Hope was one of the most enjoyable and interesting shows for me earlier this year. This Chinese drama The Hope evokes so many emotions and carries a strong message that is well received by most of us. It is realistic, relevant, and thought-provoking. See the full review below!
Title: The Hope (鸣龙少年)
Release Date: December 10, 2023
Genres: Comedy, Youth
Original Network: CCTV, Youku
Available On: Youku
Synopsis and Plot Summary
Lei Ming, once a thriving lecturer who encountered some challenges in the business world, decides to make a positive change by becoming a high school teacher. Teaming up with the psychology teacher, Sang Xia, they embark on a mission to inspire and support a special class of underachieving students.
In this diverse group, we meet Li Ran, an orphan with a passion for robotics, but faced with the possibility of dropping out due to his grandmother’s illness. Lei Ming, committed to the success of each student, steps in with the unwavering support of Sang Xia. Together, they navigate the hurdles, providing guidance and encouragement.
Through their collective efforts, the students overcome various obstacles and successfully secure spots in the universities of their choice. As they embark on the next chapter of their lives, Lei Ming and Sang Xia celebrate the triumph of their students, showcasing the power of dedication, support, and resilience in the face of challenges.
The Hope Chinese Drama Review
“The Hope” is a captivating Chinese adaptation of the Japanese manga Dragon Zakura, centered around an unconventional teacher and a class of underachieving students.
Although I haven’t seen the Japanese version, the Chinese adaptation maintains a manga-like essence in characterizations and comedic sequences while exploring the challenges of the Chinese education system.
The storyline delves into the intense focus on the Gāokǎo, a nationwide college entrance exam lasting nine hours over two or three days. With over 10 million students taking the exam annually, the competition is fierce.
The drama introduces Lei Ming, a former star lecturer, who, after facing entrepreneurial setbacks, returns to teaching. Alongside Sang Xia, a psychology teacher, they formed an experimental program to uplift underperforming students.
The narrative unfolds with Lei Ming handpicking five students for his experimental Class 11, each with their unique challenges. Among them is Li Ran, an orphan with a passion for robotics, facing the possibility of dropping out due to his grandmother’s illness.
Despite skepticism and ridicule, Lei Ming, with Sang Xia’s support, guides the students through challenges as they prepare for the Gāokǎo.
The drama poignantly sheds light on the flaws in the education system and the importance of addressing students who have fallen behind. Each young actor portrays their character’s struggles and growth convincingly, making the audience empathize with their journey.
Zhang Ruoyun’s performance is commendable, showcasing his ability to choose compelling scripts. The drama not only focuses on the students but also delves into Lei Ming’s journey, adding depth to the narrative.
While the drama maintains a realistic tone, the “twelve years later” epilogue in episode 30 shifts to a more mature perspective. Some viewers may find it disconnecting, but it emphasizes life’s uncertainties and the importance of coping with ups and downs.
The story explores various topics, including depression and family relations, challenging societal norms in a thought-provoking manner. The attention to detail, such as the change in the opening sequence, adds to the drama’s overall impact.
The cast, led by Zhang Ruoyun, delivers outstanding performances, making the characters lovable and relatable. The OSTs, though not universally loved, contribute to the emotional depth of the scenes.
Despite some time jumps that may feel unconventional, they serve to piece the story together effectively. The drama’s high rewatch value is attributed to the nuanced details easily missed on the first watch.
The Hope Chinese Drama Cast
Zhang Ruo Yun as Lei Ming
Huang Yao as Sang Xia
Wang Qiang as Li Ran
Xu Ruo Han as Cheng Yu Shan
Marcus Li as Shen Yao
Zhang Chen as Yu Yang
Zeng You Zhen as Bian Xiao Xiao
Xu Qi Jie as Jiang Qing Lang
Liu Dan as Gao Jing Juan
Chen Hao as Bi Ke
Wang Xin as Lou Jing Zhi
Wang Lan as Qi Ying Chun
In conclusion, “The Hope” stands out as a must-watch, particularly for fans of slice-of-life and sentimental dramas. Its unique take on societal issues, coupled with strong performances and emotional depth, makes it a highly recommended and memorable experience, earning a solid rating of 8.5/10.0.