Some C-dramas finish filming and sit in the vault gathering dust for various reasons. It sucks and can’t find a broadcast network, there’s no money left to finish post-production, the drama can’t clear SARFT approval for whatever reason, anything goes in what feels like the Wild West of television programming in China. The typical wait is between 6 months to over a year for a completed drama to actually air, and it can either be an advantage or an unfortunate bust. The big ratings winner recently is Legend of Lu Zhen produced by Yu Zheng and starring Chen Xiao and Zhao Li Ying, and I really think the popularity and crazy hate heaped on Yu Zheng’s already aired The Swordsman added attention to Lu Zhen. It also helped that Chen Xiao was crazy good in The Swordsman so his star was on the rise already and Lu Zhen was like striking while the iron was hot in catapulting him to another level of fame. If ever there was a time to air the Tangren-produced C-drama Da Mo Yao (Ballad of the Desert) based on the same-name novel by writer Tong Hua, I feel like it’s passed this drama by. Now word on the street makes seeing DMY even less likely, what with a possible stint on the SARFT banned list.
Almost a year has passed since DMY completed filming but the drama hasn’t locked down a broadcast time slot or network yet. There have been murmurings that it can’t get SARFT approval, but this week the chatter increased in intensity with the rumor that DMY has been blacklisted by SARFT and will not be airing at all. The reasons are two fold, apparently Tangren went ahead and started filming before pre-approval came down from SARFT, and ultimately its subject matter in discussing real life historical figures such as General Huo Qu Bing and Emperor Wu of Han Liu Che in a certain way was unacceptable to the agency. Plenty of dramas twisting historical figures have aired so it’s not clear exactly why SARFT’s panties are in a bunch over this one, though I’m more inclined to think Tangren simply pissed someone off there or else the agency is merely using DMY as a warning to future dramas to toe the line. I wished I cared more but at this point I’ve moved on. I do wish Tangren released at least one concept trailer but since it hasn’t all we have to nibble on are a few more stills from the drama filming.