Most of Chinese TV is absolutely terrible. The censorship has essentially strangled the medium. 90% of shows are government ass-kissing propaganda for the CCP, the other 10% is “Kill the japs” WWII content. It seems that it’s honestly quite difficult to air a TV show that does not have some kind of pro-CCP spin to it.

Despite this, there are a handful of decent Chinese TV shows that managed to produce a pretty good story in the face of adversity!

Also, related, see good japanese tv shows.

Here are the Chinese ones I recommend:

  • 男人帮 (Men) - 2011 - Inspired by Sex and The City, but with Chinese dudes instead of American women, and taking place in Shanghai. I learned Chinese by re-watching all 30 episodes 3 times in 2011-2012.
  • 隐秘的角落 (The Bad Kids) - 2020 - A thriller about three children who witness a murder. Some of the scenes by the main bad guy are actually straight up chilling, and you get to see the rare application of thriller/horror aesthetics on Chinese society in a non-cringe way.
  • 三体 (Three Body) - 2022 - Tencent’s adaptation of the famous Chinese novel by the same name, a DECENT but not fantastic show.
  • 漫长的季节 - 2023 - Very edgy for a Chinese tv show, with lots of swearing and some kinda sensitive topics.
  • 非正式会谈 (Informal Talks) - 2015 - A Chinese-language talk show featuring a panel of 8(?) foreigner hosts, all of who appear to hint at/visibly (but secretly, because China) gay. I fucking love this show.


Also ones that are not bad.

  • 燃冬 - The Breaking Ice - Suicidal hipster three-way movie.
Last modified: April 12, 2024
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