A Little Thing Called First Love: Chinese Drama Review

little-thin-called-first-loveWhen I saw  A Little Thing Called First Love on Netflix several weeks ago, I decided to wait until it aired the final episode before I jumped in and binged on it. As I suspected, it was the Chinese drama adaptation of one of my favorite Thai romcoms, Crazy Little Thing Called Love.  It was a bit long with 36 episodes, but I managed to power through it in a week’s time.

Synopsis: Xia Miaomiao (Angel Zhao) is a timid and ordinary girl who falls in love at first sight with her school senior Liang You Nian (Lai Kuan Lin, WANNA One). He inspires her to become better and more confident until she evolves into her best version. But while he treats her well, she is still unsure if he likes her back or simply sees her as his cousin’s best friend.

I liked the youthful feel of A Little Thing Called First Love. It had a stellar looking cast,  great cinematoraphy and a nice soundtrack. There was good chemistry among the cast, making the entire series a light viewing experience. And I mean light, from start to finish.

Perhaps, because the original material covered only two hours worth of scenes, stretching the drama to 36 episodes seemed excessive. The plot was worn thin, yet there was very little character development, even though the objective was to watch Miaomiao’s evolution.

As the lead actor, I liked Taiwanese Kpop star, Lai Kuan Lin. But I must say that he needs to showcase his personality more and develop his acting skills if he wants to go in this direction.

Throughout the series, he appeared stiff and camera conscious about his movements, but I get that. He and Angel Zhang received the most amounts of slow motions and beauty shots in the series.  His strength was in his natural laughter and smiles but very few and far between was it seen in the series, which was a shame.

Case in Point:

Also, I had an issue with the camera shots which always showed the close ups in a weird angle and it mostly happened with Lai Kuan Lin’s scenes. The production always shot hin looking far ahead and not quite into Angel Zhang, who shared most of his scenes. This resulted in a disconnect with the emotions he was portraying.

Because of this, I could not help but compare Lai Guanlin to his fellow WANNA One member Ong Seong Wu, whose acting was miles ahead of his peer in Moments at 18. I have yet to finish the Korean drama but in the first five episodes alone, Ong Seong Wu blew me away with the depth of his emotions.

Back to A Little Thing Called Love, I liked the supporting cast as well. Lin Kaituo  (Wang Run Ye) delivered the most emotion out of them but it was a shame that the writing wrote his character in such an inconsistent way that the series portrayed him merely as a hothead who never quite knew what he wanted in life.

All in all, there were many inconsistencies in the drama’s aim to deliver on the light and romantic moments between the main couple. There were also tons of product placements that stuck out awkwardly at odd moments in the series like Loreal’s lightening cream, a brand called Winona, tea, juices and even a period tracking app. Yes, as in a menstrual period app.

Apart from the cheesy slowmos and beauty shots, I would say that A Little Thing Called First Love was a passable drama, perhaps lacking in overall substance but not bad enough for me to abort viewing.