‘The Untamed’: The only guide to Asian boy love dramas you need
If you’re gone on the right places on Twitter, you already know all about C-drama The Untamed. Based on the BL Xianxia novel Mo Dao Zu Shi, this hit TV show aired the summer of 2019 in China, and since arriving on Netflix, it’s just gotten a bigger audience.
But it’s not just the Chinese mythology that has people invested in the show. While China’s censors had to cut the majority of the relationship between Wei Wuxian (Xiao Zhan) and Lan Wangji (Wang Yibo) out, the subtext of their romantic relationship is still there.
Boy love, or BL dramas are huge all across Asia, so it’s no surprise The Untamed blew up for its BL story. But that’s far from the only one you should watch. If you’re new to the BL drama world, we have a few suggestions on which shows to start with.
Tharntype: The Series
College roommates who hate each other end up together? Sounds about right for a BL drama. Though it’s a little bit homophobic how Type (Gulf Kanawut) completely blows off Tharn (Mew Suppasit) when it’s revealed Tharn’s gay, him working through his internalized homophobia is a big part of the show’s drama and really admirable.
Though season one did end on a high note, there is a season two of Tharntype: The Series coming soon. If you want to learn more about what to expect from the new season, you can read our coverage on that here.
Dark Blue and Midnight
Might as well call this show Missed Connections because that is literally how our two leads come together. A chance meeting at the pool has them in love, but they lose each other’s numbers and it’s quite a while until the two ever meet again. But when they do finally find each other, they’re both in committed relationships with other people.
If you think that’s going to stop them though, it sure as hell doesn’t. The chemistry between lead actors Ting Yun Wang and Aric Chen is just so electric though, you can’t help but root for them anyway. You’ll also probably have your jaw on the floor by the end of the show, but that’s standard for BL dramas.
Long Time No See
A lot of BL K-dramas end up lacking substance, but this is one that is worth you time. Two assassins end up dating each other, but when their identities and secrets come out, can the two stay together? It’s definitely a bit cliched at times, but it really takes its concept all the way and commits to it.
Plus, it’s made by an independent LGBT studio trying to get more unique stories out there. Watch the series, and support Strongberry, so they can continue to make innovative stories for us to enjoy.
2gether: The Series
Fake relationships are well tread ground in TV, but we’re still in love with 2gether anyway. Also known as 2GWin Metawinether, the series focuses around Tine (Win Metawin) getting in a fake relationship with Sarawat (Bright Vachirawit) to help get an annoying admirer off his back.
But of course, the feelings start to become real, and the two have to decide if this is what they truly want. Win and Bright just have such a playful chemistry that we just can’t help but root for them to get together, even if there’s definitely some not so good moments.
Once again, Chinese censors prevent anything too gay from happening, but Guardian is based off a BL fantasy novel, so you know the homoerotic subtext is hot. A detective and professor team up to investigate a strange supernatural phenomena that’s looming on the world.
As the fear of a new war comes closer to reality, Detective Zhao Yunlan (Bai Yu) and Professor Shen Wei (Zhu Yilong) become closer together in the search for answers. If you like your romance with a strange backdrop of crazy fantasy/sci-fi, Guardian is next level crazy. We’d spoil the twist for you, but we’re not even 100% sure what the twist was.
You forgot to mention men with swords, it is also a bl drama and is historical as the untamed, I think it’s even better than it. The other dramas are not related to the untamed and are contemporary.May 25, 2020
Thanks for that recommendation, Lance. Looks like something I’ll enjoy.May 26, 2020
I don’t categorize The Untamed Live Action series as Boys Love at all.. if anything it’s an intense Bromance… because of same gender restrictions it is just so very vanilla. At least when you compare to other countries BL-series The Untamed and Guardian have been stripped of any sexual desire and are strictly platonic in terms of Live Action. THAT SAID; it is because China has a legal ban depicting LGBT+ relationships on television. So in terms of BL, China shows tends to circle more in Bromance. Unlike Thai BL series which are more qualified for the Genre. A Thai show that comes to mind atm being S.O.T.U.S (2017) and the Taiwanese show Because of You (2020). If you want actual BL genre. HIStory is also a decent watch. But most chinese are platonic bromances and that should be a genre of it’s own.May 26, 2020
untamed novel have detaied description between this two boys but we can not visualize them on censored tv.May 29, 2020
You might not, but that’s because you’re bowing to the forced censorship. They came so close to the line as many times as they could and even managed to work in a few canonical things for eagle eyed fans. Considering it’s sourced from a BL novel, and the producer who got it all started has stated that they tried to be as faithful to the material as they could without breaking censorship, to not call it BL is a disservice to the intense work that was put into trying to bring it to life.June 2, 2020