China Reportedly Banning C-dramas Adapted from BL Novels and Hit 2019 Fantasy Drama The Untamed Will Be Removed From All Streaming Services

Okay, this post is to thwart the heavy hands of censorship and bring more publicity to the efforts to silence art. C-dramas have been on a fantasy, wuxia, and xianxia (combo of the two) novel adaptation kick for the last decade that it’s no wonder the last few years productions have start tapping into BL novels in those genres. BL (boy love) is exactly as the genre title says and has a huge following not just from the LGBT community but from straight women who love the bromance even if its actual romance. It started with BL mangas in Japan in the 90’s and has really spread out to all written genres and BL fantasy novels take Chinese fantasy history which is big on swordsman bromance anyways and crosses into romance. There have been about 50 BL novels adapted into C-dramas these last few years though every one has changed the BL aspect to male friendship, added female love interests, and kept the story line and world building.

The biggest BL novel adapted into a C-drama has to be 2019 hit The Untamed (陈情令 Chen Qing Ling) starring Sean Xiao (Xiao Zhan) and Wang Yibo. I only became a Sean Xiao fan recently from his singing side of his career so was planning to watch this soon. Fans of the source novel boycotted the drama after the core BL romance between the male leads was excised and random female pseudo love interests/supporting roles inserted, but the source story was so good and production did a great job with all else that the drama was a huge hit. Sadly The Untamed (and other BL source material dramas) may be no more as this weekend C-ent is reporting that the Chinese Broadcast agency is finally cracking down on BL adaptations even if it has no BL in it – ones submitted for approval will be denied, ones approved will need re-review, in production dramas are to be halted immediately, and finished airing dramas will be pulled from streaming. Dang someone has too much time on their hands.


China Reportedly Banning C-dramas Adapted from BL Novels and Hit 2019 Fantasy Drama The Untamed Will Be Removed From All Streaming Services — 48 Comments

  1. This is sad news. CCL is one of my favorite dramas. I have watched it multiple times and still can’t get enough of it. I am a huge fan of Yibo and I love Xiao Zhan. After the success of CCL they have been shooting many BL dramas, I feel bad for the cast and the crew.

  2. “Women who love the bromance even though it’s actual romance” no we love it even more because it’s not censored or some subtext queerbaiting and actually show diversity in our love stories. Is this your homophobia showing?

    The Untamed does NOT have 2 female love interests. The love between the two male leads is pretty obvious actually. Koala you have a lot of misinformation. Please fact check before you write

    • Dear Mia, BL or its earlier derivation Yaoi was the rise in art form and genre I lived through. It’s specifically written by women for women who want pure man-man romance with a genesis on the bromance of boys in high school or later extended to the swordsman in wuxia world. It’s not homophobia to discuss the allure of the genre.

      If you’re looking for diversity in love stories, ask if you’re as into girl love novels and dramas? If so then that’s great! 🙂 I love diversity, but no sub-set genre of romance has as devoted and tight following as BL (over girl love, transgender romances, poly romances, etc.).

      • There are no female love interests for either lead. There’s a woman XZ’s character sees exclusively as his big sis (and who is both married and dead at the start of episode one) and the only other female of their age is set up as a potential interest for XZ’s brother like character. Neither XZ nor WYB’s characters have any other love interests. The assumption here without fact checking calls into question the rest of the article, bc it’s that blatantly wrong.

      • The two main women in the story have pretty clearly sisterly relationships with one of the male leads (and basically no relationship of any kind with the other). Both of them even have romantic attachments to supporting male characters, to underline it. Other than that, there’s some passing flirting with a few relatively minor side characters, who either are or later get married to other men. So the main leads really have no female love interests at all.

  3. There are no romance with a female lead in The Untamed, the production actually tried their very best to make it as gay-coded as they can possibly get away with. They changed the script and honored the gay romantic love between the two male leads after the novel fandom threatened to boycott.

    It’s such a shame CCP censorship is at it again. The Untamed is a pretty decent adaptation of the source novel. Quite possibly the most popular and profitable LGBT fiction IP in the world so far.

    “straight women who love the bromance even though it’s actual romance” yeah i’m sure, lots of these kind of homophobic women visit this site as evidence by the homophobia I encountered in one of the Queen Cheorin post here

  4. frankly, the love is not actually in the drama. I mean, they have subtlely but nothing comes off it, their friendship isn’t even as dramatic or as beliveable than another character. WWX and his senior relationship is way better developed and sad rather than LWJ and WWX. The 3 friendship between people that end up in tragedy is the better love story.
    I think it also because the acting isn’t even that good.

    I don’t think it’s that bad but it’s mediocre and the fans keep deluding themselves with love story by expanding the drama to the fanfiction genre, it’s not even that romance as a romance drama or even as friendhsip drama. Other drama has better “are they in love in 2 male friend character” better

    • Imagine being this deluded and obtuse that you cannot see the romantic love between the two male leads. The romance in The Untamed is more obvious and beautifully portrayed than some canon LGBT relationships in Western shows (which don’t even have the problem of censorship).

      I would like to be this privileged in seeing love portrayed in a drama that I think “fans are deluding themselves with the love story” when so many queer Asians can see the love story and feel deeply represented by The Untamed.

      • There really are some obtuse people in this world. Some of my friends told me frankly that without me telling them about the novel and plot, they can’t tell that the two male leads are supposed to be in love.
        I don’t think fans are deluding themselves, but the censored adaptation really leaves alot up to interpretation.

      • Well The post said they thought the other characters has better romance,the one three way is that blind swordsman stories which is between 3 guys. Rather than talked about the queer, it mostly just the drama is not that good.

        Probably the acting. The main lead just not that good.

    • I really recommend watching it ASAP in case it’s pulled from international streaming services as well! It’s on Netflix and YouTube. HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from a person who doesn’t really enjoy xianxia or advocate for C-dramas all that often.

  5. As for what pulled from airing means:

    1. Pulled from television re-runs
    2. Pulled from all Chinese run official streaming site: iQiyi, Youku, Douban, Tudou, Tencent, Bilibili, et. al. It will not affect Netflix or Youtube or Hulu as the Chinese government cannot force US companies to pull shows, those sites are all banned in China already. The goal is to keep Chinese viewers from accessing what the Chinese authorities want to ban.

    • I hope those of us who live outside of China can still get to see the BL dramas that have finished production already. Like maybe, offer it to Netflix or YouTube?? I was looking forward to Immortality. ?

      • I remember when Advance Bravely was banned, it aired on Youtube one year later. So we have hope.
        But honestly, I doubt the production team will sell it overseas unless they have absolute no choice. Because its not going to benefit the actors if they don’t air it in China. Domestic recognition is very important to them because they don’t depend on international fans.

  6. I highly doubt BL will be banned. The word is that restrictions is going to be stricter than ever, and passing censorship is going to be more difficult than it already is.
    Because as of now, Seizing Dreams is being filmed. Shan He Biao Li is going to start filming in March. There’s Mo Du and Tian Guan Ci Fu coming up.
    Whats gonna happen is these dramas will probably end up having to cut alot of scenes and change the content. And hopefully when they come out its not gonna be unrecognizable.

  7. if BL is going to be banned, then what about Seizing Dreams and Mountains and Rivers?? I thought these two dramas confirmed their leads recently.

  8. Is there anything we can do as foreigners? I don’t want to give the censors ideas in case it really is only a rumor, but I want to register my displeasure in some fashion.

  9. i’m so glad that you have become a fan of Xiao Zhan. i’ve been his fan since CQL aired
    last 2019. i hope you will take your time to watch it. You will be amazed with his acting.
    He’s got lovely voice too.

    • I love Our Song season 1, watched it all. Xiao Zhan is adorbs and I also love the other “newbies” Liu Yuning and Ayanga.

      • yes, xiao zhan is just too adorable for words. i got into being his fan watching him brought wei wuxian to life in The Untamed. then, i watched Our Songs, and i was like oh, he can not only act but sing too? i started to watch clips of his interviews.. @ockoala, his brain is sexy too, i tell you, he’s smart, articulate and educated too, he finished graphic design in college. yes, i’m a xz stan, if that’s not obvious enough. lols

  10. Watched it when it came out due to the hype around it. It is plagiarising Jin Yong novels, adding in BL and zombies. The story is actually weak and their leads voices were dubbed due to their poor acting. Had to watch it x2 speed. Overall, couldn’t understand what was so great about it.

  11. It’s a rumor. If you browse through weibo and the bird app, there’s actually some indication that the rumor was intentionally released to help some traffic for some celebrity. But that, too, is just a rumor. I doubt it will be taken out.

    I love the story of Untamed. Awesome drama by awesome casts. The book is indeed a BL, but Untamed isn’t. There was no pronounced love and romantic relationship, only that of strong attraction, caring, friendship and soul mate kind of thing. I wish people who have not watched it but heard of the supposed romance of the characters of the lead, would instead, when they watch it, look and focus on the story of Wei Wu Xian. He’s the lead and both the book’s title and the English title Untamed is him. It’s the story of human heart, and how he remained true to what he believes even when the world cast him aside, plot against him, killed him and destroyed his reputation. He protected the weak. This is a very popular drama, and I just hope the true story of Untamed remain the focus of attention.

  12. China needs ‘soft power’ badly since the Western media demonizes it so much. Sinophobia
    has really taken off because of the politicization of covid -19.
    The Chinese govt is really moronic to ban a drama that brought in international audience.

  13. ugh, I’m getting tired with yaoi dramas lately. It’s just too, too much at the same time. I wonder why there’s no a single one yuri drama atm. In reality, at least in my community, yuri can be far more natural instinct than yaoi.

    • Because no one watches Yuri, and therefore it is not a marketable genre.
      Dear Missy and My Best Friend’s Story did okay but nowhere near the buzz of Winter Begonia, much less Untamed and Guardian.

      • “no one watches Yuri”?

        I don’t think so. I am a man and that’s my fetish. In a heavier aspect, you can see pornhub insights every year end, “lesbian” always come on the top 1 most watched genre.

      • By Yuri I mean China Yuri, aka the one where it gets turned into sismance. People scream about how there are no censored romance female-centric dramas. but when they come out nobody hypes about it.

      • @Yura My Best Friend Story is hyped in China but not internationally. Actually many female centric shows are really popular and widely talked about there eg Nothing But Thirty, Twenty Your Life On, Ode to Joy, hence why you see them keep coming up despite the lack of interest from international audience, except for Yanxi Palace maybe. They however attract different kind of audience from idol dramas with idol followings that will hype the drama even after the show ended.

    • I think the “Yuri” Nuguya meant is dramas with storylines like Dear Missy and Couple of Mirrors (and My Best Friend’s Story, to a lesser extent since both female leads have their own storylines), where the female leads are implied to be “in love” or having intimate relationships like how the male leads in BL dramas do.
      There hasn’t been a lack of female-centric shows these past two years. Nothing But Thirty, Twenty Your Life On, Get Married Or Not… and upcoming dramas like Love is True, Be Together, Pride and Price etc. So yeah the “no single one yuri” drama atm probably does not include these dramas.

  14. I’m seriously hoping this is just mainland china and not Taiwan, and not the rest of the world, because if it is so, then China is bloody stupid conservatism is so 1800’s century they just don’t live in the times of today and need to seriously UPDATE their moral views… how idiotically backwards can a nation be? as a Bisexual myself, this is my personal opinion, if a country is that backwards in it’s views people need to be protesting in the streets and make themselves heard now more than ever. laws need to be rewritten to allow these censored adaptions to be continued, I don’t care about what their laws says of SS pornographic scenes, that they can keep for all I care…. but censored bromantic adaptions with platonic Brotherhood “army like loyalty” bonds should be allowed to be produced still. if we want the graphics we can just read the novel.

    The problem for me is when Fujoshis edit videos and post them globally on youtube and such to make it seem like the damn shows are actually as highly sexual as in the novels. THAT is when we have a problem…. because CGOV literally cracks down on all that sort of shit and it can land a series and any future series in big trouble, especially damaging to the future of those out of mainland china…… so be careful with your FUJOSHIness… please don’t make them shows seem hentai you’ll put them in danger and it will all be YOUR fault .

  15. A few months in, and the “rumors”, as said by some Untamed fans, is confirmed. China is cracking down on what the communist party arbitrarily defines as “effeminate men”, which practically includes all bl. I’m now waiting for “The story of the bat” and it was locked for release. People on weibo are complaining for months.
    This is communism at its best. I laugh my ass off just reading some comments above complaining about the author not seeing the “love” in The Untamed. This series is overhyped, for comparison, “Men with Sword” is waaaay better.

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