Love Like the Galaxy starring Zhao Lusi and Leo Wurecently wrapped up its 56-episode run. The domestic- historical drama centers around the love story between our main lead Cheng Shaoshang and the fearsome general Ling Buyi. However, to regard the story merely as A love story would be an injustice to the numerous character and intricate themes weaved together in this drama.
The Galaxy in Love like the Galaxy is no obscure reference or a metaphor for the relationship between the two characters, it refers to the world and people around them which inevitably brings about the kind of love that passes through hardships and heartaches unchanged.
Split into two seasons of 27 and 29 episodes each, the first part introduces the viewers to Cheng Shaoshang, her complicated relationship with her family and the restrictive world around her. Shaoshang suffers from abandonment issues after she is left behind by her family when she was just a new-born and neglected by her greedy grandmother and aunt who was entrusted to raise her.
However, Shaoshang is no Cinderella, she keeps her grudges close and gives back twice the abuse she gets and seeks to find her own way out than depend on someone else. Thus, when her family returns and she fall out with her strict and cold mother who perceives her as a disappointment, she gets engaged to the innocent and free-spirited Lou Yao. The engagement is later cancelled, and Ling Buyi takes the chance to propose to her publicly Infront of the emperor.
The second season sheds light onto Ling Buyi, of his struggles and his aim for revenge that overwhelms all else. Shaoshang wants freedom, and Ling Buyi wants revenge. They have conflicting aims at times, but they are alike in a lot of ways, particularly in their capability to love one another wholeheartedly despite growing up abused and neglected by their respective families.
This season traces their process of falling in love, of learning to trust and depend on one another, and eventually the heartache that comes when trust is not mutually granted. The second part also delves into the royal family and the kingdom’s politics, and how our central characters get caught up in it.
- Family: Love Like the Galaxy at its core is a family drama talking about the conflicts and comforts within various families, from the Cheng and Ling family to the royal family of princesses and consorts. Rather than seeing the idea of family in a glorifying light, the drama examines both the good and bad. We see the Cheng Family who are forced to abandon their daughter, but they learn from their mistake and eventually stand by Shaoshang when she needs them as an adult.
- Feminism and Womanhood: The drama is very progressive for a Chinese drama especially set in an historic era. It reminds me of the C-drama Story of Yanxi Palace. Shaoshang refuses to lose her own identity and independence to her infamous fiancé’s. She openly questions it when Ling Buyi is rewarded for her merits, and eventually sets out to save the world just as her husband does. Similarly, we see women generals, leaders, and consort that by far surpasses the presence and authority of men in the drama. Similarly, it’s a story of motherhood, of biological and emotional attachments and the sacrifices they must make for their children.
- Love and Revenge: It is the dilemma between the two that is the driving force of the drama. Both Shaoshang and Buyi are stubborn and vengeful towards the wrongs done to them, however, the question of what you are willing to sacrifice for your revenge haunts the story.
Why you should/shouldn’t watch it
- Complex Characters: Most of the characters are three dimensional and grow to become stronger/better people over time. Moreover, usual tropes are subverted to create interesting characters.
- Humor: It’s hilarious at certain moments even in long tensed scenes. (PS: The emperor is the biggest shipper of the two main leads and would have locked the two of them together in the room until they gave him grandbabies if his wives allowed him.)
- Strong Female Lead: Shaoshang refuses to be the damsel in distress and returns both kindness and hatred alike. Its not a story of the male lead always rescuing the female lead, but them learning to depend on one another.
- Consort Yue: Trust me on this, you will thank me for the opportunity to witness the woman’s brilliance.
- Conflicts at quickly resolved: There are no long misunderstandings, the leads are very capable and deal with their enemies adeptly. It’s very satisfying to watch.
- Good Cinematography
- Great Action Scenes
- Tightly woven storyline: Not a lot of glaring plot holes and the story is very linked together.
- It is long. Sometimes all the staring and conversation can get a little tiring.
- There is a colorist comment that put me off for the rest of the episode, but it’s a c-drama so expecting for more was my own fault.
- Slow burn: It takes a while for them to properly get together, I personally love the wait, but it might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
- Three male leads: Again, I personally love the reverse harem trope, but I am aware others don’t.
Overall Rating and Recommendation
7.8/10 – Very much recommended. One of the best C-dramas of this year, and in my top 10 favorite C-drama list.
Watch it if you liked: Vincenzo, Scarlet Heart, Story of Yanxi Place, Story of Minglan (PS. The novel the drama is based on is written by the same author), Rebirth for You.
Watch it when you: Need comfort or are feeling lonely. If you need to laugh or need something satisfying after a frustrating drama/ bad day.