15 Addicting Shows To Watch If You’re New To C-Dramas & TW-Dramas

It’s always difficult to know which drama to start next – there are just so many good ones! But guess what – you’re in luck! Whether you are on the hunt for historical, romantic, slice-of-life, thrilling, mysterious, or whatever other kind of element you may want in a drama, this list is here to make the search a little easier.

Without further ado, here are 15 Chinese and Taiwanese dramas – of a wide variety of genres – to get you started! (Not in any particular order.)

Love Me If You Dare

This 2015 Chinese drama is a must-watch no matter what genre you enjoy. Simon Bo (Wallace Huo) is a brilliant criminal psychologist who advises the police on their most violent and disturbing cases. His new assistant, Jenny Jian (Sandra Ma), is the daughter of a veteran police investigator whose strong sense of justice matches her spunky spirit. Together they delve into the dangerous mentality of some of the most horrific criminals. With each passing crime, the two grow closer and closer – and begin opening up to each other about the pasts that haunt them.

It’s got romance (oh, does it ever), angst out of the wazoo, thrilling suspense, and a brutal serial killer whose love of messing with people psychologically is disconcerting to say the least. Seriously, what else could you want in a drama? As the story progresses – and our two leads’ relationship develops – you’ll find yourself rooting for these two with all your might. By the time the nail-biting climax reaches its peak… just be warned that you might need to book a manicure, because the thrill is real!

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Bromance

When Pi Ya Nuo (Megan Lai) was a baby, a fortuneteller told her family she would not survive to adulthood unless she lives the first 25 years of her life as a boy. On her 26th birthday, however, she can begin living as a girl. Throughout life, Ya Nuo tries to keep her distance from people so that her secret will not be revealed. But one day she encounters Du Zi Feng (Baron Chen), and the two develop a close friendship. While she longs to live life as a woman, unforeseen feelings threaten to complicate Ya Nuo’s perfect plan.

A woman cross-dressing as a man is nothing new in Dramaland, but the 2015 Taiwanese drama “Bromance” still manages to tell a truly unique story that keeps its audience captivated from the start. The relatable main leads (whose chemistry on-screen is truly adorable), the genuine funniness, and the lovable side characters are just a few elements that make “Bromance” a binge-worthy watch.

Check out episode 1 right here!

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The Eternal Love

Historical drama lovers, we’ve got your back! If you think you’ve seen it all when it comes to historical dramas, think again. In “The Eternal Love,” Qu Tan Er (Liang Jie) is in love with the king’s oldest son, Mo Yi Huai (Wang Rui Chang), but is being forced to marry his younger brother, Mo Lian Cheng (Xing Zhao Lin). In despair at the arranged marriage, Tan Er tries to die by suicide, fails, and instead wakes to find that another woman’s spirit (Xiao Tan, from modern times – also played by Liang Jie) has taken over her body. The two must find a way to coexist while searching for the answer to get them out of their odd predicament. To complicate matters, whenever one of the women tells a lie, the other personality takes over the body they both are residing in.

This highly-rated and beloved 2017 Chinese drama combines romantic rivalry with some time-traveling and body-swapping, churning out a delicious drama that you’ll definitely want to check out! (Good news: if you enjoy this one, there’s a second season set to air later this year!)

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Attention, Love!

Sweet and simple, this 2017 Taiwanese drama is as cute as it sounds. Li Zheng (Wang Zi), which means “attention,” and Shao Xi (Joanne Tseng), which means “at ease,” both grew up embodying their names. Li Zheng is diligent and pays careful attention to detail, while Shao Xi takes life as it comes, and is very laid back. When Li Zheng returns to Taiwan after growing up in Japan, he meets Shao Xi in high school. Even though their personalities are so different, the two feel a strong connection.

The color palette is beautiful pastels (which is as easy on the eyes as the two main leads), the pace is consistently brisk, and the side characters are extremely lovable. If you’re looking for a ton of depth and/or internal character struggles, you might want to consider skipping this. But if an easy-breezy watch is what you’re looking for, “Attention, Love!” is perfect for you!

Check out episode 1 right here!

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Rookie Agent Rouge

Mystery? Check. Romance? Check. Intrigue and espionage? Check and check. The story takes place in 1937 when Lan Yan Zhi (Zhao Li Ying), a wealthy banker’s daughter and student activist in Shanghai, accidentally comes into possession of a letter from the Japanese army. Zhou Yu Hao (Lu Yi), an upstanding officer in the Chinese army and the man Yan Zhi cares for, finds out she has the letter and misunderstands, believing her to be a spy. In an effort to prove her innocence to him, Yan Zhi agrees to sneak into the home of her best friend to help Yu Hao track down the mysterious “Mister Traitor.” Her excellent memory and unparalleled intelligence aid her in her mission, but soon Yan Zhi unearths dark secrets that lead a little too close to home….

Basically, this one’s got everything, all in the backdrop of the late 1930’s (which is awesome – anyone interested in costuming and period pieces will want to check it out for sure). At 45 episodes, the 2016 Chinese drama is definitely on the lengthier end of the spectrum, but this only allows the viewers to delve even deeper into the characters as they develop in front of our eyes. It’s a must-see for anyone looking to be in it for the long haul.

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Lion Pride

Math teacher Wang Qiang Da (Yen Tsao) approaches life with logic and no-nonsense reasoning. At the same tutoring center is history teacher Wang Qiang Wei (Amanda Chou), who is happy-go-lucky and loves cheering up people around her. When a crime brings the two of them together, they must use their individual talents (as well as learn from the other) to solve the mystery.

It sounds straightforward…because it is! 2017 Taiwanese drama “Lion Pride” remains quick-paced and mostly lighthearted throughout, and is recommended for anyone who wants an entertaining watch with an overhanging mystery thrown in! The romance is definitely cute, but what drives the drama is the characters developing along the way while solving the crime.

Check out episode 1 right here!

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A Love So Beautiful

As far as high school romance dramas go, “A Love So Beautiful” absolutely nails it. High school student Chen Xiao Xi (Shen Yue) has a major crush on fellow classmate and neighbor Jiang Chen (Hu Yi Tian), who doesn’t reciprocate the feelings. While Xiao Xi is spontaneous, carefree, and doesn’t like to study, Jiang Chen is quiet, brooding, and extremely popular due to his good looks and excellent grades. They navigate high school and young adulthood with friends, including competitive swimmer Wu Bo Song (Gao Zhi Ting) and Lin Jing Xiao (Wang Zi Wei), the most beautiful girl in school.

The 2017 Chinese web drama put to screen the most relatable moments from youth – in all their cringe-worthy, utterly embarrassing glory. If you don’t find a character you relate to, you’ll enjoy the relationships formed among the close-knit group of friends as they do what we all once had to do (or are doing now) – navigating through those teenage years!

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Thinking Of You, Lu Xiang Bei

A lot of dramas have romance, but what about a sham marriage based on revenge and greed? Tong Yi Nian (Zhang Li), the daughter of a wealthy chairman, is forced to marry Lu Xiang Bei (Hawick Lau). However, the loveless marriage is only the beginning of her problems, especially after Yi Nian finds out Xiang Bei’s true motives for marrying her. Meanwhile, Xiang Bei grew up under tragic circumstances after being abandoned by his father and has only one thing on his mind: revenge.

If that isn’t an unusual place for our two leads to start out at, I’m not sure what is. Full of plenty of angst and some more serious thematic elements, this 2016 Chinese drama is perfect for those of you who want something a little heavier and uniquely out of the ordinary.

Check out episode 1 right here!

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Single Ladies Senior

This 2018 Taiwanese drama is all about friendship, and the encouragement and strength a good friend can give. Wang Mi Na (Summer Meng), Yin Ge Li (Christina Mok), Weng Mei Yan (Alina Zheng) and Bai Ya Xuan (Bonnie Wang) are four best friends from college who enter the professional workforce together. While figuring out what they want to do with their lives, the young ladies must balance romance and friendship with the never-ending pressures of adulthood.

“Single Ladies Senior” is uplifting and refreshing, and genuinely funny. The drama is a must-see for anyone looking for a sweet and easy watch – or just needing a reminder that a good friend is worth more than almost anything!

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Scarlet Heart

The 2011 Chinese drama tells the story of Zhang Xiao (Liu Shi Shi), who time-travels from modern-day China back to the 18th century to be incarnated in one of her previous lives – that of 16-year-old Maertai Rouxi, the daughter of a Manchu general during the Qing Dynasty. As she adjusts to her new life, Rouxi becomes entangled in a dangerous struggle for the emperor’s throne. Using her modern-day knowledge, Rouxi manipulates history as she develops romantic feelings and solid friendships along the way.

The cinematography is beautiful, the love is passionate, and the emotional depth of the characters is both chilling and awe-inspiring. The relationships Rouxi has with the different princes while struggling with her own internal conflicts about who she really is are only a couple of reasons that you’ll want to give “Scarlet Heart” a shot!

Check out episode 1 right here!

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Death Notify: The Darker

This brilliantly binge-worthy 2014 Chinese drama is absolutely perfect for those looking for chilling mysteries with minimal romance. A mysterious vigilante named Darker goes after criminals who evade legal punishment and leaves a death notification card at every crime scene. In order to catch Darker, the police form a special task force full of unique characters, led by Luo Fei (Guo Jing Fei). As the team gets closer to finding Darker, they discover the horrendous crimes committed by his victims. It’s engaging and interesting, and will keep you guessing to the very end! (And if you enjoy it, the show has a second and third season in addition to this one!)

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Back To 1989

Chen Che (Marcus Chang) doesn’t know who his father is, and the topic is forbidden in his household. So when an accident throws him back to 1989, one year before he was born, Che takes the opportunity to find out for himself. When he finds one of his mother’s best friends, he is introduced to his mother at a happier time in her life, and gets to know her as a friend. He also has the chance to meet several young men around his mother, one of whom he is certain has to be his father. When he finds out the truth about why his mother doesn’t talk about his father, he is faced with a difficult decision –one that is certain to impact on his life forever.

The 2016 Taiwanese drama keeps a consistent pace while exploring the importance of family, friendships, young love, and life’s regrets. It is light on the surface, but some very serious elements come into play. Stay on your toes, and enjoy the sweet moments “Back To 1989” brings to the table. (Also, the retro outfits are absolute fashion goals.)

Check out episode 1 right here!

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Proud Of Love

If you’re looking for straightforward entertainment that stays pretty light, this 2016 Chinese drama is definitely for you! When preppy Shen Xi (Vivian Sung) and brooding Zhi Zhou (Tong Meng Shi) swap souls during a near-fatal accident, the two wake up to find themselves in the body of the other. While Shen Xi uses her new body to get close to her crush, Zhi Zhou is terrified at being stuck inside a woman’s body. It’s fun and a bit outrageous at times, but super cute overall. And if you love this one, there’s also a season 2!

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Only Side By Side With You

This 2018 Chinese drama is easily one of my personal favorites from this year. Nan Qiao (Bai Bai He) is the no-nonsense owner of a drone-building business, while Shi Yue (William Chan) is a nightclub owner with a dark and mysterious past. When the two meet, he finds out she may be one of the reasons for his crummy lot in life. As he maneuvers his way into Nan Qiao’s life, Shi Yue’s initial plot for revenge gets disrupted when his feelings for her become romantic. William Chan’s and Bai Bai He’s chemistry is on fire the entire time, and the plot only thickens and quickens as the drama progresses. If angst is your thing, “Only Side by Side With You” has it by the bucket-loads.

Check out episode 1 right now!

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My Dear Boy

Luo Xiao Fei (Ruby Lin) works as a director of television commercials. When her relationship with long-time boyfriend Xiao Ye Shi (Archie Kao) goes downhill, she is left wondering what’s next for her. That’s when she meets the much younger An Qing Hui (Derek Chang), a kindhearted, slightly naive young man who just graduated from college. While she offers him life advice to help in his young years, he brings out a courage in her she forgot she had.

This 2017 Taiwanese drama is not your typical noona romance! While romance exists, it is not necessarily between the two leads–at least, not the entire time. It’s truly a drama about friendship, and the chemistry between the two leads is absolutely adorable. The quick pace pulls you in shockingly fast, and it’s so easy to become – and stay – invested in these lovable characters’ lives!

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What do you think of the list, Soompiers? Any other dramas you would recommend to your friends who want to get into Chinese and Taiwanese dramas? Let me know in the comments!

actualeleven is an Asian drama buff who loves discovering new music and dramas, usually with a steaming cup of coffee in hand. She hopes to spread her passion for Asian dramas to her readers!

Currently watching:Campus Heroes
All-time favorite:Shut Up! Flower Boy Band
Looking forward to:Unexpected

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