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40 years, 40 great Chinese TV dramas (1979-1988)

By Zhang Xingjian | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-11-15 07:53
China's "Four Great Classical Novels" including  Journey to the West, The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, The Water Margin and A Dream of The Red Mansions have been adapted into TV dramas in turns. [Photo/Mtime]

It is safe to say the Chinese TV industry has witnessed tremendous changes, the same ones taking place in the country over the past 40 years.

To most Chinese viewers, television is a major means to learn about the outside world and enjoy leisure time with family members. Even in the era of internet, television stills plays an irreplaceable role in Chinese people's daily lives.

Over the past 40 years, a number of qualified TV dramas of various genres have emerged on the small screen, bringing unforgettable memories to generations of people.

With the founding of Chinese Central Television in 1978, the TV industry blazed its way to prosperity. In 1981, the war-oriented TV series 18 Years Living in Enemy Camp represents the first drama produced and broadcast in the Chinese mainland.

With the boom of Chinese internet, online dramas have won favor from an increasing number of viewers. In 2018, the mega-hit costume drama The Story of Yanxi Palace generated buzz online for its engaging plot of a Chinese-style Cinderella story, and has been distributed in over 70 countries and regions.

Here, a total of 40 dramas from 1979 to 2018 have been selected, with one representative piece for each year, to commemorate the 40-year journey of the Chinese TV industry.

In the first 10 years, romance, wuxia and legendary tales were well-received. The Hong Kong-based Television Broadcasts Limited produced a series of classic dramas including Shanghai Beach, Love And Passion and Legend of the Condor Heroes.

Journey to the West and The Dream of the Red Chamber, two of the "Four Great Classical Novels", were also adapted into dramas, becoming all the rage at the time.

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