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Young Chinese embrace foreign TV series

"After six years, everything is over. You know I love you. XOXO, goodbye Gossip Girl," "Daimaopiaobuguocanghai" wrote in her microblog at Sina.com.

As American TV drama Gossip Girl saw a happy ending on Tuesday night, young Chinese are reluctant to part from it. Meanwhile, they are ready to embrace more foreign TV series.

"I joined my friends to see every episode of Gossip Girl since I was in university, for the gorgeous clothes and nicely pronounced English," says 25-year-old Qin Jie, a member of staff at a Beijing law firm.

"I was moved to see its ending but feel a little lost without updates on the drama any more," says Qin. "It's lucky that I still follow other American dramas, such as The Newsroom."

Gossip Girl, about the lives of privileged young adults on Manhattan's Upper East Side in New York City, is not the first foreign TV show to capture the hearts of Chinese youngsters.

In the early 1990s, wanting to improve their language skills, Chinese began to watch American TV series such as Growing Pains, which was broadcast in the United States from the late 1980s to the early 1990s.

With the development of the Internet, more Chinese people have easier access to episodes, not only for language learning but for their own general interest.

Yan Han, a postgraduate student at Beijing Foreign Studies University, instantly lists a couple of U.S. dramas when asked what she is currently watching for entertainment. Homeland, Dexter, 2 Broke Girls, and Grey's Anatomy trip off her tongue.

"American TV series have better depiction of the characters, no matter if they are leading or supporting roles, so audiences can root for all of them," says Yan.

On the other hand, she says, domestically made series generally feature stories told around a much smaller selection of dull, plain characters.

Unlike China's older generation, who tend to sit in front of the TV set after dinner, many younger Chinese use the Internet to choose when to watch their favorite programs more spontaneously. They are also influenced more by Western culture.

Zhang Heyang, 27, working in a human resources department, tells how she spends much time on the Internet watching American dramas which "show more compact stories."

"The Chinese TV series are too slow and remote from our lives," she adds.

Li Shengli, a professor with the Communication University of China, says that foreign TV series have attracted young Chinese audiences for a long time, and are now putting great challenges toward domestically made ones, as the foreign competition is more delicately produced and maintains good interaction with the audience.

American series are broadcasted as each episode is made week by week, Li explains, while China's TV dramas are filmed in blocks for examination by state organs and then shown on TV, with two or more episodes appearing each day.

Li believes that, although China now produces a large number of TV series every year, few of them are of high quality.

"With more and more young people turning to the Internet for English or American episodes, Chinese-made rivals are losing the market and may have dim futures if no breakthroughs are made.

"It is time for domestic producers as well as the Chinese government to review themselves and take some measures," according to the professor.

Li suggests that the Chinese mechanism for scrutinizing TV shows be changed, and that the government encourage episodes to be broadcasted as they are made in order to achieve better interaction with the audience.

Moreover, Li urges domestic producers to pay more efforts to the story of the series and try more styles, instead of only thinking about earning money.


Source: ecns.cn
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