveness and infidelity, and he didn’t get a “get out of jail free” card just because Yan Fei was the love of his life. He doesn’t get an okay on sleeping with him, seeking him out, or going on trips with him, just because the two have this incredible connection from the first moment they met.
Yan Fei was a jerk, too. He treated his boyfriend horribly, and wouldn’t assert himself enough to break up with him. He even pretended that Jimmy was Hai Qing when they made love after meeting Hai Qing for the first time. He hid Jimmy like a dirty little secret for years, and never told his mother about the relationship. He made Jimmy feel horribly, and I felt that he didn’t deserve to move on so happily.
The phrases the characters used were trite and cliched, and once again their attempts to justify their terrible behavior because of LOVE just didn’t sit right with me.
Ultimately, both Yan Fei and Hai Qing were cowards and needed to be better human beings. I guess it was only fitting that these two ended up with each other and couldn’t do damage to others out there with their selfishness.
I really couldn’t recommend watching this BL because of how selfish and unrepentant these two were.