Inspirography: Wuxia TV Series
Fans of FAR WEST looking for inspiration have a relatively easy time finding Spaghetti Western sources — many of them are readily available, and, in fact, the rushed nature of their production has meant that many are now in the public domain, which has led to many collections featuring dozens of films squeezed onto no-frills DVDs. Not the best quality, and you’ll see the same films repeated across many collections, but they’re cheap and easily available.
For wuxia inspiration, the choices (at least in the western world) are far more limited, as only a fraction of the available material is packaged for release outside of Asia. Some of the larger films get released here (mostly direct-to-video, fewer in theatres), and only a handful of the myriad wuxia novels have been translated into English. One popular source of wuxia entertainment that is almost entirely absent in the west are the many wuxia TV series produced for Chinese television.
Most are adapted from wuxia serial novels, and play out a bit like soap operas with kung fu — filmed on video, with low-budget CG effects. Very few have been released on DVD, and almost nothing more recent than 5 years old, despite the fact that Chinese TV still pumps them out in a constant stream.
Well, I’m pleased to say that I’ve discovered a goldmine. There is a website devoted to these series, called WuxiaEdge.com, run by a Chinese-Australian woman living in the US. The site itself is a font of up-to-date news, forum discussions and more… but even better: The site has its own Youtube channel, which features complete, fan-subbed episodes of recent Chinese TV wuxia series.
***EDITED 1/27/15: Sadly, the Youtube channel was deleted. However, you can still find out about wuxia TV shows from the website, and a simple Youtube search will find MANY sources for viewing!***
As a sample, here’s an embed of the first episode of 怪侠一枝梅 (Guai Xia Yi Zhi Mei, “Strange Hero Yi Zhi Mei”), a series about a Robin-Hood-esque masked bandit in Ming Dynasty China:
Keep an eye on WuxiaEdge.com, and you’ll hear of other fan-subbed series available for online streaming.
The only problem is: We’re too busy getting the FAR WEST Adventure Game ready for delivery that we have no time to watch, so you’ll have to watch for us!