Yanxi Palace: Princess Adventures – Netflix Full Season 1 Review

Season 1

Episode Guide

Episode 1 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 3.5/5

 

Acting as a spiritual spin-off to the 2018 Chinese drama Story of Yanxi Palace, Princess Adventures is a bite-size dive into the world of C-dramas that does a pretty good job acting as a bite-size taster to what this region can produce. Given the original sits at 70 episodes and I, admittedly, don’t know an awful lot about the original beyond reading the plot synopsis and reading some episodic recaps, Princess Adventures does make it relatively straight forward for newcomers to jump into this with no prior knowledge and enjoy. Of course, fans of the original will undoubtedly get the most out of this one and there’s certainly some nice nods toward that one here.

Predominantly though, the story revolves around Princess Zhaohua, the daughter to the Queen who happens to be the lead character in Story Of Yanxi Palace. Promised to be wed to Lhawang, Zhaohua finds herself unwittingly caught up in a web of deceit, romance and backstabbing as Fuk’anngan helps her win over Lhawang’s heart, while Princess Siwan schemes to upset the delicate order of things.

All of this converges into a dramatic penultimate episode that throws everything upside down with a changing tone, questionable dabbling in horror, before bringing things back for a more consistent back-end in the finale. This tonal shift comes completely out of left-field but thankfully it’s not enough to tip the balance of the show but it’s worth bearing this in mind before you dive into this expecting a more straight-forward period drama.

Aesthetically though, the show looks fantastic. The rich colours, gorgeous visuals and the entire Chinese setting works so well here and this spills over to the costume design too which is authentically replicated and really helps give a sense of time and place. The characters all play their roles well too and the various cameos from characters in the original show is a nice touch, adding a sense of history to proceedings.

Despite the gripes I have with a couple of plot inconsistencies and issues for newcomers surrounding big plot reveals late on, this mini-series is the perfect accompanying piece for fans of the original and I’m sure this was the intention when the show was original scripted and plotted out. As a newcomer, this has enticed me to go and check out the original (which is annoyingly absent from Netflix’s roster!), especially given some of the history these characters clearly share that isn’t wholly explored here.

If you’re new to Chinese dramas and want something to dabble in but not spend a good chunk of time watching, Princess Adventures is actually a good option to do just that. The bite-size episodes are easy to digest and each one ends on a light cliffhanger to keep you coming back for more. It’s not perfect, and despite its short length, I found myself wanting more when the show did eventually roll across to the final credits. If you’re in the mood for something with plenty of romance, drama and historical fiction, Princess Adventures is worth a watch, even if fans are likely to get more out of this one than newcomers.

 


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  • 6.5/10
    Verdict - 6.5/10
6.5/10

7 thoughts on “Yanxi Palace: Princess Adventures – Netflix Full Season 1 Review”

  1. Thanks for commenting Miya! That’s really handy to know that the original is on Amazon Prime. I tried to write the review from the perspective of someone who was going into this blindly as there’s no tag on Netflix to inform that this is a sequel.

    Thank you for your critique though and you’re right, I’ll add this one to the never-ending watch list and round back to this in the future to update the review.

    -Greg W

  2. While I appreciate you taking the time to review the show and open the eyes of some viewers who might not have normally watched, I agree with the above comments. Your review is a bit half-assed considering you took no time to look into the original (aside from reading other people’s synopsis’). In my opinion your review would have been more objective and helpful to a potential new viewer had you simply held off for a bit and watched the original before coming to this story, especially since even minor details of your review are incorrect. Princess Zhaohua, is not the daughter to the Queen. While I will not go into further detail for those who do not wish to be spoiled from watching the prequel story, I will say that this small inaccuracy in your review plays a significant part in the Princess Diaries sequel. I do think you should take some time to watch Yanxi Palace, which can be found on Amazon Prime. You’ll undoubtedly have to edit this review afterwards but taking a bit of time to do some pre-work will be beneficial to both your personal viewing pleasure as well as your readers who look to your reviews for some entertainment insight.

  3. To be fair this is a bit like reviewing a big mac when you’ve never eaten one. You know what it looks like, you can guess what’s in it and how it’s made but you can’t describe the flavour to anyone. You said yourself that you didn’t understand half the things going on because you don’t have the history that precedes this.
    Still like to say thank you for spending time to review this as I wasn’t aware there was a spin off till two days ago and since we’re in lockdown then is perfect for a one day binge.
    Wonder how many signed up to Netflix just to watch this…

  4. You should definitely watch the Story of Yanxi Palace. A number of plot twists and character references in this sequel are a throwback to the events of the original series, and I reckon a lot of them would be lost on the casual viewer. There’s a whole backstory to Fuk’anngan’s vendetta and a reason why Zhaohua’s scheme of demonic possession took place in that abandoned palace. You’ll also get to appreciate why Empress Wei Ying Luo was feared and respected by the imperial consorts. The craziness of the last episode just shows how Zhaohua is no less daring and cunning as her mother is. I also liked how she didn’t waver in her decision to let go on her wedding day. She’s a chip off the old block. That being said, I liked this short format for the series if they’re going to tell capsule stories about the royal children.

  5. I loved Yanxi Palace, and there were moments in this which made me “aaaahhh” but they were only between Wei Yingluo and Hongli. The new cast didn’t do it for me at all. There were no likeable characters. The princess is spoilt and bratty, Fuk’anggan is psychopathic, Siwan is pathetic and the Mongolian prince is just weak and boring. Maybe it’s because there are only 6 episodes and thus the characters didn’t have time to really develop.
    Wei Yingluo was still by a mile the best character.

  6. love the original as well as Season 1 edition. I’m excited to see the sequel of Wei Yinglio children and 5th prince.

  7. If you had watched the original, the rating would probably be 3.5/10 instead of 6.5
    The horror part of the series is really SMH.

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