If C-production company Tangren wants to wash the stink off the milk-the-fans-for-money Bu Bu Jing Xin sequel Bu Bu Jing Qing, there’s a good chance it might succeed with the currently filming Ming dynasty medical period drama The Imperial Doctress. The full Chinese title 女医·明妃传 is translated as Legend of the Female Doctor Ming Consort so leading lady Liu Shi Shi will be playing a heroine that is not only a female doctor but later a consort to the Ming Emperor. The C-media are predictably calling foul in a cute way with the shipping confusion because male leads Wallace Huo and Huang Xuan are both playing Ming Emperors. How does that happen, you ask? One of the real annals of Chinese history in the Ming dynasty had a dual Emperor period when Emperor Zhengtong (born Zhu Qi Zhen and the character played by Wallace) was captured by the Mongol after personally leading the Battle of Tumu Fortress. His capture almost caused the Ming dynasty to topple but a capable minister quickly installed Emperor Zhengtong’s younger brother Zhu Qi Yu (played by Huang Xuan) as the new Emperor Jingtai.
Emperor Zhengtong was released as a hostage a year later and returned to Beijing only to be placed under house arrest by his younger brother who didn’t want to give up his imperial reign. Can’t say it’s not understandable when absolute power is at stake. When Emperor Jingtai fell ill seven years later, Emperor Zhengtong saw his chance and successfully led a palace coup to restore his throne and demote his younger brother back to merely a prince and then placed Jingtai under house arrest. Tit-for-tat. Emperor Zhengtong then changed his ruling moniker to Emperor Tianshun and ruled for another seven years before dying and passing the throne to his son. It’s a pretty cool bit of Chinese history and judging by the tons of official stills released by the production this drama will be tackling quite a long duration in the lives of all the characters. Shi Shi was asked about being in yet another love triangle and she claims that this time she’s true to one man and it’s not with Wallace’s character. That’s pretty surprising to have a leading man in Wallace not get the girl but for once I totally don’t care and want to see a thoughtful dramatic take on a real life female physician in the Ming dynasty mixed with the fictional love affair with two Emperors.