You can call me late to this bandwagon but it doesn’t matter when one watches C-drama One and Only (周生如故 Zhou Sheng Ru Gu). The period romance aired on August 18, 2021 and is considered one of the biggest successes of that year in both ratings and critical reception. It’s adapted from the novel One Life, One Incarnation, Beautiful Bones (一生一世美人骨 Yi Sheng Yi Shi Mei Ren Gu) but split into two dramas – One and Only is the period piece and Forever and Ever the modern sequel. It stars the same cast and aired in succession. One and Only has a 7.3 Douban rating while Forever and Ever sits at 6.1, and I’m totally aligned with it. One and Only is unforgettable and Forever and Ever serves to assuage the pain from the leads Allen Ren as General Zhou Sheng Chen and Bai Lu as future Crown Princess Cui Shi Yi with their unfulfilled love but as a drama it’s pretty standard modern fare. But One and Only is epic, just 24-episodes but packs easily double the dense plot and pathos.
On August 18, 2022, the one year anniversary of airing, Allen paid tribute to the drama and posted on his Weibo “Hi. Zhou Sheng Chen. How are the citizens of the Western Province?” That’s where his character was situated as the Provincial King and he sacrificed himself to keep his citizens safe. Bai Lu responded with a line from the drama 色授魂与，心愉于侧 (Seeing something so beautiful, one cannot contain one’s heart) and then with the line “My Shi Yi (which is Eleven which sounds the same as her name Shi Yi), Misses You Very Much.” I watched One and Only after I did The Blue Whisper with Allen and went backwards to check out his other notable dramas. That the story took a mute rich girl and a country first controlled general and delivered an unforgettable romance is not to be missed. Allen Ren’s General Zhou Sheng Chen is one of those General performances in C-dramas that all future general roles will be measured against it’s that good.Continue reading