Photo Credit: Douban

New Variety Shows of Spring 2018

Celebrities singing, celebrities cooking, celebrities raising kids—oh, and some street dancers too

The year 2018 has entered its second quarter, and a new season of shows is upon Chinese TV. Here are some of TWOC’s recommendations for the best, trendiest, and weirdest shows for you to catch up on.

Street dance clones

After The Rap of China rocked the world of internet memes with “Do you have freestyle?” two new shows follow with a focus on street dance.

Street Dance of China, produced by video platform Youku, and Hot-Blood Dance Crew, created by the same production team behind The Rap of China, were released in February and March, respectively. The former’s celebrity judges include Yi Yangqianxi of (former) tween boy band TFBoys; Huang Zitao, ex-member of popular the Korean-Chinese boy group EXO; Luo Zhixiang, famous singer and dancer from Taiwan; and Han Geng, lead actor of box office smash The Ex-File 3. The latter presents Lu Han, another ex-member of EXO, Jackson Wang from South Korean boy group GOT7, Hong Kong singer and dancer William Chan, and Song Qian, member of Korean-Chinese girl group F(x).

Both shows star these celebrities as “team-leaders” or “conveners” who will choose contestants to join on their teams, which will then compete against one another. So what’s the difference? It’s…hard to tell; better just pick one and have a look if you are interested in street dance and inevitable talent show drama.

I Am a (Not Very Well-Known) Singer

Hunan TV’s popular singing competition Singer, formerly known as I Am a Singer, just finished its sixth season. Adapted from Korean program of the same name, Singer was a perennial audience favorite—until this year. Many viewers, it seems, don’t even not know who won, perhaps because it’s British singer Jessie J, the first non-Chinese “King of Singing” the show ever had. Other contestants this season included rock star Wang Feng, rapper Gai, singer-songwriter Li Quan, and young pop idol Hua Chenyu.

Mom is a superwoman

Parent-child shows are a staple in Chinese TV: After Hunan TV’s Where Are We Going, Dad? and Zhejiang TV’s Dad Came Back, people finally started to pay some attention to mothers. In 2016, Hunan TV released Super Mom on its internet video platform Mango TV, detailing the lives of four celebrity moms and their offspring. In late March this year, Super Mom began airing its third season, starring Huo Siyan, Huang Shengyi, Jia Jingwen, and Deng Sha—all young, beautiful actresses. If you are interested in watching cute kids wearing better fashions than you did as a kid, this is the show for you.

The hermit challenge

If you are tired of the city and want to lead a life of self-sufficiency in the country, this show is full of people who agree. In Back to the Field, co-produced by Hunan TV and Zhejiang Hexin Cultural Communication Company, the producers invite the celebrity contestants to live in a small house in the boonies. They need to gather vegetables and fruits, cook their own food, and, each episode, treat a celebrity guest joining in on their retreat with a prepared meal. The second season of the show will air on Hunan TV starting April 20, starring actors Huang Lei and Peng Yuchang, singer Liu Xianhua, and TV presenter He Jiong.

Everlasting Poetry

Cultural programs still occupy an important position in the TV market. From The Chinese Poetry Competition, to Letters Alive to National Treasurehigh-quality shows focusing on Chinese culture achieve high ratings. This year, Everlasting Classics, which invites pop stars to sing songs adapted from ancient poems in every episode, has become a hit. It first aired on CCTV during the Spring Festival this year and has a rating of 8.9 out of 10 on Douban.com. In a recent episode, actress Mao Xiaotong dressed in period costume and sang the Chinese poem, “Parted Lovers,” written anonymously in the Han Dynasty.


author Sun Jiahui (孙佳慧)

Sun Jiahui is a freelance writer and former editor at The World of Chinese. She writes about Chinese language, society and culture, and is especially passionate about sharing stories of China's ancient past with a wider audience. She has been writing for TWOC for over six years, and pens the Choice Chengyu column.

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