- Serenade of Peaceful Joy follows the Song Dynasty’s Emperor Renzong (1022-1063) as he struggles between balancing his governing ideology and desire for reform, with his love for his daughter, Princess Huirou.
- A Princess is betrothed to to a simple-minded descendant of her father’s family as means of paying back her father’s emotional debt.
- This supposedly simple marriage affects the Royal court where the emperor walks a fine line in his attempt to keep the balance between traditional factions and reformative factions.
Grade: 3.5/5 Stars
Daylight Entertainment was charged with bringing to life Song Dynasty’s Emperor Renzong’s emotional turmoil as he grapples with complicated personal relationships and his familial and paternal guilt as well as the political ramifications of the marriage he consigns his daughter to.
This is a sprawling historical drama that that employs all elements of historical storytelling from the royal court to intrigues of the imperial harem.
The drama employs the talents of Wang Kai of Nirvana in Fire fame as Emperor Renzong, while Maggie Jiang who played Chen Guo in the adaption of The King’s Avatar takes up the role of Empress Cao. Also on the bill is rookie actress, Ren Min, a graduate of the Central Academy of Beijing as Princess Hui Ro.
The initial impressions of the Serenade of Peaceful Joy is that of a well crafted and well thought out piece. From the rich visuals of the initial episodes that clearly spared no expense on costume design and cinematography, it is apparent that the crew is armed with a generous budget. Accordingly the first few episodes of the Serenade of peaceful Joy have been a satisfying visual experience.
While the initial episodes have focused on developing the backstory of the characters it is expected from the progression of the novel on which the drama is based that the story itself will retread familiar tropes in the historical drama genre such as conflicts between familial hierarchies, turmoil in marriages between members of the royal family and political machinations among others.
Nevertheless, since the 2008 novel, by Milan Lady, on which the drama is based has consistently been ranked highly over the years by readers of the Chinese social networking site, Douban, should the drama continue to respect the story as told by the author, the storytelling and script writing will be as satisfying as the cinematography portends.
The drama which was scheduled to be broadcast on April 4, 2020 was premiered on April 7, 2020 on account of the national day of mourning for victims of COVID-19 in China.
Episodes of the drama have been released on Viki TV and on Tencent’s WeTv with english subtitles for international fans.
Official uploads may also be found on Youtube. See Episode 1 Here
Title: Serenade of Peaceful Joy
Original Title: 清平乐
Additional Titles: Held in the Lonely Castle, Lonely City Closed, Isolated City, Gu Cheng Bi
Author: Milan Lady
Director: Zhang Kai Zhou
Genre: Historical, Romance, Political, Drama
Release Date: April 7, 2020
Number of Episodes: 70
Rating: 3.5 out of 5.