New TV series based on Gu Long classic

Updated: 2016-02-18 08:27

By Xu Fan(China Daily USA)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

For Western readers with an interest in Chinese martial arts novels, Gu Long ranks alongside Louis Cha.

Now, around 30 years since Gu Long died, a TV series adapted from his early classic The Eleventh Son is making waves on the country's small screens.

Xiao Shiyi Lang, a 42-episode series starring veteran actor Yan Yikuan as the title character, has begun showing on Beijing Satellite Channel and several streaming-video sites since Feb 9, the second day of the Chinese Lunar New Year.

In the original tale, which Gu Long first wrote as a screenplay in 1969 and developed into a novel later, the orphan martial artist Xiao is in love with a married woman. But this bit is changed in the TV series. Here, the married woman is portrayed as engaged to be married.

Yan says in an interview with China Daily that the tweak was done as extramarital love remains a sensitive subject on Chinese screens.

He says the protagonist's role, which resembles youth in modern-day China, will allow TV audiences to find links between ancient figures and their own lives.

"Xiao is not born into a prominent family or raised by influential masters. He gains his reputation after a series of failures," says Yan.

"But (in the TV series) we respect Gu Long's work and try to maintain the essence and his unique narrative of a martial world," the Shanghai native says.

Gu Long, actually the Taiwan author's pen name, wrote more than 60 novels in a 25-year career which was cut short at the age of 48.

Gu Long's novels, adapted more than 200 times for the screen, are regarded as evergreen favorites for martial arts TV series and movies.

The author, born as Xiong Yaohua, has also had his works translated into French, English and Vietnamese. The Eleventh Son was his first work to be translated into English.

Series' director Guk Gaau-leung, a Hong Kong veteran, says the latest TV adaptation aims to revive the flagging martial arts film genre.

 New TV series based on Gu Long classic

Actor Yan Yikuan stars as the title character in the new 42-episode series Xiao Shiyi Lang. Provided To China Daily

(China Daily USA 02/18/2016 page7)