C-drama Forbidden Love Pours Cold Water on the Warm Early Excitement with Terrible Reviews on the Acting of Both Leads Dylan Wang and Chen Yu Qi

The last C-drama to premiere before year end 2022 is unfortunately an early reviews dud. Sure it can get better but Forbidden Love (also called Unchained Love) with Dylan Wang and Chen Yu Qi (Yukee Chen) takes the former back to the poorly reviews days prior to his hit drama Love Before Fairy and Devil and puts the latter squarely in the same spot of being unable to act beyond one expression. Frankly I was excited but couldn’t finish the first episode even though I went in with beyond an open mind. Both leads are being called the same “face paralyzed” acting with him having a wooden expression and her having the same wide-eyed stare in every scene. The drama is also weirdly light on certain scenes despite the heavy subject matter, with the female lead and other Imperial ladies being sentenced to be buried alive with the recently deceased Emperor but it’s all kinda shits and giggles. At least there isn’t xianxia pew-pew-pew and flying but perhaps that actually would help raise the current dullness level a tad.


C-drama Forbidden Love Pours Cold Water on the Warm Early Excitement with Terrible Reviews on the Acting of Both Leads Dylan Wang and Chen Yu Qi — 49 Comments

  1. He can’t act. You should go to Douban for the shits and giggles, his fans are swarming trying to talk about his “microexpresssions” and how people just don’t get his masterful acting skills. It’s a great laugh.

    • Read all the comments but I still find the show Unchained Love entertaining. I like the chemistry between the leads, Yukee and Dylan. Maybe I am not having high expectations like the rest. So I am satisfied watching a full length historical drama being aired now, compared to lots of short series / web shows.

  2. Yukee Chen and Li Qin are similar in that they both have a beautiful face but their acting is quite terrible. I am definitely not a fan of their acting. Even with beautiful faces, settings, and costumes I feel poor acting lowers the quality of the drama.

    • Oh come on, Li Qin is a lot prettier and a way better actress than Yukee. Li Qins face looks more like Li Yi Tong and Sun Yi.

      I don’t even dislike Yukee but the comparison that makes her look worse. She was prettier in Ashes of Love but because she’s very thin now her eyes protrude. Doubt she can help it, it’s how her face is and it does make her look weird on screen. Given how popular the drama is on IQiyi she will get more gigs like Esther did, just by riding on the popularity of the ML.

      • That’s also not a fair comparison. Esther did not ride on anyone’s coattails and earned her stripes her way. Dylan was certainly a good partner for her, but to say she’s on par with Yukee who hasn’t shown or display the same acting prowess is doing Esther a huge disservice.

  3. The empress has been banished and has been MIA for like 5+ episodes. Dylan’s eyebrows are inconsistently thick, thin, or spaced in episodes.

    • I enjoyed watching the first 8 episodes. Give it a try. It’s not bad. Im neither a fan of both and havent finished anything with them both but this unchained love is not bad.

  4. I doubt Koala will make an effusive post about Dylan Wang like she did for Zhao Lu si, but he is the top new liuliang star of 2022 based on Weibo data so nobody expects Tony Leung acting, they just want to gawk at his face. He is behind Wang Yi Bo and Xiao Zhan in terms of traffic and more popular than last year’s breakout liuliang Gong Jun, so acting skills wont even matter due to his fandom. It’s the same for Wang Yi Bo, Gong Jun and Zhao Lusi, many find their acting awful in Legend of Fei, Who Rules The World, Imperial College but it will not affect the drama’s popularity. Liuliangs are known for their bad acting after all, Peter Ho was himself awkward as a young actor but he is good now that hes 47.

    If you want good acting then watch the best young actors from Beijing Film Academy or Central Academy of Drama: Chen Xing Xu, Zhao Jin Mai, Song Zuer, Wu Lei, Ren Min. Expecting good acting from Dylan, Lu Si, Yi Bo, Yang Chao Yue is a joke, they are idols who didnt go to acting school and slur their lines a lot but are still popular because of their visuals and Douyin fame.

    • The only popular thing Wang Yibo had was cql. LoF was actually a bust considering ZLY rep and popularity. Plus I really want to know why people keep talking about him as if he is on top. He isn’t, he has fallen a long way since CQL days and his attempts to fuck up his costar. “Amazingly” people saw what happened then, what happened after lof and things changed. If you are doubting just take a look at the pathetic song sales of today. His fans are rapidly defanning.

      This is something all the fans of the likes of Yibo, WHD, ZLS have to learn. Their time is limited. They are shit actors with a limited time span and will be replaced with hotter youngsters in a few years.

      Do you really think Zhao was so desperate to transform because of something else? Those who can will start emphasising their acting and serious projects. Those who can’t will struggle to hang on as long as possible before the next young thing inevitably replaces them.

      • Wang Yi Bo is unfortunately failing upwards, he’s got a spy film with Tony Leung and a dance film with Huang Bo plus that shelved Air Force propaganda movie. He’s bland to me but as the top dog at a big agency like Yuehua, he’s will get gigs due to Yuehuas connections. https://m.weibo.cn/detail/4851674328597158

        A lot of well-connected stars 资源咖 are able to get gigs even if they didn’t study acting or graduate from college. After Esther Yu, Zhao Lu Si, Wang He Di, Zhang Linghe became popular this summer a lot of people started to discuss if attending top art colleges like Beijing Film Academy was a waste of time since popular idols got famous earlier by dropping out of college or even skipping Gaokao, and by the time acting school students graduate Esther was already a famous idol and Zhao Lu Si already filmed 15 dramas because she never focused on school to begin with. Same goes for Yibo, he dropped out early and went to Korea to be an idol. Meanwhile students in BFA STA and CAD Drama are not allowed to film in Year 1 and need permission to do dramas so they cannot film as much as Lu Si for instance and lose out in terms of earnings and popularity. I support higher education a lot but for acting the only people who benefit from focusing on their studies at 18-22 are child stars like Leo Wu, Guan Xiaotong, Song Zuer, Jackson Yi who are already famous and don’t lose much time. For everyone else the industry is so competitive if you only start acting fulltime at 23 youll be struggling to get lead roles over idols like Yibo or Esther.

      • @Anon
        Wang Yibo is falling upwards only in the imagination of WYB fans. The only reason he is even still around is YH.

        Like I told you, take a look at his song sales, it was absolutely pathetic. Only a year ago, YH was able to get his endorsements to buy his songs to pump up his numbers, now even that isn’t possible. His movies? Show me his movies. No? Didn’t think so. Dramas? “He does not want to” , say his fans. Is it he doesn’t want to or he is locked out?

        What has Wang Yibo done in the past five months? He went to a theatre festival, sat close to a real director like Stan Lai which caused his fans to go nuts and start attacking actors on Weibo how this is way more relevant than you know, actually acting in theatre. And all this under Stan Lai’s Weibo. When YH finally saw they fucked up and gave the order to delete rapidly, it was too late. They had already confirmed for the millionth time what stench follows him.

        WYB is undoubtedly an incredibly well connected guy, which is why he is still around but black liuliangs have always had only one career ending. Something Zhao Lusi should remember as well. She is not so far gone that she can’t pull back just yet.

      • @it’s not the imagination of Yibo fans sadly, i dont even like him but it’s delusion to deny his liuliang. Ive seen Koreans post about him on theQoo and they don’t care as much for Xiaozhan oddly, maybe it’s because Xiaozhan is older).

        I’m watching the New Year concerts rn on different Chinese TV stations and Yibo got treated like a VIP guest by Shanghai TV (he was called out for a solo interview pre-12am after performing earlier and they even showed a teaser of his film with Tony Leung to hype him up) despite a lot of more experienced and famous singers attending, I dont get it either because he’s so average at singing and acting. Esther, Lusi, and TNT also performed on Shanghai TV’s concert, they dont get the same treatment. Dylan got very loud screams on Hunan TV’s concert when he did his rap, but the hosts didnt treat him extra specially even if He Jiong is close to him. Dylan got the biggest reactions from the audience i think, maybe followed by Karry Wang. Not sure if Xiao Zhan did any concert.

        Happy 2023!

      • @Anon

        It absolutely is. Don’t you wonder why Yibo is suddenly not on Hunan where he was also treated great, Hunan that is always the second most watched program on NY and was second after CCTV this year too? Why did he go to much less watched DTV? It’s because the power structure changed and Hunan isn’t associated with Ali any more so they didn’t want him. So Yibo got to Dragon because that is where the YH connection took him as one of their producers is there now. Oh and guess where Ali went? Everything about Yibo is done through connections. His performance was not live tonight and they even bought a red hot search for him. I mean it’s no skin of my back, believe what you like but the guy is an artificial liuliang who will disappear as soon as his many connections find a better person to push. I think WHD can’t act to save his life but he at least genuinely has the popularity that he has.

        Xiao Zhan doesn’t do NYE galas. He is very determined to transform as fast as possible into a serious actor and he knows it’s not an easy road. It’s a difficult balance between serious projects and keeping his popularity but I think he has a good idea how between theatre, Chinese related dramas like Where Dreams Begin and less serious ones that are dramas at workplace/romance that are done with a non-traffic actress (Bai Baihe is still a huge name and it’s in her best interest to do this for a hopeful full comeback after that “scandal” where morons netizens tanked her career for nothing). Anyway, who knows what will happen with him. A lot of people want him to fall but he also has a lot of support and lately, some known industry names have started associating with him so he might make it. We can only wait and see. Hu Ge made it. Zhao will obviously make it now, she is doing more than solid work lately so he might join them. Overall the number of them who transform has always been extremely tiny.

      • Now that you mentioned it, I realised why Yibo wasn’t in Hunan. He used to hosted in Hunan’s show and did NYE Gala too.

        I have nothing against Yibo nor I’m the fan but IMHO he should sticks to dancing where the only thing he is exceptional with. His acting is so so and he is scares to gets close to any of his FL so can’t does romance-centric or CP thingy. While serious acting is way beyond his skills.

        Singing totally isn’t his forte too. He is flat and sings without feeling nor soul.

      • I doubt YiBo’s goal is the acting circle. As a chinese myself and meeting the random irl fans (some are like my mom’s age) many of them are fans of his dancing, not his new show.

      • @Anon Yuehua? You know that bitch is only still managing bc of her artists right? Its no news that first Han Geng then YiBo saved her company from bankruptcy. That woman cant survive without her unusual luck. Rn YueHua is living on TiBo’s incomes

      • Ha, you people forgot Wang YiBo ISNT a serious actor so stoping coming for his acting. Its like attacking people like Zhou Shen (first thing that came to mind) about his acting. Well acting ISN’T his thing. Its like a side gig. Its basically a trend nowadays in China for popular stars to tame side gigs in dramas.
        Imo YiBo is more on dancing and motorcycles which is what hes actually good at and enjoys. And only shallow international fans like you guys only see his acting career. Ive met a lot of Chinese irl who are fans of his dancing and not much for his acting.

      • @Euphoria

        Give it a rest. If Yibo had stuck to his dancing, nobody would have cared. He absolutely wanted to be an actor, it’s just that he is failing, big time.

        Do you think he just fucked over Yixing/Lay at the height of the New Years program to advertise that Tony Leung movie because he doesn’t care?

        I sure hope it’s worth it because all people are talking about this morning, especially after that Weibo post by Yixing’s people, is that Yibo and Yuehua are trash to top all trash.

        Oh and Dragon TV just made sure no top star will touch them. Hope your mantou is worth it.

    • chen xing xu? I watched him in goodbye my princess and the one with zhang jing yi. is that you call as best actor? are you for real? I dont think beijing academy did a good job then. the same goes to wulei. he was so stiff in love like the galaxy whats the point of graduating from acting school when your acting is at par with others lol.

      • Wu Lei’s fake shaking when he is supposedly a hit was so bloody hilarious that it remains a gag between my friends as faking and failing at anger. I have no idea who thinks that’s good acting.

      • Lol, Chen Xingxu ranked 1st for the auditions at Central Academy of Drama, I liked him in GMP but nothing I’ve seen him in since has impressed me. His voice is very oldman-like, but other than that cnetizens think he’s a good actor. His major issue is that he doesnt have an agency and is managed by his family like Wu Lei, I see no issues with his acting but he lacks the connections to access better scripts and productions. Love When The Stars Fall is his big opportunity though.

        Wu Lei also ranked 1st in his year at BFA with Song Zuer 3rd, another one is Steven Zhang who wasn’t a child star but ranked top. Not all the top ranking students/auditions become popular actors, off the top of my head Qiao Xin was 1st too and she’s super awkward, Wu You, He Rui Xian (Yu Zheng’s perennial support actress), Xia Meng.

      • I haven’t watched much of Wu Lei except Nirvana in Fire and LLTG. I’m quite impressed with his acting. I can’t tell if his lines are clear since I don’t speak Chinese. But his micro expressions tells a lot. He doesn’t rely on exaggerated expressions to convey a feeling. You can tell his feelings just by the look on his face alone.

        I really like LLTG and I think the success of it is due to multiple factors, one being Wu Lei’s acting. I look forward to seeing him in his future dramas. I’m also glad that he picks quality dramas

      • @Iphy

        Lmfao “microexpresssions”

        Do you know whose fans use that term? Wang Yibo, WHD, Wu Lei. It’s a catch phrase for my idol can’t act so let me try and invent some nonsense how to all just so subtle and the rest of you are morons not to see it. Nah, he can’t act.

        My sincere advice is drop that word because the second one uses it, people start laughing.

    • And that’s acceptable? They’re earning millions so I think it’s only fair that they’re given appropriate acting criticism… of course, whether or not they choose to take their craft seriously is another thing but I don’t get why as audiences we’re not allowed to expect more from their acting.

  5. Not unexpected, as much as I like Dylan I’m open-minded enough to see that he has a long way to go in terms of acting. At the moment his performance depending heavily on his co stars and the production. Yukee is bland and the production of UL isn’t the best too so….well….

  6. Weird, my reaction is a lot different. (Then again, I don’t depend on a review to tell me if I will like something.)

    I am appreciating the fact that the female lead is smart and not just another damsel in distress, waiting to be rescued. I think she’s funny and gutsy. I like that her character is completely different from Orchid in LBFAD–I enjoy Dylan Wang’s comedic acting but found his chemistry with Esther just SO so strong that I really just need something completely different so that I can enjoy it without comparing. I feel this is different enough that it works for me.

    I will agree, though, on the weirdly light tone during some of the things (like the casual, oh, you’ll all just have to kill yourselves now that the emperor is dead). I am not sure how to take that.

    • @glr
      I agree with you. I enjoy Unchained Love and I look forward to it everyday. I like that Yukee gives a mature vibe and optimistic vibe here. Dylan’s performance is also acceptable to me as I appreciate his good looks and he doesn’t annoy me. 😀

  7. He’s always been a bad actor. I don’t think he was that much better in LBFAD objectively speaking. I think the chemistry, storyline, and voice actor really helped elevate him in that drama. However, I don’t think all that really matters considering a lot of fans love their idols pretty blindly. I felt like Yukee showed a lot of potential in Ashes of Love but she’s been falling pretty flat in dramas where she’s the lead.

      • That was not his voice. Dongfang Qingcang was voiced by Wang Baoshun. The only time he used his own voice was when Xiao Lanhua was in his body.

      • Actually @soph Wang Baoshun voiced Xiao Lanhua in his body too. Through and through, it was all Wang Baoshun.

      • @Jia thanks for clarifying. That voice actually sounds more similar to his normal voice so I thought it was maybe him. Dongfang Qingcang’s normal voice sounds completely different from Dylan’s. I don’t know why so many people insist that he dubbed the voice.

  8. I feel like the actors realized that the drama’s writing is off so are just awkward with the acting. Not many young actors have the skill to overcome bumps in the writing and elevate a bad script. And they get paid either way.

    • People are expecting too much, this is a drama filmed when Dylan was still unpopular and the director, writer, production company are all not known for quality work. It’s like Gong Jun’s pre-Word of Honor dramas and his styling looked so unfashionable; Dylan will only get his big glow up in the projects he films in 2023, he even tried to weasel his way out of his current romcom with Bai Lu that he signed before LBF&D because he got worse billing than Bai Lu and presumably the paycheck negotiated isnt as good as what he can get now that he’s a liuliang star.

      • Actually the ones making noises about the billing between him and BL weren’t him and his team but his fandom. His team even announced that they got no problem with the second billing. Dylan and his team seem to be a very very decent people. Before LBFD despite being not very well known Dylan always got works and he was always got ML roles. It’s must be a combined of lesser fees AND easy to works with.

  9. Dylan is a limited actor. He needs roles that suits him like LBFAD, but here it doesn’t. As for Yukee, she is…just not good. I haven’t liked her in anything and all her characters are acted in the same wide-eyed/lacking in expression way. Girl must have some serious connections because I don’t get why she keeps getting these lead roles. At least Dylan has star factor despite his limitations. Yukee is just bland all around.

  10. I think Dylan Wang is ok when he’s acting as a cocky guy because ngl he’s good at posing lol his biggest weakness is his dialogue because he has a strong sichuan accent. I wonder if he’ll ever use his own voice. prob not. The female lead just seems to have a O_O expression all the time. In terms of male actors that impressed me this year, Bai Jingting >>> all the other ones

  11. Seriously I thought it’s only me dat noticed his acting Dylan Wang especially in Love between fairy and devil d film is just too dramatic even f film he acted dat he was dragon I just couldn’t y dat film was exaggerated…

  12. I was planning to watch this drama. Anyway after reading some of the comments I still want to give it a try. Hope it is not as bad as the review said.

  13. Honestly, I don’t think the drama major problem lies in the acting – which isn’t brilliant anyway. The script is ridiculous and at times highly confusing, the editing is like Edward Scissorhands gone mad, the music ugly and misplaced and the humour is not funny at all – not to mention the tone that makes embarrassing jokes out of serious matters and the dialogues which are as deep as a mud pool.
    Do you really expect anyone to shine with this crappy material, micro or macro expressions aside?

  14. I always thought Dylan is bad in acting n time will tell. Love how people realize it now. I still frustrated when he replaced chen fei Yu in ever night cause the production company n they do not want to reschedule the filming cause they want to replace with him. He totally ruined the character. Now I just need to wait for Immortality n joy of life. So hard to get good drama now.

    • I am still mad about Ever Night 2 too! I waited so long for the sequel since the first ended on such a serious cliffhanger. Although it’s not Dylan’s fault, but the way he portrayed the character was completely off the mark. I normally love Bao Jianfeng as an emperor, but the difference between him and Leon were too much. I also really didn’t like the new Ye Hongyu or princess. Too many important characters got replaced, and each new actor/actress tried to bring their own interpretation that it felt like new characters and I was watching a completely different drama. This is why I don’t think c-dramas should have multiple seasons since it’s hard to get all the same people back.

  15. Unchained Love is doing well though? It is apparently the first A-grade drama to break 9000 on IQiyi and got a 7.3 on Douban. Yall complain too much.

  16. I enjoyed the movie. It was entertaining made me laugh. It also made me anxious at times. I was hoping to see a better ending. I want to see a 6months or year later episode to wrap everything up. Hopefully all the other characters had happy endings.

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